Wargaming in Darkest Africa

This page should help me to keep on top of my various book and magazine articles that include background information, terrain tutorials, scenarios etc for wargaming in Darkest Africa (in both historical and pulp settings). My current interest is the small to medium scale skirmishes and the information tends to be weighted in that direction. I will update the page as I come across new information. I've also included links to online posts that I've found useful or interesting. The list isn't exhaustive but please let me know if you think I have missed an important reference! I've checked that the urls are still working, but do let me know if you find a problem. I've deliberately not included links to battle reports, but may add links to some of my favourites at a later date.

The format is as follows:
Title (either actual title used in article or my summary)
Short description of content if appropriate
Game System(s)
Source (volume no.) pages
Clickable Link (for web content)

A key to abbreviations is at the foot of the page.

The list is now quite long so I have broken it down into what I hope a meaningful sections. Links to each section are below (working to make these active anchor links):

- Rules
- Rules Supplements/Additional Resources etc
- General Background Information
- People and Cultures
- Conflicts and Battles
- Scenarios
- Terrain Tutorials/Reviews/Inspiration
- Painting/Modifying Miniatures
- Reviews etc
- Websites/Blogs
- Alternative Settings
- Miniature Suppliers
- Terrain Suppliers
- Miscellaneous Stuff


[This isn't an exhaustive list of all the rules that are available, but includes rules that I either play or use as reference material. Always game to try something new though, so let me know if you think I've missed something. Another comprehensive list of rulesets is available on the British Empire Wargames site. ]

Hail Caesar
Mass combat rules published by Warlord Games. Bases typically include multiple figures although individually based figures can be used with sabot bases. Generally used for ancients wargaming, but have some use for non-colonial African battles.

Black Powder
Mass combat rules similar to Hail Caesar, but includes firearms. Typically used for gaming Anglo-Zulu wars, Sudan, Egypt etc.

In the Heart of Africa
Skirmish rules with good background information and a basic campaign system. I've borrowed many of the ideas for the campaign in my adaptation of Wilkinsons expedition for MWWBKs.

In Darkest Africa
Skirmish rules that are largely the same as the previous entry, but published by Wargames Illustrated over two issues.
WI (131) 50-55 & [incoming!]

Death in the Dark Continent
Follow up to In the Heart of Africa that includes rules for larger skirmish encounters. Very good background information and lists for multiple African peoples. My preferred ruleset for larger skirmishes when there is more time to set up a good looking table. I like these rules but there are only a limited number of scenarios in the main rule book. If armies are badly matched games can be very one sided even if they appear balanced on points (eg. armies built around warriors can be devastating when facing a skirmish based force). More scenarios would help to broaden the range of victory conditions.

The Men Who Would Be Kings
Medium to large skirmish rules that includes lists for Darkest Africa (amongst others). A great ruleset for small to medium skirmishes, especially when time is more limited. Includes several scenarios. Very entertaining to play.

Small to medium skirmish rules from the publishers of SAGA. Games are scenario driven and my preferred ruleset for narrative play. A campaign system that focuses on Mary Kingsley's ascent of Mount Cameroon is also available.

Man versus Beast: A Skirmish Game
Small skirmish rules for big game hunting. Included within the DitDC rulebook.

The Sword and the Flame
This is a ruleset that I haven’t yet played, but does appear to be popular in some quarters (particularly across the pond). I believe that an African supplement is available.

Rules Supplements/Additional Resources etc

Anglo-Zulu War
Black Powder

The Mahdist Revolt
Black Powder

The West Coast Chiefdoms
In Darkest Africa
WI (183) 22-23

Random Events in ‘Darkest Africa’
In The Heart of Africa
Lots of good ideas here. I’ve borrowed many of them and converted them into a format suitable for MWWBKs. 
WI (196) 50-52

DitDC Armies Supplement

The Legend of Tarzan (new army list)
Official optional rules for Men Who Would be Kings. I've utilised several of these for my adaptation of Wilkinson's Campaign. 
WI (349) 94-95

Mungo Mah Lobeh Campaign Supplement

New Character Cards

Tarzan (new column)
WI (349) 62-64

Drums Along the Watusi
'Back of a postcard' rules to solve problem of concealed native movement in colonial games.
Miniature Wargames (9) 35-36

General Background Information

[There is obviously a large amount of information available on Africa and the various colonial powers. I've tried to keep this list focussed to that information that is most useful for wargaming.]

