Tintin au Congo

Inspired by the ‘nosey youth and companions‘ set in 28mm from 1st Corps we are off to the Congo.   It is obvious that 1st Corps are producing Tintin, Captain Haddock, Professor Calculus and Snowy.  They are modelled with coats and pullovers so are not ideally equipped for the tropics but buying a set of explorers and running some head swaps is not going to be happening.  Tintin is possibly a little large for a lad and I imagine Captain Haddock to be bigger but overall a good set.

tintingroup

There are some other figures in the Follies range but unfortunately none really suitable as Thompson and Thomson (who only get a single frame cameo in the coloured edition of Tintin au Congo anyway).  Tintin and Captain Haddock are equipped with magazine pistols so our adventure will have to move into the 1930s.  The African Ruga Ruga are stuck with muzzle loaders.  This would not be out of place as I recall seeing muzzle loading percussion lock guns in use by native hunters in Mali in the 1980s.

This scenario is from Vae Victis 131.  In the magazine are 3 new ‘white men’ characters.  An archaeologist searching for dinosaur bones (now Professor Calculus, D6/D6/D8).  A big chap with a fondness for rum (Captain Haddock, D6/D8/D10) and a young lady who happens to be an excellent shot (morphed into Tintin, 2D10/-/D10).   There are full stats for each of these with the unfortunate omission of star ratings.  This is a party that could easily be deployed to other expeditions.  Captain Haddock has the special rules of being immune to magic and rolling 1D6 for each hit on his group.  If any of these are a success the Captain’s rum cache is destroyed and he rolls 2D10 in hand to hand not D8.

The scenario sees the white man’s column (70 points) needing to get its porters (no points cost paid for these) off the map edge before turn 6.  There are 100 points of African tribes with a compulsory sorcerer in the way. The porters cannot be targeted or blocked off and move ‘M’ for the 1st turn and then ‘S’ each turn.  The deployment is set so the porters should reach the map edge in 5 turns.  The porters will not move if a ‘white man’s’ unit is wiped out and 2 ‘white man’s’ units must always stay within ‘L’ of the porters.  Analysing the scenario half the map is a deployment area as neither side has much incentive to move directly away from the exit edge.  The porters merely act as a timer and a movement/line of sight hindering moving-terrain item.  The game is set to end in 6 turns so losing 2 groups will result in the white men losing.

In the set up we see the explorers lined up along the start line with the baggage in the middle.  The natives are on both sides of the table edge.  Ruga Ruga to the south and assegai armed warriors to the north.  The witch doctor is with a unit of 3 scouts.  The plan being to have him in a cheap unit to soak up the stress tokens used to boost his magic powers.

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A close up of the line.  Tintin is with a group of sailors (using the Soldiers Congo statistic).  The scenario calls for 8 bearers in a line 2 abreast.  I have used 4 bearers and 3 mules behind them to take up the same table space.

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The end of turn 1 and the explorers have moved forward.  Captain Haddock is with the Trained Askari to the north east. Tintin’s group moved out aggressively to whittle down the Ruga Ruga.  They suffered heavily from musket fire.   Each musket attack inflicts a stress marker (regardless of hits). This restricted the ability of the sailors to draw more stress to try to reduce the hits taken.  Drawing a stress allows an extra D8 to be rolled to try and stop hits but 4 is the maximum stress that a unit can voluntarily take.   There are 3 units of Ruga Ruga (one out of shot) in range of Tintin here.

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Although Tintin is dangerously exposed the rest of the column appears secure.

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The explorers try to screen Tintin (note the Askari unit to the right of the picture) as he is buried in stress markers but the Ruga Ruga charge in to finish the job.  1 unit down and the bearers will not be moving on turn 2.  Characters are still in play if their unit is destroyed but a single figure with 4 stress tokens is removed so Tintin might not have made it this far.

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Captain Haddock is knocked out by witchcraft.  The 3 stress on the witchdoctor’s unit at top right were to ensure success for the spell.  On checking the scenario Haddock is immune to magic so this attack should have been void.  The explorers have another problem here because they should end each turn with 2 units within ‘L’ of the line of porters.  The Trained Askari unit make one but the other Askari unit to the South of the porters has 2 pins, is unloaded and is very close to some dangerous Ruga Ruga in the nearby woods..

