NagoyaHammer 2019 - Prim's Plans (Friday May 3rd)

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NagoyaHammer 2019 - Prim's Plans (Friday May 3rd)

Post by Primarch » Tue Feb 26, 2019 11:14 pm

Ok, since I have received the go ahead from ToD, I figured I would set up an introduction/discussion thread for a game on the Friday.

If you haven't seen my post elsewhere, I plan to run a big historical game. Yes, that's right, historical. Stop, don't hit the 'back' button. Come back! Oh... Alright then, I'll just talk to myself.

So what is the plan?
I am going to put on a large game of Black Powder using my Anglo-Zulu War collection. There should be space for 2 British players and 2 Zulu players on a 6' by 8' table. I'm guessing the game should take 3-4 hours. Should the impossible happen and lots of people want to join, I can run the game twice. I have a scenario planned out, the kind of scenario that is often used in a sentence with a superlative and the word 'case'.

Great, where do I sign up?
In this thread is fine... Oh wait, you were being sarcastic.

What is Black Powder?
Black Powder is a games system written by Rick Priestley and Jervis Jonson of GW fame. It is designed to be simple to play and capable of handling hundreds of minis on the table at the same time, without taking days to resolve. Primarily, the game focuses on command and control, rather than having the biggest unit smash the enemy off the table. The game puts you in the position of the general of your force and it is up to you to command your troops correctly to capture objectives and rout the enemy.

What is the Anglo-Zulu War?
The Anglo-Zulu War was a war in South Africa between the British Empire and the Zulu Kingdom. The war took place between January and July 1879. The British governor of the Cape Colony created a flimsy pretext to invade the Zulu Kingdom (against the wishes of the British Government it should be noted). The first invasion was a disaster as the British suffered a humiliating defeat at Isandlwana. Fearing what would happen elsewhere if British military power were to be shown as weak, the British rushed reinforcements to the cape. The second invasion was a success and the Zulu forces were routed outside the King's homestead of Ulundi.

Why the Anglo-Zulu War?
I always loved the movie Zulu as a kid. It's not the most accurate of historical dramas, but it's impressive nevertheless. Having read more about the subject, it is an interesting period for gaming with a wide mix of irregular units on the British side and hordes of Zulus (thousands of them!) ranged against them. The British high command were a pack of villains, but the common fighting men on both sides fought with bravery and distinction. While the Zulu were a warlike people and probably did pose a long term threat to the colony, they have the moral high ground and are defending their homes and way of life against the treacherous white folk.

So what do I need? How much will this cost me?
I will provide everything necessary for the game. If you want to bring along your own dice and tape measure, that should be enough. This is my own little vanity project, I've spent a lot of time and effort studying the war, collecting the minis and getting them tabletop ready. This isn't a demo to get you to buy into a new system, this is me making the effort to share my interest with you.

But what if I don't know about history?
No extra knowledge is needed to play the game. I will have everything set up so that you can jump right in without needing to study/prepare. In fact, you may even learn something through the game itself as I plan to print some simple reference sheets for players.

I haven't played Black Powder before, is that a problem?
No, the system is very easy to pick up and I will have cheat sheets prepared.

How can it be fun, there is no Swoosh/Dakka/Gribbliness?
I wouldn't be doing this if I thought it wasn't fun. It's true that historical games lack the oversized, spiky, heroic scale of SF games, but they also lack the unkillable units, power creep and buckets full of dice that can sometimes be an issue with other systems. Historical games tend to look spectacular with hundreds of models massed on the table in a cohesive army rather than from having giant mechs and monsters.
At the end of the day, it is a game. It is played for fun with like-minded people. I realise that some people have fairly narrow views on what types of game are fun (my own feelings on some systems are no secret after all), or have limited time to spend on gaming, so want to get in as much of their favourite as they can when they can. Why not try something different and step outside your comfort zone for a few hours?

