Sunday, December 28, 2008

It's the Great War, not the Boer War (a wish list of sorts)

Here's what I would like to see from the various manufacturers out there covering this time period. Nothing obscure (no South Persia Rifles or Bikanir Camel Corps) just necessary odds and ends to accurately play this theater:
  1. It would be great if they would make an effort to release all appropriate figures necessary to construct a normal Infantry Platoon. This would mean that British / Imperial Infantry would have packs that included Lewis Gunners, Rifle grenadiers, Vickers teams, NCOs armed with rifles and Bomber teams.
  2. Mountain Guns-- These were common on both sides and would be much more likely to show up on-table than the field artillery that's commonly available.
  3. Hotchkiss Rifles (LMGs)-- from 1916 all British and Indian cavalry had these LMGs available at the troop level. Releasing cavalry without these weapons makes it impossible to replicate the cavalry tactics of this theater. At present no one makes these.
  4. Signals teams-- It would be great to be able to integrate these figures into our games. Artillery spotters, telephonists, heliograph operators, figures shooting verey lights and other signalists(?) would allow a more appropriate use of off-board artillery and other scenario specific possibilities. Communications difficulties were often a central part of why Great War battles played out the way they did. Also some rules (notably If the Lord Spares Us) depend on signals bases as part of their C & C rules.
  5. Turkish Cavalry-- Only one company makes these, and they are not lancers.
  6. Hussars-- several regiments were posted in Mesopotamia
  7. Imperial Camel Corps-- mounted & dismounted; 'nuff said

Monday, December 22, 2008


Worcestershire Yeomanry, Palestine 1916

Here are my priorities for painting:
  1. Finish my Sikh force. I've got two sections of infantry, a mountain gun section and a Vickers to paint (about 28 figures, some of which are in progress).
  2. Western Front support weapons for the Germans (Mg 08/15, captured Lewis guns) (about 6 figures).
  3. Start my Yeomanry (above) which will be represented using Battle Honors South African Horse (16 mounted, 16 dismounted).
  4. Harlem Hellfighters (16)
  5. More Arabs, much more (I've got about 34 to paint)
  6. More Turkish infantry (I've got more Woodbine and Copplestone infantry 30-40)
  7. Asienkorps (a Maximum, a Field Gun and two sections of infantry)
  8. Indian Cavalry (1 section)

So at my painting speeds that's about... oh say 6 months or more... and more figures are being released every day...

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Palestine 1918 game

Price Of Glory Game (Dec. 13, 2008)

(I will adds more photos as they become available)

also see Jim's report of the same game at

Setting: Palestine, near the Coast sometime during the first couple of days of the Battle of Megiddo.


Central Powers:

1 Platoon of Ottoman Turks (5 sections of 8-10 figures)

1 Ottoman Maxim Gun

1 Unit Ottoman Cavalry (10 figures)

1 Platoon AsienKorps (4 sections of 9 figures each) (Jim provided 2 units of germans)

2 Asienkorps independent LMG units

3 units mounted Arab infantry (10 figures each) (Jim's figures)

1 unit Arab cavalry (8 figures)

3 independent Arab snipers

British Empire:

1 Platoon Indian Army “British” Infantry (4 sections of 9 figures each, 1 section included a Lewis gun)

1 Platoon Indian Army “Indian” Infantry (4 sections of 9 figures each, 1 section included a Lewis gun)

1 Light Car with Lewis gun

3 units Indian Lancers (2 units of lancers were provided by Mike)

1 SE-5a making strafing runs


Western Sector: SW a village with large walled orchards; several large hills in the NW region

Central Sector: SW Shellholes; Center a 48” Wadi running from S to N; E a large Hill and (just to it’s North) a redoubt; N a small village

Eastern Sector: S walled olive yards; SE a Large Village with some adjoining walled orchards

The game was played as a meeting engagement contesting the ownership of three villages, a wadi and an abandoned redoubt.

