Thursday, 7 July 2016

Lord of the Rings Campaign continues....

  So this time we we look at another 2 turns of the campaign, which will include some recruitment so you will get to see how that is achieved in this campaign.

Year 1, Month 2

Year 1, Month 2 North
  In North it was relatively quite this time round. With the forces of Good in the Northwest deciding to push their advantage into the Misty Mountains. Unfortunately evil side had seen and moved both they banners to the location.
   So a quick run over some rules. If i haven't mentioned before cavalry banners move 2 spaces. At the beginning of the turn both sides right down all their orders for their banners and are all revealed at once. In the case as in here where two banners have moved to a fighting location, then each banner is built as a separate force, which will break as individuals too. Though for scoring VP in a scenario, count the whole force as one. This makes rapidly formed banners a little more fragile than a single banner of the same points.
   Even with the help of Arathorn and Paladin Took, the forces of good were pushed back but with few casualties.
  While in the East the successful Rhun force marches back to the Iron Hills to try and bring aid to Erebor.

Year 1, Month 2 South

  In the South Evil push on, putting Dol Amroth under siege, and taking Edoras. In the center good pulled back our depleted forces to Pelanor Fields, which was in turn attacked. But at Pelanor with 3 seperate forces we managed to force back the Evil army. In the battle special mention must go to my lone surviving warrior of rohan with an axe, who after passing courage tests every turn to stay in the battle till the end slew no less (with the help of piercing strike) 3 Morannaon and killed the Ringwraith: The Knight of Umbar. Giving us our first named hero death.
  Unfortunately as we had pulled our forces back we lost Cair Andros without a fight.

Year 1, Month 3

Year 1, Month 3 North

Year 1, Month 3 South

 This is the last turn before we have some recruitment, as such it was rather peaceable. Evil took Helms Deep with what was slight miss understanding of the rules (So the Evil side said). 
   Whenever you create a banner whether new from recruitment or from dividing banners no banner created (or that remains in the case of a divide) may be of less then 200pts. After a battle, if the remaining points is less than 100pts then the banner is destroyed: though any named characters are only destroyed if they died in the battle, else fate has intervened an the may be recruited to another banner.
 Other than that players were happy where it stood and just traded some port towns, so it was on to recruitment.
  During the first year recruitment occurs at the end of every third month, in the second year every fourth month and in the final year every fifth month. These means the later in the campaign the harder it becomes to recruit.
  To work out your team recruitment points, add up all the recruitment values (the number in the bottom of location followed by a R) of the territories that you started with and that you still own and are not under siege. Then add to that the enemy territories you have gained but count their recruitment values as halved (rounding up fractions), but are also not under siege. The total is the amount of points you have to spend adding to banners or creating new ones in any territory you own, though you may never spend points to bolster banners that are under siege as new recruits cant get to them.

So we're a quarter way in to our first year and it is looking rough for the good in the south!

Till the next time, Dha Weles!

Wednesday, 6 July 2016


Recovering Ariab from The Mahdi

Situation Report – 12th February 1883

  In the aftermath of the brilliantly managed defence of Suakin, the reputation of our Gentlemen soars both on the British press, in The Sultan’s Court and Khedive’s administration. Pasha Drydon-Spunck is immediately ordered to Cairo, while Warburton is promoted to Colonel (with a field promotion to Brigadier) with orders to reorganise the Egyptian forces in Suakin. At the request of The Khedive, Smith-Dorian is temporarily seconded to The command of Brigadier Warburton. Again, the Gentlemen are showered with presents from a grateful Ottoman Empire. However, at this point a dangerous, indeed poisonous seed starts to grow in the mind of The Khedive. While everywhere else on The Sudan, his forces are being routed, here at least is a command that consistently wins against the enemy. Perhaps they are the key to destroying The Mahdi?

Anglo-Egyptian Zariba

 Behind the scenes and throughout February telegrams are exchanged between London, Cairo and Baghdad. The British ae anxious not to embroil their forces in the interior of The Sudan any more than necessary. The Ottomans quickly conceive of a blow to the centre of The Mahdist control of northern Sudan via Ariab to Berber. The British caution against this, and refuse to commit British forces to such an adventure. But this only seems to harden The Ottoman position and a desire to unleash their imagined-powerful forces at Suakin. They are completely unaware of how close our Gentlemen have come to disaster on several occasions; something our Gentlemen are completely aware of. On then 25th February the fateful telegram arrives. Orders to take Ariab as a precursor to seizing Berber back! 

