Hordes of Zulus!

Zulus sir, thousands of them!

Well, dozens at least. We have recently decided to start down the Zulu War path, but haven’t made it very far down that path. In fact, I think we made it about 1/4 across the table today, our first Zulu Wars game.

As my Warlord Games figures have not yet shown up, we were quite light on the troops. I borrowed the 4th Coy of the 14th Fernwood, Malcolm ran his 3rd Coy, Bruce had a wagon train, and Dale another unit of infantry and a gatling gun. We pretty much all died.

I got to lead the whole day, an “honour” for which my slain commander, Captain Bromhead, scored our first Victoria’s Cross. At first, the Zulus were just a hazy sight in the distance (made hazier by Bromhead having lost an eye in the Indian Mutiny of 1857).

Zulus in the distance
Zulus in the distance

However, the Zulus very rapidly became not-so-hazy. Very distinct as a matter of fact. They were kind enough to remain at a distance, allowing me to very sportingly shoot them. (Later arrivals weren’t nearly so accommodating. Hence the VC.)

Zulus in the rough
Zulus in the rough

Bored at being out of action, our gatling gun decided to go and discover some Zulus via running to our extreme left flank. Shortly Zulus were discovered, and sent packing. The Horns of the Buffalo card meant that “sent packing” actually meant “gone to get their friends.” Amusing result on the right flank was a herd of cattle. Horn of the cattle more like.

Battle is joined
Battle is joined

The left flank went from “Gee, I don’t think they should be all the way over there” to “Oh crap, we are overrun” in very short order. Colonel Spiffer, shiny white uniform and all, quickly found himself surrounded. Being a hero, he was able to extricate himself. Our gatling gun, on the other hand… Let’s just say that rumours of the Zulus using a gatling gun a month later are totally untrue. Slanderous treason, in fact.

(Nearly) surrounded
(Nearly) surrounded

All this action to flank quickly evolved into action across the entire front as Zulus, hot off their success against our gatling gun, attempted a front assault. Flesh was pressed, personal details (and bodily fluids) were exchanged, and everybody got screwed in the deal.

Completely engaged
Completely engaged

In due course this wave of Zulus was sent packing, but the next wave sent both my brave 4th of the 14th, and Dale’s scurrying for the rear. Which leaves only the 3rd to hold the line. I think the next two pictures tell the story.

Near the end now
Near the end now
The end now
The end now

And so ends our first action of the Zulu War. We can only hope that better painted troops will fare better (although that is likely to hold true for the Zulus as well).

Our rules are based very loosely off of Triumph and Tragedy (from the superlative Lead Adventure forums) with a great deal of rules changed. First and foremost, we ran our Zulus as AI-controlled with dice to determine action. There are many on the fly changes to the modifiers, as we sought to get the right “feel”. We also changed from i-go-you-go to alternating half-way through, again to test rules.

We also experimented where the overall commander, in this case Malcolm, handed out two order cards (from the standard T&T deck) to each player at the start of each turn. This led to a lot of jockeying for a specific card, especially as our situation became more desperate.

Figures are mostly Warlord Games, with some Empress, Wargames Factory and Essex. Terrain is a mixture of mine and Malcolm’s.

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