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Friday, 30 December 2016

Spion Kop (1900), Second Boer War AAR

I don't get to wargame with my South African buddy Anton nearly as often as I'd like. He can't use living in Durban as an excuse - he's only down the road in London, but his work/life balance is terrible. But on the rare occasions when we do get together, it is always a High Quality Gaming Experience (TM). Yesterday, for our group's last get-together of 2016, Anton unveiled his second ever BBB scenario. The first one, Colenso (Second Boer War) had produced a great game and needed virtually no modification. You can find a full AAR for Colenso in the files of the BBB Yahoo group. This sequel, Spion Kop, was every bit as good. I don't know how he does it!

Naval guns at Spion Kop. Hard to believe these fine Baccus figures are only 6mm tall!
In our game, they were entirely ineffective - must have been at the rum ration ...


Spion Kop pits 8,000 Boer defenders against more than double that number of British attackers, on a front of about 15 miles. Anton's scenario really captures the flavour of the battle. The Boers are strung out in small Commandos along the high ground. The Brits rumble forward into the teeth of accurate Boer rifle fire which takes a deadly toll. The British return fire, against dug-in and camouflaged Boers using smokeless powder, is much less effective. However, if the large British units can close on the Boer positions, the Boers tend not to stick around but will mount up and disperse back to their farms.

If you want a detailed AAR, go to this Flickr album and read the notes under each picture. We managed to pull off a narrow British victory, but it couldn't have been much closer. It was a really tight game, and it's certainly a scenario that is winnable by the Boers as well. I'd be very happy to give it another go any time, and I'm looking forward to more of Anton's Boer War scenarios. The contrast between two armies of hugely different character makes for really interesting games.

The scenario isn't quite ready to share - it needs some editing and polishing - but I hope to be able to add it to the BBB Yahoo group files as usual early in the New Year.