Saturday, June 16, 2007

Sudan Campaign - El Obeid

Our club is currently involved in a Sudan Campaign using the rules set The Sword and the Flame and will last throughout the year, it started in March. Luckily, I game with veteran players (some more than 20 years' experience) who have accumulated vast amounts of beautifully painted figures from Foundry, Old Glory and several other manufacturers too numerous to mention as well as eye popping scenery. So here is an era where there is no purchase necessary and the only limit to the battles is in relation to thesize of the game table (12'x6'). Last night we played out the battles occurring on turn 4, but this is an attempt to catch up on what happened in the previous turns.

To obtain the campaign rules please check the SUDAN CAMPAIGN link on this blog.

Currently all provinces are in rebellion as the Mad Mahdi has been spreading the word (and Sword) across the Sudan. Egyptian and Sudanese forces were initially placed through out the Sudan with various strong points. Once the rebellion was under way, many of the small outposts fell with out a struggle(no table top game required) to ambush. Any other forces managing to survive were placed under siege with a limited amount of turns with supply. Khartoum is reinforced with extra infantry companies, artillery and cavalry. If the supply runs out, the defending units surrender....Khartoum is in a desperate state.

The Great Khendive of Egypt has sent relief forces south, but they will need to fight their way to Khartoum the entire way, all of the provinces are in revolt. England is sending help in the form of Guard and Highlander companies, and India has dispatched Cavalry and infantry support as well.

The Battle of El Obeid was the first tabletop game of the campaign. It was a small skirmish played out to get things rolling in the campaign. Egyptian infantry was breaking out away from Mahdist positions in a key town. The game played quick as the Egyptians had to march across open terrain to close with the enemy, it is a bit easier with artillery support.

Old Fuzzy is a tough opponent, in the rules "The Sword and the Flame" they get a bonus +1 to their melee die roll. As a frequent dervish player these are my favorite troops. Nothing too fancy, just close fast and kill. In this game, however, they are on the defense, milling about in the brush waiting for the infidel.

Dervish cavalry had attempted to sweep around the left flank,but they were checked by accurate gunfire. Eventually the Dervishes could not stand against the withering fire of the 2 Egyptian infantry companies. The Mahdist forces left the field and the Egyptians survived to fight again.... but as the revolt grows, so does the number of Dervish forces available for another skirmish.

A critical piece to the campaign system is that losses to Anglo-Egyptian infantry companies are very difficult to replace. If the player decides to fight to the last man and the unit(s) are wiped out, then that force is not available for the remainder of the campaign. Losses taken by the Allied player continue through to the next turns. So if a 20 figure company looses 10 men in a battle, then there is a chance that only 10 men are available for the next battle. So Allies must be cautiously aggressive in their approach. The Dervish/Mahdist forces have no worries about attrition. They may continually fight to the last as the number of units is dependent on the revolt number of the district and a die roll. A higher index and a lower die roll means lots of dervish units....very replaceable units at that.

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