Sunday 13 February 2022

Kikuyu Revolt at Vapnartak AAR

We usually put  agame on at Vapnartak, the York Wargames show, and this year Chris Charlton decided he wanted to use his recently completed Kikuyu revolt collection.

The Kikuyu revolted in British East Africa, Modern day Kenya, in 1902. Mainly armed with spears and ineffective bows they fougght the Kings Afraican rifles with modern breachloading rifles along with Masai auxilleries.

There is a nice Youtube video of the games here

Our game would be a punitive raid by a mixed British column to punish the Kikuyu, burn their villages and drive off their livestock. The Kikuyu of course would want to put a stop to that and had gathered a large force to drive off the Colonial forces.
The KAR had massive firepower available as the Martini Henry's had a range of most of the table with the option to fire twice each turn if they didnt move. Clearly good use of cover was going to be the key.
The British had 2 groups of KAR and one of Police with carbines, they also had 2 groups of fearsome Masai.  The Kikuyu meanwhile had 8 groups of tribesmen armed with spears and very ineffective bows that only hit on a 6 from 6 inches range to reflect the very quality of their bows at the time.
A key objective for both sides are the cattle, these are acrtivated on a blank card and move just one D6 so very vuklnerable.

As the game kicks off I begin to push the Kikuyu towards the cover along the table edges whilst Malcolm marches through the open ground with his troops ready to mow down anyone foolish enought to raise their heads. He sends the Masai to either flank to try flush the Kikuyu out into the open.
Also seeking to use the cover Malcolm pushes his Masai into the bush at either flank Chris has some strategically placed wildlife to add interest are various different points.

On the right my Kikuyu quickly get over the river and into the cover around the village, we are less speedy on theleft.
We reach the river on the elft but end up a bit exposed.
Meanwhile on the right my first two groups of Kikuyu close with the Masai.

On the left the Masai snaffle the first group of cattle for the Imperial forces and then push past them to the opposite bank of the river.
A quick look at the game shows the left flank of both sides either side of the river, the right clsing around the village and the KAR and Police takign their time gettign forward in the middle. 

The agressive Masai surge forward but dnt have the movement to close which gives me a chance to shoot at them before charging myself.
Meanwhile on the left my fellows stuck on the edge of the river take serious damage as the KAR move into line of sight and open up devastatign volleys.

Back to the right, my volley inflicts one kill and 2 shock, we then charge in. the masai are better but the Kikuyu have twoce the men.
We are looking for 5's and 6's in melee, I get really lucky with 10 hits out of 24 dice. That means 11 out of 12 Masai are now dead plus 9 shock meanign they break. First unit defeated.
Its not all one way traffic though and my chaps have taken somethign of a mauling.
On the left I try to push my men over the river and into the cover, however the mounting shock is slowing me down and we are caught in the open and take further punishment.
The Masai now charge into this mess and drive one of my Kikuyu units back over the river.
On the right a further unit of Kikuyu re-inforces my victoriuus chaps and as Malcoms KAR come a little too close to the village to steal more cattle we pounce on them.
A bloody melee ensues and the KAR company are wiped out, their stunnec commander the only survivor and the cattle change hands back to the Kikuyu.
The other KAR company are sensibly standing off and dropping my men on the other side of the river. The shock is so high now I can neither advance nore retreat.

On the right I push my luck and try to press on to the Police company, however slowed by the shock I dont quite reach them and they take a terrible toll at close range with repeatign carbines.
We finally close and in hand to hand we should really be puttign the Police down easily. However its Malcolms turn for an impressive dice roll and he saves 7 hits out of 8 and Im in trouble.
Whast's left of my right flank retreats in disorder leaving the Police to fire into their rear.
A last gasp on the left and my one unit in decent order charges the badly mauled Masai, again numbers count and the Masai break.
At this point the game is over, from a force morale point of view the Imperial troops are down to 5 and the Kikuyu are down to 4. However the Imperial forces have lost entirely 3 out of 5 units and recovered no cattle (Although one herd is heading off on the left and I am unlikely to be able to get it back). The Kikuyu have paid heavily for keeping their livestock and neither side can claim a convincing victory.
A cracking game and a lovely day out, York is always a great show. Quiter than usualy with less games and traders to give everyone room, I throughly enjoyed the day.

Thanks Chris and Malcolm for a great day out.


  1. Great looking game and a grand day out 👍

  2. Everything about this game looks fantastic! It's great that you are able to get to real shows again too.

    1. Isnt it though, lookign forward to the next outing now.

  3. Thanks for the write up, I was on the lance & Longbow game next to you and never got chance to pop across and have a chat about the game. Excellent spectacle with all the animals

    1. I spotted your game, Lion Rampant wasnt it? Didn tge much of a chance to look around though much like you.

  4. Thanks for the detailed write up and photos, enjoyed.

  5. A great game, beautifully presented - what, if any, rule tweaks did you use? You’ve learnt the key lesson about games with breechloaders - have plenty of terrain to hide in.

    One observation from your AAR that might have helped you - movement is not reduced by Shock if you’re moving directly away from the enemy (6.1 p50). So those warriors caught in the open by the river could have retreated out of LOS and regrouped. 🙂

    1. Now that is rerally useful to know I hadnt realised. Very little rule changes other than the "harrassing fore" for Kikuyu bows, 6 inches range only hits with a 6.

    2. It’s often overlooked but especially useful for ‘native’ troop types. There’s also a case that most are better represented as Skirmish Troops rather than Mass to better reflect their tactics but that’s a discussion for another time!

    3. Thanks Simon, we had Masai as Clan and Kikuyu as Tribe, given the lack of ranged combat we didnt think skirmishers would cut it, happy to re-consider that at som point.

  6. Great looking game and troops! I always enjoy your AAR’s. What mfgr troops did you use for the various forces.

    1. Thanks, the Masai are Foundry, The Kikuyu mainly Stratagem, the KAR Battle Honours WW1.

  7. Roger, thank you. I’ve got some Masai and the Foundry Askari, I’ll look into the rest. Cheers

  8. I need to visit that show one time. Firstly, it looks like great fun. Secondly, I have never been to York... By the way, cracking looking game.

    1. Thanks its a great show but York is a fantastic place to visit too