Friday, 30 September 2016

Zulu Wars - A Fighting Retreat

Hi Folks

Monday night saw the shed feature the first game using my Zulu Wars figures that I had painted over the last three months. Mark & I would take on the Zulus with Alastair & Charlie leading the British Allied forces.  We'd be joined later in the evening by John who would control the loins of the Zulus.

Starting a new period is always fun but to keep things simple I elected to use Black Powder rules which everybody is familiar with. The BP Zulu supplement suggested a couple of rule amendments - these being all the units get at least one move and the British closing fire can be used for every move the Zulus make towards the enemy in a charge.

Finally I reduced all the ranges and movements by 50% - the concept that infantry could treavel 3 foot in one very successful order just seemed so wrong.

From a battlefield perspective I did my best to create the South African Veldt - perhaps not as dusty as I might like but I think it worked.

Looks a bit like Africa??

Onto the engagement...

The British will enter the table from the top right. They must march, ride, or run to the bottom left. For every unit safely off the table they receive 1 point, for every unit not reaching the exit point they lose 1 point. The British had 11 units so this could not be a draw.

The British forces consisted of

3 companies of Line infantry
an artillery unit
a rocket unit
a heliograph team (had this been placed on the high ground all Zulu units would become visible from their entry point)
1 unit of small lancers
2 small units of Boers
1 unit of mounted Natal police
1 unit of native sikhali horse
1 unit of native infantry

Facing the Zulus were 13 Impis (of which two were beefed up Royal regiments - better HTH and stamina 4) and 6 zulu skirmish units

The battlefield - all troops would enter the side edges

In the first turn the Brits marched onto the board in the top right and quickly fanned out off the road to search for the menace ahead. They had no idea of what faced them.

As the British forces scouted forward they quickly discovered the left horn of the Zulu fighting force who were running straight forward...

Meanwhilst the right horn emerged from the bottom of the table and poured forwards towards the Colonial invaders.

Even though only the two had appeared several comments from the players suggested how frightening this must have been in real life.

Finally the head of the Buffalo formation appeared - a further three impis charging towards the guns. The British at this point elected to stand and fight, trusting that there breechloading rifles would keep the enemy at bay.

The Zulus prepared to attack...

The Natal police opened fire on the Zulu Right horn with little effect, they kept coming on.

The Left Horn was coming under withering fore across the Donga  - the Brits were holding them back.

Eventually the Zulus reached charge range...Usuthu !!!

With men of Harlech ringing in our ears the company of redcoats opened fore at 200, 100 and 10 pace range...blowing the impi away.

Meanwhilst the rocket battery was having a field day, pinning large numbers of Zulus with its automatic disorder hits. With the advancing Zulus so tightly packed errant rockets were finding targets.

By turn 5 the Zulus were becoming grounded unable to shake the stern British defence...

And then it changed...several charge orders across the front allowed the natives to pour forward

They quickly overrun the pretty useless gun battery ...

and began to assail the British lines...the British fearing a breakthrough threw the Sikhali horse into the lines to plug the gaps..

These brave horsemen were driven back and with fresh Zulus from the Loins pushing into ther fray the Zulus began to take the initiative. The middle company of redcoats was wiped out in successive attack from all sides

Followed soon by the boers ...

More Zulus were rallied and pushed forward...the numbers were beginning to tell...

Within a couple more turn the Zulus had eliminated six of the British units thereby guaranteeing a victory but at an enormous cost...

Great fun all round - looked visually fantastic and was quite a tight affair.

We will be trying the Men Who will be Kings next

Until next time....

If you enjoyed reading this you might be interested in our second Zulu War game using the Then Who Would be Kings ruleset


  1. A fine looking game! Really enjoyed reading the AAR and looking over the table, thanks!

  2. wow, just wow - a visual treat for us. those zulu hordes look fantastiv

  3. Superb looking game- rather envious in fact.



  4. Well met good sir! Beautiful. Fighting retreat is right ... lots of Zulu's hungry for blood there by the end! :-)

  5. Splendid Sir, splendid.

    Frightening IRL yes, and they look frightening on the table too:-)

  6. Big and impressive after all the efforts 😀 It's look fantastic.....i am sure you have thought about it but wouldn't it be nice if somebody manufactured bases which allowed a less regimented look, the trouble is they are a lot of effort to make unless you are prepared to fix figures down and loose flexibility.

  7. Great looking pictures, terrain and minis are wonderful!