The ongoing campaign against Marzibarian slave traders: The estuary of the Tifooti River

The estuary of the Tifooti River is more like a delta, with many different channels through the swamps and sandbanks.

A map of the estuary of the Tifooti River.

The estuary of the Tifooti River looking eastwards.

The estuary of the Tifooti River looking westwards.

Having guessed that their presence would not go un-noticed for very long, and fully expecting the Dammallian authorities to react swiftly, the Marzibarians set sail down the Tifooti River towards the sea. They soon reached the river’s estuary, and having secured their ‘cargo’ below, they cleared their decks and prepared for action.

The three dhows slowly but surely negotiated their way through the narrow channels.

Their crews were constantly on the look-out for any Dammallian ships that might be approaching.

As they turned towards the open sea, a tell-tale smudge of smoke was seen on the horizon to the north.

It was a gunboat!

The dhows immediately turned into another channel, hoping that the lookouts on the gunboat had not yet seen the masts and sails of the dhows.

It looked as if their ruse had been successful …

… and then the gunboat appeared to be slowing and turning!

The dhows could not turn back, so they made a dash for the open sea …

… only to realise that the gunboat was the Sultan Abdulla, the flagship of the Marzibarian Navy!

Her captain had heard that the Royal Navy was searching for some Marzibarian vessels that were thought to be in the vicinity of the estuary of the Tifooti River, and decided that he should ensure that they were able to proceed on their way unmolested. Therefore, when he saw the dhows emerging from the estuary of the Tifooti River he signalled to them that he would escort them out of Dammallian territorial waters ‘for their own safety‘.

This was probably a wise move, because just as the Marzibarian gunboat made contact with the dhows, HMS Insolent hove into view from the south.

The Royal Navy ship was too far away from the Marzibarians to intercept them, and the ship’s captain – Lieutenant Commander Chamberlain – had to content himself with following the convoy from a distance.

He had a fair idea where the ships were going … but he would not be certain until they got there.

Note: The arrival of the two gunboats was random. At the beginning of each move I threw a D6 die. If the score was 1, the Marzibarian gunboat arrived from the north, D6 hexes from the shore. If the score was 6, the Royal Navy gunboat arrived from the south, D6 hexes from the shore.

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The ongoing campaign against Marzibarian slave traders: Raids along the Tifooti River

News reached District Commissioner Blenkinsop that a large party of Marzibarian slavers had arrived in the area along the Tifooti River and were raiding local villages and enslaving any able bodied natives they could find.

Realising that his company of Dammallian Native Police would be no match for the heavily-armed slavers, Blenkinsop contacted the Governor of British Dammallia – Sir James Deville – for support. The Governor immediately summoned the acting commander of the British forces in Dammallia – Brigadier General George Lumley – to his office for a conference. As a result of these discussions the Royal Navy’s gunboat Insolent was sent to patrol the coast near the estuary of the Tifooti River. In addition a small field force drawn from the various army and police units in Dammallia was brought together and sent to reinforce District Commissioner Blenkinsop’s Native Police. The command of the Tifooti River Field Force was given to Colonel Colin Carstairs (Royal Engineers) and District Commissioner Blenkinsop was appointed to be his Intelligence Officer.

The area around the estuary of the Tifooti River.

Note: Raffia Island lies just off the coast of British Dammallia. An old, derelict fort occupies the northern end of the island, and the south of the island is very swampy. The island is claimed by both the British and the Marzibarians, but neither has ever permanently occupied the island.


More ROCO Minitanks

I finally managed to get around to opening the box of stuff that arrived in the post yesterday, and – as I hoped – it contained several ROCO Minitanks that I won in a recent Ebay auction.

Although one of the guns has some damage and several of the other models have been painted and/or had decals added, these Minitanks are going to be a very useful addition to the growing stock of equipment that I am accumulating for my long-term Great Patriotic War/Eastern Front campaign.


Its Friday already … and my week seems to have flashed by!

Other than checking my emails first thing this morning, I had not looked at my computer until six o’clock this evening! This is something of a record for me … and it was not until I looked at the date that I realised that it was Friday and almost the end of the month.

The last few days seem to have flashed by, mainly because my wife (Sue) and I have been doing so much work in our garden. She has been trimming back the rampant shrubs with a vengeance as well as planting large numbers of annuals and perennials in the newly defined flowerbeds. I have been doing the heavy work, and to date I have installed nearly 60 feet of wooden lawn edging and shifted nearly half a ton of topsoil and compost. It has been hot, sweaty work, and for someone who hates gardening … like me … it has not been the most enjoyable of experiences. That said, there is something very satisfying sitting down afterwards with a cold drink looking at the work I have completed.

The upshot of all this manual work is that this week I have done very little that has been wargames-related. Hopefully that will change over the weekend, and next week will certainly see me doing a lot of wargames-related activity … but more of that next week. In the meantime there is a unopened parcel of stuff that was delivered this morning awaiting my attention. I am hoping that it might be some ROCO Minitanks, but I won’t know until I open it.


