Thursday, 20 April 2017

"The Men who would be Kings" - Two Games in One Night!

Last night (Weds 19 April here) I went over to Andrew's after dinner for a game. He had suggested we try out scenario A from the rule set book "The Men who would be Kings", a colonial wars rule set. Andrew worked out the forces as 24 points each and asked me to bring along some Colonial British - I took my 1870's Old Glory troops - basically Zulu Wars figures but I have painted them up for use in the 1879 Afghan War.....not sure if they have ever made it onto the table so it was nice to let them loose!

The rules worked quite well and gave a quick, fun game - in fact, so quick that we were able to fit in two games between 1930 and 2130....and when I say "fun", that's from the British perspective - the task seemed pretty hard for the natives!

In the first game, I had four British units of regular infantry fighting Andrews four infantry and three cavalry units. His native troops were of course of a lesser quality - dictated by his choice of troop type and governed by a 24 point cap on each force. My units of 12 figures "cost" 6 points each - so 4 = 24 total. Andrew had more units but they cost less for a reason.....the map below gives an idea of the layout of the table - the scenario is called "Just Passing By" and envisages the two forces, on their way to an urgent appointment elsewhere, fighting a running battle as they march the length of the table to carry on with their journey.

Here are my four units -
 Scots infantry in tartan "trews" or "truibhs"

 A unit of "Rifles" in traditional green uniforms
 An English "County" Regiment
The "Black Watch, Royal Highland Regiment"

And some pictures of Andrews native force confronting me......

 The numbers indicate the command or morale value of the move, you must equal or exceed that number with 2 D6, when they suffer casualties, you must equal or beat that number, less any casualties suffered, etc. In the first game, I had 2 x 5 and 2 x 6 units

Andrew won initiative and moved most of his units. On my turn I failed to pass the movement test on three of my four units! On the second turn, I had the same result except it was a different unit that was able to move - meanwhile, Andrew was moving most of his units at will - so much for superior discipline of trained regular troops! The map below shows roughly the initial 2-3 moves

One of Andrews light cavalry units occupied some high ground ahead of my leading unit - they were within short range but a covered target so I needed 5 or 6 to hit them but two hits for each casualty. Fortunately, my troops years of training had stood them in good stead when it came to marksmanship, and they rolled 6 hits, halved down to three casualties, causing the unit to fail morale and be pinned

 Andrews troops advance down the centre of the table
My units finally get into some kind of order on move 3 or 4

My leading unit engages the mounted tribesmen skulking in the hills ahead of them

Below, the situation on the table after 3 or 4 game moves - the two blue units at the top of the map continued on their merry way and exited the table to live to fight another day..

Andrews lancer unit in the middle of the field - they were engaged by three units with accurate long range rifle fire and wiped out after a couple of rounds of firing

The third cavalry unit made its way along the far table edge and were the first to achieve the aim of exiting the table on the far end.

The deployment of my four infantry units - from move 4 onwards they basically sat in place and blazed away with reasonably accurate long range rifle fire at 3 or 4 of Andrews units. The light cavalry who were first to succumb can be seen in top right of the image (apologies for the poor quality!)

A close up of the right end of my line - the Black Watch

The partially destroyed light cavalry skirmishers just before they departed the table

The lancers supported by two infantry units in the centre of the table. They, plus the unit just visible in the top of the image, were all wiped out by the deadly accurate rifle fire of my heroic Tommies!

The situation as the first game ended - I suffered one casualty on the Black Watch but wiped out four of Andrews seven units - one was still on the table (in centre distance above) and would have suffered the same fate, whilst one cavalry and one infantry unit made it off the table! Map below is approximately the situation as we ended the game
We had a quick break during which I viewed some of the recent figure painting work Andrew has completed for various "clients" and then we set up the table to play a second game - a straight forward confrontation across the same table. I swapped out one infantry unit for some lancers, just for fun and Andrew kept the same force but we reselected the morale values for the troops - mine came out slightly better than the first game - because I needed steadier troops, right? - and Andrew picked a few "8"'s, which were NOT good!

Below, initial set up for game two

One of Andrews native infantry units

My lancers - a grade 6 unit

The remainder of my force

The centre of Andrews force comprising infantry and cavalry

Andrews lancers were reduced to Grade 8 AND they had an "idiot" leader meaning that each move, they had to role a single D6 and if it was a 1, I got to say what move they would make!

The initial moves in game two

Once again, despite only needing to roll 5 or better on 2 D6, one of my infantry units refused to move - the lancers were no better in the first few moves and missed a couple of opportunities to wipe out Andrews lancers, whom I was peppering with rifle fire and pinning virtually every move!

The afore mentioned British lancers failing to move for the third time - meanwhile, some dastardly Indian cavalry is sneaking around their flank behind some hills!
The situation after roughly 5 or 6 moves

Andrew decided to take a risk and try a charge - he was about 17 inches away from my line with a 12 inch move plus a D6 roll - he rolled a 2 and his lancers came to rest a few inches in front of three units of British riflemen - extermination beckoned! I rolled the first 12 x D6 and got 9 hits - all counted as it was now close range - the half strength unit only had 3 or 4 figures left so they were blown from the field like chaff!

My infantry then proceeded to do a re enactment of the previous game, engaging the natives at long range with rifle fire of admittedly mixed effectiveness - on more than one occasion, 12 x D6 needing a 5 or 5 to hit resulted in one success and as Andrew was still at long range, this was not enough to have an effect. But with three units firing each move, it was only a matter of time and after a move or two more, the natives were again wiped out

On my left flank, the Indian cavalry succeeded in charging my lancers. As regular cavalry, even though I was not charging, I had the advantage - hit on 4 5 or versus a 5 or 6 for Andrews guys - we rolled and....I had NO hits and Andrew had 1 - I rolled my test and was forced to retire.

Andrew exercised his prerogative to follow up as a cavalry winner, we fought again, and wiped each other out - both units quitting the field simultaneously! But it was a Pyrrhic Victory for Andrew as the rest of his force had been annihilated again 
 This was the situation as the game ended- the cavalry melee in which the two units fought each other to a stand still in the bottom left - note the absence of many blue Native units - once again, they had been decimated by the British long range rifle fire.

We both enjoyed these two quick, simple games, but I must admit I was struggling to work out how the Natives could have had a better go at me - the rifle fire was pretty devastating, even though most of my rolling was no better than average - hitting on 5 or 6 is a 33% chance of success and with 12 dice per unit, that's 4 hits on average - even concealed or at long range, that was two hits each time one unit fired and I had four of them.....

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