Friday, September 14, 2007 dry desert sands.. part 3 we pick up where we left off in the last thrilling installment (it's a bit like having to wait for the next episode of Batman when we were kids, somehow at the time you never knew whether he was going to make it, despite the evidence in every program up until then!)

Anyway - realising that he couldn't totally ignore the Dervish (spot on Jeff - we were thinking as one!) the British commander detailed the Camel Corps company to cover off the Dervish, ordering them to halt just outside of small arms range, these Dervish again showed no sign of movement, but if anything appeared to be edging away from the encroaching British (rule explanation: all fairly straight forward up until now - the Dervish move was a s a result of the next reaction test they had to take which this time resulted in a "withdraw out of small arms range" result)

In the meanwhile while he pushed the Egyptian cavalry forward into the gap between the two hills - in order to get a better view of any enemy who up until then were blocked by the line of low hills. The cavalry troop commander obviously blinded by sweat and dust is unable to see anything (rule explanation: he was beyond the automatic spotting distance so tested to spot enemy in cover - he threw spotting dice for ambush spots 2, 12, 6 & 4 respectively but didn't get the required results) but was somewhat alarmed to hear the drumming of Dervish drums and soon saw Dervish foot appear from the oasis (12.) and the hill (6.) to his front - what was slightly more worrying was that a unit of Dervish cavalry charged out from behind the area of badly broken ground (4.) with every sign of wanting to cause some mischief (see picture)

(A lot went on here - but in summary, we got to the end of the British move, and in the Dervish move, I decided to place any units that were in the terrain features the British had previously unsuccessfully scouted - no reason for this other than it makes it easier to track who is where. Turning over the cards showed nothing in 2, but two units of foot in 12 & 6, and the rifle armed cavalry in 4. I then threw reaction tests for all the Dervish units thus deployed using the same tests as previous - "first sight of an enemy"/"double their strength" - the two foot units ended up on hold orders, the cavalry threw an 11 (on the 2D6) and got a "advance to small arms range" result)

The Egyptian cavalry commander ordered his men to open fire and was gratified to see a number of empty saddles appear amongst the Dervish horse, but is less happy with the fact that this doesn't seem to have stopped them in their tracks.. (small arms fire is pretty straight forward, the Egyptians threw high enough to cause casualties, which also resulted in a one stage drop in the Dervish morale - "good" to "shaken" - and also required them to take a reaction test as a result of the casualties. This they passed..) ..and the Dervish have not been driven off (see picture)

Things are hotting up for the British... more on which anon..

Half time analysis: The rules seem to be OK - I'm very pleased with the way the reaction tests are working which up until now have given extremely believable results.. The thing I like most about them are their flexibility - if I get a problem come up where I need to make a decision I use one of the several reaction tests.. they're kind of a core component of the rules, so for Snickering Corpses who asked for a little more detail on them I'll summarise - there are seven tests and these cover off what the Dervish will do in a number of situations - appearing on the board for the first time, after receiving casualties from shooting, on sighting previously unseen Imperial reinforcements, on losing a melee, on first sighting an enemy, when current order runs out, etc. Often more than one test can apply (ie. whether the enemy you've just spotted is in cover - one test - or not - another). You then throw 2D6 and there are that many possible responses to the situation... I would thoroughly recommend grabbing a copy of "Pony Wars" - they're still in print, not expensive, and worth the money alone for the tests, which I think could be re-used in a number of periods.

1 comment:

  1. Oooh, you tempt me.

    I've written my own Colonial rules ("Khyber Knife") that drew inspiration from both "The Sword and the Flame" and "G.A.S.L.I.G.H.T." as well as a bunch of my own ideas.

    But they wouldn't do for Solo play . . . so your "Pony Wars" recommendation tugs at me.

    -- Jeff