The photo below shows the British Left and Center near the beginning of the game

  1. The Ottoman players deployed with The Turks in the center, Germans on the right and Arabs on the left. The Germans deployed a firing line and took hold of the Northern Village. They then began to lay down a murderous fire that swept ground being advanced over by the “British” Infantry and Indian Cavalry. The photo shows the Asienkorps early in the game, in the Northern Village
  2. The Indian Platoon began to move through the olive yards towards the Eastern village while a band of Arabs countered by occupying that village. A sniper in the near by hills took aim at the Gurkha’s NCO and took him out but was himself killed by replying fire. Todd’s Biplane made its first (ineffectual) strafing run against the front units of the Turkish and Arab forces.
  3. Todd’s Brits worked their way up the Wadi and into the shell-holes while on his right the Indian Cavalry Galloped straight forward towards the Turkish Center. An initial volley from several German and Turkish units routed the leading unit of Lancers, who retreated down the Wadi. The following unit was then hit by a charge from the Turkish cavalry who met their demise on the lance-tips of the Indians. Below, the lancers about to be charged after losing one section to enemy fire.
  4. Jim’s Asienkorps LMG teams began to enfilade the Wadi even as the British Infantry worked their way up it. Unfortunately for the Imperial players it was at about this time that the effects of fire began to tell on the lancers and they fell back (down the Wadi) to regroup in the Olive yards Gary’s Indians had recently occupied.At around the same time the model T was hit by Lewis gun fire from the Northern village and burst into flames. Two crew members were killed, the third crawled out, dismounting and setting up his Lewis gun, only to be killed by Arab sniper fire!
  5. The Se-5 was called away to other actions having only inflicted two casualties in its three strafing runs. Meanwhile the Arabs had moved into the Eastern village and it’s adjoining orchards. At this point Gary rushed abut two-thirds of the Indian platoon in to contest the village, while leaving his last section to lay down a murderous hail of lewis gun and rifle fire against the Eastern village’s orchards. This resulted in the Disbandment of one of the Arab units. The Indians and Arabs in the village began hose to house fighting, with many grenades being lobbed.
  6. The Turks had advanced, in line, while laying down a steady fire against Todd's British in the Wadi. This Platoon was also taking fire from most of Jim's AsienKorps infantry and LMG teams. The steady attrition began to tell against him and finally, after the Turkish Maxim began to enfilade he Wadi from the Northern village, the British had to relinquish the ground they had occupied. Below, the Asienkorps enfilade the Wadi; in the background Turks and Arabs.
  7. At this point we called the game for the Ottoman / German players. They held 2 of 5 victory locations (The Northern Vilage,The abandoned redoubt), were about to occupy one (the Wadi) and were contesting another (the Eastern Village). Also a section of Asienkorps was approaching the Western Village through the Western Olive Yards
It seems that a good time was had by all. We felt that the rules regarding charges need to be amended to more adequately deal with Cavalry.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Special Rules for Saturdays Game

  1. Strafing attacks may only take place against targets in the open, rough or on the roofs of buildings. Units on hills, in orchards, fortifications or Wadis are not eligible for attack (since they are not considered visible from the plane.)
  2. The attack is on a straight line from one table edge to another, at any angle.
  3. Any eligible target unit that is under the flight path of the strafing plane will be fired on by a Lewis Gun.
  4. Hits are only scored on a roll of “1”. Targets receive no Cover modifiers.
  5. Arab units that are strafed take an extra –1 to the MM of the attack (for a cumulative –3).
“Bombers” / Grenadiers
  1. Any Bomber figure will receive a +1 Marksmanship on all Grenade attacks.
  2. All Bomber figures are considered to be armed with a rifle even if the actual model is not so armed.
Light Patrol Car
  1. The Model T moves 30” It may only move in the open, in Rough or on roads.
  2. If the LC has a dash-mounted Lewis gun, that gun may fire in the front 180° angle of the model. A pintel-mounted LMG has a 360° field of fire
  1. For purposes of this game all Arab units move the same (as cavalry) if the units are shown with a mix of mounted and foot figures.
  2. Such mixed units will melee as infantry.
  3. If you would like to create an Arab Cavalry unit then spend one action combining mounted figures from any units that are within a cavalry move of the figure who will become the leader. All foot units then move as foot units and cavalry at the cavalry rates.
  4. All Arab units will Disband instead of Rout on the third Suppression marker.
  5. Arab snipers (there may be up to three) operate independently as per all Sniper rules
  1. Orchards count as -2 cover with 6” visibility into the terrain. Blocks LOS through the terrain.
  2. Hills are impassable except to snipers
  3. All figures are considered to be on the roof of village buildings, but receive full cover benefits of the building.
  4. The Wadi gives -3 cover to infantry in it and -2 to cavalry.
  5. The Wadi may not be crossed by any wheeled vehicle

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Notice the Helmets, August 1918 Palestine

From the same E-bay auctioneer as the posting below. I thought the head gear was particularly interesting. Brody Helmets with a "neck curtain". Soapy take note.

