Sunday, October 24, 2010

The Sword and the Flame game - WW1 East Africa

"Walk wide o' the Widow at Windsor,
For 'alf o' Creation she owns:
We 'ave bought 'er the same with the sword an' the flame,
An' we've salted it down with our bones..."

Okay, the game I took part in didn't involve British Tommies, but it gives me an opportunity to air one of Kipling's wonderful verses.

This was my first experience with the rules and they proved easy to pick up. The action involved an encounter skirmish between Belgian Congolese and German colonial forces somewhere in German East Africa during WW1. I played the Belgians, fielding a platoon of three Force Publique askari sections supported by two bands of native levies. Don took command of two Seebattalion sections and three schutztruppen sections. Blake supplied the figures and guidance.

Movement is decided by ordinary playing cards and dice, the card color saying who gets to move first, and three d6 deciding how far in inches. Difficult terrain requires two dice to be rolled, simulating reduced movement.

Quality was on Don's side, as under TSATF rules European troops have better firepower, with askari/schutztruppen next and native levies a long way last. Faced with superior firepower I decided to concentrate my attentions on defeating the two Seebattalion sections. I won the game handily as they and a supporting schutztruppen section withered under my combined fire with little loss to my force, leaving Don unable to contest the field.

Units reduced to 50% or less manpower tend to rout very easily - as is only right - with affected units moving the value of two dice rolls in inches toward the rear. One of my levy sections, reduced to just two men, performed the most leisurely rout I've seen on a wargames table - a mere four inches back! Not so much a rout as a case of "we're just going over here for a while, okay?"

All in all I enjoyed the rules, which gave a quick clean game of about an hour duration. If I have a quibble it's that they tend to be bloody, but I'll certainly play with them again.

1 comment:

Bluebear Jeff said...

TSATF can be a lot of fun to play . . . but platoons are a lot more resilient than mere sections.

-- Jeff


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