Thursday, April 12, 2007

Sudan rules... of the things I really like about this little old hobby of ours is the sheer variety of activities we involve ourselves in, in support of the hobby... there's modelling, painting, researching, reading, playing, programming to name just a few. So, this week, fresh from the efforts at the painting table on the Egyptians, I turned my thoughts yet again to rules...

...I've been following some of the threads on the OSW group with some interest and not a little agreement - one of the posters indicated that he had a problem playing more modern era games (ie. post black powder/horse and musket) , because of the difficulty of simulating those era's on the tabletop - by jove I thought, he's got it.. one of my undiscovered holy grails is a decent WWII set, and also (by way of explanation for this little digression) a decent Sudan set - and I have looked. Up until now I've checked (and rejected for various reasons) a number of sets, Principles of War, Battles for Empire, Science v's Pluck, the list goes on...

..which brings me to my point (at last!) that in this instance I've decided I'm just going to have to write my own - how's that for an "Old School" approach! Things so far are going OK...
  • I've started with, as a basis, the template provided by Peter Gilder in the first editions of Wargamers World (I have them in PDF format on CD) - these covered off figure scale (1:10) and basic organisation, and base size - also some very useful starting orders of battle.

  • To this I've added some of the elements of a set of rules that Peter himself used, called "Pony Wars" (which I got from Leisure Games in London - reasonably priced, good postage, excellent customer service...) These are Hollywood/Western, BUT, they have an excellent approach to managing the "hostiles" that Peter Gilder borrowed to manage his Dervish - very unusual, basically the player takes the part of the US Cavalry, while the Indians are 'automated' via reaction tests, chance cards, pre-set orders...etc. I'm going to pinch this mechanism myself. I'm also taking the ammunition supply elements as I see this as key for the period/flavour..

  • Lastly, as the framework for moving/firing/morale/melee I'll use my own WWII rules which were in turn heavily modified from the Will McNally AWI rules... can't help myself, I just seem to like that you can use firing to adjudicate damage and morale....

As I say - things are going well so far - happy hours spent in front of Word, cutting/pasting/thinking and designing the look and feel of the rules, looking for graphics to enhance them, etc. I'll post further once they're completed, and I run the first game...

On a separate subject, thoughts are now turning to Salute which is just over a week away....

For the WSS project I've already put in a pre-order for a sample of figures by Eureka to pick up on the day - these are 18mm so I'm not convinced they're going to work with my 15mm's but the samples will allow me to do a comparison..

I've been in touch with Dave at Caliver Books over the new Sudan Wargame book by Stuart Asquith - two ticks in the box for me "Asquith" and "Sudan" - hoping it's going to be in print by Salute so I can pick up a copy..

Other than that, I have birthday money to spend (how old am I?!) which I intend dropping at the Peter Pig stand on Sudanese/Colonials (I'd like Sikh Infantry/Cavalry, Camel Corps, artillery and/or Dervish Cavalry)

HAPPY days...!


  1. One idea that immediately comes to my mind (and no, it isn't original) is some sort of a mechanism like that used in "Hordes of the Things" for the troop type they call "hordes".

    When they are killed, they are available (for a command point) to reappear at the table edge. They aren't "killed", they just recycle.

    Now to my mind that is one of the seeming "problems" faced by the Colonial powers . . . the Natives seemed to come in endless numbers.

    If you feel the same way, you might look at your game mechanisms and see if that idea has any merit for your rules.

    (note: I think that I remember someone's "Zulu" rules had something like this in it -- but I don't recall whose.)

    And, while it is not the Sudan, you might use a re-read of "The Defense of Duffer's Drift" for some playtest ideas. If you don't have a copy handy, here's a link to one online:

    -- Jeff