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"Wargaming the Indian Mutiny?" Topic

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Personal logo Stosstruppen Supporting Member of TMP08 Aug 2019 9:09 a.m. PST

This subject gets my interest time and again. This time because of the new Pendraken line. I know little to nothing about the conflict (I have several books to read in my library). I have always assumed it would be more suitable for skirmish games. What are some good resources and rules for this period of warfare? I did do a search but most of the more comprehensive topics seem to be rather old.


Personal logo The Virtual Armchair General Sponsoring Member of TMP08 Aug 2019 9:32 a.m. PST

May I humbly suggest "John Company," the only set of wargame rules specifically designed from scratch (over a ten year period research) on "Warfare on The Sub-Continent, 1750-1860."

Full details may be found here:

TMP reviews and other information may be found here: TMP link

Ready to answer any questions you may have, but in any event, good luck and welcome to a subject more amazing than you may yet know!


Viper91108 Aug 2019 2:07 p.m. PST

Hi Kevin if you're interested in NWF figs 10mm let me know have armys ready to go.

robert piepenbrink Supporting Member of TMP08 Aug 2019 2:47 p.m. PST

For tactics, old is what you want. Pretty much everything more recent than the centennial focuses on politics and culture rather than tactics. But you might take a look at John French, Armies of the 19th Century: The British in India 1825 to 1859. It's all uniforms and maps, but it includes a number of battlefield maps I haven't seen elsewhere.

I also wonder about the period being "more suitable for skirmish games." It seems to have a number of battles at much the same number of combatants (2,000-6,000 pretty much) as the southern campaigns of the American Revolution or many War of 1812 battles. The sluggish Indian command structure would suggest solo play, though.

Anyway, good luck and keep us informed.

Ragbones Supporting Member of TMP08 Aug 2019 3:55 p.m. PST

You may wish to look at, "The Devil's Wind," by David Bickley. Although I haven't played that particular rules set I do use and enjoy his other two rules sets that share the same system, "A Good Dusting," for the early Sudan, and, "Washing the Spears," for the Anglo-Zulu War. Some reviewers describe the rules system as ‘old fashioned,' but I think they're fun, simple and imminently adaptable to personal taste.

Leadjunky08 Aug 2019 6:09 p.m. PST


Not the same Devil's Wind that I remember. The one I remember playing used d10s and a range stick for artillery fire. Individually based. Lots of fun at recon and hurricon. Anyone know where to get them?

Ragbones Supporting Member of TMP09 Aug 2019 10:44 a.m. PST

I apologize then. It was my [apparently incorrect] understanding that, "The Devil's Wind," was the first in a system that included, "A Good Dusting," and, "Washing the Spears." The latter two are definitely related and very similar.

Leadjunky09 Aug 2019 1:03 p.m. PST

No sir you were correct on Mr. Bickley's rules, but there was another rule set by the same name from at least back in the 90's. Just curious if anyone's knows if they can be purchased anywhere. Thanks.

Basha Felika09 Aug 2019 1:16 p.m. PST

The larger battles tend to be pretty one-sided affairs- lots of sieges, usually successful British assaults on defensive positions despite overwhelming odds.

I'd agree that the period lends itself better to ‘heroic' large scale skirmishes (I use ‘Sharp Practice').

Tried, but wasn't too impressed by Bickley's "Devils Wind" – bit clunky and lacking ‘period feel. "Black Powder" works OK with a few tweaks. If looking at larger scale figures, Iron Duke cannot be beaten in 28mm

robert piepenbrink Supporting Member of TMP09 Aug 2019 2:29 p.m. PST

"The larger battles tend to be pretty one-sided affairs"

The British keep telling me that, but I don't believe them as much as I used to. Notice Havelock gets part way to Lucknow then has to go back to Cawnpore. He's won so many battles he can't continue without reinforcements. When he finally does punch through, he doesn't have the combat power to go back. I think Clinton and Cornwallis would have understood the problem. And between the advance on Cawnpore and the various attempts to relieve Lucknow, you've got about a dozen open-field battles. (I never did like sieges or stormings. Just how many decisions do the players get to make?) If you prefer skirmishes, fine. But the battles are there if you want them.

dbf167609 Aug 2019 5:32 p.m. PST

Up to the first relief of Lucknow, Havelock's army suffered far, far more casualties due to heatstroke and disease than to enemy shot and shell. The fighting in Lucknow was much more deadly, as was the assault and conquest of Delhi. In the field actions, however, British casualties were almost always very light, and the the British were almost always successful. When gaming the Indian Mutiny, a good way of judging who wins is how many casualties the British suffer before they accomplish their goal. A very old set of rules called "Sepoy" does a good job of this. You have to fill in the blanks in these rules quite often but we enjoy them.

Jeffers11 Aug 2019 3:46 a.m. PST

Might be worth looking out for Richard Brooks' Khartoum siege rules. They were designed for a solo campaign to represent the siege and the relief column battling forward to save the day. The rules were simple, differentiated between the multiple troop types and can easily be adapted for the Mutiny. I can't remember the Wargames Illustrated they were published in, but will have a dig if it sounds like what you are after.

This was my plan many years ago when I was tempted by this fascinating period of history. I probably still have the notes somewhere.

Personal logo Stosstruppen Supporting Member of TMP11 Aug 2019 6:11 a.m. PST

First off, thanks everyone for all the great advice. I may still have a copy of Devils Wind, and I have suitable rules for skirmishes (TMWWBK, and Sharp Practice). Looks like I'll pick up John Company at least for the resources if nothing else. I have The Mexican Soldier and the Madhist Wars books from TVAG so I know its going to be quality stuff. I always thought Black Powder Might make an interest set for large colonial battles, but I detest having to set everything up myself.

@jeffers, thanks for the heads up on that. I have WI prime so I can do a search and find it. Since I have a Sudan project in the wings as well they could do double duty.

Nick Stern Supporting Member of TMP11 Aug 2019 8:25 a.m. PST

LeadJunky, the Devil's Wind rules you mentioned were written and self published by John Cape. I know because I drew the illustrations. I may have a spare copy, PM me if interested. I sold my large 28mm Indian Mutiny collection a year ago because, after trying half a dozen rules sets, I was never satisfied with the way they handled the large battles. I was disappointed in "John Company" because I had hoped for a good historic battle scenario but the sample IM scenario in the book is made up. An email pal of mine in the UK swears by Sharpe Practice for the IM, but they are just not my cup of tea. I replaced my 28mm collection with a smaller 54mm one, with the view, as mentioned by other posters, that the conflict is more suited to heroic skirmish actions. There is one new scenario book that I own but have yet to try on the game table and that is Roxanne Patton's "Colonial Conflicts – The Indian Mutiny" published by On Military Matters. The book contains a series of linked scenarios depicting the battles leading up to and including the siege of Delhi and also the campaign for the first relief of Lucknow up to the First Battle of Cawnpore. It uses a modified set of The Sword and the Flame Rules (TSATF). I may give it a try with my reduced 54mm collection as the rules use the small sized unit TSATF option of eight figure infantry and four figure cavalry units. So, for example, to game Badli-ki-serai, you only need 5 guns, 15 gunners and 40 infantry for the mutineers and 5 guns, 15 gunners, 26 infantry and 8 cavalry to represent the Queens and Company forces.

Leadjunky13 Aug 2019 5:10 a.m. PST

Thanks Nick, I had a copy but haven't seen it in several moves now leadjunky AT yahoo dot Com.

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