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Monday, August 29, 2005

Springtime in the Sudan

(To all, this is a guest article from my son Andrew. Hope you enjoy it. I think he did an especially good job with the photos. Happy Hunting, "Bwana Bill")

Last time at Historicon I had the opportunity to take part in this excellent scenario for The Sword and the Flame, called "Springtime in the Sudan." This had a real good plot to it with lots of little tricks and surprises to keep the game interesting. This is just a brief summary from my point of view because a full battle report will appear in an upcoming issue of the Historical Miniature Gamer magazine (along with some of these pictures I have taken here).

I played the commander of an Egyptian outpost on the Nile (since I was wearing a blue shirt like the Egyptian commander model and my ally was wearing khaki like the British commander) who was an infamous slaver before those pesky Brits came in and made slavery illegal. The Dervishes were about to attack the outpost and my job was to get my boys out of town. There was one problem in that I could only escape by going on the roads which where in the middle of the table and the Dervishes could show up anywhere. Luckily for me, I had a little secret in that the headmaster's building and the outpost's mosque were connected by a secret tunnel (where else are you going to keep your "merchandise"?).

The game began with the British showing up, apparently to help protect the outpost from the Dervishes. A group of Fuzzie Wuzzies appeared early in some brush and attacked the Brits, which held them up a bit. Meanwhile I got one group of my boys ready to bring some hell upon any Dervishes that came down the road while the other group made there way into the headmaster's building (I would have sent my commander in but he was on a horse).

Much to my dismay some Dervishes appeared down on my side of the table and began to charge across the river bank and into the settlement while another group began to take our goats and the Egyptians in the outpost square was facing a charge from the front and the rear. So I had my rear rank turn around so the unit can fire at both enemies. I managed to kill a few of them in the shooting phase, but there were still a whole buttload of them coming at me. Soon the village was swarming with Dervishes and the guys in the square were surrounded on both sides while some Fuzzies charged into the building.

At this point it looked like my original plan was going down the tubes, so I had to develop a new one (where were the British at this time? They were just standing around shooting at the Dervishes in their area; thanks for the help guys). I figured my commander and the guys in the square were done for, but I could still save the soldiers in the headmaster's building using the tunnel.

After one round of close combat the Egyptians in the square (including the commander) were routed. With nowhere to run they were slaughtered. The next turn, the Dervishes charged into the headmaster's building to finish my boys off. That was when I played the tunnels rule and the Egyptians disappeared off the table (I think the shocked and confused look on the Dervish player's face showed how the Dervishes themselves felt). So for now, the Egyptians were safe.

What I didn't account for was that one of the Dervish players was out to destroy the mosque (I guess because it was "defiled") and had moved a group of Fuzzy-Wuzzies into the building cutting off my only escape route. Trapped between the two groups, the Egyptians fought against the normal Dervishes first and after a very lucky round of combat killed about seven of them and chased the others out of the tunnels. But the subsequent combat with the Fuzzies did not turn out so lucky. The Egyptians were locked in combat for a while with the Fuzzies, both sides taking casualties. Then more Dervishes entered the tunnel through the headmaster's building and the Egyptians were trapped between two enemy units once again.

The Egyptians tried to fight their way through the Fuzzy-Wuzzies but the Fuzzies killed many of them and routed them. Without anywhere to run, the Egyptians were slaughtered.

So the battle went on without me. One of the Dervish leaders went to take the head of the Egyptian commander to take revenge for the enslavement of his family, another one proceeded with his mission to kidnap all the goats, and another proceeded in his attempt to destroy the mosque. Then the Dervish player out for the commander's head tried to stop the destruction of the mosque and the two players continually struggled to start and put out the fire. The British finally made their way to the village just as the mosque was blown apart. The British decided to call it quits, but their mission objective was completed already (destroy the garrison).

So in the end everyone won except for the Egyptians (me), but it was probably one of the best games I have ever played. Thanks to Michael Koznarsky and Chuck Turnista for a great game!

Good Gaming!


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