Queen Victoria’s Little Wars, Honour & Fortitude, 28mm
As this was my first visit to the Edinburgh Club in months, it was inevitable that there would be a little celebratory drinking. Well, it got a little out of hand – this was the booziest wargame I’ve played. It was almost impossible to take a shot of the table without beer or whisky somewhere in the frame – hence the opening picture. The idea was that a small British garrison were holding out in a defended compound somewhere near Lucknow, and the mutinous sepoys had blown a breach in the compound wall. The game was all about launching assaults against the compound, before the defenders could be relieved. Thank goodness for young Chris Patterson, our teenage mutineer, who kept the game moving along despite the increasingly drunken antics of those more than twice his age!It began with a Sepoy cavalry charge, trying to ride down the defenders of the breach in one hell-for-leather assault. Well, it came to naught, as the defenders had cunningly covered the breach with two small guns, and the cavalry rode into a killing zone of canister shot and musketry. Then came two assaults, from two different directions, the first led by the Khazi of Calibar’s guard, and the other by the best unit of Sepoys on the table.The yellow-turbaned guard broke into the compound, but failed to achieve anything. The Sepoys were more of a threat, prompting a defensive charge by a squadron of loyal Punjabi Lancers. The cavalry dies to a man, but the Sepoys were halted, and the defences held – just. Then the relief column arrived, headed by British cavalry.By this stage of the game many of the players were too incapable to roll dice, but young Chris battled Derek’s cavalry, and amazingly the Sepoys stalled the relief column, albeit at the expense of the last of the Sepoy cavalry. Only a handful of British horsemen were left, and they eventually succumbed to the swords of a band of Ghazi fanatics, who lay between them and the gates of the compound. At that stage play was abandoned, the toys were packed up, and the drunken gamers repaired to the Cumberland Arms, to continue their slide into oblivion.Our thanks go out to Chris for keeping the game going, and for Dougie’s valiant efforts at umpiring, until the effects of the India Pale Ale became all too much. Despite the booziness of the occasion this small game was both fun and colourful, while the simple but effective rules were perfect for an occasion when most of us seemed more intent on partying than moving lead around the tabletop!