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June 23, 2018, 07:01:12 PM

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Author Topic: Action Report: Peril Beneath the Desert! CONGO Tomb-raiding in the Sudan  (Read 499 times)

Offline Featherstone

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    • Hollywood Games Co.
Belgians and Mahdists clash in the hallowed halls of a long-dead Pharaoh! Lost Medallion to be found within...

What follows is an account of our game at Pensacon 2018 (Pensacola, FL, USA), using the splendid CONGO rules system in our recently completed Egyptian Tombs.

From the Atlantic Courier, 21 April, 1900: “Our sister publication in France, Le Bulletin de la Society Geographique, continues to relay information to us on the pursuit of what may be the greatest archaeological find this decade – locals refer to it as the Tomb of the Nameless One! – uncovered by a fierce sandstorm which swept through the upper Nile River last month. Whispers speak of a long-cursed Pharaoh and his powerful medallion locked within…

“A contingent of the Belgian Army only too late to rescue the unfortunate Major-General Gordon at his recent demise in Khartoum, now seeks the uncovered tomb in a lust for gold and glory. Doubtless they are pursued by the forces of the Mahdi, a local insurrectionist responsible for the death of Gordon, eager to trample upon yet another European nation’s colors.”

The two factions reach the tomb at the same time from different routes, and enter its dark corridors unaware of the others’ presence…

Our four commanders from left: A Mr. Colin, our very own T. himself, and Sirs Jamie and Mathias, each in control of their own half-columns, scheme over the opening actions.

Meanwhile, the Mahdist forces storm the entrances with spears in hand. The Imam’s group pushes down the long corridor at top left above, while the Brute advances from the right.

The Belgian scouts seem to possess an uncanny knack for the task of avoiding the many traps and pitfalls of the tombs, and so they lead the way; here they stop just before a suspicious line in the tiles.

The Retired Officer steps down into the torchlit Well Room, perhaps a bit too confident for his old grey beard. Of course he sends the natives first, just to be safe.

By command, the Young Warriors press forward into the dark, despite their fears that another enemy may be just around the corner. As we can see, they are correct – The Mahdist Ansar Skirmishers also head for the Archive Room.

Far from the echoing Belgian boots, the Imam’s men encounter no danger on their way to the northern treasure rooms – the Hall of Luxury to the left, and the Hall of Harvest to the right.

Strangely enough, the scouts can say the same, as they round the corner into the Hall of Conquest. The Explorer is a bit more cautious, having heard tales of the perils within, and lingers back with the Askaris.

The Retired Officer orders an advance toward the sound of footsteps, but his men hesitate. With a growl he pushes a man forward and follows himself – only to trigger a minor cave in! The unfortunate leading blue-coat has met his end in the rubble, and the rest turn to follow the natives.

The last group of the Brute’s force enters… and triggers Bolt Launchers in the walls! At least no one was injured this time.

The natives have made first contact with the enemy! The Ansar Skirmishers take heavy losses in pushing them from the northern doorway, and pursue with the Beja Warriors in support… or so they thought. The Beja trigger an unseen trap and panic!

While the two center groups bristle with first melee combat, the forces on the north and south corridors enter the treasure rooms and begin searching for the Lost Medallion. The Mahdists to the north are first to it, finding trinkets… and bugs!

The Explorer chooses to search the Hall of Conquest, in the hopes procuring a few articles of antiquity to be sold under-table at a later date. Weapons from every major empire of the dead Pharaoh’s era line the walls, dominated by his own greater Egypt.

Rifles echo down the corridors! The natives turn from combat and sprint deeper into the tombs, but the Soldiers have arrived and send off a volley in defense. The Skirmishers don’t stand a chance, and the Beja still cower in the northern corridor.

The Mahdists to the north are too enamored by the ancient wealth piled around them to think about reinforcing their brethren to the south-east.

The Adventurers (minus one man lost to a grave-robber’s trap) pass the white bones of an earlier visitor to the tombs, on their way into the Hall of Plagues.

