Rorke's Drift

The Battle of Rorke's Drift must be just about the most popular subject for colonial gaming that has ever been. I know that I've seen more games on this one engagement than any other. It's not hard to see why: the situation seems tailor-made for a rollicking adventure game.

And that's certainly what I'm offering here. These rules are very simple (just two pages), but the game is a real kick in the pants. It's not especially true to history -- the British, if they win, can expect to suffer 60 to 80 percent casualties -- but I guarantee carnage galore and a good time for everyone.

The game needs only about 170 figures (50 British, 120 Zulus) plus 25 Zulu casualty markers (I use spare shields but pennies or poker chips would suffice).

Movement is by zones and all firing is considered short range, so you don't even need rulers! Two to five players can finish this game in an evening, provided they get into the slam-bang spirit of it and don't ponder their moves like Montgomery.

You'll also need a model of the compound, about 4.5 feet by 1.5 feet, plus the final redoubt as a stand-alone addition. I glued about a million white beans onto card strips to make the mealie-bag walls and did the same with pebbles to make the cattle pen. My biscuit-box walls are just manila card folded into long, square blocks and decorated with markers. The storehouse and hospital I build from Castillo building blocks, then add burlap-covered cardstock roofs. The whole thing is simple and inexpensive.

Escii makes very nice Zulus and British figures in 1:72 scale plastic. Three boxes will give you all the figures you need for under $25 (maybe even less, depending on where you shop). They're perfectly serviceable if you don't have enough pieces in metal. There are even some prone British riflemen, perfect for guarding the building roofs.

The file is zipped in rich text format, so it should be readable by any modern word processor regardless of platform once it's unzipped. I've also included gif maps of the compound and the hospital, showing the dimensions that I use and that work well with the suggested number of figures.

Rules (rtf) Zulu.zip

Rules (online) Zulu.htm

Compound Map Compound.gif

Hospital Map Hospital.gif

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