Friday, 22 April 2016

Late, but inevitable, Salute post...

I can't believe it's a week since the event, and I'm mindful Salute posts aplenty have been seen elsewhere, but as it was my first experience of the show, I couldn't let it pass without putting up a few pictures.

The day began with an early start (even though I had been staying over in London on business the Friday night), and the journey from Gloucester Rd to Excel was made easier by the sudden arrival in my carriage of two familiar faces: David Shuttleworth (of Wargame Amateur blog fame) and Steve Ayers. "Of all the gin joints, in all the ... etc..."
We changed trains at Canning Town and, lo and behold, Dave Jarvis is in the carriage we choose for the final leg on DLR.

Arriving at Excel, I expected a queue, and I got one. But by just after 10am I was in the hall, and on a mission to fulfil my modest shopping list, before seeking out some of the games I was especially looking forward to...
And here are some snaps of my favourites...

Bill Gaskin's remarkable SYW game:


Ian Smith's impressive 40mm Napoleonic game:


Next... ECW Siege of Bristol by the Crewe and Nantwich Club. Dave Marshall was largely responsible for terrain and town. Superb:

NW Frontier (again Dave Marshall terrain):

Met so many pals, throughout the day and chewed the wargaming fat until it was time to head back.
And I returned inspired...
Well done to the organisers, the gamers and traders, who put on a fine show.

Friday, 1 April 2016

The Action at Wadi Malakh (TSATF game)

Yesterday, I began my Colonial games, set in the fictional Colony of Ghabazaar, with an action based on the basic scenario in The Sword and the Flame (TSATF) rules.

Essentially, having the setting as fictional allows me to couple Sudan and Northwest Frontier arenas. The southern part of Ghabazaar is essentially styled on Sudan with desert tribes in rebellion, whilst the northern part is based on Northwest frontier, with local hill tribes being the source of nuisance!

This scenario is set in the southern part...

The set up was as follows:

British Force
1st Platoon, A Company, The Fulchester Fusiliers
commanded by Captain Terence Flickwitt, with Sergeant Norbert Collins.
18 fusiliers, plus drummer.

Dervish Force
Emir Khat
Nared's Dervish: Nared+19 figures (in 2 units).
Tata's Beja: Tata +19 figures (in 2 units).

British objective. To enter the area around Wadi Malakh, clear the area of rebel forces, and secure the rout to the village/ oasis.

Dervish objective. To ambush and destroy Imperial forces, and retain control of the village/ oasis.

Map - Deployment

British enter on southern edge of table.

Dervish forces are concealed.
I had placed 8 playing cards in areas of rough ground/ on reverse slopes, etc, of which 4 were Aces as follows:
Ace of Diamonds - Emir Khat + 10 Dervish tribesmen.
Ace of Hearts - Sheikh Nared + 9 Dervish tribesmen (including 4 with rifles).
Ace of Spades - "Warlord" Tata + 9 Beja warriors.
Ace of Clubs - 10 leaderless Beja warriors (including 2 with rifles).

I didn't know which cards were duds, and which unit was where until British forces / scouts called visibility when in range. It made for quite an exciting and tense action!

The British began by splitting their forces, with Captain Flickwitt's section taking the eastern side of the table, and Sgt Collins section operating on the western side.
It was Sgt Collins' section that came under attack first with the 10 leaderless Beja launching an attack from the scrub and rough ground. They were repulsed by a sharp volley, although one Fusilier was wounded. The Beja suffered sufficient losses to put them out of action and they routed from the game.

Map - end of Turn 3.

As the British forces advanced cautiously northwards through the valley, all was quiet - too quiet - with a series of "dummy cards" meaning the remaining Dervish forces must all be further north.

In turn 8, Nared's Dervishes appeared atop the hill at the north eastern end of the table and began to advance, losing one casualty to a volley from Captain Flickwitt's section.
Meanwhile, Tata's Beja emerged from the village area as Sgt Collins' section reached the crest of the dune just outside the village. The latter scored 2 hits on the Beja.

Map at end turn 8.

In turn 9, Tata's Beja launched a charge at Sgt Collins' section. The ensuing melee was a bloody affair, and a Fusilier was killed, 2 more wounded, and 2 retreated to the rear, shaken, whilst just 1 Beja warrior was killed. Collins was feeling hard-pressed to maintain his section, and it was beginning to look grim.

Meanwhile, on the right, Capt Flickwitt's section had again scored hits with a volley on the advancing Dervish.

In the northwest corner of the table, the final Dervish unit had appeared, under Emir Khat, perhaps returning from a foraging/ recruiting drive in a neighbouring village.

Map at end of Turn 9.

Turn 10 was to see a positive shift in fortune for the beleaguered British. Things had started to look rather perilous at one point, but the cards fell lucky, and the British forces were able to withdraw and fire a volley into the advancing enemies with incredible results, particularly on the right where Capt Flickwitt's section killed 3 more Dervish (even though the target was amongst the scrub and rocks). Collin's section also managed a positive volley.
With both Tata's Beja, and Nared's Dervishes needing to pass morale tests, all was coming down to the final dice... and both failed dramatically (Tata threw double 6!!). And so both units routed to the rear. Emir Khat's late arrival would not save the day, so the wily rebel decided to draw off and fight another day.

Map end of turn 10.

Photo end game...

Captain Flickwitt ordered a garrisoning of the village where shelter and a chance to treat the wounded would be most welcome. Mission accomplished, it would be time to return to base in a couple of days. Looking on, Sergeant Norbert Collins couldn't help feeling that Emir Khat would soon reoccupy the area, but that was a problem for those way above his pay grade!!

A fun game. It's been a while since I opened up the rules, and I was re-learning on the hoof, but a most satisfactory couple of hours was spent.

For now, the colony of Ghabazaar is at peace...