Viewer's Choice Celebration MiniCampaign

It has now been over 20 years since I launched "With MacDuff On the Web" and nearly 10 years since I launched my 2 blogs: Gathering of Hosts and Battle game of the Month.

To celebrate the years and the friends and the million hits I've decided to run a 3 game mini-campaign in late October. By popular vot e it will be set in the mid 18th Century.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Biweekly Battlecry or Dying bravely for Queen and Country

Somewhere near the Nile a thin red line braces itself for the Mahdist onslaught.
All figures and terrain by Ron.

This week's game was Reinforcements On Table from Scenarios for Wargamers. This week we played along instead of across the grain. It wasn't until I looked for a "tactical hex" (ie one on the divider line which can be either at will) to place one of my guns on that I remembered that when playing this way, there are no tactical hexes. The evil demon that has been dogging me this month whispered in my ear and I placed the gun in a good position near the road without any thought to sectors. Ooops.  It can be hard to predict what cards will be drawn but it usually pays to assign more than 1 unit per sector if possible so that they can support each other and so that a run of cards can be used as well as possible. I had a run all right, a run of right sector cards having between 2 and 4 in my hand all game but only 1 unit to use them!   Each time I did use one, I got another one back!

Take back the gun men!

Initially the British inflicted some hits driving back several units which later rallied. Then a Mahdist assault took the left hand gun. A counter attack retook it but then was over whelmed. At this point three things were going wrong for my Brits, they were missing easy targets, the Mahdists were hitting with almost every die and my hand was loaded with cards that didn't allow me to bring up reinforcements or use any of my troops in the center where I was being attacked!   If I had deployed the gun 1 hex to the right it and the right hand infantry unit could have supported each other and at least have done some damage.

The Mahdist Cavalry attacks as reinforcements finally come up

As usually happens with the Battlecry family, things turned around and the Mahdists had a few quiet turns while I finally manged to get my boys moving.  Then the Mahdist cavalry swept around my flank leading to a long ultimately indecisive melee. The Rifle Brigade finally arrived and put paid to the Camelry, apart from their leader who will reappear. Unfortunately their ammo ran out and they decamped, just when things were stabilizing!

 As more British infantry approached the ridge line, the Mahdists dug in and started bringing up more troops. The Camel Jockey leader without a name circled around, picked up  a unit of spearmen and headed back into the fray in the center. Nearly cut off, he was forced to retreat then worked around to my right flank.

We had decided to play once through the deck and then play out our hands unless once side broke. As the game wound down I managed to get one unit back up on the hill, in position to earn a draw. Alas the Mahdist gun which had finally managed to work its way up onto the ridge fired with devastating effect followed by a charge by the Camelleer which wiped out my unit. I reached my break point and was evicted from the hill as the last card was played. Argghhhhh!  Not again! What will the papers say?

The Black Flag waves in triumph from the hilltop.


  1. Sorry Old Boy. No Victoria Cross this time, Ross.

    -- Jeff

    1. Thankfully there is a long tradition of bumbling British Generals in between the brilliant ones.

  2. A scuffle at a border station and canter down a dark defile, ten thousand pounds of education falls to a ten rupee jezail!

  3. Entertaining account of what sounds like a gripping action - excellent. It would be footling to get sidetracked into discussion of rules details, but you did bring it up....

    The commonplace problem in Borg-type games of having a hand of cards for the wrong bit of the table has led me to consider (and very occasionally adopt) a tweak which allows a blind Command Card swap - discard one, without showing it, and pick one up from the deck - instead of a normal turn. C&C and Battle Cry experts will rightly point out that you can achieve this anyway by playing a useless (wrong sector) card and then not doing anything - the difference is that your opponent then gets to see which cards you are trying to get rid of.

    To be honest, I'm not sure what your opponent gains from knowing what cards you are trying to get rid of, but it does seem like extra information which he doesn't need to have!

    Thanks again - enjoyed the report and the pictures. The papers will be very cross, as you say.

    1. We have taken the "on the move" idea from the Winter War deck from Memoir and crossed it with the option on the tactical cards for when players don't have a unit of the appropriate type and allow players with no unit in a given sector to use the card to move one unit in a different section but move only. Its better than a pure discard.

      Of course for most of this game I had 1 unit in the right so couldn't use that option to move up reinforcements till I got smart enough to retreat to the center.

    2. Seems like a straight discard would have been better then, eh?

  4. Ross Mac,

    A splendid little battle ... and it sets the scene for the next skirmish with the Mahdist forces.

    All the best,


    1. Bob it was an enjoyable afternoon but I'm trying to convince Parliament to authorize a withdrawal up the Nile and send an expedition back into the Khyber.

  5. It would make a good film - so long as the Brits win the next game!
    I have nominated you for an award:

  6. A most enjoyable read, thank you. I'm getting more used to the way the cards can prevent a commander doing just what he wants to, but it can be frustrating when you find yourself with cards for a sector where you are unable to move anything! But as you say, it generally turns around.

    I really like your terrain, nice hexes. Great battle.


  7. Lee I've also found that keeping the probabilities in mind when planning and making allowances for things to not go as planned helps avoid the worst disasters.

    I'll pass your compliment on to Ron. Its his figures and Hexon terrain. To my mind he has quite a knack of assembling it to produce battlefields that are very functional and still look good.