Colonial campaign reconsidered

Zulus preparing to attack Rorke’s Drift

In Lone Warrior No. 177 George Arnold submitted an interesting article with a hex-shaped map for setting up a colonial campaign. I had recently re-played a Rorke’s Drift scenario using new plastic buildings to replace the old paper ones, so the colonial era was still fresh on my mind. (Incidentally, the British lost the battle this time due to incredibly bad dice rolling at the end. Perhaps I should re-examine my rules also.)

Mike Crane

Using George’s idea, I made an octagonal-shaped map and assigned eight different territories to the following armies: French Foreign Legion; Berbers and Tuaregs; Egyptians; Mahdists; Germans; Zulus; British; and, Boers.


Sudan War setup from the British side

Although I had already painted 15mm armies for the British, Egyptians, Mahdists and Zulus, the remaining armies on the list would have to be found in the storage or bought outright from Stone Mountain or Old Glory. In either case, they would have to be painted. Unfortunately, I have not been able to find the painted Egyptian army. Searching for it hasn’t been a total loss, however, since I ran across unpainted Indian and Pathan figures long since forgotten. I will have to buy colonial Germans and their artillery, but I may substitute Confederate troops for the Boers until I have time to paint the ones I found. George suggested leaving artillery pieces loose so they can be placed on stands with the gun crews of different armies. Thus, the German artillery and the Boer artillery could be interchangeable. Actually, the uniforms are quite similar, so that might not be a problem.

The view from the Mahdist side

For the rules I considered using Bob Cordery’s Portable Wargame: 19th Century Rules [] or, his Portable Wargame 2: Colonial Rules (version 7). []. Eventually, I opted for his Memoir of Battle (MOB) rules which use Richard Borg’s CC:N/Battle Cry dice. [] These rules require only a few miniatures and are fast and simple, which makes them quite appropriate for such a large campaign. Of course, since I am a solo gamer, it goes without saying that I just had to tweak the rules a bit to account for the various types of native units. In fact, I am still tweaking and making amendments during each play test. I have been using a Memoir ’44 North African desert scheme with its terrain tiles for my playing board. Plain 2″ ceramic tiles and ceramic tiles with rocks glued onto them also make good hills and mountains, and buildings made with Sculpey provide good obstacles to the line of sight and advance. I will use a home-made board with 2″ squares if a fortress is needed or an open field if I want to have a large, free-wheeling battle with many figures.

Since it may take a while to find and paint the rest of the armies, I will probably start gaming with the completed armies that I have. That will probably be a good idea anyway because my campaign completion record is not anything to brag about. But that is how I roll. So, let the games begin!

— Mike Crane

About mike crane

I am a retired high school teacher living in Texarkana, Arkansas, USA. Although I enjoy wargaming in all periods, my favorite eras are WWII, Colonial, ACW, and Napoleonic. I enjoy making rules that are simple, fast, and fun.
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