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The Defense of Rorke's Drift» Forums » Sessions

Subject: Session report on the defense of Rorkes Drift rss

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Craig Berardino
United States
Connecticut
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This is my second game playing The Defense of Rorke's Drift. The first ended in a draw when the Zulus failed to ignite the hospital roof on fire. On the other hand, the second game was dramatically different.
After the first turn repulse, the Zulus managed to close into melee range. They invested the hospital and battered in the doors. A few survived climbing the roof after taking British rifle fire. Once the doors were battered in, the Zulus were able to inflict casualties on the defenders. Unfortunately, for Private Williams, who had the pick axe, was killed before he was able to dig an escape hole in the interior wall. A peculiarity in the hospital was unconnected interior rooms, most were cubby holes and had out swinging doors. Their only escape was to dig holes with the only pick axe and pass them to fellow defenders.
Along the rest of the perimeter, the Zulus swarmed the northern and southern walls. Here they faired not so well, as the British Martini Henry rifle fire cut swaths in their masses. Eventually by turn 5, the Zulus numbers began to have an affect. They were able to wound and push back some defenders from the mealie bag walls. The British set up ranked firing lines and kept some of the attackers at bay. But it was not enough, the Zulus gained a foothold they did not relinquish.
As the hospital became untenable, the British were faced with a daunting task of retiring under fire to their secondary line of defense. Here is where it became a sticky wicket. The British had a few make it to their interior lines, but Chard and Bromhead's men were surrounded.
It became a a last stand for those few Redcoats who didn't make it to the mealie box and safety.
In the end, both Chard and Bromhead died with their men. The total British casualties were 83. Quite unhistorical. The British lost 17 KIA in the actual battle.
I called the game at the 11:00 PM turn. But an early withdrawal made the game result in a draw. The Zulus cannot withdraw without penalty until 2 AM.
The game has a nice feel but is massive exercise of die rolling, overcrowded hexes and repetiveness. Their is a lot of die rolling, counter marking, resetting replacements and moving masses of counter stacks among a crowded map. I like the genre but am not impressed with its replay ability.
There are other tactical games, I am sure that have more of an appeal. But I am glad that I played the game. The Zulus stand a chance to win. The British are challenged to maintain a cohesive defensive perimeter.
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Barry Kendall
United States
Lebanon
Pennsylvania
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This is a very good game and it sounds as though you've figured out the hospital vulnerabilities pretty well. You might have tried to hold onto the entire perimeter a bit too long to preserve enough unwounded South Wales Borderers for a strong stand in the biscuit-box-mealie-bag-krall-storehouse enclosure.

Makes me want to get this on the table again.
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Craig Berardino
United States
Connecticut
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I agree that i fell back too late. Unfortunately, I left only one defender with the patients in the hospital room with the pick axe. He was killed before he could dig a hole in the wall and pass the pick axe to other defenders. So this meant that most were trapped in the hospital. Secondly, after the Zulus penetrated along the north perimeter, I should have pulled back as many Brits as possible. Instead I held too long and took massive casualties as the Zulus surrounded the 2 ranked firing lines. I couldn't tell how best to handle the evac to the mealie box wall. Falling back to the dog leg was easy.
I like the subject but the historical scenario is long. It felt like it would become a dice fest. After nightfall the Brits inflict less casaulites on the Zulus. They lose their +1 Drm to rifle fire attacks. Also the space gets crowded in the secondary position. The Zulus played well and swarmed in any unprotected area. They killed chaplain smith; the ammo passer. I would the map to be redone; perhaps made larger and make the buildings rectangular and not fit the hexagons. The Zulus took advantage of rifle fire and when practical thrown spears. Lt. Chard was killed by a thrown assegi.
It definitely is a challenge to play the British. I don't know how to manage the fall back. It's a matter of timing, I suppose. The hospital was on fire and overrun and several hexes in the northern wall were breached before I started to retreat. So that may have been too late. Also kept 2 firing lines in the perimeter instead of running to mealie box wall.
I should give it another try and fall back sooner than later. Hopefully, this will save many British units?
I would like to see this game re done. The map could be better. The Zulu counters are not the best graphics. And I dont like the color mix for them. The British counters are fine. Perhaps the counters, hexes and map could be bigger. I rate the game as a 7. I will have to revisit it again with new tactics in mind for the British. I have the Zulu tactics down. One thing o need to do better for the Zulus is use their rifle fire counters more efficiently. I will have post a session report when I play it again. If you have any suggestions for future tactics let me know. Or any other games that would be similar as well.
 
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