Thursday, 15 August 2013
Flashing Steel in the Heart of Africa!
I've been re-reading the In Darkest Africa articles that I downloaded from the Foundry site last week, including the core skirmish rules and campaign system, which are also to be found in the Foundry Compendium. This has given me a potential time and energy saving idea, inspired in part by the tag line on the cover of the latter, from 'Pirates to Darkest Africa'.
I already have a decent collection of painted 28mm pirates together with a scratchbuilt sloop and cutter, enough to provide one side in a small skirmish game. I also have based but yet to be painted, an entire native tribal villager army, consisting of several units of spearmen, archers, musketeers and baggage, together with a witchdoctor, tribal chief and hangers on.
In the ubiquitous plastic box, I also have enough Foundry Zanzibari slavers and Ruga Ruga to equip a small army, all sorted out into the required units for In The Heart of Africa. These are great figures with loads of character and include musketeers, two handed swordsmen, a light cannon and some impressive characters. The accompanying Ruga Ruga are particularly good and would be great as Indian Ocean pirate types.
If I painted up even a fraction of the Arab slavers and Ruga Ruga I'd have more than enough to crew a Zanzibari dhow or two, as well as provide some opposition for my more conventional pirates in Flashing Steel terms. I'd also be able to use them as the core of a force for In The Heart of Africa, especially as my Nkonde villagers fought against the slavers as allies of the British in Nyasaland in the 1880's.
There's a very nice but inexpensive arab dhow from PMC games too, so that would save me a stack of scratchbuilding and provide some suitable transportation for the slavers that could have dual use for In The Heart of Africa. I reckon a couple of dhows being chased by my pirate sloop, or vice versa,would make for a great skirmish naval game for a start.
There's plenty of historical background for a late seventeenth or early eighteenth century pirates v. slavers scenario as well. There are many infamous examples of pirates operating in the Indian Ocean against both African and Indian shipping, as well as being heavily involved in the slave trade to boot. I think this 'two birds for one stone' idea has a lot of potential but it'll have to wait until I've cleared the workbench of existing projects.