Colonial Era / Pulp

With Spears Gleaming in the Sun

Played another game of Colonial Adventures today at Area 51 Games in Grapevine, TX. The group had 2 games today. At one table, Americans assaulted a Cuban village where the Spanish had placed a fortress gun. The other table featured the game in which I played, where Zulus & African Tribal Women were to destroy a British supply point.

The British deployed at their supply point.

It was a raid scenario where the British deployed first in & around the supply point. The British supply point was nestled between 2 rocky hills. One hill was very steep & impassable. The other hill had cliffs on all sides but one, the rear side. They had built a low rock wall connecting the hills. Immediately behind the supply point, also nestled between the hills was a small unfordable lake. There were only 2 narrow paths into the supply point. The British placed 1 platoon in the supply point manning the wall. A second platoon & a gatling gun was placed on top of the hill that only one passable slope. The tribals were to enter the table edge as they were activated.

The 2 war bands of Zulus appear.

The start of turn 1 found the British soldiers gazing upon vast empty terrain & dreaming of home. The tribals could only activate 2 units. On the table edge directly across from the supply point, a band of Rep 5 white shielded Zulu warriors & a band of Rep 6 black shielded Zulu warriors appeared.

Tribal war bands all deployed.

The British won the initiative for turn 2, but no one was in range. All of the British units were Rep 5. With a glorious roll of 3, all of the Tribal bands could activate this turn. The 2 Zulu bands moved forward. A Rep 4 band of Tribal Women entered behind them with the commander-in-chief, a tribal princess, attached. Another Rep 4 band entered on the right of the main body. And finally, 2 Rep 3 bands appeared with one on each flank.

The tribal center moving toward the supply point.

The British won the initiative for turn 3, but with a roll of 6, no unit could activate. The Zulu bands which were expecting to be fired upon took advantage of the situation. The Rep 6 black shield band charged the British platoon at the low wall. The Rep 5 white shield Zulu band continued its march toward the back of the British hill under the watchful eyes of the British platoon & gatling gun on the hill. The 2 Rep 4 Tribal Women bands moved forward as well, but the Rep 3 bands on the extreme flanks failed to activate.

Close-up of the princess leading the braided hair warriors.

The British fire was abysmal & the black shield Zulus charged home. The continuous round of melee was hard on the British platoon. The melee was finished, 9 black shield Zulus were left poised to charge the small British reserve unit guarding the supplies.

The feathered headdress war band approaches on the right flank

Sadly for the British, turn 4 was a repeat of turn 3 in that they could not activate. The black shield Zulus charged into the reserve force and proceeded to wipe it out to a man. All of the other Zulu & Tribal bands moved toward their targets. The braided hair women led by the princess moved within 12″ of the gatling gun which resulted in the gatling gun firing upon the women. The band lost 4 to the gunfire & another 3 ran away.

Melee of the Black Shield Zulus at the wall

At the start of turn 5, the British platoon on top of the hill opened fire upon the white shield Zulus causing casualties including the leader of the war band. Another warrior took up the leadership role, but this new leader was only a Rep 3 leader. The black shield Zulus found the narrow path between the hill and the lake & passed out of the supply point & were poised to charge up the hill on the next turn. The braided hair band led by the princess turned & moved into scrub brush to get away from the gatling gun. The Rep 4 feathered headdress band moved up into the supply point. The Rep 3 bands could not activate this turn.

With the unit at the wall destroyed. The princess advances her unit within range of the gatling gun.

The British opened fire on turn 6. The rifle fire continued to be abysmal. One more white shield Zulu was gunned down. The gatling gun had better success firing on feathered headdress band. Though only 2 were lost to gunfire, 4 more ran away. The black shield Zulus charged the British sub-unit & destroyed them.

The platoon on the hill opens fire on the White Shield Zulus.

Turn 7 was a disaster for the British. Again, they failed to activate. The black shield Zulus attacked the gatling gun & destroyed it. The white shield Zulus moved to the base of the hill & would charge the next turn. The feathered headdress band moved to the narrow path leading out of the supply point. All of the other bands advanced forward.

The remaining British after repulsing the attack of the White Shield Zulus.

The British took command of turn 8. The remaining sub-unit charged the black shield Zulus & destroyed them. They prepared to receive the charge of the white shield Zulus. The white shield Zulus did charge up the hill. British rifle fire missed & the band contacted the British. The British with their back against the wall were now a Rep 6 unit & fought like lions. The white shield Zulus not only suffered melee casualties, but the Rep 3 leader was killed. No one would take up the leadership. The white shield Zulus were forced to retreat down the hill & one third of the band ran away.

The brave British concede.

Six brave men stood atop the hill catching their breath as they prepared for another native onslaught. The white shield Zulus were down to 8 warriors, but there were 4 more bands, 2 at near full strength & 2 at full strength, surrounding their lonely hill. The British conceded.

Meanwhile, at the next table, American troops assault the Spanish

This was my 2nd game of Colonial Adventures. I’m sure we are still doing some things wrong. A Rep 6 band of Zulus is practically unstoppable once they get into melee. One band destroyed a platoon, 2 sub-units, & a gatling gun. The chief complaint was that players thought the firing rules are broken. They have units of 20 riflemen arranged in 2 or 3 ranks so only 1/2 of the front rank gets to fire. They go through the fire table, build up a pile of dice & when they get to the end only 4 or 5 figures get to fire & usually end up with only 1 or 2 hits. So are the firing rules broken, or do players need to rethink how they deploy troops?
A note on the pictures, all pictures were taken with my iPad with only the game store’s lighting.

1 thought on “With Spears Gleaming in the Sun”

  1. Page 8 says first two ranks can fire. So a 20 man Brit unit of Rep 5 would fire with
    5d6 for Rep
    4d6 for Fire Dice
    1d6 for mob
    so 10d6 fire dice.
    Half of the 20 figures eligible to fire is 10d6.

    So in formed line they would be using 10d6.
    Also when the Brits are in continuous melee and activate they should break off the melee and back up (page, 27). The inactive side would then take a Test of Wills and charge, which would lead to more firing.
    Volley fire hits reduce the Rep by 1 for the whole turn and as mentioned each run away causes another Crisis test. So the initial hits cause a test, if some run away they cause another mediated test at the same lowered Rep.
    Finally Tribal troops only have one leader.

    Hope this helps,

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