  Energetic work is now undertaken to prepare the forces for departure. Over a G&T the Times correspondent, Michael Trevelyan informs the group that British public opinion is strongly supportive of seeing British troops intervening on the Sudan, but The Government is against this. However, on the day of departure a telegram arrives for Smith-Dorian. Indeed British troops will accompany the expedition.

Reinforced by British regulars, the party plan their march to Ariab.

Anglo-Egyptian advance

Diary Entries of Captain Simon Heronimus Bladdington for 26th February 1883"

  Weeks pass peacefully after the battle of Suakin, civilians have calmed down and trade has restarted in the port. The region has become more peaceful and patrols have not met any resistance thus far. Things of Note: Col. Drydon-Spunck been sent to Cairo to meet with some high officials. Captain Warburton has been promoted to Colonel. Captain Hacker is still off on his grand tour of Egypt. Captain Smith-Dorian has been seconded with his navy fellows to the defences of Suakin until further orders.
  A week or so later. New orders have arrive that a force commanded by Col. Warburton will set forth to liberate the lost town of Ariab due west of Suakin, and on the road to Berber.

Troops at our disposal would be the:
15 company s of Sudanese troops,
8 company s of Egyptian troops
6 company s of Egyptian Lancers
2 Egyptian cannon
1 Machine gun section

  A plan of march was drawn up to take into account the amount of supply’s needed for such a long march of about 140 miles. It was decided to take 400 water wagons consisting of about half the water that we would need and to scout out for watering holes to refill the remaining requirements on the way. The scouting would be taken in turns by the 8 companies of Egyptian mounted infantry. The 9th Sundanese regiment would man the water wagons replacing the wagoneers and thereby reducing by about 400 mouths the water and food we would need to transport.

  Some wagons where modified to mount the machine gun crews on just in case we needed them to move quickly. 5 empty wagons where taken for use as mobile ambulances so that the column could keep moving if causality where taken. Our local forces where asked to keep a good lookout for spies that may report our departure and although Amir Sagh refused to accompany us this time, his men would follow part of the way to root out any that would betray us. On the day of our departure the British government (under pressure from public opinion) decided to bolster our forces to include:

8 Companies of British troops
2 Cannons
1 Machine gun section
4 companies of navy ratings
1 Navy machine gun section

This gave a great boost to our moral!!!

Initial British bombardment

  It took 12 day to march to Ariab with no enemy spotted. Our Scouts found the water needed for the trip and supplies were good and moral high although the Egyptian infantry where a little low, Col. Warburton managed to do himself some harm after a bit of sport hunting some wildlife. He was thrown from his horse and with little much to add won’t be walking upright for a few weeks said the Surgeon Renolds (a mighty swelling in the testicular region apparently).

  So it was left Captain Dorian and my self to lay the plans for the attack on Ariab. Our scouts didn’t manage to scout behind the town as enemy patrols where too numerous. From the high ground we did control it looked like an oasis to the left and more trees and hills to the right. We would split the force into 3 sections and decided for a frontal attack on the town as we didn’t want to get our troops bogged down with surprises in the hills.

  We would bombard the town for 10min at the crack of dawn with our 4 cannons sections plus 1 machine gun section if it could get close enough on the right flank. The far left would have our camp guarded by 3 Sudanese company s previously commanded by Captain Hacker and 4 companies of the navy plus 1 machine gun and the 2 British artillery pieces paid off to bombard the town.

  Our centre was hidden from enemy sight and would conceal the 8 companies of mounted Egyptians ready to advance and take them far enough forward to dismount and take up firing positions in front of the enemy’s walls, while the British troops marched behind supported by their machine gun.

  My position was to the right where I managed the Egyptian guns and machine gun fire at the far right tower that looked like it may have a cannon battery held within. And I put my Sudanese troops out of sight to advance after the 10 min bombardment. The lancers were kept back with the cannon as a mobile reserve and rear guard.

  The dust made by our bombardment made it impossible to guess if casualties were caused to the enemy for the exception of the tower on the right it exploded into rubble … guess our troops got a lucky hit on a magazine! Those officials back in Suakin may of heard the explosion!

