A posting that's been hanging around for a while, back before the latest and hopefully the last lockdown, we dabbled with introducing elements of the Infamy Fervour rules for the Zulu's to give them a little more bite.
I am a great fan of the Sharp Practice Rules, but transferring them from the black powder era to colonial can be problematic when you introduce more modern weapons against native troops, shock slows them down and the force morale can be whittled down to nothing before they have gotten to grips with the European forces.
But with a few tweaks, notably adding in option for native leaders to generate fervour and the option to use some of the flags with SP to give drill orders from Infamy you have something which can balance engagements between spear and bayonet.
So your average day in Zululand, a British column on an expedition to burn a kraal, the Zulu's set out to stop them. We fielded identical points and hoped our plans and tweaks worked.
Straight away the Zulu's appeared on mass, 6 groups and a couple of big men, chanting and beating their shields, they started to raise their fervour outside of rifle range.
The thin red line entered the table and as Zulu skirmishers crept through the scrubland on the high ground shielding the village.
How could we not resist recreating the scene from Zulu Dawn. - "Oh no! Come all this bloody way to get shot by a bullet from Birmingham? Shoot straight you bastards!"
The British ordered range markers to be put up, this improved accuracy in the firing factors and created an incentive for the colonial troops to create a formal defensive posture.
On the right flank the mounted police and native troops made an appearance supported by the Gatling Gun, who had a good rate of fire but was prone to jamming... Machine Guns will they ever catch on?
The cavalry poured forwards catching the skirmishers who decided to stand there ground. First blood to the forces of the Crown.
The victory was short lived as the cavalry attack had triggered the left horn who came rushing forwards, the cavalry turned and ran.
On the left flank things were getting rather congested, the Impi was approaching fast and sniper fire was annoying the British troops as they attempted to line out, the volley fire was simply not killing enough and the normal shock was being countered by the fervour.... Gulp.
The Zulu's kept on coming, casualties were mounting but gap was closing.
With the new rules the Zulu's were able to feed the front ranks with warriors from the rear groups to keep up the momentum. The Crown forces threw everything at them including the NNC, things were desperate.
The left horn moved forwards as all the British attention was focused on the mass of warriors still advancing on the red coats.
The Impi closed, the British opted for Open Order vs the mass of warriors gambling on inflicting maximum casualties to drive back the Zulu. Bad choice.
The front two ranks disintegrated under the stabbing assegai, the second rank stepped back to avoid being swallowed up by the native mass. Finally the casualties were starting to tell and the formation disintegrated with the warriors falling back.
An interesting game the added fervour rules gave the native command some protection from the mass fire of the Crown forces, the native command options allowing the Zulu's to infill and go to ground kept them moving when in previous games the shock forced the Zulu to stand still.
This felt a lot more balanced than in previous games, the Brits really need to concentrate their fire to pin the Zulu or get to them before they get to wind up their warriors before charging forwards.
Hopefully a few month months and we should be able to give this another run out.....