Indian Troops Clear an Arab Stronghold (1915)

I saw this page is for sale on e-bay by a Scottish dealer of ephemera ( It's apparently from the Graphic July 24, 1915. Indian troops are shown besieging a stronghold of the Bani Turuf (sp?) tribe who had killed wounded British troops. I post it since it immediately brings scenario ideas to mind.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Drums, aka The Drum on TCM Dec. 3

TCM sent me a reminder that Drums the classic 1938 Colonial adventure film will be showing at 12 am on Wed Dec. 3. This movie is a little bit like Wee Willie Winkie but with Sabu instead of Shirley Temple. Action against a evil usurper in a fictional Northwest Frontier principate. Set (nebulously) in the thirties so you get to see the Indian Army in the inter-war field uniform. If you like colonial epics, you'll like this one.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Insurrection in Mesopotamia, 1920

I just started reading a copy of The Insurrection In Mesopotamia 1920 by Haldane, James A. L. (ISBN: 0-89839-339-6) which I bought from Battery Press. It seems really interesting and is worth it just for Appendix IX alone (Notes on Arab Warfare) . I noticed there is an online digitized version available, so I'm posting this link:

Armored trains, planes, cavalry, MGs, fanatic warriors, etc.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Terrain I Recommend...

I have bought stuff from this guy (the Battlefield Architect) 3 times, with good results. Very solid and very basic. So... I'm recommending him. His stuff's on sale right now..

Monday, November 24, 2008

Worst Photo Ever

Battlehonors Mounted Arabs (I believe these were sculpted by Soapy), some remounted on West Wind Ponies. Out of focus, no base treatment.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Arab Revolt(s) Perfect Storm

I guess I got the bug. I swore I wouldn't run Lawrence of Arabia games; I've had Brigade & Battle Honors Bedouin figures sitting around for awhile, but I always intended to use them as Turkish allies (Shaiba 1915, Arabistan 1915, Ctesiphon 1915, Sinai 1915-1916). Now with the Artizan/Brigade Games Arab Revolt range coming out and Osprey's Arab Revolt title being released I just had to read up on Lawrence's adventures. So I pulled out Setting The Desert on Fire by James Barr and have been glued to it. Almost all the figures I have will work with this sideshow and it'll give me an excuse to paint up more Gurkhas. The second problem is that I have been reading this paper from the Strategic Studies Institute about the Iraqi revolt of 1920 ( and it's fascinating. Isolated outposts maintained by Air resupply, flying columns escorting trains through the desert, desperate ambushes... all the stuff of good gaming. So I'll be painting more Bedouins.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Forty Thousand Horsemen

I accidentally discovered this link. It has little clips from an Australian film called The Forty Thousand Horsemen which apparently is about the Light Horsemen in Palestine.

Sunday, November 16, 2008


(An image lifted from the book Through Palestine with the 20th Machine Gun Squadron

The Bedouin cavalry that I had mentioned in previous posts have been sitting primed but unpainted; now they are finally under way. Five of the 11 are done and three more are in various stages of "getting dressed". They are Battle Honors figures which are sculpted as Arab Revolt figures, but initially I will be using them mostly as Ottoman allies. There are two packs available an Arabs on horses pack and an Arabs on Camels pack ( The horse-monted Arabs have four figures per pack with four variant figures on several horse variants. The camel riders are all the same, but there seem to be three camel variants. I am aiming for one large P-O-G unit which will probably quickly evaporate under fire. I have two units of dismounted Brigade Games Bedouin to paint, but it seems unlikely they will be done by the game Jim & I will (hopefuly) be running on Dec. 13th, so their place will be filled by Jim's Tuareg / Berbers. Hopefully I will have a picture or two to upload soon.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Real Terrain