One lowly Young Warrior sticks his hand into the pool to draw up drink… and finds the Lost Medallion discarded in the water! At once, the whole group now possesses the knowledge of the Pharaoh (though what that means, they aren’t sure)! Every trap now known, they bolt south towards their allies in the Explorer’s party. Mahdists hear the commotion and pursue…

And the Brute’s Bejas have rallied, charging wildly at the Soldiers and Askari still standing after the Ansar’s attacks. The Officer faces them down with a firm jaw and his Webley revolver.

The Warriors in possession of the Medallion enter the Hall of Plagues from the north, while their brethren rush to meet them in the south. One man holds the medallion up proudly, and word spreads: it has been found.

The Soldiers too are repulsed! Taken aback at the ferocity of the Beja and much too close for their rifles to be effective, they form up around their beloved commander ready to face their imminent doom.

The two bands of warriors meet… and for a brief moment, halt opposite one another.

Treachery! The Explorer’s warriors charge forward in a blind grab for the Medallion! They are battered back by the Medallion-holders; but just then, the Ansars from the Imam’s group burst through behind!

The Imam’s Beja Warriors are practically jumping walls to get into combat!

The draw of knowledge and power is too much! The Explorer’s warriors draw blood on their surrounded once-allies, and take the medallion (at bottom) for themselves.

The surrounded Warriors beat off the Ansars but are too bruised to pursue the turncoats now fleeing with the Medallion. The Adventurers guard the exit to the south, while to the north, the Beja have crossed the pool room and make for the dying sounds of combat.

The Explorer, too busy ransacking the Hall of Conquest to assist in the combat, now packs up his loot and orders his column to make for the light of day and escape.

With the last of the valiant Soldiers dead at his feet, the Officer makes his tragic last stand against the Beja – a fitting and honorable death in battle.

The treacherous warriors, knowing only the lust of gold satiated, charge out victorious… and cursed ’til their deaths with the Pharaoh’s madness.

The ominous conclusion to an excellent show-run of the custom scenario “Peril Beneath the Desert!”: the Explorer’s Belgians (under Sir Mathias) run off with the Medallion, leaving their decimated allies to the rushing hordes of Mahdists, and perhaps incurring the wrath of ancient terrors in the process. We thoroughly enjoyed both the chance to game CONGO again, and the smoothness with which it ran even in such dry, sandy locales.

Thanks for reading! See more, including a showcase of the tomb itself, on our blog: Hollywood Games Co.

Offline Plynkes

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I am envious of your Egyptian tomb complex!

Would not have thought of using Congo for a dungeon-crawl type of affair. I take it the rules were up to the challenge?

Something always told me they were reading Tommy wrong...

Offline VSF Gamer

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That is one great AAR and one awesome looking game! Well done!

Offline Featherstone

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    • Hollywood Games Co.
Thanks to both of you!

I am envious of your Egyptian tomb complex!

Would not have thought of using Congo for a dungeon-crawl type of affair. I take it the rules were up to the challenge?

Yes, CONGO served our purposes nicely. It may be a bit shy on narrative, but it's "hollywood" enough to include things like oversized cobras and boobie-traps, and simple enough that with a few omissions for ease our new wargamers (!!!) caught on fairly quickly. Pacing was good and the mechanics, as they say, disappeared behind the action.

We did add a few things: a tomb-themed Dangerous Terrain chart (applied to all corridors), a list of set results for searchable objects in the rooms (accessed by a "search"/move action), and a Mahdist faction with points-calculated new group/character types. More like a dungeon-sprint, really, after all that.

Offline Hu Rhu

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That tomb complex is fantastic.   :-* :-* :-*

Offline Mad Guru

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Awesome AAR and awesome terrain and figures!!!

The "Hall of Conquest" is one of the coolest wargame interiors I've seen!
"We shall see what wisdom lies beneath my madness!"

Online Admiral Benbow

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Fantastic!  :-*

Offline Featherstone

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    • Hollywood Games Co.
Thanks all for the very encouraging words!