Outback! – exploration in Australia (II)

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Adventures in Exploring Australia

A variant for Studio Tomahawk’s Congo rules.

 

In the last post we looked at the factions that I linked closely with the original game factions. In this post we’re going expand the number of factions that can be used in Congo and in some respects move the game a little away from its explorer theme and one towards more of a general wargame theme.

Whilst this might seem to be counter intuitive to the four general factions given in Congo and the style of game, in fact what it really does is break out specific elements or troop types within each of those four factions and simply turn them into a number of distinct ‘new’ factions. So in this respect the factions presented here could in fact be represented in any typical Congo game.

For example, the British Army faction could just as easily be a White Man Expedition faction with an emphasis on nothing except trained askaris and soldiers. This is perfectly reasonable in the way armies can be put together. A number of other armies can be put together this way by using the Sultanate of Zanzibar list as well.

What this does is provide us with a means to conduct small low level actions with distinct factions types and in a more diverse environment. It also highlights some of the strengths and weaknesses of their own organisations which makes each play slightly differently.

Whilst this pushes the game towards a more traditional wargame, Congo itself straddles that particular genre with its own exploration theme by mixing regular troop types and African native tribes in tabletop clashes. In many respects the edges of the Australian frontier, regardless of who was pushing up against them, reflected both armed and unarmed explorer expeditions and/or the military forces just as in Africa.

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..More Factions

Congo allows for small groups of men to undertake a variety of missions. This lends itself well to the many small scale operations that often occurred in the Frontier Wars, a somewhat unique feature of the conflict. As we touched on in the previous post we shall look to use Congo in a slightly different way to the explorer theme of the original game.

We can do this by adding specific columns that, whilst incorporating less Group troop types, will however enable us to have more factions with their own Characters to make each force feel unique in its own way. It will also allow for the many and typical actions that occurred between relatively small groups of men (and women), so common to frontier warfare. Perhaps even more than the explorer theme of Congo, using the game this way for these types of encounters is a better representation of the constant ongoing skirmish level frontier warfare that occurred in Australia.

Columns will be able to be made up of perhaps just one type of troop such as regular soldiers or perhaps a group of armed settlers or bushrangers. Even within the narrow confines of these column types there is still a good deal of variation to keep things interesting. This we can do and still maintain the essence of the original game.

The way the four factions are laid out in the Congo rulebook reflects the diverse nature of the combinations possible within each specific type. However the factions for Outback will tend to be more homogenous ie less cosmopolitan in make up. However the possibility for a greater number of differing factions exists, each with their own unique elements of interest. This accounts for the wider range of ‘small force’ types that exist beyond the four we laid out in the first post which largely ‘mirrored’ the factions in Congo.

Therefore looking at Congo aka Outback from that perspective several additional factions immediately jump to mind. These are; British Army, Police, Settlers, Rebellious Colonists and Bushrangers….quite a spread of forces. It would also be appropriate to intermix Group types by allowing a number of ‘same type’ troops to appear in different factions. This is historically factual and makes for interesting force combinations. Essentially these factions reflect more of a specific approach rather than the broader all encompassing approach Congo has taken by allowing alot of variety in its four factions.

Aboriginal clans for example, sometimes allied themselves with the British to fight their traditional enemies, whilst Bushrangers were sometimes known to fight alongside aboriginal warriors as well – all three fought regularly as their own distinct groups, but could be present is several different types, and so on. There are other examples, but you get the idea…the possibilities for intermixing factions is quite plausible in the Frontier Wars.

So, onto the lists…

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British Army 

This Column can be used to represent a standard British Army force of redcoats or a mixed force such as was formed in the early 1800s combined with local settlers, often on horseback on the fringes of the frontier.

Your Characters:

  • The Captain: (★★★) Figures – 1; Shooting – D8; Combat – D6; Bravery – D10; Notes: same as The Explorer (p.77)
  • The Colour Sergeant: (★★) Figures – 1; Shooting – D8; Combat – D8; Bravery – 2D8; Notes: same as The Retired Officer (p.77)
  • The Corporal: (★) Figures – 1; Shooting – D8; Combat – D8; Bravery – D8; Notes: same as The Brute (p.77)
  • The Flag Bearer: (★) Figures – 1; Shooting – nil; Combat – nil; Bravery – D10; Notes: same as The Flag Bearer (p.77)
  • The Native Guide: (★★) Figures – 1; Shooting (spear) – D6; Combat – D6; Bravery – D6; Notes: same as The Kirangozi (p.77)
  • The Surgeon: (★★) Figures – 1; Shooting – nil; Combat – nil; Bravery – D6; Notes: same as The Healer (p.85)

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Your Auxiliaries:

  • Bearers: Figures – 1; Shooting – n/a; Combat – n/a; Bravery – n/a; Pts 2 per Bearer; Notes: same as Bearers (p.78)

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Your Groups:

