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Author Topic: CapnJim's Colonial Stuff: Anglo-Zulu War Battle report finished 18 Aug 2022  (Read 1938 times)

Online CapnJim

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I'd love to.  But me brother may be coming up for a visit just then.  We don't have his visit finalized yet.  When's the deadline to register a game?
"Remember - Incoming Fire Has the Right-of-Way"

Offline BaronVonJ

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Usually tou can go up until a week before. Nothing listed on the website gor cutoff. I know the organizers so shouldn’t be a problem.

Online CapnJim

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Roger that.  Thanks, Jaye.

BTW, 2nd game played of Bender's Drift this Saturday past.  I plan to post the AAR any day now.... 8) 

Online CapnJim

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Major Dunnit rode at the head of the relief column, commanding his Squadron of Dragoons.  As they rode up the trail that paralleled the Buffalo River, they came over a low rise.  He rose his hand, signaling his men to halt.  He did not like what he saw.  "Sergeant!" he barked.  "Sir", Sergeant Hornswoggle replied.  The Major:  "Go fetch me the Colonel.  Snap to it, man!".  And the Sergeant rode off, in search of the Colonel.

The Major looked at his bugler.  "Form line" he said.  And the bugle sounded.  And his men formed line, as the Major had ordered.

The Major looked up the valley, through his spyglass.  He could see Benders Drift, several hundred yards ahead.  He and his men could hear firing as they approached the rise on which they were, but that fire was slackening.  He could see one of the Troops that he had sent forward off to his forward left, reduced to a dozen men or so.  And he could see men on the roof of the Drift's station building, but there weren't very many.  He could see clumps of red and blue lying on the ground near the Drift.
 And there were dozens of Zulus surrounding the building, trying to get up on the roof.  And hundreds more littered the ground all around the Drift.  But he could see the other Troop he had sent forward, just left of and beyond the station building, preparing to charge into the mass of Zulus on the far side of the building.

Just then the Colonel rode up.  "What is it, Dunnit?".  "Look for yourself, Sir".  the Colonel looked through the glass and gulped.  "Go on in, major.  Give what's left of those lads a hand".  "Sir!", Dunnit replied.  He turned his horse, and rode to the front of his men, all formed up into line.  "Draw sabers!" he shouted, followed by the sound of a couple hundred sabers being unsheathed.  "Forward at the trot!" "March!"  And the bugle sounded.  And the line, khaki-clad men on big horses, sabers at the shoulder, moved out.  These men, their blood up, meant business.

The Zulus must have heard and seen them.  For it no time, they balked, and melted away over the ridges and up the valley, leaving what was left of the British to their own devices. 

As the Major's squadron passed them, the lone troop fell in with them, their blood up as well.  And his other detached Troop rode out from the other side of the Drift, with less men than when they left. 

And they approached the building, a British Officer hailed them from the roof of the building "You could have bloody well come a bit sooner, eh?  A few more minutes, and you'd likely be diggin' our bloody graves.  The buggers just about had us".  Just then, a dozen or so Highlanders and a blood- and sweat-stained apron-clad man come from around the left of the building.  therer were a few green-jacketed troops up on the roof with him.

The Colonel rode up.  The Officer on the roof climbed down, saluted, and said "Major Blatherin, 13th Foot, at your service, Sir!  It seems we've kept this drift in the Queen's possession.  By the skin of our bloody teeth it looks like, I should say."

"Major Dunnit, have these lads looked after.  Report, Major Blatherin".  "Sir."  And he began his report....


The Major will give his report tomorrow....Higher HQ has summoned me...

« Last Edit: August 17, 2022, 01:16:07 AM by CapnJim »

Online CapnJim

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Major Blatherin went on: "As you I'm sure are aware, Sir, I was asked to see that this Drift remained available for our use.  To do that, I had a company of my own lads, 2 companies of the 91st, a company of Her Majesty's Marines, a Company from the 60th that I split into 2 detachments, and a Gatling Gun section.  The Colonel also saw to it had a Surgeon was posted here.  To good end, I might add.  I fully intend to mention him in my dispatches.  That man and his orderlies did yeoman's work here today."

"I set up an all-around defense."  As the Major pointed to each position as he described it, "My lads and a company of the 91st facing west.  The Marines facing south, and the other company of Scots facing east.  One Detachment of the 60th just north of the River, and the other up on the roof there.  I placed the gun section in the center, so they could react as i thought necessary.  'Twas a good thing I did, too, as the buggers came from all sides.  We could hear that bloody chanting before we saw them.  A large group came down the valley from the west, while 2 smaller groups came at us from the northeast and southeast.  The lads put our Martini-Henry's to good use, but there were hundreds of them.  And they kept coming."

