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Ohrwalder’s ‘Ten Years Captivity in the Mahdist Camp’ is free online. Look at Chapter 2 https://archive.org/stream/tenyearscaptivit00ohrwuoft#page/6/mode/2up
Thanks for that.
It should be a good read as well.
Your battlegroup is pretty tasty too.
The Men Who Would Be KINGS: Scenario
Pursuit at El Hab
An Anglo-Egyptian army has smashed an invading Dervish force near the Egyptian Sudan border.
The Dervishes are retreating south & have left a rear guard at a pass to slow down the pursuing British. Unfortunately for the Dervishes, several units have been left behind & cut off at the village of El Hab. Worse, an important Emir (the Mahdi himself ?!??) is with these forces & must not be captured or killed by the infidel.
Dervish: 1. Get the Emir off the table via the pass at the southern end.
2. Get their forces at El Hab off the table via the pass at the southern end without being destroyed or severely mauled (at least 2 units exit with more than 50% of their strength intact).
3. Hold the pass against the Anglo-British to save their retreating army
4. Kill as many “Turks” (ie British and Egyptians) as possible
Anglo-Egyptian: 1. Take (priority) or kill the Emir (the chief goal & worth losing some men over)
2. Destroy the Dervish force at El Hab
3. Suffer less than 50% losses.
4. Take the pass
At the north end of the table, 3 Dervish units are deployed (with the emir) in and around the village of El Hab. One Ansar (tribal infantry), one Camel (tribal cavalry), one Jehadia (rifles) units.
At the south end of the table, in and around the pass, are the rest of the Dervish forces (2 Beja tribal infantry, 2 Ansar tribal infantry, 1 camel & two Baggara cavalry units). An additional Beja unit will enter the game from the extreme NW corner on Turn 4.
The Anglo-British will be deployed in the centre of the table between both Dervish forces. They will field 6 infantry units, 2 camel units & a gun. There will be some cover (soft) for them to use if they so desire.
I won’t bore you with a blow by blow account. Suffice it to say the game went very smoothly & pretty quickly: about 3 hours. This is despite we’re still learning the rules & despite our “tweaks” which run to a page & half. We’ve certainly “customised” the rules!
The Mahdists won a minor victory, with the British withdrawing in good order after it became apparent they would not catch the Emir. I suspect the Anglo-Egyptians will need another unit or two to make them more competitive against the Dervish who have won all 4 games we’ve played so far.
– because people aren’t following the same criteria, whatever they say.
Yes: this is behind my metaphoric point (clearly *not* meant to be literal) that scale is subjective. Evidently, 1/72 can be anything a manufacturer wants it to be.
So why discrepancies?
I’d put it down to 3 things.
Firstly, ineptness. The sculptor doesn’t really know what he/she is doing. Evidently the master for injection plastic figures needs to be bigger as there is shrinkage. HaT explained this as the reason behind a noticeably short set of Russian Nap artillery crew.
Secondly, don’t care. As Rob said, some see plastic figures as toys so any sense of precision is unnecessary. This tends to happen with the more outré makers: the aptly named Lucky Toys, for example, or the venerable Atlantic.
Thirdly, market manipulation. I cynically claim certain manufacturers purposely made their figures bigger in order to cut out the opposition. Notably Zvesda (& Italeri, for a while, when they were in partnership with Z.) made lovely figures….that towered over correctly sized 1/72 figures from other makers.
I can (mostly) live with departures from accurate scale. I know it bugs others. Chacun a son gout.
for many others the diversity of ranges is lacking.
I’m after Egyptian cavalry for the Mahdist wars. they don’t seem to exist in 1/72.
However, I have two choices.
One: convert. There’s 3 different sets that after surgery, would give me Egyptian cavalry. Cutting & pinning plastic is absurdly easy & the Loctite glues make joins inseparable. I get a kick out of converting figures.
Two: commission. I commissioned French generals for my SYW army as there was nothing flamboyant enough.
This German company will put you in contact with sculptors , cast the figures in pewter & then market them for you so you can re-coup the costs:
A pal of mine is involved & they’re solid & been at it for several years.
So only your lack of imagination will limit your ability to game nearly any period.
