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Escape from Old Delhi – A Skirmish Adventure in the Indian Mutiny

Escape from Old Delhi

By Warren Gleeson

Notes:  These are the rules for a participation game for British soldiers  attempting to escape the chaos  of Delhi in the immediate aftermath of the native indian troops mutinying and rampaging through the City on 11th May 1857.

Players – 6 players (and the umpire).

Duration – about an hour.

Game Premise

The year is 1857, you are a dashing British officer in the British East India Company.  The locals are revolting and the army is in mutiny.  All hell has broken loose as you flee from the irate horde of locals towards the British muster at the Flagstaff Tower.  Unfortunately everyone is out to get you so you need to make your way to  Kabul Gate at the other side of the city.  The objective is to survive, but any people saved along the way wouldn’t do your career a disservice, whilst any goods acquired would certainly aid your mess bill.

 

Players

Each Player is a Gentleman or a Cad. The objective for the player is to get their character from the Kashmire Gate all the way through Delhi to escape through the Kabul Gate and get to the Flagstaff Tower where it is believed (hoped) that a detachment of British troops are currently stationed.

 

The Player Turn

A player has 3 action points that can be used to do a multitude of things. Each Player completes their turn before another player starts their turn.

Action points may be used for any of the following

  • move 3 spaces
  • fight one round of combat
  • fire gun
  • pick up object
  • use object
  • Load Gun
  • Shrug off a wound

 

Firing Weapons

Each weapon has a maximum range. A clear line of sight must be available, where the line drawn from the centre of the originating square to the centre of the target square does not cross any building or figures. Each shot taken reduces your bullets by 1 (given to umpire)

Pistol 3 squares

Musket 6 squares

Rifled Musket 8 squares

To hit a target the character needs to roll equal to or above their Shooting skill after any modifiers have been applied.

Modifiers;

-1 Character has moved or intends to move this turn

-1 Target is a child or female (must pass a ‘Cad‘ test – if passed increase cad rating)

-1 target has cover (cannon, table clutter, doorway, low wall etc.)

 

Fighting

A character may attack an NPC or Indian Mob. To hit, the character needs to roll their Fight skill after any modifiers have been applied.

Modifiers;

+2 Character has charged into combat

+2 Character has a sword

+0 Character has an improvised weapon

-1 Character is unarmed

-1 target has a shield

-2 Target is a child or female (must pass a ‘Cad‘ test – if passed increase players cad rating)

-1 target has cover (cannon, table clutter, doorway, low wall etc.)

 

Wounding Someone or Something

A simple roll of 4+ is required to wound an NPC or Indian Mob, a character is wounded on a 5+.

Once a character is reduced to zero wounds they are out of the game.

 

Regaining Wounds

A character may attempt to ‘shrug off a wound’. This takes an action point. The player rolls a dice which is modified by the number of wounds which they have already taken.

 

Wounds Taken 3 2 1
Die Roll1 It’s more serious than I thought You’re Dead It’s more serious than I thought! – lose 1 wound It’s more serious than I thought! – lose 1 wound
2 Nothing Nothing Nothing
3 Nothing Nothing Gain 1 Wound
4 Nothing Gain 1 Wound Gain 1 Wound
5 Gain 1 Wound Gain 1 Wound Gain 1 Wound
6 Gain 1 Wound Gain 1 Wound Gain 1 Wound

As characters take wounds during the game their ability to move, shoot, or fight reduces until such a point when they are incapacitated.

Doing things

Generally it takes one action point to do something – just give it a go. Doing things include opening doors, picking things up, throwing things, drinking things etc.  The umpire will confirm whether an action is allowed and the consequences arising from it.

Gentlemen and Cads

A player starts as a gentleman, however their actions may result in their caddish dark-side slowly coming to the fore.  The objective of the game is for a player to escape from Delhi.  Should two or more players succeed then the player with the lowest Cad rating will be determined the winner.  Of course there is nothing to stop a Cad from arranging a suitable ‘accident’ for other player characters.  An accident can take place out of sight of any other player characters who aren’t involved in the ‘accident’.  The player must successfully pass a Cad test before arranging an accident.  An accident can be anything as simple as taking a shot with a pistol or musket, to attacking them with a sword even to firing a cannon at them!  More subtle arrangements such as drawing the mobs towards the intended victim may be attempted and may in fact be more rewarding…

The Cad Test

To successfully pass a cad test a player needs to roll equal to or lower than their Cad rating.  If they are successful then their Cad rating increases by 1.  Players start on 1 so it takes a lot to overcome their upbringing but once they start, then it becomes easier to continue down the slippery slope.

