ZX Computing

Zulu War

Publisher: Cases Computer Simulations
Machine: Spectrum 48K

Published in ZX Computing #38

The British Empire attempts to strike back

Zulu War

In 1879, General Chelmsford, commanding the British forces in Africa decided that the only way to stop the disputes between the Boers and the Zulus was to take over their two countries and govern them. The resulting "police" action was one of the worst massacres in British history as the highly trained British troops gunned down the Zulu warriors. This latest wargame from CCS has biased the action in the Zulu favour to produce a challenging wargame with a difference.

Two separate scenarios are included on either side of the game tape in which between 20,000 and 48,000 Zulus attack unprepared British regiments.

The British began both scenarios arranged in their rigid square formations that you must manoeuvre between the broken walls and trees that form this barren landscape. The size of a square that is made up from soldier icons indicates the size and strength of the regiment and range from the strongest 5 x 5 down to a single soldier, although even this represents 60 trained soldiers. The Zulus swarm at you in their famous horned beast formation with the main body supported by two flanking horns. This tramples the enemy under a wave of spears. Even though the figures are little more than UDGs which shuffle along at a snail's pace, they make a refreshing change from the usual wargaming symbols and remind me of my old figure wargaming days.

The game itself is a fascinating clash between two totally different but well organised armies. The British have the advantage of the fire power and can gun down the Zulus from a distance and have the formidable lancer and cavalry regiments. These key soldiers can not only shoot from a distance but can also break Zulu lines with charges and fight ferociously with their swords. The Zulus outnumber the British by thousands and use this advantage effectively as they attack in massive waves. They are faster than the armed British and are formidable hand-to-hand fighters. As British commander you'd better not let them get too close, or you'll quickly lose troops and firepower and face an Alamo style defeat.

Three levels of play ensure that there is a scenario that you can win, one where you just get beaten and one that's a total disaster. This forms a highly addictive formula that will drive you back for more.