Tuesday, January 21, 2014

The Sword and the Flame - Hosted by GwC at Siege of Augusta 2014

So, the one miniatures game at the convention this past weekend that I hosted was a big game of The Sword and the Flame.

It was set in the Sudan, with the forces of the Khalifa (successor to the Mahdi) on one side, and a combined Anglo-Egyptian relief force on the other side.  Here is the write up that was submitted to the fine folks running the convention:

Name: "Close Scrape in the Soodan"
Scale: 28mm
Rules: The Sword and the Flame 20th
Players: 8
Scenario: Khartoum has fallen, Gordon is Dead.  The Khalifa has taken over the vast, deadly army of the Mahdi's followers.  They are on a rampage, throughout parts of Egypt, seeking to eliminate any enemies of the Mahdist cause.  Famous Egyptologists Emerson and Peabody, having abandoned their dig site, returned to the small river village where they left their falucca, which was to carry them back out to the Nile, and to safety.  A company of Egyptian troops are within a short march of them, and a larger force of British troops are not much further away.  But, the forces of the Khalifa are drawing closer, closer, closer... The game settles around the possibility to rescue the team of scholars, with a combined Anglo-Egyptian force, and against them mobs and mobs of deadly Mahdist warriors.  Played in 28mm, using The Sword and the Flame.

In the end, we had 5 players (Saturday night, when the game was hosted, is REALLY BUSY at Siege of Augusta, there were a zillion great looking games, and almost all of them were full).

Two brave souls decided to run the forces of the Mahdists, and three played on the Anglo-Egyptian side.

The table was 5' wide, by 12' long.  The center of the table had a smallish tributary of the Nile, crossed by two fords. The fords were both connected to roads, that ran off in the four different directions, off the table.  The rest of the table top was covered by sporadic rock formations, and patches of rough going.

Along the tributary, there was a make shift defensive area, manned by the two Egyptologists (Amelia Peabody, and her husband Radcliffe Emerson), along with 10 hired guards.

On one of the roads, near to the defensive area, was the Egyptian column.  It consisted of a company - 2 platoons - of infantry, a squadron of the Egyptian Camel Corps, and a krupp gun.

Egyptian Captain (with standard bearer and bugler), eyeing the placement of the Egyptian Krupp Gun
On two of the other roads, starting further away, were two companies of British soldiers (each with two platoons of infantry, no guns, no cavalry).

Two platoons of British Infantry, from the Denbigh Fusiliers
Arrayed against them was the Mahdist horde consisting of:
5 units of Beja tribesmen (Fuzzy-wuzzies, fierce swordsmen, fanatics)
3 units of Ansar sword infantry (Dervishes)
2 units of Ansar riflemen (hidden in some rock formations on the tabletop)
3 units of Ansar mixed sword and spear infantry

4 units of Ansar Cavalry (armed with a mix of sword and spear)
2 unreliable ancient cannons
The horde of Mahdist warriors, approaching the fords of the tributary

The game would have really benefited from having the three additional players - one to play the guards and Egyptologists, and two more to play on the side of the Mahdists.  As it was, the two Mahdist players grouped up almost all their units on one end of the table, because that was where they set up.  I, as a referee, should have set the units out on the edge of the table rather than letting them choose... live and learn.  Here are some excellent photos, taken by Charles Cabell, of the Fort Mill Historical Gamers club.  All figures are 28mm, Old Glory, and painted by GwC host, Chuck Turnitsa.  The exception is the Egyptian Camel Corps, which are 25mm scale, and Ral Partha - painter unknown.

Ansar leader directs the advance of the horde

Beja Tribesmen (Fuzzy Wuzzy) begin to mass, and move towards the ford over the tributary.

Approaching the ford...

Egyptian Infantry, standing their ground

Dervishes, coming out of the rocky country, approach the Egyptians from behind

The Hamilton Rifles, taking casualties from Ansar rifles, firing captured Snyder rifles

The Egyptian Camel Corps, in line abreast, ready to charge the Dervish

The moment before the clash!

What the Dervish Commander saw...

The Fuzzy Wuzzy tribesmen prepare to charge the Denbigh Fusiliers

The Charge!! The Fuzzy Wuzzy warriors come at the line of British soldiers at an angle, to try and avoid the worst of the deadly rifle fire!

Sgt Jones, Denbigh Fusiliers, in hand to hand combat with the Fuzzy Wuzzy leader

Meanwhile, Amelia Peabody (in green, with her deadly umbrella) and Emerson (in the tan long coat) are escorted by Lt. Pemberly, away from their defensive fort, leaving the wagons and supplies behind.

The hired guards performed admirably, even heroically, under the command of the able Lt. Pemberly.  Even the goats were compliant.

The guards escort the two Scholars to safety, their way secured by the British and Egyptian soldiers.  A supply wagon, and a stream of goats left behind.

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