Miniature Wargaming Club Leuven
Schild & Vriend

'Schild en Vriend' is an old Flemish battlecry, used in the rebellion of the city of Brugge against the French, May 18, 1302. Legend tells that it was used to differentiate between the French-speaking (who could not pronounce 'schild') and Flemish-speaking citizens. Nowadays, historians tell us that it was probably 'Des Gilden Vriend'.


For a few tusks more
Battle report - Crisis '98

Crisis '98 is the yearly miniature wargaming convention organized by Tin Soldiers Antwerp. It featured a dozen games, a painting competition and an extensive assortment of local and international traders. It was very well organized in a cosy location.

Schild & Vriend Leuven, (we) decided a couple of months ago to run a Darkest Afrika game, in particular Bart V., Alan and Bart D.. Why they chose this setting remains a mystery to me, though Bart V.'s standing order on the Foundry range might have something to do with it. Or maybe he gets a kick out of painting half naked natives. Bart D., on the other hand, sees everything as a big conspiracy to get him away from his girlfriend. He had to build and paint all the jungle and believe me, it was a very good job which he finished on time and turned out to be one of the most distinguishing features of the show, admired by all! In my opinion it was Alan who tricked them into doing Darkest Africa: he has something with uniforms. Of course, the fact that Alan himself is British and takes his tea with milk, might have something to do with this choice as well...

The terrain layout


The game was played on a 2x2 meter playing surface with a rather muddy river flowing at the south edge, branched by a little pool. The villa was situated in the corner formed by the branch and the river. The jungle was at the opposite corner.

The Scenario

You can read all about the storyline here.

The Opposing Forces

There are 4 distinguished forces : the French, British, Force publique and the Natives.

The French setup French Forces

The French had 2 squads of 6 figures each, a very old machinegun jamming most of the time and a supply wagon/mobile garden which was very important. At least for the french. They started at the north-western edge of the board, exposing them a little to fire from the villa but the 'safety' of the jungle was not far away.

British Forces

The British forces also had 2 squads of 5 figures each, plus a squad of marines. They started at the south-eastern edge of the board, just landed from the Congo river.

The Force Publique and villa Force Publique aka ´Les Belges´

The Force Publique consisted of 2 squads of 6 figs each, being a bunch of Askaris combined with some Europeans, all in different uniforms, but with the common factor of having no discipline whatsoever. But they held the villa! Their leader was Governor Von Trappstein Hohenschliefen, flanked by his lovely mistress (well, one of them at least).

The Natives

Many were they, strong was their spirit! Bows, spears and old muskets they had. Spice and good cooks. And a couple of prisoners to eat! Ah, heaven was near, but...

The Battle

Bart V. and Graham chose to follow their natural instincts and played the Natives.
Bart D and Alan politely demanded in impeccable English to be British.
Richard (a Dutch participator) eagerly wanted to be ´Les Belges´ while Derk (another Dutch participator - both are members from the Murphy's Heroes club) and Maarten Logghe went for ´Du vin, du pain et du boursain´. Unfortunately the scenario did not provide these...

The British advance

The British immediately rushed for the jungle, covered on their left side by a hill. Apparently unafraid of the Natives they closed in dense formation.
In the meanwhile the Belgian governor (whose name is too long to write down everytime he gets mentioned) followed his ´gut instinct´ and remained safely behind his wall and took potshots at the peaceloving French.
The French themselves tried to get into cover as quickly as possible, unfortunately 2 brave (maybe stupid too) soldiers answered the Belgian fire which cost them their life.

The native spearmen reserve moves out

The British forces where now cruising to the jungle without encountering any opposition at all. In fact things went so well their commander ordered a tea-break![*]

[*]This, and many other interesting events during the game, where the result of random event cards. Other events included natives taking a liking to the British red uniforms and a British commander suddenly loosing all interest in life and drowning himself in the Congo.


The French ambushed...

On the other side of the jungle the Natives were suddenly all over the place when the French found the brown color in the cover they´ve run for was not merely bark. In other words, they were totally taken by surprise and before they knew it, the poor French had only one squad left. Beware the arrows from the jungle!
In the meantime, Fritz had no one in sight, so deemed the place safe to get into the jungle himself, accompanied by a healthy amount of firepower, of course.

