11 December 2017

The Battle is fought and campaign returns issued

One of the original photos of this particular battle. Excuse the glare on the very glossy prints of the time.
The battle was fought and won by the Imperial column after quite an early fright.  I had set out a campaign system very closely aligned to what I had managed to garner from Peter Gilders articles in Wargames World and Miniature Wargames.  This involved several aspects of returns for Imperial casualties which worked very well with what we were trying to achieve.

The Royal Marine Light Infantry in blue ( now repainted correctly in grey) advance.

I thought that it would be quite entertaining to maintain the narrative efforts in describing the battles and events and so decided that each return would be an ongoing campaign log of every unit that fought in the actual club games.  Therefore the returns for each column would have a brief description of the unit, how it fought, if any particular highlights or moments of glory had occurred etc.

A simple format which hopefully would give all the information required

A bit of a laugh when reviewing this all these years later!

The Umpires Master map with a quick overview of where everyone is and what may
be awaiting them in the coming campaign season!

I will include a few of the campaign rules in the next post and a few more details on how these were arrived upon and expanded to incorporate what we felt would be an ideal colonial feel for fighting table top battles in "The Sands of Sudan".

The Mahdist masses head towards a bit more shading and dipping in future years!

30 October 2017

"The Battle of Tukar Plains" - setting the scene

Egyptian troops on the march elsewhere in the theatre of operations

Apologies for the delay in getting the preliminary details of what was the first battle of our campaign out.  Life sometimes does have a habit of getting in the way of the fun things however I thought four weeks plus was far too long to leave thins up in the air.

As you recall the first weeks responses have been sent out to all the participants and Major General Davis has encountered some enemy to his front.

The plan for these campaign battles was to always use them as a way of introducing more players from the club into the games as required to serve several very important roles.

Firstly, it is always best when the column commander cannot control all the key roles in the battle.  Sometimes it is best to develop a small bit of character within the on-table personalities such as a head strong Cavalry commander, a stubborn Scots Guards Regimental Colonel etc.  In this way orders can at times be somewhat laxly interpreted much to the frustration of the overall Commander in Chief.

You can then also introduce small side lines into the battle which some of the minor players may be aware of without the C In C having an inkling of why Captain Tudway wont support Captain Smiths charge!

All good fun.

Very important to have all elements of the command led by named officers as
it does make the battle reports so much more personable.

All set for the battle ahead

So as you can see Major General Davis has a challenge ahead of him as he attempts to ensure he doesn't go the way of Pasha Hicks so early in the campaign proceedings.  The presence of a third party, in this case Roger Fredericks of "The Standard?" newspaper, whom none of the players will control also gives the umpire (me!) a lot of scope for wandering off into awkward situations, places that he should certainly not be in and even worse, areas where he could possibly put th entire columns well-being in jeopardy.

More soon.

14 September 2017

Sudan Campaign - the first returns look very interesting indeed!

Local civilian contractors oversee the collection and distribution of supplies
for the Imperial Columns campaigning in the coming months.

In the next instalment of the Sudan Campaign fought sometime ago we have a series of returns from the umpire, this humble writer in fact, to the four column commanders pulling all the strings in the Imperial Headquarters.

You will see that I endeavoured to respond to all the players in a narrative form rather than in a static, bullet point style which in my opinion lacked the scope to have the colour and flavour of an nineteenth century campaign

It also allows a bit of poetic license to create story lines within the columns which would be enable me to write in a few interesting scenario rules and requirements whenever troops made their way to the table.

I have also included the initial orders of Major General Redvers Buller.  These allowed me the right amount of substance to create a few interesting sub plots.

Buller sent out this missive to all Officers within the Nile Column

Continuation of standing orders - very important.  I wonder what the QM will be up to?

The remaining forces within the command.

The importance of the standing orders was certainly laid out to all the players prior to the campaign commencing and it was gratifying to see that some of them paid some attention to them.  It was even more satisfactory that two of them didn't!  Oh what fun we will have...

Mmm...a bit of an oversight!

Movement at Wadi Halfa - the gunboat leaves whilst the Egyptian Garrison practises
formation changes and battlefield drill and deployment on the outskirts

Sir Herbert Stewart has his hands full in more ways than one.

Just a quick aside in terms of language and terms used within the campaign.  The attempt was made to capture the terminology of a British Colonial force on campaign in the 19th century in trying conditions trying to conquer and subjugate the known world.  The feeling of superiority in every sense from our Oxford and Cambridge educated lads as well as the career soldiers promoted through the ranks was always to be one which was colourful to say the least when describing the locals.  Absolutely no offence is meant in anyway.

General Graham has a few interesting matters to be dealt with very early on.

General Davis cannot believe his luck...action from the get-go!

As you can see the lads have a bit to consider in their coming campaign week.

31 August 2017

Heliograph team on the workbench

Just needs a bit of positioning and terrain sculpting and it will be in business
Just a quick post to show the next Sudan project on the work bench at home.

This will be my version of the Imperial Heliograph section who will employed across the table top in their communication efforts with the distant columns as well as small garrisons under siege etcetera.

