Monday, May 1, 2017

CONGO - First game

I clearly remember when Foundry announced its Darkest Africa range about 20 years ago.  Beautiful Mark Copplestone sculpts, on what was at the time a unique subject (and still there are not many alternatives to Foundry).  Foundry Darkest Africa

I wasn't aware of Chris Peers' rules that were written to accompany the range, but the figures were so cool, I actually bought a few dozen askari to use in my Warhammer Empire army!!  (Weird, I know.).  But being focused on other games, I left it at that.

Years later, I traded those figures away, along with the rest of my Warhammer stuff.  But I never forgot about the Darkest Africa range, which in my opinion may be Mr.Copplestone's opus magnum (which is saying something).

Fast-forward to last year, and Studio Tomahawk came out with Congo, a skirmish game about the 19th century exploration of Africa.  Think Henry Morton Stanley, saying, "Dr. Livingstone, I presume?"

Congo has a pretty low-figure count, 25 to 50 figures being typical.  And Studio Tomahawk's rules are right up my alley.  Fast, simple, but tactically interesting.  So I jumped in, and picked up some of those Darkest Africa figures I'd admired for so long.

After a few months of painting figures and terrain, I met up with Adam and Pete for a first couple games.  I brought my newly painted Zanzibari column, and Adam had his Explorer column.  Pete provided a willingness to learn new rules, and a capacity for snarky comments. 

First up was the Last Queen of Aksum.  In this Adventure, an Explorer Column has recovered an ancient artifact.  While marching back to the cost, its encampment is attacked by Zanzibaris, eager to seize the treasure for themselves. 

The Explorers designate one group as carrying the treasure, and their objective is to get it off-board.  The Zanzibaris don't know which group is carrying, but can learn via clues during the game. 

My Ruga-Ruga moved in from the left, while Tippu-Tib leads Baluchi musketmen from the south. 

The Ruga-Ruga crept through a stand of trees, and opened fire on the camp.  Some of the Explorer's Trained Askaris dashed from the opposite side of the camp.

But they were then decimated by accurate shooting from the Baluchis' jezzails.

At some point, I worked out that the Explorers had entrusted the treasure to their loyal Kirangozi (in the group at the left, with a red Panic token).  So the Baluchis hoofed it back to the left, to intercept the treasure.

But the Baluchis, with thier slower-firing jezzails and swords & shields, were no match for for three groups of askaris with modern rifles.  They were soon demoralized, routing off the board.

The Explorers were inches away from victory...when a sleeping lion woke up, and attacked the Kiranzogi!

The lion proceeded kill the Kirangozi, and his comrades fled... leaving the treasure of Aksum to be scooped up by the Ruga-Ruga.

Technically the Zanzibaris won at this point.  But I suspect the Ruga-Ruga then legged it, and kept the treasure for themselves.


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