  The advance started well, my Sudanese advanced in good order with orders not to fire until they got within affective range and hoping the dust would keep them concealed from the enemy. I could see Captains Dorian's troops advancing in the centre, I reckon he would have the harder job today locking horns with the centre of the towns defenses.

  A quarter of an hour went past as Dorian’s guns kept the left of the town bombarded “wouldn’t want to be in the towers thinks our troops … we’d had been lucky when we’d been seiged that the Mahdi didn’t have many guns”

  The guns to the right moved target to the walls but fired less often to preserve ammunition. The right hand machine gun advance with the troops. The Mahdists in the town where firing a few light guns back at us with no real affect as they where also blinded by the dust and smoke cased by the bombardment. There was only a light breeze that barely moved the smoke and dust across the front of the town.

  25min had gone by when by God I realised I may have made a pivotal mistake while advancing on the town. Myself and 8 companiess (plus machine gun) had strayed to far to the right of the town and had strayed too close to the tree line. I ordered 2 companies to halt and cover the tree line while the rest advanced.

  I could here Captain Dorian’s rifles to the left firing … guess they could see more through the dust than my troops. And darn it happened again like honey to a bee them Mahdists appeared at the tree line and on the hill at about 600yard with more behind “I thought back to Toker and how quickly the Mahdists had covered 400 yard and up a wall in such a short time”.

Dervish surprise attack

  I ordered my troops to halt and form line with the machine gun for the forthcoming charge. I also sent my messenger to send the lancers in to support and with orders for the cannons to change target. The enemy advanced in the open but the 8 companies of Sudanese and the machine gun did little to stop their advance. The cannon must of acted on their own initiative … good lads, I owe ‘em a drink when this is all over … Their timely fire slowed the enemy for enough time to allow the lancers to counter charge the enemy that had engaged the 10th Sudanese. The lancers drove ‘em back then the next group of Dervishes were upon us, the fighting intensified and 1 company of lancers and Sudanese 10th where lost … the cannons must of hit a Mahdist Emir on the hill as the enemy lost momentum for a moment allowing another well aimed volley before they where back into melee with their 4th wave of warriors. Yet we drove ‘em back and the Sudanese and lancers did it again!!! Pushing the enemy back again! one of the 11th Sudanese and another company form the lancers fell but their job had been done well.

  My messenger reported that the 9th Sudanese had fallen back from the fighting so I took my horse a rode to rally them leaving orders for the 10th, 11th and the lancers to reorganise and continue the advance now that the right flank was clear.

  I managed to rally the 9th Sundanese and start leading them back in to the fighting, I could see that Dorian’s British and Egyptians had almost made it to the walls of the town and the wall were stained with the defenders blood. The guns, machine guns and rifle frie had done great execution that day. There was a lot of dust off to his left and it looked as if one regiment of Egyptians where holding of a flanking force.

  The battle ended within the next 30 mins as the British and Egyptians broke over the sparsely defended walls to the front and the 10th and 11th Sudanese went through the right of the town through the ruins of the tower. The battle was over and the Mahdists fled.

  The town was made safe but it was dusk and before all the troops came into the town with the baggage.

 The following day the defenses of the town where shored up we had captured:
1 x mountain gun
1 x machine gun
1 x 6 pounder
Good quantities of food and ammunitions.

  Butcher Bill:
2 companies of Sudanese one from 10th one from 11th
2 companies of Lancers
1 company of Egyptian

Dervish defence at Ariab

Monday, 4 July 2016

Lord of the Rings Campaign

The club is currently running a map based campaign for LotR SBG/Hobbit SBG, to find out more click the link below:


GAME 3 – 
(look at The Blog Archive for previous reports from the 1883 Sudan games)

Situation Report – September 1883

In the aftermath of The heroic victory at the Battle of Tokar, orders arrive from Suakin for the victorious army (and friendlies) to retire upon Suakin. A Hero’s welcome is laid on, with local dignitaries and a jubilant Governor Suleiman el Niazi showering the small group of British Officers with gifts and praise. The Officers are billeted in Suakin’s finest Hotel (The Racasan) and receive First Class service wherever they go. Mobbed by journalists, every detail of the Battles of Wandi and Toker are transmitted by telegraph to Cairo and London. Within days, messages of congratulations arrive from The British Commander in Egypt, Lord Wolseley, from The Khedive in Cairo, and after a few days, a message from Her Most Gracious Majesty, Queen Victoria. News arrives from Cairo that The Sultan has approved the minting of a Campaign Medal and at The Sultan’s direct command, each Officer is bestowed with honours (see attached sheet).

