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Big Trouble in Belgian Congo...

Updated: Oct 15

What was billed as Napoleonics, turned out to be a highly entertaining ‘Darkest Africa’ game hosted by Phil at the club on Friday, set in Congo Belge, using his pukka 28mm Copplestone and Foundry figures, and his own rules.

The simple rules made for a fast-moving game whilst encouraging tactical thinking and simulating tribal enmities.

The game was set around a lagoon with its own island. Each player was a tribal leader with a number of spearmen and missile troops, as well as a witch-doctor who could cast spells on enemy forces.

Each player had to defend their village while accumulating gold stashed in other locations.

There was allegedly a huge pot on the island, defended by another tribe, and canoes were to be used to capture it.

We all received a hand of cards to play at a certain point in a turn to make our moves.

The game led to copious hilarity owing to several incidents around the table, besides witty banter.

With gold...

In one case, I thought I had captured some gold to the north of my village...


...only to be robbed by the Force Publique (native Police), which could be moved by any player – Doug doing so with some menace, and eventually gobbling up my very nuggets.

Rob lost his village to Phil, but managed to capture another close by, and eventually beat back Phil’s aquatic raiding party to retake his ancestral home.

Theo was afflicted by poor dice rolls, failing to ‘hex and attack’ a number of times, to general amusement.

He did launch a sly crocodile attack on Phil’s canoe though...

Richard had a another unit of Force Publique, which captured Theo’s village, as well as his gold, but when it advanced and captured Phil’s village, Theo pushed him out.

Phil attacked Theo and Rob, but eventually lost his village to Richard and Theo...

Further crocodile attacks, 'canoes' made of 28mm scale walls, Patrick stabbing me in the back despite our 'alliance', and a jolly atmosphere made this a thoroughly enjoyable evening’s play.

Patrick’s backstabbing was utterly egregious, however...

Although I mounted two assaults on the island, and Patrick tried one, we failed to take the village there and missed out on the gold... (was it even real?)

Yet I avenged my earlier violation and liberated three of Patrick's gold pieces when he was not looking…

The final result was that Rob won, with 20 gold pieces, Doug was second with 17, and I simply cannot remember where everyone else finished!

A great laugh all round.

Thanks to Phil for another home-brewed wargame classic...

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