Thursday, May 30, 2024

TMWWBK: Run for the Hills!

Tonight, Alex and I met up over at Huzzah Hobbies for our scheduled game. This time we would be playing some The Men Who Would Be Kings (TMWWBK) in 10mm. I chose Scenario E "Run for the Hills", where our 22 points British force was tasked with making it to the other side of the table. A 24 point Zulu forces would be coming from both sides to stop them. 

(The Leopard's Lair regiment...they would cover themselves in glory and blood this battle)

I was commanding the British and had "A", "B" and "C" companies of the 24th along with a contingent of Natal Native Horse (NNH) starting out on the right side of the table. Alex's Zulus had 3 regiments on each side (top and bottom) of the table. 

I began the game with the horse in the lead and the 3 infantry columns in March behind them (top to bottom: "A", "B" and "C"). Since the British have to roll leadership to move (shooting is their free action), there was some sputtering about. 

Alex inched his closest regiments forward as they (ineffectively) tried to skulk behind cover. Meanwhile, the Horse decided to run the gauntlet, make for the hills and leave their redcoat friends in the dust. This turned out to be a mistake. 

(The Sharp Points regiment looking for an opening to strike...they wouldn't find it)

The unmarried regiment "The Leopard's Lair" lurched forward and released a disorganized blast of muskets dropping some of the horsemen to include their commander Burt Lancaster Colonel Durnford. Leaderless and pinned, The Leopard's Lair closed in for the kill and wiped out the NNH to a man. 

Wishing to strike back, "C" company stopped moving and starting unloading hot lead into the Black Mamba regiment. After a few turns, the Black Mamba were no more. 

A company was attempting to follow suit against the Sharp Points (an unmarried regiment). "A" company didn't find quite the same success although they did drop some of their enemy . 

The other Zulu regiments closed in on the front of the British force and it was the Leopard's Lair who managed to shrug off the Martini-Henry rounds and crash into the thin red line of "B" company. The Leopard's Lair washed their blades in blood and drove back "B" company. C company attempted to come to their rescue and moved forward to cover "B" company's withdrawal. 

"C" company fought valiantly but were ultimately cut down to a man. The Zulu hordes would be cut down and pinned from rifle fire but would ultimately rally against the odds to surge forward. Soon "B" company was also wiped out, leaving just "A" company to continue the fight against the decimated Zulu regiments. 

Ultimately, :A" company managed to fend off the last desperate attacks of the Zulus and wipe them out to a man but they were left with just two bases of the original 12 from their company. As the remnants of "A" company marched off into the sunset, a tally of victory points showed the Zulus won 6 VPs to 1VP. 

(Remnants of  "A" company dispatching the last of the Zulus..or the other way around?)

The rules were incredibly simple and easy to play, especially with the various game aids (unit cards, QRS, etc). With units fighting to last man, it certainly felt cinematic. I think both Alex and I enjoyed the baskets of dice and the resulting carnage.

People passing by remarked that they liked how the 10mm made the tabletop feel like a real battle. I agree, the 10mm with TMWWBK really changed the look of the game and made it feel much more "grand". All in all, a fun time.


Sunday, May 26, 2024

Game preparation: TMWWBK

This coming Wednesday Thursday, my gaming buddy Alex and I will be playing a game of The Men Who Would Be Kings. The armies will my my 10mm Anglo-Zulu War stuff that I painted up several years ago for this very ruleset. This will be the first time playing the rules for both Alex or myself.  

To make things a bit smoother (hopefully), I watched a few YouTube videos on gameplay and I have printed up some game aids: quick reference sheets and unit profile cards. The cards are from the Shed Wars blog site, I ended up making one in the same style for the Natal Native Horse that will be on the table. I will probably make some game counters to reflect when units are pinned, close order, volley fire, or gone to ground. 

I have read some battle reports and reviews that mention native forces can really get bogged down when they are pinned. To help motivate this potential issue, I will add some terrain to break up the lines of sight for the Martini-Henry rifles and offer both cover and concealment for the Zulu forces. 

Here are some representative stands of the six Zulu regiments that will be on the tabletop (L-R): 

inDlondlo aka “Black Mamba” (Married)

InGobamakhosi aka “Bender of Kings” (Unmarried)

amaPhela aka “Cockroaches” (Married)

uThulwana aka “The Dust Raisers” (Married)

iNdluyengwe aka “The Leopard’s Lair” (Unmarried)

UmCijo aka “Sharp Points” (Unmarried)

The six Zulu regiments total up to a 24 point force. Our plucky British will field 3 companies from the 24th Regiment of Foot, the South Wales Borderers and a small unit of Natal Native Horse totalling up 22 points. The majority of the figures are Old Glory with a few Pendraken mixed in. All of the Native Horse with the exception of the English officer (Colonel Durnford perhaps?) are Pendraken. 

When I was initially planning this out, I thought I would paint up a small Zulu kraal and play out Scenario B: "Seek and Destroy" where my British would need to raze the native village to the ground. Real life intervened and that kraal was never built. Instead, I think either Scenario A: "Just Passing By" or Scenario E: "Run to the Hills"  might be a better option. In both of these, the British will have to be moving, so they will be less likely to deploy in close order firing lines. If it is the latter scenario, I will have to ditch the Native Horse to get down to the 18 points for the defender. 

Regardless of what scenario, I'm looking forward to getting some lead on the tabletop and rolling buckets of dice! 

Sunday, May 12, 2024

10mm Belgians 1914

Years ago, I embarked on a early WW1 project and painted up decent sized French and German armies for the opening weeks of the Great War. Nearly all of the figures were from the Magister Militum range (I had to use Kallistra dismounted cavalry and also opted for Pendraken artillery pieces). I always wanted to add some Belgians into the mix and found some on eBay some time ago. The unpainted figures languished in my collection and so I decided to finally tackle them. Here are the results. 

Here we have 4 battalions (each comprising of 4 infantry companies and a command base), a brigade MG company base and a regimental commander. I plan to add two more infantry battalions, perhaps a chasseur battalion and some other brigade assets. 

Close up of a battalion. Each base represents a company. The blue greatcoats are a bit darker in person. I have read they were a blue/black and attempted to recreate that with these guys (perhaps a bit more blue than actuality). 

A different angle of the same battalion. I will probably paint a battalion in black/green greatcoats and yellow shako pompoms to depict some chasseurs a pied. Unfortunately there aren't any Carabiniers in the Magister Militum range (although oddly they do have Carabinier machine gun crews). 

In an attempt to match the basing of the German and French armies, I went with a fine green turf flocking material. I prefer static grass these days but I wasn't displeased with the result. 

Closeup of the maxim machine gun. I use a homebrew, 2 page quick play ruleset I obtained from a friend over at the HAWKs wargaming group. 

Another angle of the machine gun base. I ordered a 3D print Minerva armored car that will provide some firepower that those plucky, outmanned and outgunned Belgians. 


Lastly, here is a picture of the regimental commander which is a French general from Magister Militum's Crimean War range. Unfortunately, there are quite a few gaps in the MM WW1 range (no senior command, no dismounted cavalry, no Russians, etc.) and I don't expect that to be rectified since the company has shut up shop.