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The Mahdi's Revenge!
This battle was played by the Lead Adventure Club in Kiel on 6 January 2007. Prof Witchhunter, Grimm and Driscoles played the Mahdists. Knoxville, Green Knight and Dominic played the British. The figures are mainly Perry Miniatures, Foundry and Falcon. Some of the Mahdist command figures are from Old Glory. We used "The Sword and The Flame". According to the rules, you need a ratio of 2.25:1 (Mahdist:British) to have a balanced game.
An advance force of the Gordon Relief Expedition is sent forward in a gunboat to relieve Khartoum from the Mahdist siege. Low on water and supplies, the gunboat stops at a small village along the Nile. The troops disembark.
"Right lads! Let's search the village for supplies!"
"Take up position! We don't want to be taken by surprise."
A view of the table. The Sikhs are on the left flank. The Naval brigade detachment has taken position in the centre. A Gardner gun is in the tower on the right flank.
"Do you hear something Sir?"
A shrill war cry pierces the morning calm! "There be Dervishes Sir! Fah'sands of 'em!"
"Right lads! Steady...aim where the Fuzzies are thickest and cut them down!"
"We've killed hundreds of them, Sir! But they're still coming!"
The Gardner is overwhelmed by sheer numbers!
A small British relief force arrives overland. Will they make it to the village on time?
The Dervishes turn their warriors on the relief force to slow them down.
Meanwhile, the situation in the village is dire! With the loss of the Gardner, the Mahdists break through. It's every man for himself! The Naval brigade detachment is cut off from the river and holes itself up in a house.
The Sikhs form square to try and hold off the Dervishes.
The Sikhs manage to withstand 4 Dervish attacks!
But the Ansar muskets arrive and pour fire into the Sikh square. Other Dervishes head for the gunboat and cut off the Sikhs.
The battle is lost! The gunboat steams away to avoid capture!
Comments - The rules worked well. They are quite conventional - Movement, Fire, Close Combat, Morale. Action in each phase is determined by a card activation system. If a red card is drawn, a British unit takes an action. If a black card, then a Dervish unit moves or fires.
As was the flavour of the time, the rules make British firepower quite deadly. This can be quite discouraging for the Mahdist player who has to sit there and see his first few attack waves being decimated even before they can close. Unfortunately, the Mahdist player has to just take it and see if he can overwhelm the British with sheer force of numbers.
This game was in some respects a test game, as none of us had played the rules before. So to see when the British breakpoint would be reached, we kept recycling the Mahdist units. In the end, the British with about 80 figures and 2 guns where overrun by 250 Mahdists.
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