So ‘scale creep’ doesn’t happen in the metal lines? Scale, in reality, is subjective. Live with it.
“1/72” plastic figures have tended to get larger, like their metal brethren, over the years.
I differentiate between “small” 1/72 & “large” 1/72 but IMO it’s easy to get around. Anything outlandish: I don’t buy. There’s enough choice to allow this.
Keep units to one manufacturer (mostly). Build up bases on smaller figures. Small differences are invisible in mass armies.
In the photos above, can you see the “large” 1/72 figures standing out from the “small”? They’re there.
If it worries you more than me, check out the Plastic Pelisse & look before you buy:
(excellent site that does photo comparisons).
Thanks for the nice comments. The terrain still needs lots of work: eg the river is but a strip of blue cloth & I’ll need several ranges of low hills.
I’m also aiming for another steamer & maybe two dhows to give larger games some visual punch.
1/72, supplemented with 20mm metals, are the only figures I use.
I’m able to field armies for:
The Bronze Age (Mycenaean, NKE & Hittite)
Dark Ages (Late Roman & Anglo-Saxon)
TYW (Swedish, Imperial )
SYW (Prussian, French & Austrian)
Napoleonics (French, Anglo-Dutch, Prussian, Russian)
Colonials (AZW & the Mahdist Wars)
Lots of figures & large armies: affordable & easier & more enjoyable to paint than 15mm.
There’s pretty well no unit not obtainable though sometimes you need to search. Being a dab hand at conversions doesn’t hurt but is no longer vital.
I guess you know our Bible?
Theoretically, if you are depicting only a small force led by a lord or king, you could have a warband comprising nothing but the best-trained warriors with the best equipment.
Well, the OP did refer to skirmish warfare so I’d say this was more or less what I meant. Perhaps substitute “better” for “best”. I don’t actually believe Dark Age warriors were unbeatable ninjas or SAS-trained fighters but the raiding party must have been comprised of men who largely wanted to be there, had decent equipment & some concept of how to use it, unlike a bunch of reluctant peasantry dragged together by their lord to defend home & hearth & his honour.
So “elite”, being a term qualified by application to the period is the bon mot.
thanks to my dreadful inability to understand Croatian,
I can’t imagine why. It’s much the same language as Serbian, only written in the Roman rather than Cyrillic script.
Again, I aspire to no genuine level of expertise with this period so feel free to snigger at my post.
The wargamer’s dream of commanding exclusively elite “armies” must come close to reality for this period & level of play with surely one side, at least, being composed of exclusively seasoned warriors. Would any warband of raiders take anyone other a veteran and those who were trained & highly motivated?
Admittedly, their opponents could include some rabble of hastily formed levies, pulled together to resist the raiders. However, for one side of a skirmish game set in the Dark Ages, you would need a force with “unrealistic” levels of skill & morale.
Ridiculously easy to calculate.
Just give each participant a compass & pencil, a ruler, some scrap paper, access to this Youtube video
and 4-5 minutes of uninterrupted time (including a session where the GM can check answers).
I would also recommend the GM sends out copies of past papers for revision well before the game. Evaluation should include formal feedback from the GM & use an A-E standard rather than spuriously accurate percentages. Some type of self-evaluation & peer feedback is urged.
Should result in quite a game.
No claims to expertise but wouldn’t the reality of Dark Ages warfare be either a series of unco-ordinated combats and/or the clash of two shield walls?
Either way, not a lot of expertise or tactical finesse and, in these terms, not the material for a great wargame.
Individual prowess seems to have been lauded in the sagas and indeed, may have been the winning factor in many battles.
Thus, maybe, he “Hollywood” approach of several sets of rules (eg SAGA) may not be entirely wrong even if somewhat exaggerated.
The very best thing about the Vikings TV series is one of my gaming pals’ wife loves it.
She is a charming woman but has always disliked her husband’s gaming; considering it a footling way of wasting time.
When he brought out his SAGA viking war-band, she had, if not a volte-face, at least a definite softening of attitudes.
So, as far as I’m concerned, long live slightly dodgy TV historical series!
Victoria, a close-up seems a bit beyond me. Close enough to see the pressure gauge & the handle on the firebox door ends in a blurry photo.