Here's a real photo (lifted from an Israeli tourism sight) of the Judean Hills outside of Jerusalem. This is the kind of the kind of terrain I'm aiming for in my Palestine Games. As you can see lots and lots of stone fences (in ACW terms), broken ground and hills. The terrain around Gaza and into the Philistine Plains would not be that different, though the relief would be less. Does anyone know of a good source for "ragged" stone walls wargames terrain? We have some at the club, but to fill up a lot of the table will take much more.

The second picture shows the cactus hedges typical around Gaza. I would like to have something to model these but who knows how I would do it. I have treated these in the past as equivalent to 1 string of Barbed wire, providing cover to defenders.

The third photo shows Turkish troops "in action" in the Judean hills.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

BBC Indian Army Radio Documentary

Just listened to a 3 part radio series on the WWII Indian Army in the Far East. Pretty good. Lots about mules! Here's the link:

My Sikhs in Action

I finished painting a section of Brigade Games Sikhs (including a Bomber and a Lewis-Gunner) plus Havildar and a Trumpeteer. These were promptly used in a large (fictional) colonials battle run by Mike K. this last Saturday (Oct. 18,2008) at the local club. Though only one Battalion of many They did their best to clear the a native town of their mutinous inhabitants. This is the definitely the first house-clearing I've done in a colonials game and I may take it as inspiration for a small game based on First or Second Gaza in the future. Unfortunately the picture shows only two of the newly painted figs, the others had died repelling a charge by native Ghazis. In the background you can see the poor, doomed Highlanders in their glorious red.
Photos Taken by Jim. You can read much more about this game at his Blog

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Lost Patrol

Last night TCM showed John Ford's film The Lost Patrol. A great adventure film that depicts a section of Hussars (I believe) lost in a sea of sand dunes in WWI. The context clues all point to this being Mesopotamia or Arabistan but that is not at all the point. The plot is simple and establishes a formula well known to modern viewers. A section of troopers is slowly whittled down by an unseen enemy and begin to crack up. You should buy or rent this film, then buy some Hussars and Arabs from Brigade Games. Essential source material for colonial skirmish gaming.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Check out Soapy's new post!

I just checked the new post on Soapy's blog and, as usual, he's got me all impatient and ready to spend my hard-earned cash. It looks like all kinds of good things are in store over at the Woodbine Design Company in the next year. Any how, support this guy and buy his miniatures

Sunday, September 21, 2008

The Gatling's Jammed!-- a rambling reading

I purchased Partizan Press' The Gatling's Jammed rules last week. They are a colonial wars variant of the General de Brigade Napoleonic rules, covering the period 1815-1911 or so.
As background I need to state that the club where I play uses General de Brigade and Guns of Gettysburg both of which use the same basic rules system. Since all the players know or are familiar with the mechanics of these rules, I have been looking at G-de-Bde variants with an eye toward using them for my games. The logical choice would seem to have been Bloody Picnic but those rules turned out to be a major re-engineering of the system, and, though I like the end result, it defeats the goal of introducing rules which are familiar and seamless.
So when I saw that this variant of the G-de-Bde was out, I took a look at a review( and was intrigued.
The Gatling's Jammed is self-described as General de Brigade lite and I think this is a very accurate description. The mechanisms are much less baroque than in the original while still retaining all the best elements of the original rules. Rather than being based on a # of figures representing a Battalion, units are built around single stand "elements" (read Companies) typically there are 4-6 elements in Regular Battalions while Irregular units may be anywhere from 2-10 elements strong. Each element will take a number of hits (based on Strength) before it is eliminated and often this ability to absorb damage will not be a known quantity with Irregular units until they actually come under fire. This then triggers a morale check. A player who was familiar with G-de-Bde. could be given a single side one page summary of differences and easily play TGJ.
Now, how does this apply to WWI in the near-east? As you know, I have been searching and searching for a divisional level game and since these rules accommodate everything from Jezails to Maxim guns they seem, on the surface, to be a workable solution for the earlier more "colonial" aspects of this theater. The campaign against the Senussi, the Mesopotamian campaign up to the siege of Kut (but especially 12/1914 through 5/1915), the Aden campaign, Darfur, Dyer's campaign in the Sarhad all could be played with a very minimum of modification. This would mostly consist of adding QF artillery, HE shells and a doctrine which emphasised deploying into extended lines.
But why not keep on using Price of Glory? The reality is that I probably will. The rules work well and for Skirmish action they are my first choice. That being said WWI in Mesopotamia and Palestine feels like a Division-level theater to me. The combined operations of Infantry, cavalry artillery and Armoured Cars seem to be best represented with Battalion sized units. The truth is that I'm a rules junkie and always get enthusiastic about new things. My club also plays and knows the Disposable Heroes system, and we will certainly be using P-o-G for Western Front stuff. But I can dream can't I?
Any how, I trust my opponents will keep me in line.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Artizan / Brigade Games Arab Revolt

