Saturday, April 30, 2011

Cango River Command

The Cango River forces (run by Alex) are as follows . . . officers are in red and all "British leaders" are in boldface . . . and officers will have the dates of their commission listed.

(note: click on photo below for larger image; click again for even larger image)

Headquarters Contingent:
  • Capt. Alexander Davidson -- (Jan, 1870) -- commanding officer
  • Lt. Alex Brightwater -- (Feb, 1871) -- adjutant, 2nd-in-command
Platoon of the 59th Regiment of Foot -- (2nd Nottinghamshire)
  1. Lt. Robert Locksley -- (Mar, 1872) -- platoon commander
  2. Sgt. Albert Forrest -- platoon sergeant
  3. Pvt. David Green
  4. Pvt. Thomas Peters
  5. Pvt. Frank McPherson
  6. Pvt. Alan Hunter
  7. Pvt. Edward Armstrong
  8. Pvt. Andrew Richardson
  9. Pvt. Henry O'Neill
  10. Pvt. Charles MacDonald
  11. Pvt. Lloyd Sewell
  12. Pvt. Edgar Tobin
  13. Pvt. Peter Lindsay
  14. Pvt. Elliot Guthrie
  15. Pvt. James Ball
  16. Pvt. Timothy Smith
  17. Pvt. Ronald Atkinson
  18. Pvt. Howard Wright
  19. Pvt. George Holden
  20. Pvt. James White
Squad of 24th Regiment of Foot -- (2nd Warwickshire = South Wales Borderers:
  1. Sgt. Owen Alexander -- squad leader
  2. Pvt. Hugh Jones
  3. Pvt. Evan Williams
  4. Pvt. Bryce Davies
  5. Pvt. Rhys Evans
  6. Pvt. Tristan Jones
  7. Pvt. Clyde Thomas
  8. Pvt. Gavin Blayney
  9. Pvt. Dylan Hook
  10. Pvt. Vaughn Thomas
Platoon of Sepoys (2nd PFF -- Punjabi Frontier Force) commanded by Lt. George Appleby -- (Dec, 1872).

Squad of 3rd Gurkha Regiment

Reserves -- commanded by Lt. Robert Milne -- (Oct, 1872) -- stationed in port of Stupt in the Tewfiq District.

The Cango River System districts are:
  • Tewfiq -- veldt -- (Egyptians) -- note: port & fort
  • Derf -- farmland -- (Fuzzy Wuzzy) -- note: mission
  • Jadu -- hilly -- (Pathan) -- note: trading post
  • Zirak -- hilly -- (Pathan) -- note: trading post
  • Anwak -- farmland -- (Dervish)
  • Bele -- wooded -- (Zulu)
  • Noair -- badlands -- (Dervish)
  • Quett -- badlands -- (Pathan)
  • W'tut -- wooded -- (Zulu)
(note -- the other district forces will appear over the next few days)

==================== ##### ====================

Note -- I have provided names for all of the "British" because these forces are for a campaign. I want the players to become attached to their men so that they become "attached" to their forces . . . and don't throw troops away in fruitless efforts . . . in other words, to behave as field commanders would.

-- Jeff

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Mustering the Troops

I now have finished painting the troops which Alex, Pete and Murdock will field. I still have to order my own however . . . so until then I will have to borrow troops if my forces are involved in a battle.

While all of the forces are essentially the same in "game terms", they do have slightly different looks to them. Each force will consist of the following (with their position in the photos in parentheses):
  • a mounted Captain -- (center rear)
  • Senior Lieutenant on foot -- (center front)
  • Platoon of "British" -- (your left front)
  • Platoon of Sepoys -- (your right front)
  • Squad of Gurkhas -- (your left front)
  • Squad of "British" -- (your right front)
Now, reversing the order in which my players picked their River Systems, Alex will have first choice of which force he'd like to command; Pete will have second choice; and Murdock will get the one left over.

(note -- click on photo for larger view; click twice for even bigger view)

Group A (above) Has a platoon of Scots instead of British

Group B (above) Has a squad of Scots instead of British.

Group C (above) Has all British (and no Scots)

So, Alex, please let me know which group you like best . . . and Pete, you had best be thinking as well.

-- Jeff

Friday, April 22, 2011

"Rebellion Index" Clarification

Having done a bit of thinking lately, I have decided to move my Afristan Campaign even farther from the Jarania Campaign that inspired it . . . because of a different map and mix of forces.

