Colonial Lemuria – a Homage

“Lemuria – the primal land, old when Eden was young. A land with more secrets than other lands have history. Secrets both ancient and new, that beckon the traveler to face danger and surprise at every turn. Long lost civilizations lurk in the shadows, brooding and biding their time.” – Colonial Lemuria, Back Cover

Last, but not least, in celebrating some of the THW Classics available from Rebel Minis is a homage to Colonial Lemuria. Colonial Lemuria was the only supplement published for the Colonial Period, while there were at least five supplements for Nuts! Sadly, Colonial Lemuria is the only supplement still available.

What is Lemuria?

In addition to Colonial Expansion, the 19th century also saw the invention of a new science called “paleontology”. With the new science came new questions as to the origins of living things. A particular problem was that lemurs were found exclusively on Madagascar, but fossilized remains were found in Madagascar and India, but not Africa. So how did the Lemurs get from India to Madagascar?

In 1864, zoologist Philip Sclater proposed there was an ancient land bridge, a continent between India and Madagascar that over the eons of time had sunk beneath the Indian Ocean. He called the continent “Lemuria” – land of lemurs. The theory of a sunken continent in the Indian Ocean persisted until the 1960s when theories of Continental Drift were accepted.

Meanwhile, Lemuria caught the imagination of enough cultists, conspiracy theorists, and crackpots that it made its way into literature as a Lost Land filled with secrets and pre-human races. Lemuria inspired many novelists. Perhaps the best known is “The Land that Time Forgot” by none other than Edgar Rice Burroughs.

What’s in Colonial Lemuria?

There’s a tradition among old school wargamers to set games in imaginary nations or “imaginations” as they are sometimes called. This allowed the gamers to play games using historical armies which never fought one another and also allowed them to create fantasy armies based on historical armies – “those aren’t Prussians, they’re Lower Slobbians.” It also allowed them to paint troops in their own paint schemes – “it just so happens the fusiliers of Camshaftizan wear the same colors as Ohio State.”

Colonial Lemuria is a clever setting, a continent containing the most common 19th century, Victorian, Colonial opponents – from Arabs at one end of the continent to South Seas Pirates at the other. With each nationality, there is background information, army lists and a scenario. And best of all, there is a well detailed map. In addition, some unusual animals are described with stats so they can be used in any game of Mission St. Mary, Colonial Adventures, Larger than Life, and Adventures in the Lost Lands. There’s even rules for Jules Verne’s Steam Elephant and other steam-powered vehicles.

Too busy to design and build your own world for your games? – Take a look at Colonial Adventures. It has jungles, savannahs, tropical islands, deserts, ice covered mountains, rich plantations and exotic treaty ports. Here’s the Table of Contents:

  • Preface
  • Introduction
  • Prologue
  • Colonial Lemuria
    • Lemuria Map
  • People and Estates of Lemuria
    • Atlas in Lemuria
    • Outer Arabia
    • Askari
    • Black African Kingdoms
    • Lung Ho
    • Chang Wang
    • Shambalya
    • Indian States
    • Moro Kingdoms
    • Treaty Ports
  • Machines of Lemuria
  • Animals of Lemuria
  • Colonial Lemuria Army Lists
    • Hill Tribes of Atlas in Lemuria
    • Central Ottoman Colony of Outer Arabia
    • Southern Ottoman Colony of Outer Arabia
    • Askari
    • Masai
    • Zulu
    • Nobelongga
    • Lung Ho
    • Chang Wang
    • Shambalya
    • Alawar
    • Sirdi
    • Vendya
    • Moros
  • Epilogue: A Simple Wedding Party
  • Index

The Writing Team

The book is written by a long-time Colonial era gamer, Hugh K. Singh. I’ve never met Mr. Singh, but he was kind enough to answer questions about Colonial gaming on the old forum and his answers were always informative. He writes Colonial Lemuria in the style of a 19th century travelogue, which adds a delightful flavor to the book as you read it.

The highly detailed map was done by Steven Gallacci. It is perhaps the best map I’ve ever seen in any THW publication. I mean this is a good map with rivers, mountain ranges, deserts, names of nations, and names of cities. In addition the map shows where Lemuria is in relation to India, Africa and Australia. Best of all, it has a map scale in miles where an inch equals two hundred forty miles.

Final Thoughts

Colonial Lemuria is a well thought out setting for playing imaginative games without altering the time space continuum timeline of history. You have Zouaves with rocket packs? Dinosaurs? Prehistoric Mammals? Pirates? Female Askari, Sailors, Trench Raiders? All of these can fit in the setting and broad story of Lemuria.

Best of all Colonial Lemuria can be used for more than the Victorian era of the 19th century. It appears in Bottle of Rum set in the 17th & 18th centuries. And as mentioned earlier, it was written for use with Larger than Life and Adventures in the Lost Lands, which include the 20th century and beyond.

I hope you enjoyed this nostalgic look at the THW Classics – Colonial rules are available at Rebel Minis.

I was going to include one photo from each post featuring a THW Classics Colonial rule set, but then realized that would be almost fifty photos, so I’ve just included a few of my favoites.

As always, your comments, suggestions and support are greatly appreciated. Let me know if you’ve ever played a game set in Colonial Lemuria.

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Colonial Lemuria – a Homage Post

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4 thoughts on “Colonial Lemuria – a Homage

  1. Heading over to Rebel to get all 3. Thank you for the posting. Also, where can I get the European female miniatures (esp. the one in the kepi, toward the bottom of your review)?

    1. The lady is from Wargames Foundry pack DA018 – Roses of the Empire. She is modeled after Florence, Lady Baker, who was born in Hungary, orphaned and found in an Ottoman slave market. She was rescued by the man who would become her husband, Sir Samuel Baker. Together they went on an expedition to find the source of the Nile and discovered Lake Albert. They spent several years combating the slave trade in Africa before retiring to Devon where she died in 1916. This pack has several figures modeled on real-life female adventureres. My favorite is the figure representing Lady Constance Stewart-Richardson.

  2. I don’t have Fortunes Won and Lost, though I do have the other three colonial games. .Al from Askari Miniatures would use Colonial Adventures when he ran games at Genghis Con to encourage folks to buy his figures (which are nice, by the way). I enjoyed the comparison of the various rules–it hadn’t quite sunk in that they covered different levels of gaming. Have you read Spinsters Abroad: Victorian Lady Explorers by Dea Birkett?

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