Sunday, 13 July 2014

IHMN: Sand of the Desert is Sodden Red

The year is 1886. Wolsey's Khartoum relief expedition has failed. Despite the British winning every battle, they lost the war. The Relief Expedition is replaced by the Frontier Force which garrisons Wadi Halfa on the Egyptian southern border up near the second cataract of the mighty Nile. Conditions are hellish with temperatures of 122F recorded in the men's tents.

The newly arrived Dorset Regiment is soon christened the Dying Dorsets as they lose one third of their strength without hearing a shot fired in anger.

A half company of men camped out by some ancient ruins by a tributary of the Nile is down to just eight effectives when a friendly river Arab dashes into the camp with the awful news that the Khalifa's Merry Men are coming. Sergeant Shaun Murphy has just enough time to form a defensive line.

We used the IHMN rules to recreate an historical skirmish between the Ansar and the Dorsets on the frontier.

The Ansar raiders, commanded by El Jon, a cousin of the deceased Mahdi sent North by the new Khalifa to get him out of the way, consist of eleven men armed with properly Islamic weapons: swords, shields, and spear. They also have verses of the Koran in amulets worn on the body that are guaranteed to turn the British bullets to water (so they get the water bullet advantage).

They are supported by six Jehadiya African riflemen. These warriors are not true believers so do not get the water bullet advantage. I class their guns as carbines despite them being Remington breech loading rifles captured from the Egyptian Army because the Jehadiya tended to cut the barrels down and knock off the sights. The Jehadiya cannot use volley fire.

The Ansar objective is to kill all the infidel.

The Dorsets want to survive.

Let battle commence.

The Ansar dash forwards in one of their bounding charges while the Jehadiya lay down a desultory supporting fire with their usual inaccuracy.

The Dorsets fall back slowly, firing aimed shots and the Mahdists start to die.

The Ansar pile into the British line to be met by determined bayonet work.

The Dorsets fall back 'by the numbers', one half of the unit laying down withering fire as the other retreats through them. Two Dorsets fall to spear thrusts and a third is trapped but they sell their lives dearly.

The Ansar charge peters out after skewering two more Dorsets.

Sixteen Mahdist fanatics stain the sand sodden red.

Veteran Sgt Murphy advises his men to bayonet the Mahdist dead 'just to make sure'.

A great fun game. IHMN works really well as a colonial skirmish game. Of hand I can't think of a better set of rules for the job.


  1. Which Company lists did you use John? I've been thinking exactly the same thing about IHMN and using it for Space 1889.

    I think your Dorsets have earned themselves the opportunity to be transferred to the Red Planet have have at Johnny Martian!

    1. I used my own stats Paul using various companies as a guide. The aim was to create a realistic colonial skirmish game and see if the rules would work. They do. will post stats when i have playtested a bit more.