Insomnia Rules

Last Friday I wrote a blog entry about my recurring problems with insomnia, and how the latest bout had left me with a number of wargame design concepts/mechanisms that I thought might work together.

Although I have been doing lots of other things in the interim (mainly gardening and trying to learn how to use Cyberboard) I have also been trying to turn my ideas into a set of wargames rules. To date my attempts to write a draft set of rules have come to naught. In fact the drafts all showed signs of developing into monsters, and as a result I have decided to put this project to one side.

Experience has taught me that when I am beginning to tie myself up into knots trying to write a set of wargames rules, the best course of action is to stop, leave it alone for at least a week, and then to try again. It is amazing how much clearer ones thinking is when one does this … and how previous seemingly unsolvable problems seem to fade away.


Latest Funny Little Wars publications arrive!

Some time ago I ordered FUNNY LITTLE WARS and LITTLE CAMPAIGNS (both of which were written by the Reverend Paul Wright, Chaplain Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst) from Patrick Wilson at ‘The Virtual Armchair General‘ … and they arrived today courtesy of USPS!

FUNNY LITTLE WARS was originally published in 2009, and is on sale from ‘The Virtual Armchair General‘ for $40.00.

Front Cover

Back Cover

The book is divided into seven chapters, seven appendices, and several extraneous sections.

  • Chapter One – An historical introduction to H G Wells
  • Chapter Two – Playing Little Wars Yesterday
  • Chapter Three – Playing Little Wars Today (including sections on: 1. What You Need; 2. The Basic Points System; 3. Levels of Command; 4. Victory Points & Objectives; 5. Troop and Figure Types; 6. Basing Your Figures; and 7. Formations)
  • Chapter Four – The Basic Game (including sections on: 1. Basic Precepts; 2. The Game Turn; 3. Movement; 4. Charges; 5. Artillery Fire; 6. Small Arms & Machine Gun Fire; and 9. Melee) [I don’t know what happened to 7. and 8.!]
  • Chapter Five – Optional & Advanced Rules (including sections on: Orders & Dispatches; Unknown Terrain; Morale; Quartermasters and Supply; Aerial Observation; Engineers/Sappers; Signalling; Bands & Chaplains; Spies; Field Hospitals; and A Word on Umpires: The last Word)
  • Chapter Six – Some “Top Tips” for the Better Sort of Chap
  • Chapter Seven – Two Classic Scenarios
  • Appendix A: Building an Army
  • Appendix B: Figure & Accessory resources
  • Appendix C: Suggested Bibliography, Further Reading & “Talking Motion Pictures”
  • Appendix D: A New Use For The Garden
  • Appendix E: The Army Lists
  • Appendix F: The Shape of Games To Come
  • Appendix G: A Funny Little War from the Sidelines
  • A Last Word
  • A “Well Done You All Round!” to These Splendid Chaps!
  • The Roll of Honour
  • Game Playing Aids & Record Sheets

LITTLE CAMPAIGNS has only just been published, and it is also $40.00 from ‘The Virtual Armchair General

Front Cover

Back Cover

The book is divided into five chapters, six appendices, and several extraneous sections.

  • Chapter 1 – War Game Campaigns
  • Chapter 2 – The Map Campaign System: A Simple Model
  • Chapter 3 – Some Enhanced Rules for FLW
  • Chapter 4 – The “Ferree-Wilsonian” Computerized Video Battle System
  • Chapter 5 – A Campaign Example, “The Herring War, 1908”
  • A Last Word And Some Sound Advice From HGW
  • Bibliography
  • Appendix 1 – Additional Army Lists
  • Appendix 2 – Miniatures Sources
  • Appendix 3 – Top Tips for Titivating Terrain
  • Appendix 4 – A Lady’s Complaint
  • Appendix 5 – “Mentioned in Despatches …”
  • Appendix 6 – Game Record Sheets

LITTLE CAMPAIGNS also comes with a LITTLE CAMPAIGNS GRAPHIC SUPPLEMENT.

This includes:

  • A four page mock-up of the ILLUSTRATED LONDON NEWS that relates the history of “The Herring War”
  • The copies of a campaign map
  • Four sheets of map counters (two in red and two in black)

The LITTLE CAMPAIGNS GRAPHIC SUPPLEMENT is also available from ‘The Virtual Armchair General‘ for $12.00.

As yet I have only had the chance to skim through everything that arrived today, but there appears to be a lot of stuff that will be of great interest to me.


Cyberboard: I feel that I am making progress!

Yesterday I made significant progress with learning the basics of how to use the Cyberboard Design program. In fact, I managed to go from this …

… to this, …

… and then to this.

I am rather pleased with the progress I have made, and I have used what I learned to write three short guides. These are:

They are all available in PDF format and can be downloaded for personal use.