Saturday 10 April 2010

Death In The Dark Continent

A few years back I got hooked on Foundry's Darkest Africa line, whilst I managed to kick the monthly release addiction I have ended up with more natives, slavers, Ruga-Ruga etc than I probably needed and most have ended up in the lead mountain.

With a need to paint some up for the PDF of Voyages Extraordinaires sometime I have been on the lookout for a set of rules and have been intrigued by Chris Peer's Death In The Dark Continent after reading an AAR somewhere (WI?). However at £12.50 they haven't been top of my shopping list. Luckily I picked up a set on eBay for £3.50...

I must say I was disappointed with the production values for a set that retails for £12.50. It looks like it has been printed on a photocopier (albeit a colour one for the cover) rather than properly printed. I know this isn't the be all and end all but there are good printers who wold have done this properly and allowed a lower retail price.

The internal is all b&w text (no illustrations) and the typesetting is similarly poor. I don't know if it's old age on my part but A4 single column dense serifed text is hard to read. Anything in A4 should be twin column as it is easier on the eye. Titles look unprofessional in bold, underlined and with full stops at the end. I know this sounds petty but it just looks poor. A little effort could have made this a better looking and far easier to read product.

Ok, but what about the rules? Well despite the layout issues the rules seem fairly simple and look like they will provide a good game, much is down to keeping your troops on the table rather than melee and firing, the latter using D20's which I haven't got many of so will need to buy.

Miniatures are based in groups of two or three on 60mm x 20mm bases which might be a problem as mine are (I think) on 25mm round but this isn't insurmountable as long as basing is consistent. Half the rulebook comprises of army lists, useful but I couldn't help think some period illustrations (or photos of wargames models) of the various native tribes would have added a lot.

Overall I would have been disappointed if I'd bought these at full price. Whilst I don't think that all rules should be 'Beano annual' products (and I've bought enough Tabletop Games rules over the years) , if you are charging over a tenner for something then it needs to have quality as well as good content. However, having paid less than a third of the RRP I can't complain on that score and hope to get some spare time to paint up my Ruga-Ruga and try them on the tabletop.


  1. If you want to look at the original free ones that were available from Foundry, I think I can find them somewhere. Let me know.

  2. Have to agree with you mate. If you give cash for something, you want quality. And when it comes to reading, I find it hard enough anyway (being somewhat dense), so if I saw a book like that, I'd put it down and just ignore that it ever existed! I know that's silly, but it's true!
    I didn't start reading until I hit 16 or 17, but that isn't really unusual anymore. I think for wargaming to not go 'stale', it has to run with the times to some extent. To promote good literacy, but also to get the creative juices going through good use of illustration techniques.

    I look forward to VOyages Extraordinaire and I look forward to the mass battle version, should there be one.

    Oh and yes, full stops at the end of titles. Very annoying.


  3. Totally understandable, nothing quite like the dissapointment of building up to something then not enjoying it and everybody expects TOP QUALITY! Another nice blog post thankyou.