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Its all getting mixed up with (from left to right) Professor Calculus, Askaris (by the hut), Ruga Ruga, Young Warriors (behind the trees at rear), Askaris, Older Warriors, (also right at the back)  Ruga Ruga and Trained Askaris.   To make sense of this the White Men’s units are in italics.

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Turn 3, the porter convoy plods on but the native warriors to the North of the scene are coming out.  The Askari unit that was by the trees in the South has taken a 5th stress check and been forced to flee away from trouble.  Unfortunately this is also away from the porters and towards more natives armed with assegais.

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The warriors are dragging 2 stress, 1 will reduce their hand-to-hand dice by 1 but they are within charge range and mean business.

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A predictable result.  The other Askari unit has also taken some losses from the Young Warriors assegai shooting.

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With another unit gone and no unit able to get within ‘L’ of the porters (except the Trained Askari) it is all over for the explorers.

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The remaining explorer units are cut off from the porters and are subject to more native shooting.

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The final table view.  To win the white men would have needed to not lose 2 units and to have kept another unit close to the porters.

tintin14Losing Tintin and his group of sailors at the beginning of the game was a major blow to the white men.  Having got all the figures out and laid out the terrain I played it all through again.  Tintin and the sailors were more cautious and were able to put some serious dice out on the natives.  The natives still won, by destroying 2 white men groups and thus slowing the column but the result was much closer.

This scenario is more combat orientated than those in the Congo book.  The natives need to destroy 2 white men units.  As the white men must keep close to the porters there is very little opportunity for them to move into cover.  Excess stress is also likely to slow them down and taking stress is a key way to reduce combat casualties (roll another D8 save for each stress token drawn).  The Ruga Ruga are expensive but come into their own in a straight fight.  With 3 Ruga Ruga units close together they can ensure that at least 2 are loaded and in range of a target when the ‘3 shooting’ card is played.  Each shooting action guarantees a stress on the target.  As a unit can only draw up to 4 stress and drawing stress in combat gives an extra D8 save dice, a stressed unit is less able to defend itself and will take more losses.  Without some geographical distraction such as an item to seize or point to reach the Ruga Ruga can concentrate on shooting and moving with the sole aim of bringing down a single unit.  In all cases action took place in the area to the right of the huts.  roughly 1/4 of the playing area was wasted as it was not needed for set up and there is no reason for any unit to move away from the porter’s ultimate destination.

Despite some mathematical errors on the part of the scenario design (not enough leeway in getting the porters off in time and wasted gaming area) the scenario does play well and may work better with a different explorer force load out.  Having fewer but better equipped units does fit in with the limited activations set by the Congo cards.

Approaching the scenario from a time and motion perspective the following should provide an improvement but take note that it has yet to be tested.  The porter column could move ‘M’ in a straight line each turn and Congo games generally last 6 or 7 turns. A Congo table would be 48″ or 6’M’ long.  ‘M’ is 8″ but the base of the lead unit is added on so an ‘M’ move could be 9″.  In metric terms the distances will change but the maths will be the same.

If the porter column starts ‘M’ in from a short edge and moves ahead ‘M’ at the start of each turn it will be off table on turn 4 (5*9, too soon).   If it moves ‘M’ on odd turns and ‘S’ on short but allowing for the extra 1″ of the base in Congo moves it will move 9″, 5″, 9″, 5″, 9″, 5″ or 42″  on turn 6, spot on.  A Congo group could move ‘S’ + ‘S’ each activation or 9″ in a straight line for 6 activations to get from 1 table edge to the opposite edge and off.  The group could be activated to move 3 times in every turn so could beat the porters in 2 turns.  Groups will slow to a maximum of ‘S’ if there is an enemy group within ‘S’ so moving from 1 edge to the other would take 10 activations of 5″ if all the movements were hindered.   So 3 turns to catch up and some left over to move in on the porters if the explorers do nothing to stop them.  These are all ideal numbers and do not consider other units activating and diverting around or moving into terrain.