  The initial days of heady celebration give way to several weeks of waiting; to see what The Mahdists next move might be, and to await news of Hicks Pasha and the Southern Campaign to capture The Mahdi. Little more is heard of Osman Digna and his Eastern Tribesmen although the lands east of Suakin are clearly in enemy hands. Few patrols dare to penetrate away from the coastline where friendly gunboats provide reassuring support. A steady stream of refugees arriving at Suakin speak of detestable horrors perpetrated by The Jihadists. Aside from the gay parties and daily visitors, our band of Gentlemen busy their days training their men.

Mahdist attack on Suakin
 Then, most shocking news! On the 10th November, a telegram arrives with news of Hick’s Pasha march to capture The Mahdi. Hicks and 10,000 Egyptian Regulars have been defeated near the town of El Obeid in The Province of Kordofan and Hicks is dead! A terrible shock envelopes Suakin. The defences of the city are reviewed, guards are doubly attentive to their duty, and everywhere, a sombre pessimism descends. 

  A month goes by with little of note until a week before Christmas, a steamer arrives at Suakin. On board is General Baker of the Egyptian Army. He carries orders to take command at Suakin!

  A heated argument breaks out at the Officer conference between Baker Pasha and the kindly but aging Garrison Commander, Sir Percy Oswold. Baker is insistent that the only strategy is to bring the Dervishes to battle and that he will capture Osman Digna and re-establish Egyptian control of the main towns east of Suakin. At a recent conference in Cairo, General Gordon (recently arrived in Egypt) argued strongly to reopen the road from Suakin to Berber; an action Baker fully endorses. 

  Determined to bring the Dervishes to battle, Baker seems jealous of the high reputation of the victors of Wandi and Toker, he leaves our Gentlemen off the marching orders, substituting these with garrison duties. By late January Baker is ready, having reinforced with Egyptian Gendarmerie that have arrived from the North. These poor beggars bear no resemblance to the fine Fellas, both Egyptian and Sudanese, that our Gentlemen have trained up. Indeed, Baker seems most unwilling to take too many of these heroic men along, leaving many to Garrison duties under your command. Even the services of Amir Sagh are rejected out of hand.

Egyptian defences at Suakin

20th January 

  On the 20th January, news arrives that a Mahdist force has taken control of Trinkitat to the south. Energised by this news, General Baker commandeers all available local steamers and prepares to sail south to fight the Mahdists at Trinkitat.

22nd January 

The silent and sullen expedition boards the ships and leaves Suakin to the accompaniment of unseasonal, and perhaps portentous heavy rain. 4000 officers and men, accompanied by much of the garrisons artillery, sets sail. Once out of sight, our Gentlemen busy themselves in organising the defences of Suakin; an attack is always a possibility.

British sailing to Trinkitat

23rd January - 3rd February

  A number of conflicting messages arrive from General Baker. He seems determined to engage Mahdist forces in the vicinity of Trinkitat, yet his small army stays firmly positioned in Trinkitat. The General seems transfixed and unable to act. He seems only capable of sending a stream of messages requesting everything from more water flasks to more ammunition. These messages are copied to Cairo who continually request updates. Then on the 3rd February a message arrives from General Baker informing our Gentlemen that a large Mahdist force has been spotted entrenching at El Teb and that The General will move up on the 4th February to engage the enemy.

4th February

  Mid morning a Royal Navy ship arrives … as our Gentlemen stare across the bay at a fine if elderly warship, a runner arrives from the Telegraph Office (message for Drydon-Spunck) (message for Smith-Dorian).

Diary Entries of Captain Simon Heronimus Bladdington for January - February 1883

  The weeks after the withdrawal to Suakin where full of splendour! We all received a hero's welcome after our victorious troops marched in from the battle of Toker with Col. Drydon-Spunk at the head of the troops after a miraculous recovery to his health. Medals are received by all the British offices that took part and a medal was minted for all the troops that fought and boy did my Sudanese lads deserve it!!! Col. Drydon-Spunk was promotion as did I and Lieutenant Hacker who both made Capitan that should make father happy, and show the lads from the old regiment a thing or too.