Well I've been waiting for months to hear about this and now here it is! Lon has posted preview photos of the new Arab Revolt range on his Yahoo Discussion group. Oh Boy!
Of course I'll be using them as Turkish "allies" in 1915...

Monday, September 15, 2008

Some filler until...

Some exciting WWI action lifted from the Internet... more figure photos on the way!

Monday, August 25, 2008

Painting "Middle-Eastern" Faces & Hands

For my Turks, Arabs and Sikhs I have settled on a Three layer technique that seems to look the best to me.
(I usually prime these figures with Tamiya Dark Earth or Dark Yellow spray paint)
1. GW Foundation Paints Tallarn Flesh (a sort of Dark pink) is generously applied.
2. Thoroughly coated with GW Ogryn Flesh (a dark brown) wash.
3. Dry brush with GW Bronzed Flesh; More for Turks, less for Arabs and Indians.

To me the results look better than any of the other color combinations I've tried. You can see this approach used on the Turkish Bombers I featured in an earlier post.

On the painting table? You ask...

Finishing a section of Turkish infantry and another 2 Turkish Cavalrymen; prepping a section of Sikhs and NCOs (including a lewis gunner); Budhoo are patiently primed waiting to loot whoever happens to be weakest...

Monday, August 18, 2008

New figs in my collection

Some new Figures. The Bombers are from the Woodbine Design (Gripping Beast). The Lancers are old Minifigs colonials (or at least that's what they were described as) that I bought (painted) off of e-bay. They are really small (true 25s) but to me they have lots of charm. I glossed these figures up to accentuate the "toy-soldierness" of them.

A Game (from May 2008)

Here are some (bad) photos from a small game we (me, Mazz, Todd & Mike) played in May. This was a last minute affair that pitted a platoon of British Regulars, a platoon of mixed Indian Infantry and a Rolls Royce AC against about half that number of Turks and Asienkorps who were coming to the aid of an isoltated Turkish field piece. We used the Price of Glory rules.

Essentially the scenario was Brits cross the open while the Turks set up defensive positions along a wall.The Brits had little choice but to charge head long at their foe.

The first action was a duel between the AC and the Turkish gun. This ended when the Asienkorps scored a couple of critical hits against the car and killing all the crewmen inside. This is the second game where this has happened and I think it's unrealistic.

The Regulars advanced in an orderly fashion against their German opposites while the Indians attempted some fire & movement, dodging in and out of the "dips & folds" laying down fire with a lewis gun. This culminated in an attempt by some Gurkhas to charge a Turkish section who were operating from a shell hole. Big mistake. The Turks, with lots of supporting units to draw on, slaughtered the Gurkhas whose support was all "just out of range".

The turning point had come, and the rest of the Indian/ANZAC platoon was whittled away by fire from the Turkish defenders. I called the game just as Mike and Todd were coming to blows. But there was no chance of the British forces dislodging the enemy.

What can I say. Should've used a pre-made scenario of some sort. Oh well...
Also, in P-O-G Shellholes are much like theor real life counter parts. If you're defending get into them, even if other cover is available.

figures shown are: Battle Honors Turkish Cavalry, Battle Honors WWII Punjabi Infantry, Copplestone Turkish INfantry and a Matchboc Rolls Royce AC.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Weekend Reading...

