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.









4 thoughts on “Garrison Abandoned!

  1. Lies, lies I tell you!

    Sadly Mike’s telling the absolute truth-we got hammered! Without the Halt cards Alastair would have been able to support me sooner, but on the other hand it worked in our favour too sometimes, especially when a Halt card stopped a pathan unit from firing at a juicy target, giving said target a chance to fire first in the next turn (if it was lucky). It was good to play on a large table area. I’d like to use the Portable Wargame rules with similar sized armies and playing area. Bob’s rules make it much easier to launch a co-ordinated attack!


  2. I am envious that you appear to have found the ideal sized game for TSATF as well as simple, decisive scenario designs. In contrast, I tend to overload the table with all the figures I own and then wonder why the game bogs down. Have you found in your games that Pathan firepower is too strong? I think the firing charts were based on the original notion that Pathan units were half fire arm and half melee weapon equipped. In my option, a full fire armed unit, whether 20 or 10 figures, fire effect is too close to that of the Imperials and, especially when they are hunkered down in rough terrain, are almost impossible to budge. On the other hand, I notice that your games allow plenty of opportunity for maneuver, so the Pathans don’t get too much benefit from holding fixed positions. And, as always, your painted armies and terrain are inspiring

  3. Nick, I think you have a point re Pathan firepower, or possibly the lack of British firepower. In the official TSATF Zulu War scenario book the author increased the effectiveness of British rifles as he found the Zulus won games almost all of the time if they outnumbered the British as British volleys rarely caused enough casualties to stop a Zulu charge (as Mike pointed out to me in our game the best possible shooting score that the British can hope for-1-7 on a D20-is equivalent to hitting on a 5-6 on a D6). It is certainly true that a British unit advancing in the open and engaging in a firefight with a Pathan unit wholly armed with rifles in cover won’t do well!

  4. We usually play with 8 Pathan units and 6 British, so a lot less than the ratio suggested in the TSATF rules. Out of the Pathans, 3.5 were armed with rifles.

    I haven’t found the British firepower poor in previous games. The British are forced to concentrate their fire and in this game, they failed to do that and didn’t have an opportunity to make much use of their gun.

    I need to paint another batch of Pathans so we can play a bigger game at some point, but the 10-man units work well on a smaller table.

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