Oiling the Martini-Henry

I’ve been busy of late. Busy crafting an Anglo-Zulu War scenario in the game Advanced Tactics. Its taken me about three weeks in total to come to terms with the editor, and the concepts of transforming my limited knowledge of the initial Invasion of Zululand, and mapping it, finding a workable Order Of Battle (OOB), and making something that resembles a chit shuffler you might want to have a go at.

My addiction with the Zulu War of late has in part been fuelled by my reading materials namely:

I’ve experienced what WhiteDogGames had to offer with their Day of the Spears II (and its overbearing and cumbersome UI), I’ve tasted what the 1990’s had to offer with the Age of Rifles built in Zulu War scenarios, and I’ve dabbled with Jeff Lapkoff’s Zulu War game – probably the nearest game to what I was after. However, there was something missing, something I felt I wanted to create. Initially I wanted to craft a tactical game based on the Battle of Isandlwana, but after consideration and advice, it became something that morphed into an operational representation of the initial pushes into Zulu territory.

Sadly, there are very few wargames that touch on the subject of the Anglo-Zulu War. A War which pits two asymmetric armies, technologies apart. A War which is steeped in complex political and territorial struggles. A War which exemplifies everything good and bad about colonial warfare. But for me personally, it was a War that was very much embedded deep in my generations psyche (as someone who has grown up in the 70’s in Britain), as a consequence of a childhood touched by the iconic 1964 film Zulu.

Advanced Tactics is a game that gives you access to its innards, if you want it. Much more so than any other game I’ve seen. Mainly due to the fact that the very math and mechanisms are built in a modular and configurable way. The AI routines have “plug in points” and tweaks that you can change. They are not hard coded.

It seemed like the ideal choice for my venture into Zulu War creativity.

Mentored by an AT design guru, Grymme, I managed to scrape together something that I hope is workable. With Advanced Tactics Gold on the release horizon, I hope to continue to refine this scenario into the future. If you have Advanced Tactics please give it a whirl and let me know what you think.

In addition to my modding diversion, I’ve been marching in line with the 51st Regiment.

A well organised and very disciplined clan performing drills and manoeuvres in the Mount and Musket mod for Mount and Blade:Warband. With three training sessions per week, and a Line battle on a Sunday evening they’ve kept me busy.

Never in my whole career as an online gamer have I seen such co-ordination and tight discipline! Imagine getting a troop of 60+ players connected and marching in unison. It would never have happened in any other gaming scenario I can imagine. In most online multiplayer games, you are lucky if you can get three or four people co-ordinated.

Since the 51st have the training behind them, the strict army like control of its players, and the respect of the community. They can bring players into battle formations during combat situations, with musket and artillery fire raining down. You stay your hand, you follow your commanding officer, you march into War and present a co-ordinated front. When you charge you are wary of your comrades, you don’t want to let them down. This is everything I’ve ever wanted in an online war game experience.

The 51st take their discipline seriously. And it pays off in terms of experiencing the battle as it was during the musket era. Sometimes the endless drilling and reprimands can wear on the fun aspect. But, this is more than swift gratification. This is proper training, so that when the musket balls are flying, you can still follow coherent orders.

I have been busy oiling my Martini Henry rifle lately, but I hope to get some more AAR’s out soon, and I’m keen to get back to do another Battle of the Blogs with Chip now his Time of Fury AAR has ended.


1 thought on “Oiling the Martini-Henry

  1. I am waiting for Advanced Tactics Gold to take the plunge, but look forward to trying your scenario. Maybe we can have a Battle of the Blogs over it!

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Ian Bowes / spelk