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Saturday 18 February 2023

Our first try at 'The Men who would be Kings'

 Today I was supposed to be off clubbing doing family stuff, but illness sadly meant my relatives didn't make it up to Northumberland.

Never mind.

I therefore got to the club! where my friends Lawrence and Phillip were trying out The Men who would be Kings, published by Osprey. 

Lawrence brought down his lovely terrain...

'Terrain often maketh the game'!
I was running a bunch of Zanzibaris.
Phillip had some plucky British colonial troops.
I got to set up in the village, my aim was to hold it while the British would gain points for destroying buildings with their mountain gun.
I had some African reinforcements off table. 
My troops opened fire as the British advanced...
My dice started well, and if anything got better as the game went on!
Even at long range I killed three of the 'foreign devils'
They failed their reaction and were pinned!
The Mountain gun and the awesome Sikhs now joined the fight.
More Askaris extended the British line.
Those poor Askaris no sooner got their 'Pin' off when my rooftop 'snipers' killed their officer, who was virtually blind so never saw it coming!
Pin back on!
The Sikh fire killed one of my men, but I passed my tests.
Those Sikhs outranged me and were laying down some fire.
The Mountain gun and the leaderless Askaris now fired...
Another of my men died, and the house took a heavy hit.
The leftmost Askaris formed a close line.
They had seen my reinforcements approaching.
My lead group lost a man and were pinned.
I was bringing up reserves to support my Africans - including my Arabs from the other buildings in the town.
We were getting the occasional hits I needed to keep the return fire down.
The Leaderless Askaris were still hanging on.
My rooftop heroes were doing really well!
I finally got my mass to bear against the end of the British line - my aim all along had been to try and coordinate a massed attack and overwhelm the British.
My Arabs were joining in now.
The Askaris return fire was slacking as we gradually overwhelmed them.
The Arabs focused on one Askari unit, my Africans on the other.
The Sikhs and the gun were the only forces offering any real opposition.
Maybe I could get through the Askaris and kill the gun crew?
Despite being down to 3 figures, the leaderless Askaris fired back...
They hit my Arabs!
The other Askaris now died to a man...in true colonial style!
The other unit was now on its last legs too.
The Sikhs formed Close Order and Volley fired.
My Arabs got plastered and pinned to boot.
Using their range, they quickly transferred fire to my best Arab unit.
We took losses but escaped the deadly pin!
In fact my 'Destined for Glory' leader led them forward firing...
The Sikh officer fell! His ability could have removed the pin they took!
Phillip ceded the game, unsurprisingly!

The rules, I thought, were quite easy to pick up the basics of. They did make for a quite fun game. I also like the IGOUGO esque move which is easy to run.

I admit I do have a problem with games with activation rolls/cards, as you end up trying to rationalise why troops suddenly stop for no reason!!!

The Pin rule, also, seems a bit harsh, making multiple poor units better than fewer better units. Phillip's dicing was awful today and he frequently failed Pin/Rally tests, so he often got pinned, then in his phase got the pin off, only to get pinned again! - we all had suggestions how this could be 'tweaked' to make it more user friendly...and to stop so many units fighting literally to the last man!

We all want to play again, so that is a good sign.

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