Chasing the porters scenario

The explorer’s expedition is a 70 point column.  They also receive 8 porters free of cost.  The porters are deployed in a column 2 abreast ‘M’ in from the West map edge.  At the beginning of each turn (including turn 1) the porters column moves for free ‘M’ (on odd turns) or ‘S’ (on even turns).  If the column crosses the East map edge it is removed and the game ends.  The porter column may not break any terrain movement rules and may move ‘S’ + ‘S’ instead of ‘M’ if the explorer wishes.  The porter column may not voluntarily move within ‘S’ of a tribal unit.  Within those restrictions it may move in any direction.  Neither side may attack the porters with shooting or melee.  They break line of sight like any other unit.  The native force is a 100 point column

The game lasts for 6 or 7 turns if there is no automatic victory.  On turn 6 roll D8 on a fail the game ends immediately.  All expedition units deploy ‘M’ or less from the West map edge.  No native units are deployed at start, they all enter on activation from the West map edge.  There should be 3 clear paths with no terrain at least ‘S’ wide from West to East edges.  Through the table centre and along the North and South edges.

Basic victory conditions:

If a native group ends its turn within ‘S’ of the porter column the natives win.  If at any time there are not at least 2 expedition groups within ‘L’ of the porters the natives win.  If the column is still on the table at the game end the natives win. If at least 1 porter crosses the West map edge the porter column is removed from play and the explorers win.

Optional victory conditions (instead of the basic conditions)

Any explorer unit may leave the West map edge on the same turn or after the porter column has exited that edge.  At the game end count fatigues the side with at least 3 in excess of the other has won, otherwise it is a draw.  Destroyed groups count as 5 fatigues.  Groups exiting the table count as 0 fatigues regardless of how many they may have had when they left the table.  Native units may not leave the table.  Any victory point earned through a random event counts as -1 fatigue for the owner.

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Bolt Action: Somewhere in Italy

I sent the new British Airborne into action at the club facing Ben’s Italian paras.  I used a Normandy list and ran the Airborne without bren guns as SAS.  SAS are much the same as paras but get behind enemy lines which negates the -1 for outflanking (at a points cost).  This action could have taken place in Sicily or in mainland Italy (in the latter case the Italians would be RSI).  The British paras did fight in Sicily and Southern Italy, plus could have been deployed later in the war on the Italian mainland.  The Tetratch was not used in Italy but had been used before (Madagasacar) and later (Normandy) so could also have been deployed there.  The only downside to the Sicily argument is that it may have been rather warm for the Denison smock in Summer ’43.

The Italian list (my best guess at its contents) contained a lot of anti-tank but was short of boots on the ground.

We went for an attack-defence battle as these give the Italians some advantage as the defender.  Ben won the roll to defend (75% of success) and gained 2 free defensive areas.  These are the 2 squares of hedge with open backs towards the Italian baseline.  The scenario we played required an objective close to the table centre to be defended.  The free defences have to be placed with 12″ of the Italian baseline so were of only limited assistance.

The set up shows the only 2 Italian units allowed on board at the beginning of the game.  The British could only deploy infantry units at the start.  The hedges are dense terrain as are the woods on brown areas.  The palm trees are soft cover but not dense.  The ruin in the centre was played as hard cover not as a building.  Troops in buildings melt like butter when hit with HE in Bolt Action, runined walls would give the defenders a better chance to hang around on the objective.

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Troops start to move up, no British reinforcments on turn 1 and those units already on the board cannot run.  Instead we go for a cautious advance.  Italian units move on without a morale chack but are too far away to have much effect yet.  Red markers are pins.

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More probing forward.  The artillery observer gets a fire call off, shown by the yellow marker.  It does not come in until turn 4 by which time it has been gradually moved back towards the Italian edge to avaoid catching the advancing British.

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Here is the Italian commander, medium mortar and a nifty armoured car coming on.  The truck (a Ledo model) has a MMG whch it can fire while unloaded.

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Turn 2 the Italians move up.  One squad leaves the field to get closer shots on the paras at the edge of the wood who had been reduced to half strength by the huge gun on tracks at the back left of the image..  This did not prove to be a wise decision.  The British squad in the open at left ran into close combat and wiped out the Italian paras.

