Sunday, October 21, 2018

Gunboat & Dhow! (New Gunboat Rules)

Gunboat & Dhow! 
(1st Edition)
Fast Play Rules for conducting River Combat (A TSATF Variant)
By Dan Gurule and Jeff Baumal

It has been a few years since we started modifying some rules that worked a little more smoothly with our favorite set of Colonial rules The Sword and The Flame by Larry Brom.  The main purpose of these rules was to keep them fast moving and play as close as possible to TSATF so that players picked them up quickly.  Another big influence was to retain the flavor of the period as much as we could keeping those basic principles in mind.  

This 1st Edition of Gunboat & Dhow! (G&D!) will be followed by a booklet which will include scenarios with some new and advanced rules.  When we say advanced rules, we don’t mean more complex because we never want to bog down your games with too much detail.  There are  some very good rule sets out there that can give you a little more complexity to satisfy your own gaming styles.

The 1st Edition has 22 pages which include rules, game play examples and a Quick Reference Sheet.  You will also see some familiar pictures from various battles. They are meant to cover river actions which would include units of Gunboats, Dhows and shore batteries or amphibious operations which include actions with both river and troop units. 

As an example of game play mechanics, as in normal TSATF when you fire you use d20’s to hit, then draw cards for casualties.  In G&D! it works the same way.  Depending on the gun you are firing you still use d20’s.  For damage, you still draw cards but in this case damage values are dealt out and face cards do various critical damage to your boat(s) or shore battery.  Gunfire on ground units is worked out using the normal TSATF charts and rules.

Boat Data Sheets are available digitally.  They provide everything you need to maneuver and fight your boat.  There are so many types of boats that including them in a hardcopy of the rules uses way too much paper.  Once purchased, you simply send an email to the Authors Dan or Jeff, and we will send them right out to you.  These boat sheets are pre-filled using boat data from the line of boats available from the Last Stand Boatyard.  These of course are provided in a format that you can modify to fit your own flotillas.  Plenty of Boat Data tables again based on these boats will provide you a baseline for your own boats. 

 They are available in hard copy or PDF.  Please take a look at for a copy.  

If you have any questions or comments please send them to Sgt. Guinness or myself.  If there is enough interest we will start a group to further enhance or explain any rules, a place to provide your After Acton Reports, Scenario ideas, etc. 

We hope you enjoy the rules and that they possibly help fill a gap in your current battles.  Thanks and Remember to “Always Send a Gunboat!”

Daniel Gurule (Last Stand Dan)
Last Stand Boatyard
Rules and Boat website:
Jeff Baumal (Sgt. Guinness)
Last Stand Boatyard
Rules and Boat website:

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Gunboat & Dhow! (G&D!) - Hurricon 2018

So here was the second battle I put on Saturday morning at Hurricon.  Another great time gaming.

Within this blog you will see us using a new gunboat rules set called Gunboat & Dhow! by Jeff Baumal and myself.  We have a few things we need to do to officially publish them and we are getting close to having that done.  I already have many requests for this basic 1st Edition.  There will be more to follow and we will announce as soon as we get what we need to get done. You might have already played earlier versions at Colonial Barracks, Recon, Hurricon, South Florida Gamers or at the Colorado Military Historian club.  So thank you so much for your interest and I think you will enjoy them.  This AAR has a few explanations on what is going on in the battle as it relates to the rules.  So bear with me.

Scenario Brief
This is of course a fictional battle that is related to the Ginnis battle I previously blogged.  The premise was that the dervish were trying to cut off or at least delay the British support of the Ginnis evacuation.  As you know the Mahdi has been dead many months before December 1885 and the British were going home.  They kept many strategic strong points along the Nile and the battle at Ginnis was part of the last of these strong points being vacated.  So I created this scenario for a very powerful British flotilla to fight its way up the Nile.

If you read my other scenarios I use the Egyptians as traitors, or just going with the Mahdist movement to provide the dervish forces a little more punch.  This gives them some trained gun crews, guns, captured boats of all types, etc. This makes the scenario's more interesting and not completely unreasonable if you have read about how messy things were during this period.

As we all know,  on the tabletop things don't always work out the way they "should" now do they?  Like that last battle of Ginnis we played.  So with that said this battle should work out for the British without too much trouble but things can always get out of hand!  Let's hope the British Captains know what they are doing.  Enjoy the battle.

Last Stand Dan

Note: All the boats used in this scenario can be found at  I wanted to mention that various guns, hatches, doors, fire markers, terrain and figures used in my scenarios come from: TVAG, Reviersco, Eureka, Perry, Old Glory, Bud's blast markers, Bills Gamers Garage and Askari.

Monday, October 8, 2018

Battle of Ginnis (TSATF) - Hurricon 2018

Here is the Battle of Ginnis AAR that I hosted at Hurricon a week ago.  All of the TSATF events at the con were sold out so we always plan for some extra spots where we can.  This battle ended up with a scheduled 7 but made room for two more for a total of 9.  It was a blast!  So I will explain a few things and then you can browse through the AAR pictures.

This scenario was taken out of the Colonial Campaigns booklet by Tim Tilson.  I made a few changes to some of the suggested rules and tweaked the OOB a little as you will see.

The campaign series uses the optional TSATF small units. I increased the unit sizes from the scenario to 12 man British/Egyptian and 16 man Dervish. We also used one of my models for the gunboat Lotus where we added a main gun on the bow.  Historically, they would have used Gatlings or Nordenfeldts only.  To even that out I gave the Dervish a hidden gun in the palm grove along the river.

Unfortunately I didn't get a lot of pictures of the Lotus in action so let me provide a quick briefing.  Capt. Sikes, commander of the Lotus offered Gatling and 75mm support to the Fort Garrision and 2nd Brigade.  As it was moving along the shore taking its shots, a Dervish gun opened up from the shoreline.  After taking some damage from that gun, he made some slight changes to his course to bring both his bow gun and port side gatling to bear and eventually knocking out the gun.  I wanted to note this separately because we did use the Gunboat & Dhow! rules and procedures for damage and movement which worked out well.

The battle was well fought by both sides.  After my play tests a week before, I thought the British and Egyptians would walk all over the dervish.  But thanks to slow British movement on the Left flank and very aggressive dervish players it made it a very different battle.  The overall mission for the British were to take the Black Rock Hill, each building and camp.  Each of those gave the British a point.  The dervish got a point for every unit they destroyed or reduced to half.

As the dervish racked up VPs on the left flank destroying British units, Lucas, Jones and Sikes took Kosheh and the Black Rock hill to even it all up.  Of course we ran out of time but there was not much either side could do at that point.

Thanks to all of the players that made the game enjoyable for all.  It was good seeing all of my Florida brothers-in-arms.

Last Stand Dan

The battle of Ginnis was fought on 30 December 1885 at 0610 hrs in the morning.  The British and Egyptian forces surprised the Dervish when two brigades and a gunboat were sent to relieve the Fort.  This was a historic British/Egyptian victory where they defeated and ran out the dervish forces from the villages of Kosheh and Ginnis along with a dervish camp along the shore.  Anyway, that is what was supposed to happen...