Wednesday 13 July 2011


No, not a comment about this (very) great  film, but a quick AAR illustrated with pictures of my last game at  the club last Sunday (and some photos too). To be honest, this a wargaming period that have never attracted my attention; but my mates wanted to try a new Zulu war scenarios book with the idea of playing a campaign likely in autumn... so I decided to give a try.

We played with The Sword and the Flame another card-driven rules set but hardly as sophisticated as any of the rules produced bt the TooFatLardies factory (...a shame really... Rich when will we have those Colonial rules ready??).

The game depicted a British force composed of two understrength regular units, a cavalry Natal detachment and few native irregular squads (javelin armed) that have to control a road upward a hill leading to a major Zulu stronghold (located off table).

The British player was to be awarded victory points based on controlling some singular terrain features (several caves and rocky formations) as well as placing at the other side of the entry point some of its regular units but not the irregular (... so in a very colonialist sense, natives seems to be basically expendables, right?...quite politically incorrect). But they have a few limited number of turns to accomplish its mission and therefore had to run against the clock.

So returning to the game, this is a view of the table with the road going uphill...

 ... towards the surroundings of the Zulu village where a peaceful cow herd were grazing under the watchful eye of their shepherds (and no, not the guys at the back...)

 The British forces deployed regulars in the centere, native irregulars on the flanks (regulars could only climb the hill through the road) and started advancing apparently unpposed...
... but only apparently....
The next surprise was that these zulu warbands were better armed thatn the British forces (in fact and for the first time they enjoyed a superiority in number of rifles)... any progress was not only was slow but very dear in terms of causalties, as the British were forced to melee in close combat in order to deny the fire advantage...

Around two thid of the turns had elapsed and the British were now getting close to the crest of the hill, but with cavalary contingent expended after falling in an ambush and being massacred... regular British now with only half  the initial effectives...

... and most of the native irregular squads routed or demoralised after being expended in a series of attacks and counterattacks

With the final remaining turns approaching and the British still needing two victory points to win the game, it was time to make the final effort: the last British regular unit took the bayonets out, formed in column, three abreast, and charged to the crest of the hill aiming to overrun the last Zulu defensive line. 

Unfortuantely the dice were not favourable and this last effort, the unit lost its moral throw before clashing with the Zulus: the unit reteated in total disorder, was pinned and went prone.  And the Zulu did not hesitate, charged in the following turn and wiped it out enirely (in the heat of the attack I forgot to take pictures of this last action).

The British were beaten and the Zulus retreated into their village saving the troops to fight another day.
As a conclusion, well balanced scenario, contested until its very end and, in this case, the odds were against the British. The rules seemed easy to play (my first game and I did not have copy of the rules but the umpire made a very good job, I only needed to concentrate in the tactical aspects of the fight).I had fun but  I don't feel inclined to get too enaged in this historical period.

1 comment:

  1. Sounds like a great game and time was had and the bad guys won aqain?