Darkest Africa - A Wargamers Guide
WI (292) 24-31

African Terrain - A Wargamers Guide
WI (356) 58-63

People and Cultures

'Splendid Fellows'A Masai Army for Darkest Africa
Detailed background information for the Masai with notes on history, warfare, armament, war dress and tactics.
WI (138) 37-43

A Tale of Three Armies (The Ila, The Boers & The Ruga Ruga)
WI (356) 46-53

The Ila

Wargaming with the Matabele

The Love Charm of Our People (Zulu Shields 1879)
WI (365) 38-43


The Armies of Rei Bouba

Conflicts and Battles

Wargaming the Pedi Wars, 1838 - 1877
Colonial wargaming in the Transvaal. 
DitDC or MWWBKs.
WI (350) 56-63

Isandlwana, 1879
Photographs with some background information.
WI (307) 104-113

The Anglo Egyptian War, 1882
WI (305) 100-109


The Old Tangiers
Early colonial wargaming in North Africa. 
Pike and Shotte.
WI (133) 28-33

Eating People is Wrong!
Ideas for coastal scenarios involving Zanzibari Slavers.
No specific ruleset specified but easily adaptable.
WI (133) 20-21

The Path of Blood (Matabele vs Zulu)
Hail Caesar (with battle report)
WI (292) 42-51

Let's Have a Fist Fight at Jim's Place (Rorkes Drift)
Black Powder (with battle report)
WI (292) 84-95

Tel el-Maskhuta, 24 August 1882 (British vs Egyptians)
(home made rules), possibly use Black Powder
WI (305) 104-109

Zulu War Battles for Empire, 1870 - 1902 Part 2 Battle of Nyezane, January 1879
Devised for Battle For Empire, but author states the scenario is easily convertible to Principles of War or Sword and the Flame.
WI (183) 42-43

Back to the Dark Continent. Two More Scenarios for 'Darkest Africa'. 
Two quite contrasting scenarios by Chris Peers that include a small skirmish level battle along a path and a larger action along the banks of a river. 
The Fight at Mouaou, 1866
The Battle of The Bua River, 1887
Both scenarios were devised for In the Heart of Africa, but easily adapted to other suitable rulesets. 
WI (203) 34-39

Warfare in the Age of Exploration, 1855 - 1876 Part 1
Interesting and detailed background information on two instances when colonial invaders faced stiff opposition from native forces.
Night Attack at Berbera, April 1855 &
Mtagamoyo Versus the Pygmies, c. 1870
No specific ruleset specified, but ideas for creating scenarios are provided. Best suited to In Darkest Africa or DitDC, but could be adapted to other rulesets. The Night Attack scenario would benefit from a simple skirmish system similar to Blood Eagle.
WI (135) 49-55

Warfare in the Age of Exploration, 1855 - 1876 Part 2
Terrifically detailed background information on two instances when colonial invaders were outclassed by native forces.
Wilyankuru & Tabora, August 1871 &
The Retreat from Masindi, June 1872
No specific ruleset specified, but ideas for creating umpire controlled scenarios are provided. Best suited to In Darkest Africa or DitDC, but could be adapted to other rulesets.
WI (136) 40-45

Warfare in the Age of Exploration, 1855 - 1876 Part 3
More detailed background information this time detailing occasions when Stanley's well resourced expeditions encountered various mishaps.
Disaster at Vinyata, January 1875
Vinya-Njara, December 1876
Not specific to any ruleset, but ideas for In Darkest Africa are provided. Also suitable for DitDC, but could be adapted to other rulesets.
WI (137) 15-20

The Battle of Ngazia
Fictional battle fought as part of a campaign. Some good ideas for creating similar scenarios.
In the Heart of Africa. Also suitable for DitDC.
WI (179) 30-31

