Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Chapter 70: Marching Through Antiquity in The Delta


Date: May 27, 29, 31 and September 2, 1903 
Location: Nile Delta South of Alexandria
Situation: Marching South From Alexandria Continues

See Previous Chapter 69 here:
Clicking images enlarges them prodigiously.

Pettygree:  "On the 27th of May 1903 I ordered the Garrison of Alexandria to assemble on Parade to begin our march south through The Nile Delta. We would pick up additional battalions, squadrons and guns en-route."

"My purpose was to demonstrate in an extraordinary way to all Egypt and The Soudan that we were unsheathing our sword again. The siege shutting up Brigadier Kettering in Khartoum had to be broken. I hoped my earlier tincture of obfuscation would persuade foes possessing superstitious natures to abandon their cause before a battle might be fought."

"My ruse was the impossible reappearance of the late General Charles Gordon whom fathers of the same warriors now outside Khartoum had killed in 1885. Any number might abandon the siege in fear."

"Therefore, I cast the dice hoping a prodigious percentage of the enemy would be thrown into frightened confusion thinking it impossible to defeat the supernatural. A long shot? Yes. However, it had the merit of being so unusual that it might work."

May 29, 1903

"On the 29th instant we made the most of my legerdemain. Beside one of the many Nile Delta tributaries sat a large structure from the time of the Ptolemies."

"I turned my companions toward the magnificent complex to make inquiries and ask permission to investigate. My dear wife Mary after all had been promised a Grand Tour including all manner of ancient Egyptian buildings we might come across. This was another opportunity to satisfy that promise to her."

"However, the Curator Mr. Ibrahim Fakhouri was adamant we must not enter his proceedings. "Too fragile he pleaded and dangerous."  

"Next arguments did not turn away his decision. "No," he did not care my lovely wife and her companions including -- Gordon -- Pasha? -- would be distraught."

"Would a mere hour to reveal ancient wonders be possible? Never in life. An impossible interruption and inconvenience it would be."

"And so it went on until my design had been achieved. The poor fellow looked for the longest time at the counterfeit Gordon as we departed. Tongues would wag I was sure. Mary, shaded under her bumbershoot atop her ship of the desert, smiled sweetly at me."

"We resumed the march."

"Amused thinking even lifeless stone statues, observed us in bewilderment." 

"Certainly women atop their homes would spread the news at wells and bazaars."

 "We marched on."

"Forward to Cairo, the Frontier and The Soudan."

"Captain Sachs 2/10th Hussars led the way."

May 31, 1903

"The verdant Nile Delta was not the bleak and dry desert of The Soudan. It's greenery cheered us enormously. Cool shade was a welcomed blessing indeed."

"A noise across a small stream attracted our attention. Colonel Buckingham halted the Berkshires 2/66th Foot while an investigation was made."

"Troopers Corey and Hamm rode to the bank to investigate."

Corey: "Only a gentle bovine of some kind General. Nuth'n to worry about."


"Weeks of marching, encamping and taking trains eventually found the assembled army at Berber on the Nile. As the crow flies, that distance is 850 miles from Cairo." 

"Another 250 miles must be crossed before the walls of Khartoum would come into view. However, continuing with this force and fight the enemy at the Soudanese capital was not part of the strategic plan developed by the Prime Minister for me."

"My presence in Egypt as you may recall, was a singular ruse de l'guerre disguising the more critical need for me to secretly return to northwest India. For it was there that my old nemesis, the Guru and his Thugee cult, had amazingly revived in my absence cruelly swarming over frontier garrisons and villages. If news about me travelled to him, he would only know I was deeply engaged with the Soudan problem and could not interfere with him."

Weeks before on the 11th instant, moments prior to my departure from England, the PM's Special Advisor, Mycroft Holmes allowed me the greatest latitude to misinform newspapers, Egyptian officials, indeed, anyone of the real plan. Regretfully, this also included Mary. The sole reason was to allow the Guru no time to know about my return with the largest army ever assembled to protect The Jewel of the Empire. We wanted him to be kept unaware and unprepared. This time he had to be dealt with permanently. The ruse would add to our advantage."

"On September 2, 1903 Mary and I were at sea headed for Bombay, Though originally she was not to sail with me, I allowed it. Aboard ship I broke silence about my mission. I anticipated intemperate remarks from her. I expected a storm of  rebukes about my silence."

"Instead, she demurely said, the whole plan had been known to her from the beginning. Mary had maintained silence for my benefit. She explained...."

Mary Pettygree: "At the last moment before sailing from England, Mycroft's brother's singular friend, Dr. Watson, begged words to speak in confidence needing my patient understanding. He explained everything and that I must remain utterly silent until I thought it practicable to speak of it. He could not countenance my not knowing."
Mary Pettygree: "And so darling, here we are --- en-route to India!"

Closing Remarks

1) Prodigious thanks to Chuck L. for allowing May 29th images to be photographed on his table. It was filled with magnificent jungle vegetation, the stream and of course ancient Egyptian structures with appealing personalities guarding it. Vegetation came from Pet Store Aquarium Departments as well as the craft store Michaels. Large trees were personally imagineered and built by Chuck. To view Chuck's structures more, see the previous post dated 31 July 2014.

