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Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Useful Modifications to “The Sword and the Flame” Rules

For those of you that are collecting figures for Sword and the Flame (TSATF), I came across a modification that you should be aware of. This modification could be very important to you since it could save you quite a lot of money, or allow you to get started before you have finished collecting everything you need to play. The modification is basically this: 8 figures per unit instead of 20. A gent named Mark Fastoso came up with this. Mark is writing a scenario book on the 1879 Zulu War and I participated in a play testing of one of these scenarios, the Battle of Intombe, at Cold Wars. It works quite well and it allows you to field more units without increasing the number of figures. Best of all, it could allow you to get started, or branch out into a different aspect of TSATF, without having to acquire an extensive collection of figures. For example; I now have an extensive collection of British and Zulu figures and I can stage large scenarios using 20 figure units. However, I recently got an urge to branch out into French Foreign Legion (FFL) scenarios for TSATF. Using Mark’s modification I can now do this without having to collect and paint a huge number of FFL figures. I have talked to other gamers who use these modifications with 10 figures per unit.

Before you try playing this way you have to change a few other procedures in the TSATF rules, this is what Mark suggests:

1. Unit Sizes: These scenarios use smaller units than traditional Sword and the Flame. Infantry units have 7 soldiers and 1 leader figure. Cavalry have 5 soldiers and 1 leader figure. Artillery has 2 figures, each figure counting for 2 firing dice.

2. Stragglers: Since units are smaller the “straggle die” is reduced. When an infantry unit charges roll one d6. 1-2 = One Straggler, 3-4 = Two Stragglers, 5 = Three Stragglers, 6 = No Stragglers.

3. Officer Pistol Rule: Do not use the officer pistol rule. Count the officer as having a rifle. If your group really likes the officer pistol rule feel free to use it, but we have found that a game with 8 figure units works a little better without it.

4. Movement: Cavalry move 5d6 and charge 6d6. Artillery move 3d6 and not firing or 1d6 and fire.

BTW, when I was at Historicon I learned that Mark’s Zulu War scenario book should be available for purchase in time for Cold Wars which will run November 11-13, 2005.

Happy Gaming!
Bwana Bill

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