Saturday, November 19, 2016

Adventure in Africa

My regular gaming friends and I have recently become enamored of the new Congo rules by Tomahawk Studios. After a first reading of a borrowed copy I was off to the Fall In convention to acquire the rules and figures.
Ruga Ruga mercenaries are attacked by the local tribesmen
The Congo rules portray the early days of European and Arab exploration of the African interior. The game leans more toward the Africa portrayed by Edgar Rice Burroughs and overwrought newspaper accounts than the real thing.  In the mid 19th Century no white man had any idea what was around the next bend in the African rivers. Might be an animal never before seen. Might be a dinosaur or a lost Carthaginian colony. You don't know until you go. Players can represent European or American explorers, Zanzibari Arab expeditions, Forest tribes or savannah based African Kingdoms. Eight scenarios are included with the game, but the players can easily create additional ones (and we will!).
 Ruined wall from a lost civilization peeks out from the encroaching jungle
The game requires only a few dozen figures and is very much focused on the exploits of the main characters. The style of play is Pulp rather than the massed rifle fire of European regulars against plucky but technology deficient natives. What Congo natives lack in technology they make up for with sorcery.
Sanders of the River is the first white man to view the Valley of Kong
I should mention the really cool terrain pieces in this posting were created by local artist Mike Covell, AKA the King of St Maurice. I have no artistic talent myself, but the next best thing is to know someone who does.
Religious totem of a forgotten people is slowly reclaimed by the jungle
Being the flawed individual that I am, I have collected far more figures than I need. My European column has an intrepid explorer, retired military man, experienced native guide, group of three old African hands and native porters, all Copplestone and Foundary figures. The column is protected by tough, disreputable Ruga Ruga mercenaries which I converted from Warlord Games Natal Native Contingent. The Forest Tribe is made from Warlord Games Zulu unmarried warriors re-equipped with rectangular wicker shields. The Wargames Factory Zulus provide the African Kingdom warriors. I also have some Wargames Factory Amazon warriors just in case my explorer stumbles across that lost civilization.
 African Kingdom warriors
Our local group of gamers are currently working on learning the mechanics of the game, which are new and innovative. Actions are dictated by cards, some of which can be chosen each turn and others drawn randomly. In addition to the usual Move, Shoot, Melee, Morale there are also opportunities to increase stress on opponents and reduce it on friends. Native witch doctors can use sorcery to foil their enemies or perhaps anger their gods in the attempt and pay the price. My witch doctor, for example, was eaten from the inside by scorpions while attempting a particularly ambitious bit of sorcery in a recent game.
The explorers enter the lair of an impossibly large gorilla worshipped by the natives
Mike's waterfall
Gratuitous wildlife. In Congo, most of the fauna will eat you.


1 comment:

  1. Nice little narrative. The waterfall looks better in the photo than it does in real life!