Friday, November 25, 2011

Colonial Barracks Report -- Part 4

Here is the final report of my participation in the First Annual Colonial Barracks All-The Sword and the Flame Convention, held back on Nov. 4-7 in New Orleans, Louisiana.  This final group of pictures covers the game I ran on Saturday morning -- The Lion and the Gazelle -- using The Sword in Africa variant of TSATF rules.

And now, without further ado, let us join the trek into Darkest Africa where British led askaris battle rogue bull elephants; white hunters are out for just about any kind of trophy; and Zanzabari slavers try to raid a peaceful village that is protected by the Great Mamubaba, a "witchy" woman.

There is an old African proverb, so I'm told:  "When the lion wakes up in the morning, he knows that he must be the fastest runner in order to chase down his prey to eat and survive. When the gazelle wakes up in the morning, he knows that he must be faster than the lion in order to survive. So no matter which you are, lion or gazelle, when the sun comes up you had better be running - fast!"

The peaceful village of Umbangomango slumbers under the tropical sun.  The chief, Lolomango, meets with a wandering warrior, Larabebe, and his seven fellow warriors about helping protect the village from the depredations of British tax collectors and Zanzabari slavers.

Meanwhile, a part of Allan Haggard's safari encounters an angry hippopotamus as they try to cross the stream.  Can the hunters successfully dispatch the "river horse?"

About the same time, Captain Smedley Bryce-Hopkins, the leader of the askari column protecting the district tax collector, very coolly dispatches a rampaging rogue bull elephant before it can trample some of his askari and himself as well!

Alan Haggard, background, and the second half of his safari party also try to cross the same stream, only to encounter a crocodile.  The mighty hunters quickly dispatch him as well.  The hippo shot by the first half of the safari floats slowly downstream beyond the party of hunters.

A second rogue bull elephant attacks the British column, this time squashing a couple of askari before thundering off into the bush.

As veteran TSATF gamer (and an original play-tester) Jay Stribling (a native force commander) watches, Eric Teuber positions his Ruga-Ruga mercenaries in support of the Zanzabari slaver raid.  In the left foreground, the white hunters advance among the villagers fleeing the slave raid.

Advancing toward the village after learning of the approaching slave raid, Alan Haggard's safari encounters and quickly dispatches two hyenas.

Outside the village, the Zanzabari  slave raiders, assisted by their Ruga-Ruga mercenaries, face off against the warriors of the Great Mamubaba. the "witchy woman."

The game quickly drew to a close, with the native warriors repulsing the Zanzabari slave raiders, the British tax collector entering a virtually abandoned village, and the great white hunters scoring some impressive kills and winning the game.

Before the game began, Lori Brom informed me that my game was one of the ones chosen to award a "BC" (Brom Colonial) medal to the player who exemplified the true Victorian gentleman.  All of the players enjoyed themselves during the game and all were courteous and very gentlemanly in both adversity and plenty.  In true wargamer fashion, we decided that a roll of the die would award the medal.  Jay Stribling, a previous winner, graciously withdrew from consideration.  I rolled a D6 and the recipient was:

Eric Teuber, shown here with Lori Brom, herself.  Eric is an old-time Jackson Gamer and a long time player of The Sword and the Flame.

EDIT:  For additional pictures, please see this posting on the Nomadic Old School Gamer's blog. (edit posted on 12/18/2011)

And that was how I viewed Colonial Barracks.  I hope that you kind readers have enjoyed the brief peeks at the games and will seriously consider joining us next year on the first weekend of November as the Second Annual Colonial Barracks takes place.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Colonial Barracks Report -- Part 3

In this part of the report, I will display the pictures I took at the final two games in which I played.  The last part of the convention report (Part 4) will be of my game, The Lion and the Gazelle.  I will get it posted during the Thanksgiving weekend.

Pirates in the Main was run by Steve Wirth on Friday evening.  Steve used The Sword in the Caribbean variant of The Sword and the Flame rules in this game.

