Thursday, 30 October 2014

Battles for Empire - part deux

I'm not sure whether I'm going to be able to get this battle finished before the weekend, largely because I'll need to clear the hut for an RPG games day on Sunday. Hence, the engagement has a real time limit which may or may not see it played to its conclusion. We're at a point now where there is likely to be a clash between the two sides, and casualties will be taken.

Turn 3

Colonial scouts cross the donga
This time the Zulus won initiative, giving them an effective double move. Reinforcement roll saw them get another two units which advanced on from the chest division. They still have only two commanders on the field. The Zulu induna commanding the left horn decides to detach one unit from his formation and send it in the direction of the kraal.

The British continue towards the donga. The Colonial Volunteers stop at the donga, rather than face being in it when they contact the Zulus, who are now obvious to their front. The British commander decided to keep the column moving, and gets his dragoons over the donga in short order. Overall, the British remain confident about the whole situation.



Turn 4

No reinforcements for the Zulus this turn.

Initiative back to the British, and their dragoons detach from the column and canter independently towards the kraal. Company A from the column now struggles over the donga, picking up disordered status on the way. The British colonel keeps pushing his men, but detaches his native infantry who, with their commander, move to support the rifle skirmishers. He is worried about the two units of Zulus massing to their front. The rifle skirmishers shoot at the Zulus to their front, but only succeed in giving them a disruption marker (i.e. few enemy hit). Luckily for the Zulus, they are not rated as Boers.

Two waves of Zulus at the end of turn 2.

Now the Zulu left horn enters the donga, getting disrupted again in the process. The rest of the army is moving through the maize field behind them.


It may well be that this battle does not progress any further, hence I will include some initial impressions here. This game is really being played as a walk through, and I have to say I do like the mechanics. It has to measure up against The Sword & The Flame, which I have decided is a good set of rules for smaller battles, but no good once you have more than, say, 40 imperial troops on the board, effectively a company of imperial forces in that game. Go beyond this, and it begins to get clunky, or you have to play 800 Fighting Englishmen, the bigger battle variant, which we may be trialing on this blog in the future.

Battles For Empire feels like it can manage larger engagements, and has been written to play out the battles specifically of the mid-colonial period (i.e. between the general issue of breech-loading rifles to imperial troops and the adoption of non-linear tactics during the Boer War). At the time of writing I have not touched on the melee rules, nor has there been much shooting. I expect I will play test further in the future, possibly using a historical scenario this time!

Zulus including third wave from chest, kraal in the distance

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