Matakishi wrote a set of rules called "The Natives are Restless Tonight". The rules simulate the archetypal colonial scenario; where a regular colonial force is besieged by hordes of natives. Ammunition is running low, and the regulars hope they can hold out till relief arrives. I really wanted to give these a go.
I decided to set this in the Eastern Congo in the late nineteenth century ('cause I have the figures see). So on one side were 5 companies of Force Publique soldiers with a field gun. On the other side were hordes of natives armed with spears or 'trade muskets'; bolstered by limited numbers of Arabs with muskets, or fanatic Arabs with swords.
"The Natives are Restless Tonight" does not cater for the standard "can't shoot-can't fight" African native; so these were represented as shooting and close combat with one dice for every two figures (round up).
The Force Publique are holed up in Fort Désespoir which has partly fallen down; they need to hold on till a relieving column arrives (on the second turn of the ace of spades). They have enough ammunition for 20 volleys and 5 rounds of canister for the field gun. Will it be enough?
I played the Force Publique while Mark bin Hammed played the Arabs
I placed two companies in reserve in the centre of the fort; while the remaining three companies lined the walls.
The gun was placed outside the main walls in its own little earthwork. In fact the natives were so perturbed by the gun they didn't venture close to this side of the wall till just before the end of the battle.
Here is a force Publique lieutenant directing his company's fire
The natives are generated randomly; and the Arabs were well served by the cards in this game as the joker (giving them four reinforcements came up four times in all). Below are two fearless groups of Arab fanatics.
The accurate fire from soldiers manning the walls could keep the onrushing natives at bay;
...but my pile of ammunition was growing smaller with each volley.
..making it hard to decide whether to shoot or hold fire.
In the end disaster struck; in a determined rush the natives pushed the defenders back and captured a building. By this time the Force Publique had taken many casualties; and ammunition was critically low. Certainly they were too weak by this stage to recapture the building. It looked like there was just time for one last Hail Mary.
But what's that? A bugle, the relief column was on its way.
From this point on the soldiers started to retreat into the buildings and wait for the relief column to arrive. Desperate attacks by the natives could not dislodge them before the relief column saved Fort Désespoir and its gallant defenders.
Well, I must say, if you want a easy, fast game that gives you the drama of defending Rorkes Drift, or the residency at Lucknow this hits the spot. Can't wait till my broken hand heals and my Indian Mutiny figures are painted to give it another.
Happy Wanderer; are you listening?