12 September 2016

"Carry on through the desert" - Part One

The game is afoot gentlemen - desert fun in North Perth

The weekend just passed saw the NWS have one of its most successful gaming days this year with over 30 people in attendance to play a variety of wonderful wargames.

I saw this as an ideal opportunity to play a large "The Sands of Sudan" game to introduce a few of the lads who have been keen to have a rumble with the rules for sometime.  It would also allow me to play a few of the optional rules that I have been working on as well as some excellent ideas that have been forthcoming from chaps such as Dave Docherty of "One man and his Brushes" blog fame and Andy out at "Legendary Wargames".

As mentioned in the last post, the Imperial players were to set off and evacuate a particularly recalcitrant British Governor out of his increasingly Mahdist controlled posting and back to Suakin for safety.  The way by river was no longer an option as the locals had been able to set up some heavy captured artillery at a cataract.  Gunboats would be compromised passing through in the time frame that the local  British administration had in mind.

The field of battle with Tofar on edge of the Nile tributary and a small native village towards the centre.

The Governor, Sir William Willoughy-Smythe Pasha and his wife remain in the confines of the town with two companies of Sudanese infantry whom he has, unbeknown to the other players, ordered not to engage the Beja and Hadendowah just in case it infuriates them!!  Heaven forbid.

"Thou shall not shoot!"

The Imperial order of battle was as follows:

Officer Commanding the Rescue Column – Major General Joseph Cole

10th Hussars – Commanding Officer Colonel The Honourable William Ponsonby
1st Squadron (twelve figures) – Captain John Cotton
2nd Squadron (twelve figures) – Lieutenant Sir Henry Clinton
9th Bengal Lancers –Commanding Officer - Colonel Thomas Long
1st Squadron (twelve) figures – Brevet Captain Harold Poynton
2nd Squadron (twelve figures) – Captain Alan Broadbent 
1st Battalion Gordon Highlanders – Commanding Officer Colonel Sir Alistair McDonald

All companies consist of twelve figures
A Company – Brevet Captain Andrew McLean
B Company – Captain Ken McPherson
C Company – Captain Colin Taggart
D Company – Captain Lawson Gordon
E Company – Captain Brian Lawrence
3rd Battalion Egyptian Foot – Commanding Officer Colonel Miramar Gadhafi

All companies consist of twelve figures
A Company – Major Thomas Thutmose
B Company – Captain Thek Seki
C Company – Captain Walla Rameses
D Company – Captain Arkin Khafra
E Company – Captain Neferrakara
1st Battalion Yorkshire and Lancashire Regiment – Commanding Officer Colonel William Gibson
All companies consist of twelve figures

A Company – Major Karl Styne
B Company – Captain Robert Wexford
C Company – Brevet Captain Wesley Van Leeuwin
D Company – Captain Charles Marrow
E Company – Brevet Captain Sebastian Hedeby 

Royal Marine Light Infantry – Commanding Officer Colonel James Scott
All companies consist of twelve figures
A Company – Captain Edward Frazier
B Company – Captain George Napier
C Company – Captain Thomas Munro
D Company – Lieutenant Marshall Royston
Naval Brigade – Officer Commanding Captain Septimus Atwater RN
Naval Escort (twelve figures) – Lieutenant Byron Winchester
One Nordenfelt Machine Gun with three (3) crew 

28th Bengal Native Infantry – Commanding Officer Colonel Sir Sinjin Neville- Bird
All companies consist of twelve figures
A Company – Major Jonathon Black

B Company – Captain Roderick Burt
C Company – Brevet Captain Geoffrey Duncan
D Company – Captain Charles Gillespie
E Company – Lieutenant Sir Stanley Hogan
Seconded units to the rescue column
5th Battery Scottish Divisional Royal Artillery – Commanding Officer Major Richard White

Consisting of three screw guns plus crew
Trinikat Mobile Mule Water Team (Sergeant Docherty)

Roger Pack – War Correspondent for “The Times” of London
Four baggage camels with ammunition of various types for the column.

In Garrison defending Tofar
12th Sudanese Battalion (two companies only) – Officer Commanding Major Walter Burns

All companies consist of twelve figures
A Company – Captain Alan Page
D Company – Captain Robert Bolton
Rocky outcrops and scrub provide some nice opportunities for ambush

Sir William Willoughby- Smythe and Lady Katherine Willoughby - Smythe look on with gay indifference

The Imperial players start to get ready - Steve feels command of the Naval Brigade deserves special head gear!

