A blog about miniatures, wargaming, and the people driven to ruin by them....

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Heart of Darkness.. Lite!

A fellow gamer expressed interest in participating in an African themed game after re-reading Heart of Darkness.  I used to put on some safari style games , but hadn't for some time, so I dusted off the miniatures and starting writing a simple scenario.  The idea was a lucrative ivory trading station falling out of contact, and several competing factions sending expeditions in an attempt to claim the station and its trade routes for themselves.  With no boat or appropriate river terrain, all would be hoofing it.

I decided to use our  Where Heroes Dare! pulp gaming system.  Since I had all of the miniatures to be used, and wanted to keep the skills and equipment "semi-realistic", I worked up all 4 teams before hand, letting each player choose the team they would run.  I would take the left over.

The WHD! Dare Encounters tables included in the rule book are great, but its always fun to create your own tables that are specific to the feel or theme of the game you are running.  So I whipped up some tables full of African style encounters and misfortunes.

The teams were the English Party, led by Hatterson and his companion Brigitte O'Malley, with Askaris and the Welsh Ladies Choir for followers.... the Slavers, led by Blucher and his companion The Baroness, with Arab Slavers and Ruga Ruga as followers.... the British Empire, led by Johnston and his companion Penelope, with Askaris and soldiers as followers... and finally Teddy "Ladykiller" Roosevelt and his companion Olivia, with some American Cowboys as followers (I would get "stuck" with Teddy's team).
All of these figures are from Foundry, mostly the Darkest Africa range, with some Old West.  The hostile natives used later are from Old Glory... most of the animals are plastic toys, or resin elephants.  Where I borrowed images from Dieter (he ran the British Empire Team), I'll keep his captions. 

"Lions and tigers and cowboys, oh my!"  Teddy was off to a good start, running into an ambushing Lion that managed to maul Bill before being put down.  In fact, only two of the many animals encountered --a gorilla, and a zebra--didn't try to kill someone.  Nature abhors a vacuum, and also explorers, evidently.
"Eek!"  Brigitte and the Welsh Lady's Choir stumbled upon the only unusual creature encountered in the game... an over sized arachnid.  They calmly produced revolvers from their parasols and dispatched the beast.
The Empire and the Slavers worked their way towards the center, dealing with various calamities, including bands of fierce hostile natives.  Most were taken down by rifle fire, but one group caught the Baroness by surprise.  However, she proved a formidable melee opponent, and eliminated them all.
"I reckon we done heard enough of that"  Olivia initiated a fire fight with Hatterson that would eventually strip both of them of their followers.  Brigitte led the Choir forwards, and attempted to rout them with Eerie Singing (Laughter).  Teddy and his cowboys were unmoved, and opened fire, bringing down one of the singers.
"Bully shot, I say.  I took that one on the run."  Realizing that the Empire was about to claim the station, and wanting to break the deadlock on her side, Brigitte decided to charge past Teddy towards Olivia.... but Teddy, with his Lightening Reflexes managed a clean shot to bring her down, bagging a "trophy" wife.
At the end of the game we realized that Teddy's tally was one lion, and two women.
Penelope covered the flank (killing a white rhino, and eventually Olivia) while Johnston entered the Ivory Trading Station.  Blucher rushed up, only to provoke an angry elephant that charged into his group, crushing his Slavers to pulp before he was able to slay the pachyderm.
Undaunted, Blucher pronounced Johnston to be his Nemesis, and waded forward to challenge his old enemy for control of the station.  In the swirling melee that ensued, the enraged Blucher killed all of the opposing Askaris and wounded Johnston, but eventually succumbed to multiple wounds.

While Johnston had enjoyed the support of Penelope, Blucher could not rely on the Baroness.  Most of the teams met various animals that they quickly dealt with.  Unfortunately, the Baroness managed to contract Malaria (missing a turn but avoiding a loss of Dare!)... then became Lost! for another turn.  When she emerged from the jungle, she encountered another elephant (the 4th of the game) that ground her Ruga Ruga into the mud, and finally stamped her out for good.
In the end, it was easy to determine that the British Empire under the leadership of Johnston had won the game.  Blucher had accumulated some victory points by collecting informative rumors and tales... but he and all of his comrades were dead.  The English Party and the Americans had spent most of the game fighting each other, and only a few other points had been scored from trophy animals claimed from the Warthogs, Crocodiles, Zebra, Gorilla, and other animals encountered. 

The 2nd place would have gone to the elephants as they killed more explorer models than any of the human parties... in fact, the Slavers lost only one model (Blucher) to rivals, the rest were killed by rogue elephants!  The players surmised that not only were the elephants a concerned party to the reactivation of the abandoned ivory trading station.... they were obviously willing to voice their complaint!

It was a fun game, and though I did tailor the details a bit, it proved again how versatile WHD! is.  More importantly, it satisfied a friend's interest in the gaming subject... I was happy to oblige, this is after all a fellowship, and hope to use my Africa miniatures set more often in the future.

1 comment:

  1. Very cool stuff! Any game you can get TR in is a good game. BULLY!