Natives disturb teatime

Back to the camping British (do we love clichés or what?), sitting there around their little fire holding their tea kettles - they got the surprise of their life when suddenly a whole gaggle of Natives stormed out of their cover crying Zimbabar M´bwele Arakwel!, which roughly translates as nice uniforms (another random event card there...). Sir Picklebone-Herring (the British commander), hereupon calmly ordered his man to put aside their tea, take their gun, aim it and (quote) shoot the little buggers (unquote). If it wouldn´t have been for a lot of soldiers disobeying and blithely continuing to slurp tea (apparently, it's the milk that does it), no Native would have seen the jungle again. As it was, they took a healthy amount of casualties and quickly dispersed back into the jungle.

On the other side of the board, the last French squad pulled itself together after weathering the native ambush and struck back with a vengeance. A few impressive boo ha´s did not seem to help, but the machine gun proved pretty convincing! Then, after a wild close combat between Ntembé Ntembé (Native subchief) and a rather anonymous flagbearer, ´Les Trois Couleurs´ went down, spelling near disaster for the remaining French. But in this dire moment of need, only a true commander can save the day and that´s what Jean-Amethiste Villeneuve de Sure de la Comte D´Alembert (le deuxième) did. He unsheated his saber, slashed the tired Chief, and so recaptured the flag!

After this ´tour de force´, the remaining natives fled into the jungle, never to be seen again (well, they all look alike of course, so one can never be sure).
At this time, the sympathetic Belgian governor Fritz, suddenly decided he liked natives more than French, surrounded the French troops with his own askaris and proceeded to blast them to little pieces just to show what a good fellow he was.

Native reinforcements on the river

Sir Picklebone-Herring on the other hand, tried to exploit (well that has to be seen) the advantage he had gained and immediately followed the Natives into the jungle where NTboné Tboné (Native Chief) was trying to regroup his men. What he said will remain a mystery but it definately worked (probably something to do with garlic). Native fortune was decisively turning for the better when a canoe-load of natives, back from an expedition against a neighbouring tribe showed up on the Congo river and quickly proceeded to land behind the British, thus cutting off their retreat. On the French side, and fortunately for them, the prudence of the Governor gave them enough time to take a somewhat more defensive position. The machinegun at one end to cover the open area and the remaining intact squad on the other end, the mobile garden firmly parked between the two, they grimly awaited the next turn of events, but their situation was starting to look hopeless.

At this point it was becoming clear that the natives were not the underdeveloped cannibals every European took them for: it became apparent they had an aliance with the Governor! (which is in itself maybe an argument pro natives-being-underdeveloped)
An observant sergeant on the British side had already noticed that the natives were particularly under represented on the Belgian side of the jungle, but his commander had immediately reprimanded him for thinking for himself. Anyhow, the Belgians got the aid of a couple of natives, which heavily demoralized the French. Fortunately the native/Belgian plan had some weaknesses. Well, only one actualy: Von Trappstein Hohenschlieffen himself...

The result of this firefight... Fritz made a capital mistake, as he foolishly accompanied a squad which took a leisurely stroll across some open ground in range of the French machinegun... On the other side of the French hedgehog position, though, they were on the receiving end of a volley of several askari's muskets. All in all, those were some bloody minutes!

Free from having to bother about the French, all of the native force was now flung at the British. Suddenly Sir Picklebone-Herring didn´t know where to shout orders first: he was swamped by natives, natives here, natives there, natives everywhere! Natives with spears, Natives with muskets, Natives with bows, poisoned arrows, non-poisoned arrows.... One of his sergeants even commited suicide (by performing the impressive act of dashing down to the Congo in mid-battle and drowning himself, but not before adding some milk to the water - the British are civilized after all) after enduring the fearsome native cries, before the first casualty fell! (random event cards surely add some spice to the game (-:)


Remaining French escaping in a canoe

  • The three remaining French with their commander, flag, food and machinegun & crew, fled back to where they came from. They stole a canoe, ignored the lovely fauna, captured the empty British boat and sailed home to Paris, where they were received as heroes.
  • The British Forces didn´t know where to shoot first, and fought of a lot of natives, but to no avail - There were just too many of them!.
  • Chief Ntboné Tboné handed over the map of the ancient elephant graveyard (remember that´s what it was all about in the first place) to Sergeant Van Bommelberg, the new Governor, while their cooks were spicing up the captured Europeans, of which they now had a more than adequate supply. They had food for months and lived happily ever after (or at least until the next game)!

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 This page was written by Maarten Logghe and is maintained by Bart Vetters
Schild en Vriend Miniature Wargaming Club Leuven