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"Why is the Northwest Frontier so popular with gamers?" Topic

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Liliburlero Supporting Member of TMP25 Jul 2019 7:43 a.m. PST

This isn't a poll or popularity contest but rather we're curious as to why this period is so popular with TSATF gamers in particular and Colonial gamers in general. In the past, the top three of our scenario packs were NWF, Dervish and Zulu, all close in totals. Now the NWF has moved significantly to the front. Is it because of figure availability, what your gaming group does, movies, etc.? Or is it just a "fad". As always, thanks in advance for your responses.

Personal logo PaulCollins Supporting Member of TMP25 Jul 2019 8:04 a.m. PST

For me it is all of the things that you mentioned, plus the variety of troop types and terrain. I game NWF in 1/72 plastics with some metals thrown in for variety and have a good size collection for a reasonable cost. Plus I didn't need quite the numbers that I would need for the Sudan or Zulus.

Wackmole9 Supporting Member of TMP25 Jul 2019 8:10 a.m. PST

I think its the verticalness of the terrain. A desert is flat, Grasslands are flat. The NW frontier has mountains, cliffs, and deep valleys. Also it is the setting for most of the great movies for this era.

Personal logo Old Contemptible Supporting Member of TMP25 Jul 2019 8:56 a.m. PST

Books and movies. If you grew up watching these movies then it is only natural to attempt to replicate these B movies in miniature. The movie which motivated me the most is "The Man Who Would Be King" defiantly not a B movie but a very well done mainstream movie.


Personal logo Old Contemptible Supporting Member of TMP25 Jul 2019 9:03 a.m. PST

Then there is the "Great Game" aspect. Two European powers each attempting to control Central Asia.

rmaker25 Jul 2019 9:26 a.m. PST

Definitely the movies (Gunga Din, Charge of the Light Brigade, King of the Khyber Rifles, etc.) and Kipling, of course.

Rich Bliss25 Jul 2019 9:53 a.m. PST

Smaller figure count. More even sides numerically.

Martian Root Canal25 Jul 2019 10:05 a.m. PST

+1 to Rich Bliss. Also some nostalgia for me: Main theater of operations for my college miniature gaming back in the 80s.

Old Peculiar25 Jul 2019 10:59 a.m. PST

Movies, and Kipling, and Churchill, and a great variety of wonderful figures!

Lion in the Stars25 Jul 2019 11:03 a.m. PST

A pretty much continuous state of armed conflict so you can use almost any generation of minis from Indian Mutiny all the way to WW2?

And if you really want to get silly, you could include the India-Pakistan wars as just a further extension of the NWF conflicts, because Pakistan is what we call the NWF today!

nnascati Supporting Member of TMP25 Jul 2019 1:03 p.m. PST

I think it was what Larry had in mind when he created TSATF.

Nick B25 Jul 2019 1:09 p.m. PST

Best NW Frontier Film……

Carry on up the Khyber!

ZULUPAUL Supporting Member of TMP25 Jul 2019 2:54 p.m. PST

Well I'm still for the Zulus even though I do have a few NW frontier figs.

Liliburlero Supporting Member of TMP25 Jul 2019 7:08 p.m. PST

nnascati said: I think it was what Larry had in mind when he created TSATF.

And yet, all the play-test games (100+) I remember were assaulting Rorke's Drift,,,,,,,,,

From the responses so far, it seems smaller numbers of troops are a big draw for the NWF gamer as well as the usual influence of films and books. And the comment about the terrain is something we had overlooked; thanks Wackmole9.

FearAndLoathing25 Jul 2019 8:30 p.m. PST


coopman26 Jul 2019 3:47 a.m. PST

All that plus the fact that here you had a much improved opponent for the Brits, not just spear-chucking natives. Opponents with firearms in abundance, even if they were inferior jezails. I decided long ago not to do the NWF mainly because of the vertical terrain issues.

SaveGordon26 Jul 2019 3:51 a.m. PST

That's a very good question. There are probably as many answers as there are gamers. All of the above are thought provoking, I would agree with versatility. Meaning a NWF game can be large or medium scale with many (interesting and varied) units, or a small skirmish with minimal miniatures needed to buy in. Regarding terrain, again it's not flat like other locations, more complex terrain possibilities allow a small scenario on a small table to be very interesting, and challenging. Just my 2c.

coolyork27 Jul 2019 12:46 p.m. PST

Its funny of all the hundreds of Colonial era 25mm figures in my collection ,I don't have any British troops . Yet !

JimSelzer28 Jul 2019 2:19 p.m. PST

because its not where we are from

I read somewhere along time ago an article stating that ECW is popular in USA and ACW is popular in UK because you didn't have family history involved in either side.


Basha Felika29 Jul 2019 2:38 a.m. PST

By their very nature, I guess colonial wars are very likely to be set "not where we are from".

I've never met a gamer in the UK who wouldn't play ECW because of family history – though I guess Cromwell's campaign in Ireland might be an exception – but we're 200 years (about 5 generations) further removed from that war than the ACW.

MiniPigs01 Aug 2019 7:54 p.m. PST

To me the NWF was the preferred pick because it is open to so many more scenario types and it is somewhat manageable army-size-wise. I always feel the Sudan is too large and the Zulus too limited in terms of scenarios.

There is also the solidarity issue. The Sudanese are all anti-British, the Zulus are all anti-British or Boer but there are many different Pathan tribes, Afghan princes etc to form coalitions with etc.

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