You’ll have to take my word it’s……OK (truly rather than modestly).
As for “stealing” ideas, I can only say that research is your friend. I looked at photos of every actual paddle wheeler from the period & atother people’s efforts at modelling a wargaming version.
The other “tip” is have a Bit’s Box. I’m not a hoarder & actually enjoy cleaning up & throwing out but my Bits Box provided the gauge mentioned above from a spare lamp for a kubelwagon, pipes leading to the engine from drainpipes from a Gothic Church model, and various sources provided a door for the wheelhouse, floorboards for the deck etc.
The other thing is that it’s *not* a museum-quality scale model & anything suggestive is really good enough.
I still can’t believe I have the cheek to offer modelling tips on a forum replete with genuine modellors…..
The figures are 1/72 so I guess the scale of the boat is too. In fact it’s a lot smaller than a true scale model.
I’m thinking of producing a different one: a side wheeler, perhaps, and a few dhows.
The wheel required a bit of patience, no more. It actually turns on the bamboo skewer…..a wasted effort when I realised the bottom had to be trimmed to represent the paddles that were under water.
And I’m disappointed (LoL) that no one has commented on the boiler which began life as a garden hose fitting with bits of sprue, copper wire & some wooden discs added.
Not hardly. That’s earthquake damage caused when Po-se-da-o (Poseidon) the Earth Shaker was displeased.
Looking at your excellent model, I can’t see that he had *anything* to be displeased with.
I still haven’t had a game as such but I’ve moved a few figures, rolled some dice & thought long & hard.
Presumptuous, maybe, but I want to modify the rules thusly:
The Men Who Would Be Kings
- Unit size. Tribal infantry should be in units of 20 figures. This will raise the total Field Force points total by 1 for 3 such units.
- Skirmish units. For every 3 infantry units, Tribal groups can field a Skirmish group.
- These units will be 5 figures strong and in addition to the usual applicable rules, can opt to move & fire in the same turn. They can move, fire & fight 360 degrees. However, movement will be at half the normal distance & firing at one dice per two figures (rounding up). Skirmish groups will have no designated Leader & must roll 8+ for an Action test.
- Officers firing. Regular infantry officers are deemed to be carrying a revolver. They are eligible to fire only within short range but will then get double the dice allocation.
- Higher Command. An agreed upon number of higher commanders (Induna, Emirs, Majors) will have additional powers. If attached to a unit, failed dice rolls for Action can be re-rolled once. However, if the unit experiences any casualties during the time they are attached, they will also become casualties on a ‘6’. Additionally, they will be eligible to replace an officer casualty in a unit to provide Leadership.
- Camels will receive no penalty for movement on Difficult ground but will only move 7 inches per turn.
- Mounted Infantry. MI may mount/dismount & move as one Action. They fire as per Modern Rifle when dismounted & Carbine when mounted.
Real life informing on wargaming…….part 2.
After many years in OZ I’m pretty inured to the heat. However, I have the option to dress for work in light weight formal clothes: no heavy suits for me.
Drinking copious amounts of water, access to a/c, even sunscreens: the point is the squaddies in Guy’s photo must have suffered terribly day in, day out.
Great article. I also clicked on ‘Pelasgian’ (that catch-all phrase for the evidently darker-skinned pre-Greeks who the Hellenes mingled with) which indicated a possible link with the Sea Peoples. One of my favourite early Greek poets, Simonides, was shunned because he was “dark & ugly” compared to his other blondely beautiful family members. Wonderful to speculate that the Sea Peoples were pre-Indo-Europeans, cast into turmoil by climate change & spreading havoc both north & south.
There are so many tantalising little hints & references in Greek history that we will never fully understand.
Minor point: why are houses built on piles only to protect against inundation? Such a building technique both helps with cooling (& that part of Italy can bake in summer) & with minimising vermin in the dwelling. I feel so smart…..
Thaddeus: your links about the Sea Peoples have nothing new (I hope that doesn’t sound snarky: it’s not meant that way). I’d oppose the claim that the Egyptians knew who the SPs were, hence their failure to go into any detail about them. I don’t think the Egyptians really cared too much about anything happening outside Egypt & often relied on formulas & vague pronouncements about foreigners. Their earlier account of a voyage to the land of Punt is typical. It’s all about what “tribute” they could send Egypt; nothing on where the place was. Or their relative silence on the Hebrews (much to the annoyance of Biblical scholars).