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The Tetrarch drove on, took a shot, missed and was blown up by the Italian anti-tank gun.  The sniper to the left never missed a shot all game.

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Off to the right field the British press ahead.  The white marker is the ranging in of the Italian mortar on the jeep.

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The armoured car moves up to hose down the British.  Due to shooting partly across the hedge the British (6 left from 8 after fighting the infantry) get cover (base 3 +2 cover, moved, -1 point blank).

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Lesser troops would have had it here but these are veterans, they get away with a pin.  Turn 4 the first die is British, they activate, shed the pin and charge the armoured car (blood curdling charge helps but they are within 6″ anyhow).  They get enough hits to knock out the armoured car and consolidate back behind the hedge.

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The British contimue to move up and around the objective.  The 75mm howitzer (out of shot of this image) has zoned in on it.  The Italians within are taking pins.  They rally (but can’t do anything else) then get pinned again the following turn.  The Britsh off board artillery finally comes in and knocks out the anti tank gun.  The truck is taken out by rifle fire.  The morale of all Italian units is now down by 2 as they have lost 2 and more unit dice than the British.

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This vehicle may be good against tanks but has only 1 weapon and is open topped.  Against an infantry army it did well shooting 3″ HE but was a lot of points for the privilige.

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Turn 5 is largely mopping up and moving around the objective.  As charge range is 6″ in bad going the boys can’t get in this turn.

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There are Italians in that ruin but not many of them.

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The final layout at the end of turn 5 when the Italians conceded.

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Looking back this was a game that was heavily slanted as soon as the lists came out.  The Italians took a lot of anti-tank assets but the only British vehicles were a Tetrarch and jeep.  The Semovente self propelled gun had no machine guns and was open topped meaning that it had to keep well back, even rifle fire could pin it.  If I had brought a big tank (a Cromwell is the best to fit with an Airborne ORBAT) it would have caused me some concern but I had gone infantry heavy.   The 225 points spent on it could have bought a little tank bristling with MMGs such the M14/41 at 135 points (3MMGs and a light gun) with plenty of spare points for more infantry.

The wheeled anti tank gun would have been better as some sort of howitzer.  With only 2 infantry squads to hinge the defence around it was going to be an uphill struggle.  The game took 2 1/2 hours including table and set up.  It would have been interesting to swap sides and play it again to see if the Italians could have done any better.  Looking at the British force the veterans kept on going, even shrugging off losing half a unit from a single 3″ HE shot.  I have a PIAT, 2 recce jeeps, a 6 pounder and flamethrower that I did not use in this list.  A potential army development would be another squad of paras and a Cromwell tank to give some more options if fighting at 1250 points.

From a gaming perspective the mixed SMG, rifle and LMG squads are hard to work with.  All the models have the appropriate weapons but you have to get pretty close to the table to work out who has what during a game.  In my other armies a squad is either all SMG or rifle/LMG with a sole SMG on the leader making it easy to see which one that is.  Many manufactures supply British Airborne packs in a mix of berets and helmets (Black Tree and Wargames Foundry do either or) making it hard to build up units where only beret models have SMGs.  Some distinctive flock or tufts on SMG bases look to be in order to more clearly see who is where.

 

Bolt Action British Airborne

I spend far more time building up gaming armies than actually using them on the table.  For Bolt Action I can now field the following armies all at the same time and all at least 1,000 points, fully painted and based.  Dad’s Army (used at Britcon 2015 with predictable failure, I had played the rules twice before the tourney), my 1st Bolt Action army, inspired by and built around the Foundry Home Guard Heroes range.  German, mostly Black Tree models and built up as historical opponents to the Home Guard.  Fallschirmjager (yet to see action), more Black Tree and planned as a more apt opposition to the Home Guard.  Oddly these figures wear the early pattern ‘short shorts’ jump smock but are largely armed with late war assault rifles providing a conundrum as where to best use them.  Soviet Russians, the army that I am most likely to use in a game where I entertain some hope of winning.  British in Jungle Green for Burma (used once), a temptation from the old Ian Allen shop in Manchester that was selling off the figures.  Japanese, my least favoured army (used twice) bought to give the Jungle Green British something to do.

