April 1, 2020

The Sudan 1885

I know, I know.. what happened to the AWI? I’ll try to at least finish my Highland battalion, but I’ve been distracted... again.

I’ve been shuffling some of the clutter in my house from one room to another - hopefully organizing and streamlining collections in the process - and I stumbled on my copy of The Sword and the Flame (20th Anniversary edition). It’s been a while since I’ve read this book or even laid eyes on it, so I dropped it onto my ‘bedtime’ reading pile.

I’d forgotten how much I loved these rules.

When I first got my copy (2000-2001?) I quickly despaired of ever painting the number of models required to play the game properly. I had yet to launch my Napoleonic project and had only painted RPG minis and small armies (40-60 models each) for Warhammer and Warhammer 40k games. While a modest British force might be in that range, the 200 natives I thought I would need for a balanced game was not! I did run some small skirmishes with The Sword in Africa supplement included in the 20th anniversary edition. That was fun, but lacked the grandeur of TSATF games I’d seen in photographs. This was also about the time I was developing the rules that became the basis for Donnybrook and they became my ‘go to’ set for skirmish games. TSATF was returned to the bookcase.

So after reading the book again and with more confidence in my ability to produce hordes of painted models (and afford to procure them), it wasn’t long before I found myself skimming through pages on the Perry Miniatures site. While images from the film Zulu (A prayer's as good as a bayonet on a day like this) are probably ingrained in the being of every wargamer, I settled on the Sudan theater for my collection.

As is usual for me upon entering a new period, I set out to collect a pile of books on the subject.. 

A few are still en route, but I discover more all the time and as the project grows, I’ll continue adding them to my library. If anyone has any suggestions for a 'must have' sourcebook, please let me know!

Up next, I’ll lay out my specific plans to get this on the game table.


  1. I started with 20 British and 40 Dervish infantry and built up from there. It's easy to write small scenarios, a patrol, hold an outpost etc. Gradually I added units to both sides. Your book collection looks a lot like mine. Sudan is my favorite theatre of operations.

  2. So pumped to see this! Battle in Africa and Go Strong are excellent sources.

  3. Fascinating period and excellent rules. I have rebuilt my TSATF true 25mm Sudan after having sold the original collection many years ago. As before, I have far too many figures, but they are great. Ral Partha, Soldiers of the Queen, and some Minifigs and Houston. Love it.

  4. Nice collection of material. I'd be remiss if I didn't mention "With The Camel Corps Up The Nile". It was my initial hook into the period.

    1. Thanks! I discover more books all the time! I’ll add that to the list..