Mutineers & Mobs

Once all of the players have taken their actions the umpire then takes the actions for the mobs and mutineers.

1– generate new mob counters

– a new counter is placed on each generation point face down.

2 – mobs move towards British in priority;

–  Nearest British in sight

–  Nearest ‘Loud Noise‘ in order cannon/musket/pistol

Until Mobs come within 8 squares line of sight of a British character the mob counter remain ‘blind’.  Once within 8 squares and line of sight  the counters are revealed and replaced with the appropriate figures. A maximum of 4 figures may occupy a square, surplus figures are placed further back.

3 – mobs in contact fight round of combat.

A single dice is rolled requiring 6 to hit the British character.  A +1 is added for each additional figure in the Mob.  If the mob hits the character then they need a 5+ to cause a wound.

 

Materials Required for Game

– Character Stat Cards + Appropriate Figures

Escape from Old Delhi Cards

– Board Layout for Old Delhi (Map)

– Street Cards for Delhi

– Deck of Cards for Mob generation

– Mob Counters (30 singles, 10 Doubles, 10 Quads)

– Key Buildings – templates or 3d buildings.  Templates buildings generally contain items of use as identified on the card.

.     Delhi and London Bank – 1 Male NPC with sword, with wife and 2 children

.     Magazine (Cannon, Pistols, Muskets) 1 British officer with sword & 4 NPC British NCOs with muskets attempting to blow the arsenal.

.     St. James’s Church – 1 padre with bible and 7 NPC parishioners – no weapons or skills.

.    Palace – 2 NPCs with swords

.    Telegraph Office – 1 NPC + 2 Indian Guards with muskets

.    Treasury – 3 NPCs + 2 Indian guards with Muskets

.    Skinners House

.    The Delhi Gazette

 

Notes: These are an old set of rules which were run a few times about ten years or so ago.  The rules require an umpire as the game requires a bit of role-play on behalf of the players.

August 25th 1857 – Battle of Najafgarh

      Battle of Najafgarh

August 25th 1857

On 25th August a British force led by Nicholson engaged a Mutineers force around 30 kms west of Delhi in a pre-emtive strike.  The Mutineers sought to intercept the siege train heading towards the Delhi ridge and then to come upon the rear of the British positions on the Ridge.

The British march towards the Mutineers has been treacherous as the ground had turned to a quagmire in the rain.  Nicholson came upon the enemy at 4pm but despite the time decided to push on an attack.

The Mutineers had occupied an old serai with infantry and 4 guns.  On either side and to the rear of the serai  were three villages which the Mutineers had occupied with infantry and more artillery.  A deep drainage cut or ‘nulla’ went around the Mutineers right and on around their rear with a stout bridge crossing directly to their rear.  The nulla was swollen with the recent rain and even at the ford the water was chest high.

The Battle

The British forces advanced across the ford and deployed to the south of the serai. Nicholson sent the infantry brigade of the 61st Foot, the EIC 1st Bengal Fusiliers, and the 2nd Punjab Infantry to capture the serai. He kept his cavalry along with elements of the infantry in reserve whilst he split his limited artillery between facing the serai and the remainder addressed the enemy to the west.

Despite the muddy ground significantly impeding their advance in the face of the Mutineers artillery the British forces stormed the serai and routed the enemy. The fighting in the villages was more sustained but within an hour the enemy had been routed and their guns captured.

“As the Infantry were about to advance, Nicholson thus addressed them: ‘Men of the 61st, remember what Sir Colin Campbell said at Chilianwala, and you have heard that he said the same to his gallant Highland Brigade at the Alma. I have the same request to make of you and the men of the 1st Bengal Fusiliers. Hold your fire until within twenty or thirty yards, then fire and charge, and the serai is yours.’ Our brave soldiers followed these directions to the letter, and, under cover of Artillery fire, carried the serai. Front was then changed to the left as had been arranged, and the line swept along the enemy’s defences, the rebels flying before them over the bridge.”

Frederick Sleigh Roberts

Forty-one years in India – From Subaltern To Commander-In-Chief

With the enemy routed Nicholson consolidated his position before heading back to the Delhi lines the next day.

Nicholson’s force captured 13 enemy guns as well as large quantities of ammunition, stores and animals; all of which were sorely needed by the British troops on the Ridge.