The Airborne (I see them being used as glider troops) were inspired by an eBay auction which I won but the seller then decided to cancel and re-list.  Morally this should be outlawed but it has happened to me twice.  The excuse in this case being that the goods had been listed as ‘buy it now’ but should have been an auction item.  My thoughts had been that the low price might have been due to a falling out with the ‘significant other’.  Anyhow having lit up the mental light bulb up I ordered enough Black Tree airborne to fill out the army.  With the original eBay purchase off the agenda I bought more figures from Artisan/North Star, Warlord and 1st Corps to complete the force.

My basic preparation style is to get the lead on the table looking good enough but not spending too much time on it.  In the past I painted eyes and eyebrows on 15mms, I still have many of those figures, remember painting the detail but cannot see it even with a magnifying glass.  In 25mms (still smaller than modern 28mms) I painted eyes and eyeballs plus shields and heraldic designs.  Now a  painted slit for the eye and and another for the eyebrow is the best figures get except for darker skinned negroes where a black eye on dark brown skin does not work.  They are upgraded to white eyes with black pupils.  One advantage of camouflage colours is that there is no nasty piping or colours and cuffs to slow down the progress.  With fading and limited quality control there are no worries about getting an exact colour match either.

All the manufacturers figures arrived in 1-2 weeks.  I will use these Black Tree figures to outline the preparation process.  I have quite a few Black Tree models, WW2 and Medieval and the pose quality does vary a bit.  These paratroopers are excellent, minimal flash and lovely poses.  The models were painted in a single batch of 20, doing 1 colour or step on all the models in turn then moving on.  Here they are cleaned up and based.  Anything that needs gluing gets done now.  The premise is that sticking metal to metal or plastic will be longer lasting than sticking paint to paint.  The PIAT has been made up with Warlord British bits.  Black Tree don’t do a PIAT nor an Airborne with a bren.

prepped

Next it all gets an undercoat.  The paras in brown as that fits well with their battledress.  The tetrarch in black because black spray is cheaper than brown.

undercoat

The first stage of painting does not worry too much about keeping within the lines.

rough

Hitting with satin floor varnish picks up more detail but does make the minis shine.  The paint needs to be definately dry before hitting with the water based dip.  I leave it 24 hours unless the weather is unusually warm.  As the Basetex takes a while to dry that has been put on at this stage as well.

dipped

The dip hides some mistakes but picks up others.  The dip needs another day or so to dry.  The mistakes are then corrected, bits that have become too dark painted over and highlights picked out in the original or a lightened colour.  Details that the dip would block out such as cap badges and rank insignia are also painted on after the dip stage.

After tidying up the figure matt varnish will dull the whole effect.  This image shows miniatures tidied up but before and after the matt varnish.  I have had too many cases of spray varnish giving a frosted or milky effect.  In this case I have gone for Winsor and Newton Galeria Matt Acrylic Varnish carefully brushed on.  Below is a matted and gloss trooper side by side.  The matt was a bit of a mixed bag.  In some cases very little dulling occurred and in others there was some milky pooling that needed painting over.

matt

After the glue has dried (another 24 hours), static grass is attached by soaking the sand base in more dip and sprinking on the  grass.  Having glue sticking the sand down from underneath then later sinking more glue-like varnish from on top encourages the sand and flock to stay put.  If the sand layer is not completely fixed before the dip stage goes down the sand will simply lift off again.

The packages were ordered close to New Years Day and were ready to play with on the 18th January.  Apart from waiting for the figures to arrive the main delay was thorough drying time between paint, dip, more paint, matt varnish, sand then flock on bases.  In dry Summer weather this time delay can be reduced to a few hours each but rushing the job can see one layer pulling the previous layer off as all stages bar the undercoat are water based.  There is little real delay as while 1 batch is waiting to dry another moves into production.  This particular army was handled in 4 batches, the Black Tree infantry (20 figures), Warlord and Artisan infantry (20) figures, Warlord and Artisan guns and crew then finally 1st Corps gun and jeeps.