2) Todd B. also loaned tropical vegetation seen on 31 May 1903. Thank you.

3) For a few years in August or September we've had a large Colonial tabletop game. The next one is scheduled for September 13, 1903/2014.

4) Meanwhile, as you've just read, General Pettygree will not be there. He is at this moment returning to India to surprise the Guru and end his mad scheme to overrun the whole subcontinent.

5) Thank you for looking in. Your remarks are entirely welcome at Comments below.


Thursday, July 31, 2014

Astounding Tales Weeknight Game

D  A  N  G  E  R  !  !

Date: July 31, 1890/2014
Location: We Can't Tell You!
Situation: Adventure Game
Rules: Astounding Tales by Howard Whitehouse
x x x x x x x x x x

Some of the local pards game on weeknights after work usually from 7-9:30 p.m. Games can be one of a kind or thematic continuing over several weeks. On the 31st of July 1890/2014, Chuck invited us over to play Astounding Tales. Let's part jungle growth below shall we, and walk right into danger!

Chuck promised an appealing and stimulating table setting. It was visually superb! Much of his terrain is scratch built from aquarium plants/structures. Michael's Stores provide other items as well.

The plank bridge could sway in the wind given it's flexibility. It is fixed to posts on each end. However, loops laid over the posts can be easily lifted in case you want to have the bridge hang down a cliff face. The explorer seen to the right has just investigated a trio of enormous eggs. He as I are wondering what the parents are!

Three sweaty indigenous inhabitants stroll along the river. They do not see the ??? behind them in the water. Figures are from Pulp Miniatures. I just finished painting twenty of them.

Chuck had ten of these structures scattered in the jungle. 12"x12" each. The total scene was reminiscent of a lost city in the  process of recovery. Explorers (thieves?) are en-route to investigate the ruins.

Blocks were glued together to form the structures. In this story, structures (rooms) are widely spaced apart. However, on previous game nights Chuck has placed them side by side forming one huge building for his Lost Tomb Game. Some doorways can only be accessed if explorers figure out where they are and if they have the skill to do so. Blocks can actually be removed.

Structures can also be placed on top of each other as I did in the story Expedition To Alexandrapour. See the list of chapters to the left, XXI and XXII in particular.

One group of intrepid explorers has arrived at an exceptional room. Is that the remains of an altar or if the central stone can be lifted, is there a passage to mysteries below? In my Expedition to Alexandrapour, it was a way to descend to lover levels.


1) Astounding Tales is easy to play. We like the system. On this occasion Chuck, John, Kirk and I participated.

2) Weeknight games are often of short duration. One aspect is we get to use many of our game time periods we don't do on weekends. Examples: Westerns, Star Wars, Battle of Britain, Pulp Adventure and 20mm-28mm WWII skirmish. We'll soon commence adventures in the South Pacific between WWI and WWII. Saturday games are quite often big games lasting from mid-morning into the late afternoon; Seven Years' War, General Pettygree Colonial, Napoleonic Iberia and 15mm WWII North Africa, Italy or France.

3) Comments welcome but if you hear drums beating, RUN!.
x x x x x x x x x x

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Chapter 69: Pettygree's Tincture of Obfuscation


Date: May 26, 1903 
Location: City of Alexandria, Nile Delta
Situation: A Tincture of Obfuscation
See Previous Chapter 68 here:
Clicking images enlarges them prodigiously.

May 19, 1903:  Mary and General Pettygree disembarked Ajax into The Nile Delta to begin a Grand Tour.

Later Colonel Lawford unexpectedly arrived with unfortunate news. We resume our story on:


May 26, 1903 -- {Late Morning}

General Pettygree: "A week ago I learned about losing the Port of Suakin and the retreat of Brigadier Kettering's forces behind the walls of Khartoum. Surely this would be incorrectly seen as a sign of our weakness. What had begun as insignificant Hadendowah disturbances in the eastern Soudan might now encourage those with long memories to avenge their 1898 defeat. Would thousands more, quiet until now, unsheathe swords, fashion new spears, remove shields from walls of their huts and raise standards to recover all of The Soudan? Would even more blood be unfortunately spilled? I hoped not."

"Therefore, a resolute show of force needed to first be poured into the streets of Egypt reported by newspapers and communicated by word of mouth deep into The Soudan. Into that drink a singular and strange tincture would be added to sway those so disposed to abandon further rebellion and return to their herds, crops, stores, and other peaceful endeavors."

Pettygree: "The Garrison of Alexandria assembled on Parade witnessed by civilians, journalists and I hoped, insidious vigilant foes. Perhaps distant incoming storm clouds would enhance the atmosphere I desired."

Pettygree: "Were European spies observing from galleries?"

Pettygree: "Surely not amongst convalescents atop the hospital."

Pettygree: "Nor could I believe traitors were at Government House."