(note: click on map for better view; click twice for best view.)

Each player has four different types of Districts among his nine Districts in terms of "content":
  • one Home District containing a port and a fort
  • one Missionary District containing a a mission
  • two Trader Districts each containing a trading post
  • five Normal Districts only containing natives
Because I've decided to eliminate the "British" garrisons in the "Home Districts" so that they will also be susceptible to going into Rebellion, I've decided that the die rolls for each type of district will be as follows:
  • Home Districts will roll 1d6 and subtract four
  • Missionary Districts will roll 1d6 and subtract two
  • Trader Districts will roll 1d8 and subtract four
  • Normal Districts will roll 1d6 and subtract three
Only positive results will affect the Rebellion Index by adding to the current Index Value (negative results will be ignored). At the start of the Campaign, all Districts will have a Rebellion Index value of "2". If a Normal District were to roll a 4, its Index would go up one (4-3=1) to 3; if a Home District rolled the 4, it would stay at 2 (4-4=0); but if a Missionary District rolled the 4, it would go up to 4 (4-2=2).

Thus it should be obvious that the Missionary and Trader Districts have the potential to be more volatile than Normal Districts, potentially increasing by as much as 4 points; while Home Districts will only go up if a 5 or 6 is rolled and thus are much more stable.

By the way, while I said that the British garrisons had been deleted from the Home Districts (and replaced with Pasha Omar Mustapha's Egyptian troops), there will remain a "Headquarters Squad" plus any Reinforcements that accumulate. While the player's Captain or Senior Lt. may be left in charge of this HQ, the "extra" Lt. (until he eventually commands a Cavalry unit) should be there in addition to the command's doctor and commissary.

When a "Field Force" exits a District without losing a battle, that District's Rebellion Index will return to 2 . . . the same value at which all Districts will start in January, 1876 when the Campaign begins.

I should note how the "Rebellion Index" works. When a player's "Field Force" enters a District, I will roll 1d20. If the number rolled is lower than the Rebellion Index, there will be fighting . . . with the difference between the Rebellion Index and the d20 roll being the number of units that the Field Force will be facing. Thus a high Rebellion Index can be quite dangerous.

-- Jeff

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Areas of Afristan

The island of Afristan, while nominally ruled by Pasha Omar Mustapha, needs a continually roving British Imperial presence in order to "hold the lid on" his rebellious subjects.

(note -- click on the map for a larger view; or click twice for a much larger view.)

Afristan is divided into four "River Systems": the Cango, Vile, Tyger and Wazu.

Each of these areas contains nine "districts", one of which is inhabited and controlled by the Pasha's (Egyptian) troops. The other eight are inhabited by a variety of native types (Pathan, Dervish, Zulu).

The mountain ranges (pinkish in color) are natural borders. The thick black lines are further borders.

Alex's forces will be responsible for the Cango River System and it's districts:
  • Tewfiq -- veldt -- (Egyptians) -- note: port & fort
  • Derf -- farmland -- (Fuzzy Wuzzy) -- note: mission
  • Jadu -- hilly -- (Pathan) -- note: trading post
  • Zirak -- hilly -- (Pathan) -- note: trading post
  • Anwak -- farmland -- (Dervish)
  • Bele -- wooded -- (Zulu)
  • Noair -- badlands -- (Dervish)
  • Quett -- badlands -- (Pathan)
  • W'tut -- wooded -- (Zulu)
Murdock's forces will be responsible for the Vile River System and it's districts:
  • Urabbi -- farmland -- (Egyptians) -- note: port & fort
  • M'tubel -- wooded -- (Zulu) -- note: mission
  • Bejj -- badlands -- (Fuzzy Wuzzy) -- note: trading post
  • Dinga -- badlands -- (Dervish) -- note: trading post
  • Alghaz -- badlands -- (Dervish)
  • Ghilz -- hilly -- (Pathan)
  • J'ele -- farmland -- (Zulu)
  • Tarqa -- veldt -- (Pathan)
  • Z'ooli -- veldt -- (Zulu)
Pete's forces will be responsible for the Tyger River System and it's districts:
  • Nukar -- veldt -- (Egyptians) -- note: port & fort
  • Ta'ish -- wooded -- (Dervish) -- note: mission
  • Afridi -- badlands -- (Pathan) -- note: trading post
  • Swati -- hilly -- (Pathan) -- note: trading post
  • Dendoa -- hilly -- (Fuzzy Wuzzy)
  • G'umb -- veldt -- (Zulu)
  • Luni -- badlands -- (Pathan)
  • M'wez -- wooded -- (Zulu)
  • Umma -- farmland -- (Dervish)
My forces will be responsible for the Wazu River System and it's districts:
  • Kamel -- veldt -- (Egyptians) -- note: port & fort
  • Baqqar -- farmland -- (Dervish) -- note: mission
  • Fuziwa -- hilly -- (Fuzzy Wuzzy) -- note: trading post
  • Shluk -- wooded -- (Dervish) -- note: trading post
  • Dwari -- hilly -- (Pathan)
  • Likaz -- farmland -- (Zulu)
  • Mazood -- badlands -- (Pathan)
  • Ngoon -- wooded -- (Zulu)
  • Wazri -- veldt -- (Pathan)
-- Jeff