I have ended up with enough troops for 4 sections of 8 men (2 with brens, the other 2 bren teams must be on the jeeps), a PIAT, 2 flamethrowers, 2 medium mortars, 1 pack howitzer, 1 6 pounder, 2 jeeps with twin Vickers and a Tetrarch. There are also a 5 odd figures for officers’ mates and spotters. This is plenty for 1,000 point Bolt Action lists in the Normandy or Market Garden selectors although not at the same time.  I already have some other British troops such as a sniper and unarmed jeeps that will probably end up in action with the paras.

army

Here are close ups of the right most squads:

squadsrt

And those to the left of field:

squadslt

The PIAT is a middling choice as with a range of 12″ it will usually be hitting at 5+ (long range + moved or soft cover).  If it does get that close and misses the target will probably put 6 German MMG shots back at it, moving out of PIAT range first (6 * 4 or 5+, moved with possible cover).  The army has very little anti-tank, the howitzer is good as Bolt Action treats it as a 25 pounder (minus gun shield, 66 points veteran) so it can fire HE (2″) or anti-tank (+4) almost as well as the 6 pounder (90 points veteran, +5 and 1″ HE).  Plus the Howitzer is smaller so may be easier to hide.  Another approach is that for less than the cost of the 6 pounder all the infantry can have Gammon bombs (2 points per man, 64 for all 4 8-man squads).  This is exactly what was used at Pegasus Bridge but that action did begin at night.

The front mortar here is Artisan, the one at the back Warlord.  The Howitzer is Warlord and the 6 pounder 1st Corps.

guns

The Flames of War site has a nice briefing of the 6th Airborne Recce Regiment that highlights some of the historical support available.  Airborne on Universal carriers is a viable option from my existing models as is a Daimler Armoured car (from an integral Belgian unit).  The Daimler (115 points regular) has the same turret as the Tetrarch (120 points regular with Little John adaptor) but has the recce rule that the tank does not.  For a proper tank I should be going for a Cromwell, something that I do not possess.  I am waiting for some more formation transfers to arrive to finally sign off the Tetrarch.

tank

The jeeps are iconic airborne.  The 2 armed jeeps here are 1st Corps with a Matchbox conversion in the middle.  I may yet do some Dremel surgery on the matchbox driver’s head (he is a Warlord American with a plastic bare head and some green stuff work).  The 1st Corps jeeps are the same length as the Matchbox but narrower.

jeeps

A glider would be handy, Grand Manner do a 28mm Horsa in resin and Fiddlers Green a paper Horsa but that would need to be upscaled from HO.  The major issue of having a glider is that one is not going to be enough and where would I store them?

Congo: The King of the Apes

I had a go at scenario 2 (the King of the Apes) at the club with one of our younger members and again (solo) at home.  The advantage of Congo lies in its scenarios.  With the forces duking it out on open terrain those with the best guns are going to be at an advantage.  By forcing the columns to do something else than a straight punch up the odds are evened out.

Congo comes with all the cardboard counters and templates that you need but I bought some more from Blotz who do a range of plastic and MDF tokens and gaming aids together with MDF buidings.

congoruler

Their tokens come in various colours but I fancied the see through green would be a good combination of clarity and subtlety.  I took this photo with the flash off as with it on they show up with a supernatural glare.

tokens

The rulers are in Congo sizes which just happen to differ from the Saga sizes.  I bought some standard rules to cover the missing 6″ ruler needed for Saga.

rulers

I kept to the regular cards but did sleeve them.  Each side has to choose 3 out of 7 manouevre cards each turn and can then play them in any order.  The cards are marked for permissable actions and initiative with higher numbered cards being played first.  Some thought has been given to what is on each card so the strong rally or terror card will usually force a player to go last.  Just moving but not being allowed to charge into combat will take precedance over the cards that allow less movement but the ability to do something else at the same time and also allow moving into close combat.  The chance or totem cards have a bigger effect on the game generally allowing additional extra actions, dice or range bonuses.  If the white men do not get units within Kong’s layer (and risk being attacked by him) the forest tribes draw a bonus totem card each turn.

