Tuesday, 24 October 2017

Cattle Raid - A New Scenario for Congo

Cattle Raid

Adventure Rules
  • Savannah, cattle, confusion, exhaustion, night, enter on the table, exiting the table

2 + d3 Village Huts 
Cattle Pen
3 + d3 high dangerous terrain (d8 cover)
6 + d6 blocking terrain

The Herdsmen player places all terrain at the beginning of Turn 1 (after both columns draw a Totem Card but before Activation Cards are chosen). A cattle pen containing 4 cows must be placed within M of the centre of the table. The pen is formed from sections of thorn bush boma. Huts are then placed within L of the centre of the table and must be more than S away from each other.  

Area terrain must not be placed within M of another area terrain. Blocking terrain must not be placed within S of another terrain (hut, cattle pen, area terrain or blocking terrain).

After the Herdsmen player has set up the terrain, the Cattle Rustlers may discard a Totem Card to move/remove any one item of terrain (excluding cattle pen). Terrain moved/removed in this way must follow same rules as above for minimum number and placement.

Herdsmen (defender; African Kingdom Column). Must include at least one group of scouts.
Cattle Rustlers (attacker; African Kingdom Column) - start with initiative.

The Cattle Rustlers decide how many points between 35 and 50 they wish to include in their column. The Herdsmen Column will be double this size. 

For example, if the Cattle Rustlers choose 35 pts, the Herdsmen are permitted 70 pts.  

The Herdsmen deploy first. See special rules for deployment of sentries. 
Each remaining group of Herdsmen are either deployed in a hut or are present off table. The Herdsmen player secretly chooses which groups are deployed in each hut (the defender may choose to leave any/all of the huts empty). Only one group may be deployed in each hut. Off table groups enter on the table from a random corner (roll a d4 and consult terrain map when each off table group is first activated to move in from). 

Off table groups arrive from nearby villages and must test for exhaustion when they enter play. 

After the Herdsmen have deployed, the Cattle Rustlers secretly choose a short table edge that represents the best escape route back to their own village. They may only exit the table along this table edge (A or B). The Cattle Rustlers may then be deployed anywhere on the table that is more than L away from the cattle pen. 

Special Rules

Defender may deploy 1 - 3 sentries. These are taken from a single group of scouts and are placed anywhere on the table (outside of the cattle pen) before the Cattle Rustlers deploy. Once deployed, each sentry counts as a separate group of scouts and must remain at their post. 

Remember that columns can still play influence actions, even if groups cannot yet be activated to move or shoot...

During the day, sentries can see enemy groups in line of sight at any distance. 

At night, sentries may detect enemy movement even when there is no direct line of sight (they are listening very hard!). Each time an enemy group ends its movement within L of a sentry, roll a d6 for each enemy figure. On three successes, the enemy is detected. When an enemy group ends its movement within M of a sentry only two successes are needed. Within S of a sentry, the enemy group is detected with a single success. 

Sentries always hear any rifle or musket shooting regardless of distance. It goes without saying that sentries who survive a melee attack automatically detect their assailants! 

If a sentry detects an enemy group that sentry may be activated as normal.  All other sentries remain at their post until they either detect a group (friend or foe!) or the alarm is raised. They may then be activated as normal. 

At night, all groups (including sentries) roll d8 for cover. 

Each time a sentry is eliminated before the alarm is raised, the Cattle Rustlers player may draw a Totem card. 

Cattle Pen
The Cattle Rustlers must release the cattle by moving into contact with the pen and then breaking through. The pen can either be carefully dismantled by discarding two totem cards or broken into by rolling two unopposed successes during melee. In either case, the thorn hedge surrounding the pen is removed from the board. 

Once the pen has been breached, the Cattle Rustlers may capture cattle as per the rules on pg. 71. The Cattle Rustlers must first initiate a melee and declare how many cows they want to steal. The Herdsmen roll 3d6 per cow. 

Unattended cattle will exit the pen following their normal movement rules and will attempt to remain in base to base contact with each other. The frightened cattle consider groups from both columns that are in line of sight as enemies for the purpose of determining movement direction. Any fleeing cattle that exit the board are lost to lions.

Huts may be plundered as per the rules on pg. 72. 

If a plundered hut contains a hidden group of Herdsmen, a melee is automatically initiated (instead of rolling on the plunder table). If the hut is plundered before the alarm is raised, the attackers roll melee dice as normal, but the sleepy defenders immediately draw a stress token and roll only half their normal dice (rounded up). Once the alarm has been raised, the tables are turned and the defenders roll melee dice as normal, but the surprised attacking group immediately draws a stress token and rolls only half their normal dice (rounded up). 

Once activated for movement, a group in a hut is moved by placing a measuring stick next to the hut (any face). 

Groups may neither shoot from a hut or be shot at whilst occupying a hut. 

Groups inside huts count as off table with regards to rules such as picking up the pace, night etc. That is, groups within a hut are ignored. 

The alarm is raised when: 
  • a sentry moves into contact with a hut concealing a hidden group
  • a group of Cattle Rustlers fires a rifle or musket (defender must roll at least one success with 1d8 per shooting figure)
  • a group of Cattle Rustlers attempts to plunder a hut and disturbs somebody (ie rolls 1 on the plunder table)
  • a group of Cattle Rustlers attempts to plunder a hut and finds it occupied by a defending group (alarm raised at end of melee if at least one defender survives). 
  • a group of Cattle Rustlers attempts to break into the pen (alarm raised at end of melee, regardless of result - startled cows are noisy!)
  • the first time the cows move out of their pen (either with a group or on their own - lots of mooing!)

Once the alarm is raised, the Herdsmen receive 1 totem card for each surviving sentry. The current turn then immediately ends. 

A new turn begins with both columns subject to confusion for one turn. 

During each subsequent turn, both columns are activated as normal. 

Help from Afar
At the end of activation phases 1 & 2 during turn 7, the player with the initiative rolls a d6. On a success, the player chooses whether the game immediately ends as armed men from nearby villages suddenly jump out of the elephant grass. If the player chooses to continue the game, his opponent may draw a Totem Card. On a failure, the player passes the initiative to his opponent and the game continues. 

Victory Points

Each enemy group eliminated 3 vp
Each cow in possession of Herdsmen 5 vp

Cattle Rustlers
Each cow in possession of rustlers and removed from board 10 vp
Each other cow in possession of rustlers 5 vp
Plunder taken from huts in possession of Cattle Rustlers 3 vp

1 (night)
2 (night)
3 (night)
7 (help from afar)

We had a lot of fun play testing this scenario - it may even encourage me to finish painting my African Cattle!  Let me know if you decide to give it a go. 


  1. Replies
    1. Thanks very much Eric. Must admit to borrowing lots of ideas from your excellent blog!

  2. Now this sounds like a blast, great idea.

    1. Cheers! I quite enjoy putting scenarios together and Congo could definitely do with more... Hoping to get another posted soon(ish).

  3. Sounds interesting. Hmm, a 2:1 advantage in forces for the attackers gives them a lot of control over the game. Did you find that the defenders basically just sat and waited for things to happen?

    1. The advantage in forces go to the defenders not the attackers. However, many of the defenders may either be in huts (so available to get into action quickly) or off table (so useful for blocking an escape if they appear from a favourable edge). The defenders tried to place sentries as strategically as possible and make terror attacks on the rustlers before the alarm was raised. Once the alarm was raised, the rustlers needed to be a position to get away quickly...

  4. Hi. Considering adapting this to an AWI format (which is where the term "cowboys" comes from, btw!); possibly for use with M&T, possibly for a Sharp Practice scenario. Do you have any feedback from other gamers on how this scenario has played out, or any conversions to other periods, and have you made any "tweaks" to it as a result?

    1. The special rules were written with Congo in mind, but I don't see why the bass wouldn't work with other systems.