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  Farmers vs Empire: The Second Boer War & Bloody Veld – Battle of Magersfontein, 11 December, 1899

Farmers vs Empire: The Second Boer War & Bloody Veld – Battle of Magersfontein, 11 December, 1899

2 players, ages 12+, 180-360+ minutes

by Strategemata

Two wargames in one box.

The Second Boer War 1899-1902 (a strategic wargame).

Game description
The game presents the struggles that took place during the Second Boer War between 1899 - 1902. The game consists of four phases, each of which is divided into 22 rounds. During rounds, players perform certain actions. The first and second phase of the game reflect the regular phase of the war. The third and fourth phases are constructed differently, because they represent a specific phase of guerrilla warfare.

The game uses the point to point system, six-sided dice and a deck of battle cards. The game map represents Cape Colony, Natal, Orange Free State and Republic of Transval. Each game phase corresponds to 3-9 months of real time. Military units (infantry, cavalry, artillery, tribals, machine guns, trains) are represented by abstract battle cards.
During the game the players will carry out a series of operations (move, fight, events, special actions) using random actions (1 to 3 on the turn of the game).
The introduced game events directly relate to historical events, directing the moves of players during the game.

Battle cards are used to resolve combat in situations when contact between commanders of military formations is established. In "The Second Boer War 1899 - 1902" the military units involved in the combat are presented on cards. Depending on the phase of the game or the commander involved the combat may be a battle or a skirmish.
During the battle, players use six cards, although this number may be increased with the rules on the Boer trenches or British garrisons. Individual characteristics of commanders are also important.
The British player can choose the cards that he intends to use in battle, but the Boer player draws them randomly – this describes the voluntary nature of the Boer army.
The battlefield is divided into three sections - the right wing, the left wing and the center.
The Defender begins the battle and places one card on each section. Then the attacker puts two cards for each section and performs troop morale checks. If the check fails, the card does not participate in the battle.
Defender reveals the cards and adds one to each section, testing their morale. If players have a surplus of cards, they can use them on the sections of the battlefield, where there are less than two cards.
Players compare their strength for each section. The player who achieved 2 or 3 successes, wins the battle. The opponent suffers losses - British cards goes into the reinforcements pool, and the Boer commandos cards are eliminated.

A skirmish is a smaller combat – the card limit is 3, but can be increased by the individual characteristics of the commander, the Boer fortifications or British garrisons. The British player can choose the cards he will use in a skirmish. The Boer player can choose one card, but he must randomly draw the other.
The Defender places one card on each section of the battlefield. Then the Attacker does the same thing. For each card, he performs morale checks – a negative result means that the unit is not taking part in the skirmish, and can be replaced with a card from the surplus, if the player has it.
Both players add the “Strength” value of their cards. The winner of the skirmish is the player, who achieved a higher score. If the loser is the Defender, he must vacate the occupied area.

Bloody veld: Battle of Magersfontein, 11 December, 1899 (a tactical wargame).

Game scale:
1 hex = 500 yd (457 m)
1 game turn = 45 minutes
1 counter = British infantry half battalion or part of Boer commando/cavalry regiment/artillery battery (Boer army: 1 gun).

Game description
The game uses the standard hex-and-counter system, and ten-sided dice. Each hex represents 500 yards or 457 metres, each game turn corresponds to 45 minutes of real time.
British infantry is represented by half battalions, cavalry by regiments, artillery by batteries. One counters represents a part of a commando or one gun.

Each game turn is divided into phases:
1) Command phase – players use their Commanders-in-Chief and dispatch riders to give orders to subordinate commanders,
2) Activation phase – after determining the initiative, players, using the Activation Markers, choose the brigade to activate. Activated units, move, fire, commence melee combat (only British units) and reorganize units and recover morale. The opponent can react by firing or counterattacking (only British units),
3) Reorganization phase – players reorganize broken units.
The principle of the game is based on an order system, which is associated with an action vector. The player must carry out the assigned order (of course, he gives them to himself), until the order is changed by the Commander-in-Chief, or the brigade commander manages to change it by himself. The order must be associated with a target hex (i.e attack hex, defend hex). The possible orders are: ATTACK or DEFEND.

The game tries to present the diversity of combatants tactics mainly through unit formations.
British units may perform weapon attacks and melee attacks. Boer units can only fire, but they start the game masked, moreover, some of them can benefit from the trenches. It makes it difficult for the British player who cannot shoot at masked units from a larger distance. The fieldworks allow the Boers to minimize their losses.

The game treats the concept of zone of control differently from other games – it gives up the obligation to stop moving the unit in the enemy ZOC. The ZOC is a phenomenon that allows to fire or initiate close combat, and it is dependent on the units formation and the range of its firearms.
Unit movement doesn’t differ from other hex-and-counter systems.

Fire combat takes into account the distance to the target, the firing unit morale and terrain on which the target is currently placed. Artillery performs its fire in the same way, using another fire combat chart. Distinct units are the Boer Pom-Pom automatic guns. These cannons move like artillery, but actually perform their fire according to the infantry fire chart. Each shot, however, means performing two checks and summing the results of fire. The result of fire combat can be the loss of morale, combat efficiency level or routing. Additionally also withdrawal.

Melee combat is also based on the unit’s morale, strength, formation, also the terrain. The effects of melee combat are almost the same as the effects of fire combat. The exception being the possibility of forcing the enemy to flee. Cavalry combat also includes the unit’s momentum. Cavalry may react by counter-charging.
The loss of unit’s morale endurance during the game is marked with special markers.

We will next be posting orders out Monday 29th December

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