TITLE: Rampant Colonialism!
AUTHOR: Rod Thomson
PUBLISHER: Flagship Games
PUBLICATION DATE: 1995
WEB SITE/SUPPORT FORUM:
PRICE (with date): $15.00 (in 2018)
REVIEWED BY: Mark “Extra Crispy” Severin CAVEAT: I purchased Flagship Games and all of the associated products - although not the author, I am now the owner/publisher of Rampant Colonialism.
PERIOD COVERED: Roughly 1700-1910
Rampant Colonialism (RC!) is currently only available as a PDF from WargameVault.com The book is 84 pages long, with a color cover. It is black & white with numerous illustrations throughout. Including optional rules, the rules take up 49 of those pages. The remainder of the book is devoted to army lists, scenarios and a few play aids.
Rampant Colonialism! covers small tactical engagements. Units range in size up to 20 figures each so it is not a skirmish level game. Units fight and operate as groups.
Units in RC! are between 4 and 20 figures. A player might typically control up to 8 units, so an army for one player would not exceed 200 figures, and would usually be far less.
There is no set “base unit” in RC. Units vary in size from 4 to 20 figures. They are imply groups of warriors who fight as a cohesive whole.
There are no precise scales in RC! It is a highly playable and flexible system by design. Foot movement is about 6” and the weapon ranges suggest a ground scale of approximately 5-10 yards per inch.
RC! suggests individually based figures. For 15mm figures infantry are mounted on 1/2” square bases, mounted troops on bases 1/2” wide and 1” deep. Base sizes are not important to the game provided both sides are based the same.
Roll for Initiative: Each side rolls a D10 with the winner choosing to go first or second. Each player turn comprises the following steps:
- Movement Phase: The moving player moves any or all of his troops. The opposing player may make defensive fire. Check morale as necessary.
- Fire Phase: The moving side now fires with any ranged weapons that are eligible. Check morale as needed.
- Resolve melees. Check morale as needed.
- Make Rally Rolls.
The player’s turn is now over - it is the opponent’s turn to move and fire.
Units: In RC! all units must be either 4, 6, 8, 10, 12 or 20 models. Units may not split up or be joined together. The morale system operates based on the number of figures in a unit. RC! makes allowances for individual figures such as officers, NCOs and heroes. NCOs are always part of a unit; commanders and heroes may act singly or join a unit as needed.
Units in RC! move in formation. They may form line, column, square, skirmish order or loose order. Movement is affected by the unit’s formation, and certain troop types are limited in which formations they use. It also affects the sequence in which they are moved. Routed units move first, followed by units in loose order or skirmish formation and finally formed units.
Movement rates and terrain penalties both depend on the type of unit as well as its formation. For example, Loose Order units move 6”, formed 4”. Units in square move 2”. Loose order pay no penalty for light woods while formed troops move at 3/4 speed.
Formed units are restricted in their movement, needing to maintain formation etc. They must wheel and turn. Loose order units “flow” freely in any direction. Changing formation may cost some or all of a unit’s movement. Units may Go Prone thus getting a cover benefit even in the open.
Units may charge in to contact with the enemy - in which case they receive a 2” bonus to theri movement. However, units that charge and fail to make contact with the enemy become shaken.
Fire combat is fast and deadly. Each unit has a firing arc to its front. To fire, the target must be within the arc and the firer must have a clear line of sight. Each firing figure rolls a D10 to hit. The target number is determined by the weapon and the range. Any die rolled that equals or exceeds the needed “to hit” number scores a hit. For each hit remove a figure from the target unit. The “to hit” number needed is subject to a handful of modifiers such as for moving, or firing while mounted.
If the target is in cover, the firer must re-roll successful hits. Thus if the “to hit” number is an 8, any hits must be re-rolled again needing an 8 to score a hit.
Note there are no “saving throws” or defensive rolls. One hit = one kill.
Machine guns fire in the same way except that they may target multiple enemy units. The gun will need to sacrifice firing dice to do so, but may target as many enemies as it has dice available. The firer may choose how many dice to fire at each target. If three dice come up the same the gun has jammed for the turn - ignore all firing for this turn. Jams only last for the current fire phase.
