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"Top 5 Reasons to Game the Zulu Wars?" Topic

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Action Log

22 Aug 2017 2:59 p.m. PST
by Editor in Chief Bill

  • Removed from TMP Poll Suggestions board

Areas of Interest

19th Century

1,140 hits since 30 Jan 2017
©1994-2019 Bill Armintrout
Comments or corrections?

Personal logo Editor in Chief Bill The Editor of TMP Fezian30 Jan 2017 6:14 p.m. PST

Given that Zulus are the most popular Colonial genre – TMP link – what makes you excited about gaming the Anglo-Zulu Wars?

Personal logo Bashytubits Supporting Member of TMP30 Jan 2017 6:27 p.m. PST

Zulus, Isandlwhana, Zulus, Hlobane, Rorkes Drift and dare I mention Zulus? Plus those Red and Blue uniforms for the Brits are the bomb.

YogiBearMinis Supporting Member of TMP30 Jan 2017 6:29 p.m. PST

British red uniforms have to be #1

Wackmole9 Supporting Member of TMP30 Jan 2017 6:32 p.m. PST

Men of Harlech

Syrinx030 Jan 2017 7:40 p.m. PST

All of the above.

Winston Smith30 Jan 2017 7:47 p.m. PST

One great movie, one decent one.

Plus you get to sing Men of Harlech.

Hafen von Schlockenberg30 Jan 2017 8:24 p.m. PST

Painting hundreds of Zulu shield lacings.

No,wait--you said the TOP 5. . .

GGouveia30 Jan 2017 8:28 p.m. PST

Isandalwana, Rorke's Drift, movies Zulu and Zulu Dawn, cool uniforms, and "Zulus Thousands of them".

D A THB30 Jan 2017 9:26 p.m. PST

Zulu, Zulu Dawn, Michael Caine, Red Tunics/white Sun helmets, the sheer enormity of painting thousands of Zulus.

Early morning writer30 Jan 2017 10:33 p.m. PST

I think there was cheating in the poll – who wants to have a game of execution. Oh, wait, there is the all time tops uniform of the 24th. But, who cheated?

GreenLeader30 Jan 2017 10:44 p.m. PST

Each to their own, but though it was the first war I gamed, I quickly grew bored of Zulu War for wargames…

Rorke's Drift is, of course, an epic action – but I have never seen it translate well into a wargame.

Similarly, if given any sort of latitude in his actions, the British player should easily win at Isandlwana… and if you hamstring enough to give the Zulu player a chance, he might as well not be there.

I admit the film was great, and the spectacle of well painted armies / a good battlefield in a Zulu War game are great… but I just found there wasn't a great deal to do for either player.

As I said before, however: each to their own. We all enjoy the hobby for different reasons.

daler240D30 Jan 2017 11:52 p.m. PST

Am not excited about it. Don't find it interesting at all. I prefer comparable forces that use tactics other than overwhelming numbers thrown into a meat grinder. Brave, yes but not cricket in my opinion.

daler240D30 Jan 2017 11:53 p.m. PST

Oh, but they were good movies.

advocate31 Jan 2017 12:18 a.m. PST

Play it as a campaign and the British have difficult choices to make. But the Maori Wars were my pick.
For the AZW:
Zulu, Zulu Dawn, redcoats, assegais, Martini-Henry rifles.

Rich Bliss31 Jan 2017 12:55 a.m. PST

The book "Washing of the Spears"

Ney Ney31 Jan 2017 3:34 a.m. PST

The only point that I have against Zulu war is lack of good rules. Otherwise it is perfecto!

ZULUPAUL Supporting Member of TMP31 Jan 2017 4:28 a.m. PST

Well, Zulus, thousands of 'em. No other reason is needed!

VCarter Supporting Member of TMP31 Jan 2017 8:07 a.m. PST

Zulupaul hit the nail on the head (and with that screen name it's no wonder he got it right on the first try).

