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

Of Semaphore and Signal Towers

From Clementine box to fortified signal tower ….

I have posted two new posts on my sister blog Pound Store Plastic Warriors,  all about the fun of making this semaphore signal tower for coast, mountain or desert from available scrap, a suitable toy soldier type fortified building for 30 mm to 54mm figure games.


Some of my Peter Laing 15mm British colonial troops and heliograph. 

Some of the design ideas came from researching the fascinating history of flag and flash, semaphore and heliograph, which forms the subject of  my second post here:


Blog posted by Mark, Man of TIN, May 2017.


Bartitsu and Bayonets

IMG_0419Cross-post  from my sister blog Pound Store Plastic Warriors


Lemax figures – deadly Bartitsu duellists or a music hall variety routine? 

Blogposted by Mark, Man of TIN blog. 

Happy International Star Wars Day May the 4th … be with you!

Last September’s back Yarden galaxy game with 54mm Star Wars Command and Airfix Space Warriors. 


Happy International Star Wars Day,  May the 4th … be with you!

A day for duelling lightsabers no doubt!

In homage to one of my all time favourite films (life was never quite the same after 1977/8) and in keeping with our last Duelling game blog about Bartitsu, some interesting duelling illustrations:


H. G. Wells meets Star Wars … Very funny altered image from the Bartitsu.org website. Well worth a long look through. 


and some much more ‘serious’ discussion about lightsaber moves in duelling.


Happy May 4th! 

Blog posted by Mark Man of TIN, 4 May 2017


Hobbycraft Castle Tower

Top section of the papier-mâché fort tower with Prince August Homecast 40mm cowboys 

Cross posting about papier-mâché castle section tower from my sister blog Pound Store Plastic Warriors https://poundstoreplasticwarriors.wordpress.com/2017/05/02/hobbycraft-castle-tower/

Blog posted by Mark, Man of TIN blog, 2 May  2017.

More Duelling Inspiration: Bartitsu


Edward Barton Wright montage (Wikipedia public domain source) 

Lots of steampunk Sherlock Holmes era self defence, umbrella duelling etc – don’t try this at home  – on this interesting website about E.W. Barton Wright, 1860-1951,  the inventor of Bart-itsu. 


Bartitsu.org is a fascinating website or blog,  written by James Marwood since 2008, is a real labour of love, researching this once-forgotten pioneer of the martial arts.


How to use your cane and hat (shield ) to defend yourself – a short silent film by James Marwood.


Lots more ravishing images of  duelling in suitable clothing


This all fits well with Gerard Du Gre’s simple “Lunge, Cut and Stop Thrust” skirmish duelling rules from Donald Featherstone’s Solo Wargaming. https://poundstoreplasticwarriors.wordpress.com/2017/04/26/duelling-in-the-sandpit-lunge-cut-and-stop-thrust/

I wonder how many manufacturers make these kind of gents and ruffians?


Playmobil certainly do top hat figures like Dracula. Somewhere amongst the many interesting steampunk and VSF miniatures, other figures might be found wielding sticks, umbrellas and walking canes etc. I searched the toy box and my collection for a few suitable figures:

Dr. Watson with stick in hand confronted by a Ruffian with a stick after his medical bag, no doubt. (Sherlock and Watson are Tradition Of London  figures, home cast Prince August policeman, pound store plastic pirate moll and Wendal farmer hooligan with stick.)
And never forget the simple rule – “those who live by the sword (stick) get shot by those who don’t.” Watch out for that lady!

Edith Garrud taught Jiu-jitsu to suffragettes protecting Mrs Pankhurst which became known as Suffra-Jitsu. See also Miss Sanderson or Madame Vigny http://www.bartitsu.org/index.php/2015/11/solved-the-mystery-of-miss-sandersons-first-name/


A Match for Any Ruffian! Ladies Self Defence 1902 style


Against a determined lady armed only with a hat pin, umbrella and a handful of distraction devices, I don’t much rate the survival chances of these two mean-looking characters with cudgels! Who needs a sturdy Footman? 


“The umbrella is distinctly a form of rapier; the husband-beater is a hand-and-a-half estoc (to be used in the saddle, if required); and the sunshade and parasol are short swords, or long daggers: and one and all are designed for thrusting— not cutting.

