Zulus on the Ramparts – background
This is a tactical combat game which takes around 30 minutes and that’s only if you manage to survive that long. Usually it’s earlier because you have experienced defeat the Zulus. This game is part of the so-called State of Siege series where you are defending a central space on the board against the enemy. In this case you take the role of the British Royal Engineers defending the station of Rorke’s Drift on 22-23 January 1879 against the Zulu army.
Just over 150 British and colonial troops successfully defended the garrison against an intense assault by 3,000 to 4,000 Zulus warriors. The Zulu attacks on Rorke’s Drift came very close to defeating the garrison but were ultimately repelled. Eleven Victoria Crosses were awarded to the defenders, along with a number of other decorations and honours.
Brief gameplay overview
Every turn, the first thing you do is to randomly draw a chit. This can either move the Zulu iButhos (units) or trigger certain events. Then, using cards you have in your hand you can perform a single action (e.g built barricades, extinguish a fire, provide ammo, make heroes available). After your action, play continues with you drawing a single card at the end of the turn from a deck of cards. Among these cards are volley cards used to fire at the Zulu units and also Hero cards. These are individuals who provide you with abilities to do more during your turn e.g perform an extra action for free or draw an additional card.
There are moments in the game where there’s a lot of tension with the Zulus advancing towards your position and you have interesting and difficult decisions to make. Should you sacrifice a Hero to force the armies into retreat thus giving you precious time to set up more barricades or to form a Reserve Platoon? Should i fire my volley card now or wait until they come closer and it can be more effective?
At the end of the day this is a simple game but it keeps you engrossed in what you are doing and that’s the key for me even though this particular battle and subject (theme) was of no real interest to me. I have now played Zulus on the Ramparts 11+ and i’m still enjoying it. It’s a short game which you can easily reset to give it another go once you’ve played it. I think Zulus on the Ramparts is suitable for someone interested in experimenting with solitaire games.