Another Zulu War Portable Wargame

Anthony and I met up in his games room to play through another Zulu War era game using his 54mm Little Legion collection and the Portable Wargames rules.

The scenario for this game was again taken from the Battle Cry set of Zulu War scenarios and based on the battle of Hlobane.

The basic setup is shown above. Due to limitations on the tiles that Anthony has available, the area surrounded by hills represents the plateau and the river can be ignored… I am currently producing some more tiles for Anthony so he has more flexibility in layouts.

In the original battle, the British eventually realised that they were heavily outnumbered and withdrew. Battle Cry simulates this through the use of cards that enable units to be withdrawn. This is difficult to do with a ruleset such as The Portable Wargame as all the units have freedom to move each turn. With this in mind, we decided to play with the normal “eliminate 2/3rds of the opposition” rule which meant that the British had to kill 10 units and the Zulus had to kill 6.

Anthony contemplating the British position at the start of the game.

The British had 2 artillery pieces (rockets in the actual battle) and these were to prove quite effective with the artillery removing one zulu unit on the very first turn.

The Zulus had 4 units per table side that could come on with a roll of 5-6 was made each turn for each unit. They came on in dribs and drabs over the course of the game.

We used the instant death rules for elimination and initially rated the British as Elite and the Zulus as raw, but realised quite early on that this was too extreme a difference and adjusted to rating everything as average after a number of my zulu units were quickly eliminated in the first few turns.

In the end, the game was very close with both of us requiring one more kill to win the game. I won the initiative as the Zulus but failed to kill either of the British units I was able to attack and Anthony just managed to eliminate a Zulu unit to clinch victory…

Another fun game….

4 thoughts on “Another Zulu War Portable Wargame

  1. I love reading these reports and looking at all the pictures. Really a smashing looking game in every way. I was especially intrigued how you translated the unusual aspects of the historical battle to an abstract system like The Portable Wargame. Bravo on all counts!

  2. Thanks.

    Daryl, it is interesting trying to translate battles from systems that offer very limited or constrained command and control to something like Portable Wargame which has a very abstract open system where every unit can move.

    I have considered bolting on a PIP dice style mechanism for some scenarios to limit the players’ options a little more.


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