Indeed, I’d have said that little new has been written about the SPs for many years….until I read your link that extrapolates a connection between the Baltic “massacre” & the Sea Peoples. Now that’s suggestive. I would really like to read an analysis of global weather conditions of the time in order to assess the motives for escalating aggression & possible Folk Movement.
I’ve hit a purple patch & all but finished my Shasu force.
It comprises 4 bases of camelry, 4 bases of skirmishing archers & 8 bases of javelinmen. They’re led by a chieftain in a chariot.
I’ve got a Bronze Age game booked for March & they’ll be an outflanking force for the NKE (obviously bribed. The chariot?) against a Mycenaean-Sea Peoples’ army.
Thanks for all the help/advice (above).
David Farrier pretty much mocked everyone in any article he did – this was not about wargaming, but more him getting cheap laughs at others expense. (The segments he created were always part of a comedy type 5 minutes as part of a late night NZ TV show.)
This doesn’t absolve the cretin. He really just takes aim at sitting ducks in this segment. “Never talk to the media” is good advice for pretty well everyone.
In general, TV & movies, when they deign to take notice of wargaming, show it in a negative light.
There’s the Momma’s Boy in ‘Ground Hog Day’ . Clearly a geek & a loser. In a Columbo tele-movie, the nasty villain wargamed. It was part of his anti-social tendencies. Indeed, except for the Callan shows, I’m hard pressed to name any positive media view of wargaming.
That’s our cross, I guess.
And here’s a more modern one:
Mocking in tone, unlike the more or less respectful ones from the past.
If you can manage some “horns of consecration” for the temple roof, it’d be good.
The slim rule book arrived & I’ve read them. I’ve made some notes in a “review” that’s mainly for me but you may want to comment.
The rules are simple & flexible. The author invites you to modify or add anything you don’t like. I’ve already thought about tweaks & modifications (see below).
I think they’d be quick to learn but have that tactical challenge that pays any finesse you can bring to the game (not unlike SAGA).
Points of Interest:
- Scenario-driven. Not just about slaughtering your enemies. Also allows natives to have tactical possibilities unlike TSATF.
- 1 figure = I man. Hence: large skirmish game. Default unit sizes can be easily adjusted to fit my current AZW units. I feel the minimum size game (24 points) is way too small & could easily be doubled & still be manageable, time wise.
- No unit facing except for crewed weapons & Regular infantry in Close Order
- Each unit dices to do 1 action per turn from a finite pool (10, though all not open to all types). Some units additionally get a free action & units can react (eg if attacked, defend themselves). I *wonder* if I could add native “Skirmish” units to the main game? That is, half-sized units that could move & shoot in the same turn? Help get the “irregular” feel to native warfare.
- Each unit requires a figure who is clearly the Leader. This figure’s attributes modify the unit’s actions. Could be very “gamey”.
- Units can have their default abilities enhanced or degraded ( eg Line infantry can be “Sharpshooters” or “Poorly armed” etc)
- Differentiation between Mounted infantry & true cavalry
- A card system is suggested for multi-player games (eg TSATF cards?)
- Not just a good solo system (“Playing against Mr Babbage”) but examples where the players can be in a team versing the auto-pilot Zulus.
- You need markers (Leaderless units, Pinned units, Close order, Gone to Ground)
- Each unit needs a written unit profile with 10 pieces of information (most just a number).
This also means every unit needs a name (1<sup>st</sup> platoon Company A 1/24<sup>th</sup> Foot or Unmarried Zulus: White shields with red dots etc) on a label for quick ID.
The upshot is preparation before a game: you could not just turn up with a bunch of units.
- No dismount/mount for Mounted infantry or even need for two sets of figures for the one unit. Given the trouble I’ve gone to have such units, a tweak is needed. Could mount/dismount be added or subsumed in Move action? Could dismounted short range for carbines be lengthened to rifle range to make such an action worthwhile?
- Some possibly dubious concepts eg “pinned units” can be shot through or targeted. They don’t seem to be lying down but how can they not limit line of sight? And 180 degree field of fire: for a line of infantry? Hmmmm.