  • Grenadiers Company Soldiers: Figures – 4; Shooting (muskets) – D10; Combat – D8; Bravery – D10; Pts 21; Notes: same as Soldiers (p.78)
  • Light Company Soldiers: Figures – 4; Shooting (muskets) – D8; Combat – D8; Bravery – D8; Pts 19;.Notes: Light Infantry. Same as Soldiers (p.78)
  • Line Company Soldiers: Figures – 4; Shooting (muskets) – D8; Combat – D8; Bravery – D8; Pts 17;.Notes: Mounted. Same as Soldiers (p.78)
  • ‘Veteran Company’ Soldiers: Figures – 4; Shooting (muskets) – D8; Combat – D6; Bravery – D6; Pts 9;.Notes: nil
  • Settler: Figures – 5; Shooting (muskets) – D8; Combat – D6; Bravery – D6; Pts 11;.Notes: nil
  • Toughened Settler: Figures – 5; Shooting (muskets) – D8; Combat – D8; Bravery – D8/D6; Pts 20;.Notes: same as Ruga-Ruga (p.79)
  • Armed Aborigines: Figures – 5; Shooting (muskets) – D8; Combat – D6; Bravery – D6; Pts 11;Notes: nil
  • Scout: Figures – 3; Shooting (spear) – D6; Combat – D6; Bravery – D6; Pts 4Notes: same as Scouts (p.91)

NOTES

    1. Light Infantry: may ignore one Movement Stress token (p.45) eg if it has two tokens count as only one.
    2. Mounted: may move as infantry however they can move at different speeds; at the walk (S), canter (M) or gallop (L). If they use any combination of M or L to ‘step out’ mark them with one Move Stress token. If they move into contact using an L movement then the enemy must conduct a Terror test. Troops may dismount for the cost of a S move action, but may not remount for the rest of the game – replace mounted figure with a foot figure. Any Line Company Soldiers or Settler type can be mounted representing the Military Mounted Police for a cost of +10 pts per unit.

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Police

Your Characters:

  • The Superintendant: (★★★) Figures – 1; Shooting – D8; Combat – D6; Bravery – D10; Notes: same as The Explorer (p.77)
  • The Senior Constable: (★★) Figures – 1; Shooting – D8; Combat – D8; Bravery – 2D8; Notes: same as The Retired Officer (p.77)
  • The Corporal: (★) Figures – 1; Shooting – D8; Combat – D8; Bravery – D8; Notes: same as The Brute (p.77)
  • The Bugler: (★) Figures – 1; Shooting – D6; Combat -D6; Bravery – D8;.Notes: same as The War Horn (p.89)
  • The Native Guide: (★★) Figures – 1; Shooting (spear) – D6; Combat – D6; Bravery – D6; Notes: same as The Kirangozi (p.77)
  • The Magistrate: (★★) Figures – 1; Shooting – D6; Combat – D6; Bravery – nil; Notes: same as The Diplomat (p.85) except he influences any group member in your force.

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Your Auxiliaries:

  • Bearers: Figures – 1; Shooting – n/a; Combat – n/a; Bravery – n/a; Pts 2 per Bearer; Notes: same as Bearers (p.78)

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Your Groups:

  • Veteran Troopers: Figures – 4; Shooting (muskets) – D10; Combat – D8; Bravery – D10; Pts 21;.Notes: same as Soldiers (p.78)
  • Regular Trooper: Figures – 4; Shooting (muskets) – D8; Combat – D8; Bravery – D8; Pts 17;.Notes: same as Soldiers (p.78)
  • Inexperienced Trooper: Figures – 4; Shooting (muskets) – D8; Combat – D6; Bravery – D6; Pts 9;.Notes:nil
  • Native Police: Figures – 4; Shooting – D8; Combat – D8; Bravery – D6; Pts 16; Notes: Ruthless
  • Scout: Figures – 3; Shooting (spear) – D6; Combat – D6; Bravery – D6; Pts 4Notes: same as Scouts (p.91)
  • Settler: Figures – 5; Shooting (muskets) – D8; Combat – D6; Bravery – D6; Pts 11;.Notes: nil
  • Toughened Settler: Figures – 5; Shooting (muskets) – D8; Combat – D8; Bravery – D8/D6; Pts 20;.Notes: same as Ruga-Ruga (p.79)

NOTES

    1. Ruthless: enemy must pass a fear test the first time they sight any Native Police. If they fail they lose a figure, draw one Stress token then take a Terror test.