It is good to be King Supporting Member of TMP31 Jan 2017 8:17 a.m. PST

I own lots of painted Zulus

Ragbones Supporting Member of TMP31 Jan 2017 10:08 a.m. PST

The Sudan was my first choice but the AZW is a very close second, for many of the reasons already mentioned: Zulus ("thousands of 'em!"), great looking British uniforms (love those sun helmets!), fascinating battles, one great and one really good movie (both with superb film scores to listen to while painting and gaming), and a lot of outstanding literature on the subject.

Personal logo ageofglory Sponsoring Member of TMP31 Jan 2017 10:24 a.m. PST

For me, It's the whole panoply of the Anglo-Zulu War. IF I had to choose one aspect, it's the variety of mounted auxiliaries fighting for the British, and their tactical possibilities.

Frederick Supporting Member of TMP31 Jan 2017 12:26 p.m. PST

Red jackets and white helmets

Tons and tons of Zulus

And – of course – the rifles

"The Martini Henry is a soldier's best friend
It stops you a Zulu with each rounds you expends
It kills them rascals right dead in their tracks
And it might get you too, if they're coming in packs"

-Barnyard Kipling

Ivan DBA31 Jan 2017 6:28 p.m. PST

Only five reasons? But there are thousands of 'em!!

CATenWolde01 Feb 2017 3:44 a.m. PST

I was drawn in by the immense contrasts involved in the war – the most advanced technological empire of its day versus a warlike kingdom of (effectively) pre-technological natives; even on the visual side, the bright primary colors of the British versus the earth tones of the Zulus. Between the two movies and Kipling its hard not to get drawn in.

On the gaming front, however, the actual historical battles are a bit of a bore, to be honest, of the "charge and die!" sort. The period plays out best at two widely different levels – either "patrol" level games, where rules like The Sword and the Flame shine in recognizing each side's advantages and disadvantages – or "campaign" level games where vast strategic choices are made and thousands of men can be sent into action, and the scale of the war becomes the real challenge. I've played both, and they can be grand!

Whatever rules you use, they should represent the struggle over the "tipping point", with the British fairly invincible IF immobile but potentially overwhelmed if they are forced to fight on the move and worry about their flanks. My home rules for our campaign battles concentrated on that point, along with formation level Zulu morale.



XRaysVision01 Feb 2017 7:30 a.m. PST

Besides the obvious attraction of Zulu shields and red coats, there is the challenge of war gaming asymmetrical warfare.

This type of 'unbalanced' warfare carries particular challenges in simulation and scenario design. It's not unlike the Western wars with Native Americans and modern Middle Eastern conflicts.

gisbygeo Supporting Member of TMP01 Feb 2017 5:42 p.m. PST

I get to use my hundreds of Zulu figures.

XRaysVision02 Feb 2017 6:20 a.m. PST

It occurred to me that I really didn't answer the OP's question.

1. Interesting/challenging asymmetrical warfare gaming

2. Interesting figures to paint

3. Terrain

4. Game visuals (spectacle)

5. My British heritage, movies, stories, etc.

These are true of all of the British Colonial period. I suppose that I lean toward the Zulu and Mahdi's wars because of books and movies of my youth. Purely subjective and emotional, I know.

Personal logo etotheipi Sponsoring Member of TMP02 Feb 2017 8:12 a.m. PST

Quantity has a quality all its own.

Also, I get excited that other people like gaming this genre, as it makes lots of British in pith helmets and Zulu figures available on the market. Some day I am going to make Zulus from my Zulu figures … some day …

Also … Eshowe, Hlobane, and Gingindlovu

Intombe is a good set up (I love a good supply train protection engagement), if you allow changing some of the key bits that resulted in it being a slaughter.

As XRaysVision points out, all these are tactically asymmetrical, which is fun.

WillieB Supporting Member of TMP02 Feb 2017 8:19 a.m. PST

Would I be considered a heretic if I said that I feel that the Zulu Wars are IMHO the least interesting of all Colonial Wars?
With the possible exception of the Opium Wars. All rather one- sided an frankly without 'adjusting' the rules to a ridiculous degree hardly playable.
Afghan Wars, Sudan, Indian Mutiny, Sikh Wars, Boer Wars or any other where the adversary has a least a fighting chance definitely yes.