I’ll knock together a few solo games & try things out before I bring it to my pals
Well, thanks. Amazing what you can do with 1/72 plastics & a leavening of metal figures.
I’d have to say, our figures, some years later, are better & we’ve improved on the terrain. 2018 will probably be another Year of the Zulu.
Which is why I’m looking at a new rules set.
The rule book arrived & I had a quick gallop through it before a closer read (as is my wont).
First impressions are good. I should add, my little group & I tend to have our “serious” periods -ones were one or more of us likes rules with plenty of “chrome”- and our “pure fun” periods. Sure they may not be entirely historically accurate (whatever that means) but even with the first category I’m aware of the second word in our hobby’s title. War-GAMING. TMWWBK looks like it would be fun to play.
We’re caught up with Ancients at the moment but I’ll probably host a sample game of TMWWBKs before mid-year.
I look forward to any links, comments et al you may wish to put forward.
you ask hard questions….which is why I like you.
The water source is (not surprisingly) a model I already own. It’s, I guess, a sinkhole in an arid expanse, filled with pure, cooling water (or resin, to be more accurate). So why isn’t it walled, guarded, poisoned? My guess is it’s sacred (falling back on the explanation for anything an archaeologist doesn’t really understand). So, the NKE deem that if you reach the water, so must the gods want you to reach it. Inshallah! (wrong language but correct meaning).
The Mycs have 3 units of chariotry (the NKE have 5). The Horse are just a quirky extra unit & none too formidable. As you realise, the Egyptians are, overall, more nippy than their proto-Greek enemy, who have some Heavy infantry as well as the usual Mediums, some archers, skirmishers etc.. This means the battlefield will favour the NKE as you point out. It will be largely flat, desert expanse, with some soft Sand, some Rough Going & a few palm thickets to provide some challenge.
If I was the Egyptian commander, I would mass the archers on some gentle rise, support them with the Close Fighters as protection & shoot up the invaders; sending in the Sherdan & chariotry for the coup d’Grace. I daresay the Mycs may have something to say about that.
Have you noticed the similarity between my battle & the real Battle of Hattin – Saracens against invading Crusaders?
Thanks, Mike. Good point. My reasoning for the imbalance is there is a possibility the Shasu don’t arrive & also because the NKE will have to defend a cordon whilst the Mycenaeans really only need to punch a hole through.
Possibly needs further thought.
Makes you wonder what PETA would make of this:
(I’d have made the feathery so & sos fly themselves)
Zip, I knew about the camels & agonised over buying a unit of them for quite a while.
And I decided the Shasu without camels were just another bunch of javelin-carrying skirmishers, of which I had enough.
So sue me (I also have a unit of Mycenaean cavalry – playfully called, ‘The Trojan Horse’. Arguably, these are more unlikely).
Thanks for the comment on the scenario. The trick will be is 8 turns enough but not excessive for the task set.
The trouble is if you not a Facebooker, you can’t see them.
I won’t join to see these grim shots. If I really want to see grim photographs, I’ll dig out ones of the in-Laws. 87)
I’ve read/watched online reviews. My copy should arrive next week-ish.
I plan to have a solo game (AZW) ASAP. And then (drum roll), present it to my gaming buddies as a replacement for The Flame & The Sword rules we currently use.
I’ll be glad, Jack, To hear any views of the rules you may have.
Our last game: Battle of Nzenzane:
….normally, I’m about 3-4 years behind the trend but, gasp, I must be in the lead with this set.
….why does it feel so lonely?
Not too much I don’t like. If someone supplies the figures & sets up a game, I’d even do Fantasy & Sci-Fi at a pinch.
But there are some historical periods that interest me very little: Medieval. Knights in shining armour are dull IMO.
WW1: Too much ‘over the top’ in terms of death & destruction. Jungle Warfare of any type. I just can’t see what’s in it.
I find wargaming to be infinitely more enjoyable if you actually play games. I think that’s why it’s called “war-GAMING”.
So whatever it takes: beautifully painted figures, figures painted by visually challenged people with no opposable thumbs, unpainted figures, other people’s figures. Whatever you can live with &/or achieve. Just get them on the table.