Thursday, 28 January 2016

The Battle of Rorke's Drift in 54mm - (De Pinte, 24/01/2016)

British : Patrick VDB, Adrien, Siegfried
Zulu : Mark, Alex Steven, Dirk
Host and catering Bart.
The game took not even 2 hours.

We had about 50 British soldiers and 220 Zulu. Most of them from Steven painted by himself, Gilbert and Alex. Patrick and Siegfried also brought a number of soldiers and warriors .
A unit of Zulu was about 25 warriors and Steven did have the briliant idea to put them on tiles to allow fluent movement and clear seperation of the different units.

The Zulu could recycle the falen warriors into new units, as to have numbers in proportions the total number of tiles would number over 50.  This also mend the Zulu army could take a loss of 25 tiles before even have a moral check of 50% of the army lost.

With the rule (see below)we used, a Zulu tile(= a unit) started checking moral at 50% losses.
With the disposition of buildings and wall, the Zulu were already close from the start of the game. They soon were up to the fences, but the defence stood strong and the loss of tiles went fast for Mark and Alex who did the frontal assault.  As I saw the back of the hospital was undefended and my 2 tiles were on the extreem right, I asked Steven who was the first to my left, to join me with one of his units to take on the gatling gun, while I would try to make a run to the undefended gap.

I worked, while to the front tiles were rotating, the British troops took more and more casualties, and  with the too high presure to their front, they didn't look what came to their rear or couldn't miss a man to plug the gap.  At the end, all remaining men tried to make a run for the hospital, some succeeded, some were cought by my units but in the final chapter the massacre went on in the hospital, with every soldier killed. A total Zulu victory.

Conclusion: The Zulu could start to close to the buildings and the buildings were to far apart, with the British trying to defend everything, and in the end defending nothing. The range of 60cm for the rifles was to  short. the 4D for the gatling to few, as such a gun would fire up to 200 round / minute or even more compared to the 6 rounds a minute a soldier could to with the Martin. So it should have at least 10D or even 12D.  If you use 54mm on a similar table, the Zulu should loose 5cm of their movement for every casualty in the next round, (with a maximum of 30cm lost, which would mean : no movement the next turn)  We also allowed the second rank of Zulu to fight when in close combat, maybe this should also be reduced to only front line.
But after all a fast and fun game, beautifull figures and fantastic scratch build buildings by Gilbert.

Thanks to all participants and also to thanks to our hosts Bart & Martine.
I will trie to also make a youtube posting of the game, so soon on

The Rule:
The Battle of Rorke's Drift
took place during the war between the British and the Zulus. The battle is perhaps best known for the film "Zulu". Rorke's Drift is a mission station in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, located on a ford of the Buffalo River. The defence of Rorke's Drift on 22 and 23 January 1879, following the British defeat in the battle of Isandlwana, earlier in the day. 139 British soldiers defended the mission against
a great force of 4,000 Zulu warriors. The successful defence is known as one of the bravest defences.
Zulus are first turned on. All phases are unilaterally except melee.


- British ......................... 20 cm
- Zulu ............................. 30 cm
o If a unit suffered losses in the previous round, its movement is  reduced by 5 cm.
o A unit can receive a bonus of 5 cm to complete his move into cover.
o Leaving cover reduces the movement of 5 cm.
o The warriors of the same unit cannot be further than 5 cm from each other.


- For the Zulu, the dice are thorn per unit; British per section.
- The British can fire every turn. 1D6 per soldier; 4D6 for "gatling" gun (machine gun).
2 throws follow each other:
"successful shot": English on 3+, Zulu on 4+
 Re throw each  "hit" and it becomes a casualty on:
·         without cover: 3+
·         light cover (bushes, shrubs ...): 4+
·         heavy cover (barricade, wall ...): 5+
- Artillery: throw 1d6  "on target on  3+;  if so throw 8d6 for "savings" as above: with a +1 for each throw.
- Maximum firing range rifles: 60 cm; Artillery: 120 cm.
- Some of the Zulu warriors are equipped with  firearm s(poor quality). Therefore, the Zulu firearm s are
only  half effective if the target is at more than 20 cm . (re throw casualties (effective  on 4+)

3 - Melee

o British first (regardless of whose turn it is), than Zulu;
o For each figure roll a dice , hit on a 4+.
o This is followed by saving roll: 6+  if no protection ;5+ if in light cover;4+ if in heavy cover.
o Each figure can take only one loss.
o A Zulu chief can be attached to the unit giving a +1 in combat. If the unit hass taken casualties, a D6  is thrown and the chief is hit on a 6.

4 - Breaking barricades

The Zulus can try to break through the barricade if no immediate opposition (5 cm
space). Each Zulu passes with a 4+.

5 - Attack on hospital

The Zulus should try to enter the hospital (with a 4+ they enter). A maximum of 10 figures of each side can be inside. The British soldiers can decide whether they fight or whether to try to escape from the hospital (successful  on 4+).
Once all British have escaped or were slain, the Zulu may try put the hospital on fire (4+).

6 - Moral Test

o The British never test their morale (they cannot afford it).
o The Zulus test when they have lost half of their unit: be a 3+ throw to survive;
- Two thirds of the unit is lost : throw a 5+ to be successful.
o If a Zulu chief is attached to the unit: +1 on the test.

7 - End of the Game

The game ends with a victory:
o of the British if they cause 75% losses to the Zulus;
o Zulu if the garrison at Rorke's Drift is destroyed.
* * * *
(thanks to Thierry blog: original rule in French, slightly adapted here with unhistorical addition of artillery and machine gun) - Alex 01/16/2016
English, Dirk: 28/01/2016


  1. Great report, I can't wait to see the video.

  2. Dirk, thank you very much for posting the great looking photos and the rules. I am surprised that, even with a Gatling gun, the British could not stop the Zulus! I will try out the rules with your revisions. Great looking figures and buildings!

    Just wondering how you feel about playing the Anglo-Boer wars in the Netherlands? It's a challenge to come up with a balanced scenario since the Boer marksmanship was so superior to the British, but it does offer a change from hordes of natives. You could reuse your Zulue War British for the earlier war.

  3. ...Boer War(s) are in preparation!

  4. Please excuse my North American ignorance. Of course, your group is in Belgium, not the Netherlands!

  5. Hi Nick. No problem. Marcel is Dutch so he is concerned. Also as our group is Flemish and thus Dutch speaking, our sympathy for the boers is also great. If it was not for the stubbornness of the Spanish in the 16-17 century, THE Netherlands would probably include Belgium, Luxmebourg and large parts of modern France.