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The Sword and the Flame... (For real this time!)
For the club's first, and experimental, Saturday game it was decided to go back to basics. So the constant clamor for a recreation of Rorke's Drift, Colonel Winky owns 'all the Zulus in the world,' was finally addressed. And since the imperialists already start at the center of the table, it would be physically impossible for a repeat of the club's traditional colonial scenarios affectionately known as "Six Inches Onto The Table, Then Stopped, Then Defeated."

On to the game! In the sweltering heat, it was almost 100 degrees in LA, the Zulu impis prepare to attack from two sides at once. The traditional dirigible shot at right displays; 2 impis at top left, 4 impis at bottom right, and 1 impi 'maneuvering' at the top of the photo. This single impi spent most of the battle shuttling back and forth to tie down the squad of imperial infantry up at that corner of the kraal. There are several more impis hidden just off table, with their actual location indicated on the typically shoddy map made by gamers for just this purpose. Also, there is a full impi of rifle armed Zulus up on the hill just off table firing into the kraal each turn.

Above, the 24th foot stands firm behind a decorative Christmas vignette sort of wall that is standing in for the more accurate barricade of mealie bags. The imperial players are supremely confidant because they remember that the TSATF rules require the Zulus to spend 3 turns climbing over the wall, and then defenders enjoy a +2 combat bonus when defending such an obstacle.

Above right, it starts to look a little ominous. In the far distance can be seen one impi, two more impis are crowded together at the right of the photo, another impi takes center stage, and a fifth impi is just crossing into the photo at the bottom left. Good thing that British marksmanship will inflict heavy casualties before the natives reach the wall. After which that +2 combat bonus will surly come in handy.

Right, shortly after a series of unpleasant surprises for the imperialists. The Zulu charge is conducted in a two step process. First, a jog into dead ground just in front of the barricade... So no distant shooting there. Then a quick rush from the concealment of the gully and up onto the wall itself. So much less time for distant shooting. Lieutenant Chard and Color Sergeant Borne rush up to encourage the other ranks, but the officer is struck with a spear, and retires to safety to have his wounds dressed. The Color Sergeant stands firm with the rest of the PBI, only to discover that the current version of the rules doesn't provide for a +2 combat bonus..... Only a +1, equal to charging Zulus. Things do not look encouraging.

At left, Surgeon Reynolds provides medical assistance to lieutenant Chard while the missionary (ably played by Professor Moriarty from the London game) looks on in distress.

Above, a close up of the inside of the north wall after the Zulu's second attempt to storm the kraal. Chard is in hospital. Color Sergeant Borne is wounded, as is everyone else apparently. Things are looking pretty dicey. Surely they couldn't get any worse.

Above center, everything else is purely decorative. The red and orange dice on the shelf indicate that the game is currently at turn 0-4 of a 2-0 turn game.

Above right, hmm... Looks like that lonely private from the top left photo really is all alone at the wall, and some of the Zulus are about to jump down into the kraal. Surely it can't get any worse?

Right, outside of the kraal at the same time as the previous photo described. It IS worse. One Zulu impi has recoiled, but is busily passing its morale test, two more impis are cresting the wall, and - just for good measure - three more hidden impis have suddenly appeared on that side of the table. Surly it can't get any worse?

Yes, it can get worse. So let's take this opportunity to turn away from the impending unpleasantness and view some figures from the club's Mexican Revolution game, shall we?

Top left, Felix Sommerfield a non-player-character based north of the border who specializes in the importation of 'farm equipment' to various political factions in revolutionary Mexico. Mr. Sommerfield was an actual historical character, and players in the Wild West Campaign should seriously consider availing themselves of his facilities.

Top center, Shorty Legges - in his plaid shirt - is an actual player character... Painted in oils! Just look at that brush work. Anything to keep the mind off Rorke's Drift.

Top right, Kurt Janke the Imperial German government's cultural attaché in Guaymas. A bitter, wizened non-player-character engaged in demonstrating the advantages of Wagnerian opera to Yaqui Indian farm labor on Mexico's west coast.

Bottom, two dismounted Villistas converted from Old Glory Boers. The figures were painted using darker skin tones, and clothing colors based in tans and browns instead of blacks and greys more frequent for Boers. Close to half of the bag of 30 figures were suitable for immediate painting, and around 6 figures benefited from a change of hat. Only around 10 figures had Boer style beards that were so large and bushy that the heads needed to be removed to complete a conversion to believable Villista.

But now back to the game. Sigh!

Shorty Legges
Felix Sommerfield
Kurt Janke
Two Dismounted Villistas - Converted from OG Boer infantry

The reader will no doubt remember just how poorly things were going for the imperial infantry on the other side of the compound. Well things were completely different on this side of the defense works.... At first.

At right, a Zulu impi swarms up against the left hand side of the barricades. Some casualty markers can be seen at the right, and a second impi has failed is morale test just out of frame to the far right.

After heavy casualties on both sides the Zulu impi breaks and flees. Many gaps can be seen in the British line, a ham fisted player (your honorable correspondent) has knocked over some of the sand bags, and many more of the exciting Zulu casualty markers are now in evidence.

Just below, a wider shot of the aftermath. Casualty markers and loose sandbags are strewn about with reckless abandon. At this point the British players were starting to feel a bit optimistic. They were doing well here, and all the Zulus in the world had yet to surge over the walls on the other side of the defense works. However, there were still several more Zulu assaults yet to come. At least I think it was several. It could have been twelve or thirteen. Your humble correspondent began to stop paying attention as he lost hope in the outcome.

Bottom right, the final Zulu assault on the ramparts where things were going 'well.' The two British survivors can be seen fleeing back towards the supply wagon ant the dubious protection of Surgeon Reynolds and the DeWitts. Margareta DeWitt's yellow dress can just be made out around the building at right. Please note, the pistol waving Britisher at the far right is definitely NOT outside the defense perimeter. He represents a figure leaning out the window of a solid resin building.

Well, there you have it. The revisionist Rorke's Drift. And we couldn't even blame it on bad dice. The new guy, 'Eduardo the Mysterious, had some spectacular dice rolls. And yet the Zulus were triumphant, the garrison massacred, and probably very few Victoria Crosses awarded to the unfortunate losers.

Game: 07/17/04 Home View Club Games Galleries Painting Tips Terrain Tips Research Books Links Looking Trading Bisbee Review Campaigns
May-08 Jan-08 Aug-07 Jul-07 Jun-07 May-07 Mar-07 Feb-07 Jan-07 Jun-06 May-06 Jul-04 Jun-04 May-04 Feb-04
The Bengal Club