Thursday, January 26, 2023

A Change of Scenery, If You Will


The new table layout - a change of scenery, if you will.


Last night and today I decided that it was time to take down the Nile River terrain and set up new terrain   for my Assault on Khartoum game. I was really sorry to see the Nile terrain and boats go away for awhile as I was quite taken by the look of the table, shown below:

The old terrain has been stored away

So I removed all of the boats, the British camp, the various Dervish figures, riverbank pieces, rocks and lastly, the blue felt. 

I have been taking inventory of the figures and buildings and terrain pieces that I have so far, and I figured that spreading everything out on the game table would give me a better sense of what work remains to be done. This also gives me a preview of the available table space relative to the size of the game tables that I will need at Historicon '23. Mind you, my home set up features two parallel tables (5ft by 12 ft and 6ft by 15 feet) whereas my plan is for three 6ft by 24ft tables for the Historicon '23 game. Aspire to big things so to speak.

The new table places the outer walls of Khartoum on what will be the "middle table" (#2 of 3) and the rest of the city on the "outer table" (#1 of 3). A "back table" (#3 of 3) will provide some table depth where the Dervish army can form up for the game.

My thinking is that it will be easier for the Egyptian defenders to stand in the aisle behind the outer walls of the city and face the Dervish rush towards the walls. The Dervish players will initially be on the other side of table 2 facing the Egyptians at the walls.

Previously I had placed the whole city on the Outer Table (#1 of 3), but this would result in all 10 to 12 players being jammed into the aisle between tables 1 and 2. Once the Dervish make it over the walls then they can carry on into the city on table 1.

I don't think that the scenario will work if I start the Dervish on table 2. This places them too close to the city walls, which they will likely reach in one to two turns. I would like to allow the defenders the opportunity to fire at the Dervish for at least two turns, otherwise the defenders will be overwhelmed too quickly and make a short game of it. The defenders have a tough enough go of it anyway since they will be outnumbered 3 to 1. The defenders will have some victory conditions that don't require them to repulse the escalade of the walls. Thus they have a chance of "winning" the game despite losing the city to the assault. Likewise the Dervish players will have some victory conditions that assume that they will get into the city and get into a street fight with the Egyptian defenders.

Setting up the game terrain and the troops gives me a better idea of the spacing needed to make  it a good game.

A view of Khartoum from the Dervish perspective. 

Ground scale view of the city walls.

Here are some pictures of the spacing for the city:

The interior of the city of Khartoum is laid out on Table 1 while the front walls are set up on the edge of Table 2.

My convention game table will be 6ft wide compared to the 5ft wide table shown in this picture.
This will give me an extra foot of space to work with.  I can either make the river wider or
increase the depth of the city. This would require making more walls and buildings. It is evident that I need to have
more walls on the side closest to the camera.

Once the Dervish get over the walls then the game fighting will largely switch to both sides of Table 1. I'm leaning towards using the extra foot of table width to make the Nile River 2ft wide which provides more room to use some of the boats that I made for the game. Maybe one of the Egyptian victory conditions might be coercing Gordon to escape via a boat and to rescue as many European citizens as possible.

Taking Stock of What I Have and What I Need

It looks like I will have/need more depth on Table 1 (inside the city). It looks like I will need at least four more wall sections. One 12-inch palisade for the front town wall on Table 2 and three wall sections to extend the side walls of the city. I could also make some of the building "wings" for the Governor's Palace so that the palace grounds are U-shaped. I see that I need to make some wharf sections for the riverfront.

In terms of figures for the game, I have 400 Dervish foot, 60 Dervish riflemen, and 32 Dervish cavalry. I don't think that I have to add too many more Dervish to their army.

The Egyptian defenders will man four sections of the city walls. There will be two commands on the front facing walls (one command on each side of the main town gate) and two other commands, one on each side wall of the city.

I want to scale up the game so that 12 players can participate.

To summarize then, it looks like I am in fairly good shape in the number of painted figures that I need in the game, but I need to add some more wall sections and perhaps a couple more houses to place inside the city walls.


  1. I'm sure this is going to be mightily impressive when all set up at the convention:).

  2. A terrific looking set of tables Jim, it will be some game!

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    1. Good Lord, Jim! That is an incredible work of art you've created. I certainly hope your Historicon players appreciate all this hard work! I think I'll have to sign up to play just to make sure!

  4. Very impressive, I love the clever effect created by those big "sky sheets" behind it

  5. Looking forward to playing in this! My tickets are all booked !