Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Pennants this battlefield.

The final day of our Sword and the Flame extravaganza.  The game was a huge hit among the students, and several wished they had been playing this game the entire semester.  Well, gang, for me to do that, I'd have to buy individually mounted 28mm troops for every period I teach,..hmmmm.

Tim reacts to some nasty British artillery pounding his Zulu hordes.  Note my Tardis in the background. It's messier on the inside.

Zulus on and over the Ramparts.  Just as in the historical battle, the hospital fell, but the British rallied behind the biscuit boxes around the storehouse.

After the first attack petered out, the Zulus invoked the "zombie rule." All Zulu casualties were allowed to return to the field, but the British were allowed to redeploy inside the compound.  Sadly, few of the British reinforcements made it that far.

The game at the end. The surviving British made a stand inside the "well-built kraal."  Three waves of Zulus threatened the drift, of which the British were able to fend off one.  Lots of blood and heroism. A great way for these students to wrap up their senior classes!

Monday, April 20, 2015

Spearpoints gleaming

And so the game begun in the last installment continues.

For some reason, my parents collected African art in the 1970's. Anyhow, this Zulu should qualified as art. They gave it to me when they cleaned out their belongings before moving to Florida.  "Hey, Dr. Rabuck. Can I play with your shield?"  "Good God, no."

On turn Three, British reinforcements arrive like the Riders of Freakin' Rohan.  On the British left, a platoon of infantry and some irregular cavalry.

And on the right, some NNC and a pair of field pieces. In retrospect, two field guns are crazy dangerous.

Zulus on the ramparts!

OK, guys. Look badass.  Seriously, is that the best you can do?

After two unsuccessful charges, one Zulu impi breaks through. Lt. Bromhead is killed by an assegai thrown at short range.

Well, don't they make a tempting target, lads?

The infantry screen the cavalry...  Given their firepower, though, the men on horses aren't really needed.

As an added wrinkle, I'm giving the Zulu side the option to pull back and regroup, bringing all dead units back into the fight.  Zombie Zulus!  The downside is that this will allow the Brist to regroup anywhere they want inside the compound.  We'll see how this pans out.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Young Men of Harlech

 My Military History course is offered to second semester seniors. Every kid in class knows that the die has been cast in regards to college admissions.  Thus, keeping them engaged is always a challenge. With this in mind, I front-loaded my Military History course with the academics in January (Sun Tzu, Clausewitz, Marlantes).  Then, for the remainder of the year, we did case studies, watching a movie sett in a period, reading four or five quality sources about the engagement depicted, and then playing a tabletop game recreating the conflict.  As you might imagine, the students are having a blast.

The finale this year was the Zulu War of 1879. While the prequel film Zulu Dawn delves more into the politics of the conflict, there is no equal to the 1964 epic Zulu.  At first the students laughed at some of the hammy acting by the extras, but by the end they were wiping away tears as the two armies serenaded each other before the final round of slaughter. How could we not conclude the year with the attack on Rorke's Drift?

We used 28mm figures (mostly Old Glory, with some plastics from Warlord and Wargames Factory thrown in). I picked up the Rorkes Drift MDF buildings for a song on Ebay. they make a fantastic centerpiece for the battle.  For rules, we're using the tried and true The Sword and the Flame.


Zulus, sir, approaching from the southwest.  Several of 'em!

How could I resist the Warlord "Hollywood" minis?  Here, the hard-as-nails Chard and Colour Sergeant Bourne steel for another wave.

The cheeky Hook offers Lt. Bromhead a drink while Bromhead contemplates a career as a butler to a brooding superhero.

Now that I think of it, I may have under-garrisoned the compound.  That's a lotta Zulu.

British soldiers await deployment.

the head and loin of the Buffalo

And the right horn of said Buffalo.

Two of the Zulu players played war chants from the movie on continual loop.  Stay classy, boys!

More to come as the game unfolds.  Stay tuned!