North West Frontier Portable Wargame

On Wednesday afternoon my regular opponent, Anthony, and I met up virtually for another game using The Portable Wargame using Zoom video conferencing software. This time I setup a small North West Frontier scenario using my 54mm AIP collection of figures.

The screen setup was the same as last time with a mobile phone suspended above the table to give an overhead view and a laptop position on the other side of the table to give the illusion of playing across a table with an opponent.

The table setup was a little larger than before with a grid 8 deep by 12 wide. There was plenty of rocks providing cover and ruined fort which was the objective for the game. Whoever held the fort at the end of turn 15 was the winner…

The Afghans had 9 units including a 2 cavalry and 3 units armed with firearms. The Afghans have a fire range of 2, but can double move if they roll a 5,6. They are rated as average.

The British had 7 units including a gun. They have a fire range of 3 and count as elite.

The British deployed first and also took the first move, concentrating their Infantry on the fort, the Afghans deployed with a diversionary force on the other side of the river. The river is fordable but you have to stop when you enter it.

In the first turn, the afghan cavalry charged a double move hoping to score an easy early victory but forgot that they wouldn’t be able to retreat, lost the melee and were destroyed..

The Afghans evened up the score after that with a British unit who enter the fort taking hits and also being eliminated.

The melee and shooting are inconclusive for a few turns with just one Afghan unit being eliminated and noone holding onto the fort. But the Afghan diversionary attack on the flank manages to eliminate the British gun without losing a unit.

The British have taken the fort, but how long can they keep it?

The British unit outside the fort are surrounded and finally their luck gives up as they are also eliminated.

There is just one British unit left and they are driven out of the fort by concentrated Afghan fire.

And the Afghans manage to gain control of the fort. Surely it is all over for the plucky British?

But no, on the very last turn (turn 15), the British charge the fort and push the afghans out – thereby winning the game!

It was a very close and exciting game in the end with the British just taking it on the final move.

I have a copy of the new Portable Colonial Wargames book but have some reservations about the new rules as written, so we used the original Portable Wargames rules with sudden death elimination and the ability of the natives to move twice if they throw a 5,6 after moving.

I will put together a post on my throughts about the Portable Wargame and why the original rules seem to suit our style of games rather than the newer ones… We are planning on trying out the new rules in a full game to see how they play.

Garrison Abandoned!

We played a 4-player NWF 54mm game at the Guildford Club this week. It pitched Anthony and Alistair as the British attempting to relieve a Garrison against Andrew and I as the Afghans. We used The Sword and the Flame rules with half size units.


Slightly blurry view of the garrison awaiting their relief column.


Anthony and Alistair looking confident – this didn’t last too long…

We set up with the Afghans using hidden movement and with a rule that they would be placed on the table if they fired, moved in the open or the British came within 12 inches of their concealment.


The game at the start without an Afghan in sight!

The British advanced cautiously onto the table. In fact, very cautiously as for the first few turns the Halt card came up in the movement phase and Alistair hardly moved his troops at all. The Afghans skulked from cover to cover waiting to see what the British planned and happy to leave the British Garrison to their own devices.


The first troops to engage were the horse on both sides but neither proved conclusive with the Afghan horse refusing to close.

Eventually, a Pathan sword unit charged the British flank and killed the majority of the unit sending the rest running to the rear.


On the their flank, Andrew’s Pathans finally closed and repeated their success by polishing on another British unit.


At this point the British decided that discretion was the better part of valour and withdrew.

To be fair, the British fire power was poor and then Alistair threw 6 1’s out of 9 throws in melee which really didn’t help!

It was a fun game and everyone seemed to enjoy it.