Pirates capture a town and Spanish troops have been sent to ransom or rescue the Governor.  But has this island been cleared of hostile natives?

The local natives are running the "mess line" with a bunch of English sailor captives.
The gal on the left has a tray of sliced vegetables with which she is flavoring the "long pork" stew while the chief looks on from his throne.  This scene is from Old Glory's Cannibal packs in their Pirates range (link and link).
The pirate "king" (Col Campbell, himself) questions the Spanish governor about the location of the town's treasure.
The Spanish ransom for the town and the governor approaches, led by a group of clerics.
The ransom begins to enter the town gates and the pirates swarm over the escort.  In the background, unmolested by the pirates, a group of British marines march past, hurrying to rescue the captives from the natives' pot.
But the clerics aren't what they appear and fight back.  One monk uses a huge candleholder to brain several pirates.
The British marines are charged by the natives.  Will modern firepower prevail?  Or will the natives overpower the Royal Navy's finest?
Ummm, the British marines didn't do so good.  It appears that the natives have increased their food supply!
The greatly diminished pirates look with fright at the approach of the Spanish relief column, which stormed the town and ended the brief reign of the "pirate king!"

In Nicaragua: 1926 was run by Ken Hafer on Saturday afternoon.  Ken used the With Ol' Gimlet Eye variant of The Sword and the Flame rules in this game.

U.S. Marines and Sandinistas decide they must deny this important piece of real estate to one another.

A Marine section with a heavy machine gun team occupies a cluster of palm trees.  They have already taken casualties from Sandinista fire.
Part of the Sandinista force is revealed, firing from the each of a large patch of jungle.
We were using hidden movement on maps provided by the game master.  Unfortunately the green Marine lieutenant (Col Campbell, himself) had his map oriented upside down and didn't realize it until the game was half over.  My fellow gamers razzed me about this for the rest of the game.  I can only protest that there was no "north" arrow so I didn't know which end was up (he says with chagrin).

Another Marine section successfully crosses a wide open area and gets ready to plunge into the jungle after a band of Sandinistas they can dimly see ahead of them.  Barely visible are the sailors that were with the Marines.  They engaged the Sandinistas first, but without a lot of close combat training they didn't do too well.

Although the fight wasn't captured for posterity, the Marines charged in with the bayonet, catching one band of Sandinistas by surprise and sending them reeling bloodily away.  Marines attacking with bayonets are +1 on all die rolls over and above their other modifiers (remember, Larry Brom is a Korean War veteran Marine!).  But there were more Sandinistas than you could shake a stick at deeper in the jungle and they came to their compatriots aid.  The Marines were forced back, carrying their wounded with them.

With our wounded almost equal to our survivors, the Marines and sailors withdrew, leaving the Sandinistas in control of the battlefield.  Not a great day for the Corps!
So out of four games in which I played, my record was one win (the French at Matehuala) and three losses (Arab cavalry in the Sudan, Pirates in the Caribbean, and Marines in Nicaragua) -- about par for me, alas.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Veterans Day Sunday at Church

For this Veteran's Day Sunday at our church, my wife and I took care of the flowers in the sanctuary "in memory and honor of our church's veterans."

The flags across the back are the colors of the U.S. Army (my service), the U.S. Navy, the U.S. marine Corps, and the U.S. Air Force and the POW/MIA flag.  The flowers came from our local Kroger Grocery store's flower shop and the pine boughs from my backyard pine tree.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Colonial Barracks Report -- Part 2

As I stated in my last post, I played in four games and ran one during the Colonial Barracks convention last weekend.  This report covers two of the games in which I played.

Midnight in the Oasis was run by Nick Zizo on Friday afternoon.

An Egyptian force is holding an oasis in the Soudan near a Dervish stronghold.  They are awaiting a British column in order to make a joint attack on the Dervishes.  The Dervishes, unaware of the British column, are planning an attack on the Egyptians.  The British column is now a relief column.  Will it arrive in time to rescue the Egyptians?