The figures come from a a variety of manufacturers.  The team itself is from Redoubt Miniatures who have some hidden treasures within their 28mm range including some cracking Sudan figures.  They are closer to 30mm than 28mm however that is fine as I wish these lads to look like big beefy Brits from engineering and signalling backgrounds in comparison to the Connoisseur Miniatures native that will join them on the base.

In addition I am toying with what mule to include as well.  The choices are a Castaway Arts mule who shows just the right amount of asinine stubbornness in his wonderful pose, or the two Connoisseur mules with water casks and wooden boxes astride both flanks.  You can also see that the marine ply cut out by good friend Mike W has been hacked by yours truly and needs a good deal of sanding and filing before any figures are stuck on the base at all.

Original photograph from the Sudan of a Heliograph team

There are quite an array of these equipment packs from the many excellent manufacturers of Sudan ranges and this as well as the wonderful Perry Miniatures one are certainly my favourites.

24 August 2017

The Campaign kicks off - General Grahams initial orders

A peaceful walk through the streets of Suakin prior to hostilities.

Thanks to all who have commented on the first post in the Sudan Campaign thread which started last week.  There is no doubt that the thrill of running or playing in an ongoing campaign at a wargames club or with like minded companions is a wonderful.  The one-off games where it gets to 10.00 pm at the club and you decide to throw in that last charge just for fun has far greater consequences whenever you have to back up your force again the next week in an ongoing campaign scenario.

So in the last post the general situation was unveiled to the players and they were all given a map of the area of strategic operations.  An overall commander stepped forward who would attempt to maintain the co-ordination of the columns as well as take command of one himself.  This was no small undertaking.

The lads all got into the spirit of the Colonial Campaign from the start and the choice of language, style of prose and spirit of adventure was prevalent from the absolute get-go.  Initial orders were dictated at Headquarters and relayed out to the Generals for immediate implementation.

It makes it easy when the chaps enjoy the concept of a colonial campaign and
take on the roles of commanders so well and in the flavour of the period.

Stewart's command out of Suakin would have some crucial tasks.

Major General Davis was intent on battles, fun and a few shenanigans on campaign.

Some standing orders are always a great idea as they take away the...ahem...flexibility
of the umpire to do nasty things in the field. 

Never can go too far in the desert without a ready made zareeba evacuation plan

We all like the characters names from "Four Feathers" don't we?

As you can see from the last image, I had asked all the players to name their Regimental Colonels, Company and Squadron Commanders etcetera to add some flavour to the entire escapade.

So the commands have been allocated and initial orders received from High Command.  How these will be interpreted, acted upon and responded to remain to be seen

18 August 2017

A Sudan Campaign

Nice photo from the latest game at the NWS with some of the local lads.
It has been far too long since this site has been updated and for that please accept my humble apologies.  My time has become quite tight in the past two years and work, family and general life have been incredibly busy.

The old journal - even looks the part.

However the Sudan is still a strong rallying point for my wargaming passions and I was looking over an old "Campaign Journal" from nearly twenty years ago.

Pretty hard to put this on a flat bed scanner!

All those years ago we were keen to put the Gilder rules into a campaign at the club and as I was incredibly keen to start fleshing out the rules, I put my hand up to run the show and see what we could put in motion.  The first point of reference was the wonderful Wargames World where Peter Gilder had placed a good deal of information to at least get started on running a campaign.

Filed away, this copy got us all quite excited. 

What a wonderful magazine spread that captured all the flavour of this wonderful period

The articles for any who can recall reading them at the time were wonderful and full of creative flair and ideas however tantalisingly short on details and the nitty-gritty rules of thumb we so desired.  Therefore we took what we could find from the articles, looked through all the old style "How to" campaign books we could get our hands on and started off with a flurry.

My colourised version of the original map from WW

It was decided that we would need four players for the campaign to be the respective column commanders.  We would then invite in various members of the club to play a Regimental or Brigade Commander role as required.  In this way the four column commanders wouldn't get all the games and the individual players could use some imaginative flair every time they took the field, much to the horror of the overall Generals.  It was wonderful stuff.

My poor photo of my original brief heavily taken from Gilders article.

Page two of the brief

Page three - these can be found in the appendix of "The Sands of Sudan" rules

To further complicate issues for the players I did want them to also have a political eye looking over their actions and decisions.  Hence I asked friend Gerry Webb who was busy at the time getting Castaway Arts up and running whether he would like to play the part of a distant Prime Minister in his home town of Cairns all the way in Northern Queensland.  Being a colonial aficionado from way back he gratefully accepted the role and sent out his first directive before a tent was packed!

The Prime Ministers first missive to Graham

The game was now afoot.

The next post will detail the initial formations, orders and individual plans from the lads as the campaign prepared to get underway.

Wonderful old advertisement for Peter Gilders wonderful range of figures.

7 March 2017

The Desert Column

The gunners manning the Nordenfeld on the deck of "The Sapphire" watch the battle unfold. 
Redoubt Miniatures figures and a scratch built gunboat.

A few file shots of games played that I thought might be nice to kick-start the blog again and get some more inspiration coming through.  Work is very much front and centre at present however it may prove ideal for writing up some new scenarios on long flights in the region in 2017 and beyond.

Love that banner!

The column advances through the centre