I took my son to get vaccinated on Friday and, needless to say, barely left the house after that. Cranky ain't the word for it. During naps I put in a little bit of time reading some selections from my favorite books on WWI, the Official Histories (in this case Military Operations in Mesopotamia, vol. I and the Epilogue to Military Operations in Egypt and Palestine, Vol. II part 2). First I realized that there, in the afore-mentioned epilogue, all along, were the answers to some of the questions I've had regarding the application of "Western Front" tactics and advances to the Middle-East. I suggest you read the epilogue entitled Infantry Tactics if you get a chance. Nothing radical but enough to help me in regards to scenario design.

I also read the account of the Battle of Shaiba ( in 1915. Stirring. I think this may be my "favorite" battle thus far and is inspiring me to take a slightly different tack in my painting. I just bought some old painted minifigs Indian Lancers ad I'll be adding some more, either Brigade games or Castaway Arts (prob'ly both). But... the Budhoo are on the table and you should be seeing some painted Bedouin on the page in the near future.
I'll be reading more Mesopotamian stuff, for sure.

A new green from Soapy's Blog-- Gawd yes!

Me want... A Gallipoli Brit in serge. Green by Soapy. H*ll yes!

Monday, August 11, 2008

Link to a cool Gallipoli game report
Here's a link to a really good after-action report of a game recently played using the Warhammer Great War rules. I can only salivate with envy....

Monday, August 4, 2008

Focus on the Microwave, Please.

Notice how my phone focused on the Microwave? Well, at least you get the idea... Turkish Bombers from the Woodbine Design Company. Great figures that are full of character. I got some Kiwi ANZACs too. I'll eventually upload real photos.

Dulcote Disaster!

Be warned, at the very bottom of the Testors Dulcote instructions it says "Avoid using in very high humidity". Now I know why... I sprayed my Turkish Cavalry with this wonderful matte spray in our Sub-Tropical Summer air and boom! a fine white film is now covering my figures! Yikes! I've mostly saved them... but that's a hard price to pay, ruining several weeks work in a few minutes.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Essential Reads? PART 1

After one of the the previous posts, I began to think about what I might consider to be books that are my favorite reads for the Colonial period (1835 to 1945). Here are a few.
John Masters ( a novelist of pot-boiler-ish historical novels, most of which were written in the 1950s and 1960s, but he also wrote two autobiographical books that span his service as an officer with the Gurkha Rifles. The first, Bugles and a Tiger, is set in the 1930s and deals with Masters' life in the regiment and then with his experiences campaigning against the Red Shirt fanatics on the NW Frontier. Very good view of the tactics used in this sort of warfare. The next book was called The Road Past Mandalay and deals with the Gurkhas in WWII both in Iraq and then in the second Chindit operation in Burma.

Two books by Edwin Herbert have been published by Foundry Books (Wargames Foundry) The Small Wars And Skirmishes 1902-18 The Early Twentieth-Century Colonial Campaigns in Africa, Asia, and the Americas and RISINGS AND REBELLIONS 1919–39: Organisation, Warfare, Dress and Weapons. Interwar Colonial Campaigns in Africa, Asia, and the Americas are both excellent overviews of the extension of colonial warfare into the twentieth century. The second book (Risings...) is the better only because it contains an extensive set of Appendices discussing the various weapons and vehicles in use in these campaigns. Each book contains a 2-20 page synopsis of various small wars including uniforms, organizations and tactics for both sides. Though expensive, the books are well bound and will definitely retain their value as reference books and as collectible books.


Sunday, July 27, 2008

Next Project?

Well, I'm getting to the point where I've got all the (unpainted) miniatures I needed to run the WWI in Palestine games. What next? There is talk of a 1914 project at the club, my Indian Army figures will do double duty but probably I'll paint some French and some Huns. I still have plenty of Maori Wars figures to paint and I'd like to run this again using the Iron Ivan F & IW rules. BUT I've been thinking a lot about dove-tailing into Mazz's (sp?) Pacwar project and doing a small Kokoda Trail project with Aussies and natives mixing it up against the Japs... what do you think? Swore I'd never do another jungle game again ....

