Looking at the Force support options all those characters and vignettes I've painted up now have a meaningful purpose on the tabletop.
Deployment Points for the Anglo-Indian forces:
A camp would've been too predictable I think.
Plus the Sikh stretcher bearers make a nice moveable DP for my Guides to exploit.
The Pathans are trickier. I've got a shepherd with flock as the primary DP:
And then I thought this snake charmer will do nicely too
But for their many moveable or dummy DPs I thought some rocks, suitably based so they don't just get mixed up with the gravel I'll use for dry river beds, would fit into the setting nicely. They're also cheap and plentiful!
For support options I've got other figures too.
Holy men for both sides:
A bhisti, or water bearer, instead of a water cart:
Radu can be a Silent and Deadly Specialist:
And then there's the sultry spy, available to either side really:
Exercising Heroic Restraint I set about picking my initial force for a training game.
I opted for this, two groups of Guides skirmishers, 3 groups of Sikhs and 2 groups of highlanders. 5 assorted leaders, moveable DP, bhishti and a musician:
Close up of the core of the Force:
I'm using the cards I made for the 1st edition to track which figure is attached to which leader card and what their level is:
The table with DPs positioned. Both sides ended up rolling to have their primary DP on the left of the picture. Both sides moveable DPs are edging to the right. The snake charmer is along the far table edge. The flock of sheep is in the nullah at the top left. The Imperial moveable DP is in the lower right.
First turn. One group of Sikhs take the hill covering the DP while the highlanders come on to the left.
First Pathan leader with three groups comes on
More tribesmen boil on to the table
I had two runs of Command cards generating random events. One was non-eventful (the building was too far away to catch fire from shooting). The other had a Pathan leader drop a level at a critical juncture from stepping in dog poop.
Where I left off. Both sides have everyone on table. The Sikhs have formed up on the right of the hill. Highlanders on the left. Guides cover the centre. The Guides and Highlanders have put some good firing onto the leading groups of Pathans, causing two to retreat. The Pathans have three groups deployed from their moveable DP who are maneuvering to threaten the Sikh right flank.
So now that I've got the basic turn mechanics figured out I need to spend some time with the Sharpulator http://toofatlardies.co.uk/blog/?p=5789 and sort out points values for each side so I can play more with the Force support options and get some scenario balance.