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Spice up your colonial battles with:

Chance Cards and Strange Happenings

These ideas for random events were posted on the Colonial discussion group in August of 2001. The Jackson gamers have added a few. Feel free to send us ideas that you may have for posting here. Make a deck of these by pasting the "random happening" to the back of index cards. Shuffle and draw one each turn.

Each of these should be directly usable with "The Sword and The Flame" rules set, but they are adaptable with a bit o'work to any rules environment. Enjoy!


British Officer notices some game, calls a halt and heads off with his batman for some sport. 1 British unit (dice for which) will not move this turn. (Barry Burman)

Drunken Swedish Missionary with his daughter fleeing the Mahdi's troops on a cart stops alongside the British a British unit screaming "You arer all going to die!" The British unit Unit must pass a critical morale test before it can move. (Barry Burman)

Low on ammo-- one unit (selected randomly) is running low on bullets. Only half the men may fire from now on. If there is an ammunition train on the board, the unit may move to the train (or vice versa) and resupply. Loses 1D6 movement on next turn to represent the time needed to distribute the rounds. (Inspired by one submitted by Alex Hazlett)

Temporary or insanity (kafard?) caused by the heat strikes the European troops. Dice to see which unit. They must move forward max speed every turn towards nearest enemy till they catch one and fight a close combat. (Inspired by one submitted by Chuck Turnitsa)


A strong wind blows one units leader's (die for which one) banner out of the hands of the poor chap holding it. Cannot move this turn whilst the banner is recovered and the chap executed. (Barry Burman)

A Svengali(?) tribesman with strangely pale skin causes an explosion (dice for location) and makes off towards the British lines shouting commands in English and muttering about white feathers. The closest unit to the explosion will become shaken and will need to pass critical morale test to recover. (Barry Burman)

A herd of wild camels enters the table at a random location. Moving across the table, any Mahdi unit within movement range will give chase to capture these fine specimens. Any British unit within firing range will mistake them for charging Mahdi and open fire on them, irrespective of whether there is a closer and more threatening target. (Barry Burman)

Blessings of Allah: Allah hears the prayers of his devout followers and grants them holy strength against the invaders' bullets. Dervishes get a +1 bonus on close combat die rolls this turn. (Inspired by one submitted by “The Angle”)

"Blinky" Pasha assumes command: The infamous bumbling commander, long thought to be dead, arrives and assumes command. British must roll as if the commander-in chief was dead or wounded this turn. A the end of the turn “Blinky” is led away to his tent. (Inspired by one submitted by “The Angle”)

Call to prayers: Time for afternoon prayers. Mahdist movement halved this turn. Any unit that does not obey this will lose 1 D6 number of men who are disgusted by the army's lack of piety. (Inspired by one submitted by “The Angle”)

"Chinatown" Gordon assumes command: The legendary general and adventurer, long thought to be dead, arrives and assumes command. British units may move one extra movement die per unit, till a red face card is drawn as a movment card, after which Gordon’s effect is nullified by staff wallahs. (Inspired by one submitted by “The Angle”)

Furious Belch of Allah: The dervishes wheel an ancient 12-pdr smoothbore out onto a high promontory and begin shelling the battlefield. Crew of 4, Roll one D6 for ammunition supply (number of turns it can fire). Remove gun when ammo runs out. (Inspired by one submitted by “The Angle”)

Harry Faversham returns a feather: The British hold this card until it's needed. When a British unit is charged, playing this card lets Harry shout "Alarm!" The unit being charged is allowed to change facing and formation, even if it has already moved. (Inspired by one submitted by “The Angle”)

Lost: One randomly chosen unit is disoriented for this turn. If it moves, it must move in a random fashion. Roll a D6: 1=move forward maximum. 2= move right and face to front 3= move right and face to rear. 4= move left and face to front 5= move right and face to rear. 6= move to rear and face to rear. Next turn, it becomes reoriented. (Inspired by one submitted by “The Angle”)

Merchant caravan: Caravan arrives at random entry point and proceeds across the board protected by 6 musketeers. If a dervish unit captures the caravan, roll one D6: 1-3, dervishes spend 1d6 turns looting; 4-6, entire dervish band becomes armed with rifles. (Inspired by one submitted by “The Angle”)

Mirage: A mirage appears of a shimmering waterhole, placed randomly. Units within 2 feet must move toward it until someone reaches it, dispelling the mirage. (Inspired by one submitted by “The Angle”)