Pettygree: "Countess Alexandra Elaina Volkanskaya (center) with my dear Mary were keen to see us off."

Pettygree: "Captain Douglas-Ward! Lead us out."

Douglas-Ward: "Aye, aye, General!"

Douglas-Ward: "AJAX! --- By the centre, --- MARCH!"

Pettygree: "Ajax's shore party led the parade into the streets of Alexandria."

Pettygree: " A grizzled aged man was the first to see us coming. I wondered if he had served with the Mahdi or Khalifi years before."

Pettygree: "Inhabitants began coming out to observe our march."

Pettygree: " Our 15 Pounder Section...."

Pettygree: "Followed the blue jackets."

Pettygree: "Next marched the 27th Bombay Miners and Sappers."

Pettygree: "Back on parade the 10th Hussars were soon to trot off."

Pettygree: "Observed by city dwellers atop the roof of their home."

Trooper Ham: "My dear Corey, who d'ya s'pose that chap is riding the camel?"

Trooper Corey: "Oh did I forget to tell you? Sorry mate! Just last night at a dinner party, the General leaned over, gingerly touched my elbow and secretly told me who he was."

Trooper Ham: "Ain't you in a cheeky mood! Never mind."

Trooper Corey: "Oh don't mind me my dear fellow. I've no idea who he is. Strange we don't know though."

Pettygree: "The procession marched and trotted along."

Pettygree: "All was polite and peaceful until...."

Pettygree: "A European woman drew a revolver on a suspicious chap on her premises!"

Pettygree: "Several ratings turned to view the situation and render assistance if needed."

Pettygree: "Apparently it was nothing. The halted parade soon moved on again."

May 26, 1903 -- {ABOUT NOON}

Pettygree: " 2/66th followed along in the last portion of the parade."

Pettygree: "Looking very smart as expected."

Pettygree: "Mary and Alexandra had joined the parade too. We rode behind the 66th."

Pettygree: "The 2/Seaforths followed me at the ready guarding the rear of our procession."

 Pettygree: "The parade continued with no further problems."

Pettygree: "The expression as peaceful as a walk in Hyde Park came to mind."

Pettygree: "Hopefully the march would produce desired results."

Pettygree: "Would the enemy respond to my tincture? I prayed they would. Odds were long. Time would tell."

MAY 26 and JUNE 9, 1903

Narrator: Word did indeed spread south throughout the land of Egypt and The Soudan. One self-appointed messenger of many was Malusi Dosi.

Talia: "Grandfather, I beg you! On this journey, do not go!

Malusi Dosi: "Cherished one, I must. What I have seen to our people must be told. Kit and I will be protected. It is the...."

Talia: "No! I beg your forgiveness for speaking so, but...."

Malusi Dosi: "See do you not, the urgency? The boat leaves for Kirbekan in the morning. I must go. Pray for us my Granddaughter."

Later in The Soudan:

Malusi Dosi: "Are any warriors near?"  

Ramba: "Honoured old one, yes, even in wretched Kirbekan. Turn around and see four starting a mad quest."

Malusi Dosi: "Warriors, beg you I do to return to your homes and families."

Makum: "Old one, why?"

Malusi Dosi: "Have you not heard stories of the ruin of the Khalifa's Army at the hands of the soldiers from beyond the sea only a few years ago? They will return with even greater vengeance if you continue. I have seen them forming in the north. You are doomed unless you heed my words!"

Tamik: "This time we will prevail!"

Malusi Dosi: "Hear me young brave ones! Even greater vengeance said I. The Khalifa was doomed to failure even with his thousands. You are too because of dishonour."

Rakamin Ibrahim: "I don't believe you. How?"

Malusi Dosi: "Before the Khalifa, the Engleesch sent one great man to restore order here. Against the Mahdi's command, he was dishonourably murdered. Yet he has returned."

Makum: {Laughing} "Who old one? A ghost!"

Malusi Dosi: "Yes. Against an apparition you cannot - must not - fight. There is no hope if you continue this madness."

Malusi Dosi: "For Gordon Pasha's ghost has returned to vanquish you!"



1) Gordon's ghost! Impossible you say? True or not we'll see next time how many warriors heeded the words of Malusi Dosi and others spreading eyewitness stories they saw Gordon's avenging spirit in General Pettygree's Army. How will their tales colour the morale of  enthusiastic warriors?

2) The image below shows percentile dice on their way down to rest in a building courtyard. Should the white die read 1 and the red die read 4, 14% of the warriors massing in The Soudan will superstitiously return home. Chapter 70 will reveal the actual score.

3) All buildings and the small river boat are from Miniature Building Authority. Chuck L. painted Malusi Dosi. Der Alte Fritz (Jim P. of Minden and Fife and Drum Miniatures) painted the Seaforths. John P. painted the shore party and 10th Hussars. Ajax is from The Virtual Armchair General.

4) Thank YOU for looking in.

5) Reader remarks are sought below and will appear after a brief pause for approval. Spammers are still trying but always failing to post nonsense here. General Pettygree and Gordon Pasha look forward to reading your sentiments.