BY JINGO - Colonial History & Wargames Page

BATTLES FOR EMPIRE: 1870-1902

Introduction

Recreating the campaigns and battles of late nineteenth century imperial conquest, particularly the British campaigns in the Sudan and against the Zulus in southern Africa, has long been popular amongst wargamers. Part of the interest lies in the stark contrast between the military systems of the Europeans and their Native opponents; it is a contrast that generally set well equipped but small European armies against archaically armed but large Native hosts. When European technology, organization, and discipline were coordinated there was little chance of failure and the Native armies were horribly defeated. Nevertheless, the fact that the European assets were not always well employed and that courageous Native forces sometimes enjoyed success makes colonial wargaming an exciting challenge.

However, even in the most favourable circumstances, players commanding Zulus or Dervishes will often have to endure the demoralizing reality of many casualties long before they close with the British -- and even then they must face cold Sheffield steel! Of course, diverse scenario design options will allow for terrain suitable for Native ambushes or concealed movement , and the Imperial forces might not be steady British regulars but rather less enthusiastic locally raised forces. The options are endless.

BATTLES FOR EMPIRE: 1870-1902 (BFE) captures the flavour of these so called little wars while ensuring that both sides have an entertaining chance at victory. A combination of traditional game mechanics and new approaches to wargaming allows players to experience the drama of large battles with elements of skirmish level games. With careful scenario design, Isandlwana or Rorke's Drift can be re-fought using one rules system.

The Dervishes of the Sudan, the Zulus and Boers of southern Africa, and the Pathans of the North-West frontier of India have been selected to represent the major fighting styles opposing the British. These opponents are the most popular amongst wargamers. However, with the proliferation of figures available to simulate even the most obscure conflicts, other enemies of Great Britain can be represented by using the Native substitution recommendations provided in the rules. Of course, other Imperial powers like the French and Italians could be used to replace the British. With some imagination, any colonial conflict can be represented with BFE. Good luck and enjoy your battles for, or against, empire. Chris Leach

List Of Articles

12/01/2001 - Playtest of "Battles For Empire" Boxer Rebellion Rules By Larry Bertoia

07/01/2001 - The Boxer Rebellion Project

01/18/2001 - Official Rule Changes

07/03/2000 - Intombi Drift - a Zulu War scenario

Battles For Empire Errata

Battles For Empire Frequently Asked Questions

Battles For Empire Optional Rules

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