Another view down the table - all twelve feet of it.

Troops start to deploy - already we can see the 9th Bengal Lancers, 28th Bengal Infantry, Naval Escort and Nordenfelt, Royal Marine Light Infantry, Gordon Highlanders and the Yorkshire and Lancashire Regt. preparing themselves.

Another view of the lads getting themselves ready for action in the desert sun.

One of the interesting discussion points since the rules have been published has been the effect, or dare I say it, lack of effect of Senior Officers.  It was decided that for this battle we would have a trial of using specific characteristics for Generals and other Senior Officers in the game who were being represented by actual players. 
These included great scouting abilities, excellent ability to measure trajectory and distance to assist fire, bravery etc.  They worked very well and will be expanded upon further.
The column advances and already Mark B has the Mahdists appear on the flank of his Egyptian Regiment. 

Get those tape-measures out chaps - its time to get a move on.
So the boys have 18 turns to make their way down to Tofar to convince our fine simple-minded friend to vacate the premises and join them to safety.  In tow they also have Mr Roger Pack of "The Times" newspaper in London.  He is determined to further investigate the military shenanagins masquerading as tactical manouvres from our good friend the Commanding Officer General Cole.
The desert is full of possible ambush points and is known to be the home of some decidedly nasty and courageous native tribes determined to see the imperial infidel out of the Sudan forever.
What could possibly go wrong!


  1. Fantastic table Carlo. I will be playing another game this Sunday as well

    1. Thanks Nathan - look forward to seeing your set-up. Give me a call if you want to discuss the Ambush Deck as it is a great innovation.

  2. What a splendid table! And place! WOnderful pictures...

    1. Cheers Phil - it is a great venue and the terrain and figures all work well for these rules.

  3. Great looking set-up and photos Carlo—even with Stephen dressed as Capt'n Binghamton!

    1. Thanks Fish - Napier was quite the British Column Commander btw - still not sure if that was a good or bad thing! He seemed to enjoy himself most importantly.

  4. Excellent. It feels as if I was there. I wonder how it will end? :-)

    1. Thanks Mark - your role with the cavalry was inspirational...if not a little bit fortunate at times considering the ambushes!

  5. Looks just the job,,. And as you say what could possibly go wrong...

    1. And where do I get that banner!

    2. What could go wrong indeed Dave...everything if I was to get my way!

    3. I love that banner Dave. If you look at it closely you will see that at the time of putting it together the working title had one too many "the's" in it. I have had that now for fifteen years believe it or not and went recently looking for the artwork on disc. If I track it down you are welcome to a copy.

  6. I'm so looking forward to this! =)

    1. Thank you AJ - I hope the final version plays half as well as the tales of your own adventures at the WHC all those years ago.

  7. Replies
    1. Cheers Mr. Olley. I have following your own colonial escapades with TSATF on the blog as well withy much interest.

  8. Carlo,
    First class stuff and having been on the receiving end of Dave's ' what could go wrong' then indeed it should prove to be a very interesting game :)

    1. Well said indeed Graham. That Mr Docherty has the force of the desert running strongly through his veins let me assure you. We used a few of his excellent ideas such as the water train and the ambush deck. Both were spectacularly successful.

  9. Oh how could you leave us hanging on the events! Looks great and can't wait to see how it develops.

    1. Thanks Andy - it promises to be interesting.

  10. Very nicely done indeed, Carlos! I would like to ask you a question as to use of the Peter Gilder Dervish riflemen. I am thinking of using them as Early Sudanese tribesmen fighting for Gordon. I wonder if the riflemen wearing a skull cap could used for this purpose. Thanks - I continue to enjoy your blog!

    1. Hi Hal - thanks for visiting the blog and for your question. You would have no issues at all using them as the general dress was quite generic. If you were to use them as Bashi Bazouks then the uniform is very different though. Hope that helps.

    2. Thanks, Carlo, for your prompt response. Much appreciated!

  11. What can go wrong. Anything like last time and its forgetting to shout "fire"!!

    1. Without a doubt Gerry! Not to many stuff ups though...as of yet!

  12. Nice work Carlo!
    The photos and the narrative are great.

    1. Thank you Stephen, you played your part extremely well mate!!