Sunday, 9 July 2017

Lieutenant Charlatan Heston saves the day at Jaksi.

Major Farthingdale-Pyles and Quincy Pasha attempted the relief of Jaksi using Men Who Would be Kings on our Thursday evening game at Durham Wargames club.  So far Mr Babbage has defended Jaksi, a revolting place, really well.  After dividing the forces into a British command and an Egyptian one we diced for it and I was fortunate to be taking the role of Major Pyles once again.  

Unexpectedly a last minute Dervish Commander appeared, The Mad Khalifa Nigel, who used a variant of the Babbage rules, since "The Khalifa" does not believe in letting his men slink away.  

With the Dervish appearing randomly and then acting under his command the Pasha and I were in trouble.     

The terrain had Jaksi, our objective on a hill against the far table edge, some random scrub and rocky areas, as well as a long dry donga, subject of much quipping and punnage during the game.

 The gallant Major Farthingdale-Pyles turned out to be quite effective, a 5+.  His unit of the Queens Own, Regular Infantry, were in luck!  My unit of Royal Marine Light Infantry were under the command of an ordinary regular Officer 6+.  The gattling gun Sergeant was a 7+.
Were my side was let down was the Cavalry.  The Royal Dragoons` Lieutenant Charlatan Heston was an utter poltroon.  The Regular Cavalry were not allowed to charge.  They would have to use their carbines.  The effectiveness of my force was under serious question!

Quincy Pasha had some effective Officers in his Anglo Egyptian Field Force.  Two groups of Fellahs and the gun were all commanded by stalwarts.  One of his units however was commanded by... a coward.  A man likely to run off at any moment. 

Placing this group in reserve the Pasha declared that he was resolute and keen to face the enemy.   

The Dervish appeared behind my British force.  I had planned to advance the Cavalry to take the objective, but my first attempts to move my force into a defensive formation failed.  Major Pyles advanced  and then realised that he was alone.  The RMLI had refused to move, as did the gattling gun.  With a cry of glee the mad Khalifa let loose a horde of Dervish Spears, from behind me!  

 The Pasha had that dry donga in front of his position.  His line advanced well, all except for Ali the coward, who clung to the base line.

The Dervish swarmed in the donga to the front, and even worse a group charged from the shrubbery to wipe out the gun and its crew.

 The exact same thing happened to the British.  The Dervish charged out of nowhere and wiped out the gattling gun and it's crew..  Lesson learned.  Keep the crewed weapons in the centre.

To the front of the Pasha the Hadendowah camelry charged from the donga into the left hand group of fellahs.  The other unit had been pinned by those pesky Dervish riflemen and was unable to help. 

The Pasha however was up to this challenge and saw them off.  Still things were looking dodgy on the right.
 To be quite honest things were looking bad on the left too.  My Royal Dragoons, commanded by Lt Heston the coward, were having to use their carbines to swat away enemies from the isolated Queens own.  More and more Dervish appeared over that hill on my flank.  The RMLI were down to eight men.  
 The Anglo Egyptians were holding out, but that donga gave the Dervish an advantage. 
At this point I had something of a revelation.  I had to stop moving.  We had to get to the objective but there was no point in my trying to get into a proper defensive position, since that only brought down more Dervish upon me. It was up to the Royal dragoons and Charlatan Heston to get to Jaksi and save the day.   Looking at it objectively it seemed like a long shot!
The Pasha was in even more trouble than me.  He had lost over half his force, and he himself was the only survivor of one unit.

With our new tactic of standing still the Dervish attacks had quietened.  Even so we were only just hanging on.

The only moving unit was the Royal Dragoons and Heston quickly double timed them towards the town.

With the Khalifa howling threats and swearing vengeance the Pasha and I declared ourselves the victors.   This was a somewhat hollow claim however, since we had each lost well over half of our men.  

The only unit not to have casualties was that of the cowardly Ali, who refused to move from the baseline for the whole game.

Lessons learned:  

  • Hold fast and move as little as possible,
  • Let one quality unit rush to the objective,
  • Deploy in square, or at least defensively, from the outset,
  • Keep crewed weapons in the middle of the line rather than isolating them.


  1. Jolly good stuff. Sounds familiar - my Rajputs also adopted the tactic of not moving. Looking forward to giving it another go - at least I will be acclimatized to the desert heat on my return! I ordered a second Field force before I left - this one's top secret.

  2. The Queens Own 25 mm Minifigs took to the field for this game. They absolutely mix well. I now have NEW minifigs to make up the ranks in the second unit. We are planning to use the river Nile and a retreat to the gunboat scenario. The Paddle steamer Firkit is almost finished!

  3. It doesn't help the Empire's cause that we are playing a game size meant for a 6' x 4' on an 8' x 6'. So much farther for the lads to march, or not, as the case may be.