Tuesday, September 15, 2009

A Sudan Wargame!

The British Outpost - lovely model!

It's over three years since I started this blog and my interest has, as ever, waxed and waned somewhat. However, I still regard this as my main period so was delighted to actually get a game in for the first time at Guildford on Monday. This was down to Keith at the club who suggested a game as he has some Sudan War figures (some very nicely painted Camel Corps made an appearance) too.
We decided to use The Sword and the Flame which I had played once before about four years ago and Keith had never played. There was, as a result, a lot of rulebook consulting which, hopefully, next time won't happen quite so much.
Guy's Rub of 60 figures comes around and over the hill

We played the attack on a British strongpoint scenario. Keith had a unit each of Kings Royal Rifle Corps, Camel Corps and Royal Marines Light Infantry plus a Naval Brigade Gatling Gun (inevitably). I had six units of Beja. We didn't fuss too much about points values of each side and this seemed about right. My little boy, Guy, joined me on the Mahdist side which was just as well given we had over 120 individually based figures to move per turn. It makes me realise that my plan to refight El Teb and Tamai with 300 on the Beja side will be an all day job!
The RMLI had already driven off one unit and are dealing with the second
Keith had a nice desert building but it wasn't quite big enough to hold his force so we spread the British units out a bit with the RMLI outside the compound. This had one negative effect (for the Beja, anyway) in that because the fortified area wasn't at the centre of the table any Beja attacking the RMLI who were driven back (3xD6 of running required) exited the table and were lost. We must make sure that next time the defended area is exactly in the centre giving the attackers a chance to regroup.
Osman Digna sends in his first unit against the Naval Brigade Gatling gun

Tactically, the Beja weren't brilliant in that they attacked in three groups. Given Keith only had four units we should have spread our six units out more. But the table was against one wall and Keith was sitting on the other side of the board (although he sportingly offered to move) so we naturally kept largely to one side of the board too. I could always argue that perhaps this reflects some terrain issues but next time we need to be more flexible in our deployment!
The Gatling Gun struck first but wasn't as destructive as we had feared (I suspect we were lucky-under the rules you can suffer up to 12 casualties). The Beja took a few casualties but carried on in their charge.

It's nice to get some use for my wounded figures

One of Guy's units was very quickly seen off by the RMLI proving how difficult it is to attack formed Imperial infantry who get a plus one on every dice roll. The same unit them put paid to the force I sent in to assist.

My first unit got bogged down in rough terrain so it was my second that charged and took the Gatling Gun. We were not quite sure if we were handling the rules for attacking artillery correctly as we had 18 Beja against 4 Naval brigade so they didn't have a chance in hand to hand combat. But then, on every occasion we found that the rules worked reasonably realistically so maybe the lesson is don't use a gun without infantry to defend it.

A date with destiny (or at least a Gatling Gun)

One of Guy's units was driving the KRRC back and I was at the gates of the strongpoint when we had to stop (it was a school day and was well past Guy's bedtime!). If we had continued it could have gone either way. The RMLI had destroyed two of our units but we still had four on the table. The KRRC were on the run but the Camel Corps were safely ensconced in the building and were shooting away from the rooftops.

A few things we need to check:

1. The rules for charging artillery.

2. The role of extra-unit leaders (morale?)

3. Two units attacking one.

4. Throwing spears during a charge.

A few things I learnt: Beja swordsmen get an extra 1 added to their dice in melee which brings them up to the British level - Perry order going in! Spread warband units out as the shooting arcs are tighter than in WAB, for example. If playing as the British ensure there is infantry support to defend a gun.

Hopefully we can get another game in after I return from my next batch of travels. I will have finished my first unit of Beja -mounted cavalry by then too!


Fraxinus said...

A game excellent I must get playing, our games shop has changed hands in canterbury...promising more historical figures and wargames evenings ...I might have a club soon within 3 miles hurrah! Not looked at your Sudan site much, most remiss of me, I do like the RMLI you painted excellent & having family associations with the RMLI have contemplated painting a few to go with the old Essex Camel Corps I have somewhere

Steve-the-Wargamer said...

Brilliant - good to see your figures on the wargaming table.. nice fort indeed!

Keith said...

Yep ,all great fun and the rules worked out rather well. To begin with I was disapointed a little with firing, thought the chances of hitting were far to harsh, however after some hand to hand combat it seemed about right. The british in line formation and some nice dice, certainly helped me out.
As you say, we need to position the fort more evenly so you can surround the fort more evenly. Maybe we need to add a random factor to where you arrive from.

Im certainly looking forward to the second game, we should be able to move swiftly through it. Id quite like to get some more buildings and terrain, so the Fuzzies can really sneak up on.

All in all a nice succcess, minis looked great and the terrain wasnt to bad either. Whod of thought a bag of cake palm trees would come in so usefull :)

till the next battle

Egil's Saga said...

Very Nice! I plan to run my 1st game of "The Sword and the Flame" on Sunday.

The more you play, the better you will understand the rules. I hope I will!!

Suchet said...

A nice AAR. Have you ever considered the rules published by the Too Fat Lardies, called They dont like it up em, published in one of their season specials (summer 08 I Think). They are written for the Sudan wars and give a fast and furious game with at the same time feel right.

legatus hedlius said...

Thanks. Not aware of tose rules. I must seek them out.

Bluebear Jeff said...

I just found your blog. A good report. One thing about TSATF is that use of terrain really reduces the effect of fire.

Another trick that some like to use is to "recycle" dead or routed native units if you don't have sufficient numbers.

Most TSATF battles I've fought have been fairly close-run affairs . . . I hope that you get a chance to finish the next fight.

-- Jeff

Anonymous said...

I have followed your sudan blog for some time and it has helped inspire me to paint and game the period myself. Glad to see you got round to another game at last! On your recommendation I bought the 'Sword and Flame' rules and thoroughly enjoy them, all my games have been close and exciting. My 6 year old son played a game last week and manfully marched his British across the table towards safety, while the Beja hordes swept round on all sides. Great fun.

legatus hedlius said...

Excellent! Good to hear! Next I am going to try to finish my Beja on Camels. Not too many to do..

Anonymous said...

Looks great. May I ask where your lovely buildings come from or have you made them?


legatus hedlius said...

They aren't my buildings. I will ask Keith, who provided them..