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Wednesday, March 24, 2021

The Anglo-Russian War: Skirmish at the Border, Part 2

"What's all of that shooting? How can I enjoy my Darjeeling by the river with all of that shooting?"

Continuing with our game of The Men Who Would be Kings: Bandits/Smugglers/Criminals are attempting to smuggle weapons, gold and other materials through the nebulous border area separating Asian Russian with the Princely State of Chaimbellistan. Captain Agorov of the 21st Frontier Guard Company has been ordered to stop them but his map is quite unclear where Russian territory ends and Chaimbellistan begins . . .

Having spotted the Russians both Bandit Groups #1 and #2 move into advantageous terrain to hold off the 21st Frontier Guards while the Bandit Group #3 can move the "goods".

Bandit Group #2.

Oh. We were supposed to move? Then why did we fail our activation roll?

Sergeant Zaytsev advances his section to the next set of cover in the rugged terrain.

Captain Agorov advances in the open through Chaimbellistan.

Bandit Group #1 stays in place and fires from their position of cover while the other Bandit groups become confused and hold in place (yep, failed to activate). No hits are recorded.

Sergeant Zaytsev's section fires and gets the extra hits to kill one of the bandits in the Hard Cover.

 And they are now pinned.

Captain Agorov continues to move through Chaimbellistan territory.

Under the steely eyed gaze and well oiled muscles of Bandit Leader #1, the bandits quickly rally.

With the prospect of only fighting one Russian unit, the bandit units converge.

Yikes! Where is the Captain?

Both sides continue to fire at close range to no effect; but Sergeant Zaytsev is blocking the route.

Concerned with the increased firing, Captain Agorov moves his section at the double and is spotted by the bandits.

The decision is made that Bandit group #2 will deal with the good captain . . . 

 . . . while Bandit group #1 launches a bold and audacious movement to dislodge Sergeant Zaytsev from his blocking position.

"Fire at will," yells Sergeant Zaytsev and another bandit falls in the soft cover.

With Sergeant Zaytsev continuing to hold his blocking position, Bandit Leader #3 decides to follow Bandit group #2.

Meanwhile, Captain Agorov's men spot the movements of the bandits.

Even though he is outnumbered, the fierce Bandit Leader #1 attacks the Russians in their blocking position.

Bayonets, scimitars, and knives clash . . .

. . . and the melee is a draw forcing Bandit group #1 to retreat.

Both Bandit groups #1 and #3 (again) fail to activate while group #2 moves quickly to block the other Russian force from reinforcing.

In a surprise move, Sergeant Zaytsev fires and then Attacks (he is destined for greatness!).

Except for their leader, Bandit group #1 is wiped out to a man. Now there is nothing between 
Sergeant Zaytsev and Bandit group #3 with the smuggled goods.

"Form Close Order!"

A patrol from the 19th Punjabis heads out to investigate the firing in the valley.

In the conclusion:
1. We learn how to spell Volley Fire.
2. Begin to understand that it is the donkey's fault as to why Bandit group #3 won't activate.
3. Will diplomacy help? Well, that would be a short campaign to game.
4. Who did make those maps?


  1. Looks like a cracking game! I laughed out loud when I got to "Oh. We were supposed to move?" I actually love it when troops DON'T always go when and where you want them to - Mersey's rules are great for that. I have all of his rules, but I haven't tried out Men Who Would be Kings yet (or Rebels and Patriots). Your game reports of late have inspired me to go looking through my figure drawers to take stock of what I COULD play a game with - in preparation for an end to the Public Health Orders currently barring household visits...

    1. Tim,
      It was simply amazingly humorous how often Bandit Units #2 and #3 would not activate even though their leaders had high leadership values. I really like TMWWBK and Rebels and Patriots.

  2. Great narrative Neil, the Russians seem to be all over the smugglers but how will they do when the Brits poke their noses in? Looking forward to the next exciting episode .....

    1. The British response may be a bit slow as they are stretched thin with the Boer War, problems in China, etc. Of course, the Russians also have to keep an eye on the Japanese and civil unrest at home (I think that's a good excuse that I am painting British Forces as quickly as I can!).

  3. Crackin game Neil, everyone needs a Sgt Zaytsev in their life!

    1. Ray,
      Sergeant Zaytsev is rapidly becoming a favorite of mine. When I got the figure from Copplestone I knew immediately that he was going to be the senior NCO of the Frontier Guards.

  4. Outstanding looking game all around!!! Great AAR, looks and sounds like big fun. I’m eagerly awaiting the next adventure. I’m loving your entire project.

    I’m a big fan of The Sword And The Flame colonial rules set which we use for all manor of colonial and prewar games. However, I have semi recently played a TMWWBK game set in Tonkin 1900 and have a very good time. I really enjoyed the game mechanics, especially when troops don’t always do what they are requested to.

    1. SGT Guinness,
      I started with Colonials also with The Sword and the Flame. It is definitely a classic and a good introduction. I find TMWWBK a smoother game with less ambiguity; plus, I love the opportunity to add the Hollywood aspects!