Mutineers Force – Commander Bakht Khan

  Bareilly Brigade

    4 Regiments of Mutineers – each of 6 bases

    2 Artillery

  Nasirabad Brigade

    4 Regiments of Mutineers – each of 6 bases

    3 Artillery

  Nimach Brigade (General Sudhari Singh & Brigade Major Hira Singh)

    4 Regiments of Mutineers – each of 6 bases

    3 Artillery

Estimated Strength 8,000 troops and 13  to 16 guns

British Force – Commander Brigadier Nicholson

  61st Foot (Colonel Rainer)

  1st Bengal Fusiliers (Major Jacob) – 5 bases

  400 of Cokes Rifles (400 Men) – 5 bases

  Punjab Infantry (Green) (400 men) – 5 bases

  1 Sqn 9th Lancers (Captain Sarel) – 3 bases

  Linds Multani Horse (200 men) – 5 bases

  Sqn Guides (Sandford) – 3 bases

  Troop of 2nd Punjab Cavalry (Charles Nicholson) – 6 bases

  3 Troops of Horse Artillery (Major Tombs) (16 Horse Artillery) – 8 guns

Approximately 2,500 ‘good troops’ – 1,600 infantry, 450 cavalry, and 16 guns.

Game Length: 7 Turns

Initiative: 1st turn British

Set-up

Mutineers deploy 1 of their brigades in and around the Serai.  The Other 2 Brigades deploy into the 2 villages nearest the Najafgarh Drain.  2 Sepoy units may be detached to occupy the village of Nagli.

The British set up is assumed after they have started to cross the ford across the nulla.

Battle Najafgarh Map

Notes about the terrain

Bridge – 84 foot long and 27 foot wide.

Nulla – can only be crossed at the ford, and even then difficult going due to the high flood.  The Najafgarh Drain can only be crossed at the bridge.

The Serai is on a slight rise

Scenario Special Rules – The Sword and the Flame (The Sword in India variant)

The Serai counts as class IV cover, whilst the villages and sandbagged artillery are class III. The treed garden is class II.

The Mutineers have limited ammo.

The Mutineers deploy their entire force first.

Scenario Special Rules – Black Powder

The British European troops are treated as ‘Elite’ to represent their continued advance through the Mutineers defensive fire.

For Queen and Company Rules (and Fast and Furious)

Special Rules:

I think I need to be somewhere else‘ – As soon as the British get troops between the Mutineers positions and Delhi the Mutineers suffer a -2 to all subsequent Moral tests.

It’s bloody wet!” All movement should used the variable movement rates due to the waterlogged and flooded ground

 

Winning the Game

British Major Victory – The British must occupy uncontested the Serai and the three villages, as well as hold the bridge at the end of the game. To be uncontested no steady Mutineer infantry or artillery units can be within the serai or village.

British Minor Victory – The British hold both the Serai and the bridge uncontested and ensured that none of the Mutineer guns are in operation (captured, or either un-manned or reduced to one crew)

Mutineer Minor Victory – Hold the bridge and one of the villages uncontested

Mutineer Major Victory – Mutineers hold the bridge and both the Serai and two of the Villages uncontested.

Otherwise a draw which would be a Mutineer moral victory and still able to claim bragging rights.

Black Powder

Old Rosters created for Black Powder soon after it came out – I’d do them differently now and fix the org and command structure for the Brits, and address the overly generous command ratings at the same time.

Battle of Najafgarh Rosters – British copy

Battle of Najafgarh Rosters – Mutineers copy

Notes:  

Indian Forces: I’ve made estimates about the Indian forces by dividing down the 8,000 strength estimate across 3 brigades to get approximately 12 units at an assumed strength of approx. 600 to 700 men per unit.  You could easily modify this by having more units if desired.  I’ve taken the higher estimate of 16 guns and assumed that 3 were removed or destroyed before capture.

British force numbers based upon Roberts and Trotter

Fighting the Battle

This battle was fought using Black Powder with the British being ably led by Paul ‘Nicholson’, whilst the Mutineers were commanded by Steve ‘Bakht Khan’. We used an 8’ by 6’ table and 28mm figures in units of 24 infantry and 10 cavalry.

The Indians were deployed across their wide front with the major blocks of units being situated between the three villages. The guns were deployed in the sandbagged defences before the serai, as well as between the villages on either side the bridge. The British placed their cavalry on the right of their deployment zone with their artillery facing the serai. The infantry were placed to the left of the artillery.

The first turn opened with the Indian artillery bombardment doing little in the way of casualties but managed to disorder the 61st Foot. With the British movement Paul successfully passed the ‘Elite’ test a cleared the disorder from the 61st who were then able to advance towards the bridge whilst the remainder of the British foot advanced towards the Serai. The cavalry started to loop around the serai to the right. British fire managed to cause some casualties to the units within the serai as well as disorder one of them.

