I've been interested in colonial gaming, specifically British colonial gaming, for years. Some of my favourite films are The Four Feathers (1939), Khartoum, Zulu and Zulu Dawn. I'm fascinated by the idea of a few indomitable men battling relentless hordes of angry natives, desperately defending a dot on a map thousands of miles away from the heart of Empire and the Widow at Windsor.
Having just read Armies of God: Islam and Empire on the Nile, 1869-1899 I found I could no longer restrain myself so I finally caved in and bought The Sword and the Flame (TSATF) 20th Anniversary Edition by Larry V. Brom.
TSTAF have been the default rule set for colonial gaming since almost the dawn of time. The majority of gamers who play in this period start out with TSATF and a considerable proportion stay with them. Having now read the rules cover to cover I can see why. The rules are simple but not simplistic. They are clearly designed to produce a fast flowing, entertaining game where individuals take on a life of their own and perform heroic feats to be talked about years after the event. At only 15 or so A4 pages they will suit Friday nights where brain power is on the wain.