The title might sound like a smartphone game app or some punk tribute band, but it’s not! Over a couple of nights spread over a couple of weeks, the Belgian Force Publique battled with Azande warriors in the Congo, all in miniature of course!
My long-time wargames opponent John has been building various armies for years for fighting games set in Sub-Saharan Africa between 1880-ish and 1918. Having tried different rules, he finally got the “Death In The Dark Continent” rulebook, decided it looked pretty good and embarked upon creating multi-figure bases to fit in with the new rules (although the single figures still remain removable). With the bases done, it was time to have a proper game at last!
I was in charge of a Belgian force tasked with tracking down and bringing to order a band of Azande tribesmen who had been raiding local farms and settlements. I had a command group, two units of regular soldiers, two units of raw conscripts, a local militia unit and a baggage train. The Azande had a mixture of skirmishers, close combat troops and some Arabs with firearms. I think the figures are mainly 25/28mm Wargames Foundry and Copplestone Castings, but I’m likely to be corrected on this!
Perhaps unsurprisingly, my Belgian-led force got ambushed! The local militia unit leading my right flank column was charged at close range and quickly disintegrated, but the supporting regular infantry held firm and halted any further Azande progress on that flank (for now)!
Meanwhile, my left flank regulars had deployed into a firing line and were blazing away (somewhat ineffectually) at the Azande forces rapidly switching to this flank. However, a charge by one of my conscript units led to disaster and things started folding up from then on!
Deciding that discretion is the better part of valour, my troops started pulling back, having already sent the baggage train on its way. With casualties mounting (five red counters on a unit and it’s had it) my commander decided that maybe advancing back towards a comfortable billet was the way to go and the Belgians withdrew in some disorder, leaving the Azande victorious!
Well, despite me losing, it was a good game, with a lot happening! The rules are very good, detailed enough to take into account the varying troop types, but with simple, effective movement, firing, close combat and morale mechanisms! Another game will no doubt be on the cards!
And after discussing the game and the rules, I hinted (rather obviously) that it had been a while since John had run a Wild West skirmish game and wouldn’t it be good to compare one with the Africa game! Watch this space!