A Skirmish in Angria: Close Little Wars rules


It has been a few weeks since I ran a solo game bigger than sword fighting and Bartitsu duelling. I feel that I have neglected my Peter Laing figures of late.  To be fair  I’ve been busy making the fortified Signal Tower as well.

I wanted to get a quick evening game in, based on the Bronte family’s  Imagi-Nation of Angria, having read more of Charlotte Bronte’s Tales of Angria and the Oxford Companion to the Brontes. Both these books are slowly helping me work out maps and scenarios based on more of Bronte’s fictional realms or paracosms.

Turn 2 – Angrian 5th Infantry supported by Dragoons cross the river to rescue the waggon from MacTerrorGlen’s Scottish troops. Ashantee bowmen line the rock opposite.

Small Angrian Skirmish Scenario:

By March 1836 – half of Angria is “in possession of our foes”.  

During 1835-37 The Second Angrian War, Civil War  between Angria and the Verdopolitan Union is happening at the same time as the Ashantee threat.


Early 1836, Angria, Western Central Africa: A group of invading Ashantee bowmen, part of Quashia Qamina’s forces, have discovered an  abandoned Angrian supply waggon and remain in ambush on the rocks overlooking the crossing.

They are backed by a small sword and musket group of Sir Jehu MacTerrorGlen’s rampaging Scotsmen and Highland Warriors, led by one Captain Scotte,  who are aiming to capture the river crossing and loot the abandoned  Angrian supply waggon.

Location: The river crossing eventually feeds into one of the many tributaries of the River Olympia or Calabar, running down to the sea.

This waggon was part of a supply column along one of the many roads to the regional or provincial capital of  Adrianoplous, all aid and supplies to The Duke of Zamorna. Zamorna is fighting to protect the Angrian province (that he is named after) against this invasion of Ashantees and MacTerrorGlen’s unruly Scots.

A rebellious and unruly kilted Highland Regiment in Africa? Many of the original settlers of the Bronte’s fictional realm of GlassTown and Angrian area of West Africa were of Scots, Irish  and Yorkshire origin.

Coming to recover the waggon of supplies are Angrian forces under the Blood Red banner of the Rising Sun. These include a dismounted group of smart red-coated Angrian “Dragons” or Dragoons, along with some men of the “Fighting Fifth” (or “Filthy Fifth”),  the  5th Angrian  Infantry Regiment in homespun and motley campaign dress, led  by a young Lieutenant called Prunty.

The scruffy nature of the Angrian Regiments on campaign in the ‘East’ in the Angrian Civil War is reminiscent of Confederate Butternut Infantry towards the end of the American Civil War. Their scruffy dress is commented on by one of Charlotte Bronte’s cynical narrators in the smart Regency Colonial society of the  cities.


The Angrian dragoons had dismounted, leaving their horses up the valley and with the 5th Angrians in two groups were scouting the river, half their number in reinforcements a mile or two behind.

D6 dice rolls saw these troops delayed arriving, until the 5th and 6th turn in area 5 and 6 on the Angrian baseline.

The turns were short and brutal, mostly involving fast melee, using the Kaptain Kobold modification or  d6 dice version of Gerard De Gre’s Lunge Cut and Stop Thrust melee or duelling rules.

1-2   Attacker Hit

3    Both Hit

4   Neither Hit

5-6   Defender Hit

Melees occurred from group stage in adjacent hexes or who have charged into their opponents.  The Pell-Mell, Hell for Leather pace of the game meant that there were few casualties from rifle or musket fire, many more from Highland claymore, bayonet, short sword and rifle butt (and no doubt boot and fist).

Turn 1 and 2 saw rapid movement through the cluttered terrain towards the first shots and melees of Turn  3.

Turn 3 saw 9 Angrian troops and 12 of MacTerror Glen’s Scots killed, mostly when the Highland  claymore warriors  charged the Angrian troops.

At the start of turn 4 (as shown in photo by a d6 Turn Dice)  the few Angrian infantry over the bridge are outnumbered by Scots.

