Thursday, June 2, 2016

The Sword and The Flame Test Game Part 2

The late Larry Brom's celebrated rules being used. These and variants are available from Lori Brom at her website, Sergeants 3. $25.00 + $3.00 shipping/handling = $28.00 in the USA. Super value.


Wilhelmshaven from west to east; left to right.

Early in the morning during assembly, news arrived indicating enemy forces were heading for Wilhelmshaven. It was believed they would initially hide in distant rock formations.

Schutztruppe were ordered into the Observation Tower to give the alarm.

Kurt Strassen: "The foe will be out those seven rocky areas."

We did not uglify the game with cards positioned like this. They are in this photo solely to show how native deployment areas were identified. Chuck L. built them from insulation foam board and wood chips.

In TSATF, a card deck (not the one above) is used to move and fire units; red for Imperials and black for their foes.

When a black card was drawn, we drew one card from the second card deck above.

If the ACE was drawn, a native unit chosen by John or Chuck would be placed in area #1. If a six, then a unit would be placed in area #6. Afterwards such cards are removed from play. Thus, spreading out occurs without harmful scenario imbalances in any one or more areas.

The joker allowed placement wherever desired in one of the seven zones. If an 8, 9 or 10 was drawn, nothing got deployed.

When this second deck was used up, we put the eleven cards back together again and reshuffled. Two turns were needed to deploy all natives units. This system was our adaptation for the scenario.

"Hey Bill! You could use a ten sided die instead."

"True. That kind of randomness at first can be appealing. But, what if a result of 2 shows up three times? And it will. Ditto for other numbers too!"

"Then there will be too many units in one or more places - not spread out enough. I've seen this happen. It harms the scenario. Moreover what if Philip is opposite an area where no natives deploy? Another example. What if Tim has to wait hours before his units arrive because Charlie's units are ahead of him on a road marching onto the table? Historically okay but Tim has to sit with nothing to do for a long time. Not good for playability or companionability."

"People come to games to move units, throw dice and not sit idle."

East (right) of the Observation Tower

Werner Steinke: "Kapitän! The enemy is in sight in the rocky hills.

 Kapitän Ostricker: "Tell the helmsman to move away from the dock." 

Moments later the bow gun fired. 

Upon a body of natives approaching Wilhelmshaven.

Whilst a company of the Britannian 66th Foot waited for the order to fire.

Observation Tower Area

Strassen and his comrades saw the shell explode. Below them other....

Schutztruppe awaited events coming on fast. To their left front....

A troop of Britannian Lancers crossed the Zambezi encountering a surprise charge by the foe!

The struggle was herculean. They burst through at immense cost to themselves while...

Settlers and more lancers hurried to cross the bridge to dubious safety.

Elsewhere the indomitable foe surged forward.

Hoping to overcome the garrison and recover their homeland.


1. TSATF uses twenty-sided dice to fire. Instead of throwing D20s, collecting, reading them and putting them back in a pile....

Chuck placed D20s and D6s in this plastic compartmented box. It contains all the dice in a compact space. What you do is hold the box, shake it vigorously and then....

Gently slam the box down on the table. Dice results can be easily read through the box top. I've opened it here so you can see the results of ten D20s. No dice fall to the floor. No wild throws rebounding off a building three feet away and so on.

2. The battle is only just underway. We plan to resume the game soon. Want to join us?

3. Buildings are Miniature Building Authority. The gunboat is a Richard Houston one of a kind. Its target (Pygmies) are from the collection of Todd B. Schutztruppe are on loan from Der Alte Fritz. Pathans are from my collection. They usually are the dreadful foes of General Pettygree whom you know on this blog. The 66th and Lancers are part of the General's Field Force. Remember, in Mafrica every kind of unit is welcome.

4. Until next time, move units, throw dice and get players active every turn. This way it's more companionable and fun.

Remarks Wlcome at Comments Below. 



chuck said...

I cant take credit for the dice shaker. The guys for Battlefield Hobbies were using them in a game of Battleground WWII one year at Little Wars. They work out well for The Sword and the flame too.

jurgenation said...

Great looking game. I love Colonials...and I gots lots of Schutztruppen. Hard to get the guys to play.again great looking game.

jurgenation said...

Great looking game Bill love Colonials!

todd said...

TSATF was one the first set of rules I played back in the early 80's. Had 100's of fun battles fighting Zulu's, Boars, Pathans, Dervish and even Egyptian regulars. Brings back my young and all the fun we had playing. Going to see if my rules are buried in a box. Where's my stabbing spear, oops, I mean paint brush. Outstanding

Michael Mathews said...

Fun stuff. I have many fond memories of playing TSATF many years ago.

Mad Guru said...

Brilliant use of a custom card deck for initial Native deployment! I will definitely be "borrowing" it for future games! Thanks very much for posting the details of the process!

tradgardmastare said...

Do the playing cards have 18th century monarchs for the face cards? The joker looks like my pack which does. I got them in austria as a youth.
Great looking game. I just rebought TSATF recently and have yet to try it out. Great dice box idea btw.

Anonymous said...

TSATF delivers the goods every timme! excellent set of rules, Tony

Conrad Kinch said...

Lovely stuff. The card deck is interesting, though I'm sure I'd miss having the dice in my hands.

Though I have just realised what this scale of game should be called - Cecil B De Bill.

Ross Mac said...

The game looks great. I have become a big fan of using cards for limited or controlled randomness in games. This was a good variation on that idea and I shall tuck it away.

ColCampbell50 said...

As a member of the group that helped Larry develop the original "The Sword and the Flame" I'm glad to see that you're finally coming into the light of the flame. :^)

Looks like you had a fun first part of the game. Using Mafrica as your locale allows everybody's "toys" into the action. We did something similar many years ago with our Green Nile campaign.

Good gaming!!


Gallia said...

Grateful I am for all your kind sentiments, remarks, compliments and interest. You chaps are terrific! Thank you very much.
Alan. Surely the cards are the same as the ones you mention. I bought mine in 1985 at the Museé de l'Armeé in Paris. Many years later a friend gave me another set he bought in Vienna. The company that makes them has several versions.

Dai said...

Bill, this has been loads of fun to follow, many thanks!

A J said...

Battle is joined once more. Great AAR, and I like the idea of containing the dice.