Welcome to my blog!

News from a wargamer with a special interest in the military history of the Balkans. It mainly covers my current reading and wargaming projects. For more detail you can visit the web sites I edit - Balkan Military History and Glasgow & District Wargaming Society. Or follow me on Twitter @Balkan_Dave
or on Mastodon @balkandave@mastodon.scot, or Threads @davewatson1683

Tuesday 25 November 2014

19th Century skirmish wargames

I have been looking for a set of rules to play skirmish games of up to around 50 figures a side. This is primarily for the Russo Turkish War of 1877.

I have now tested two options, Bolt Action and Terrible Swift Sword.

Bolt Action may seem a bit out of the time line, but I have played WW1 games very successfully with these rules. The basic mechanisms are very elegant and has the advantage that I and other gaming partners can pick them up and play quickly. In the trial game I made a few changes, such as shortening the rifle range, but it certainly played very well. If I go with this, I will need to think up some national characteristics and tweak the weapons to reflect important differences between the Russian and Turkish armies.

Terrible Swift Sword is a Sharpe Practice variant for the Amercian Civil War. I'm not a huge fan of card driven games, but the fun narrative behind Sharpe Practice won me over and we have had some really good games. The trial game didn't really work as it is too period specific. Russians and Turks don't really fit the U.S. cards that are the key to the game.

On balance I think I will go with Bolt Action, but not ruling out doing some cards for TSW and giving it another go when I have more time.

Here are a few pictures of the game. Three ten man infantry squads a side, together with a cavalry troop and light artillery.


And finally, when the Turks looked as if they might have the upper hand, our cat Rasputin intervened. At least he recognised which side he was supposed be on, positioning himself in the Russian lines. However, you might note a bit of 'blue on blue' - c'est la guerre!




  1. That last pic is exactly what I needed today. Thanks!

  2. I'm glad you gave Sharp Practice a go, but there was no need for you to make do with the 'Terrible Sharp Sword' American Civil War variant.

    Too Fat Lardies stalwart Chris Stoesen has also written a Russo-Turkish variant called 'Cossacks at War and Peace', which was in the Too Fat Lardies Christmas Special 2008.


    This was followed by 'The Capture of Akhalkalak Fortress', a scenario from the Russo-Turkish War of 1828 - 1829 in the 2011 Christmas Special.