Turn two saw Steve attempt to move some of his infantry from the East towards the British but failed his command roll. He then started to take out his frustration on the British with his artillery. One unit of the Native infantry became disrupted whils the 61st took some casualties. The Briitsh responded and successfully charged the serai.

Within the next two turns the serai had fallen and the Indian brigade holding the area was broken. The British then focussed their attention on the forces around the bridge. Within a couple of turns the bridge was taken but not before the British 3rd Brigade was shaken and the the majority of the cavalry were also shaken following an ambitious attempt to confront the third Indian brigade to the east whilst unsupported by infantry. The end of the game all came down to Steves attempts to reinforce the troops around the bridge which unfortunately failed to recapture the bridge or force the British back. He did take some consolation from the situation when he finally broke the British cavalry brigade.

As the dust settled the Mutineers still had their third brigade almost intact and their second one was just hanging on but they were forced to concede a minor victory to the British having lost the serai, the bridge and all of their artillery.

Fast and Furious – Quick Play Rules for the Victorian Era

I’ve just found an old set of 5 page rules which I used many years ago as a quick pick up for Indian Mutiny games.  I’ve tidied them up slightly over the last day or so and made a few amendments to address some issues which had arisen in the past.

These aren’t overly sophisticated, and rely upon a scenario to drive the objectives and force lists.  As such as they stand there are no points for units.  My basic premise was for units of around 20 to 24 infantry figures, 10 to 12 cavalry figures, and 1 to 3 artillery pieces with crew.  Brigades are generally 2 to 6 units led by a Brigade Commander.

I have assumed that the games are asymmetric in nature with objectives specific to each side.  Games should be able to cater for around 12 units a side split into 2 or 3 Brigades and finish in around 3 hours.

By all means play around with them and let me know how you get on with them and whether you have any issues.  They are only 4 pages long and follow many conventions already familiar to most wargamers.  this probably means that there are some fundamental assumptions which I’ve made and might not be immediately apparent from the way the rules are written. If you come across one of those issues just let me know as I’m always open to constructive feedback and will continually be tweaking them anyway.  these should also be compatible with my scenarios for the period.

On another not I have revisited my For Queen and Company Rules and will continue to work them into a coherent set of rules.  Once these are complete I’ll post the draft up  here as well.

To download the file just click below.  To avoid any compatibility issues the file is a simple text so should be readable by most systems.  I’ll revisit them and format the data tables so that they are in proper tables, and perhaps even give it some styling… (god forbid).  I may even graduate to pdfs!

Fast and Furious

Print Your Own Cargo Containers

I needed a reasonably large amount of scenery in very short order a while ago so made up a template for some steel cargo containers.  These aren’t anything clever and definitely very simple to put together – it is just simply a long box.

The attached template is a simple Powerpoint slide in black and white.  To add colour simply print out the slides onto coloured card.

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I needed my containers for a Judge Dredd campaign so I decorated them with appropriate adverts etc. relevant to Megacity One.  The containers have seen a fair amount of use so I probably should have straightened out some of the containers before photographing them.

Vid Reporters capture the Judges arrest of the Ape Gang.

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Click on attachment here for powerpoint slides.

Cargo Container lite

 

 

The Siege of Barwarie – Water Tower

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The Siege of Barwarie had a few significant features which ought to be incorporated within any game, including the various bungalows, but the most significant item which cannot be missed is the actual water tower where the Brits ended up defending.

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I have attached a powerpoint slide which can be printed off in A4 (unsure of appropriate scaling for US).  It is composed of three elements, the main central building and two side rooms.  This model was derived directly from the newspaper article of the day which was meant to reflect the notes and drawings of Mr Ryves who survived the event.

Barwarie Station Template – stripped

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28mm Paper Models site

I wanted to quickly highlight the amazing resource which can be found at;

http://papermau.blogspot.com.br

There are some great buildings and vehicles available for 1/50 so suitable for 28mm wargaming.  I can see myself using them for zombie games but assume equally suitable for almost anything in the last 100 years.

These would be good for Malifaux or similar;

http://papermau.blogspot.com.br/2011/06/old-brazillian-sobrado-velho-sobrado.html

http://papermau.blogspot.com.br/2011/07/lakes-house-refuge-with-some.html

http://papermau.blogspot.com.br/2011/08/st-michael-old-chapel-by-papermau.html