Thursday, April 14, 2011

The "Reinforcements" Problem

Because I have a limited number of Colonial miniatures, I do not think that the rather generous "reinforcements" from the Jarania Campaign will work for Afristan.

As of this writing, I have enough "British" figures for Murdock, Alex and Pete to each have a platoon and a squad . . . although I don't have any figures for myself, so I'll have to "borrow" some of theirs for some time yet. I'm also pretty near having completed a Sepoy platoon for each of them, as well as a Gurkha squad . . . and again, no troops for me . . . *sigh*.

I've been working primarily on Pathans (and am awaiting an order of Zulus to join the Dervishes, who will need to be painted). Anyway, for the time being, I want to focus on painting Natives, not buying and painting more Empire troops . . . so I don't want to be too generous with reinforcements.

Also, because my Native forces will be limited for the time being, I don't want to introduce cavalry, artillery or machine gun units yet. So what I'm thinking about is something like this:

Each month I will roll 1d6 for reinforcements . . . noting that all reinforcements will remain in reserve in the player's main district (Tewfiq, Urabbi, Nukar or Kamel) until they are used as replacements for casualties OR are numerous enough to form new units (providing I then have miniatures for this).

The d6 rolls may result in something like the following (although these are first thoughts and subject to change). Unless otherwise indicated, all troops are on foot:
  1. one Sepoy
  2. either two Sepoys; one "Briton"; or one Gurkha
  3. one Cavalryman; three Sepoys; or one "Briton" and one Sepoy
  4. one Artilleryman; one Cavalryman and one Sepoy; two "Britons"; or four Sepoys
  5. one Lieutenant; one Cavalryman and one "Briton"; one Cavalryman and two Sepoys; two "Britons" and a Sepoy; one "Briton" and three Sepoys; or five Sepoys
  6. one Lieutenant and a Sepoy; two Cavalrymen; three "Britons"; or six Sepoys
(note that a "Briton" could be either British or Scots)

The obvious bias in the above chart is toward accumulating Colonial troops (the Sepoys) . . . after all, Afristan is a backwater and there is little use in wasting too many British troops there.

-- Jeff

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Player's Officers

I have asked the players in my upcoming campaign roll some dice for me, which (unbeknownst to them) has generated the "commission dates" for their officers.

Murdock's officers shall be in purple; Alex's in red; Pete's in green; and mine in blue. First we have their Captains, each of whom will command the forces in one of the river districts:
  • Capt. David McMurdock -- (Nov, 1868)
  • Capt. Peter Webley-Grant -- (Nov, 1869)
  • Capt. Alexander Davidson -- (Jan, 1870)
  • Capt. Jeff Ellis -- (Jun, 1870)
(Note -- click on map for larger image; click twice for a much larger image.)

Thus, Murdock will have first choice of which river district he'd like to be in charge of . . . and he has chosen the Vile River System; Pete will have second choice . . . and has chosen the Tyger River System; Alex will police the Cango River System; and therefor I will find myself going up the Wazu.