Aren't you a hypocrite then?
I was just getting to that. IF I can get 4 players for this Black Powder game and IF my schedule lines up, I will attend NagoyaHammer on the Saturday (I was hoping to come along regardless, just to support the event) AND I will play 8th ed. 40K for the first time! :o

Awesome, where do I sign?
Just below is... Aw, you were still being sarcastic. :cry:
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Re: NagoyaHammer 2019 - Prim's Plans (Friday May 3rd)

Post by me_in_japan » Wed Feb 27, 2019 1:59 pm

You know what? I'm actually kinda interested in this. In a perfect world, I'd like to join this game and also get in a game of something else on the Friday, but even if it runs long, I daresay it wont kill me. So yeah, count me in. (look! a flying pig! over there!) Meh, I figure if Prim can be enough of a gent to play 8th ed 40k, the least I can do is reciprocate.

ps. can I be the zulus? :D
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Re: NagoyaHammer 2019 - Prim's Plans (Friday May 3rd)

Post by Primarch » Wed Feb 27, 2019 9:48 pm

me_in_japan wrote:ps. can I be the zulus? :D
Yes, of course.

That's one, and a surprising one at that. :D Ideally I'm still looking for two players for the British and one more for the Zulus.
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Re: NagoyaHammer 2019 - Prim's Plans (Friday May 3rd)

Post by job » Thu Feb 28, 2019 1:53 pm

I’d like to sign up. It’s a shilling on a drumhead if I sign up for her Majesty Queen Victoria’s service, right?
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Re: NagoyaHammer 2019 - Prim's Plans (Friday May 3rd)

Post by YellowStreak » Thu Feb 28, 2019 4:26 pm

me_in_japan wrote:You know what? I'm actually kinda interested in this. In a perfect world, I'd like to join this game and also get in a game of something else on the Friday, but even if it runs long, I daresay it wont kill me. So yeah, count me in. (look! a flying pig! over there!) Meh, I figure if Prim can be enough of a gent to play 8th ed 40k, the least I can do is reciprocate.

ps. can I be the zulus? :D
Make sure you watch the movie Zulu before the game to fully prepare!
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Re: NagoyaHammer 2019 - Prim's Plans (Friday May 3rd)

Post by Primarch » Thu Feb 28, 2019 10:34 pm

job wrote:I’d like to sign up. It’s a shilling on a drumhead if I sign up for her Majesty Queen Victoria’s service, right?
The practice of paying the Queen's Shilling stopped in 1879, (the same year as the Anglo-Zulu War), but any soldiers already serving at the start of the conflict would indeed have been paid the traditional signing bonus.

Ok, so we are still looking for another British player and another Zulu player.
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Re: NagoyaHammer 2019 - Prim's Plans (Friday May 3rd)

Post by OZMS2Tallgeese » Wed Mar 27, 2019 7:50 pm

Sounds really interesting! Though I am not sure which side to sign up for...

Hmm - Zulus seem like the force most favoured by Khorne :D I pick that one then

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Re: NagoyaHammer 2019 - Prim's Plans (Friday May 3rd)

Post by Primarch » Wed Mar 27, 2019 10:23 pm

Awesome!

Ok, that leaves one space on the British side to fill.
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Re: NagoyaHammer 2019 - Prim's Plans (Friday May 3rd)

Post by Primarch » Thu Mar 28, 2019 12:18 am

The Anglo-Zulu War - A Primer

This post is intended as a quick introduction to the units that you will see on the table and what to expect of them, since I figure none of the players will have any in-depth knowledge of the forces involved.

The British
Line Infantry - The British Army of the Victorian period was a professional military, equipped with the most modern weapons of the time and was well trained. It was the red-coat wearing soldiers who had built an empire that covered 25% of the world's surface at it's peak.
In game terms the British Line units have the best firepower available, and due to the 2ft long bayonet attached to their rifles they are able to go toe to toe with a Zulu unit on an equal footing.

