Tuesday, 21 October 2008

Redcoats and Natives (Tarred and Featherstoned) - Play-test 2

The second play-test of REDCOATS AND NATIVES followed on from the first. Sheik Mehmet Abdullah’s forces – reinforced by two newly recruited units of Jihadia infantry and an additional field artillery unit equipped with the recently captured Egyptian Krupp artillery (all rated as ‘Average’) – advanced on Mhedemi, a riverside village. Two Egyptian infantry units and an Egyptian machine gun unit garrison the village (all rated as ‘Below average’).

Knowing that the Mahdist forces are advancing, the local Egyptian commander – Asif Ali Bey – ordered the garrison of Mhedemi to evacuate the village, and sent a gunboat (rated as ‘Average’) to pick them up.

Note: The gunboat moved at the same speed as cavalry and carried the equivalent of a breech loading artillery unit. It could be sunk by the equivalent of four substantial hits on artillery by artillery (i.e. the artillery not only had to hit the gunboat but to also score 10, 11, or 12 when 2D6 were thrown to determine the effects of a hit). The gunboat came into sight of the village when it was dealt a red picture card.

Turn 1 began with the Mahdist forces lining the inland escarpment and the Egyptians occupying the defence line around the village of Mhedemi.

The Mahdist artillery fire was devastating. The Egyptian machine gun unit was repeatedly hit and despite being behind cover it was destroyed. In addition two of the Egyptian infantrymen were also killed. At the same time the Mahdist infantry advanced down the escarpment and began to move towards the Egyptian defences.

During turn 2 the Mahdist artillery barrage continued, and a further two Egyptian infantrymen were killed. However the advance of the Mahdist infantry units on the left flank was disrupted by the arrival of the Egyptian gunboat, which opened fire on them. Unfortunately its gunfire had little or no effect, but its arrival gave the Egyptian garrison some hope of rescue.

The next turn saw an assault on both the right and left of the Egyptian defences. Fierce hand-to-hand combat resulted in the destruction of one of the Egyptian infantry units, but at a heavy price for the two newly raised Mahdist Jihadia infantry units. The survivors of the other Egyptian infantry unit fired a volley at the Mahdist infantry that were almost upon them, and then fell back to the riverbank, where the Egyptian gunboat had come alongside. The newly equipped Mahdist artillery unit engaged the Egyptian gunboat, and scored a hit on her. The gunboat returned fire, but missed.

Turn 4 saw the remnants of the Egyptian garrison board the gunboat just before the Mahdists reached the landing stage. The gunboat then cast off – not a moment too soon – and set sail. The Mahdist artillery fired at the retreating Egyptians, but they were soon out of sight, leaving Sheik Mehmet Abdullah’s forces in control of Mhedemi … and with sufficient captured rifles to equip at least one more unit of infantry.

Lessons learned:

The minor change to the rule as to 'who fires first' in a combat worked without a problem, but will probably be changed back to its original form in the next draft. This is a result of the play-test as the revised rules allowed the Mahdists to charge the Egyptian positions without the Egyptians having the opportunity to fire at them as they did so.

The card activation system did produce some interesting results. For example one of the Egyptian infantry units was able to fire at the advancing Mahdists and then withdraw because it was activated by a lower card than that dealt to the Mahdist units. The other Egyptian infantry unit was not as fortunate, and was over-run.

Artillery can be devastating if used en masse, something the Mahdists did not do in reality.

The Close Combat rules produce very bloody results if neither side prevails during the first round. The hand-to-hand fighting during turn 3 resulted in both sides suffering very heavy casualties because the combat went through three rounds before it was resolved.

Gunboats can be used without a major re-write of the rules.


  1. I am please that you liked both the play-test report and the gunboat.

    The gunboat was designed and built some years ago to fit on the squared terrain that I was then using. It was made to be a bit 'cartoonish'; it had the main features of a typical river gunboat of the era, but the vertical and horizontal scales were different so that it would fit on the battlefield without looking far too large.

  2. Fixed Bayonet Metal Soldiers,

    Many thanks for your comment.

    I didn't realise that anyone read my old blog entries! This one was written nearly a year ago ... and I had almost forgotten that I had written it.

    Many thanks for reminding me of it ... and giving me the opportunity to re-visit it.

    All the best,


  3. Fixed Bayonet Metal Soldiers,

    All helpful feedback is always welcome!

    All the best,



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