Sunday, 7 May 2017

The Men Who Would Be Kings - Two Sunday games

Today I met Andrew at the local Scout hall to play a colonial game using these rules again. We set up about 1015, started the first game about 1045, had lunch and finished about 1430, and in this time managed to play the same scenario twice - so if you are looking for some simple, fast play rules, consider giving this set a try!

Andrew had chosen scenario G - " Its awfully quiet out there...." which has a column of British troops ambushed by a larger force of natives. The scenario ratio is 4:3 in favour of the ambushers. We played the skirmish level system, where units are represented by 6 figures rather then 12. I had 42 points with which to construct a force and Andrews natives had 54.

I made the simple decision to have two cavalry units - lancers - and 5 units of regular infantry. Andrews choices were a bit more complicated and I cant tell you them all, but some units were marksmen who could hit on a lower role and many were veterans so added one to any morale test. He had an all infantry force of about 10 units

The British column had to be in the centre of the table and a certain distance away from the table edge at the start of the game. The natives had the first move and would always move first - the scenario was limited to 10 moves. We could gain points towards winning the game as follows :

Each unit destroyed - 2 points
Each above half strength British unit still on the table at the end of the scenario = 2 points
Each native unit that had left the table before the end of the scenario - 1point

So.....there was no incentive for the British to get off the table but if the natives were ahead half way through, they could start withdrawing and be rewarded by points for doing so.

I started off with a late 19th century force of British Indian troops, each unit just two bases strong - 4 figures for cavalry and 6 for infantry.

 The British column marching confidently somewhere on the sub continent - led by  Bengal lancers and with a rear guard of British lancers. Between the cavalry are a British line unit, Gurkhas , Corp of Guides Indian infantry, RM Light Infantry and a Sikh unit. All the figures in my force were Old Glory - from either the NW Frontier or Boer War ranges.
 Nearby, something lurks in the undergrowth
 And to their rear, unseen eyes are watching too!
 One of the native units at their starting point on the table edge
 Another group of natives concealed in soft cover
 A third unit ready to spring their trap
 The various native units attempted to advance from their starting points along the four table edges - a couple failed the test and did not move. When it was my turn, a couple of my units also failed to move while the rest deployed to confront the nearest threats, their being natives at all points of the compass!
 This was a unit of "fierce" tribal infantry - not good to get into a melee with these chaps
 The Bengal Lancers advance to clear an exit route for the column. They engaged a small unit of musket armed tribal infantry and destroyed them - 2 points to me! Then my combined rifle fire on the other flank destroyed another unit - make that 4 points!
 The dice rolling that wiped out an entire unit - close range so any 5 or 6 is a hit!
 In move two, the fierce tribal infantry charged - they needed to get into close combat to play to their strengths, before my two units used the devastating rifle fire to wipe them out. Andrew needed to role "double move" because they were about 11" away with a standard move of 8". He passed the test but rolled a 1 for his extra "double" move - and the mob came to rest 2" short of my bristling firing line! Both units fired but the results were inconclusive - we knocked a few of the buggers down, but they were still there and raring to get at my chaps!
 The rearguard lancers cover the Sikhs, Guides and RMLI as they blast away to their front
 The action at the head of the column - the fierce tribal fighters did charge and scored two hits in melee with the Gurkhas who failed a test and dropped from morale grade 6 to 8 as a result. However, in move three, the firing line blasted them again and when the smoke cleared, they had been destroyed as an effective force - the survivors legging it to the nearest jungle cover.
 At the rear of the column, the units that had previously wiped out the natives with 6 hits from 6 did a repeat performance - almost. The leader was left unscathed but his 5 unit members lay dead in the dust of his thwarted dreams of raining death on the British!
 A view from the British line of the devastating firepower outlined above -on the next move, one unit fired on the solitary leader and killed him too - another 2 points to the British
 More native units continue to close on the British column
 The British lancers who originally formed the rear guard moved around the flank infantry and lined up a unit of tribesmen for a charge.....
 And a couple of minutes later, the successful charge resulted in 2 more points for the British - 8 - 0, 5 moves in and we decided to call the game and have lunch
 A final view of the table - the British force only suffered a couple of casualties and did not lose a single unit.
 Above and below, three pictures of two "Bolt Action" 28mm WW2 game some of the other guys present were playing - there were three Bolt Action games in progress plus a game of Frostgrave

 28mm Russian infantry, some armed with flaming Molotov cocktails!
 And so to the afternoon game - same scenario - but to even it up a bit, I changed to a force from the early 19th century - Redoubt figures from the Wellington in India range - armed with muskets rather than bolt action rifles. The column comprised one unit of lancers, one of regular cavalry, three British units and two of HEIC Sepoys
 The head of the column, again led by Indian lancers
 This time, Andrew used the cover and deployed the tribal units therein, as they could move at normal speed instead of half through the undergrowth. Above, bow armed tribal infantry in move two are already almost on my column
 The "fierce" tribal infantry emerged from the jungle to charge at double move in an attempt to slaughter my cavalry unit - fortunately for me, as per the previous game, they did not quite have enough steam to reach my unit. The cavalry weighed up the odds when it was my turn - 4 dice needing 4 5 or 6 to hit v's 7 dice needing 4, 5 or 6 - and decided discretion was the better part of valour, so beat a hasty retreat!
 The fierce tribals decided to turn their attention on one of my close order units of sepoys - a flash of musketry roared and soon there were very few of them left
 In a repeat of game one, the vanguard of lancers charged a unit of natives , beat them, forced them to retire, followed up and in the second round of combat, destroyed them. 2 points to the British
 On the other flank, my non lancer cavalry charged the bow armed tribal infantry but suffered a sharp reverse - next move, the unit just on the left edge of the image above wiped out the last figure with musket fire - 2 points to the natives!
 The main part of my column had formed in "close order" to maximize fire power but it also slowed them down and made them a denser target
 At about the midway stage of the game, I had lost one cavalry unit and the lancers were down to half strength as was one of the Sepoy units
 The lancers charged a unit of three tribal infantry, they won the melee but the remaining two figures fired next turn and got two hits, enough to finish them off - another 2 points to the natives. Andrew was at this point something like 6 - 4 ahead of me, and as we were near the end of the game, he successfully moved three units off the board, gaining another 1 point for each one that left. By the start of move 10 - the last - it was 9 - 6 in favour of the natives.
 The final act of the game - I charged the few remaining tribal archers and destroyed them, gaining another 2 points - so the final score was 9 - 8 - a victory for the natives - boooo!
 The situation at the end of the game - I had lost 3 units of 7 - both cavalry and one of the Sepoy infantry
 The 78th Highlanders in their "air helmets" still had plenty of fight left in them! They came close to winning the game for me by charging the unit of two tribal infantry who finished off the lancers, but their charge could not quite reach them and they left the table to gain Andrew his winning point margin!
 The victorious natives celebrated a famous victory


  1. Thanks Keith - some nice "arty" photos there:)

    It was a change to win a game - even barely!

  2. Cheers Andrew - good games and I look forward to our next encounter!