"The southeast group hit us first, going after a company of the 91st.  Those chaps held on at first, but the Zulus kept at them, and wore them down.  I had the Marines move to take their place facing east, and I recalled the detachment of the 60th I had posted north of the drift, and had them join their brothers on the roof."

"Then that big group coming from the west hit my lads from the 13th.  Those poor chaps didn't stand a chance - there were just too many of the buggers.  But I must say, my lads gave as good as they got.  And the other company of the 91st and the Gatlings saw to it those Zulus were sent on their bloody way"

"We killed the buggers by the bunches.  But the lads don't like it up 'em, I must say.  But we didn't see any more of them coming, and what was left of them fell back after a while.  Then it got quiet.  Too quiet, to my way of thinking"

The Colonel had gotten down from his horse.  He told Major Blatherin "Take a break, Major.  You may continue in a moment.  Here have a dram", and he handed the Major his flask.  The Major took a long swig.  Maybe too long, but the Colonel didn't say anything.  The Major took a second swig, wiped his mouth with his dusty sleeve, and handed the flask back to the Colonel.  "Thanks you, Sir.  That's some lovely Scotch.  You have no idea how good that tasted..."  After a moment, the Colonel asked the Major to continue... 


The Major will finish his report to the Colonel tomorrow...you may rest assured this battle was by no means over...

Online CapnJim

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...and the Major did indeed continue.  "It was a fair bit before the buggers came back, Sir.  Between the Surgeon and what officers and sergeants were left, they got some of the lads back on their feet.  Good enough, anyway.  I set the lads up again.  My lads and some of the Scots, along with the guns facing west.  The rest of the chaps from the 91st facing south, and the Marines facing east.  I posted all the lads from the 6oth up on that roof" he said, pointing to the building.   

"I thought perhaps they would press in on us from the west, as they did the first time.  I was wrong.  When they returned, a large group came up the valley from the east, with smaller groups from the north, south, and west.  Hundreds more, I should think.  I instructed the men to mark their targets.  Make every shot count, I told them.  And they did, but there were so many of them."

"They hit us from all sides.  The lads fought well, but they got through the Marines and my lads, and wore down the chaps from the 91st.  They overran the guns, and even managed to get up on the roof, where I had posted myself by then.  We ran them off the roof, but the 60th paid dearly for it.  But so did they, Sir, as you can see."  the Colonel could indeed see that the drift was surrounded by hundreds of dead and wounded Zulus.  "The Dragoons you sent forward ahead of your column did help us, Sir, but I feared it was too little too late" 

"And we were nearly out of ammunition.  The Surgeon and maybe a dozen lads from the 91st had their backs to the wall of that building, and it was just me, Colour Sergeant Murphy, my batman and a handful of lads from the 60th on the roof.  One more push from them, and I don't think we could have held them off.  It rather looked they were indeed ready to do just that when we heard that Major's bugle, and saw his men riding to our rescue.  I tell you, Colonel, I've not seen a prettier picture that those Dragoons riding up the valley, and those bloody buggers scattering away before them.  I rather thought our time was up"

"Thank you Major" the Colonel said.  "You've done splendid service here today.  Go see to your men.  It seems the Surgeon's work today isn't quite finished yet."  "Right, Sir" the Major replied.  He then saluted, turned around and walked off to see about his men.   


And it was indeed over. 

Ted (a fellow LAF member) and Gene played the Zulus, while another fellow LAF member Mike Demana and I played the British.  As with the first game, the Zulus had 12 turns to take Benders Drift (named after Ted, one of the our players in both games).  At that time, the relief column would appear and the game would be over.  Unlike the first game, once the Zulus deployed their 8 initial units (entry points rolled randomly), they received a total of ZERO reinforcement units for the first 6 turns.  So, at the end of Turn 6, we took a lunch break.  We rolled randomly for the British casualties (a medium task roll for each "Out of Action" figure), and a pleasantly surprising number of them got back in the fight.  And the Zulus took all 8 reinforcement units, and rolled randomly for entry points again.  And, one of their initial units was still reasonably strong, and they had just fallen back on the table.  So the 2nd Zulu wave was 9 units.  On an interesting note, the Joker, used in same way as the first game (and all of our FfoL games now), only got played twice the whole game.

If we had a 13th turn, we all believe the Zulus would have taken the joint.  And instead of a heroic British stand right up there with Rorke's Drift, we would be reading about another British catastrophe...but the relief column showed up, literally, in the barest nick or time.

It was indeed another fun and enjoyable game using Fist of Lead: Bigger Battles.  Once again, it was British firepower pitted against Zulu close-in power.  And it was a very near run thing.

