Monday, 24 September 2012

Wargaming the Arab Revolt


A thousand Arabs means a thousand knives, delivered anywhere day or night. It means a thousand camels. That means a thousand packs of high explosives and a thousand crack rifles. We can cross Arabia while Johnny Turk is still turning round, and smash his railways. And while he's mending them, I'll smash them somewhere else. In thirteen weeks, I can have Arabia in chaos. 


With the recent release of Lawrence of Arabia on Blue Ray (and with the not-so-secret news that I have a feeling it may well be featuring on my Birthday list) I have been unashamedly reviewing the Lawrence section of my library. It is no secret that the whole Middle East WW1 thing - especially the exploits of T.E.Lawrence - is of great interest to me. I have been pondering ways of gaming this for many years now and came to the conclusion that the best way of gaming this would be using a mini campaign type of approach. I am convinced that using Memoir of Battle by Bob Cordery would be the most suitable system to employ but some tweaks would certainly be needed in respect of how the Arab tribesmen should function.

Without a doubt the Arabs could be by turns, fanatically brave, ruthlessly bloodthirsty, child-like cowards or  else supremely indifferent. They also came and went as they pleased and usually always stopped to loot a defeated enemy. This randomness of behavior would need to be replicated in some fashion but at this stage I am not entirely sure how. I did wonder if perhaps treating them in a similar fashion to ancient warband types (as in Command and Colours Ancients warrior infantry) would be an answer and up to a point it would be. The only problem is that whilst they start strong and go downhill rapidly in terms of effectiveness after casualties they can at least start strongly. I would prefer to have the tribesmen operating in a more random fashion - perhaps with variable combat dice or something similar but I will need to give this some thought and perhaps run a few tests.

Using the mini campaign approach would enable me to represent the hit and run nature of the war in the Hejaz - especially if I adopt the expanded Heroscape 9 x 13 x 9 playing area idea. Producing some desert terrain is now assuming a degree of urgency.





4 comments:

SAROE said...

How about you put the basic orders on a series of cards-Advance, Retreat, Hold Position, Charge, etc.?

Every turn you draw the same number of cards as units. You can play them as desired(?), but have to play them all, one to a unit. So some units will have to retreat or hold position because you had to give them something. Or you could deal them out facedown-but that might be too random.

Or a chart:
1- Rout
2-Retreat
3-Hold Position
4-Advance or Hold Position
5-Advance
6-Charge

Or whatever. Roll a die for each unit. Let commanders be able to adjust by 1 or 2 depending on ability. Aggressive or Cowardly can only adjust in the appropriate direction.

David Crook said...

Hi SAROE,

My man, that is a stroke of genius! Just about the right amount of randomness - I am referring to the chart here - but not totally so. This has given me lots to think about so thankyou very much indeed!

All the best,

DC

SAROE said...

Glad you found it helpful.

Alternatively, a superior commander close enough could allow a unit to roll 2 dice and select which option to use.

David Crook said...

Hi SAROE,

That is another good idea and one that I shall explore further. Many thanks for tweaking my creative gene - it is much appreciated!

All the best,

DC