Tag Archives: Sudan

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.


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