By Turn 4, some of the outnumbered Angrian forces on the board retreated to await their reinforcements (D6 dice roll 1-3 Retreat, 4 Stay, 5-6 Advance).

This didn’t stop one party of three Angrian 5th Infantry being surrounded and outnumbered on two sides by Scots around the bridge. Luckily supporting fire from the Angrian command party and standard bearer picked off two further Scots musketeers.

Engaged on both sides by Scots, this small cohort of Angrian 5th Infantry are wiped out.

In Turn 5 the advancing Scots moved into Melee with the Angrian Command and Colours party, leading to a doubly fatal duel between Highland claymore against Angrian officer’s broadsword.

Angrian Officer Lieutenant Prunty charges down the hill to engage with his  Highlander enemy in a fatal duel.

Thankfully the rest of the Angrian Dragoons and Fifth Regiment arrived in Turn 5 and 6. Just in the nick of the time …

These Angrian reinforcements pushed back and  pursued the last of MacTerrorGlen’s troops and the Scots command party and colours back over the bridge. They made their last stand outside the crossing hut.  The  Scots colours were lost when the command and colours party decided to fight to the finish  (dice roll d6 roll 1-3 surrender, 4 – 6 fight on).

Throughout the early part of the battle, the Ashantee Bowmen on the high ground rocks were out of range and sight of many of the Angrian troops. Overall they played very  little part in the whole battle, not even firing many volleys of arrows before they were engulfed in melee. Their officer or chief Khla managed to escape to carry on the invasion  with the other invading Ashantees under Quashia  Qamina.

Ashantee bowmen move into range of Angrian troops.

At the end, the Angrian Armed Transport Corps hitched the abandoned supply waggon to their horses and slowly dragged this back up the valley to where the dismounted dragoon horses and horse holders would provide further armed escort back to Adrianopolis, Zamorna or Edwardston as needed.

Detail of map of Angria by Christine Alexander (Oxford Campanion to the Brontes)

Discarded weapons and the captured colours of MacTerrorGlen’s Scots are sent back onboard the supply waggon as victory trophies to inspire the flagging Angrian forces.


The remaining two Angrian  Dragoons, Angrian standard bearer and drummer remain behind in the bridge crossing hut. Suitably armed with discarded carbines, muskets and ammunition, they make themselves  busy fortifying this outpost and guarding the crossing  until further Angrian reinforcements arrive. Burying the dead will have to briefly wait, but not too long in these African “Yorkshire Tropic” climes.

The Rising Sun banner of Angria flies victorious over the captured river crossing hut as the surviving Ashantee officer flees on the opposite bank.

Arise Angria! Raise the Blood-Red Banner of the Rising Sun! Huzzah!

Figures and Terrain 

All the figures are from  the sadly now discontinued Peter Laing range of 15mm figures.

The Ashantee bowmen are from the Ancient Egyptian range  (Nubian Archers F452 and their officer F453 Nubian Spearman).

MacTerrorGlen’s rogue Scots troops are from the Peter Laing ECW and ’15-’45 ranges. I especially like his kilted Highlander charging with Claymore (F1006) and small shield but his Highland musketeers ( F1008) are fine figures too.  https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2016/11/04/more-peter-laing-scots/


The “Angrian Dragons” are ECW dismounted dragoons firing, F515, one of my favourite Peter Laing figures.

The homespun 5th Angrian Regiment in campaign dress are the ACW butternut infantry advancing F3012, along with the Boer Rifleman advancing at trail F622.

I quickly made and  coloured an Angrian flag and added this to one of the Boer figures to make a standard bearer.

The Heroscape hex terrain terrain on my two portable gaming boards tries to create  that curious mix of European and African or Yorkshire Tropical that exists  in the Bronte’s limited but imaginative view of the world outside their native Haworth and Yorkshire. This was backed by PECO Scene Backgrounds Medium SK 44 Country with River with its great view of mountains and stone bridges over streams and slightly incongruous European stone farm houses, obviously in the Yorkshire / European influenced Angrian settler style.

