Monday, November 16, 2015

"One Hour Wargames" - Scenario 6 - "Flank Attack (1)" - Set up & Game

With DG down for the weekend for our annual visit to Warfare it seemed a shame not to get together for a face to face game, and as out usual games are via Skype, which is not a medium suited to games where the units don't 'stand out' I suggested a desert game, either WWII or Sudan...  after brief discussion via email we chose the Sudan using the "A Good Dusting" [clicky] rules..

I then sat down to think of a scenario, but had a bit of a brainwave and decided to have a look-see at what the next scenario was in One Hour Wargames, to see if it could be modified or used..  the scenario is based on Salamanca - flank attack on a moving column - perfect, so the decision was made...

Rather than use the random force generator in the book I went with a vanilla solution based on the rules. I stuck with 6 units for the Imperial forces - one of Lancers (how could I not?? ), two of British regulars, 2 of Egyptian regulars (one Sudanese/one Egyptian), and a Gatling gun detachment. DG had the honour of commanding the Imperial forces, I took the Dervish...

Table was as follows:

Dervish arrival points are on the lower table edge - three tiles, 1/2 for the left, 3/4 for the middle, 5/6 for the right....

A road/track down the middle (vaguely marked by the scrub), leads to an Arab village garrisoned by one unit of Dervish, and an ancient 12 pounder crewed by captured Egyptians...Imperial entry on the left..

The rules recommend two to one, or three to two, for the Dervish but in the end I went for two to one as I thought the Imperial force would tear them apart and I wanted a balanced game... I rolled for the Dervish arrival as per the rules; starting at a high percentage on move 1, and deducting 10% per move, roll higher than or equal to the percentage to trigger Dervish arrival that move. If I got a positive result I then rolled for the number of units (1 to 3), the unit types, and I then rolled again for arrival point as per the caption above... I kept doing this, until I'd reached my 11 units and in the end I had 5 or 6 units of spear armed Nile Arab units, 2 of rifle armed Beja, 2 of cavalry, and one of camelry...

Let the game commence!

Next - DG has started his advance on to the table, but despite my telling him this was a Salamanca inspired scenario, and the first Dervish units having arrived on his left, he sent off a unit of foot to cover his right flank, while he cautiously probed forward...

Next - three units of mounted Dervish appear but get a rousing welcome from the Sudanese...

Who break off and loop back round to  look for easier targets leaving a unit of Beja riflemen to cover the gap..  on the hill in the middle distance the British infantry are suffering small, niggling, losses to long range artillery fire from the Dervish cannon. red dices in the following pictures are tracking casualties...

Next - BANG! Pluck tests are passed and the first hand to hand engagement is triggered on the hill as two units of Nile Arab spear men charge up the hill - elsewhere that Beja unit in the foreground is down to one base (blue dice) out of the original four it represents...

Next - all over bar the shouting - somewhat to my surprise, the Imperial forces were overwhelmed (??), and with not enough units to trigger his victory condition, DG conceded on move 20 or 21...

Post Match Analysis:
  • This was my fifth or sixth run out with the "A Good Dusting" rules, and while I'm reasonably happy with them, I took delivery of the "Sands of the Sudan" rules [clicky] some time ago and want to try them as there are some niggles with this set:
    1. There is a lot of dice throwing which can be fun to start wiith but is a bit of a faff after a while - a fully 'spammed' up force of four bases is throwing roughly 16 dice for casualty calculation, units then "hit" on a 3, 4 or 5 (depending on type), and have to throw those dice again for a "kill" - lots of dice throwing..  If I was going to stick with the game I'd modify it to fire by base rather than figure - throw one D6/base
    2. Imperial fire was fairly ineffective throughout - DG was getting the hits, but not the kills..  If I was going to stick with the game I'd modify it to fire by base as mentioned but unit scores the total as the number of 'hits', then throw for the 'kills' (or just leave the hits as actual kills for a really bloody game!)
    3. The "Pluck" (or Morale) rules are a little static...  an average Dervish unit for example has a pluck rating of 7, you have to get equal or less than that on two dice to pass..  the pluck value stays the same irrespective of how many casualties the unit has taken, so you get a situation where a unit could be down to it's last base but still has the same initial pluck..  If I was going to stick with the rules I'd drop the pluck rating by one for each base lost...
    4. The Gatling was pretty ineffective - despite hitting and killing on a 3, it only gets four dice - this doesn't stack with my readings of how devastating a weapon it was - but it was also a temperamental weapon and in the rules only jams on a double six...  If I was going to stick with the rules I'd allow more dice to hit, and a bigger chance of jamming?
  • Drinks up on the evening were an IPA [clicky] (has to be really given the period ) and on this occasion was "Ghost Ship" from the Adnams Brewery [clicky] snacks were BBQ Beef Hula Hoops (other potato starch based products are available...)
All in all then a good game and an excellent preparatory for Warfare, a veritable hors d'oeuvre for the main event (of which there will be a separate post), but not a wholly engaging result for the game..  time for a change!


  1. What a great looking game!

    Re the Gatling, it had a big morale effect too and I can imagine it was rather uncomfortable having all those bullets whizzing by! Perhaps forcing an immediate pluck roll with a penalty would make it more realistically effective

    1. Paul - one of the joys of the "Good Dusting" rules is that little mods like that are quite easy to slip in.. and I think if (when??) I play them again I will be looking into doing that.. good idea..

  2. Love the look of this game Steve - your figures and terrain are first class.

    If you have an queries on the Sands of Sudan rules don't hesitate to shout out mate - more than happy to assist.

    1. Carlo - very kind but pales in comparison with your wonderful set up.. I was looking at my figures on Friday during the game and thinking "I wish I'd started this project in 20mm"! I definitely have it in mind to do a re-basing exercise this winter as the figures (in my mind) are a bit crammed.. I still may redo the project in 20mm using the Newline figures which are wonderful.. just need the time...

  3. Great looking game Steve, and a good read. This period tempts me!

    1. Lee - I do seem to have a bit of a thing about desert period games.. my WWII project is North Africa as well rather than the more typical Europe/Russia, when I played Ancients my favourite period was the Punic Wars (North Africa again), and if I was to launch into Napoleonic's at any time I leave you to guess the theatre that most interests me!

      With regard to this period, give it a go, I was lost the first time I ever saw "The White Feather" and those excellent pictures in "Solo Wargaming" of Don's Empire India collection.. few pieces of card to represent the units until you decide if you like it and off you go.. C&C derivative??