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"Minimum and maximum forces for TSATF" Topic

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Comments or corrections?

Larry R Supporting Member of TMP14 Mar 2017 11:16 a.m. PST

Going to get some figures this weekend. What is the minimum and maximum amount of figures that works best for TSATF? Understanding that the ratio of regular to natives is 3:1 planning figure. Thanks

princeman Supporting Member of TMP14 Mar 2017 11:56 a.m. PST

What period / area are you looking at?

nnascati Supporting Member of TMP14 Mar 2017 12:28 p.m. PST

Depends on the "Natives". For Zulus, definitely 3 to 1 for Pathans and Dervish, 2 to 1 should work. For Boers, 1 to 1.

Personal logo The Virtual Armchair General Sponsoring Member of TMP14 Mar 2017 12:31 p.m. PST

Rather depends on the "Natives" in question!

If rifle armed/Regulars (Boers, Egptians, Afghans/Pathans) 2:1 in favor of the locals is the general rule. Armies with minimal firearms (at least for game purposes) such as Zulu's and Mahdist Ansar, 3:1 is their general rule.

It's easy to over think the entire matter, though. The Ansar could be supported by units of rifle armed Jihadyia which in the opening years were reasonably well trained and experienced (being largely "converted" Egyptian/Sudanese soldiers), but in game terms maybe only one Ansar unit in five might be so designated. The various Beja Tribes of the Eastern Sudan generally had no firearms to speak of.

In practical fact, perhaps half of the Zulu's of the war of 1879 carried some kind of firearm, but could never be thought of as "riflemen" for purposes of play balance.

Boers were obviously a very different kettle of fish, but the idea of their regularly outnumbering the Brits--much less at 2:1--is ridiculous.

The Egyptians were a solidly Regular Army cursed with an abysmal Officer Corps and corrupt government. They COULD be allowed to outnumber the Tommy's 2:1, but shouldn't have to.

Finally, of the NWF warriors fully half had fairly serious firearms, of which maybe five in ten could be presumed to be armed with Jezails, which the rules allow slightly greater range than the Redcoats. For the Second Afghan War, there could be significant numbers of units of "Regulars," entirely rifle armed, but whose leadership/staying power was generally limited. Where such Afghan Regular units participate in a game, the 2:1 figure could once again be an overstatement.

Of course, such generalities don't address the myriad other powers the Brit's faced in the era of the Snider & Martini-Henry (the period the rules best represent), such as Maori's, Abyssinians, Chinese, and Ashanti. Information on these armies appears in the campaign game rules, "The Sun Never Sets," though basic game information tables for these are available for the asking from


Winston Smith Supporting Member of TMP14 Mar 2017 12:34 p.m. PST

I regularly run games where players have no more than 3 units.

Larry R Supporting Member of TMP14 Mar 2017 12:42 p.m. PST

Sorry, for clarity the Sudan/Mahdist war.

robert piepenbrink Supporting Member of TMP14 Mar 2017 12:53 p.m. PST

Figure three units for the Imperial player, then nnascati's multiple for the Mahdists. I'm open to correction from the more experienced, but for TSATF I would think six units per player to be an absolute max under most circumstances.

Note that usually, players seem to own almost as many Imperials as natives due to the greater number of possibilities, though this is not so much true in the Sudan.

Larry R Supporting Member of TMP14 Mar 2017 12:56 p.m. PST

Units equates to how many figures?

nnascati Supporting Member of TMP14 Mar 2017 1:33 p.m. PST

Normal TSATF has 20 figure foot uits, 12 figures for mountedand a crew of 4 figures for each gun.

Larry R Supporting Member of TMP14 Mar 2017 2:31 p.m. PST

Thanks guys. That's what I was looking for.

VCarter Supporting Member of TMP14 Mar 2017 4:59 p.m. PST

All this is in the first part of TSATF rule book.

Next step up is the company. Two 20 man platoons with an additional mounted officer and an NCO. I always add a dismounted officer to swap out for the mounted.

The next higher formation is the battalion made up of two companies (4 platoons with the two mounded officers and two NCO's and with an additional mounted officer. This produces an 85 figure unit. I have added a standard bearer to the battalion and one bugler to each platoon.

On the native side, three units (one leader and 19 natives each) make up a tribe with one mounted leader. Here is also a good place to dd a flag.

Just to keep thing clean, I paint each unit in a tribe with the same pattern/color of patches.

I would suggest two full tribes embed with sword and spear and at least one 20 man unit armed with rifles to start.

Larry R Supporting Member of TMP15 Mar 2017 5:33 a.m. PST

Thanks VCarter. Getting the rules soon but needed to know my first purchase numbers for this weekend, this helps.

VCarter Supporting Member of TMP15 Mar 2017 7:09 a.m. PST

That's what I thought you were getting at.

BTW – %^&*#!!! IPhone small screen and spell check.

Larry R Supporting Member of TMP15 Mar 2017 8:48 a.m. PST

I feel your pain!

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