Pine trees, impassable rocks, a raging stream or river form all part of a rugged and Romantic, almost Gothic landscape of hills, fields and  craggy mountainous peaks of how the Bronte children  saw Angria (West Africa). This fits well the restricted routes and impassable labyrinths of trees, logs and rocks that suit Donald Featherstone’s original Close Wars rules for forest skirmish that I have tweaked for hex board or garden games. https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2016/06/09/close-little-wars-featherstones-simplest-rules/

The waggon was an underscale diorama piece from the 54mm Safari figures Wild West Settlers Toob. Its  eventual escorts were Peter Laing Boer War cavalry M603 or M605 Imperial Yeomanry figure.


This was a great fun game for an evening. Using the Gerald De Gre duelling rules in Kaptain Kobold’s simplified dice version for the first time as the Melee section with the rest of the Little Close Wars rules led to quick fast and murderous melees.

The look of the board / game?

I like the portable hex game boards but I would like to flock or sand more of the Heroscape hex pieces, and glue and flock some of the pine tree bases permanently to hex bases.

Part of the early evening was spent tidying up the portable game boards, removing the temporary masking tape letters and grid numbers and sanding the edges before rewriting them in a neater fashion. Eventually I think I will wood stain the outer edges and possibly acrylic paint (sap green) the inner sections  of game board that show up as bare wood in the middle and edge. Hopefully they will look less intrusive but still allow each board to be used separately.


A swift outcome of a minor skirmish in the Angrian Civil War, a minor victory in a disastrous campaign.

This campaign led to Angria’s defeat at the Battle of Edwardston 26 June 1836, which saw Zamorna exiled and Angria savagely occupied by Ashantee and MacTerrorGlen’s forces throughout the rest of 1836. Angrian troops fight on in the hills.

Victory does not come until Zamorna returns and leads his forces to victory at the Battles of Leyden,  Westwood and Evesham throughout 1837.

Hopefully Charlotte and Branwell Bronte would approve, their imaginary worlds having been sparked by a gift from their father of a box of toy soldiers.

Read more at the other Bronte 200 inspired blogposts at: https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2017/03/30/charlotte-bronte-as-gamer-1

Blogposted by Mark, Man of TIN, 20th May 2017

8 thoughts on “A Skirmish in Angria: Close Little Wars rules”

  1. Hello James

    The original pre-painted Heroscape figures (which I only use for duelling – I can’t understand the original rules!) are about 25/28/30 mm. The hex tiles are about 2 inches wide.

    I first came across them via John Patriquin at the Wargames Hermit blog and Bob Cordery’s Wargaming Miscellany.

    Lots of starter sets around on eBay – it didn’t really work out for MB Games / Hasbro.



    Its own loyal fan base

    Your Blog and your Forces looking as inspiring as ever. Hopefully they won’t be heading or invading anyway near Angria, Glasstown or Gondal anytime soon!

    Mark, Man of TIN blog


  2. How large was the board, and how many figures were you using? I am still working on my extra-lite Close Wars version for work, though haven’t been able to playtest it recently due to superiors becoming wary of violent imagery. I’ve got Featherstone’s Solo Wargaming but am curious how you went about running the game?


    1. https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2017/08/16/how-heroscape-hexes-measure-up/

      Usually about 25 each side minus a d6 dice roll number of figures to unbalance the forces slightly.
      My smaller portable game boards are two wooden box lids of 54 Hexes each. These are used as bought / found, being no carpenter, bring 40cms long, 30 cms wide including 1cm lip (3cms deep) around each side. There is some wasted space around the hex edge to box lip which I infill with AstroTurf strips for rough grass scrub. Together they make up a board of 108 Hexes, good for small fast games.
      Interesting DOY game cloth https://gridbasedwargaming.blogspot.com/2018/12/western-desert-project-hex-grid-for.html
      More comments to follow


    2. Arguably this Anglian skirmish is not violent, its just Classic 19th Century English Literature in 3D! Or its almost history in 3D for the matter.