The bold-faced "Leftenants" below, as the respective senior Lt. under their captains, will be tasked as their Captain's "Adjutant" (his second in command). The remaining three are to be assigned by their Captains (i. e., the players) to the following tasks:
  • one is to command a platoon of Britons
  • one is to command a platoon of Sepoys
  • one is to establish and command a troop of Cavalry
Here are the Lieutenants in order of seniority:
  • Lt. Alex Brightwater -- (Feb, 1871)
  • Lt. Hugh Jeffers -- (Mar, 1871)
  • Lt. Pete Kipling -- (Feb, 1872)
  • Lt. Robert Locksley -- (Mar, 1872)
  • Lt. Geoffrey McWilliams -- (May, 1872)
  • Lt. Hiram Peterson -- (Jul, 1872)
  • Lt. Dave Sharpe -- (Sep, 1872)
  • Lt. Robin Milne -- (Oct, 1872)
  • Lt. Andrew Dryden -- (Nov, 1872)
  • Lt. George Appleby -- (Dec, 1872)
  • Lt. Ethan Terry -- (Sep, 1873)
  • Lt. Kenneth MacDavid -- (Oct, 1873)
  • Lt. Jack Worthington -- (Nov, 1873)
  • Lt. Brian Rivers -- (Apr, 1874)
  • Lt. Neil Cosgrove -- (May, 1874)
  • Lt. Christopher Stewart -- (Nov, 1874)
  • Lt. Nigel Weston -- (Dec, 1874)
  • Lt. Lloyd Evans -- (Jan, 1875)
  • Lt. Brandon Sinclair (Feb, 1875)
-- Jeff

Monday, April 11, 2011

Campaign Changes -- 4/11/11

I have decided to make a few changes to the Campaign. Originally I had planned on following the guideline set down in the Jarania Campaign (which inspired mine) of having the "rebellion index" rise by 1 each month that a district was not visited.

I have decided to change this to increasing by 1d6-3 each non-visited month. This, while averaging out to the same increases over time, should generate more volatility and less predictability.

(Note -- click on map for larger image; or click twice for much larger image.)

I have also decided to allow players to spend a month "traveling the river" instead of visiting a district. This will allow them to move from one district bordering on the river to any other district bordering on the river. Such a journey would take a month. Note that such travel may only take place on the "blue" portions of rivers -- not the white "headwater" sections.

-- Jeff

Friday, April 8, 2011

The "Training Game" -- Some Thoughts

My goodness, how did a month go by since my last post? I'll have to blame "real life" issues like another gout attack. Indeed, I'm trying to fight another one off as I type . . . I just seem to like the wrong kinds of food, I guess . . . *sigh*.

However, I've done some thinking about a "training game" before starting my Afristan Campaign. Since none of the players that I've lined up have ever played "The Sword and the Flame", I figure that it would be a good idea to introduce them to the basics in a "training game.

I'll set it up for two British players and two Pathan players . . . those being the only natives that I currently have painted . . . yes, I need to schedule a painting day once my latest order of figures from Great Endeavors arrives with Dervishes and Zulus.

One British player will have been on a foot patrol when they came across some civilians who need rescue from a large number of Pathans. This force will consiste of:
  • 1 senior Lt. (on foot) in command of the following troops:
  • 1 platoon of 20 Sepoys with British Lt and native NCO
  • 1 ten-man squad of British soldiers with NCO
  • small group of carbine-armed civilians (no leader)
  • some wounded civilians
They will be "pinned down" (general situation, not the game "pinned" mechanic) in and around a pair of small buildings.

Word having reached a nearby foort, there will be second British "rescue" force consisting of the following:
  • 1 senior Lt. (on foot) in command of the following troops:
  • 1 platoon of 20 Sepoys with British Lt and native NCO
  • 1 ten-man squad of British soldiers with NCO
  • 1 ten-man squad of Gurkhas with NCO
  • 1 civilian (armed with carbine)
  • 6 mules with three muleteers armed only with melee weapons
I will keep the number of Pathans a mystery for the time being . . . but they include units armed with jezails, with rifles and with only melee weapons. The mounted civilian who managed to reach the fort said that he thought that there were probably "a couple of hundred tribesmen" . . . but he's a civilian, what does he know?

I've deliberately not included mounted troops, gatling guns or artillery (unless the Pathans have some of these) because I want the players to only have to concentrate on the basic mechanics.

By the way, the Pathan players will each have their own long-edge half of the table. The relief force will enter on the short-side table end farthest from the "pinned" force. Table is 5' x 11' and will have a variety of terrain. The Pathans will record their deployments of any "hidden" units . . . those firing on either British force must, of course, be placed on the table top.

My current thought is to allow both British forces to "move" one unit each on any red card; and both Pathan forces to "move" one unit each on any black card. However, for shooting, I think I'll assign a suit to each player . . . although once one player has fired all of his units, his suit will also belong to his fellow for the remaining firing.

Of course, some (or all) of this may change . . . but for now, this is what I'm thinking of.

-- Jeff