Monday, 20 November 2017

The Men Who Would Be Kings for the 1912 Balkans War

Martin and I drove across to Warfare at Reading on the Sunday with my 1912 Balkans War game. I'd previously demonstrated this period using Chain of Command, but this year I was using The Men Who Would be Kings by Dan Mersey. Although the rules a written for 19th century colonial conflicts, I've found they work very well for the early 20th century as well. The First and Second Balkans Wars, with their huge variety of troop types and qualities, are easily covered with these adaptable rules. Later in the day we were joined by Henry to help out and allow for some wandering time/loo breaks.

Instead of the usual 6x4 table, I was playing this on a 3x3 area, using the skirmish version of TMWWBK (which uses half sized units). Although we were on the show listing as a demonstration game, I was intending this as a "soft" participation game, if anyone showed interest in how the rules worked for this period, they would be invited to join in and see.

It was a simple scenario, there were 3 objective points that needed to be scouted, which ever side scouted the most was the winner!
The Greeks had 4 units (1 elite, 2 regular and 1 irregular volunteers) and the Turks had 5 (2 regular, 2 militia and 1 irregular volunteers).

                                                                  The battlefield
                                                             A view from the other side
                                                              The 3 objectives

We played the scenario three times in the end, and every game had at least one passer by joining in. I'd planned the scenario to last for about an hour, including time for explaining the rules and that seemed to work. Allowing for lunch and shopping trips, as well as a lot of chatting to interested passers by, 3 hours gaming was just about right before everything started to wind down. Out of the three games, we had one Greek Victory and two Turkish.

                                                                Turkish Militia
                       Greek Regulars - The Italian Legion: Garabaldini Redshirts for the 20th Century
                                             Turkish Regulars and Militia prepare to advance
                                                        Greek Irregular Volunteers
                                                               Turkish Regular Cavalry
                                             Turkish Militia seize the central objective
                                    The situation at the end of the game, another Turkish victory!
                                                          Finally, a win for the Greeks

We had a great time and chatted to a lot of interesting people, both visitors and those running nearby games. I didn't spend very much as the one trader I wanted to buy from wasn't there this year!

An added bonus for me was when a father and son stopped by to admire the game and ask questions, when I turned to answer them I realised it was my old friend Nigel, who lives on the Isle of Wight and I hadn't seem face to face in years. We'd first met at a reenactment event about 25 years ago, when we got very, very drunk. It's a small world.

An extra thank to Martin who stepped in at the last minute to drive me and the game over, despite having attended the previous day with a 54mm ACW participation game.

I've also now got Alan's report on the Saturday (unfortunatly no pictures for this one).

Martin, Ian R, and I took our 54mm ACW participation game to the Warfare 2017 show on Sat Nov 18th. Warfare is a regular slot for us, the guys from WAR always put on a great show and we really enjoy going along.

Once again, the show this year was well attended, and we were kept busy right from the start and most of the day. As we had seen at Milton Keynes earlier in the year, there was a lot of interest in our participation game - a simple skirmish might-have-been scenario, which we envisaged as taking place on the early morning of July 2nd 1863, somewhere near the Peach Orchard on the Gettysburg battlefield.

Our use of 54mm figures for the game drew a lot of attention, and many visitors to our table were keen to know where we had obtained the figures and whether they were available for sale at the show. Unfortunately we had to disappoint them, we didn’t see anyone selling 54mm figures at the show, and Martin and I had picked ours up at a museum in Atlanta on our ACW tour trip last year. However, we received numerous favourable comments about using  the larger scale on a 5x5 table, and it proved very popular with the gamers who gave it a try - something we will definitely be taking into consideration when planning our show offerings for next year.

Over the course of the day we played the game about a half dozen times, with plenty of time for chatting with the gamers and passers-by as well. Several had commented that there did seem to be fewer participation games on display this year, which is a shame, although there were some beautifully-crafted large-table games on show as well.

An added bonus – we were approached by a gamer who has recently moved into our area and is looking for a club, so we will look forward to welcoming them to  one of our regular Friday evening meetings.

Overall, a very enjoyable day, and a big thank you to the guys at WAR for organising a great show.


  1. I'm thinking of using the rules for Russian Civil War, so it was interesting to read that you see them as a good fit for 20th C!

    1. Go for it! I think they would also be great for RCW.

  2. My club plans to use them for WWI in the Mideast. Did you use any rule modifications? We were thinking of getting rid of volley fire and allowing all units to go to ground for starters.

    1. Yes, I dumped "volley fire" and "close order".
      I only gave "go to ground" to irregulars, who used more guerrilla tactics, bayonet charges (and subsequent high casualties) were quite common tactics in the Balkan Wars.
      I also ignored the upgrade for magazine rifles, when everyone has them it made shooting too deadly.
      Otherwise I used the rules as written. I think you are going to have some fun games using TMWWBK for WW1, I'd like to see how you get on.

  3. Nice looking minis and terrain, what an interesting period to play, well done!