Sunday, 30 April 2017

Congo - the African Adventure Wargame

I like wargames set in 19th century Africa. I also like wargames that have interesting and novel rules. In this vein I am also entirely unafraid of cards, counters, measuring sticks, using different dice than a D6 and innovative turn sequences. Much of that last sentence seems to bother some gamers ... especially the cards. I especially like games that make command and control a bit difficult so you don't get to move everything you want when you want it. Good scenario variation is also a must. 

If you think any of that wasn't complete shite then you could do much worse than buying the "Congo" wargame. I find it - and all those I have talked into playing it - have found it not only fun but challenging to play. 

We played scenario three, where one tribe tries to spirit their kindly Christian missionary off the table before some fearsome attackers can do the same - but Father Mecilin will probably end up in the pot or being sold if the attackers triumph. 

Both attackers and defenders deploy in various spots around the table edge and then converge on the centre. 

This image shows one of the cards whereby orders are given. This card allows one player to move a unit (foot) and rally or inspire terror (drums) in another. The white number at the top reveals the initiative order players will order their troops in. Each player selects three of these cards per turn and selects one each phase playing them simultaneously with their opponent. 

This image not only shows melee between slavers and jungle tribe spearmen but also shows the counters which communicate stress. Here the two sword counters have sadly reduced this unit's fighting capability right before the fracas. Up to four stress token may be placed on a unit. Further tokens produce dire consequences such as fleeing and losing models. 

Here the slavers have rolled the maximum of 6 on the Plunder table and not only gain something valuable but set the hut alight. In this scenario both of those outcomes add Victory points to the slaver total and the higher the VP total determines who wins the game. 

Some jungle tribe hunters range in on the slavers in the distance. Fortunately all units have a 360 degree facing arc so being shot from behind leads to no further penalty. 

More spears to the rescue. Unfortunately this was a moment before the slaver players used multiple terror tests on the unit. Stress token were quickly amassed and this entire unit was removed from the board aided by a volley from the zanzibari muskets. 

An unstoppable combo ... here an activation card is modified with a beneficial totem card. In this case the initiative card raises the white number at the top to an unbeatable level ensuring the player activates in that phase first. Very handy but a one use trick (and you have to be lucky enough to draw that totem card in the first place ... you get one of those per turn.)

Oh ... I did have an image of that unit about to rout. The terrible thing here is not so much the 4 stress tokens (although that is not good) it is that 3 of them are terror tokens. This means an additional token will be drawn for each terror token on the unit. The slaver player volleyed into the unit with muskets. As muskets in Africa - in this period - were frequently loaded with far too much powder and all manner of objects - any volley results in a stress token being drawn. In this case it means 1 stress token + 1 for each terror token on the unit = 4 total. The fifth stress token means the unit retreats, the sixth, seventh and eighth tokens all result in a model being removed. Ouch! 

The dreaded red hand stress token. If this is drawn from the cup (stress tokens are drawn randomly) then the unit cannot move or shoot for the remainder of the turn - it is then removed but often the damage is done. 

The African natives did have some victories. 

Here they gleefully spear their attackers. 

Oh ... nice jungle terrain ... why thankyou! I swear by aquarium plants. Cheap and they arrive in large quantities. When liberally mixed and glued into a hole drilled into a cardboard base covered in PVA and sand (drybrushed and flocked of course) magic happens. I have almost denuded an entire beach of sand over my years making wargames terrain. PVA and sand ... I love you. 

This slaver unit was on a rampage. 

Please note the frightened and bound African woman being forced forward by the slaver with the whip -  a nice dramatic touch which directly aids immersion into the period and setting. 

There - I finally squeezed out that report. Move Congo will definitely follow. I do enjoy the game a great deal but I want to buy more African colonial models ... just over 100 seems not to be enough. It's FAR more than you need for a game of Congo ... but when you're as hooked on the setting as I am ... well enough said. I really want some of those tribesmen that I can paint with skeletal warpaint on them, then some more askari, oh and I could do with some more slavers with swords or spears then I need about 15 archers, and a large menacing but crude idol that I could splatter with red to resemble blood .... (you get the idea - I'm hooked!) 

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