Wilkinsons Campaign Against the Slavers - 1881
Terrific little campaign 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. Could easily be adapted for DitDC. I'm currently converting the campaign into something more suitable for MWWBKs. I'll post details on the blog when it's done (still underway but see here).
WI (270) 98-107

We Come for Your Cattle (Ila vs Matabele)
DitDC (with battle report)
WI (292) 68-73

God Save the Queen (First Matabele War, 1893)

Swedes in the Heart of Darkness
Information on how Sweden provided men to serve King Leopold in the Congo. Includes two scenarios inspired by Lieutenant Arvid Wester and Leiutenant Edvard Gleerup from their time at the Stanley Fall station.
Cannibals in the Night - July 1884 &
Slave Raid - October 1884
WSS (88) 16-21

The Bao Bao Berries
WI (356) 34

The Cowrie of Coumba
WI (356) 35

Lost Giants of the Congo
WI (358) 74-75
See also http://28mmvictorianwarfare.blogspot.com/2017/11/lost-giants-of-congo.html

Cattle Raid

Peril Beneath the Desert
A commercial supplement that includes two columns, a new scenario and terrain ideas for playing in Egyptian tombs. Worth a look but a little pricey for an unofficial pdf.

Scenarios (South America)

[I've included these additional scenarios since they represent other ways of playing games such as Congo. They could also be easily modified for use in Darkest Africa.]

The Cinnamon Hunters - 1540
WSS (96) 18-24

To Seize a King - The Capture of Atahualpa, November 1532
WSS (96) 25-26

Street Fight in Cuzco, February 1536
WSS (96) 26

The Search for the Lost City of Z
WI (356) 70-75

Terrain Tutorials/Reviews/Inspiration

Rocky Desert Hills

Desert Terrain by Paepercuts
Paepercuts produces some of the best terrain tutorials on YouTube. The detail and effort involved means that they are probably more appropriate for dioramas rather than wargames. But they are still worth watching and I have certainly picked up some great tips. This video includes a feature that would make a fantastic watering hole.

Savannah Scenery by Paepercuts
Particularly useful for the demonstration of static grass application.

The Kopjes of Serengeti
Not a terrain tutorial, but useful information with great photos.

Elephant Grass
WI (292) 71 & 73

Acacia Trees

Savannah Trees by Paepercuts

Termites and Grass

Meerkat Den

Riverside Jungle Terrain - CONGO 1876, or "Another fine mess you got me into, Stanley..."
Article in Wargames Illustrated discussing a Darkest Africa game held at Partizan in 1998.
WI (131) 46-49

Jungle Terrain

Dangerous Jungle Terrain

Jungle Terrain

Jungle Scatter Terrain

Various Jungle Terrain Including Trees and Orchids
Will definitely be having a go at some of these!

Jungle Trees

Rainforest Trees by Paepercuts

Ground Ferns

Tree Ferns

Carnivorous Plant

Kong's Lair

Pitfall Traps

African Village

How To... Build an African Hut
WI (350) 76-77

WI (356) 68-69

Very nice photo guide to construction of an African Tembe.

Trading Post

Missionary's House

Painting/Modifying Miniatures

Converting Gripping Beast Arab Plastics into Zanzibar Slavers

Ethnic Skin Tones
Very useful post that provides appropriate Vallejo colours for painting different skin colours.
(Sadly this link appears broken in Feb 2024. I’ve archived the info if anybody needs it)

Painting Dark Skin 

Painting Ila

Painting Baboons

Basing Figures for DitDC

Basing the Ila

Base...? We Have a Problem
Creating bases to use figures across different rules (e.g. DitDC & Congo).
WI (358) 82-83

Colonial Flags
A sheet of colonial flags to print out.

Reviews etc

Death in the Dark Continent Reviews

Why I Love Death in the Dark Continent
WI (356) 16-19

The Men Who Would Be Kings Reviews

Congo Reviews


[I follow many different blogs. Here are a few of my favourites that include material relevant to games set in Darkest Africa. I may also include links to specific posts elsewhere when appropriate. I recommend you visit each of these and explore the various posts.]

