A Song of Heat and Sand

The British Command Decks

To follow up from the Dervisher command decks I derived the British command decks. I am in the process of creating the Egytian command deck as I appreciate that Baker should probably be considered as an Egyptian general. I’m also short the most obvious candidate;- Gordon.

There is one sheet for the base command deck, this will need to be printed twice for the required 14 cards. Then the other commanders need only be printed once to add their 6 cards to make the necessary deck of 20.

British base Command Deck – needs to be printed twice
Graham General Command Deck – print once
Stewart General Command Cards – print once

A Song of Heat and Sand

The Dervisher Command Decks

I took a first stab at the Dervisher Command Cards, so generated the general set along with a few specific commanders which tie to the Dervisher units I currently have available. As I manage to muster new units (or my friends raise new units to throw into the fray) I anticipate the cards evolving to accommodate them.

I’ve started with three generals as options, which should give enough variation for the early part of the war. Just print these off onto A4 paper – they should all scale to the same sized cards.

Base Dervisher command deck – just print off two copies to have 14 cards
Abdulla Ibn Ahmed General Command Cards – just print off once
Osman Digna General Command Cards – just print off once
The Mahdi General Command Cards – just print off once

A Song of Heat and Sand

The Sudan Intrigue Board

As the start of the Sudan ASOIAF project I created a variant to the politics board. Since the Sudan is hardly a hotbed of politics, the board needed to be revised and so became the ‘Intrigue Board‘. No doubt it will go through additional changes to further fit the theme.

A slight change to the icons, with a more appropriate background.

A Song of Sand and Heat

I’ve recently been playing the Game of Thrones miniatures game called “A Song of Ice and Fire” from CMON with various members of the Swindon And District War-games Club (strangely enough based in Swindon). It is an excellent fantasy miniatures war-game based around the George RR Martin A Song of Ice and Fire books (if you’re a fan of the TV series, then you’ll know what’s going on). I fell in love with the rules after a few games, it enthused me like no other rules system has done for a long time, and it’s currently my preferred set of fantasy war-games rules at the moment.

OK, so like most warmers I started to tinker. Not so much with the ASOIAF game, since I’m enjoying everything that game is currently throwing my way, but rather to see where else I can apply the mechanisms. To this end I looked at whether it would be a nice fit for my recent Sudan excursion. My figures have been deliberately based to support a variety of existing popular rule sets, including ‘The Sword and the Flame, ‘The Men Who Would be Kings’, and ‘Sharpe Practice’. To use the miniatures for these rules would simply mean creating unit movement trays to take the figures. To this end I discussed my ideas with the vary accommodating Simon and Sue at Blotz and in a very short order had bases suitable for my Dervisher infantry and cavalry, as well as more tailored bases for the regular Egyptian and British infantry.

You’ll have seen my progress in getting these units rebased and ready for the table in previous posts. For the Dervishers I’ve now managed to have 6 units of Beja tribesmen (the classic ‘Fuzzy Wuzzies’). as well as 2 units of Beja camel riders, and 2 units of Baggara cavalry. My Brits are somewhat smaller with only 6 units of infantry now complete. I’m in the progress of sorting out the Gardner and Gatling guns, then will need to order some more bases from Blotz for the guns. Next up will be rebasing more of the Brits, as well as organising the Mahdist Ansar infantry. At some point I’ll need to sort out things for British cavalry, along with the Egyptian infantry (and the Naval Brigade, the Indian troops, the Nile Arabs etc. and of course the steam ships…)

Well, back to the rules. I’ve managed to redo the rules for the Sudan, keeping many of the core mechanics, and introducing things which are key features of 19th century colonial wargames. I have a revised intrigue board, and even a series of different sets of generals cards for the two sides. I’m still working on the various unit stats so that I can get the forces to the table. I’ve had to change some of the core principles of the game though due to the asymmetric nature of the two principle protagonists; we have fast moving irregular troops who are primarily vicious close combat types fighting against formed regular troops who rely upon long range shooting to try and keep the enemy at bay. To this end I’ve introduced some longer ranges for shooting, going beyond the 6″ short and 12″ long in the original rules. I’ve also introduced some basic formations for the formed troops (line, march column, and of course square), as well as new unit types such as different river craft, with trains to eventually make their appearance for later period events.

Certain elements of the original rules aren’t really pertinent to the Sudan (or even historical games in general), so those aspects have been dropped. The game modes were dropped in favour of scenarios, but I have attempted to keep these non-specific to allow for the casual pick-up and play games. There are however some specific scenarios to cover some of the more pertinent battles in the campaigns.

The Dervishers Muster


After the original cockup with the initial Sudan project basing I’ve managed to recover the situation slightly.  All of the Dervisher bases have been covered with steep paper, and now seem to adhere well to the 10mm rare earth magnets in the movement trays.

Now I’ve started stripping the rebasing the Brits.  These are on 20mm bases instead of the 25mm used for the Dervishers.  Instead of using the intended washers (which also didn’t work with my magnets, or at least they were worse than 1 pence pieces), I went with the 20mm mdf bases which came with the movement trays.  These have 5mm holes to take smaller rare-earth magnets which adhere really well to the larger magnets in the unit tray base.

