Monday, 21 October 2019


Colonial forces on the nearside. Boxers and Imperial Chinese in the distance.
Tonbridge Wargames Club put on a 28mm Boxer Rebellion demo/participation game of The Men Who Would Be Kings at the annual SELWG show in Crysral Palace, South London. I wasn't part of the demo team having been rather out of things recently, but I was pleased to be invited to participate in one of the games.

I commanded the Colonial forces consisting of Japanese, British and French marines. These are the nearest units in the photo. The opposition, commanded by Simon, consisted of two Imperial Chinese units (Irregular Infantry, one with obsolete and one with modern firearms) and four units of Boxers (Tribal Infantry).

The objective, for the Colonial forces, was to clear and control the T-junction on the right.

My plan was to advance into range and then to hold back and control the objetive by fire. On my right flank the French Marines swept away the opposition. On my left flank the Japanese holed up in the compound. Despite an heroic resistance with all the advantages of being in hard-cover they were eventually whittled away. The Royal Marines in the centre should have won any firefight but suffered badly initially and never recovered.

In the end game the French Marines who had performed like a Boxer-munching 'Pac-Man' came around in a right hook to clear the last Boxers out of the compound and to gain a Pyrric victory.

It was a very well-balanced game and all good fun.


  1. Replies
    1. Hi Ray

      Thanks for your comment. Bernard, who owns the figures and scenery, will be gratified!

      There were some fantastic looking games there with phenomenal scenery, but they are not necessarily typical of what really happens in a wargames club.

      I think we strike a good balance between nice scenery and practical wargaming. What you see us put on at a show is basically what you will see on a club night.


    2. That's a good way to do it Richard. It's great having custom made terrain, like works of art, but practicality works best. Saves time and money too;0)

    3. The divide between what's put on at shows and club reality reminds me of early wargaming books which were illustrated with dioramas rather than wargames.