Saturday, 30 April 2016

The Fight at Jims Place

Down at the Deeside Defenders this Thursday a most tense and exhilarating action was fought between Rick, Chris and myself. We had considered a game of KOW...but I'd been mulling over something else for a while, and was keen to try it out.
 "Ok, Name the time and place" they said,
"Alright," I said, " 1879...Rorkes Drift."

So I gathered the Zulus (123 rather than "Faasands"), and mustered the Redcoats (80th Foot rather than 24th!), and worked out some rules.  Not from scratch I must add- I've been quite fancying the old Lord of the Rings Ruleset for skirmish games, so I just had to work out appropriate profiles for the various figures. In hindsight I'd modify them, this was very much a test game!
Scenery was whatever I could find that would do at a pinch! Two buildings from my napoleonic collection, some stone walls, bits of lichen, the redoubt of a bunch of gabions on a couple of box lids was the best I could do...

The Zulus:
120+ Warriors, armed with a variety of spears and firearms. For the first half the game casualties were recycled.
a Shaman ( didnt actually make it on to the table because I forgot to put him in the box of zulu reserves  after explaining all the rules)
A runner. To carry messages...
A Prince on a horse, with a proper rifle.
The runner could provide any warrior in the vicinity with a Might point to spend on heroic actions, The shaman came loaded with Fate (presumably he would already know that he was going to survive) and a bit of Might, and the Prince got a good rifle and the skills to use it ., with a couple of points of Fate and Might

The British:
14 Riflemen with rifles and bayonets
2 Sergeants.  ditto
1 Bugler...with a bugle.
1 Officer. with revolver and a stiff upper lip.
Sergeants got a Might point each, the bugler generated a Might point for any nearby officer/sergeant, the officer got two Might points, and a fate point. British Casualties would be placed in the storehouse/church where they would roll each turn - on a 1 they expired, 2-5 they were still recuperating, 6- Reynolds has patched them up and sent them back into the fight!

The first wave of Zulus came on in the SW corner of the field. Subsequent waves would come on from the west, then the north west and north of the position.

Chris took command of the Zulus, with the objective of destroying the British by Ten pm. Rick took command of the British. I umpired, until Rick had to leave at 9, then took over his command.  If there was anything left...

Zulus, approaching from the South West,  thousands of them.
The men on the South wall give the approaching Zulus a volley,
and set the standard for the days shooting, by missing with every shot.

"We're next boys, this is the blind spot!"  The Zulus head for western end of the
 position, where the ineffective British fire struggles to reach them. 
As the British fall back across the front of the Hospital
 the Zulus lap around to the South wall again
Eager to reach the redcoats the Zulus swarm over the roof of the Hospital which promptly collapses
 under the weight of so many pounding feet (seriously Chris, next time, go round!)  , several Zulus are put out
of action by the fall! 
The platoon on the southern wall hold back the first wave.

Covering fire from the Redoubt thins the horde a little.
Heeding the bugles call The garrison fall back on the next line of defence. Some good bayonet work puts off
their pursuers. Zulus take up position on the abandoned walls and give fire...
Zulus throw themselves at the North Wall.

The north west corner of the position now sees the fiercest fighting... more Zulus close in from all sides!

Wary of being outflanked and unable to man the whole perimeter the British fall back on the redoubt and fire yet another ineffectual volley!
The Zulus swarm over the abandoned barricades, and there's more still coming...

Cornered, the British drive the Zulus back with cold steel and fire again, with no effect. 

The Zulus, encouraged by the lack of effect of the Redcoats puny weapons and storm the redoubt!
But this last effort takes its toll, exhausted, and with the few remaining British falling back on the Storehouse, they quit the field! 
 A cracking game full of drama and tension and desperate heroism!

It went badly from the British from the off, whole turns went by without a Zulu casualty! Musketry was ineffective despite needing only 3's to hit, and the Redcoats couldnt win a melee roll off to save their lives. Only the barricades saved them from being overrun almost immediately, but even their good fortune there vanished half way into the game and the Redcoats dropped like flies. Most of the Garrison was being cared for by Reynolds in the Storehouse, with 4 dead out right. Barely 30 Zulus fell in total, which was why they stopped getting recycled- there wasn't any point!  Chris could have done as well with half the numbers he had. And another turn or two and he'd have had it in the bag.

I'd like to play this again but with a single modification- The redoubt needs to be harder to get into, due to its height: we just used the same rules as for the walls which had proved quite tough, but the redoubt fell quicker than it aught.  I have not decided on a solution though.

Stats for the troops I would do as follows- these have been modified a little as a result of the battle.

Prince        F4/3+   S4   D3  A2   W2   C6   Fate 2,  Might 1.
Shaman     F3         S3   D3  A1   W2   C5   Fate 2 . Any Zulu within 6" auto passes courage tests
Warrior     F4/5+    S3   D3  A1   W1   C4
Runner      F3         S3   D3  A1   W1   C3   Generates 1 Might per turn which a warrior within 2" may use for a heroic action
All Warriors armed with either throwing spears (range 8", S2, no move penalty), primitive musket (range 18" S3, full move penalty), Hide Shield (may use a 2nd Fight dice but if wins cannot strike a blow, doesnt increase D.)  Prince carries Breach loading Rifle (Range 30" S4, half move penalty) and rides a horse.
N.B I would have included more heroes for the Zulus but lacked any figures that stood out of the crowd.

Officer      F4/3+   S3   D3  A2   W2   C6    Fate 1  Might 2
Sergeant    F4/3+   S4   D3  A1   W1   C5    Might 1
Private      F4/3+   S3   D3  A1   W1   C4  
Bugler      F4/3+   S3   D3  A1   W1   C4     Generates 1 Might point per turn which any officer  or Sergeant within 2" may use for a Heroic Action

Officer armed with revolver (Range 8", S3, no move penalty) , all others are armed with Breach Loading Rifle (range 30", S4, Half move penalty) and Bayonet (Fights as if spear armed i.e can fight through a friend in base contact) . All British Soldiers auto pass a courage test if there is a friend with 2".

There, that should do.