For January’s Sunday game at the War Room I wanted a fun game to blow away the January blues so out came my Black Powder Rules (2nd Edition) and my late 19th Century Sudan figures. Mostly from the fantastic Perry Twins stable.
Back to the usual tongue in cheek stereotypes for this game the plucky British were tasked with rescuing Flashman from the clutches of the Mad Mahdi's forces in a village. In fact he was on the roof of a building with some rather buxom figures from my Darkest Africa range. The British were then to move to relieve a city under siege and rescue Gordon. I think at this point some of us were mixing up Flash Gordon with Chinese Gordon of Khartoum with cries of Gordon is alive from the theme tune written by Queen!
Facing them were hordes of Beja, Sudanese tribesmen and Arab mercenary slavers. The Mahdist were to deploy their forces using unmarked wooden blocks and had a similar number of blinds. The British were to advance from their fortified camp at one end of the table.
The British had 4 brigades of infantry each of 3 units, 1 Rifle brigade, I Highland Brigade, I standard infantry brigade and 1 Indian Infantry brigade. Each Infantry brigade had a machine gun and small screw gun. They also had 2 cavalry brigades, 1 British and 1 Indian. Facing them on foot, each of 2 units, were 3 brigades of Beja, 1 brigade of Nile Arabs and 2 brigades of Arab slavers. They were also a brigade of Arab horse and Camelry. The Arab players were also allowed to recycle all of their troops once they have been destroyed.
The British led with their Indian cavalry to scout ahead. The Indian cavalry moved out with one unit galloping a whopping 3 moves out in front. The British Cavalry brigade decided not to move for 3 turns (thanks to poor command rolls) causing their infantry to have to move put through their own Zariba barrier (made from entwined thorn bushes – the 19th Century version of Barbed wire) causing some disorder.
The Indian cavalry uncovered a number of units but were charged by Arab camelry and Horse forcing some of their units back to the camp.
The British Rifle Brigade and Infantry Brigade moved out quite slowly with a focus on the village. Their fire power was telling on the village defenders. The Arab players also discovered how poor their artillery was (not surprising with impressed Egyptian gunners) with no long range fire. Despite having their own captured machine guns defending the village after some unlucky rolls both of their guns jammed.
The Highland Brigade followed the British Cavalry (after it finally decided it was time to move) advanced down the middle of the table with the Indian Foot Brigade protecting its left flank.
After several turns of British Firepower, the village was basically swept clear of Arab defenders. Flashman breathless from the ravages of his buxom hosts was about to be freed.
On the British Left flank, they had advanced and captured an Oasis and were driving back the Mahdist troops off a ridge to its rear.
Unfortunately, at this point we had run out of time. It was difficult to call whether the Brits would have reached the city as there was a huge number of troops to be recycled opposite them and most of the British units had used up their free break test from being Steady from earlier charges.