Saturday, 7 December 2019

AAR The Men Who Would be Kings Rules Playtest!

I picked up from Book Depository Osprey’s The Men Who Would Be Kings rules after seeing good reviews for them online and Monday a few weeks ago we gave them ‘a run’!

We selected Scenario A in the Rules, ‘Just Passing By’ a skirmish/movement game and picked 24 point sides. The only chrome we used over the basic rules were the Leader Traits. Our game was based in East Africa in the late 19th Century with Dave playing the Imperial Germans while I controlled the forces of the British Empire!

2 x Regular Infantry Units
3 x Irregular Infantry Units

4 x regular Infantry Units

Our Leader’s traits varied from ‘A Jolly Good Chap’ (very nice) through Shirker (one on each side!) to ‘Hapless’ (Oh Dear!)

Victory points were allocated for inflicting casualties and exiting units from the table top.

With QRS sheets in hand and the rules next to the beer and nibbles we started!

German initial deployment (the river boat just completed was there just for show!).

British initial deployment.

So initially both sides men concentrated on activating and moving at the double to a) get into range of the enemy and b) get near to the exit points. The German regulars activated in true Teutonic tradition and their bonus movement rolls were good too. The British in good form ambled ahead!

One Unit of the German’s Irregulars due to having a ‘Hapless’ Leader and therefore needing 10 or more on two dice to activated never passed this roll once in the game, this is their starting (and finishing) location on the battlefield.

The British ‘Army’ fans out try to cut off German exit routes while a single Unit scoots along the left board edge attempting to exit themselves!

Our first test of the firing rules the British try to hit the lead German regulars with no effect!

Overall view half way through our game. A few casualties have been inflicted as the central German Unit duelled with the British on the table edge, the Germans got the best of it the British losing their leader on the first hit (a double 1 on two dice for each hit on a Unit will kill its leader)! The second unit of German regulars can be seen top left nearing their exit point!

So at this stage the Germans exited one Unit getting 4VPs while their other Regular Unit took cover in the central wood and started targeting every British Unit it could see! Also testing rules one British Unit formed up into Close Order which gives them a fire bonus but they become a better target for the opposition. Their first Volley requiring 4+ on the dice with eight tries proved disastrous!

The formed-up Brits took heavy casualties from the Germans in the Wood and some native auxiliaries decided to charge their dwindling numbers!

The Natives unfortunately came under some fire from another British unit and were ‘blown Away’ in quick order…

Overall view of the table as the German Native Auxiliaries charge into oblivion.

Meanwhile the British Naval Unit made a move to exit the table. They were successful!

So the last German Regulars routed one British Unit from the table with fire and reduced the Unit in line to just two figures and these survivors fled. This is the battlefield at the end of the last turn, the Germans were advancing from the woods that kept them safe to taunt the remaining Brits!

A German Victory with 6VPs to the Brits 5VP.

We had a quick and fun game. The rules were easy to pick up and we only referred to the rule book on a few occasions. We decided over coffee these rules are definitely worth revisiting. I’ll do a rules review after some more plays and we incorporate all the chrome but from this first game these look a solid set of rules for some ‘rollicking’ Colonial action!


  1. We played 2 games today at Cumberland Club. A lot of fun! ... Tantel El Hur.

    1. Thanks! I hope your games went as well as ours!

  2. Great looking game. When we play Men who would be king we let any unit move without rolling command.

    1. Thanks for looking and thanks for the rules tip we'll discuss that before we play next!