But gaming a war where you have to outnumber your opponent 30 to 1 to have a chance, or give him the gaming IQ of a mollusc, I pass.

Murvihill02 Feb 2017 10:44 a.m. PST

If you play a line-the-table-edge-and-charge with Zulus you'll get bored after one game, but if you play with hidden setup and movement it can make a much different game. I set up one TSATF game where two British and one NNC companies were escorting a wagon train down a road through low grass. The Zulus got 18" of gullies and 24" of swales (low hills you can lie down behind) that they drew on a map. Then the British set up their column and marched down the road, trying to figure out where the ambush would come from.

HammerHead02 Feb 2017 11:33 a.m. PST

I love the film Zulu like many others, but the real Zulu war had many battles with different regiments and Gatling guns. Why play the same game time after time?
Or is that not cricket old bean?

Personal logo Herkybird Supporting Member of TMP02 Feb 2017 3:37 p.m. PST

But gaming a war where you have to outnumber your opponent 30 to 1 to have a chance, or give him the gaming IQ of a mollusc, I pass.

I usually find the Zulu numerical advantage is about 4:1 to give them a chance, if they have a co-ordinated attack and some difficult terrain to advance in for at least 1 wing.

My Top 5:

The Films!
Easy painting of the Natives…comparatively.
The visual spectacle of the games.
The stress of facing that horde as you realise they will reach the barricades….!
You can use plastics (and a choice of styles!)- for both sides, which makes them only bulky, and not heavy, to carry.

Nick Pasha03 Feb 2017 5:25 a.m. PST

Isandalwana and Hlobane are British defeats. Khambula is a British win but a near run thing. I ran a Rorke's Drift battle where the Zulus won. British fire power is key but if your dice are bad the Zulus can win. The many differently uniformed volunteers are great to paint up, especially the Sakhali Horse. There are many possibilities for small skirmishes. The seige and relief of Eshowe is an interesting battle, one I am running at Recon in Orlando. There is potential for Zulu wins and a campaign would raise many scenarios. Talking about bad dice in a recent game I rolled 50 dice in several rounds for Sudanese unit before I got a hit. Dervishes had more hits than me. One other thought, the Zulus usually outnumbered the British,so a 3 to 1 ratio works. The more Zulus you have the better.

EricThe Shed03 Feb 2017 7:58 a.m. PST

Having just completed my Zulu project I reflected on why I invested so much time on this

1. this was done as my own personal memorial to my old man (he was a Zulu Wars fanatic – read every book, bought pictures etc)

2. Everybody loves the films- so it has to be recreating
that cinematic experience

3. The fact that both sides are so very different – uniforms, tactics, weaponry etc

4. The challenge of painting and fielding 700 zulus – one day Ill get to a 1000 – plus all the Allied forces

5. Playing the games – our recent experience of Rorjkes Drift was a nerve shattering affair – makes you appreciate the sacrifices made on both sides

XRaysVision03 Feb 2017 8:38 a.m. PST

I really think that the key to successfully gaming asymmetrical conflicts in in the scenario design including victory conditions.

Like the Kobashi Maru 'no win' scenario, victory for the forlorn, whether British or Zulu, determined by how well the game is played (how many turns they can hold out).

For instance, using PoW rules, I GM'ed a Zulu war scenario where in the British were escorting a herd of cattle the length of the table. Cattle are valuable commodity. The victory conditions were determined by how many cattle did or did not make it off the table.

WillieB Supporting Member of TMP04 Feb 2017 2:30 a.m. PST

All of the above seem like interesting scenario's to play in the Zulu Wars. Whilst of course most, if not all could also be played in almost any other colonial scenario, it simply portrays my absolute lack of knowledge in that particular area.

Still not going to paint a 1000 Zulu's grin

LOve the films too and now bemoan the fact that there has never been a good one made about the Indian Mutiny. Imagine one about the Defence of Lucknow, the Storming of Delhi, Hindu Rao's House, the defense of Arrah or even Cawnpore.

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