Monday, July 10, 2017

Death in the Dark Continent: Force Publique vs Azande

Having finished my Azande army during the week, I arranged to have a game with my friend Frank Sunday evening.

The Azande is my fourth and final army for Death in the Dark Continent, and I was very much looking forward to seeing how they would perform against the breech-loader armed Force Publique.

We choose the Raid scenario, with the narrative being the Force Publique attempting to get hold of the Azande chief's mistress and her children (baggage). They would have 8 rounds to get them. The table had been set up with the Azande Village in the middle of one half of the table. To the right of Force Publique a large stretch of tall grass stretched while the rest of the board was filled with jungle terrain pieces. The jubgle terrain pieces I had only finished the evening before, and I quite like the look of the final table.

As per the rules the Force Publique started with all of their 225 points on the table, while the Azande only had 100 points worth of units on the table and the rest of the units would be diced for as late arrivals.

I played the Azande and chose to have my two Elite Skirmisher units with throwing knives and a unit of musketmen on the table.

My aim was to hold out until the fourth round when hopefully my other units would begin to arrive.

The Force Publique moved forward slowly, as Frank rolled 1s and 2s. The Azande moved into position within the village, keeping out of shooting range. I also wanted to position them so that there would be no gaps for the Force Publique to slip through. 

As the Force Publique moved forward their approach became more obvious and the Azande moved into position. However the Force Publique then started firing at long range, and despite the heavy penalities Frank rolled first a 20 and a 17 with his first unit and then two 19s with the other! Incredible! So one of the Elite Skirmishing units lost a base and received a disorder marker, while the musketmen received two disorder markers.

The Azande Elite Skirmishers had to get into melee, especially with the Raw Soldiers unit. So despite moving straight at the Raw Soldiers one of the units had to take that chance. Luckily the Force Publique shooting did not manage to hit anything and in the next round the Azande moved into melee. Despite positive modifiers the roll of a 1 still mean the Azande had been pushed back and got a disorder marker by the Raw Soldiers.

When the fourth round came I diced for late arrivals, but no new units arrived at the scene to help drive the Force Publique out. 

In the middle of the board the Azande musketmen had gotten within range of their muskets and open fire on the Force Publique Soldier unit there. But no hits by either side.

Round five started with still no new Azande units arriving. 

Another exchange of gunfire between the musketmen and soldiers followed but neither could hit anything.

The Elite Skirmishers again moved into melee. And with a modified roll of 7, the Raw Soldiers were killed. The other Elite Skirmishers attacked the other Soldier unit and the Chief base. But result was a disorder marker to both sides and the Elite Skirmishers being pushed back. 

Finally at the beginning of round six help came with a unit of Elite Skirmishers with muskets and a unit of musketmen arriving in the tall grass.

Sensing time was running out the Force Publique went on the offensive with but remaining units moving into melee. And in the melee phase Frank rolled well, and both the musketmen and the engaged Elite Skirmisher unit were killed.

At the beginning of round seven a ground of Azande Spearmen made a late arrival, but the Chief and his breech-loader armed Elite Skirmishers again failed to make an appearance.

With only this round and another to go Frank need to roll high with his movement for the one unit that had a chance of reaching the baggage. He rolled a 2 and with the baggage rolling a 4 it became impossible to for the Force Publique to win.

Had the game continued for more rounds the odds would still be with the Azande as the spearmen would be able to get in between the baggage and the Force Publique. Allowing the musketmen in the tall grass to get to the Force Publique units.

This was again a lot of fun. I am a big fan of Sharp Practice, but this game just flows so much more easily and has moved to the top of my list for unit games. I have also taken quite a liking to the multi-based figures as it both speeds up play and visually looks stunning.

I cannot recommend this game high enough. And if I did not already have four full armies for this I would gladly invest in a few more.