Royal Artillery - Alongside the common fighting men was one of the most dedicated and reliable artillery corps to be found in the world. From the time of the Napoleonic wars, the men of the Royal Artillery had a well-deserved reputation for their professionalism and competence.
The RA units on the table bring long range and heavy firepower to the British side. Although very weak in hand to hand combat, they are lethal to anything standing in front of them.

The Royal Navy - Being an island nation and a maritime empire, the British had invested a lot in their naval forces. During the invasion of the Zulu Kingdom, the Royal Navy provided an infantry unit drawn from the crew of ships in South Africa and a small force of Royal Marines. In true naval style, their bayonets also doubled as a cutlass.
On the table the Royal Navy troops are functionally similar to the Line infantry.

Natal Native Forces
The British colonies in South Africa had seen some rebellions by native tribes, but when the call went out for volunteers to fight the Zulu, there were a large number of locals who signed up. Old grudges and lost territory motivated the South African tribes to side with the British against their old rivals.

Natal Native Contingent - The majority of volunteers became infantry in the NNC. Commanded by white officers drawn from the colonies or from the Line regiments, the NNC were used as auxiliaries to support the red coats. Due to the threat of rebellion, they weren't given any firearms and instead had to rely on bringing their own equipment. Many of the European officers assigned couldn't speak the local languages and didn't care to learn.
In game terms, the NNC are noticeably poorer than the British Infantry and the Zulu they will fight. While they are competent in melee, their firepower and morale are low. In addition, due to the uncertain skills of their officers, the NNC have a random stamina. They may break on contact with the opponent or turn out to be the toughest unit on the table.

Natal Native Pioneers - As the British lacked a suitable complement of engineers, a pioneer unit was formed. Their duties included building roads and bridges, fortification of positions and general dogsbody work.
On the table, the NNP are effectively non-combatants, but they will offer the British forces some supporting abilities.

Natal Native Horse - A number of natives worked on large farms for European colonists and quite a few had converted to Christianity. When asked to volunteer, they had presented themselves with horses and carbines. Often used in a scouting role, the NNH were capable skirmishers, often engaging Zulu forces before falling back before they were charged.
In game terms, the NNH are a harassment unit. They won't deal a lot of damage, but they can be hard to pin down and can be relied upon to cause a distraction.

The Zulu
The Zulu army of 1879 was a surprisingly professional force for a tribal kingdom. When Zulu men came of age, they were all gathered together at the capital, where they would give an oath to the king. They would then go and serve in a regiment (ibutho in the Zulu tongue) alongside young men of a similar age. By gathering all the men from one age group and training them together, it ensured that they were loyal to the king and not their local chief.
The warriors of the ibutho would be given a set of barracks and some land to work when they weren't training. They weren't allowed to marry (but despite British propaganda weren't celibate) until after they had 'washed their spears' in the blood of their enemy. It wasn't necessary for every warrior to kill someone, often a crowd of warriors would stab corpses after the battle was over if they hadn't killed anyone themselves. This practice meant that every few years the Zulu kingdom had to wage war on one of it's neighbours. Once they had washed their spears they would be given permission to marry and a large wedding ceremony would be held. (See the first 10-15 minutes of the movie Zulu if you are curious). Married men were allowed to work their own land, raise a family and have their own lives. However, they could still be called upon by the king in times of war.
The Zulu still went to battle in the traditional way, armed with spears and a shield for the most part. King Cetshwayo had spent a lot on buying rifles and muskets from European traders and was in the process of modernising his army when war broke out. Due to the irregular ages, sizes and calibres of the guns, poor quality powder and the generally poor marksmanship of the average warrior, the Zulu troops didn't make much use of firearms, often treating them as one-shot, disposable weapons.
Zulu troops on the table are split into one of two types.

Unmarried Infantry - The unmarried warriors know that they have to win if they hope to have a family and farm of their own. They believe in themselves and the 'magic' of the Inyanga (witch doctors).
In game terms, unmarried troops are aggressive and are more likely to charge into combat. Their shooting skills are poor, but once they close, they can do some real damage with their spears.

