The last time this worked successfully was in 2011 and I was still playing in the garage at Cheltenham; you can refresh your memory if you wish at this blog post Santa shot in back shock horror. Since then the house moves have taken their toll by my selling all my Darkest Africa stuff including jungle foliage, crops and huts, and also my French and Indian Wars figures, so now I have to take a slightly different approach. I still have the "marble" design sticky vinyl, backed onto hardwearing rubber from my sandtable, but it has been folded up for 6 years and now looks like big waves!! But still - this is a fun game and, suspending disbelief as we wargamers do occasionally, this game is intended to pit four vaguely plausible groups on a quest for riches on the coast of Africa in about 1760, so includes giant mushrooms and sacred orchids!
First a couple of photos of the overall gaming table - my standard 8 feet by 6 feet.
Trouble at Mango Island
Many of you will recognise that this is unashamedly, but loosely, based on Charles Grant's wonderful Christmas party search game "Trouble at Treasure Island". But my basic background this time is that King George has established a small colony on Mango Island on the West African coast providing slaves, coffee from a nearby plantation, and a trading post, as well as a well watered and sheltered anchorage in the double bay which is split by a triple-hill headland leading, at low tide, to "The Island of Wrecks". The Plantation headland in the distance is rocky and at the near side of the bay is another headland reached by a very rickety causeway. There are a couple of small batteries made of stockade logs (yes, R. L. Stevenson's "Treasure Island" is very much in mind!)
But there has been trouble on Mango Island. No communication of any kind has been received at Greenwich or Portsmouth for many, many weeks and the Royal Accountants want to know why the income is drying up - could it be disease, local rebellion or, God forbid, a French incursion taking over.
Our protagonists consist of two main entities each divided into two parts, and this being a party game, no one should really completely trust their allies. They have arrived and anchored off the coast of Mango Island and are sending in smaller forces to explore, using barges and ships boats. Positions in the photos are just for atmosphere, we haven't properly deployed yet - the game is not till just after Christmas.
First we have the East European-Russian Pirate coalition. Led by Luskaya and her Looters they are Cossack style adventurers exploring the world for fame and plunder and have heard rumours about the rich pickings to be had in the Mango area. Luskaya has teamed up with Rakovsky and his Raiders as they share similar aims.
|Luskaya's Looters and Rakovsky's Raiders|
|The Revenue Men and Trelawney's Treasure Seekers|
I've had great fun littering the table top with all sorts of features. Many may prove to be just decoration and others may hold vital clues to the Treasure, or whatever, the adventurers are seeking. These photos give a flavour, but by no means all the detail, of what may be in store.
|The Trading Post and Stables and the Great Stockade, littered with bodies of men and horses and scattered trade goods,...... but two flags are still flying?|
|A small abandoned cutter and two dead officers in South Mango Bay|
|The Plantation Battery, once well sighted to overlook The Island of Wrecks, but now it seems itself wrecked|
|This large cutter in North Mango Bay looks as if it has run aground in a storm, guns and stores strewn across the deck....but someone has thought to make an accessibility ladder - they obviously recognise diversity in Mangoland :-)|
Oh, I nearly forgot to mention the main buggeration factor. The local natives don't take kindly to having their land planted and their people taken as slaves by white folks, so they will be liberally in evidence making life difficult.....and that cooking pot down by the stream is boiling nicely............
|I'm still working on the natives - loosely based on Zulus|
Hmmmmm......1760, plantation, jungle, tropical island? You don't think I've been reading Stuart Insch's great little book do you? Wargaming the Sugar Islands Campaign