This is about a game we put on for Thornton Fractional North High School's History Club. This club is led by history teacher Bill Weber who is also the coach of the schools chess team.
We have in the past run miniatures games for the students to provide a hands on experiences that give a visual connection to their text books, let's them have fun playing with toys that they are not normally exposed to and to think independently and develop leadership skills. The school graciously provide the venue for our game on Saturday and the students provide their enthusiasm.
This game was a first for me in that I was finally able to use my Northwest Frontier figures for the Second Afghan War that I have been working on for over 5 years. Also I got to use some terrain that I have recently built specifically for this period. We used the fun and fast Sword and the Flame rules that I find are easy for new players to grasp and are convenient for those teaching new players a game.
The scenario was a British / East Indian patrol had set up a heliograph post on a hill at one end of a nameless Afghan valley and a patrol of mixed troops were to come down the valley to pick them up and escort them back out. Their Afghan adversaries though had other plans for the escort and the post on the hill.
We had a large number of students show up for the game which is great and always exciting but it put a little strain on the number of figures each student was able to control. Never the less we managed to get this all sorted out and everyone seemed to be pleased with their command. Besides it always seems that one or two students come and go during the game due to outside commitments.
Below are pictures of the two sets of players and their forces.
The British team - Command - 4 mounted officers, heliograph team
1 company of Highlanders with bagpiper and drummer (total of 22 soldiers)
2 companies of East Indian troops (20 soldiers each)
2 Field guns and crews (4 each)
2 squadrons of Lancers (12 troopers each)
1 heliograph patrol (10 Guides soldiers 3 officers and 1 heliograph team)
1 Leader (3 mounted figures)
Here is the game set up.
The Afghan players were allowed to have hidden deployment and I let them leave their troops on the table to distract the British players while the red markers were possible points of entry for the Afghan units. This worked out pretty good in that it minimized the movement of pricey figures by novice players on and off the table. It also saved a considerable amount of time. I must say that the Afghan team was adept at deploying their forces and took the British completely by surprise by ambushing them at the very start of the game.
Above you can see the British forces reacting to the ambush. There are no less than 5 units of Afghans attacking the flanks and rear of the British column. The British in response have deployed their cavalry and artillery to address this threat. Unfortunately both sides payed heavily in loss of men. Eventually the British were able to drive off the attacks but not until they lost a field piece to the enemy and had suffered harsh losses. The Afghans were a tenacious bunch and gave the British what for. Eventually though they had to relinquish control of the captured gun back to it's original owners.
Meanwhile at the head of the column the British were deploying to address multiple threats from the surrounding hills and to their immediate front.