Wednesday 20 December 2023

Spectacular Indian Mutiny Xmas special!

Mark surpassed himself with his latest spectacular Christmas special. These are big multi-player BBB games with a twist: unlike standard scenarios where time limits are clear and everyone knows what their side's common objectives are, in these Christmas games each player has different secret objectives depending on his own individual motivations - greed, glory, self-preservation, rivalry, ambition, etc.

The setting was the climactic assault of the siege of Delhi in 1857 during the Indian Mutiny. (Retaking the whole city actually took a week but this was compressed into 8 game turns.) Mark handcrafted some 15 feet of bastioned walls to represent Delhi's fortifications. Dave W and Phil joined me on the imperial side, outnumbered by five Indian defenders: Crispin, Luke, Ben, Dave T and Nick O.

It fell to me to take the role of Brigadier Nicholson, evidently a fellow of considerable pluck and determination, judging by my objectives. These included storming both the two breaches by the Water Bastion and the Kashmir Bastion (pic above).

Mutineer's-eye view of my force, which for game purposes included both Nicholson's 1st Column and Jones's 2nd Column: four 3-base regiments of European troops plus two larger regiments of loyal sepoys. (Figures from Mark's collection, made by Irregular Miniatures.)

I advanced boldly upon the leftmost breach. I won't be able to tell you much about what was going on along the other 13 feet of fortifications.

Indian artillery on the bastions induced a little more caution towards the righthand breach while we poured fire on the defenders to soften them up for a turn first. Note the small barrels behind my troops. These represent petards for blasting our way into bastions and the like.

Festive combat resolution mechanism! Turns 2 and 3 were spent effecting entry via both breaches, only for Crispin's savage counterattacking hordes to eject the 1st Column from the Water Bastion breach and wipe out a regiment of the 2nd Column, the 2nd Bengal Fusiliers. That loss provoked a cracker pull that I lost, resulting in Nicholson being wounded and rendered hors de combat, seriously handicapping my force for the rest of the game.

To my right was Colonel Campbell's 3rd Column (Dave W). Here he demonstrates one of our patent self-hoisting petards against the Kabul gate.

Turn 4: 2nd Column's 4th Sikhs storm in to avenge the 2nd Bengal Fusiliers
and rout their whiteclad foes, already reeling from the Fusiliers' gallant resistance.
(Yellow markers indicate Disrupted; blue is Spent.)

Turn 5: we are now solidly established inside the walls and driving the enemy before us. The Sikhs are the unit upper right. 1st Column has taken the St James suburb (the grey patch) and the 8th Foot supports its right flank. Heavy casualties are starting to tell on the mutineers.

Our casualties have not been light, though. Here the wounded Nicholson parades assorted wounded and stragglers from my force and Dave's on the table edge.

Start of Turn 8. The building top left is the Magazine, which is also one of my Objectives. In front of it is a shaky line of blue-countered Spent mutineer rabble. My leading unit, the 75th Foot (the line centre left) will shake off its Disruption and charge! Unfortunately, without Nicholson to motivate them, its tired comrades will watch it go in alone.

The 1st Bengal Fusiliers won't even stay to watch ... having rolled snake-eyes earlier, they actually retired outside the breach again. I rationalised this as them being detached to escort supplies and artillery moving up and wounded moving back.

My highwater mark! The 75th routed their spent opponents so comprehensively that they then impetuously charged the rather larger and more solid mob in the Magazine. Unsurprisingly, they bounced off with heavy loss, but their gallantry cannot be faulted.

One of our British team objectives was to find and capture the king of Delhi (Bahadur Shah, I think). Here we see him making his escape past the Red Fort. More splendid Irregular Miniatures.

So how did it turn out? As I said, I didn't have much idea what was happening beyond my scrap with Crispin. He and a couple of other Indian players did better than us on the personal objectives. However, what we didn't know was that there were two factions on the Indian side. Luke and Ben's faction achieved every one of their objectives and therefore achieved a team win. Hurrah for them! (The treacherous dogs, damn their eyes.)

If you enjoyed this and fancy trying some large-scale India games yourself, do take a look at Mark's scenario book, "Bloody Big Battles in INDIA!"


Just a seasonal one: the value and importance of good friends.

On which note, I wish all readers of this blog a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. I hope you all get to spend some quality time with the people most important to you. See you in 2024!


  1. Sounds most excellent fun! Sorry to have missed it!

  2. Lovely city, great-looking game!

  3. What a great game and nice to have hidden objectives so to speak:). Wishing you and yours a very Merry Xmas too!

  4. A nice looking game with splendid units!

  5. Thanks for all your kind comments!

  6. Looks like a great Christmas game, best wishes for 2024!


Comments welcome!