The Sword and The Flame

The Sword and The Flame

"The Sword and The Flame" is a wargame based on British colonial wars (in particular, the Anglo-Zulu War) and, more generally, a set of rules applied to a variety of wargames.

These rules for playing colonial wargames were first drafted by Larry Brom in 1978. The rules have gone through several revisions, but still have the same basic characteristics that they had when first written.

Design Concepts

When Larry drafted the original set of "The Sword and The Flame" rules (usually referred to as "TSATF") he had 5 main objectives [ [ 'The Sword and the Flame'- Birth of the Rules ] ] . These were:
* Enjoyment: in that the game itself was oriented more to being fun than as an accurate historical simulation
* Playability: a reference to the fact that some rulesets are noted for the complexity of their phrasing and the minutiae of their amendments; Larry favoured simple rules
* Drama: Larry wanted to ensure that every game had a chance of being won by either side, and that a player could not exactly predict an opposing player's movement distance.
* Excitement: linked to the idea of drama, but Larry also wanted to ensure that both sides were involved in all stages of the action. Larry's system of resolving combat by matching off opposing models rather than calculating a mêlée en mass was intended to achieve this [ [ 'The Sword and the Flame'- Birth of the Rules ] ] .
* Historical Flavour: the game should appear to be what happened in the time being simulated although it would not seek to be an exact recreation—in "TSATF" both sides have an equal chance of winning, whereas in history the colonial power was usually dominant over the indigenous population.


The rules included some interesting innovations, particularly the use of playing cards to randomise movement and firing (Larry refers to this as the 'random move card innovation'). At a time when movement and firing was either alternate ('you move, I move') or simultaneous, this represented a major change in thinking amongst wargamers [ [ 'The Sword and the Flame'- Birth of the Rules ] ] .


The rules have proven so popular that they have generated a whole set of variants which adapt the rules from their original British colonial (and especially Anglo-Zulu War) focus to other historical periods; the names of the variants usually incorporate the words "the Sword", although the variant that simulates the establishment of the White Rajahs in Sarawak is called "The Kris And The Flame". A fantasy wargame variant "Awaken The Storm!" was released in 2007 [ [ 'The Sword and the Flame'- Birth of the Rules ] ] .


The title is derived from The Widow at Windsor, a poem by Rudyard Kipling, part of his "Barrack-Room Ballads". This poem talks about Queen Victoria and how the empire she rules is so powerful because of the sacrifice that her soldiers make; the relevant part reads:

Walk wide o' the Widow at Windsor,
For 'alf o' Creation she owns:
We 'ave bought 'er the same with the sword an' the flame,
An' we've salted it down with our bones.






External links

* [ Sergeants 3]
* [ "The Sword and The Flame"] home page
* [ The Widow at Windsor]

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