The Egyptians had a camel mounted unit, two infantry units, and a gun.  The British had four infantry units, one cavalry unit, and a gun.  The Dervishes had ten infantry units and five cavalry units.  As one of the Dervish commanders I had three cavalry units.  Along with the other cavalry commander, we were to delay the British advance until our infantry could assault the Egyptians in the oasis and destroy them.  Then we would all gang up on the British.  But unfortunately Nick failed to tell the Egyptians that they had to hold the oasis.  So on the first turn, they abandoned the oasis and marched towards the British column.  All our infantry could do was try to chase them down - unsuccessfully for the most part.  Our cavalry was shot to pieces as we tried to delay the British.  The two allies joined forces and the Dervishes beat a hasty retreat.

Ethan Reiff, one of the British commanders, looks over the relief column.  In the background, Rudy Nelson of Time Portal Hobbies, one of the dealers, mans his booth.
As the Egyptians abandon the oasis, Bill Hamilton, one of the Dervish infantry commanders, records the cowardly Egyptians for posterity's sake.
The other Dervish infantry commander, Ed Sansing, moves his infantry in a long "stern" chase.  Next to him are my three cavalry units.
Two of my cavalry units ride pell mell towards the British cavalry.  But the cowardly British withdrew without even a fight.  They have no honor!!
The dastardly Egyptian cameleers take advantage of one of my cavalry units and attack it in the flank.
Not liking the odds, I successfully evaded their charge and advanced in another direction.
Quickly reforming they now become my reserve.  The other two units force one of the British infantry units into square.  In the distance, Jonathan's Dervish cavalry have been shot to pieces by the British and is trying to engage the Egyptians, supported by some of Bill's Dervish infantry.  The blue robed infantry unit to the right is Ed's lead unit of his command.
My right hand cavalry unit (from the previous picture) is now retreating after having suffered losses from British rifle fire.  The reserve prepares to move forward to continue the assault.
The Egyptian cameleers have withdrawn into the midst of the British column.  With only two cavalry units left, I now assault the British square to my front, counting on my ferocious desert warriors to "break the British square!"  But the cowardly British commander successfully evaded and withdrew his square just far enough so that my charge fell short.
British artillery fire bursts among Ed's Bedouin infantry.  These shell burst markers really added to the game.
Needless to say, the Dervishes abandoned the field after the British and Egyptians linked up.  And uncommon in a Sword and the Flame game, there was not a single melee.  The combatants either failed to close, failed to stand, of successfully evaded the charge!

Battle of Matehuala was run by Mark Stevens on Sunday morning.

Mexican Republican (Juaristas) forces attempt to drive the hated Imperial forces out of the town of Matehuala before French reinforcements can arrive.  Can they succeed?

Three Imperial Mexican units (one was actually the Belgian battalion) and a gun are in hasty defensive positions on a hill some distance from the town.  The Juaristas are attacking with seven (I think) infantry units, one light cavalry unit, and one gun.  French reinforcements are hurredly marching "to the sound of the guns."  I was chosen to be in overall command of the French reinforcements.

