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Boilers & Breechloaders

Boilers & Breechloaders is a set of rules for colonial gunboat actions. The rules allow players to design their ships then fight interesting river battles with a system that works in well with TSATF. The rules cover mines, torpedoes, boarding parties, and different ship forms are provided for several kinds of gunboats. The rules do a great job of helping the gamer to design, arm, and crew their ships according to a set of formulas that work well and provide consistency. The rules work well for 15 and 28mm scales, are easy to use, and provide a lot of colonial era gaming fun for any club.

15mm Gunboats on the Nile


Gunboat Operations in the Sudan

One of the most fascinating aspects of the Sudan campaigns was the use of gunboats, armed steamers, and transports along the Nile. However, it is also the one aspect of the campaign that so little is known about. While the exploits of the Sultan at Omdurman or the run by the gunboats to rescue Gordon are well known and documented, there is little else about river warfare during the early or late Sudan campaigns. While mentioned a few times that there were up to 30 vessels that supported the campaigns, there is not much in the way of artwork or photographs detailing gunboat operations. One of the best articles for gamers was in the old Courier magazine when they did their Sudan campaign theme year, but even that was very short on details other than noting the few classes of ships that they could find some information on. Fortunately for gamers this opens up the opportunites for creativity in being able to design, build, and use various steamers and gunboats for your colonial era Sudan games. The Madhists did capture and/or convert several steamers for use on the Nile against the British, so there was the possibility of a gunboat battle. Gunboats add an interesting facet to colonial games as their presence allows additonal firepower to be brought to bear, they can transport or evacuate troops, and quickly become the focal point of any colonial battle.

More Info

This page has images and some thoughts on Mahdist gunboats of the era that could have faced off against British forces on the Nile.

A web page with images featuring the Abbas from the movie Khartoum in 15mm. The escape of the Abbas is one of the highlights of the film.

A pdf about some ideas on how to build 15mm gunboats, but that could be applied to the larger 28mm scale.