Saturday, 17 November 2012

Sudan 1883, Scenario 1: Stop, Thief!

With the secret project revealed, I can do AARs for the first two games Gharak and I got through in August. This is the intro to the campaign and take place at the start of the war, though the events and places are of my own devising. 

Egypt: Spring 1883. Egyptian-held Sudan is in turmoil. El Mahdi has emerged and gathered his 'Ansar' around him: the tribes Korfodan, Beja and Nile Arabs. Yet Egypt maintains garrisons across the Sudan. The Egyptians attempt to extract these garrisons and mobilise its field armies to crush the uprising. They are aided by Britain, which provides military expertise, training and equipment to the Egyptian forces.  

Lieutenant Pilkington-Smythe is assigned to the Staff of Colonel William Hicks, chief advisor to the Egyptians.  The (fictional) garrison at Drongheda is uncomfortably close to the rebel stronghold in Kordofan. A stronghold and town on the Nile, it was chosen in as a trial location for to deliver British training in the Sudan. Training from the British army's finest: the King's Royal Rifle Corps, its small contingent led by a certain Sir Henry Huffington.  Huffington ensured he was given the assignment as he is partial to a little hunting and not so partial to soldiering, so prefers to avoid his seniors' watchful eyes. Worse, Huffington despises Hicks so much not even Cairo could hold the both of them. 

Hicks moves to extract British nationals across Egypt and the Sudan. To lose Huffington and his British trainers to the uprising would be embarrassing. But practically, Nile steamers cannot be risked in a rescue down the Nile. Instead, Lieutenant Pilkington-Smythe is dispatched with a small force to move swiftly over the friendly territory and command Huffington to return to Cairo. 

This first scenario was a little intro to ease us into the Brink of Battle rules.

Stop, Thief!

Day three of the march, with good progress made, all is quiet and our rescue party pitches for the night. 
Dawn comes, but something isn't right. Pilkington-Smythe stumbles from his tent. Where are the pack. Animals? They were right there...

The starting positions. Two Egyptian infantrymen and Pilkington-Smythe start awake, the others will rise as the racket starts (on a 5+ on turn 2, 4+ on turn 3 etc). Local tribesmen are paired, moving away with the baggage on mules and camels. Note the worst sentry in history snoozing on the hill!

Turn 2 orders phase. The rules were Brink of Battle, the 'any era' historical skirmish rules. I wrote quick rules for moving the baggage - mules were 4" or 8", camels D6" with +2 if there was an extra tribesman 'helping' them along. I bent the rules to allow group activations. The red gems denote troops who will activate in the coming turn. I wrote loose behaviour rules for the tribesman - they would both flee until threatened (i.e shot at), at which point one would turn to fight with the other making off with the loot! 

Pilkington-Smythe leads his men out to retrieve their essential supplies

I grabbed the 2012 National Geographic calendar from the wall as a rudimentary backdrop (leafing back to find a suitable one!), an idea I pilfered from someone's blog (I'll credit when I remember who!). I would like to sort a more permanent solution. 

With the commotion, the unfortunate sentry rises just in time to confront an angry tribesman...

The scenario played out over a few more turns, with the tribesmen being whittled down or abandoning their loot to flee. One nearly (oh, so nearly!) made it off. I think I made the scenario a tad too easy, while the stats for the Egyptian infantry were a bit pants, so werethe tribesmen, added to the fact they spent most of their time dragging animals rather than fighting. 

If I ran this one again, I'd stagger the pack animals, with some a longer distance from the camp, giving the tribal player the choice to play it safe and escape with a couple, or the whole lot if feeling bold! 

Our rescue party return with their baggage, having suffered just one casualty. 


  1. Excellent stuff, Phil and a great scenario. I really like how the calendar spoof worked - great idea.


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