Three of the Juarista commanders begin to move their forces against the Imperial defenders.
As the Juaristas advance, Ken Hafer (background), one of the reinforcing French commanders, twirls his moustach and awaits the arrival of his troops.
The Juaristas deploy into battle line and begin their assault.
The Juarista right flank begins to curl around the Imperial defenders, the Belgian battalion.  The poor Belgians lost their unit commander and then, one turn later, lost the Imperial brigade commander who had ridden over to direct their defense.  They quickly scattered to the rear, running for their lives.
The Juarista left flank (background) begins to attack the right hand Imperial unit.
The French reinforcements arrive!  Two battalions of French Foreign Legion infantry and a regular French gun quickly march onto the battlefield.  These reinforcements arrived as early as they could (on turn three) and deployed towards the town of Matehuala to deny the Juaristas the important water well there.  A fourth unit, French light cavalry, delayed their arrival until turn five (see below).
The Imperial unit in the middle and the gun have withdrawn from the defenses are were attempting to move back to the town.  But two units from the Juarista right flank assaulted them.  The fighting was fierce!
On the other flank, the Juaristas send two units against the other remaining Imperials.  Who will stand and who will not?  Notice the Juarista overall commander in the background cowering down the hill and out of the line of fire.
The Juarista light cavalry have now completed their ride around the Imperial left flank and start toward the town.  But dust clouds are sighted to their left rear!  Who can it be?
Meanwhile back on the hill, the Juaristas are reduced to a small shadow of their strength, but so are the Imperials.  Additional Juarista forces soon overpower the last of the Imperials and capture the gun.
The two attacking Juarista units both fail to close and have to fall back and go prone.  The next turn the Imperial unit launches a countercharge, but can only muster a paltry 3" of movement.  The Imperial commander was so disgusted.
Remember that dust cloud?  It was the last of the French reinforcements, my unit of French chasseurs.  They charged into the flank and rear of the Juarista cavalry.  The ensuing melee resulted in six Juaristas killed, including both the unit officer and sergeant, with no corresponding French casualties.  The remaining six leaderless Juarista cavalry quickly fled towards their infantry.  I do think I've ever had a melee go so well.  Only two of my troopers were forced back.
But this, unfortunately, ended the battle as we had to vacant the ballroom in which the convention was held.  The Juaristas had accumulated more points that the Imperials but they had not even threatened the town's defenders - two units of French Foreign Legion and a regular French gun.  It would have been a hard nut for the Juaristas to crack.

More pictures of the other games in which I played and of the one I ran are still to come.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Colonial Barracks Report -- Part 1

This past weekend, November 4, 5, and 6, close to one hundred The Sword and the Flame fanatics gathered in Metarie, Louisiana for the first TSATF gaming convention run by the Brom family - Larry, Lori, and Christy.  The following pictures portray over half of the games that were played.  All pictures are by Col Campbell himself unless otherwise indicated.  Also unless otherwise indicated, all games were played with 25/28mm size figures and with the 20th Anniversary edition of The Sword and the Flame rules.

General Pictures:

Sergeant Brom, himself, the author of The Sword and the Flame.

The "Old Guard" -- Tim Chadwick and Larry Brom (front) and Jim Pitts, Mark Stevens, and Jay Stribling (rear).  Picture by Bobbie Chadwick.

Jay, Tim, and I are charter members of the "Jackson Gamers."  We were joined by Mark at a later date.  Jay and Mark were the heroic play testers as Larry developed The Sword and the Flame.

"The Cabal" throwing around ideas for the next Colonial Barracks.
Lori and Christy are seated behind the table.  Arrayed around them are Ed Sansing, Jay Stribling (smiling), Bill Hamilton and Mark and Martha (in "scooter" behind Mark) Stevens.

A Great Queen Is Hard to Find -- was run by Lori Brom on Friday afternoon using The Sword in Africa rules. 

Africa, 1895:  A European archaeological party is surveying ground for a dig to find the lost mines of Queen Esme.  They are threatened by unfriendly tribes led by the Great Mamou, a queen who wants her ancestor's treasure left undisturbed.  Wil the archaeologists make it back to the British Museum or will the lost mines stay hidden?

Lori reads from the "holy writ" as the players listen intently.  Christy seems to be catching a few winks along the back wall.
The Prisoner -- was run by Tom Anderson on Friday evening. 

Friendly Soudanese tribesmen have notified the Anglo-Egyptian headquarters that a gathering of Dervishes encamped some miles distant appear to have a white captive with them.  It is suspected that the prisoner might be Lieutenant Hamilton who was reported missing last week from a surveying party.  High command has stated that Lt. Hamilton will be rescued at all costs - dead or alive!  If not, the mission has failed.

Martha and Mark Stevens maneuver their forces to rescue Lt. Hamilton.
Soudanese askari advance across the desert.
Find the Gun -- was run by Jay Stribling on Friday evening. This game was played with 15mm figures but used the 25mm movement and gunfire range distances.

The British players search for a Boer gun that has been annoying traffic on a vital rail line.  Do they find it? 

