Monday, January 17, 2011

Ballyfoole Expedition to Afrodesia

The Illustrated Ballyfoole Gazette
"Where we never let the facts get in the way of a good story"
First Expedition Explores the Interior of Afrodesia
Sponsored by the country of Ballyfoole, the first expedition to explore the interior of Afrodesia recently set out from the capital of the Sultanate of Marzbar on the east coast. The expedition was led by Captain Flynn, with O'Ryan the hunter and McGillicuddy the scout. They were joined by 2 soldiers from the Gunderland Highlanders, 4 askaris and 12 bearers.
The expedition sets off. At the head of the column, from left to right, are O'Ryan, Flynn, and McGillicuddy
Day 1: They march forth and north into the jungle. They discover a mountain. No villages found. McGillicuddy spots some hostile natives, armed with hand weapons and rifles. The expedition prepares to meet their attack. The expedition fires and kills 2 natives. The rifle-armed natives return fire, but score no hits. The natives with hand weapons move forwards. The expedition fires and kills 2 more natives. The remaining natives decide to run away.
First encounter with hostile natives (apologies for the fuzzy picture! For some reason the battle shots came out a bit unfocused)
Day 2: They discover a new animal species. The terrain is still jungle, no villages found. They encounter friendly natives.

Day 3. They discover a new plant species. The terrain has changed to savannah, no villages found. They encounter 10 potentially hostile headhunters, but after giving the headhunters some trade goods the headhunters ignore the expedition.

Day 4: They come across a sinkhole. 1 askari falls in. The terrain is still savannah, no villages found. They encounter 8 slavers, but the slavers remain neutral towards the expedition.

Day 5: 1 food load has turned bad. They turn eastwards. The terrain is still savannah, a village is found. 8 tribal warriors are encountered. The expedition gives them 1 trade good, but the natives become hostile. McGillicuddy spots their attempt to ambush the expedition, which arrays itself for battle.
The expedition arrayed for battle against hostile natives
As the natives approach shots ring out from the expedition, killing 4 natives. The rest of the natives decide to flee. But the noise has aroused a dire crocodile, which apparently had been laying in wait in the tall grass. More shots ring out as the crocodile charges towards one of the askaris. The expedition turns to face this new threat and Flynn manages to score 1 hit on the huge beast. The crocodile fights the askari, while 1 of the Highlanders tries to help. More shots are fired, with Flynn scoring another hit and the Highlander finishing off the beast.
Day 6: Fever strikes down 1 askari. Apparently he had not gone unscathed in the previous day's fight with the dire croc. The expedition turns south. The terrain is still savannah, no villages found. Natives are encountered but they are friendly. Perhaps they heard of the expedition's dispatching of the dire croc.

Day 7: Strange drums in the night. Morning reveals 3 bearers have run off (1 trade good, 1 food, and 1 empty). The terrain has turned to jungle again, no villages found. No natives encountered.

Day 8: They discover a waterfall. The terrain is still jungle, no villages found. They encounter friendly natives and buy 1 food load for 5 dollars to get them through the day.

Day 9: They discover the ruins of an ancient city. They turn west and return to their starting point with tales to tell and discoveries to reveal.

It appears the expedition was blessed with the luck of the Irish and beginner's luck all at once. With the discoveries made and encounters had the next time they head out to explore further they can be even better equipped and with some experience under their belts.

Game played with the Adventures in Jimland rules. I actually played twice because the first time through I had forgotten to keep an eye out for animals during the fighting against hostile natives. The rules make for a fun game, not too complex, and yet very versatile. Much of the game is played out with pencil and paper. The encounters are played out on the tabletop (on a 30 inch by 30 inch space). Counters are provided with the rules, but I preferred to use miniatures. The rules also provide several charts for rolling up natives, animals, and events. Knowing the original game used cards I made up my own cards based on the charts, so I was able to add in an event or 2 of my own, as well as several animals not in the charts, while dropping some that are in the charts, but not in my collection. Further cards can be added as I get more figures painted up or have more ideas for events.
Total play time was probably about 2 hours, with some time spent consulting the rules, trying to take pictures and writing stuff down.


Bluebear Jeff said...

Interesting, sir. I liked the day-to-day diary.

-- Jeff

Fitz-Badger said...

Thanks, Jeff!
I can't claim originality on the day-to-day diary. The game is played as a day-to-day adventure, and it's the way the Jimland reports where written up as well. Those can be found online and are good inspiration for games of this sort. They go way beyond what I have written in my report.

Conrad Kinch said...

Capital stuff - reminiscent of the old Space 1889 exploration rules.

Chris said...

Looks like a really fun game -- great report too!

Jim Wright said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jim Wright said...

Cards are the way to go!

Use them for Events, Natives, and Animals. And anything else where you want a quick, easy, efficient variable selection mechanism.

Add what you have, ignore what you don't.

Ever Forward,


Jim Wright said...

Remember the Natives can attack from TWO sides. Gives the Expedition more problems. Thins out the firing line a little.

Also more terrain makes the Natives more dangerous as it blocks lines of fire. Try it. You won't like it. ;-)

Ever Forward,


abdul666 said...

So glad to see a 18th C. 'European' expedition to Afrodesia!
The Ballyfoole initiative may not pass unnoticed: Both Batrachia and Bossa-Nova could be tempted to follow the example / interfere.

And you can keep gaming while accumulating 'natives' for your future 'Victorian' Colonial games...


Fitz-Badger said...

Thanks for the comments all! Yeah, it reminds me also of The Source of the Nile, but more flexible in some ways and there are miniatures.

Ah, Jim, I forgot about that attacking from 2 sides (it often takes me a few games before I "take in" a set of rules). Should be easy enough to make it work for solo play. Probably simply rolling for it (before or after the expedition sets up depending on whether they are surprised or not).

Furt said...

Great report! This style of game has interested me for a while now. I love the miniatures but is the combat a bit static? It looks like everyone is just standing in a line?

Fitz-Badger said...

Thanks, Furt.
I started to type up a reply in the comments, but I think this question deserves a fuller response with more thought. I'll type up a new blog entry on the subjects and possible ideas for "spicing" things up.