Thursday, November 24, 2011

Creating a Participation Game

Having decided that a participation game is the best way of advertising the club and engaging with potential interested gamers, we set about thinking about the type of game required, it had to be a period that represented the clubs interests, but also a period that people would know and want to play.
When considering how the game should be run, I thought about my own experiences around shows, much time would I be prepared to give up to play a game, rather than wandering from stall to stall browsing 45 Minutes to an Hour seemed about right...
However it has to be said that I have only ever played one participation game in over 30 years of gaming !!!!

So the task was to find a scenario that would last under an hour, give 3-4 players a full role to play and obtain a reasonable result at the end....

Various ideas were put forward, Wings of War, Western, Naval, none of which gave a true flavour of the club. Over at the Evesham Wargames Club we have been playing a variant of the Too Fat Lardies Sharp Practice Rules adapted for  use in the Zulu Wars, we played a large all dayer over the summer, between the club members we have a large collection of figures and terrain, but perhaps more importantly a number of players know the rules back to front to allow the game to flow really quickly.....

The Zulu War is full of encounters of the valiant British fighting off the massed hordes of Zulu Warriors, how do you translate that to 4' x 4' table in order an hour?

I have just finished reading a couple of books about Napoleon in Egypt which sparked the idea for the Scenario. The Death of Louis, Crown Prince of France. Something historical, a small number of figures with a definative outcome - escape or die trying.....
Hunting around the web I found on a great link to a scenario for the Rencounter rule set by Ed Allen which had taken the story and conveted it to a wargames scenario.


Set out below is the proposed handout on the day, I wanted people to be aware of the scenario but also aware of the background. The Too Fat Lardies rules are perfect for this as lead characters be come Big Men and have a real part to play in the scenario.

Set out below is the proposed hand out and background, I planned on having this on display around the table together with handouts detailing the scenario and club details.

Louis Napoleon, Prince Royal of France, had come to serve as an aide-de-camp to General Chelmsford. The Prince had been living in Britain after the Franco-Prussian War. He was a dashing young man of 23 years and rumoured to be a possible match for Princess Beatrice – Queen Victoria’s youngest daughter.
General Chelmsford was nervous about the responsibility of having such a personage on his staff. He gave orders that Louis was never to leave camp without an officer and an escort. Lieutenant Jahleel Brenton Carey, had been educated in France and quickly befriended the Prince Royal as he spoke very good French. The young Napoleon was assigned to help Carey with his tasks of the surveying of the terrain in front of the advancing British army.

Napoleon became restless with the chore of mapping and was keen to gain some fighting experience. On one such mission, the pair were met by half of their escort. The other were not available. Reasoning that a proper escort could be formed by rounding up six troopers from the scouts out in front of the army, the group set out on their mission.

The group rode out to the limit of their assigned reconnaissance. Stopping at a small deserted Zulu camp on the north bank of the Ityotosi river, Louis suggested that they let the horses graze and the troopers take a break and make tea.
Lunch over, the patrol stood by their horses to mount. Louis was about to issue the order, when a volley of rifle shots rang out and a group of Zulus charged out from the nearby scrub.

Terrified by the noise, Rogers' mount bolted, and he got off only one shot before being stabbed by an assegai. Carey, already mounted, followed by Willis, Grubb and Cochrane, galloped straight for the donga. Abel managed to mount, but was shot in the back and fell. Le Tocq dropped his carbine, dismounted to retrieve it, and remounted. As he fled he saw Louis running alongside his own horse, trying to get into the saddle. Gripping his saddle by the holster and running with the animal, Prince Louis slipped and unhorsed ran a few yards before turning to face his attackers.

The young Prince met his death bravely as the group of about six Zulus fell upon him. He was struck in the thigh by a thrown assegai, which he pulled out. He charged the Zulu’s firing his pistol twice. He missed, and a second thrown assegai stopped his charge. The Zulus advanced and were seen stabbing over and over again.

The rest of his troop looked on, in the distance and when they returned to the camp and reported what happened Lieutenant Carey was charged with cowardice in the face of the enemy.

Victory Conditions
Escape off the North side of the table, taking as few casualties as possible. If five or more British figures (including the guide), or the Prince Royal, are killed or left behind, the game is lost.
Louis Napoleon, Prince Imperial of France
Lieutenant J.B. Carey, 98th Regiment, D.A.Q.M.G.
Sergeant Willis, Natal Horse
Corporal Grubb, Natal Horse
Trooper Abel, Natal Horse
Trooper Cochrane, Natal Horse
Trooper Rogers, Natal Horse
Trooper Le Tocq, Natal Horse
Zulu guide

The plan is to have a dry run at this weeks club night, testing out the scenario and timings with a couple of players who have not played the game before.
The challanges are converting Sharp Practice to single figure units?
Will the game be long enough or to short?
Can we get it to feel like a Victorian Adventure?
Is it engaging enough?


  1. I think this sounds like a winner; you have all the elements for a rip roaring adventure. Will be very interested to hear how it develops.

  2. This sounds perfect for Minicon. It looks exciting and logical, whilst having a thrilling "true history" aspect.

  3. This looks like a good 'un - what sort of scale of table were you thinking of?

  4. Hi Stuart

    Check out the Staines Wargamers site for their take on the same game - lots of good ideas there, and would appreciate a return email (sjwalker51 'at' to discuss your AZW variant for 'SP' !

  5. Hi, I came across your site and wasn’t able to get an email address to contact you. Would you please consider adding a link to my website on your page. Please email me.


    Joel Houston

  6. Really looking forward to trying this out tonight , Stu!