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Bushrangers

Your Characters:

  • The Gang Leader: (★★★) Figures – 1; Figures – 1; Shooting – D8; Combat – D6; Bravery – D10; Notes: same as The Explorer (p.77)
  • The Right-Hand-Man: (★★) Figures – 1; Figures – 1; Shooting – D6; Combat – D8; Bravery – D6; Notes: same as The Retired Officer (p.77)
  • The Catholic: (★) Figures – 1; Figures – 1; Shooting – nil; Combat – nil; Bravery – D8; Notes: same as The Sheikh (p.81)
  • A Good Hand: (★★) Figures – 1; Figures – 1; Shooting – D6; Combat – D8; Bravery – D6; Notes: same as The Champion (p.85) but he may pass the ‘M’ move action to any two groups he wishes
  • The Brute: (★) Figures – 1; Figures – 1; Shooting – nil; Combat – nil; Bravery – D8;.Notes: same as The Brute (p.81)
  • The Swindler: (★) Figures – 1; Figures – 1; Shooting – D6; Combat – D6; Bravery – nil; Notes: same as The Trader (p.81)

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Your Auxiliaries:

  • Newbie: Figures – 1; Shooting – n/a; Combat – n/a; Bravery – n/a; Pts 2 per Newbie.Notes: same as Bearers (p.78)

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Your Groups:

  • Sealers: Figures – 4; Shooting (spear) – D10; Combat – D8; Bravery – D10; Pts 21;.Notes: nil
  • Bolters: Figures – 3; Shooting (spear) – D10; Combat – D6; Bravery – D8; Pts 11;.Notes: nil
  • Native Sealers: Figures – 5; Shooting (spear) – D6; Combat – D8; Bravery – D6; Pts 12; Notes: nil
  • Scout: Figures – 3; Shooting (spear) – D6; Combat – D6; Bravery – D6; Pts 4Notes: same as Scouts (p.91)
  • Blunder-buss Men: Figures – 5; Shooting (muskets) – D8; Combat – D6; Bravery – D6; Pts 11 Notes: nil

NOTES

    1. Convicts: one unit may be taken, and not with bushrangers for games set before 1810. Their hatred of the British enables them to fight dependant on their current stress. If they have no stress then use a D10, one or two stress then a D8, and three or more a D6.
    2. Bushrangers: one unit may be taken, and not with convicts.  They have a selection of ranged weapons and pistols. When they fire they use a D10 at short range and D8 at Medium to Long range.

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Armed Settlers & Squatters

Your Characters:

  • The Station Owner: (★★★) Figures – 1;Figures – 1; Shooting – nil; Combat – D6; Bravery – 2D8; Notes: same as The Emir (p.81)
  • The Leading Hand: (★★★) Figures – 1;Figures – 1; Shooting – D6; Combat – D8; Bravery – D6; Notes: same as The Retired Officer (p.77)
  • The Slaver: (★★★) Figures – 1;Figures – 1; Shooting – nil; Combat – D6; Bravery – D8; Notes: same as The Slaver (p.81)
  • The Trader: (★★★) Figures – 1;Figures – 1; Shooting – D6; Combat – D6; Bravery – nil; Notes: same as The Trader (p.77)
  • The Brute: (★★★) Figures – 1;Figures – 1; Shooting – nil; Combat – nil; Bravery – D8;.Notes: same as The Brute (p.81)
  • The Diplomat: (★★★) Figures – 1;Figures – 1; Shooting – D6; Combat – D6; Bravery – nil; Notes: same as The Diplomat (p.85)

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Your Auxiliaries:

  • Farm Hands: Figures – 1; Shooting – n/a; Combat – n/a; Bravery – n/a; Pts 2 per ex-convict.Notes: same as Bearers (p.78)

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Your Groups:

  • Stockmen:
  • Settler: Figures – 5; Shooting (muskets) – D8; Combat – D6; Bravery – D6; Pts 11;.Notes: nil
  • Toughened Settler: Figures – 5; Shooting (muskets) – D8; Combat – D8; Bravery – D8/D6; Pts 20;.Notes: same as Ruga-Ruga (p.79)
  • Fearful Settler: Figures – 5; Shooting (muskets) – D8; Combat – D6; Bravery – D6; Pts 11;.Notes: nil
  • Native Hands: Figures – 5; Shooting (spear) – D6; Combat – D8; Bravery – D6; Pts 12; Notes: nil
  • Native Tracker: Figures – 3; Shooting (spear) – D6; Combat – D6; Bravery – D6; Pts 4; Notes: same as Scouts (p.91)
  • Blunder-buss Men: Figures – 5; Shooting (muskets) – D8; Combat – D6; Bravery – D6; Pts 11 Notes: nil

NOTES

    1. Convicts: one unit may be taken, and not with bushrangers for games set before 1810. Their hatred of the British enables them to fight dependant on their current stress. If they have no stress then use a D10, one or two stress then a D8, and three or more a D6.
    2. Bushrangers: one unit may be taken, and not with convicts.  They have a selection of ranged weapons and pistols. When they fire they use a D10 at short range and D8 at Medium to Long range.

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2 thoughts on “Outback! – exploration in Australia (II)

  1. I haven’t looked at this in detail, but one incongruity immediately leapt out at me: the bugler in the police faction. Only military units included buglers, and in fact, the only reported use of this instrument on the Australian frontier was at The Battle of Pinjarra’.

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  2. Yeah, good pick up Leigh – that slipped through. What do you think would be a good replacement using the existing types in this or the previous lists?

    HW

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