Game 4 in our North Central Frontier Campaign

The Assault on Khan Abbis' Lair

In Ed Sansing's close-up above, the British commander mops his brow, murmuring "Hot work - this assault, eh?" We played this game at HOBBYTOWN in Jackson MS on February 21, 2004

This was the fourth in our five-game campaign set on the mythical "North Central Frontier" between British Indian and Ahoogastan, occupied by the fierce Pathans, under their supreme war chief Khan Abbis.

Photo by Ed Sansing

A view of the town containing the Khan, before the troops deployed. The British-Indian assault was mainly from the North (the bottom of the photo), but subsidiary columns entered from the East (near left), and the West (far right).

The Anglo-Indian players were:
Col Campbell - The Anglo-Indian force commander - Jim Pitts
1st Indian Company (Two platoons, Captain and 1st Sgt.) - Led by: Robert Whitfield
2nd Indian Company (Two platoons, Captain and 1st Sgt.) - Led by: Sean Pitts
3rd Indian Company (Two platoons, Captain and 1st Sgt.) - Led by: Mark Stevens
Highland Company (Two platoons, Captain and 1st Sgt.) - Led by: Jim Pitts
Cavalry Composite Company commander (Indian lancer troop and British Hussar troop, Captain and 1st Sgt.)
Led by: Jim Pitts (also Commander-in-Chief)
Screw gun battery (Two guns plus battery commander) - Led by: Robert Whitfield
Field gun battery (Two guns plus battery commander) - Led by: Sean Pitts

The Pathan players were:
'The Evil' Khan Abbis (Supreme war leader) - Fred Diamond
First hill clan - Allah be Praised (tribe of 3 units + a mounted tribe) - Led by: John Murdaugh
Second hill clan - God the Merciful (tribe of 3 units + a mounted tribe) - Led by: Eric Betts
Third hill clan - Hammer of the Infidels (tribe of 3 units + a gun)- Led by: Phil Young
Fourth hill clan - Warriors of the Faithful (tribe of 3 units + a gun) - Led by: Ed Sansing
Fifth hill clan - Followers of the Prophet (tribe of 3 units + a gun) - Led by: Bryan Thompson
Reserve - Warriors of the Reserve ('Regular' Ahoogastani unit and three captured guns)
- Led by: Fred Diamond

The GAMEMASTER - Jay Stribling

Thinking himself safely beyound the range of British influence, Khan Abbis had never attempted to construct massive fortifications. He relied on the fealty of his subordinate chieftains to raise their tribes and march to his aid. This worked well in our game.

Photo by Ed Sansing

Indian forces (Ghurkas in green) are arriving on the battlefield, having moved in from the Northern edge on turn one. I think that the hands placing infantry belong to Mark Stevens.

Photo by Ed Sansing

This photo shows the result of firing during the game's first turn. The Indian troops are about to climb over the fence in the center where two "compounds" join. The wooden fenced area fell quickly, the sepoys moving through an open gate. The Indian troops took a number of casualties storming the mud-walled compound.

Pathan Victory Conditions and notes

To WIN - you must safeguard the city! Slay the infidel Englishmen and their Indian Dog soldiers!


  1. Your ammunition is limited - watch out!
  2. One tribe is not on the table at game start. Must come on eastern or southern table edge on turn 2 or later. Roll D6 to enter, must roll equal to or less than turn number.
  3. You MAY keep a second tribe off table as above.
  4. All units on table may be hidden - guns may NOT be on building roofs.
  5. The captured guns have only one turn of ammunition to fire.
  6. All other guns have only two turns of ammunition to fire.

Photo by Ed Sansing

The Indian troops surge forward in a long continuous line, closing on a fenced compound in the center of their line, and on the thatch-roofed house on their extreme left. The blue-turbaned infantry shown is the extreme left flank unit for the imperial forces.

Photo by Ed Sansing

The Pack train on "Triangle hill" at almost the extreme left of the British-Indian line. Six of the mules carried two disassembled 'screw guns' (three mules per gun) while the other two carried ammunition. When Pathans surged onto the field on the guns' flank, the ammunition mules were shot down.

Photo by Ed Sansing

Tunr three - the flank attack by the Pathans! White arrows show direction from which they entered the battle. Note that the Imperial troops were all taken by surprise, facing the wrong way! The Pathans, infantry and cavalry, came in on the Northern part of the Eastern edge of the battlefield.