Here is the starting situation with Kong in the middle.  He cannot move further than ‘M’ from the monument.  The 4 skulls on sticks highlight this area and give a bonus totem card to the white men for each one captured.

setup

The 2 sides are going to come in from opposite corners.  The white man’s expedition had 90 points and needed to capture Kong.  Kong has 8 life points but the final point must be removed in hand to hand to count as a capture.  In our club game the hunters poured lead into Kong to weaken him then easily finished him off.  The forest tribes had spent too much effort on knocking lumps off the hunters intead of trying to protect Kong.  The key to doing this is to try and move him out of the line of fire and to get native troops in the way of the hunter’s guns.  All the trees are blocking and dangerous terrain.

The white men had a unit of adventurers, one of trained askaris, 3 of regular askaris, one of bowmen and one of ruga ruga led by an explorer aided by a reporter. In this playthrough I forgot that the explorers started exhausted so had a 2/3 chance of each unit beginning with a stress token and 1/6 chance of being a man down.

The forest tribes had only 70 points so took 2 units of warriors (the models with some sort of hat), 2 of young warriors (bareheaded), 1 of  bundukis (with muskets), 1 of scouts (without shields).  The tribes also had a chieftain, war drum and sacred warrior.  The bundukis may have been a poor choice as it was the only forest unit with firearms and this faction are better off charging into combat compared to throwing spears or shooting their muskets.

The white men bring in trained (in kahki) and ordinary askari (in robes) at the SE board edge.  The forest tribes quickly bring up warriors and bunduki to slow them dowm.

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In the NW the adventurers lead the way.  The forect tribes will be finding it hard to keep Kong out of the line of fire.

2

Warriors aggressivly bottle up the trained askari.  In retrospect they should have finished off the weakened hunter units.

3

Askari get into the dense trees (minus 1 askari attacked by a leopard) and get the first hit on Kong.

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The explorer moves past the warrior unit.  These units are pretty close.  We must assume that all the board is desnse jungle and that it is relatively easy to sneak past your enemy.  The hunters have no direct gain in killing natives.  They need to concentrate on Kong.

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Back with the adventurers at the NW corner the white man’s units are racking up stress.  Two examples here are hand icons which prevent the unit acting again this turn unlesss they pass a rally action.

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A close up of the askari in the tall trees.  For them the hit counter means that they must reload before shooting again.  For Kong it is his wounds taken.

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The last 2 askari in the centre here are in a bad way but the ruga ruga  (white kilts) have come up to take the pressure off.  The bowmen in the woods are keeping a low profile (I forgot about them for 2 turns).

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The trained askari sneak past the warriors, the bunduki ahead of them are unloaded.

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The big picture, Kong has to stay away from hunters to the NW and SE.  The forest tribes are doing their best to block line of sight to Kong.

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The explorers get 2 more hits on Kong before the forest tribes can shield him again.

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The expedition is moving in for the capture but is running out of time.

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The archers have wiped out a unit of forest warriors.  Not knocking out the sole askari on the left cost the forest tribes the game.

13

The scouts (at left, no shields) move in on the askari.

14

A close up of some of the askari

15

The final curtain.  Kong is alive but has 3 wounds.  An explorer win.  If the lone askari in the NW with 2 fatigue had been taken down this would have been a draw.

16

This all took about 1 1/2 hours including getting the terrain out and units set up.  As everything was still good to go I played it all through again.  The white man’s expedition never really got going and suffered badly in hand to hand combat resulting in a win for the forest tribe column.

Here are some useful links for background inspiration.  A 3 part article originally published on the Wargames Foundry site and now archived gives some background detail to the setting and a campaign that could be adapted to Congo.  Here are parts background, rules and the campaign map.  The authorised biography of Tippoo Tib (published 1907), trader, slaver, plantation owner.  Henry Morton Stanley gets a bad press these days but the guy could write: A good start would be How he found Livingstone,together with the rescue of Emin Pasha and volume 2 of the rescue.  It could be argued that Livingstone did not need to be found not did Emin Pasha require rescuing.  Certainly Emin’s troops had gone native and had a nice little earner going on that would not fit in well with returning to the Sudan.