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Author Topic: Colonial Skirmish Recommendations?  (Read 2080 times)

Offline Argonor

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Colonial Skirmish Recommendations?
« on: October 29, 2015, 04:07:45 AM »
Gentlemen!

Tell me about your favourite ruleset for skirmishing in the Colonial period, please!

Pros and cons, figure counts, turn/activation sequence, random generator, etc.

I am going to (at least according to plan) paint some Zulus in between my Old West stuff, and I look for rules to cover everything from hunting expeditions being attacked by natives, over mounted patrols into enemy territory, to regular outpost fighting (and I realize that I may not be able to find one scalable set to cover everything).

I prefer a ratio of one mini = one person.
Ask at the LAF, and answer shall thy be given!


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Offline Pijlie

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Re: Colonial Skirmish Recommendations?
« Reply #1 on: October 29, 2015, 05:00:29 AM »
I wish I were a glowworm
'cause glowworms 're never glum
How can you be grumpy
When the sun shines out yer bum?

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Offline Captain Blood

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Re: Colonial Skirmish Recommendations?
« Reply #2 on: October 29, 2015, 07:57:16 AM »
I've played in several nice colonial games using Triumph and Tragedy  :)

Other than that, if I'm running a game, I use my own 'Up The Khyber' rules. Not very sophisticated, but quick and easy.

Strangely, I've has TSATF for about 25 years. But never been able to get to grips with it. Can't even remember why now, it's been so long since I last tried it. But for some reason it just didn't do it for me, despite being the daddy of all colonial era rule sets...

Offline Malamute

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Re: Colonial Skirmish Recommendations?
« Reply #3 on: October 29, 2015, 09:04:33 AM »

Strangely, I've has TSATF for about 25 years. But never been able to get to grips with it. Can't even remember why now, it's been so long since I last tried it. But for some reason it just didn't do it for me, despite being the daddy of all colonial era rule sets...

Yep me too, bough it back in the day and never played it.  ::)

How soon do you want the rules as Studio Tomahawk are bringing out a new set called Congo, featured elsewhere on this board.

And a second vote from me for Triumph and Tragedy :)
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Offline axabrax

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Re: Colonial Skirmish Recommendations?
« Reply #4 on: October 29, 2015, 03:09:39 PM »
+1 For Triumph and Tragedy. Good game for true small skirmish but they also scale up nicely.

There's also a new Osprey set coming out next year called  The Men Who Would be Kings by Dan Mersey that look very promising (although these are marketed as "big" skirmish):

http://merseybooks.blogspot.com/2015/02/the-men-who-would-be-kings-my-colonial.html


Chris Peers In the Heart of Africa rules are a very fun set,  although the rules are a bit rusty by modern standards and very much geared toward Africa.  They are skirmish rules,  but you are still looking at 60 to 80 figures per side.

And speaking of figure count, I think my problem with both the Sword and the Flame and Battles for Empire is that they come from a time when "skirmish" meant like 60 or so figures for the Imperialist player and at least 120 or so for the indigenous player.  Sure, in real life that would be a small skirmish,  but from a game in perspective it's a lot of freaking figures.  When I think of skirmish now, I think of less than 50-60 figures per side at the most. Given the 1:4 or 1:8 ratio suggested for regulars vs irregulars in this game that means you could do say 10 irregulars vs 40 irregulars,  but the rules are written for maneuvering with a lot of units, so it would get boring very quickly.

Really excited about the Studio Tomahawk Congo game, but they seem really quiet about them.

~ Steve

Offline Arundel

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Re: Colonial Skirmish Recommendations?
« Reply #5 on: October 29, 2015, 04:58:13 PM »
Axabrax makes an excellent point in that it partly depends what you consider a skirmish. If you are thinking of using just a handful of figures you will want one sort of rules, if you are envisioning dozens another will suit you better. The Sword and the Flame is definitely the second sort: though you can have a cracking game with only a single European unit (=20 figs) against three native (60 figures), most players seem to lean to a minimum of two British/French units, with perhaps a field gun, against 6-7 native units--and it's true, then you are talking about a relatively large number of figures. The problem many TSATF games actually deal with is with zealous player fielding larger forces than the writer ever intended to be handled by the rules, and so things can break down a little. It should be remembered that TSATF works perfectly well with 10 figure units--just halve straggler counts and no other changes need be made.

The answers above also reflect an interesting phenomena in the colonial gaming scene. In the States TSATF is overwhelmingly the first choice in the era and has been for thirty some years now, while British players have proved strangely (to me, at least) allergic to the set from the beginning. I have to say it's always left me scratching the head a little--the rules are so fun and are such an enthusiastic introduction to a colourful period--but it is obviously just one of those "variety is the spice of life" moments that we see in every other area of daily living--and is why we don't all like the same food, clothes, music, women, etc. (thank God!), though in this case the taste seems to follow national lines.

As to other choices, the Chris Peers lead is a good one. He always wrote tight, well-researched sets that were fun to play. Another might be Sharp Practice (http://toofatlardies.co.uk/index.php?main_page=product_info&products_id=18&zenid=edb64efdacf2d036748a003f78019755 ), which is actually made for an earlier era, but a number of players have used it for later conflicts successfully. A final thought would be to look at Patrols in the Sudan (http://www.peterpig.co.uk/infopits.html ) by Peter Pig, which has an extremely clever method of reproducing the vagaries of terrain and elusive foes in a hostile land; an excellent rules set in every way.

The trouble might be that all these require a good number of figures (about a hundred natives), so if you are looking for smaller actions, you'll want to look elsewhere. Good luck with your search!
« Last Edit: October 29, 2015, 05:03:23 PM by Arundel »

Offline matakishi

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Re: Colonial Skirmish Recommendations?
« Reply #6 on: October 29, 2015, 05:20:50 PM »
The Horns of the Bull will cover any scale of encounter you wish. Since a 'unit' is a stand of miniatures there is no reason why it can't be a single miniature. a Zulu iMpi is 2 stands so you'll need 2 Zulus per iMpi 'unit'. So long as you have about 8 British and 22-30 Zulus you're good to go.

http://www.matakishi.com/apps/webstore/products/show/6348481

Offline Argonor

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Re: Colonial Skirmish Recommendations?
« Reply #7 on: October 29, 2015, 11:23:10 PM »
Thanks, Guys!

I shall have to scratch my head a bit more, and maybe get some of the rules to read them to decide how to tackle this-

The Warlord plastic Zulus are due December, so I'll probably not get any minis on the table until January at the earliest, so I have plenty time.

I may even use SoBaH for the first small encounters (very easy to mock up some profiles for), and/or one of the THW rulesets aimed for the Victorian period.

 

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