      Getting round the violent imagery thing for a library or community based event is a challenge – I wonder do fantasy (War) games get this problem to the same extent? Fighting fantasy books? Do superhero and space ship games get this problem? Greek myths and the modern Rick Riordan children’s book versions? There has often been an “encouraging boys literacy” issue here through games workshop fantasy gaming. And after all, H.G.Wells

      On this violent imagery basis Last of the Mohicans should not be illustrated or shortened down into a children’s classic, what with the massacres etc?

      Oddly if you turn the natives or the troops into aliens or monsters, you have less problem here. Set it on a far off tropical forested planet … oh no Close Wars is turning into Close Star Wars and those prehistoricly armed but cute Ewok forest battles against modern hi-tech troops.

      At least on the positive side you have access in America to far more cheap plastic historical figures for the civil war, War of independence, frontier etc than we do in the U.K. that should make putting together a historical demo game etc easier. Likewise the Galaxy space figure Tim Mee range etc.

      The Angria Skirmish game was played solo, if that helps. Not quite sure what you want to know about how I went about running the game. Happy to answer any questions though.

      For Close Wars, I quite like the http://www.boldfrontiers.com.au website and its simple trees, along with its booklist! Sadly its a company based in Australia which makes shipping more expensive but I’m sure that similar 3D trees could be made, not bought. The troops in their starter packs are available in the USA through various makers.

      P.S. The Close Wars rules are here, and in the Angria skirmish post are some simple melee rule modifications https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2016/06/09/close-little-wars-featherstones-simplest-rules/


      1. i guess what I’m wondering is how you added a fog of war element to avoid “knowing the enemy.” Did you just play as in-character as possible, or was there any element to provide surprise, or a set strategy for one side?

        My supervisor, oddly, asked if Dungeons and Dragons wouldn’t be more appropriate than a “war” game. Well, he wasn’t around in the ’80s… Swords and sorcery are ok, but we are twenty minutes from Parkland High School which had an attack last year. I’m considering calling them “tabletop strategy games” instead at this point. Also just found a short photo-article about a library gaming club posted on Facebook – https://www.recordonline.com/news/20181229/revolutionary-program-at-moffat-library?fbclid=IwAR3Rbu_P7UypbqrGGc8omEr32aTzkUic930YjdXpNqiksn1hUmXZ_0vlGv4 – that I may have him read.


      2. By the way unlike the librarians gaming Facebook type group or forum, these comments and replies are open to public view so I have answered in a way suitably aware of its public nature.
        Bringing the next generation into ‘the hobby’ is a challenge as it is I suspect for any hobby.


  3. I think the tabletop strategy games option might alleviate some issues in view of local events. It gives the option of a varied diet of fantasy and historical.
    Often sci-fi, alien worlds and ImagiNations take away from the unpleasant historical accuracy.
    Where for example are the cowboy and Indians films and games anymore? Arguably Genocide isn’t usually a gameable leisure thing.

    Historical Wargames don’t have the easy teen supportive literacy angle of D&D although there are some good historical fiction novelists out there like Bernard Cornwell with the Sharpe novels and Redcoat etc.
    Somebody needs to write the next set of Rosemary Sutcliff and Henry Treece history fiction for tweets and teens. (Eagle of the Ninth is a cracking book).
    Hopefully your closed Facebook group of gaming librarians might have some wise advice? Time was with Harry Potter and Games Workshop fantasy had a hostile reception as magic and darkness and mythology … there is that book on teens gaming and Librarians
    https://www.amazon.co.uk/Dragons-Stacks-Librarians-Role-Playing-Professional/dp/1610692616 Which might suit discussions with your team.

    Re the Angria Skirmish game
    It was a while back. Usually I set quite strong set orders or objectives for each group, including both sides. I try to have no sympathy for either side.
    Any decisions or forks in the road that crop up, I invent a suitable dice roll for this. For example:
    1-2 Retreat 3 – stay put 4 – surrender 5-6 advance
    Staggered arrivals help as well, done the usual way by rolling for a grid Reference on the game board for where and two dice for when / which game move they arrive.
    Lots of solo tricks from Stuart Asquith and Donald Featherstone’s books on Solo Gaming. Not yet joined Lone Warrior the solo Wargames association / newsletter.


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