Some weapons are capable of Rapid Fire. This may allow the unit to fire twice - once offensively and once defensively. This depends on the kind of weapon and the amount of movement taken by the unit. Repeating rifles - only - may fire twice offensively if they remain stationary.
The firing rules also provide for more unusual things such as grenades, smoke, volley fire and night battles.
Artillery fire is resolved based on teh kind of ammunition used: shell, shot or cannister. Players must indicate what type of round each gun is loaded with.
When firing shell, the firer places a template on the target and rolls to hit. If a miss is rolled, it will scatter. The scatter distance is a D10 + however much you missed by. For example, if you needed a 7 but rolls a 4, you missed by 3. Your gun will scatter D10+3 inches. If you land on target, a D10 is rolled for every figure under the template. The weight of the gun will determine the “to hit” number of the barrage. Every D10 that equals or exceeds this number removes a figure.
If the gun targets a building, hits are recorded against that building. Each turn the building is hit there is a chance the building will collapse, and any figures inside may also become casualties.
Guns may fire indirectly but must fire at least 50% of range, and any scatter is doubled.
When firing shot, roll to hit as usual, and scatter as well. From the impact point the shot will “bounce” along a path. Roll to hit every figure along the path just as for shell.
Finally, canister fires like small arms, but needing a flat 5+ to hit. The number of dice thrown depends on the size of the gun. Canister is limited to a 45 degree arc, and no friendly units can be within the arc.
The artillery rules provide for rare weapon types as well, including early mortars, rockets, etc.
Units in base to base contact fight in melee. Models are “paired off” and roll a D10 each. The roll is modified for formation, being outnumbered, morale, leadership, etc. The higher roller wins the melee, the loser is removed. Formed units receive a hefty +2 modifier, and in many cases may count the second rank in the melee as well.
There are no advances or retreats after melee. Units are never “locked.” Units may freely withdraw from contact and simply move away (though their opponent may follow).
Eligible units may fire at their chargers with defensive fire. The fire happens at the beginning of the charger’s move. The charging unit must test morale if it takes any losses. It must pass in order to close in to melee.
To check morale, a die is rolled with the same number of sides as the unit started the game with. You must roll equal to or less than the number of figures remaining to pass. Thus, a unit starting with 12 figures will always roll a D12 for morale no matter how many losses it takes.
The Rule of 1: Regardless, if a unit checks morale and rolls a 1 it immediately is restored to “Good” morale status.
The die is modified for troop quality, leadership, as well as being subject to certain kinds of fire (such as heavy artillery). Units that fail are shaken. Shaken units that fail are demoralized, and demoralized units that fail are routed. Units with heavy casualties will drop to levels with a single failure. Shaken units act normally but with negative die roll modifiers for firing, melee, etc. Demoralized units must retreat to 24” away from the enemy, and suffer significant penalties. Routed units flee the battle.
The last step in a player’s turn is to Rally. Shaken and Demoralized units that pass improve one morale level. Routed units may only attempt to rally if an NCO or leader is present.
Skills and Abilities:
The game includes a variety of special rules to reflect specific skills and abilities of various troops or individuals. These include such things as Good Shot (all shots count as one range band closer); Fleet of Foot (moves through terrain at normal speed); Scrapper (+1 in melee), etc.
Ships, Vehicles and Aircraft:
The rules include sections with detailed rules for dealing with these vehicles, including rules for early armored vehicles and aircraft. The ship rules include boarding, sailing and ramming!
The book includes numerous army lists as well as a simple “points” system. The army lists are comprehensive enough that any troop type not present can be easily determined (there are no lists for the American Civil War, but all the troop and weapon types can be easily worked out). The army lists included are:
- French & Indian War
- Asante War
- Second Afghan War
- Zulu War
- First Boer War
- Boxer Rebellion
- World War I (Middle East theater)
RC! is a well written set of rules, which covers most every aspect of the period. The examples and illustrations are clear and the game is very straight forward. The trickiest part of the rules are remembering which die each unit rolls for morale as casualties occur; and the rules for machine guns firing at multiple targets.
I have run numerous games of RC! and they have always been well received. The mechanics are easily taught and actions are decisive. Players generally can pick them up in a turn or two making for an easy to run game for the GM. Heck, I liked them enough I bought the company.