Wargaming the Exploration and Colonisation of Tropical Africa by European powers from 1850 until 1918.

Thursday, 10 September 2009

Coming soon...The Masai

I've managed to resist these, somehow, for a decade (yes the Foundry Darkest Africa range is that old and more) but the recent 20% off Bank Holiday deal saw me give in at last. I plan to use them as opponents to my Arabs and Baluchis, early Colonial DOAG Germans and in WW1 skirmishes.

Foundry are a funny old company. I'm not one of those people who habitually knock them as I like (most of) their figures and find their mail order service exceptionally good. It's almost instant gratification with Foundry. You put your order in one day and quite often they arrive the next. I don't even have a problem with price as I'm very lucky and don't really have to budget. However, some of the things they have done baffle me. In order to prevent price rises a few years ago they took most of their packs from eight to six figures a pack. This meant that some figures effectively disappeared or turned up in odds and ends packs. Secondly, and much more annoyingly, they stopped including weapons in some packs. I recently bought some of their (excellent) gladiators but the retiarii didn't have tridents included! I was lucky in that I found some on eBay, but how annoying! I have had a similar problem with the Masai. the Masai had quite distinctive looking spears which Foundry included in their packs. No longer! The usual note that you have to provide your own wire spears is apparent. So when my packs arrived; no spears. But blow me down you still buy the individual cast spears as seperate packs on their website (they work out at 24p each). This really is a bit much. If you are making the spears and the figures need them you really should include them. My annoyance was tempered somewhat by the fact that all the supposedly six figure packs had seven figures in them. Even so...

As usual I have started one figure to see how it goes and once my Sudan game is over I shall be working on Masai and Zulus at the same time for a bit.

Wednesday, 26 August 2009

Death in the Dark Continent by Chris Peers

I just picked up the new Chris Peers African rules. I have had his In the Heart of Africa rules for some time and even, shock, played two or three games with them! However, as he says in his introduction to the new set they were, firstly: designed to go with the Mark Copplestone Foundry figures and so included a restricted set of armies and secondly, were really a large scale skirmish set.

The rules cover the period 1870-1899 and end at the latter date quite deliberately as he believes that the Second Boer War was a different sort of campaign. What it does mean is that these rules will work for the Zulu War and the Sudan as well as other colonial conflicts. Some new lists are included over and above those in the original rules: such as Mahdists and much better coverage of Colonial armies in different theatres.

My only slight concern was the need to have multiple based troops but given he suggests a 60x30mm base for 3 troops and mine are based on 20x20mm then making small trays will deal with this quite easily (if time consumingly!) It will be interesting to try them out and compare them with The Sword in the Flame which also uses larger units, rather than being a skirmish game; although in the latter figures are individually based which can make moving large numbers very time consuming.

The rules are available from North Star (although I bought mine in Orc's Nest in London, which is only about 400 yards from my office in trendy North Soho!). North Star also have some extra lists available for free download.

Time to paint some more Ruga Ruga, I think!