Saturday, 27 August 2016

Some thoughts on gaming the Anglo Zulu War.

I probably should have done some reading on the Zulu Wars before I started buying up Thousands of Zulu's. In my defence I'd have to say that Zulu is such a good Film and story in itself and inspiration enough to get into this period. I read a book on Shaka Zulu a few years before Warlord brought their range out which was my original inspiration.

I am still reading personal accounts written about the Vietnam War as I am still very interested in this conflict but. I have found some time though to read a few Ospreys and this very interesting article taken from a book which I should look at buying.

The War readiness and Military effectiveness of the Zulu Forces

This has some decent photos but must confess that I've only skipped through the text.

Zulu conquered the march of the red soldiers 1828-1884

The problem that I can see me having that is this only going to be a conflict that can be played a couple of times? Would anyone in the know be willing to take the Zulu forces? I have a few friends interested in painting up some British forces but do not have the same interest in buying up loads of Zulus. (no offence meant to anyone reading this) The reality though is that heaps of Zulus are needed to make this happen and only relatively few British, if you look at the numbers involved in the conflict. Or perhaps this is the perfect Solo gaming conflict with the Zulus acting to a set plan?

The accounts I have read all agree that the only chance that the Zulus have of winning is if the British make major mistakes in either their deployments, or supply of ammunition. Both of which led to the disaster at Isandlwana. The Zulus are restricted to using the same tactics of the Beasts Horn formation and do not know how to use the firearms properly that are at their disposal. The unmarried Regiments are largely unbloodied in battle while the Married Regiments have been inactive for 20 years and mostly aged between 41 and 47 years old. The 24th on the other hand are veteran fighters.

The Black Powder scenario of Rorke's Drift is almost impossible for the Zulus to win, as it should be. The Zulus are shaken before they get into hand to hand and the British have the advantage of a longer reach due to having bayonets. I've not read gaming accounts of Isandlwana but would imagine that you would have the same issues. It would be even worse if the British were to form squares and have no rules for ammunition supplies.

Perhaps I am overthinking the gaming issues and should look at ways of writing scenarios that reflect the limitations of this conflict? Perhaps make the British roll for how much ammunition is at hand each round of firing and not allow them to form squares!

The immediate problem at hand is that I have come to the last of the ready assembled Zulus that I stuck together while sitting on my partners couch, and will have to find time to make up another two unmarried Regiments and two Unmarried skirmisher units. I am currently basing the last regiment and will do some command stands next. I feel that this is still not enough to play a game with yet as I have seven Zulu Regiments and one of NNC (which I feel should be split into two small units). I have some Napoleonic British Marines I could use as stand ins to playtest some ideas that I have for using Sharp Practice. The other thing I should mention is that the more I look at references the more confused I get about what Unmarried Regiments the Warlord headdresses are meant to be. Perhaps the idea would be to just use the plain heads and not try and make the warriors in their parade dress?

Anyway these are just my thoughts and not meant to put anyone off painting this conflict. Just be prepared for a long ongoing commitment to painting (unless your Eric the Shed of course and can turn out a Regiment before breakfast).

Saturday, 20 August 2016

Modern Terrain and SWAT team.

I finally finished the Caravan (or should I say Trailer?) that I teased earlier. It was inspired by Jim Rockfords Trailer but since I could not find up close photos of the original I went slightly wrong with the windows. Not to worry as these were built from the late 50's according to a reference I found online so would have loads of variation. I can use it in Vietnam or anywhere more Modern. You probably cannot see from the photos that I used pre scribed panels which I was hoping the wash would bring out more. The wheels are the second set I've tried on it from an Airfix Scammell trailer. I think that they are a bit over scale but look correct. I may go back and correct these later.

I made a Diesel Tank out of a HO/OO kit that I was given at the Railway shop. It looks about the right size and supposed to be plastic rather than steel. It holds fuel for the Generators (still being prepped) that provide power to the Refrigerator Containers. Hopefully it can be kept supplied so there is not another Zombie outbreak. (but that would be no fun)

I dug out some SWAT figures from Foundry that have been in my Lead pile for about ten years. I wanted a SWAT team to provide security for the Zombie Containment farm. The spotter is from TAG. I have named the Blond bloke Bojo as he reminds me of Boris Johnson.

My terminators have been languishing in a box for years and have never been used in a game. I thought that I should get them out and try and make up some stats for them using Bolt Action. So far I have found it impossible to kill them so have settled on pinning them which slows them down for awhile. I think I will have to mount some HMG's on trucks and will have to buy some Bazooka or RPG armed figures. I should have some spare VC with Bazookas in my spare pile, I wonder?

Sunday, 14 August 2016

Sharp Practice 2 at Call to Arms.

I was invited to join in a game of Sharp Practice put on by a couple of gaming friends Ray and Peter plus their sons Michael and Simon. I just provided a bridge, a bit of road and a house.

I was in charge of  the Russian Cavalry which was actually Prussians, but I would not have known the difference. I can manage French, Spanish and British but struggle with anything else in this era.

 The game was good fun but not fought till the end as we packed up early. We decided that the French could not hold on much longer to the wagon which was the objective.

I liked the rules so much that I am thinking of using them for Zulu rather than use Black Powder. I feel they should work with a few modifications which I have found on the Net.

This unit of Cavalry managed to make quite an impact but I was told that I threw their lives away frivolously.

The remainder of the Cavalry I massed on the other flank drawing away the French Cavalry.

The Wagon was about to be taken away by the Russian Light Infantry but was hotly contested by the French who won it back.

The Russian Infantry about to replace the Light Infantry after wiping out most of the French in front of them.

My Cavalry waiting to charge across the river but being hit by the French artillery.

One unit distracting the French Cavalry.

My remaining right Flank Cavalry unit.

This Pegasus Church really impressed me. I think it was being used in the 40k tournament.
I only bought a single box of Warlord Unmarried Zulus but sold NZ$270 worth of old models and buildings at the event. Over the next couple of days I ordered Sharp Pratice2 with the cards. Through the Mud and the Blood as I need rules for my WW1 project (unpainted). Upgraded my Bolt Action Rule book with a set of Plastic Japanese Infantry, plus ordered another box of Umarried Zulus and a sprue of the British Infantry to make sure I got free shipping.

Von Peter himself has posted a much more detailed report of this game with more photos here.

Sunday, 7 August 2016

Good Night Vietnam and Hello Zombies.

Well I decided that it was time to put away my Vietnam setup. It has been on my table for over a year which has given me quite a bit of fun. I feel that I need to paint another couple of Platoons of Infantry for each side to do the scenarios I have in mind. I am currently working on some guntrucks and will return to paint the Infantry when I can fit them into my schedule.

The last gaming session the VC had managed to break into the Firebase and caused quite a bit of damage to the Mortar pits, buildings and caused about 30% casualties to the US before slipping away into the night. Unfortunately I took the photos after I had taken the VC off the table. They had almost gotten to the HQ tent and driven the US forces back to the middle of the base.

After I put my Vietnam terrain away I found all my modern buildings and other bits and pieces for a Zombie setup. I was not sure what rules I am going to use but tried my Bolt Action mods with some friends which did not work as satisfactory as I had hoped. I am currently working on some SWAT figures and a bit of terrain for this.