Posted on 03/01/09 @ 03:54 AM (updated 04/16/09
The Siege of Khartoum lasted from March 12, 1884 to January 26, 1885. It was fought in and around Khartoum between Egyptian forces led by British General Charles George Gordon and a Mahdist Sudanese army led by the Mahdi Muhammad Ahmad. Khartoum was besieged by the Mahdists and defended by a garrison of 7,000 Egyptian and loyal Sudanese troops. After a ten-month siege, the Mahdists finally broke into the city and the entire garrison was killed.
You are Muhammad Ahmad.
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The Siege of Khartoum is basically a compstomp at heart. Both sides have a fast start, and you can be aggressive, boom a bit, or do a lot of running and scouting. The map is huge and the entire area west of the river is a great place for a forward base and economic expansion. The deck could use one or two combat boost cards to make up for lower numbers early on.
Sadly, any map where you can make ships and backdoor the enemy from the water = no contest. If you agree to stay on the land, however, the two sides are fairly balanced. Red gets a number of activated armies that appear out of nowhere and make sure you're building an army. India gets a rare treat - consulate allies with the Russians - and this balances the British factory and 3 forts rather nicely. If you have to forage close to lions, you have a good sized army of elephants and dorks and Muhammad Ahmad can run interference for your vills if need be.
The idea of a siege map is nothing new. This one is better than most, because the sides are well balanced given that one player starts with a lot of fortifications, and the other with a lot of cannons. It is possible to play the scenario as a beat-the-clock rush, or a more traditional stomp. The only objective is to destroy the opponent, there are no side objectives or subsidiary towns.
Map Design: 4
It is a very large map with unusual terrain and lighting. Instead of hunts, you can find piles of food crates guarded by lions. Resources are densest around the edges, and very sparse in the middle, so it's hard to justify building a forward base out in the middle of nowhere, far from resources. The river provides some nice scenery and lets you explore the west, where there's more gold.
Pretty straightforward. If I were to download this without reading the instructions, I would figure out what to do pretty quickly on my own. An objectives entry with backstory as above would be gravy for those who don't know the history.
Additional Comments: As it stands, this scenario doesn't have much replay value. The British attacks are predictable, the focus of game play never changes, there's little back-and-forth. One way to shake things up a bit and put some mileage in this, is to use randomized triggers to create armies early on. Random triggers pick one of several possible times, magnitudes, and compositions for attacks. You can also change the configurations and locations of the trade sockets, forts, and starting TCs. The last suggestion I would make is to give the British more control over their end of the river. Extending the fortress walls along the shoreline with a spot for a dock would be best.