Missionary: The reverend Carrington St.-John Smythe of the British Missionary Society arrives to minister to the natives. He is unarmed and never fights. He will move towards the nearest native unit, on the first British movement card drawn. If he is headed off by the British, he will spend the game in the rear area. If natives are encountered, roll one D6: 1, Smythe martyred; 2-5, captured; 6, natives converted to "friendlies" and are now under British control. If Smythe is captured, roll the D6 again each turn that the British have initiative. He will escape on a 1,2. He will be recaptured on a 3-4, and put to death by the infidels on 5,6. (Inspired by one submitted by “The Angle”)

Ominous silence descends: All dervishes currently on the table are motionless. For this turn, the dervishes will not move or fire. Reinforcements due to arrive may enter the table. On the next turn, all the dervishes will move forward 4 dice to attack - no stragglers. Artillery and rifle-armed dervishes may fire +1 on that turn. They will take no terrain penalties. In close combat they will fight +1 no matter what their weapon (unless the combat chart would call for more than a +1). (Inspired by one submitted by “The Angle”)

Professor DeLaCroix, the world-renowned archaeologist, is here in Soodanistan on a dig. Accompanying him are his lovely daughter Nicholle and their guide, Lorimar Hanson. Place their archaeological dig at a random site. The Professor and Nicholle cannot be killed, only captured. The Prof. and Nicholle are armed with pistols, Hanson has a carbine. Each will fight +1 in melee. Falling in love: Each turn, roll one die for each British officer figure in play (except the Professor). The low roller is out of the competition. When only one is left, that figure has fallen in love with Nicholle and must do all that is in his power to keep her safe. If Nicholle is captured, finish the roll-off to determine her lover. He will immediately move to the capturing unit and single-handedly fight them to attempt to rescue her. (Inspired by one submitted by “The Angle”)

Camel bitten by desert snake and bolts. Rider must roll 4+ on d6 to remain mounted. Camel will be too sick to ride in 1d6+1 turns. (Dave Bennett)

A Baboon is spooked and bolts from its hiding place running through the ranks of one of the Sudanese units. They take this as an ill omen and the unit must pass “To Stand morale” or immediately falls back 3D6 (British are not affected by this event).

(Inspired by one submitted by Dave Bennett)

Overbearing heat. The Mahdiste player may select any one British officer figure to make a saving roll of 2+ on a d6. If a 1 is rolled that figure becomes wounded suffering from either heat stroke or exhaustion.

The Mahdist player may opt to have the British player select the victim. In this case the figure must roll a 4+ on a d6 to avoid becoming a heat casualty. (Dave Bennett)

Blowing sands-- reduces move by 1d6, vision and firing ranges to 4d6 inches and no thrown spears. lasts 4d6 card-pulls Note: a normal TSATF turn would be 10 card-pulls, one for each unit. So this could last from ˝ to 2-1/2 normal turns. (Alex Hazlett)

Brush fire-both sides really HAVE been blazing away, and now a patch of nearby scrub has caught fire. Dice to see which. If there is not convenient scrub patch, each side quickly places 3 small patches anywhere they choose, then roll a D6 to see which patch is ablaze. Remove the non-blazing patches. No unit may move into or within 4” of the patch for the remainder of the game. Cannot fire through or over it because of smoke & heat distortion. Units in a patch of scrub when it catches fire are shaken and fall back to rear 2D6. Wounded in such a patch die unless carried out immediately. (Inspired by one submitted by Alex Hazlett)

Ammunition exhausted-- one unit (selected randomly) is out of bullets. It is cold steel now! If the unit wins a melee with a British or Egyptian infantry unit, it will resupply itself nest turn. It will only move 1/2 distance on next turn to represent the time needed to distribute the rounds. (Inspired by one submitted by Alex Hazlett)

A Guide, dragoman, camel handler, or native bearer nominated by your opponent turns out to be an assassin - Roll a D6. 1=he falls on his knees and confesses all. 2-6 he attacks a key figure or officer immediately, fighting +1 to die. If the figure wins he may move on to one other figure but then is siezed/killed by nearby troops. If he loses - dies by his own hand. (Inspired by one submitted by Chuck Turnitsa)

A holy man rises up from within a dervish unit screaming "death to the infidels". That unit (chosed at random) and D6 number of the other units closest to it must immediately move forward as fast as possible in an attempt to strike the enemy. They will do this for 3 turns unless they reach the enemy before that and fight in close combat.

"The Mahdi is Watching" A random Dervish unit, gets an additional +1 in melee, are very dedicated, and don't roll for stragglers. The unit may roll an extra D6 for movement. All these effects last for this one turn only. (Inspired by one submitted by Chuck Turnitsa)

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