28mm Victorian Warfare
Posts on various colonial periods including several African conflicts.

A Grab Bag of Games

A Wargaming Gallimaufry

Canister and Grape

Colgar6 and the Infinite Legion of Toy Soldiers

Diary of a Gaming Magpie

Edinburgh Wargames
Various battle reports for games of MWWBKs.

I Have Wrought My Simple Plan

John's Toy Soldiers

Legatus Wargames Armies

Major Thomas Foolery's War Room

Shed Wars

Older Blogs That Don't Appear to be Updated Anymore

Return to Darkest Africa
Blog focussed on wargaming in Africa. Has not been updated recently, but still has many useful resources.

Blog focussed on wargaming in Africa. Again, not updated for several years but useful information. Many of the urls no longer work or are outdated.

Major General Tremorden Rederring's Colonial-era Wargames Page
Website with a wealth of information concerning colonial wargaming. Sadly no longer updated, but a web archive is still available.

Alternative Settings

Articles providing information on using rulesets primarily intended for wargaming in Africa in other settings.

Adventures in Darkest Peru
Inca & Conquistador columns, South American terrain and animals
WSS (101) 18-27

From Congo to the Amazon
WI (353)

Outback (Adventuring in the Australian Outback)

[There are many companies that manufacture and/or supply miniatures for colonial wargaming. Although I will include more general suppliers, I will prioritise listing those that specifically include figures suitable for Darkest Africa, people and wildlife. This will include figures such as explorers and big game hunters that are also suitable to settings that are more pulp focussed. I tend to game with 25/28 mm figures, so that will also influence the companies listed. Being based in the UK, I will also prioritise companies that are EU based.]

Wargames Foundry

North Star Military Figures

Copplestone Castings

Perry Miniatures

Redoubt Enterprises

Old Glory Miniatures

Colonel Bills

Artisan Designs

[There are also many companies that produce terrain. Again I may include some more general suppliers but will prioritise listing those companies that specifically include terrain suitable for Darkest Africa. Being based in the UK, I will also prioritise companies that are EU based.]

Adrians Walls
Prepainted resin terrain that is of excellent quality. I have several dark age buildings from this range that I am very pleased with. I've just ordered an African village stockade. African huts are also available.

Monolith Designs
Great range of various resin African buildings, totems and canoes etc. I have several and they are perfect for games of Congo.

Frontline Gaming
Resin Colonial buildings, explorer's camp and various African village items. I have several and after a clean up, the resin paints up very nicely. The explorer's camp recently featured in our Dino Safari game.

Range of various resin North African buildings. I have recently bought some extra buildings to give more variety to my African villages. These are listed under Middle East on the website.

Grand Manner
Prepainted African huts and various other colonial buildings.

Wargames Terrain Workshop
Various resin African village items including huts, pots and fire. Terrain has featured in several games such as this game of Congo.

The Colonial Steamboat Company
Prepainted terrain that includes forts and boats etc.

Sarissa Precision
Various mdf kits. The colonial steamer featured in this game of Congo.

Ainsty Castings
Various items that include baggage suitable as objectives.

Fenris Games
Pots and other items that are particularly useful for games set in Egypt.

Scotia Grendel
Various resin models with many items suitable for games set in Egypt.

Tabletop Art
Smaller resin items that provide useful objectives/scenery.

Tiny Furniture
Smaller resin items that provide useful objectives/scenery.

Bad Squiddo Games
Smaller resin items that provide useful objectives/scenery. I recently bought the lanterns to include as scenery on the explorer's table in our game of Dino Safari.

Miscellaneous Stuff

Stuff that doesn't quite fit anywhere else!

The Boer War in 3D
Fantastic collection of images on the 28mm Victorian Warfare Blog that are generated from two photographs. A little dizzying if you stare at it for too long though!


WI - Wargames Illustrated (magazine)

WSS - Wargames Soldiers and Strategy (magazine)

DitDC - Death in the Dark Continent (rules)

MWWBKs - Men Who Would Be Kings (rules)

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