The Little One and I finally managed to do a test game of the Men who would be King rules this weekend. Basically we had a British force with regular infantry, supported by a Lancer Unity, fighting some Zulu Tribal warriors.
I recently completed two more batches of 64 Zulu miniatures based as the first one (for some further stuff on this project click here and here). I did each batch in a different shield design and I think they look ok from the distance they will be seen from.
This is twice the amounts of Zulus needed for the basic 24 point Zulu army in the rulebook.
We used the Zulu name generator (found here) to get some names for the Zulu leaders we would use in our test battle. We are not that familiar with Zulu naming convention, but we randomized a list of ten twice and got the following names.
Fuzo (Heredity, resemblance)
Bongani (Be thankful, Grateful )
Hlatshwayo (Stabbed one)
Kwanele (It is enough)
Mthokozisi (The one who gives joy)
Zwelikude (Far away)
Chitauli (Dictator, One who tells the Law)
Bhekizizwe (Look after the Nations)
Azisa (Honour, Esteem, Pride)
Ayanda (Augment the family )
Khayalethu (Our home)
Gabangaye (Putting one’s trust on other; Faces in the sun)
Kgabu (Richly decorate )
Minenhle (Having a good or lovely day)
Ndonsa (Bright morning star)
We then did combination of these names for the leaders as shown below. Here is the force the Zulu player would field on the day.
Zulu Force (24 points, 6 units, 96 models) – the Hero, the pleasant and the Ugly!
- Fierce Tribal Infantry Unit 1 (unmarried warriors) @ 4 points, led by Kwanele Azisa with a leadership value of 7+ (not very good) and with the leader trait of “Jolly Sporty” which means he has an additional 2″ (2cm at our scale) move when doing an at the double action.
- Fierce Tribal Infantry Unit 2 (unmarried warriors) @ 4 points, led by Kgabu Minenhle, leadership value of 7+ (another crap roll), with the trait of “Up and at them” which means he must always opt for the attack.
- Fierce Tribal Infantry Unit 3 (unmarried warriors) @ 4 points, led by Fuzo Bongani, leadership value of 5+ (that is more like it), with the trait of “Favourite of the Chief” which means that he could chose another upgrade for free and the Little One took Elite (which gives +2 to discipline).
- Veteran Tribal Infantry Unit 1 (Married warriors) @ 4 points, led by Lwazi Ndonsa, leadership value of 5+ (another good roll), with the trait of “Ugly” that has no effect on gameplay (loving it!, the Little One is still laughing).
- Veteran Tribal Infantry Unit 2 (Married warriors) @ 4 points, led by Iqhunde Chitauli, leadership value of 7+ (another crap roll), with the trait of “Pleasant Manner” that has no effect on gameplay.
- Veteran Tribal Infantry Unit 3 (Married warriors) @ 4 points, led by “Bhekizizwe Azisa”, leadership value of 5+ (good roll), with the trait of Hero of the Zulu Empire which gives him a Leadership value of 4+.
A nice little mixture of some very good leadership values (the lower the better!) and some not so good!.
For the British we used a few names inspired by some of the fantastic stories by H.P. Lovecraft.
British Force (24 points, 4 units, 44 models)
- Regular Infantry Unit @ 6 points, led by Colour Sergeant Nahum Gardner, leadership value at 5+ (good roll), with a trait of being the “Favourite of the Major-General” giving him a free trait, we went for Sharpshooters that bring firing to 4+ (a very good value).
- Unenthusiastic Infantry Unit @ 5 points, led by Corporal Wilbur Whateley, leadership value at 7+ (another 1 rolled) and with the trait of “Coward” meaning he must always attempt to move to stay beyond enemy movement distances (brilliant against Zulus who very likely will be charging!)
- Unenthusiastic Infantry Unit @ 5 points, led by Corporal William Dyer, leadership value at 5+ (good) and with the trait of “Hero of the Empire” giving him a leadership at 4+.
- Regular Lancer Cavalry Unit @ 8 points, led by Sergeant Thomas Olney, leadership value of 6+ (average for the unit type) and with the trait of brutal – meaning that he is a sadistic pig that his men hate and this affects the units discipline with -2.
Another characterful little band of brothers.
The Scenario / Situation
We chose the “A Sigh of Relief” Scenario (Scenario G), this has the defender with a small detachment in the middle of the table and the attacker coming from one side and some reinforcements for the defender from the other.
I opted for the two unenthusiastic units being the ones in the middle, speculating that there were unenthusiastic and low on morale due to their exposed position. I hoped that the Lancers would be quick to reinforce the units and then the superior shooting from the Colour Sergeant’s drilled men would save the day.
The Little One set up his six tribal units at the other end of the table and told me it would be a piece of cake to rout the “Corporal Coward” and “Corporal Hero of What Empire?”. The position looked exposed indeed.
First round and the attack was on – the Little One’s tactic was to push his units forward with “On the Double” giving them additional speed but at the cost of needing to test for activation. The first round only three units pushed forward.
I managed to move the two reinforcements forward and Colonel Whateley fired a salvo at one of the Zulu units that resulted in reducing the unit with 4 models – but it did not result in it being pinned. Colonel Dyer formed his men into Close Order to allow a more potent salvo in the next run.
The Little One managed to activate all but one unit for the next round and the Zulus started to come a little bit too close for my liking.
Next round Cpl. Dyer successfully did a Volley Fire that hit the Zulu unit (Bhekicizme Azisa) that was fired upon earlier – now down to 5 units and a pinned marker, enough to stop it from moving next round. The Lancers also managed to get closer into the action. Whateley, in line with his trait, decided to move (successfully) away from the oncoming Zulus (there are too many of them!).
The oncoming force of the Elite unit of Fuzo Bungani, in combination with an attack by the Ugly Lwazi Ndonsa’s unit, had a hard impact on Cpl Dyer’s seemingly thin line and forced him to withdraw but he successfully managed to resist being pinned. The Little one still suffered some in getting momentum on his right flank as he had problems rolling successfully in the double activations (maybe the Roll a One trait is hereditary?).
A little close look at the proceedings on the British right and…
on the left.
Next round I charged the Lancers straight into the Pleasant Mannered Ighunde’s unit and the combined with a successful volley by the Coward Whateley – lead to them being double pinned (but they tool it in a good and polite way). The Colour Sergeant were pushing closer and I felt that this was going the right way when Cpl Dyer manage to pin another Zulu unit with some fine shooting.
The following round the Little One tried to push in with the Elite unit and needed three or more on 2 dice to activate, but instead rolled to 1s. The unit did not attack. Game Over I thought, but I was wrong.
In a series of attacks in the next round the Zulus managed to decimate the Lancers (who did not give up without a fair fight, but they were outnumbered. Timing of cavalry attacks is not yet second nature to me!) who had to push back.
Following this things got too interesting and we forgot to take photos, but basically the Little one realized that the caution (cowardice) of Cpl Whateley meant that he just needed to push against him and he would retreat, he then pressed forward with his remaining forces and managed to get his units organized by combining “going to ground” and “skirmish movement” followed by all out melee attacks to bring all my units out of action.
Piece of cake!
- I really like the rules, they are not complicated but with some of the special abilities/actions of the units, e.g. “Going to Ground”, “Close order and Volley Fire”, gives a nice and for me convincing flair of the period – at least from my perhaps over romantic perspective.
- The character traits for the Officers, the good and the bad, added to the overall experience.
- It is nice and plays fast and reasonably well. We will certainly play this again!
- We played on playing area of 50 by 72 cm and had a great time – skirmish in 6mm works very well indeed.
- The Little One liked it and gave it thumbs up!
/ Take care