 
« Last Edit: August 18, 2022, 09:45:32 PM by CapnJim »

Offline mikedemana

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Great report, Jim! It was my first-ever game of FFOL: Bigger Battles. I was very impressed with how they scale up. I have seen other rules sets fail that test and seem to be the same game with more dice rolling. I think what I liked best about the big battle game is that the "Shock" mechanic, which is more of an afterthought and doesn't have much effect in man-to-man FFOL, is a major mechanic in Bigger Battles. And it works really well, giving a running gauge on the morale of the unit in question and forcing units to rally and take a breather. Like I said, I was impressed and encourage folks to give it a try!

I had a blast spending the weekend with Jim, Ted, and Gene. Jim's gaming palace is a really cool location and honestly is likely the dream of every miniature gamer who wants his own building to house all his gaming stuff. I had a blast. And what's more, a beerfest was in town (village?), and Jim and I retired to that after the Colonial game Saturday to celebrate our hard-won victory with some local brews.

A wonderful weekend, and thanks for the invite, Jim!

Mike Demana

Offline swordman

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great game! :)

Online CapnJim

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Thanks, fellas!

And glad you enjoyed your trip north, Mike, as well as enjoying FfoL:BB!

Offline Grumpy Gnome

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Looks and sounds great !
Home of the Grumpy Gnome

https://thegrumpygnome.home.blog/

Offline FifteensAway

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If you will permit an interloper to ask some questions, it seems you are using 10 man units for the British and 18 figure units for the Zulus based on the photos - though less certain about the Zulus.

Basic question is how many units did you have all told in the game versus number of players?  Also, how many units do you feel a player can handle in a game before the game would bog down too much?  How much difference did it make having British individual based versus Zulus multiple figures per base?  Last, how many units - overall - do you feel might 'break' the rules?

I ask as I contemplate using the rules for a game at a local club meeting soon.  I've played the basic FFOL a few times but never run them - and want to use FFOL Bigger Battles for my game to get more figures - and units - into the action.  Appreciate feedback from all the participants.  And thanks in advance.

Cool game.

Offline BaronVonJ

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Quote
Basic question is how many units did you have all told in the game versus number of players?  Also, how many units do you feel a player can handle in a game before the game would bog down too much?  How much difference did it make having British individual based versus Zulus multiple figures per base?  Last, how many units - overall - do you feel might 'break' the rules?
I'll let Jim answer the hows and why's of number of troops per unit. There are suggestions in the rules but as we had to cover a wide swathe of history we leave it to players to decide on numbers as Jim did.
The reason almost all the FfoL rules suggest 5-8 minis a player is because over the years I've come realize thats about all most players can mentally handle. So in BB it's 3-4 units plus a hero and commander. But this can be switched around to any combination. Doesn't mean you can't do more, but there's a reason most games, any games give players more than 8 units.
The rules can only handle 52 units or miniatures because that's how many cards are in a card deck.If you follow us on an social media (YouTube/blogs) my group regularly runs Bigger Battle games with 8 players, maxxing out the deck with 50 units on the table. Games rarely go over 3- 4 hours.

Online CapnJim

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Okay.  Sorry about the delay on responding.  Higher HQ and I are mucking about in n Portugal...

In this game, the British had 4 10-figure units, 2 5-figure units, a Leader (the Major), and a medic (the Surgeon).  We split them between 2 players.

The Zulus had a total of 16 units ( either 15 or 18 figures per unit) and 4 leaders.  They ended up being split between 2 waves.  We had 2 Zulu players.

The basing system is simply because it's what we had.  We used microdie to mark casualties on the Zulu stands. Each 3rd casualty saw a base removed.  The Zulus needed the larger units, as British rifle fire could really whittle them down before they charged home.

Hope that helps...

We have found that the number of units a player can handle depends on the FfoL experience of the player.  A max of 3 or 5 for inexperienced players and a max of 7-8 for experienced players.  4 players per game seems to work best.

More than that can slow the game just a bit, and markers to denote which units have activated each turn are helpful

Offline FifteensAway

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Thanks to both for the replies - and no worries on the later reply, real life matters more (sometimes!) than gaming and Portugal seems like some nice time away (wife and I may be doing a big 25th anniversary vacation in western Europe in 2024, maybe 21 days, one big expensive vacation instead of 3-4 smaller but also expensive vacations).

Interesting take on 4 players versus 8 players.  But I'd lean towards the smaller number - the system is good but the U-Go,EEW (everyone else waits) system can grate a bit at times if the other players aren't engaged and kibitzing or otherwise harassing/humorizing the table (one of the problems with Sword and the Flame, too, U-Go/EEW).  Not a problem with the right sort of gamers who appreciate the goal is having fun, not taking it serious, and actively engaged in the game even when not their turn to move figures/units.

Offline BaronVonJ

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I don't have much choice in the matter. 8-10 players show up every Thursday.

 

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