Thursday, 3 November 2016

The Men Who Would Be Kings - prep for game on Friday


The Men Who Would Be Kings Game Prep:

On Friday (tomorrow), I will host my first game of Dan Mersey’s The Men Who Would Be Kings.  Fittingly enough (in my opinion, anyway!) the game will be set somewhere in the vicinity of Afghanistan.  The scenario will be a three-way match based on the ‘Get Off My Land’ scenario.  The British will be invading to prevent the Russians from stealing a march on them. The Russians will be invading to pre-empt any attempts by the British Raj to expand its sphere of influence.  And the Afghans will be supremely annoyed at the presumption of any foreigners to intrude on their homeland!

The three Field Forces (as TMWWBK armies are called) are based off the nominal lists provided by Dan in the rulebook.  I’ve modified them a bit based on my own ideas of how the troops should behave, and also based on my available figures!

The British will have three regular infantry units and one field gun. My variations to the base list are:

  • Highlanders will be rated fierce for +1 point
  • Sikhs will have obsolete rifles (Snider-Enfield) for -1 point
  • Gurkhas will have obsolete rifles for -1 point and will be rated Gurkhas (surprise!) for +1 point

The Indian army notoriously kept Indian soldiers with rifles (and other weapon systems) at least one generation behind the weapons issued to British troops.  So, the Highlanders have brand new Martini-Henry rifles and the Sikhs and Gurkhas have older Snider-Enfields.

The Russians will have three regular infantry units, one regular cavalry unit and one field gun.

  • Russian infantry have obsolete rifles (-1) instead of being poor shots (-1) - just change one penalty for another! 
  • My cavalry are Cossacks rather than Russian regular cavalry because I have Cossack models and I don't have .  I’m rating them as regulars because it makes the points work out, but if pushed I will argue that these Cossacks are in long-term service, and have drilled as needed to be considered regulars.  They lose 2” of movement compared to irregulars but have a better melee value.

In the Russo-Turkish War of 1877, the Russian Army figured out that their Berdan rifles were being outperformed by the Winchesters that the Ottoman Army used. This initiated a process that would eventually lead to the famous Moisin-Nagant rifle of 1891.  As we are in 1880-ish, the Russians will still have the obsolete Berdan rifles, so I decided that obsolete rifles is easier to justify than trying to figure out if Russian infantry were demonstrably worse shots than soldiers in other armies.  Russian soldiers throughout history have generally had a reputation to be good, solid troops but notoriously lacking in initiative.  On this basis I accept the unenthusiastic rating as leaderless Russian infantry will not be likely to act decisively.  Because TMWWBK uses leadership for activation as well as for morale, this means they will be more likely to break, which would be contrary to their reputation for endurance, but I’m not about to muck about with introducing different tests morale and activation.

The Pathans will have three irregular infantry, one tribal cavalry and two tribal infantry.  There should be two tribal cavalry if I wanted to duplicate Dan’s proposed Pathan list, but I don’t have enough cavalry for that.  Instead, I’ve taken the points for the extra cavalry to give each of the irregular infantry units fieldcraft.  I think the Pathans need fieldcraft to match their reputation for using terrain, especially to ambush unsuspecting redcoats!  Note that tribal infantry automatically have this skill.
  • Pathan irregular infantry have fieldcraft.  +1 point per unit
This month, I've been touching up the armies.  I've rebased the Afghan cavalry.  I should go through the infantry as well and paint bases there where needed, and hopefully I'll be motivated to do that in the near future.  I've finally based the poor, abused British field gun.  I've added a unit of Cossacks (Copplestone Castings Caucasian Cossacks; Russian Civil War era but only pedants will worry about the difference!).  Sorry, no photos for this blog entry!  Hopefully I'll have some piccies after tomorrow night's game.