Married Infantry - The older men of the Zulu Kingdom. They have no need to prove themselves and often have families to support. They are still brave men though and have experienced battle before.
On the table, Married troops are more likely to follow orders and maneuver into position. In combat they fight just as well as their younger brethren.
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Re: NagoyaHammer 2019 - Black Powder Basics

Post by Primarch » Tue Apr 16, 2019 10:15 pm

Well, we're not far away from the big day, so I thought I would pop a brief guide to Black Powder up for any interested individuals.

BP is, at it's heart, a very simple system. There are no buckets of dice to roll and only a couple of small tables to check every now and again.
Each player has 1 or more commanders which command 1 or more units. Each turn consists of each commander giving orders to their units. Successful orders allow units to move, change formation and charge into combat. Units may always shoot and fight if engaged in combat. As units take damage, they may be unable to receive orders and become less effective at fighting. Once they sustain enough damage, they may fall back or break entirely.

Orders are issued by choosing the commander you want to activate and one (or more) units. The order is simply stated aloud so that your opponent(s) can hear and understand it. The order must be a clear, unambiguous set of instructions with no conditions.
For example.
A Company will advance up to the edge of the woods.
B Company will charge the Zulu unit to the right of the hill.
C Company will advance to this point (indicated on the table) and change into a Line formation.

You then roll 2d6 and compare the result with the commander's leadership value (usually an 8).
If you roll equal to OR 1 point lower than the commander's leadership value, then the unit may take 1 action.
If you roll 2 points lower than the commander's leadership value, then the unit may take 2 actions.
If you roll 3 or more points lower than the commander's leadership value, then the unit may take 3 actions.
If you roll higher than the commander's leadership value, then the unit may not take any actions.
If you roll a double 6 then the commander commits a blunder and the unit acts somewhat randomly.
Each action allows a unit to attempt to follow out it's orders.
1 action allows a unit to:
=move up to a set distance.
=change formation once.
=in a limited number of cases, perform a special action.
Units will attempt to follow their orders in the most direct way possible. Be warned! If you give an order like "A Company will advance." with no limitations, and roll 3 actions, the unit will advance as far forward as it is able to. Always plan your orders as if you would receive all 3 actions, even if you don't need them.
(Statistically, the odds are:
1 action - 11/36
2 actions - 5/36
3 actions - 10/36
0 actions - 9/36
Blunder - 1/36)

Units must be given a specific order to charge. They cannot move into contact unless ordered to do so. Units must be able to see their enemy to charge. So you may need 1 or more actions to reach a position where an enemy unit becomes visible. (A Company will move around the building and charge the Zulu unit).

Units with enemies nearby and/or which are far away from their commander suffer penalties for the order test. Some formations or units may grant bonuses to the test.

Units which are within a set distance of the enemy may elect to forgo their order test and simply make 1 action. They must still be given an order though.

Units in combat or which are suffering from Disorder cannot receive orders.

Units move in a very simple way. Once the order has been given and the number of actions determined, move the unit across the table so that no part of the unit moves more than the distance allowed by it's actions. You don't have to worry about wheeling, pivoting, moving backwards or sideways. movement is easy and simple.

Shooting
Generally speaking, units may always shoot unless they are in combat. Units will always shoot the closest target unless the target in cover. In that case, the target can be ignored in favour of a unit which is not in cover.
Units usually hit on a 4+, and natural rolls of 6 cause Disorder, even if the hit is later saved. (So the unit may not be given any orders in their next turn).
Units which are hit roll to save, usually on a 4+, and a running total of damage inflicted is kept next to a unit. Once the total damage inflicted exceeds the unit's Stamina, it takes a break test.

Combat
Units in combat roll to hit simultaneously and usually hit on a 4+. Units roll to save, usually on a 4+, and the side which caused the most hits wins. Friendly units nearby add a small modifier for resolving the winner. The losing side takes a break test and both sides have some options to consolidate after the test.

The combat steps are usually pretty fast, units usually only roll a few dice and there are only a few modifiers to take into account.
Prims Painty Points > +924.5
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