Of the many rule sets regularly played at Falkirk District Wargames Club one of my favourites is “In Her Majesty’s Name” which has produced many memorable games. Although originally written for 2 players we have adapted it for multi-player games featuring 4, 5 or 6 protagonists. In 2015 we ran a series of games as a campaign and from time to time those same companies emerge for other games to introduce new players to the rules. One of the strengths of IHMN is that it produces a narrative style of game which is easy to link into others in the wider storyline.
Our latest game was inspired by Ken’s purchase of the rules and completion of his Chinese Warlord company while Dave wanted to give his recently acquired Cossacks an outing. When Kenny rashly volunteered to lend us some Boxers he was roped into playing the Imperial Chinese. So the scene was set for one of my favourite characters Professor Poppington to venture into the Back of Beyond with the aid of some members of the Corps of Guides.
This scenario is for 4 players each fielding a company of 250-300 points. More details on the rules and supporting material can be found on the authors blog site at www.theministryofgentlemanlywarfare.wordpress.com
“A Nice Cup of Tea in the Morning” – An In Her Majesty’s Name Scenario
Slowly the morning mist lifted from around the unnamed little village south of Khotan on the South Silk Road through Sianking Province. A desolate, lonely place devoid of any trappings of civilisation, lacking even that bare essential a Tea House. How could Professor Poppington face the day without a decent cup of tea? Finding a fresh supply was essential.
His mind ruefully turned to his interview with the British Consul in Srinigar some weeks ago:
“Well Poppington, permission for you to travel and excavate at Khotan has finally come through. However, I must once again caution you against making the journey. Why you must go chasing after a bally Frenchman I’ll never understand.
The Kharakorum Pass, through which you must travel, is a nest of bandits, thieves and other ne’er do wells and the whole Khotan area is a tinder box just waiting to burst into the flames of rebellion. Some dastardly new villain calling himself General Isimo has proclaimed himself Warlord and has embarked upon a reign of terror to cow the peasants. It is only a matter of time until the Dowager Empress decides to intervene and send Imperial troops to remove his head.
I suspect that those Russian devils the Okhrana are at work, spreading their poison and inflaming the frontier to distract us from their designs on Afghanistan and the North West Frontier.
So I must insist that you take a good escort with you. Can’t risk an incident if you go astray. Also it’s an excellent chance for one of my men to take a good look around. I’m assigning Lieutenant Martyn to accompany you with some of his Corps of Guides. He’ll keep you out of trouble.”
True to the Consul’s word, Lieutenant Martyn and his men had indeed proven a most valuable support during the journey. A group of tough professionals with knowledge of the languages and customs of the locals, none of the local bandits had dared challenge them as they crossed the Karakorum Pass. The same could not be said of young 2nd Lieutenant Carruthers whom the Consul had also insisted should go along. Affable enough with a genuine amateur interest in archaeology, he clearly lacked any real experience. Poppington suspected that the Consul had assigned him to the expedition to get him out of his way.
However, now in Sianking, matters had taken a turn for the worse. Professor Dubois of the Sorbonne, the “Bally Frenchman” whom Poppington was travelling to meet, had disappeared. Apparently he had been arrested by the forces of General Isimo as a spy.
It would seem that the General was prepared to release the prisoner in return for suitable recompense in gold or weapons, preferably both. Alas Poppington had no access to such a ransom, but more worryingly it appeared that the Okhrana had taken an interest in Dubois and they had access to weapons and gold aplenty. An exchange had been arranged to take place in this very village at first light. Poppington was determined to mount a rescue, Dubois could not be allowed to fall into Russian hands.
Scenario: “Bring Him Back Alive” IHMN 9.1.2
Scene: A deserted village in southern Sianking province. Time: Dawn
The Warlord General Isimo and his motley crew;
Captain Poliakoff and his Cossack henchmen;
William Poppington, Lt. Martyn and the Corps of Guides
Complication: “The Lawful Authorities” – Imperial Troops under Captain Li Khan Tap have tracked Isimo to the village.
Chinese Warlord Briefing
Your path to power and glory lies before you. You have the men, albeit peasants, to overthrow your enemies. What you lack is weapons and money. The White Devil your men have seized will bring both. The Russians are prepared to pay well for the captive even though he is not one of them.
Suddenly your suspicions are aroused. Why did they agree to your demands so quickly? They hardly haggled at all. Perhaps the prisoner is more valuable than he looks? Maybe you should hold on to him for a little longer to gain a better price.
Objective: Secure the weapons crates and gold promised by the Russians. Gain 10 VP for each crate safely moved off table.
Gain a bonus 10 VP if the prisoner is still in your possession at the end of the game.
Your loyalty to the Tsar and Mother Russia is unquestioned. Now it has led you into the Service of the Okhrana in its sacred quest to strike fear into the enemies of the motherland. Your task is a simple one. You must secure the prisoner held by General Isimo and remove him for further questioning. His importance to your masters cannot be over emphasised and his safe custody is imperative. You have the ransom demanded, but you suspect treachery from that upstart renegade Isimo. Securing the prisoner while retaining the ransom would teach him a lesson in humility and be a feather in your cap.
Objective: Securing the prisoner held by the Chinese and escorting him safely off the Board will gain you 20 VPs. A bonus 10 VPs can be earned if you secure the prisoner and hold on to the ransom.
Imperial Chinese Briefing
As an officer in the Celestial Regiment you are sworn to protect the Jade Throne and to the service of the Empress-Dowager. You must uphold the authority of the Imperial Court throughout the land. Your latest mission is to end the threatened rebellion in Sianking at a stroke by removing the head of General Isimo from his shoulders. You have tracked him to this village where he has compounded his guilt by his dealings with the Foreign Devils. Honour demands that you strike now and strike quickly before he can escape.
Objective: You will gain 20 VPs if you slay General Isimo and a bonus 10 VPs if you can stop the rebels escaping with the weapons crates.
Poppington and the Corps of Guides
You have travelled here to meet with Professor Dubois, a former colleague of yours, at the request of Her Majesty’s Secret Service for whom you have acted as a consultant on occasion. During his recent excavations Dubois has unearthed information on the Regalia of Ra vital to the safety of the Empire and the Free World, but will divulge it only to you. He has since been captured by a local Warlord who intends to ransom him to the Russians. The information he possesses must not be allowed to fall into the hands of the Ohkrana. Dubois must be rescued or if that proves impossible he must be silenced.
Those tea chests the Russians are escorting look interesting. Perhaps Fate has provided you with an opportunity to replenish your tea stocks as well. That would be a bonus.
Objective: if you can rescue Professor Dubois you will gain 20 VPs. If he is taken out and thereby silenced while in enemy hands gains you 10 VPs.
Capturing a tea chest will gain you a bonus 10 VPs.