Saturday, 7 March 2015

Blood on the Nile - Review

In my opinion this Black Powder scenario book is disappointing.

However this depends on why you are buying the book. In my view as a source for scenarios it is poor value for money, especially when compared to the Rebellion supplement. You only get seven scenarios compared with nineteen in Rebellion. The historical background is fine, but there is too much of it, the scenarios are OK but have errors and omissions that any reasonable proof reader/play tester should have picked up. The "Battle Reports" are mostly waffle and things happen that don't match the rules as written. The saving grace for me is the loads of eye-candy.

Troop stats - essentially the same as in the Main Rules scenario for British and Mahdists, Egyptians are covered in some detail for the first two scenarios.

Looking at the scenarios

Tel el Kebir - a direct assault on a position, enlivened by a night approach march with random movement. Strange that the British artillery is not included as a reinforcement after dawn.

Shaikan - The destruction of an Egyptian column - lots of different Egyptian units. The Mahdists are fairly standard but the use of dummy Mahdist units is mentioned in the battle report and it's not clear whether this was a one off for this game or whether it should be part of the scenario.

Fall of Khartoum - A race to kill Gordon between the Mahdist commanders. Four figure units for the defenders seems strange! Not clear how the defences are suppose to work and I was completely puzzled by the points system with -1 per figure replaced - very strange for a unit based system

1st El Teb - almost the same scenario as Shaikan just differences in the forces involved.

2nd El Teb is a poor "repeat" of the one in the rule book depicted as a direct attack on a ridge instead of the partial flank attack that actually happened. When you look into the scenario you find that the British don't have any field guns although they are mentioned in the historical background and the text. Madist skirmishers are shown in the stats, but not in the army list - the stats are for full sized units so they can't be sub-units of the main units.

Abu Klea - the Madists have 6 units of 6 riflemen and 12 spearmen, but nothing describes how these are used or how the stats apply compared to the standard 30 man units.

Omdurman - quite a good idea to look at the later stages of the battle. But to treat the Maxim as essentially a Gatling disregards to huge change in reliability from the early MGs

If you don't need the eye-candy then you are better using the scenarios and stats from theThud and Blunder campaign rules that are available on the Black Powder Yahoo group.

No comments: