Friday, 25 September 2020

Wilkinson's Campaign - Arab Slaver Units

Before diving headlong into the various field forces needed by the Arab Slaver player for each scenario, I thought it would be useful to present the actual units that will be played. 


There are five scenarios presented in the original campaign by Gary Chalk. Since I've had plenty of time for preparing future games this year (hem!), I've expanded upon this somewhat. However, to keep things manageable I've tried to use the same selection of units arranged in different compositions and numbers. Where-ever possible I've upgraded or downgraded units using the options available in MWWBKs. But to give flavour to some units, I've added a few new traits of my own. 

The various Arab Slaver field forces are therefore generally made up from the following units:

- Zanzibar Soldiers x 12: Irregular infantry, well-armed; (5pts)

- Askari Free-men x 12: Irregular infantry; (4pts)

- Poorly Equipped Askari x 12: Irregular infantry, antiquated muskets; (3pts)

- Baluchi Swordsmen x 12: Irregular infantry, fierce, sharpshooters, antiquated muskets; (6pts) 

- Ruga Ruga x 12: Irregulars, fierce, antiquated muskets, when attacked in melee by a unit with more figures the Ruga Ruga suffer temporary -1 to discipline, when attacking a unit with fewer figures the Ruga Ruga gain temporary +1 to discipline (4pts) 

Smooth bore canon: Field gun, 4 crew, undrilled; (4pts)

Other units that may be encountered during scenarios (without revealing too many spoilers here!):

- Villagers x 16: Tribal infantry, non-combatants: fighting suffers -1 penalty so hitting on 6 instead of 5; (2pts)

- Bunduki x 16: Tribal infantry, antiquated muskets, unenthusiastic; (3pts)

-Pygmy Warriors x 16: Tribal infantry, fierce, well-armed sharpshooters with range of thrown spear, use poison: figures killed by pygmies always count as killed so no post battle roll allowed, skilled skirmishers: may either move at full rate and fire with half figures or fire with all figures and move at half rate, other skirmishing rules apply; (7pts)

- Pygmy Archers x 16: Tribal infantry, well-armed sharpshooters with range of bow, use poison (see above), skilled skirmishers (see above); (7pts)

- Cannibal Warriors x 16: Tribal infantry, cause Terror in enemy irregular and tribal units: When an enemy unit attacks it suffers temporary -1 penalty to discipline. When cannibals attack, enemy unit suffers temporary -2 penalty to discipline; (5pts)

- Tribal Fanatics x 16: Tribal infantry, fierce, free actions are Move and Attack. Stand To is ordered action. Must attack if visible enemy in range, To the Death! Never take pin test or receive pins through any means; (7pts)

Some of these units are very strong and encountering several of them at full strength would likely cause Wilkinson something of a headache. I've therefore been careful to balance scenarios. We want the scenarios to be challenging but don't want Wilkinson to get slaughtered in his first action. Units can therefore be fielded at half strength (or even fewer). To do this I simply half the points cost of the unit. So a half strength unit of cannibals will cost just 2.5pts etc. 

Dan and I met up earlier this week to get the campaign up and running. There was some campaign admin to get through, but we now have the Campaign Deck built. Wilkinson has equipped his expedition and agreed to escort Miss Jenkins to her father's Mission (we will use the escorted lady rules for Miss Jenkins). After electing not to barter with local villagers at his base camp, Wilkinson headed off along the River Bakambo.  Campaign Turn 1 begins with Wilkinson encountering the Swampland Outpost

Not sure we will get this game played before November(!) but stay tuned! 

Friday, 14 August 2020

Wilkinson's Campaign - Expedition Forces

Forces used by Major Wilkinson and the Arab Slavers were originally developed by Garry Chalk for In the Heart of Africa. They are fully detailed on pg. 101 of Wargames Illustrated (270). I decided to see if I could convert the forces to something more suitable for The Men Who Would be Kings. 

For Major Wilkinson I decided on a 25 point field force that is accompanied by 1 baggage unit per 8 full points (so a minimum of 3 baggage): 

- Major Wilkinson: Independent Leader, Regular (free) 
- Lt. Harris: Independent Leader, Regular (free) 
- Sikh Soldiers x 12: Regulars, Elite (7 pts) 
- Trained Askaris x 12: Irregulars, Well-armed (5 pts) 
- Trained Askaris x 12: Irregulars, Well-armed (5 pts) 
- Askari x 12: Irregulars (4 pts) 
- Tribal Infantry x 16 (3 pts) 
- Standard (1 pt) 
- Baggage Unit 1 (free) 
- Baggage Unit 2 (free) 
- Baggage Unit 3 (free) 
- Miss Jenkins: Independent Character (optional, see special rules)

Leadership values and traits should be generated as normal for Wilkinson and Harris. Both Wilkinson and Harris are attached to a unit at the beginning of each game (can be the same unit or different units). Wilkinson's leadership and trait values are used to control all units within his command range (normally 24" but can be limited by local conditions). If attached to a different unit, Harris may choose to use his own leadership and trait values to activate his unit. Units located outside of Wilkinson's command range are considered leaderless.   

At the start of the campaign Wilkinson should select objects from the following list (he can refer to the object cards if he so wishes). See special rules for encumbrance values of objects etc. 

8 x Cases of Ammunition 
8 x Army Rations
2 x Barrel of Rum
4 x Animal Forage
1 x Tents
1 x Medicine Chest
4 x Glass Beaded Necklaces
4 x Brass Wire 

Wilkinson has also been promised the support of a naval gunboat, HMS Mayfly. The gunboat is due to arrive at the Reverend Jenkin's Mission with bluejackets and supplies for the expedition. It will then accompany Wilkinson for the rest of the campaign. My MWWBKs rules for the gunboat are here. Costing the gunboat for MWWBKs is tricky since it could be extremely useful or completely useless (in scenarios with no river for example). For this campaign I therefore decided to provide HMS Mayfly for free together with 12 points of armed sailors: 

 - Sailors x 12: Regulars (6 pts) 
 - Sailors x 12: Regulars (6 pts) 
 - Gunboat (free)

If Wilkinson is resupplied by the gunboat he may freely choose to take any of the following items:

6 x Cases of Ammunition
6 x Army Rations
4 x Animal Forage
2 x Barrel of Rum
1 x Tents
1 x Medicine Chest
1 x Baggage Unit (porters)

As you can see, Wilkinson starts the campaign with a formidable force and the promise of even more firepower once he reaches the Mission. However, Wilkinson only has a finite number of men. Men lost to enemy fire (or lions!) cannot be replaced and the Major must ensure that his force isn't too depleted before it reaches the Arab Tembe. 

If Wilkinson is killed in action, he can be succeeded by Lt. Harris. If both Wilkinson and Harris are killed, the campaign is over and the Arabs will have won. 

Thursday, 6 August 2020

Wilkinson's Campaign - Wild Animal Rules

It wouldn't be Africa if there were no large animals to strike fear into the hearts of the timid! The published WI campaign includes a scenario that features elephants with special rules. I've taken these rules and adapted them, using ideas borrowed from Congo, to introduce a variety of different wild animals to Wilkinson's campaign. 

Some of these animals may feature in a specific campaign, others may appear as the result of an Event Card. Hopefully they will help to spice things up a bit. Not all animals have special rules. Some encounters I thought were better dealt with simply through the text of the Event Card. 

Please remember, these rules are still draft and I may come back to introduce additional rules for different animals at a later date. 


Wild Animals

Wild animals are not required to take pinning test.

- Move 3d6" per turn. 
- Avoids jungle, rocky hills and scrub, but will trample any troops directly in its path.
- Elephants have 3 wounds. 
- If an elephant charges through a unit, it moves to the limit of its movement without stopping. Roll 2d6 for each charged unit. The result is the number of figures that are trampled. Roll 1d6 for each of these figures. On a score of 1-3 they are trampled to death. On a roll of 4-6 they jump out of the way and are unharmed. The men are too startled to fight back. Test for leader casualties and pinning as normal. 
- All hits are rolled on Rampaging Large Animal Table.
- If defending a melee attack, elephant rolls 4d6 hitting on 5+
- If a unit located within 12" of an elephant fires at a different target roll 1d6 on the Rampaging Large Animal Table but subtract 1 from the result and do not apply any wounds to the animal. 
- If Wilkinson wins scenario, expedition may collect 2 Elephant's Tusk object cards for each killed adult elephant.

- Move 2d6" per turn. 
- Avoids jungle, water, rocky hills and scrub, but will charge any visible units within 6".
- Rhinos have 4 wounds.
- If a rhino charges a unit, it moves to the limit of its movement without stopping. Roll 1d6 for the charged unit. The result is the number of figures that are attacked. Roll 1d6 for each of these figures. On a score of 1-4 they are either gored or trampled to death. On a roll of 5-6 they jump out of the way and are unharmed. Defending unit is too startled to fight back. Test for leader casualties and pinning as normal. 
- All hits are rolled on Rampaging Large Animal Table.
- If defending a melee attack, the rhino rolls 4d6 hitting on 4+. 
- If a unit located within 8" of an rhino fires at an enemy unit roll 1d6 on the Rampaging Large Animal Table but subtract 1 from the result and do not apply any wounds to the animal. 

Water Buffalo
- Move 2d6" per turn. 
- Avoid rocky hills. 
- Will attempt to gore any visible troops within 8".
- Buffalo have 2 wounds. 
- If a buffalo charges a unit, it moves as far as required to make contact. Roll 4d6 hitting on 4+. Defending unit may fight back. Test for leader casualties and pinning as normal. 
- All hits are rolled on Rampaging Large Animal Table.
- If defending a melee attack, the buffalo rolls 4d6 hitting on a 5+. 
- If a unit located within 6" of a buffalo fires at an enemy unit roll 1d6 on the Rampaging Large Animal Table but subtract 2 from the result (3 if buffalo is in an area of terrain) and do not apply any wounds to the animal. 
- If Wilkinson wins scenario, expedition may take 2 Bush Meat object cards per killed buffalo. 

- Tribal (may throw branches and rocks etc), fierce.
- Move 8". 
- Leadership 5+.
- Apes have 2 wounds each. 
- Will attack closest visible troops within 8".

Large Game (Wildebeest/Zebra/Giraffe/Kudu/Ostrich)
- Move 3d6" per turn.
- Fight 5+.
- Leadership 7+.
- Avoids jungle, rocky hills, scrub, swamp/marsh and all troops. 
- Will always move away from gunfire. 
- Do not attack but will defend in melee. 
- Game animals have 1 wound each. 
- Will always attempt to move off closest table edge. 
- If Wilkinson wins scenario, expedition may take 2 Bush Meat object cards per killed game animal. 

Small Game (Small Antelope, Warthog)
- Move 2d6" per turn
- Fight 6+
- Leadership 7+
- Avoids jungle, swamp/marsh and all troops.
- Do not attack but will defend in melee. 
- Game animals have 1 wound each. 
- Will always attempt to move off closest table edge. 
- If Wilkinson wins scenario, expedition may take 1 Bush Meat object card per killed game animal. 

Rampaging Large Animal Table
Melee and shooting effectiveness is dependent on weapon. The number of rolls made on the Rampaging Large Animal Table is as follows:

Modern Rifle: 1d6 per hit
Obsolete Rifle: 1d6 per 2 hits 
Antiquated Musket: 1d6 per 3 hits
Field Gun: 2d6 per hit
Machine Gun: 1d6 per hit
Rocket: 1d6 per hit
Foot Bows: 1d6 per 2 hits
Rag Tag Muskets: 1d6 per 3 hits
All Melee Weapons: 1d6 per 2 hits

Roll the required number of d6 and consult table below. For multiple hits, animal receives total number of wounds and if still alive always moves directly away from firer next turn. In melee, attacking unit takes pin test as normal even if animal has moved away. Note that rockets won't actually cause any wounds so it is only worth rolling on the table if there is a single hit. 

0-1: The animal is unwounded and next turn moves directly away from firer.
2: The animal receives 1 wound and next turn moves directly away from firer.
3: The animal receives 1 wound and next turn charges directly towards firer. 
4: The animal receives 2 wounds and next turn moves directly away from firer.
5: The animal receives 2 wounds and next turn charges directly towards firer.
6: The animal receives 3 wounds and remains stationary during the next turn. 

Tuesday, 4 August 2020

Wilkinson's Campaign Against the Slavers - Campaign Rules

This is a terrific little campaign in issue 270 of Wargames Illustrated (pp. 98-107) that has a British expeditionary force travelling along a fictional river to stem the influence of local slavers.

As written the campaign is designed for In the Heart of Africa, but it could easily be adapted for DitDC. I'm currently converting the campaign into something more suitable for MWWBKs. But since the current global pandemic has put a pause on my gaming, I decided that rather than just convert the campaign I'd have a go at expanding upon it. I've therefore added some extra scenarios and built in a baggage rule to track objects that may be collected. I've been working on this (on and off) for a few weeks now so thought it was about time to get something up on the blog to help track progress. 

First off, here are the basic campaign rules. Battles are fought using MWWBKs, but the remainder of the campaign is driven by scenario and special event cards. Although I've been working on these rules for some time, this is the first time they've been published. So, the rules should be considered draft and are subject to revision. Also, please remember, these rules expand on the campaign published in WI. So full credit should go to the author Garry Chalk. To play the campaign you will need to refer to the original article. 


Scenario Cards
At the beginning of the campaign you should decide on the number of scenarios that you wish to play. There are 4 core scenarios to which are added one or more optional scenarios. By default, the campaign includes the following scenarios that were all published in WI: 

- McKenzies Trading Post
- Reverend Jenkins Mission
- The Wasimba Village
- The Arab Tembe (always played) +
- 1 x Random Optional Scenario

Optional scenarios are shuffled together. One or more cards are drawn at random and added to the core scenarios. Remaining optional scenario cards can either be set aside or shuffled with the event cards. Optional scenarios include:

- Elephants and Pygmies (same scenario as published in WI)
- Jungle Drums
- The Arab Caravan
- Azande Dawn
- Swampland Outpost

There are also several 'special' scenarios that can only be played if certain conditions are met during the campaign:

- The Ambush
- King Solomon's Mines
- Run to the River

[Design Note: I wanted to make the campaign flexible with additional scenarios so it could be played more than once. Additional scenarios help with this. I also hope to create an entirely new campaign with new scenarios that uses the same campaign rules presented here.]

Event Cards
There are (currently!) 65 different event cards. These include effects that may benefit or hinder the expedition. Some effects are applied immediately and may be specific to a particular troop type. Other cards may be kept and played either as required or when specific conditions are met. The cards are organised as followed:

- Bad Things x 32 cards
- Good Things x 16 cards
- Scenario Random Events x 17 cards

[Design Note: There are a lot of possible event cards, but only a relatively small number will ever be played. The cards are intended to spice things up by introducing some African themed events. Some of the cards are aimed at this specific campaign, but I've tried to make as many as possible self contained so they can be used elsewhere. The card text is all completed and I'll post a link to a pdf another time.]

Campaign Deck
The Expedition Base Camp, Arab Tembe, special scenarios and all object cards are placed aside. 

Wilkinson should then shuffle the remaining event cards and without looking at them, randomly draw a number of cards equal to the number of scenarios that will be played. The default is 5 event cards. 

Drawn event cards and scenario cards are then shuffled together. One card is randomly discarded without either player looking at it. The Arab Tembe scenario card is added to the top and the Expedition Base Camp card is added to the bottom of the shuffled pile to create the Campaign Deck

Extra Event Card Deck
Unused event cards are shuffled to create the Extra Event Card Deck. Players only draw cards from this deck when instructed to do so. 

Object Card Deck
Object cards are shuffled to form the Object Card Deck. Players only draw cards from this deck when instructed to do so. Some cards are reserved for specific scenarios. If instructed to take a specified object, search the deck for the object. The object may only be taken if it is still available. The deck may include all available object cards or a subset of cards that is specified by an event card, scenario or other instruction. When creating or recreating the Object Card Deck, cards are always reshuffled. By default the Object Card Deck includes items carried in Arab Slaver baggage. 

Object Cards
Object abilities are described on their respective card (details to be published in another article). Objects may be beneficial, granting various upgrades. They may be valuable, scoring Campaign Points if they remain with the expedition at the end of the campaign. Some objects may be cursed, inflicting penalties on one or more of the expedition's units. Certain objects count as food and all objects have a Hongo value allowing Wilkinson to trade with the people he meets. Objects may only be carried by baggage units. Some objects are heavy or bulky and count as two or more objects when carried. To simplify object card management, most cards can be kept in a single pile. If instructed to lose an object, a player may choose which object is lost. Some objects have special abilities (e.g. that may affect the unit carrying them). Such objects should be represented by a token that accompanies the unit (such objects will be identified in another article).   

Encumbrance limits for baggage are detailed more fully in the section on new units. To summarise: Wilkinson is allowed one free baggage unit per 8 points of field force. A baggage unit consists of either 4 porters (each figure carries 1 object), 2 pack animals (each figure carries 3 objects) or 1 heavy ox wagon (carries 8 objects). 

At the start of the campaign Wilkinson should select objects from the following list (he can refer to the object cards if he so wishes). 

8 x Cases of Ammunition 
8 x Army Rations
2 x Barrel of Rum
4 x Animal Forage
1 x Tents
1 x Medicine Chest
4 x Glass Beaded Necklaces
4 x Brass Wire


- Miss Jenkins (optional independent character)

These objects include important supplies for the expedition and there will be consequences for the expedition if they are lost. Although they may take up valuable space a few trade goods may prove useful for bartering with local people. Extra supplies including spare tents are carried on the gunboat. Some supplies may also be available at McKenzies Trading Post. 

Miss Jenkins is on her way back to her father's mission and requires an escort. She is an independent character that Wilkinson *may* choose to take. There are bonuses for delivering her safely to the mission, but also consequences if she comes to harm. Use the escorted Lady special rule for Miss Jenkins. 

When making his selection Wilkinson should be reminded that one Case of Ammunition is discarded at the end of each battle. One Food object card and one Animal Forage object card are discarded at the end of each Campaign Turn (see section on Campaign Turn below). 

Drawing Cards
When drawing from a card deck, cards are taken from the bottom of the pile and any cards marked with a gorilla head are handed to the Arab Slaver player to be read in secret. Unless otherwise stated all other cards are read aloud and played immediately. If instructed to draw and play multiple cards, Random Event Cards are played before Scenario Cards in the order they are drawn. 

At the beginning of each Campaign Turn, Wilkinson draws a card from the bottom of the Campaign Deck. Cards continue to be drawn from the Campaign Deck and their effects applied, until a Scenario Card is revealed. 

Expedition Bonus Card
"Now Listen Up Chaps!" is a bonus card that is given to Wilkinson at the start of the campaign and may only be played once, before any battle. The card provides a morale bonus to the troops, but if used it will cost Wilkinson -2 Campaign Points. Use wisely! 

"Now Listen up Chaps!" Expedition Bonus Card
Keep and play as required. 
Seeing that your men are flagging you may discard this card to give them a pep talk. The Discipline of all Regular units receives a +1 bonus until the end of the Campaign Turn. If the expedition still carries a barrel of rum it is opened and your words of encouragement seem to be particularly well received. The Discipline of all units receives an additional +1 bonus until the end of the Campaign Turn. 

Expedition Base Camp Card
The expedition base camp is visited by representatives of a local village who offer to trade one of the following for the indicated number of hongos (H):

- Scout (has a keen eye, lucky since it's his only one): 2H
- Unit of 10 Young Warriors as escort (stay until end of next battle): 2H
- Porters (4 strong lads): 2H
- Zebra Hide (already cured): 1H
- Heavy Stone Slab (good to sit on when ground is wet): 1H
- Bronze Amulet (supposedly a lucky charm): 1H
- Brace of monkeys (bush meat): 1H
- Polished Wooden Figurine (not pretty): 1H
- Elephant Tusk (one of a pair): 2H
- Bunch of Medicinal Herbs (pungent): 2H

If Wilkinson declines the villagers' offer of trade, they disappear into the bush. 

Campaign Turn
The campaign is played over a number of turns that involve individual battles played using the MWWBKs rules. Battles are interspersed with various random events that might befall Wilkinson's expedition. 

A Campaign Turn begins with Wilkinson drawing a card from the bottom of the Campaign Deck. Cards and their effects continue to be applied until a scenario card is drawn and the specified battle is fought. At the end of the battle casualties are counted and one Cases of Ammunition object card is discarded. This represents one complete Campaign Turn. At the end of the Campaign Turn discard one food and one forage object cards. 

Immediately before drawing a card from the Campaign Deck, Wilkinson may choose to strike camp to end the current Campaign Turn. The Campaign Turn may also end early due to the effects of an event card. 

A typical campaign will likely include 4 - 7 Campaign Turns that will include a similar number of battles. 

Scenario Turn
A full Scenario Turn includes both Wilkinson's and his opponent's turn in a MWWBKs battle. 

In a normal MWWBKs game, each player activates all of their units with play then passing to their opponent who activates all of their units. In this campaign, the first player activates one unit. Regardless of whether the unit passes its leadership test, play then passes to their opponent who activates one unit. Play continues to alternate between players until all units have been activated. 

[Design Note: this alternate activation helps to balance one or two of the scenarios that were originally designed for a rules system that uses a similar mechanism.]

Scenarios are played in one of two different environments that include Savannah and Jungle. Each of these environments can include different terrain. Scenarios specify the environment in which they are played. Any location that includes a river/coastline is also classed as Riverside. Some terrain can be found in either environment (e.g. a scenario based in Savannah can include some jungle terrain). Some Event Cards can only be played in specific environments. 

- Tall grass, crop fields and villages count as difficult. 
- Jungle, scrub and rocky areas count as difficult & dangerous (MWWBKs pg. 38). 
- Swamp/marsh counts as difficult and dangerous. 
- The River Bakambo counts as difficult & dangerous terrain in the shallows (watch out for crocodiles and hippos!) and impassible beyond (>3" from shore). 

Random Terrain/Object Selection
If a result needs to be hidden from both players use face down tokens, one of which is marked to indicate the randomly selected feature. Tokens can be shuffled and placed on or next to each terrain area or object on the table. Reveal token as required to identify feature. 

Hongo is a Swahili word for bribe that is said to come from the Hongo 'land fees' chiefs charged to Omani slavers in East Africa to buy slaves and ivory and traverse their territory. Some objects have a Hongo value to enable Wilkinson to barter (or bribe) the people he encounters during the expedition. 

Low on Ammunition
If the expedition has no Cases of Ammunition object cards apply Limited Ammunition advanced rule until resupplied with ammunition  (MWWBKs, pg. 38). Whilst Low on Ammunition, Regular Units may fix bayonets and become Fierce

Short of Food
If the expedition has no food object cards at the start of a Campaign Turn, all units immediately suffer -1 penalty to Discipline until the end of the Campaign Turn. 

Short of Forage
If the expedition has no forage object cards and includes any mounted units roll 1d6 at the start of each Campaign Turn:

1: No grazing. All mounted units immediately suffer -1 penalty to Discipline until the end of the Campaign Turn. 
2 - 4: Some course grass is suitable as fodder for irregular/tribal cavalry and pack animals, but since European cavalry horses are not trained to graze, mounted regular units suffer -1 penalty to Discipline until the end of the Campaign Turn. 
5 - 6: Grass is suitable as fodder for all mounted units, although it must first be cut for the European horses. 

Leaders (edited 20/8/2020)
The campaign uses the One Leader advanced rule (download link for official published advanced rules). Each unit is considered leaderless unless it is within the control distance of a named leader. Leader traits will also apply to the controlled unit. The distance that a leader can command troops is as follows:

- Regular Leader: 24"
- Irregular Leader: 18"
- Tribal Leader: 20"

These values can be affected by the environment and terrain. Command ranges for both regular and irregular leaders are reduced by 6" when battles are fought in the following situations (all reductions are cumulative):

- Jungle environment (not a jungle terrain piece)
- Dense vegetation (defined by scenario or Event Card)
- Other special situations that may be defined by scenario or Event Card

Note that the command range of Tribal leaders is not affected by terrain. 

Sub commanders (e.g. Lt. Harris) may use their own leadership value and traits when activating the unit to which they are attached. 

[Design Note: This rule puts much more emphasis on the leadership values and traits of named leaders within the field force. It will also help to keep admin of the Arab/native forces to a minimum]. 

Independent Leaders (edited 20/8/2020)
Named leaders can move, fire and fight independently. They should normally be attached to a unit at the start of a battle. Before the attached unit activates, the named leader can activate himself to leave and move independently or join another unit. Units joined in this way cannot be activated again this turn. The leadership values and special traits of named leaders are determined at the beginning of the first game that they appear. 

Independent Characters (edited 20/8/2020)
Leadership values are rolled at the beginning of the first game that the character appears. Independent characters do not roll for traits (but may have other special abilities). They may move, fire and fight independently or as part of a unit that the character is attached to. When acting independently, characters use their own leadership value. When attached to a unit, characters wishing to leave the unit must be activated before the unit. 

Taking Command of Leaderless Troops (edited 20/8/2020)
Use the advanced rule on pg. 38 to merge under strength units. 

Arab Slaver Leaders
Players should keep track of named Arab Slaver leader casualties throughout the campaign. Only those named leaders that survive may be deployed in The Arab Tembe (final scenario). Leaders that feature in a core scenario that is not played are considered to have survived. 

Arab Slaver Baggage
The Arab Slavers have been raiding local villages and resupplying their tembe from Zanzibar. If an Arab Baggage Unit is captured by one of Wilkinson’s units, apply the new baggage rules from this campaign and draw d3 cards from Object Card Deck. Also subtract 1 from Tembe Supplies.  

Cavalry, Pack Animals and Ox Wagons
Whilst not forbidden, using cavalry or pack animals in this region of Darkest Africa is unwise. If the expedition includes any such units the following special rules apply:

- The term mounted unit is used to describe any unit that includes cavalry, mounted infantry, pack animals or ox wagon. 
- Three copies of the Tsetse Fly! Event Card are used. 
- Cavalry and ox wagons treat areas of jungle, rocky ground and thick scrub as impassible. 
- Cavalry and ox wagons may not be taken into battles set within Jungle (eg. Jungle Drums). In these situations a camp must be set up and baggage/mounts left behind. One or more other units may be left behind to guard the baggage/mounts. Mounted troops may dismount and fight on foot. 
- Mounted units cannot be transported on the gunboat. 

- Cost same as crewed  weapons.
- If manned by Arab Slavers treat as poorly drilled. 
- See also Official Extra Rules supplement

King Solomon's Mines Subplot
These ancient ruins are located in the jungle and revealed in a special scenario. The scenario can only be encountered if two conditions are met:

1. Prof. Jones accompanies expedition.
2. Expedition is in possession of Engraved Map object card. 

The map can be found in different ways:

[Spoilers! Will reveal this another time] 

Archaeologist Advanced Rule
Prof. Jones is an independent character that has the escorted archaeologist advanced rule. 

"Add as an extra model to the unit. More vulnerable in melee than soldiers: killed on a roll of 3–5 when testing for Leader casualties from melee (Leader is still a casualty on a roll of 2). If this special character is killed or the unit is removed from play, your opponent gains 1 victory point; if the character survives, you gain 1 victory point. Does not count as a model in the unit for combat or morale purposes. "

Prof. Jones is following the course of the River Bakambo searching for clues to the location of King Solomon's Mines. Prof. Jones may be encountered in a number of ways:

[spoilers! Will reveal this another time]

When encountered, Prof. Jones joins the expedition and explains that he is searching for the long lost King Solomon's Mines. 

Witchdoctor Advanced Rule
Mwanga is an independent leader and Jenkins is an independent character. Both have the holy men advanced rule.

Add as an additional figure to a unit. Does not count for combat or morale purposes. Killed on a roll of 3 when testing for leader casualties. Units with a scout ignore dangerous terrain rule and can detect hidden enemy figures within 4". 

Resupplying the Expedition
The expedition can be resupplied at the Trading Station or by the expedition gunboat. Some items may also be obtained through other means. Strong currents and crocodiles mean that transferring people and goods between the gunboat and shore is dangerous. The expedition can therefore only be resupplied at a jetty and provisions must be carried in the baggage. 

To set a fire, a unit must spend 1 full turn Standing To adjacent to target feature. Figures may not occupy burning structure. On their next turn, units in a burning structure must move out of the structure. If unit fails to move it is destroyed. 

After the Battle
After each battle Wilkinson should roll 1d6 for each casualty in a unit to determine if they are really dead or merely stunned or lightly wounded. On a roll of 1-4 the casualty is dead and permanently removed from the campaign. On a roll of 5-6 the figure is deemed to have recovered and rejoins its unit. This does not apply to baggage units that are always destroyed if captured. 

Any figures in units that have been forced to retreat off the table are also rolled for. On a roll of 1-2 they are considered lost or dead. On a roll of 3-6 they have found their way back to the expedition. 

Arab slaver forces are listed for each scenario. Leader and baggage casualties must be noted, but troop casualties only need to be recorded for King Solomon's Mines. 

Expedition Baggage
At the start of the campaign Wilkinson can take 1 baggage unit for free for each 8 points of field force. Additional units cost 2 points each. Once the campaign is underway, Wilkinson can create new baggage units by drawing 4 figures from any expedition tribal unit. These new units count as unenthusiastic porters (Discipline -1). The number of available Arab Slaver baggage units will be defined by each scenario. 

Unit Name: Baggage
Speed: 6"
Firing: -
Fighting: -
Discipline: 0
Free Actions: Stand to
Special Rules: 
- Unit consists of either 4 porters, 2 pack animals or 1 heavy ox wagon. 
- Leadership 7+
- May only Stand to or Move
- May not be shot at
- Not required to take pinning test (but may receive pins in other ways)
- Porters carry 1 object per figure. 
- Pack animals carry 3 objects per figure. 
- Ox wagons carry 8 objects per figure.
- May not move if in base contact with enemy unit. 
- Captured if enemy unit remains in base contact at end of scenario turn (porters/pack animals are slain/scattered and removed from game)
- If captured by enemy, all friendly units take pin test
- Worth 3vp to enemy if captured.
- Unless otherwise stated, all objects carried by baggage are lost if baggage unit removed from game.
- If a field force loses all of its baggage apply both 'Low on Ammunition!' and 'Short of Food!' until the field force is resupplied with new baggage and supplies.
Points: One baggage unit can be taken for free for each 8 points of field force. Additional units cost 2 points each. 

[Design Note: Ideas borrowed heavily from DitDC. I wanted a system where Wilkinson needs to carefully think about his supplies. Protecting baggage becomes an important part of the campaign. Raiding an opponent's baggage also creates new opportunities.]

An Arab Slaver unit that engages in melee against a smaller enemy infantry unit may declare that it is capturing figures. If defender is defeated and passes pin test, no defending figures are lost and defender retreats as normal. If the defender is defeated and fails a pin test, no casualties are taken but instead all figures in the defending unit are captured. Regardless of which unit wins melee, attacker loses figures as normal. One or more figures from the attacking unit must be designated to guard the captives. 

Unit Name: Captives
Speed: 6"
Firing: -
Fighting: (as guards)
Discipline: -1
Free Actions: Stand to
Special Rules: 
- Leadership 8+ (-1 for every two guards)
- Not required to take pinning test
- May only Move or Stand To
- May not be shot at
- May exit the table without penalty
- Freed if guard(s) killed in melee. Freed captives immediately disperse and are removed from the game. If a named leader or independent character is captured they can become a new objective in the Arab Tembe scenario (at the umpire's discretion). 
Points: n/a

[Design Note: Captives represent a special type of baggage unit. They introduce an interesting option for the Arab Slaver player, particularly when facing units accompanied by independent characters.] 

Wilkinson has arranged to rendezvous with the gunboat at Jenkin's Mission. But will it arrive? 

Unit Name: Gunboat
Speed: Downstream 3" + 2xd6"; Upstream 3" + 1xd6"
Firing: 4+
Fighting: -
Discipline: 0
Free Actions: Stand To
Special Rules: 
- See also crewed weapons (pg. 33)
- Captain rolls for leadership and traits as normal. May only control gunboat.  
- 1 or 2 guns per gunboat (either MG or Field Gun)
- Counts as drilled
- Field Gun ranges: SR 0-22"; LR 22-48"
- Each gun has 4 Crew (one gun controlled by captain, second gun leadership 7+)
- May transport 2 infantry units + 2 baggage units 
- May only Stand to, Move or Fire (both guns)
- Takes 1 full turn for units to embark/disembark. Gunboat must Stand To at jetty or other designated location. 
- Cannot enter shallows or it will become grounded. 
- Provides soft cover
- Enemy can target gun crew(s), visible units or the boat itself. Tally hits made directly against gunboat. For each 10 hits captain must take pin test. If failed captain decides too dangerous to keep vessel nearby and withdraws from action. Boat abandoned if grounded and any crew/passengers are immediately removed from game. In future scenarios a withdrawn vessel only reappears on 2d6 roll of 10-12 at beginning of each turn.
- Each turn that gunboat moves roll 2d6. Boat grounded on sandbank on roll of 2 or 12 (after moving) for rest of game. In future scenarios, grounded gunboats only reappears on 2d6 roll of 10-12 at beginning of each turn. 
- Grounded gunboats may still fire. 
Points: 10 (1 gun), 18 (2 guns)

[Design Note: There are no rules for a gunboat in MWWBKs so here's my attempt borrowing heavily from In the Dark Continent and DitDC].


Sunday, 3 November 2019

The Mountain of the Gods

"Our journey is nearly at an end. 

For the last few days, we have seen Mungo Mah Lobeh, the Throne of Thunder, looming over the tree-tops. Our final destination bears well its name!"

Mary stands in a forest clearing looking towards the distant skyline. Amongst the clouds, Mungo Mah Lobeh looms tall. Her expedition is nearly at an end and her men prepare themselves for the long climb ahead.

The sickness that befell Ujuwa's riverside camp has cost him a Warrior, a Hunter and even one of the sturdy Pygmies. But undaunted, Ujuwa and his men stand proud. Today they will stop the white woman from ascending the sacred mountain!

[In this final adventure, Mary must hunt for clues that lie scattered around the jungle. Finding them will help Mary to find secret paths that will help her ascent. Ujuwa must try to find clues to the locations of caves that will help him in the Ritual of Awakening. There are also various Discoveries to find that can help with certain situations. But both parties will be thwarted by confusion and downpours.]

Ujuwa sends his Hunters and Pygmies either side of the large promontory that stands between him and Mary's expedition.

Anticipating trouble, Mary's Askari push their way through the jungle with their muskets fully loaded. They find a large plinth with carvings marked upon it. They have found the first clue!

But as they clear the vines from the path a loud rumbling can be heard. Dark clouds herald a rainstorm that looks like it has set in for the day.

[An unlucky roll on the dangerous terrain table has resulted in a heavy rainstorm that will reduce visibility to M for the rest of the game].

As they emerge from the foliage, the Askari see Ujuwa's Hunters bearing down on them. But their nerves hold and a great pall of smoke engulfs them as their muskets fire.

One of the Hunters drops dead! 

Fearing another assault, the Askari quickly reload their muskets. 

Hearing the commotion, Ujuwa urges Chief M'Otowanfa and his Warriors to press home the attack and they run into the jungle to find the source of the noise. 

Ujuwa's Archers clamber through another thicket to find a clue! The soft swampy ground gives them cause for concern and they look around for crocodiles, but a quick intake of (hem) Magical Plants, puts them at ease.

[Another unlucky roll on the dangerous terrain table, but this time Ujuwa uses one of his Discoveries to cancel the effect.]

Meanwhile, Ujuwa leads his Bundukis along the same trail as the Pygmies. 

The Warriors crash into a clearing and are confronted by the White Woman! But she is accompanied by her Soldiers who beat back the Warriors, killing two in the process.

Seeing an opportunity the Askari raise their muskets and fire. Chief M'Otowanfa's hair is parted and he falls to the ground.

Elsewhere, Mary's famous botanist Bergamote leads the Trained Askari into a cave entrance where they find another clue.

Bergamote also spies a rare orchid growing near the cave entrance. If he can just reach a little further...

But unknown to Bergamote, he has been seen by Ujuwa who directs his Pygmies into an ambush position while the witchdoctor prepares himself for the Ritual of the Wild Hunt.

Drawing upon all of his inner energy Ujuwa focuses on Bargamote and his Trained Askari. But as the ritual is concluded there is a sudden sound of gurgling and one of Ujuwa's own men goes POP!

[Ujuwa drew two extra stress tokens to maximise the power of the ritual. Unfortunately one of them was a panic token. Normally this would have killed Ujuwa himself, but his Mawaady special ability saves him at the expense of a nearby Bunduki.]

Despite this setback, the Pygmies still launch their ambush!

Bergamote and his men stand firm, but the ferocity of the tiny terrors pushes him back from the cave, leaving the clue and prized orchid behind.

After dispatching the Ujuwa's Warriors, Mary heads around the other side of the promontory where she witnesses the Pygmy assault. Seeing the rifles, the Pygmies quickly dart into the cave. 

Ujuwa recovers from his failed ritual and decides that perhaps the time has come to find a different cave to perform his Ritual of Awakening

The Pygmies watch Ujuwa slink off into the shrubbery and start to count the guns that suddenly all seem to be pointing in their general direction... 

.... One, two, three ...


The Pygmies are no more.

But the gunshots have awakened something at the back of the cave and that something is about to investigate what is causing all of the noise.

A large silverback charges through the vegetation and Bergamote's Trained Askari are scattered in all directions. The gorilla retreats back towards its cave and stares menacingly at Mary's Soldiers. The Soldiers carefully take aim and the beast is dispatched.

In the confusion, Ujuwa attempts to make his escape. But he is spotted by Mary's Ruga Ruga who shoot at him with their muskets.

Undaunted, Ujuwa presses on and the Ruga Ruga charge.

Ujuwa slips past them and flees into the jungle.

Mary begins her final ascent of Mungo Mah Lobeh. She has two hints that help her find the right path. But Ujuwa also has two hints that help him find the best caves to perform his Ritual of Awakening.

As Mary climbs the mountain, Ujuwa starts to chant. The days and nights pass.

Both Mary and Ujuwa are nearing their goal. Who will get there first? On the final night, Ujuwa emerges from his deep trance... The ritual is completed!

But Mary still has one more day ahead of her. With a final push, she reaches the summit! 


In the final adventure, Ujuwa found two Hints and five Discoveries earning him 13 VP. Ujuwa also managed to flee the table earning him Knowledge in one domain of his choice, but because his group carried no Hint he doesn't earn any additional VP.

Mary also found two Hints, a Discovery and two lots of Loot. Combined with the bonus for shooting Ujuwa's Chief, this earns Mary 14 VP. But looking around, Mary realises she has lost her Porter and therefore loses 2 VP for a total of 12 VP.

Ujuwa won the final adventure (just!) and successfully completed the Ritual of Awakening. Together with all of his other achievemets, this earns him a total of 59 campaign Accomplishment Points.

Although Mary only gained 38 campaign Accomplishment Points, she did successfully climb Mungo Mah Lobeh. Whether this will be enough to see her enter the history books only time will tell.

But before the books are written, there is still the journey home...


Huge thanks to Dan for coming along on this thirteen month long adventure! A great sport who is always game to bag a gorilla (purely in the pursuit of scientific discovery of course)!

Sunday, 7 July 2019

Encounters in Hostile Lands

"The men are not their usual selves. They are in the grip of fear: all singing has died out and they look nervously around them, expecting an attack at any minute. We are in Fang territory."

Mary's column climb out of their pirogues and set up camp within a jungle clearing. She brews up a pot of hot water and uses her remaining stock of medicinal plants to cure her Kirangozi and poor M. Bergamote the Botanist of their afflictions. Feeling more refreshed, they prepare to depart. The ominous sound of drums can be heard from nearby Fang villages. But Mary must push on if she is to reach her goal.

Even Ujuwa, looks nervously at the wall of green before him. This is his land, but the local villages have not pledged support to his cause. He must find the white woman's camp and purge it of evil spirits.

[Each column starts within M of opposite table corners. To gain Knowledge Mary and Ujuwa must cross the table and escape from the opposite corner.]

Both columns head carefully into the jungle that lies ahead. Mary's Ruga Ruga stare nervously at the tall trees. What terrors may hide in their dark canopies?

Ujuwa's men are undaunted by the forest, but the local Fang tribe does have a reputation...

Mary, accompanied by her soldiers and last remaining bearer pushes through the vegetation and stare up at a giant forest tree. Suddenly there is a rustle and poison tipped darts shoot down from the canopy. Mary and her men drop to the forest floor. But too late! Her bearer and a soldier shriek in agony and do not stand back up.

[In this scenario, the dangerous terrain really is very dangerous! Every time a group enters terrain they and any other group within S of the terrain find themselves shot at by Fang warriors hidden in the canopy. A 2 x D8 shooting attack is made, but if the D8 show the same number there is no cover roll.]

Ujuwa hears the commotion and smiles wryly to himself. While Mary and her soldiers scramble to avoid the darts, Ujuwa starts to softly chant. Summoning the spirits of the forest to aid him, Ujuwa performs the Ritual of the Wild Hunt.

A rustling sound can be heard from the dead leaves beneath Mary's feet. Giant ants emerge from holes around the base of the tree and flailing helplessly two soldiers fall to the ground where they are engulfed by the biting and stinging terrors. Mary and her remaining soldier catch hold of low lying branches and haul themselves out of danger. But they are exhausted by their efforts.

Unable to contain his glee, Ujuwa urges his warriors onwards and they head into a thicket. But his mirth is cut short when poisoned darts cut down two of his men. The Warriors are suddenly paralysed by fear and are unable to move.

[The discovery marker in this terrain area is cursed preventing the group from activating during the next Actions phase.]

[This above photo illustrates how the terrain can be modified. I create a jungle base to which different elements can be added to create more variety during different games. In this case the central terrain area has been removed to more easily place the figures. Once the figures move on, the terrain is replaced.]

"Oh Madame!" exclaims Bergamote as he rushes towards the dangling lady with his Trained Askari.

But Mary's problems are not over yet. Ujuwa's Baluchi look on at the spectacle before them and raise their muskets. There is a loud crack of gunpowder accompanied by an awful cloud of acrid smoke, but as the air clears the dangling legs remain intact. Seeing that the ants have returned to their subterranean nest, Mary and her remaining soldier drop to the ground and hastily put shrubbery between themselves and danger. 

Meanwhile, Mary's Adventurers decide that they are not being very adventurous and with the Askari, they start to advance. 

The Ruga Ruga see an opportunity and as they dodge more poisoned darts they stumble upon a dead leopard. Who knows how the animal died, but its pelt will prove valuable.  

After helping Mary to recover her composure, Bergamote explores amongst the buttresses of the giant tree and finds an artefact of great importance. 

As the botanist rummages for rare orchids, Ujuwa and his Warriors creep slowly to the edge of the thicket and see that the path ahead is clear. The white woman's camp must be cleansed! 

Emerging into a clearing Ujuwa is confronted by Mary's Askari. 

Time for a diversion. Ujuwa leads his men away from the Askari and finds himself staring straight into the faces of Mary's rather startled Adventurers. 

Spears clash with rifles and the Adventurers are forced to retire.

[In fact one of the adventurous would have fallen, but the group's special rule means that by taking two stress tokens they can avoid a single casualty.]

Ujuwa urges his warriors to charge once again. One of Mary's Adventurers is skewered and the remaining two run for their lives.  Seeing his chance, Ujuwa rushes towards Mary's camp. 

[The adventurous were forced to take a fifth stress token. Since only 4 such tokens can be taken, this meant that the adventurers had to flee away from Ujuwa's group, opening the way for the witchdoctor to leave the table.]

As Ujuwa and his Warriors rush towards the camp, Mary's Askari raise their muskets for one final shot...

But they are startled by a loud noise from the bushes behind them.

A forest elephant appears from the depths of the jungle.

In what can only be described as a rather spirited decision, the Askari change their target in the hope of bagging a pair of tusks.

The musket shots whiz past the startled elephant. Enraged, the elephant trumpets and charges the Askari!

[Elephants are one of the new animal types found in the Throne of Thunder campaign. When in melee the player rolls a D6 to determine how many D10 attacks the elephant makes...]

Oh dear...

But all is not lost. The Askari manage to dodge the beast's tusks and fall backwards to reload their muskets. But before they can unsling their weapons, the elephant charges them once again.

Whilst musket clashes with tusk, a pleasant aroma of fine cooking has perked the interest of Mary's Ruga Ruga who decide to follow their noses into a small clearing amongst the trees.

Looking about them the Ruga Ruga consider the day's events. Poinsoned darts, giant ants and elephants. What else could possibly go wrong?!

"What else indeed!" comes the response from Mary's skewered Adventurer...


Ujuwa managed to exit the table to cleanse Mary's camp. His Archers also managed to make a discovery of Magical Plants for a total of 19 vp.

Mary's men secured two discoveries and Bergamote found some loot for 10 vp. But the loss of her bearer cost Mary 2 vp so her total came to 8 vp.

Mary has lost this adventure and gained no Knowledge. She remains at level 1, so still has no barter tokens left (or bearers)...

By cleansing Mary's camp, Ujuwa gains one more domain of knowledge. He has plenty of medicinal plants and no need for more warriors. So he decides to brave the fast forest river. Unfortunately, sickness ravages his camp meaning that at the beginning of the next adventure he will have to test each of his groups for casualties. Ujuwa has successfully made 17 Rituals (up 6 from the last game).

Mary chooses to chance her luck with the local villagers. After all, she needs to barter to recover her rather poached adventurer. Although the response from the village is unenthusiastic, she does enlist the aid of two brothers who offer to act as bearers. But negotiations take time and Mary has now spent 20 months on expedition.

To date the campaign Accomplishment Points are as follows:

Mary: 18 AP (down 2 from last game)

Ujuwa: 31 AP (up 9 from last game)

Mary has one domain of knowledge whilst Ujuwa now has 3.

Stay tuned for Mary and Ujuwa's final adventure - The Mountain of the Gods