Monday, October 10, 2011

Retreat to the coast.. Moves 1 to 4

It was a bit windy and blowy on Sunday for comfortable sailing [click here] and as I was also recovering from a trip Round the Island [click here] (the Isle of Wight that is - 75 miles on a yacht in just over 13 hours ... stupendous!), and as the current Mrs Steve the Wargamer and oldest Steve the Wargamer spud were at work, I decided that the omens were indeed good for a morning in the loft....

Having cleared away a few work items, tidied up some of the paper storm that is the loft state, made a sausage baguette [click here for the sausage details], brewed a cup of filter coffee, and then switched on the rugby, I was finally in a position to decide what the activity of the morning was to be, and it basically came down to a choice of three...
  1. hit the painting table where I have an American war of Independence regiment of Hessian Fusiliers awaiting touch up and basing - they're already painted so just need some tidying up - these will eventually grace the table as Infantry Regiment Erbprinz
  2. Kick off the first American Civil War ironclad game - table was set - just a matter of picking one of the trial rule sets and having a play through...
  3. I've been reading a lot of back issues of "Practical Wargamer", a number of which feature Sudan scenario's. Definitely a scratch to be itched there...
...had to be the Sudan, so I hoiked out my copy of the "A Good Dusting" [click here] rules (in preference at the moment to my own rules), and set up the table for another outing of Major the Honourable St John Wade-Smith and His Majesty Leopold II's observing officer Captain Lucien Verbeek (with his horse Teufel.. )

So without further ado - let us again to the sands of the desert...

Orders of battle: As with the previous game [click here] as advised in the rules I again went for a ratio of 3:1 (that's Dervish : Imperial)  for a close game; it worked last time and no reason it won't this game. This time however, I plan to 'recycle' the Dervish units so that I can use a bigger Imperial force...


All the following are under the overall command of Major the Honourable St John Wade-Smith (that paragon of Victorian gentlemanly valour..) - all British regiments are of course fictional...
  • 1st Battalion - North Middlesex Regiment of Foot
  • 10th Sudanese Infantry
  • 1 "Screw" gun - carried by camel
  • 1st Squadron - Rutlandshire Yeomanry (carbine armed British cavalry)


Starting force.. 
  • 3 units of Arab sword/spear men
  • 2 units of Arab rifles
  • 1 unit of Arab horse
  • 1 unit of Beja sword/spear men
  • One smooth-bore cannon with Egyptian prisoner crew
The first four "deceased" units will be returned to the table as Dervish reinforcements..

Mission: The Imperial force has been on an extended reconnaissance in an area to the north of Suakin as there have been isolated rumours of Dervish activity. They have now completed the reconnaissance and are making their way back to the coast, where they will be picked up by gun boat and returned to Suakin for some much needed rest and recuperation... but as they approach an isolated farm on the coast that marks their embarkation point, the sound of Dervish drums [click here] rends the air...

The following shows the immediate area - the Imperial force enters from the  top of the table directly opposite the water - all textured tiles & hills are classed as rough going, the rocky outcrops are impassable - British mission is to make it to the coast (bottom of the table) with the majority of their force intact...

Move 1:

...and the Imperial force enters the table - in hindsight far too closely deployed but that was remedied on subsequent moves. The infantry in column on either side, screened by the Rutlandshire's, and with the artillery in the centre with Wade-Smith...

No Dervish units arrived on this turn so the British move towards the coast was unopposed...

Move 2: 

The Rutlandshire's report signs of Dervish activity to their right, and dust clouds towards the coast where the farm can only just be seen through the heat haze...

I had rolled for a Dervish appearance, was successful, and the subsequent roll showed 3 Dervish units as having arrived - position of entry and how far they moved were decided by dice roll.  Two of the units were deployed on the coast and I decided they were out of visibility range of the British (an arbitrary decision that spotting would be clear line of sight and a maximum of 36") so their movement was diced for on the relevant chart..

At the end of the position was as follows:

Move 3:

...and two of the Dervish units are now on the move - the one to the right can see the British cavalry and has orders to close on them at maximum speed - on the coast one of the units is staying put, the other has gone looking for trouble...

..the Imperial force spreads out to give themselves some room - the artillery and the cavalry have drawn forward to cover the rest of the column - my intention is to dismount the cavalry and deploy/assemble the gun... further Dervish units appear..

Move 4:

..and another two Dervish units appear - one in support of the Dervish charging the British, and another on the coast..

The Imperial infantry prepares to form square - the cavalry has dismounted and the gun deployed. These latter two both fire causing two casualties to the left'most Dervish unit..


..and that's it for this instalment - but stay tuned for more thrilling adventures in the Sudan as I play the game through in a leisurely way, a couple of moves at a time, as and when I have a moment - happily I usually get to play a couple of turns in the morning before I leave for work...


  1. Nice solo setup and battle report, Steve. Looking forward to finding out if the Imperials outsmart the Dervish.

  2. It looks good, Steve . . . but when I click on the photos, what shows up is smaller images instead of larger ones.

    Are the Dervish foot forces on 2x 12 figure stands and the Imperial foot forces on 4 x 6-figure stands? And cavalry on 4 x 2-figure stands?

    -- Jeff

  3. Really nice looking game Steve.

  4. Great stuff. Tales of "daring do" to come I think.

  5. Good start to the report, keep it coming...they don't like it up 'em....sorry.

  6. Steve,

    The terrain looks great . . . but when I click on the photos, I get a smaller version, not a larger one.

    -- Jeff

  7. Hi Bluebear - I checked by clicking on them and I get a marginally bigger picture (the new Blogger post editor allows you to select the picture size to display when you add it so they're already the biggest I can fit on the page) - they definitely shouldn't be smaller though... guys - anyone else got a problem?

    W.r.t your basing question, I've fudged it to play "Good Dusting" as GD is a figure based set, rather than a Gilder based set where the base is the important factor (& which my figures were based for...) having said that it's still playable that way as the units on GD are pretty much a set size.. imperial infantry are 4 bases of 6 figures in two ranks, same with Dervish more or less - front rank only at long range and both ranks as short etcetc - all I do is count my bases in terms of figures, and just keep track of the drop from maximum using the little D6's

  8. Always enjoy your Sudan game reports. I really must have a go at my Plastic Mahdists too. Very envious of your round the Island trip too!

  9. I started colonial gaming with Gilder's handwritten set based on Pony Wars. Lots of fun. Ultimately I wanted a more complete set that had players on both sides. I wrote Battles for Empire. A second edition is about to be released. I retained Gilder's basing for my own collection and still love the look. Thanks for posting the Sudan reports.


  10. I enjoy your Sudan reports very much. I started colonials with Connoisseur figures and Gilder's handwritten playsheets based on Pony Wars. Ultimately I wanted players on both sides so I wrote Battles for Empire -- a second edition is about to be released. Still have my collection of Dervishes based on those lovely huge stands. Thanks again.


    1. Cheers Chris - you've reminded me I need to get them out for a game soon!