EXCERPT FROM APPENDIX 1 from Don Featherstone's Battles With Model Soldiers
(The book that got me started.)

"Nothing in these pages is a dictate, no word says you must or you shall do it this way. On the contrary, the book sets out from the very beginning to stimulate the reader to think for himself, and to use what he has read merely as a foundation for efforts and ideas which reflect his own temperament and character. Only in this way will he obtain maximum satisfaction from the hobby of battling with model soldiers."

-Don Featherstone 1918 - 2013

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

The Men Who Would Play Colonial Games

Ron had recently picked up a copy of The Men who would be Kings so we gave it a whirl today.  The setting was along the Nile with 24 points of British facing a similar force of Arabs. We went with the first scenario which sees two forces passing each other with orders to pass on and victory going to the side which exits the most troops.

We did tweak the rules by the minimum to fit it to the grid. All it took was to use the suggested 1/2 strength units for skirmishes and divide all distances by 3 rounding off to the nearest number of hexes.

I generally am not fond...ok ok detest activation systems, especially any where the first failure ends a player's turn so I had my doubts. Luckily, these do what I've often muttered about over  coffee or beer and activation failure is for that unit only. In addition most units have an automatic action suitable for their troop type. These two things go a long way towards redemption for this silly business of activation rolls.

The game actually played pretty well with our respective battle plans working. My plan was to leave an expendable blocking force of shooting units which were hard for  me to move while rushing everyone else past him then either head for the far board edge or try to swarm individual units while avoiding fire if he gave me an opening.

I was seriously worried at one part, one of my cavalry units was blown away and 2 of my spear units and my last cavalry unit were facing 3 British infantry units with modern firearms supported what was left of his cavalry. Just as I was bracing for a run towards the far edge, Ron threw his mental dice and decided to march on rather than fight.  I could have let him go, run with my fast units and maybe my rearguard might have done enough damage with shooting  for a narrow win but my gun was finally in range and managed a hit on his already battered cavalry and I had 3 units in reach of the remainder. I turned around and gave chase.
Well if the other side is all killed I have still have some units left I should be able to get more troops off and win yes?
All in all it was an enjoyable, not very serious afternoon of gaming. I suspect we'll play again.


  1. "Detest activation systems..." Sing it, brother! Although I have to admit that in a moment of weakness several rules systems I've cobbled together use them--but I plead the madness of the moment when they were created. Thanks for the review; I may give these rules a look.

    1. I think of activation rolls as cheap and easy thrills and spills.