Sunday, July 13, 2008

On the Painting table...

Half a Turkish section; Punjabi Vickers gunners; a Light Car Patrol Model-T with Lewis Gun. A cell-phone photo so... bad...

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

I just started reading this book and I love it! Re-released by Leonaur Press, it was written F. James, by an officer in the Indian Cavalry about his participation in the East Persian Cordon, the campaigns by Dyer in Sarhad (in Eastern Persia) and later about his involvement in the Back -of -Beyond-esque British intervention in Trans-Caspian Russia. Very readable so far, very evocative of the dry, desparate spaces just West of Afghanistan... it reminds me that even for straight-up colonial style Brits vs. Natives warfare you need not leave the Great War. When combined with Operations in Persia 1914- 1919 by Moberly one can develop games using a wide variety of forces including all kinds of Indian Army units, Caucasian Cossacks, Turks, German advisors, Bolsheviks, Baluchi natives, Arab natives, British Regulars, etc.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

"On the Painting Table"

Dead Turk green from Soapy's Blog

Right now a "unit" of Turks and some Asienkorps NCOs. A whole bunch of Copplestone Castings Indian Army figs are on the way and may be doing double duty on the Western Front 1914. I'm super excited about the new WWWI in the East line from Woodbine Designs, I haven't ordered from them yet, but you can bet I will.Soapy's Blog on designing these figs:

Rules, Rules and more rules

So I have now read about 7 or 8 rule-sets for WWI. Some are skirmish or semi-skirmish (Price of Glory, To the Last Man, Trench Wars), some are Brigade level (If the Lord Spare Us, Contemptible Little Armies, Bloody Picnic)others Division level (Bloody Picnic, Square Bashing)or even Corps level (Great War Spearhead). I originally set out with Division or Brigade level as my goal. Why? Well as you probably know I'm interested in the Indian Army, and when using Divisional rules you can use different figures for each Battalion sized unit.Since the Indian Army's Division's tend to be made up of 1 "British" btn and three different Indian Battalions (for example Sikh, Gurkha and Punjabi battalions)this is a good way to have colorfully mixed forces on the table. Also it just feels like the right level for this conflict.The only rules I have actually played are Price of Glory.
After reading all of the above rules-sets, it would seem to me that P.O.G. is the best choice for small unit skirmishes. I like the abstracted movement style and the way that you can mount your figures using any method you care for. The rifle fire seems too accurate and too fast though, especially when compared with the stats for Lewis guns and Maxims. I also believe that it would be better to treat Artillery and HMGs as almost nearly static. In the last game I did not allow either side HMGs and the Turks started with a fixed artillery piece.

Without having played them, I like Square Bashing, If the Lord Spare Us and Bloody Picnic about equally well for higher-level actions, but for different reasons. Bloody Picnic seems the most comprehensive and most up-to-date, ultimately it's rules are simple and very clean. They are based on General de Brigade but are much cleaner. That being said the rules are expensive and long, since the designer covers everything from weather to preliminary bombardment and air superiority. If you ignore much of that (and the rules do not mandate that you pay any attention to that stuff) BP is really nice.
Square Bashing (and it's supplement Storm of Steel)is much more abstract (see this web-site and is explicitly boardgame-like. The rules are the oldest on this list, but are in many ways the most innovative (again see the link above for more info). SB seems to me to be the rules-set that most accurately represents the War in all of it's varied facets / fronts while at the same time being playable. Though the rules say they are for 15mm figures, the "Square" system means that any scale is usable and if, necessary the squares themselves can be scaled up or down. If the Lord Spares Us is a Brigade-level game from Two Fat Lardies. Poorly organized, it is still a really solid set using a card-based activation sequence. It is the only game that is specifically oriented towards WWI in the Near East.
I'm a rules nerd, so my dream would be to play at least one game with each of the above higher-level rules-sets, but I'm going to try to see if someone will play a game of Square Bashing.

Monday, June 16, 2008

An older photo

I found this photo on my phone. It shows the initial British set up in our first Price of Glory game. Mazz painted most of the regulars. Also you can see the anachronistic Ford A.C. standing in for a Rolls Royce. IN the background is an 18 pounder.