  General Baker arrived with much banter as to how he would drive the Mahdi out of the region and he set off to retake Trinkitat. He left all the British officers and troops behind that had fought at Toker, and Wandi in favour of fresh troops and newly arrived officers. Constant messages came up the river by gunboat demanding all sorts of supplies that a competent commander should have seen fit to take with him and thus the garrison was stripped of more troops and cannon. The Newly Promoted Captain Hacker decided to take some leave to visit Egypt and the sites.

The insignificant port of Trinkitat was retaken by Baker after much dilly-dallying, and off into the desert marched General Baker in search of the Mahdists to give them jolly good thrashing. A week or so later came a message up river via a British Gunboat Delivered by Captain Horrace Algernon Smith-Dorian to report to Col. Drydon-Spunk to send a relief force to assist General Baker for he had got into a spot of bother and got himself surrounded!!!!!

  Col. Drydon-Spunk called an Officers meeting where Captain Warburton volunteered to lead the relief force with his troops and the Egyptians plus Hackers Egyptians troops supported by Captain Dorians Navel troops and a couple of machine guns, leaving that afternoon. I was Left with the enjoyable job to organise the defence of the town but unlike Toker the locals didn’t take kindly to the idea of demolishing buildings to improve the ports defences so as with Toker my Sudanese troops plus hackers Sundanise troops where spread thin.

  Some good reliable British troops left in Suakin were stationed aboard two boats ready to assist Warburton if needed. A day went past organising the defence of the port, I got the local carpenter to knock up a couple of fake guns to bluff the enemy spies into thinking the ports defence had more guns than we had. In the eve came a message from Warburtain that he had arrived at Trinkitat and found all sorts of horrors in the empty harbour and was unable to advance as he didn’t want to leave the boats unguarded. Col. Drydon-Spunk left me in charge of the port and set sail to the aid of Warburton & Dorian.

  So left as commanding officer I went about improving the defences. Orders Given to: Put extra guards on important supplies water ammo food ect; For civilians entering the town to be checked prior to leaving; For a chain linked ferry to be put in place across the harbour to make transfer of troops from the north to the south quicker.

  After a day or so with no communication from the Trinkitat expedition I decided to try and fool them darn Mahdists into a trap of my own making. I had the fake guns place on the north side of town with 4 section of Sundanese troops to the west I had both cannons stationed and the south the machine gun. I had half the Sudanese troops on the west and south side of the garrison given orders to stay out of sight making both walls look the weaker to any outsiders, and to complete the ruse I sent civilians dresses as soldiers out via boat in the direction as Trinkitat but with orders to sail to a friendly port after sailing close enough to the coast to be observed. Also the gates where closed to civilians traffic the port would be locked down. Then scouts came riding in to report enemy forces on the horizon; numbers unknown.

  Col. Drydon-Spunk, Warburton and Smith-Dorian arrived back to tell of their adventures and how the had rescued the now delirious General Baker and his battered troops from the teeth of the enemy. The ports troops where reorganised including all the force that had returned from Trinkitat in preparation for the Mahdi’s immanent attack.

  Col. Drydon-Spunk held the south of the port with British troops and a maxim machine gun, The Sudanese troops held the west and north of the port with half the west walls troops hidden from site, Dorian’s navel section held the NW tower of the old walled section and Warburton’s troops where held in the center ready to fill the gaps and react to where the main attack should come from.

  When the Mahdists arrived they came from the NW and South in great numbers not countable by eye. Col. Drydon-Spunk’s keen eye directed his maxim machine gun to wipe out some captured guns being set up to bombard his southern side of the port. Meanwhile the navel section and the west wall fired with cannon and machine gun causing light damage. As the the Mahdists came into affective range of the west wall I orders the Sudanese troops to stand up and give ‘em a volley … not sure if it surprised them but the results of gun practice worked oh so well.

  Time went by the firing to the south continued but a new sound came of spear and bayonets to the west and NW as two massive waves of Dervishes were repelled. Warburton sent troops to support the NW and it was a close run thing. Thankfully Captain Hacker’s troops held the line and almost left Their post to chase off the attackers.

  I went to help repel the Mahdists near the Gate House on the west wall and three times we threw them back and thus ended the Battle of Suakin. With light casualties, another great victory for Col. Drydon-Spunk !!!