So far 4 units of 12 have been rebased.  The unit trays have been textured and painted, so it’s just the figure bases which need to be finished to bring the troops to the table.

Whilst the Sudan natives are on tribal unit trays 150mm by 100mm and hold 15 figures in a somewhat irregular formation, the Brits are based on regular unit trays.  These are 50mm squares which hold 4 figures, with 3 bases making up a unit.  This allows me to put the unit into line or march column ( in a simple manner).

Sudan Rebasing Cock-up

Shortly before Christmas I decided to dig out my 28mm Colonial Sudan armies and pep them up. The main intention was to rebase the forces entirely so that they could be used for different rule sets with different sabot bases.

To this end I ordered a batch of 5mm and 10mm rare earth magnets, along with 20mm and 25mm steel washers. I then spoke with Simon at Blotz to have a batch of unit trays made which would take the washer based figures with holes for the magnets beneath.

After spending a long weekend stripping figures from bases and sticking them to the recently received washers I then applied the basing material and painted the figure bases ready for the new movement trays.

The movement trays arrived within a day or so (Simon and Sue’s service through Blotz is second to none and highly recommended), and I started to insert the magnets and test out the based figures. The movement trays were perfect, taking the washer based infantry cleanly and being a perfect fit for the rare earth magnets.

It was only then that I noticed that the figure bases weren’t’ ‘sticking’ to the magnets. After a short while of mucking around and testing various bases, magnets (and other magnets, and other washers) I realised that the washers which I had bought, and spent days lovingly rebasing my figures onto weren’t in fact attracted to magnets.

After a few minutes of silent expletives I did a quick google search and found that not all stainless steel works with magnets. Who knew? (Well as is quite obvious, I didn’t)

So before I started the long task of rebasing the entire Sudanese army (again), I did some experimenting looking for a quick fix solution. I tried a few solutions, which included basing the washer based figures on top of other steel washers (worked because these did work with magnets) – these unfortunately stood a bit too tall of the movement tray, but could be considered a viable solution. Eventually I’ve settled on basing the washer figures on top of a thin circle of steel paper which does stick to magnets, and doesn’t make the bases stand too high above the movement tray. OK, so this does take a little time using the 25mm hole punch and sticking and trimming the bases, but it’s a lot quicker than the alternative, and definitely a lot let disheartening than completely rebasing the army again.

Part of the Sudan rebasing cock-up

Blotz can be found at most of the bigger Wargames shows in England, alternatively check them out on their website.

https://blotz.co.uk

Battle of Austerlitz

6mm Blucher

A few members of the Swindon and District Wargames club have played Blucher over the last couple of years and there are now a wide selection of armies available.

In March 2017 Peter David and I had a go at refighting Austerlitz using the rules. There is an extensive library of scenarios available produced by fans of the rules, some of them produced in a really professional manner. I found one which suited what we had in table size and units. Peter chose to be the Russians and Austrians given he had recently received a beautifully painted Austrian army, whilst I took the French.

We had a great game and we had to call the game to a close due to time, more due to us faffing around and wasting time rather than the scenario being too long for a single day play.

For the Kingdom

A variant for Richard Borg’s Battle Cry covering the English Civil War, which will also be familiar to player of the Commands and Colors games and their variants.

The Swindon and District Wargames club was invited to run a game at the annual Devizes ‘Attack’ Wargames show. Given that Phil and I have fairly extensive English Civil Wars armies in 28mm we thought it would be a great opportunity to dust off the figures for a game.

I suggested that we keep the game simple, with the view to being able to run multiple games to conclusion on each day whilst being able to talk to anyone interested and perhaps getting them involved. There are a substantial number of rules readily available, but few really seemed suitable for these key criteria. I proposed to use a the Richard Borg mechanisms from Battle Cry and develop an informal variant for our English Civil War project.

To keep up the interest across the two days Phil suggested running the games as a series of linked battles in an ongoing campaign, and duly set to work creating a nice simple campaign system to generate the battles. Using the game’s banner board Phil created maps where forces were shown moving as battles were fought. The campaign system was elegant in its simplicity and allowed us to play over 12 games on the two days.

Colonial Diplomacy – SAD Campaign Turn 2

the delayed 1872 turn results are now available.  I believe that I’ve captured the turn orders correctly, but if you spot any serious mistakes place let me know before Saturday.

I believe that everyone captured at least one additional supply area, though some acquired somewhat more.  Would you all please sen me the unit type (army or navy) and the location where the new units will start from by the end of Saturday if possible.

 

Russia +1 (Seoul)

France +2 (Canton & Bangkok)

Ottoman +1 (Persia)

Dutch +2 (New Guinea & Sarawak)

Japan +1 (Formosa)

China +1 (Mongolia & Assam, but lost Canton)

Britain +5(Sudan & Karachi & Bengal & Kashmir & Malaya)

Blucher

Recently I’ve been trying out the Blucher rules from Sam Mustafa’s Honour set of rules.  It has been a welcome change to dust off my old 6mm armies and retake them to playing Napoleonic at a higher level of game than they were previously employed at.

 

Blucher is a strategic war game where the smallest unit is effectively a brigade.

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