Monday, April 13, 2015

Battle of Isandlwana - Family Style

Each Easter I try my best to put together a "fun game" with the girls.   Two years ago, we pulled off an interesting Rorke's Drift, and last year we tackled Rogue Trader's classic Battle at the Farm.

This year I decided to tackle Isandlwana.  Using Colonial Campaigns: The Zulu War 1879 scenario book by Roy Jones and Mark Fastoso, Isandlwana can be a bit bookkeeping heavy, with a slew of victory points for numerous objectives.  It would have to be modified because my girls are 5 and 4.

And the British would be gnomes.
And the Zulus would be Easter candy.

Lt Colonel Millie and Chief Maja are ready to battle.
To complicate things a bit further, the scenario is recommended for 15mm figs using TSATF on a 4'x6".  My dining room table comes up a bit short, and everything would be in 28mm.

Order of Battle
Objective:  Prevent the Zulus from capturing the colours (Swiss Alphorn in this instance).  Prevent the Zulus from seizing the wagons.
4x Gnome Units (5 each plus 1 officer):  deploy on the firing line
1x Gnome Unit (5 plus 1 officer):  arriving turn three
1x Gnome Cavalry (4 plus 1 officer):  arriving turn three
1x St Bernard Medic (24 inches of movement during the end of turn, attempting to heal fallen gnome (5+ on d8) reduces 3 inches of movement
1x Swiss Alphorn:  The alphorn is not allowed to move, or attempt to escape back through the river and the drift, until Zulus had seized the wagons.

With the smaller units and two girls, I kept most of the rules for the scenario, except that no morale checks would need to be made.

Zululand Peeps
15x Zulu Units  (5 peeps each, no ranged weaponry, d8 melee):  each peep requires 2 hits to kill.  However, once hit twice, 5 unmarried jelly bean warriors jump out of it's carcass and continue the attack.  (no ranged weaponry, d6 melee).  Once the jelly bean unit was reduce to two or less, it could be removed from the table and a new peep would enter the following turn.

Gnome camps are swank set-ups
As the the Peeps came thundering across the plain, Lt Colonel Millie ordered and entire flank to retreat behind the encampment.  The rest opened fire and killed three peeps, allowing 15 unmarried Zulu jelly bean warriors to pop out! (I didn't tell the kids about the peep/jelly bean transformation rule).  
The Peeps turn into jelly beans?  When can we eat them?
The Gnome flank recovered from the obviously incorrect orders, but they did not turn around to fire.    The Gnome rifles took out two more peeps, as one four more emerged from the east and one was discovered on the hill behind the encampment (Maja insisted they were sneaky Peeps).
The Jelly Bean Unmarried Zulus reach the line.
The firing line took the full frontal assault of the Zulus.  Even with a St Bernard Medic, the line was decimated.  The chaos on the flank was finally resolved as they fired at the Zulus.
...and devastate it!
The Bunny cav and another infantry unit finally appeared.  The cavalry struck at the Peep behind the lines and began chasing the subsequent jelly beans.  The infantry rushed to fill the huge gaps on the line.

The cavalry arrive!
... and this when Millie retired from play.  Maja is the wargamer at heart (even with the events that followed), whereas Millie is happy moving a single figure around.  A reserve stockpile of troops, I mean candy, did not help things.  It would be up to me to salvage the game for the Gnomes.
With my firing line in shambles and TEN Peeps ready to descend on me, I did the proper British gnomish thing and demand the surrender of the Zulu.    Maja agreed, then I needed to explain what surrender meant.   She made a complete 180 in her negotiations, moving five of the Peeps to the side of the knoll.
Me:  Maja what are you doing with those guys?
Maja:  They don't want to fight.  The Peeps will stay there and watch the show.
And the other Peeps charged..
"The Peeps will stay there and watch the show."  A very confident commander.
Meanwhile, the Bunny Cav had a heck of a time clearing the rear of Zulus. They eventually killed all but one, and rushed to the front to bolster the lines. I had expected that one to regenerate into another (hopefully spectator) Peep, but Maja had other plans

With the shambles of two of my units still locked in melee.  My other two infantry squads unleashed hell on the charging Peeps, fully aware of the chaos that would cause.
The next wave comes.
That lone Zulu I left alive in the rear?  He managed to reach the wagons, a victory condition for Maja, but it also allowed my alphorn to begin its escape to the rear.   
Alas it was not the case, for while a two-man team, one being The Most Interesting Gnome in the World (tm), Bruce Carmezind, managed to retake the wagons, the Zulus finally broke the center and seized the alphorn! 
 Bruce Carmezind retakes the wagons.
I tried to save Alphorn player, but those Zulu jelly beans showed a savagery that would take aback any of the civilized confectioneries. 
The Jelly Beans kill the Sikhs and dash off with the Alphorn.
And with that the Zulus hoisted the alphorn above their heads (?) and ran through the camp. 
"Where did things go wrong?"
All in all, not a bad scenario.  Given the space restrictions I should have lowered the number of Peeps as I did the gnomes.  The childlike tactics (surprise!) offset each other.    Maja certainly had lots of fun (even if she ate her troops after the game), we'll go back to skirmish/story games with gnomes, mice, and ponies right after they finishing priming my Battlemechs for later this month. 

1 comment:

  1. Simply awesome! Really captures the 'flavor' of the battle. For a while there, the imPeepi looked unstoppable! Strangely, I have the urge to brush my teeth!

    Znombie Lord