Game Master Jay consults the rules as the game begins.

Tim Chadwick awaits his chance to move his troops.
The Train -- was run by Mark Stevens on Saturday morning. 

A train carrying ammunition to a British outpost has derailed.  A platoon of Post Office Rifles and a Gatling Gun must defend the valuable supplies until a relief column arrives.  This is a scenario from the "Scenario Portfolio 2000" published by Larry Brom.

This game was a real "train wreck!"
The scattered ammunition and supply boxes are paper constructs.

March and/or Die! -- was run by "Old School Gamer" Paul Arceneaux on Saturday morning using 54mm figures some of which are older than many of the gamers present. 

The French Foreign Legion takes on various desert tribes.

Paul Arceneaux (right) shuffles the movement deck as Clay Cooper awaits the start of the turn.
Aren't Paul's 54mm figures great looking!!
The Battle of Maiwand: 1880 -- was run Saturday morning and afternoon by Ethan Reiff using a modified 800 Fighting Englishmen.  Ethan drove (!!) all the way  from Los Angeles with the game boards, troops, and buildings loaded in his wife's car.  [Ethan -- she is a definite keeper, letting you borrow her nice car to come half way across the continent to play with little toy soldiers.]  Ethan's game was the highlight of the convention.  Please visit Ethan's blog -- Maiwand Day -- to read more about his reconstruction of the game and the terrain.

A fuzzy (unfortunately) picture of the 6' x 12' game table with home made terrain boards.
A father and son examine the massed Afghan army.
Ethan even had water bhistis and stretcher bearers!
The game's afoot!  Jeff Baumal (Sgt Guinnes on TMP) is on left in green shirt with Ethan directly behind him in the white TSATF shirt.  Chick Lewis is right rear with black shirt next to Bill Hamilton of the Jackson Gamers.
British artillery withdraws in the center while a British unit fires down into an Afghan unit in a gulley.
Save the Ladies!: Indian Mutiny, 1857 -- was run by Marc Fluitt and Mark Stevens on Friday afternoon using the Sword in India rules. 

Ladies Martha and Carolyn are protected from the mutineers by a loyal Indian merchant in his city compound.  This infuriates the mutineers and they rush to assault the compound to take the ladies hostage before the compound can be evacuated by a relief column.  Can the ladies be saved?

The magnificent table set-up with a mix of paper and resin buildings.  Jay Stribling (left rear) and Ed Sansing (right rear) await their turns to move.
The merchant's compound being assaulted by the mutineers.
A detail of the "slums" surrounding the merchant's compound.
The Wind and the Lion -- was run by Nick Zizo and Jeff Baumal on Saturday night. 

The Berber Chieftain El Rasuli is angered that the Sultan is entertaining foreign governments and weakening to their manipulations.  In an attempt to embarrass the Sultan, El Raisuli has kidnapped the expatriate Mrs. Eden Pedecaris and her two children and taken them to his stronghold in the Riff Mountains.  He then traveled to this small village southwest of Rabat to effect the exchange of his prisoners for gold and rifles.  But is has been captured by the German infidels and their lackey dogs.  El Raisuli must be freed .... it will please Allah!

With Jeff Baumal (on right in green shirt) watching, Tim Chadwick moves his troops to rescue his chieftain.
The fantastic city scape with a great many Miniature Building Authority buildings.  It looked magnificent!!
Close-up of action along part of the front wall.
Another close-up of the city.
I was planning on playing in this game, but a late supper with my wife (who came with me to the convention) coupled with some shopping time with her got me back too late to join in the game.  But I did watch for a short time and also took part in "the Cabal" discussions (see picture at start of post).  By this time I was almost played out, having run a game Saturday morning and played in three others, two on Friday and one Saturday afternoon (with a record of 0 wins and 3 losses - how "perfect" can you get!).

These were just the games in which I didn't play or run.  Those five will be posted later.  Please visit Flashcove's Cay and the Nomadic Old School Gamer blogs for additional pictures.