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Saturday, May 12, 2012

British Escape Disaster in Zululand

   Had a good game of The Sword and the Flame on Wednesday night with my buddy Zach. He played the Zulu hordes, and I handled the stout-hearted British.

Zulu forces: 5x Zulu impis of 20 men each, plus a grand induna. All assegai armed.
British forces: 1 platoon of infantry, 1 supply wagon, a major in command, and a troop of lancers.
Simple scenario: Get the supply wagon from one end of the table to the other.
Terrain: Mostly open, with a small kraal and some thorny thickets.

British Column Deployment

Turn 1: Three red cards in a row for movement, so all the British forces trundled along, headed as fast as they could for the other end of the field. The cavalry scouted one possible hiding spot. The infantry faced right, suspecting the enemy to attack from that direction. Three units of Zulus then sprang up from the tall grasses to either side of the column and charged into the boys in red. Two were right behind the infantry, and the third was to their front! Some pretty hot shooting killed two of the Zulus to the front, including their induna, and wounded two more! Without their leader, the Zulus wavered at the last moment, and did not complete their charge. One of the impis charging the rear of the infantry were so frightened by the loud report of the rifles that they too were unable to complete their charge. But the third unit piled in... and killed ten Englishmen, wounded one, and forced the rest to flee the battlefield, for a loss of only four Zulu wariors in the fierce hand to hand combat! Luckily for his family name, the Lieutenant was amongst the glorious dead, and not the nine who fled.

The Zulu Ambush sprung!

Rifles take down one Induna, and the card that killed him!

Aftermath of the Ambush
Turn 2: Thankfully, the prior turn's Morale Phase kept the nearest impi from pursuing the rapidly fleeing wagon and the cavalry line. The cavalry stormed forward, flushing out more Zulus. Random movement kept the Zulus from closing with the wagon and the major, but placed them directly to the rear of the cavalry. The two newly revealed impis can't quite reach the cavalry this turn, but it looks bad for the next turn. The lancers try their carbines, but fail to achieve any results.

Turn 3: The wagon and major decide to cut across the thorny thicket rather than waste time circling around it. Then, the climactic charge! Two impis charge the lancers. Carbines take down a few, and one impi fails to close. The other charges angrily, and leaves no stragglers (rolling a six, lucky bugger). However, the great induna and the impi's own induna that make it into the close combat are spitted on British lancepoints, along with thirteen more warriors! The British lose five killed and two wounded, who swing up behind their mates and ride pillion. The Zulus fail their Morale check, and the Zulu survivors of the cavalry battle flee the battlefield. The remainder of the Zulus will be unable to move in the next turn due to the loss of their general.

The Lancers Fight...

...and win!

 Turn 4: With the Zulus immobilized by shock at the loss of their Great Induna, the British take the chance to move as quickly as possible to their objective. The wagoneer whips the oxen mercilessly, and the cavalry take position on their flank, screening them from the remaining Zulus who will surely pursue.
Lancers screen the Departing Wagon

Turn 5: Their shock over, the Zulus move to overtake the fleeing British column. The wagon continues to move as quickly as possible toward the safety of the fort at the opposite edge of the table. Cavalry carbines fail to cause any casualties, but the Subaltern in command pots one with his revolver at maximum range.

Turn 6: The British wagon escapes the table, and the cavalry follow at best speed, outdistancing the foot pursuit of the nearest Zulus.

RESULT: Marginal British victory. Losing the infantry so early hurt, but the wagon and the cavalry made it. If the Zulus had not lost their general, it would have been much worse for the British, I think.


Eli Arndt said...

I love scenario-based play. Even though this is a very basic, straight forward scenario, it plays really nicely.


J Womack, Esq. said...

Me too. I like to have an objective to achieve, not just 'bash on the other guy.'