Yet how does the citizen use his characteristic weapon ? Why, as a broadsword—nearly always!”

from “The Umbrella:  A Misunderstood Weapon” Bartitsu.org website

From “The Umbrella as a Misunderstood Weapon” blog post, Bartitsu.org website

And going back a period to the Brontes (hooray, Arise Angria! etc) and late Regency / early Victorian period, 1838 Baron Charles Du Berenger’s Defensive Gymnastics:


Not forgetting  Captain F.C. Laing of the 12th Bengal Infantry (Kelat-I-Ghilzai Regiment) who spent several months doing intensive training at the London Bartitsu Club.





Lots more Edwardian / Victorian military gents in the original Bartitsu Club


Egerton Castle’s Rapier training and Ancient Swordplay revival




Edwardian Paintball – harmless duelling with wax bullets?


Edwardian Lady Detective Judith Lee


Over almost a decade the Bartitsu website has thrown some interesting people nad pictures including:

The Simms Motor Scout, one of the world’s first armed motor vehicles?

Simms’ Motor Scout 1899 (Wikipedia source)



and his Simms War Car, again possibly the world’s first armoured car?


Simms’ War Car at the Crystal Palace, 1902 (Wikipedia source) 

I’m sure H.G. Wells would approve of Simms’ inventiveness and foresight. This 1899 invention narrowly missed deployment in the Boer War: “Because of difficulties, including a gearbox destroyed by a road accident, that arose during completion the prototype was not finished by Vickers until 1902 when the Boer War was over”. Now there is a “What If?” Boer War gaming scenario.  The French version with a Russian Army connection looks even more modern –  https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charron,_Girardot_et_Voigt_1902

Noted Bartitsu historian Emelyne Godfrey has written several books and articles  on crime and self defence in Victorian Britain.



All fascinating stuff – don’t try Umbrella Fencing at home without suitable head protection  – from a website and area  which throws up lots of interesting duelling scenarios for Gerard Du Gre’s “Lunge, Cut and Stop Thrust” rules.

Scenarios and figures? 

At last a gaming use for all those civilian figures, ladies with parasols, farmers with sticks, useless cameo cowboys and soldier figures  clubbing with rifles, drum majors with their batons etc.

Part of the role of the Militia in Britain throughout Napoleonic, Regency and Victorian times was crowd control, as set out in Jenny Uglow’s In These Times (reviewed earlier on this blog). Rioters, luddites and mobs of protesters often armed only with pitchforks, cudgels and tools would be broken up or scared off by calling out the Militia. The Riot Act would be read etc, etc.

The Militia  formed this role of suppression or public order before an organised police force in Victorian times. Jenny Uglow is very even-handed in her views on the British Government’s use of the Volunteers and Militia to suppress dissent or keep order during a surprisingly turbulent time of food riots, resistance of the press-gang, Highland clearances and labour disputes.

An Angrian police force or constabulary in top hat,  blue tail coat and cutlass  appear in the Charlotte  Bronte Angria juvenilia stories in her early Victorian  novella “Henry Hastings”. They are sent to all points of the compass, tracking down this escaped treacherous murdering deserter!

While some early top hatted policemen with their leather stock neck pieces (against garrotting gangs) carried a cutlass, traditionally British police have been unarmed. What is the police truncheon or American patrol officers night stick however but an extension of this Bartitsu type approach of self defence? Highwaymen beware!

Before and after … front and back views … or How not to upset the Broom Lady out of Steve Weston’s excellent Mexican Peasants set. 

Not forgetting those ever so useful handy Steve Weston Mexican Peasant figures, some of which would have a distinctively Boxer / Oriental / Street Fighting appearance with suitable painting. http://www.plasticsoldiers.co.uk/reg-pages/Weston%20Toy%20Co.

Off to track down some more useful ‘useless’ posed figures for more duelling in the mean streets, backyards, gardens and sandpits of my Imagi-Nations …

Meanwhile in the leafy Edwardian garden of my imagination


If  any Ruffian  snuck up on H. G. Wells in his garden whilst busy playing Little Wars, sorry I meant  researching his next book, no doubt Wells would snatch up a nearby garden cane, whip off his straw hat and Have at Them! En Garde-ns!


Lunge, Cut and Stop Thrust – this could almost be H.G. Wells versus Edward Barton Wright. (Wikipedia source montage). 

Blogposted by Mark, Man of TIN blog, April 28 2017.