Anglo-Indian Victory Conditions and notes

To WIN - you must destroy the Buildings


  1. Your artillery ammunition for your guns is limited - watch out! Each gun has 36 dice of ammunition with it. Normal firing rate for a gun is 3 dice per gunner per turn.
  2. You have four ammunition mules each of which has an additional 12 dice of ammunition per mule.
  3. One of your Indian units is disaffected. Native Agitators have been trying to get it to desert. Be careful of it, your intelligence officer thinks it may change sides (It remained faithful throuout the game).
  4. You may use converging columns. Any of your companies may come on from any side of the table, however, the Northern edge of the battlefield is the direction from your main line of advance. Any company that comes on any other side must roll a D6: 1 = Delay one turn, 2 = Delay two turns, 3,4,5 = No delay, 6 = roll again next turn.
  5. To burn a building, you must occupy it - undisputed. The arsonist unit may roll 1 D6 for each 2 men torching the structure. If the total is 12 or more, the building is aflame and will burn for the rest of the game.
  6. It has been a hard journey on the artillery. Each time you move an artillery piece, roll a D6. If result is 6, then a wheel comes off the gun - cannot move or fire this turn
  7. Artillery shells may be fired AT any building instead of at the occupants. The structure is a class 4 target. RED cards do the card's number in points damage to the structure. Red face cards do 4 points each. If the total is 12 or more, the building is aflame and will burn for the rest of the game. Red Ace will ignite the buidling all by itself.

Photo by Ed Sansing

Eric Betts' command of two captured guns (See The Defense of JellyBad ) lined up with Ahoogastani Regular infantry. They were firing down a long clear "green mall" in the center of the table. Little did the British know that these guns only had one turn's fire available to them.

Photo by Ed Sansing

On the extreme left of the Angol-Indian line, turn four of the game, Fred Diamonds's Pathan units have pushed Robert Whitifield's infantry and screw guns off "Triangle hill" and have captured some dead pack animals loaded with ammunition. Robert has formed squares to protect against the cavalry that struck him on turn three. The threat to the British left converted the purpose of the most powerful Anglo-Indian thrust from offense to defense and won the game for the Ahoogastanis.

The natives tried to move the ammunition (represented by the 'dead' animals laying on their side) to the center of the table, where they had guns, but no ammo. It was not to be, as the moving units kept getting 6" moves (rolling THREE D6 dice).

Photo by Ed Sansing

One of Mark Stevens's units advances toward Phil Young's compound. They are moving through the orchard, munching on the Khans' apples as they go. Unfortunately, the widely spaced trees provided little cover and they too numerous casualties from the gun and riflemen on the wall of the compound.

Photo by Ed Sansing

One of Phil Young's guns prepares to fire at the troops of Mark Stevens who are advancing through the orchard. Is the gunner blessing the gun or cursing the enemy?

So - Who won the game?

The Ahoogastanis, under the leadership of Khan Abbis, won. At game's end the Anglo-Indian forces had 11 victory points, for setting two buildings aflame. The Pathans had 44 points, from shooting up enemy units, reducing them to less than half strengh.

Photo by Ed Sansing

Jim Pitts, Phil Young and Mark Stevens (seated) discuss a fine point of the game. Bryan Thompson lounges against wall watching. Jim's Highlanders have attacked the south end of Phil's compound as Mark's troops advance from the north.

Lessons Learned in our fourth campaign game
On the North Central Frontier

  1. The British need to maximize fire on a position before assaulting with cold steel.
  2. The Pathans will usually not stand to a British attack, but sometimes, when you really need them to break, they will stand!
  3. Never assume that the table edge is friendly.
  4. Never assume the the enemy has as much ammunition as you do. They could have more! Or less!
  5. The Pack Mule can be your friend. Guard him carefully!

Photo by Ed Sansing

Sepoys under the command of Mark Stevens push the last of the natives out of the first compound. Several of them have torched the building and they prepare to advance agianst the next compound by vaulting the wall.

Photo by Ed Sansing

Jim Pitts sucessfully dices to bring his highlanders onto the battlefield in the rear of the Pthans. He exhaults over a dice roll, but found himself opposed by too many Ahoogastanis and cut off from the support of the main body.

Photo by Ed Sansing

The Highlanders under the command of Jim Pitts try the wall of the main compound. They were pushed back. In the distance native cavalry is headed in their direction. About this time, the British commanders came to the conclusion that this was not the day that they would burn the Khan's headquarters, and they withdrew.

Soon we will fight our last game on the North Central Frontier. A quite different game:

A Hard Day in Ahoogastan

Go to "Blast those Pesky Tribesmen" - Our first "North Central Frontier" Battle

Go to "The Road to Barfus" - Our second "North Central Frontier" Battle

Go to "The Defense of JellyBad" - Our third "North Central Frontier" Battle

Go to "A Hard Day in Ahoogastan" - Our last "North Central Frontier" Battle

Go to our Colonial Period Page

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