Campaign Journal compiled by Alan, of Tring Wargames Club
“Our journey is nearly at an end. For the last few days, we have seen Mungo Mah Lobeh, the Throne of Thunder, looming over the tree-tops. Our final destination bears well its name!
There are several paths leading up to its storm-wracked summit, be it the one used by smugglers, or that used by Sir Burton. I intend however that this expedition go down in History, and for that I must find my own path up.
I can feel my enemy breathing down my neck. Whoever he is, he has not spared us during this quest. I must add, however, that it would not have been the same without him. He has forced me to go beyond my breaking point, to endure what I thought I could never endure.
For that, I am thankful! He too has shown great strength of character, and through it has acquired renown throughout the region. I do not think it would take much for him to gain sway over all the tribes hereabouts.” – Mary Kingsley
Travelling to the Next Adventure
As the winner of the last adventure, Ujuwa got first pick (for a nice change) of the travel routes to this ultimate adventure of the expedition. He elected to travel “Through Thriving Jungle”, but this was not a great choice for him. He failed his success roll, so the journey cost him two of his Spiritual Link points, although he did locate two new specimens of medicinal plants.
Ujuwa has earned two domains of knowledge, so his character will use his 2-star card.
Mary chose to travel “Village To Village”. This is a slow route, and on this occasion she is not able to recruit any new followers. She makes the journey in 5 months, and once again her bearers did not help her complete the journey any quicker.
However, she does promote a faithful servant to be the expedition’s flag-bearer for the ascent of Mungo Mah Lobeh.
Mary has earned four domains of knowledge, so her character uses her 3-star card.
Mary has the same core force as throughout the campaign - her Kirangozi guide Kiva and the reporter JJ, plus her Adventurers, Soldiers, Askaris, Ruga-Ruga, and Young Warriors. Her Askaris are again accompanied by their pet leopard.
She also still has three Bearers, which she places with her Askaris, her Young Warriors, and her Adventurers. Mary herself accompanies her Young Warriors, her Flag-bearer accompanies her Askaris, while she sends JJ with the Ruga-Ruga, and Kiva with the Adventurers.
Her opponent Ujuwa is again accompanied by his allies, the outcast Fang chieftain M’Otowanfa, and the Werda-Fakawi Pygmy King O’Mi’Lordi. However, these were both “killed” in the last adventure, so it is necessary to roll for their status, per the campaign rules.
It turns out that the Pygmy King O’Mi’Lordi was only slightly wounded and has made a good recovery, but M’Otowanfa was more seriously wounded and is now classed as Poorly. This does not affect his performance, but it will incur a small penalty at the end of the adventure, unless Ujuwa expends Medicinal Plants trying to heal him; that will also incur a campaign penalty, so he chooses not to.
Ujuwa’s party also has the same make-up as previously - Warriors, Young Warriors, Bundukis, Archers, Pygmy Archers, and some Scouts.
Ujuwa decided to accompany his Archers this time. The Fang chief will go with the Warriors instead, and the Pygmy King will accompany the Pygmy Archers this time.
“The thick vegetation at the foot of Mount Cameroon camouflages both trails and caves. The summit of the mountain is hidden in swirling clouds. Humidity hangs in the air, thanks to a constant drizzle, punctuated by intense downpours.”
This adventure called again for jungle terrain, and again this is leopard country. The terrain is more open however, so the scenario rules dictate that all terrain not otherwise marked has a cover value of D6.
Martin’s dining-room table was used once again for the game, with the standard Congo 4’x3’ playing area. His trees were used to mark out the areas of Dangerous and Blocking terrain called for by the scenario.
The scenario requires a central High Dangerous Terrain feature consisting of a large rocky area; this represents the mountain Mungo Mah Lobeh itself. This and the rocky cave areas on the rest of the board will be represented by aquarium models, acquired by Alan several years ago in a pet-shop closing-down sale.
The two sides will deploy on opposite sides of the central feature, and are tasked with collecting two types of tokens, as well as fighting their opponents:-
1) The green numbered “Hint” tokens, which are small and do not affect a unit’s movement. They give Mary clues about paths she can use to ascend the mountain, and give Ujuwa clues about the locations of caves in which he may cast his Sacred Ritual to drive out the hated white invaders. There are six in total, Mary can only use even-numbered ones, and Ujuwa the odd-numbered ones. There is nothing of course to prevent a faction from hanging on to tokens, simply to deny them to the enemy.
2) The yellow tokens, which in this scenario represent “Discoveries”. These are classed as Bulky Objects, and restrict a unit’s movement per the standard Congo rules.
Both types of tokens will count towards Victory Points, and also go on to assist Mary and Ujuwa in the end-game, which will follow this scenario and conclude the campaign.
Mary and Ujuwa must exit to the south and the north respectively, to claim the maximum possible Victory Points for this scenario.
For reference purposes, Mary will start on the northern flank of the mountain, and Ujuwa on the southern flank.
The first picture is a full table shot from the southern end, Mary’s deployment behind the mountain, and Ujuwa on this side.
Ujuwa started with the Initiative token for this adventure, because he lost the last one. His plan is to quickly grab all the Hints and Discoveries on his side of the mountain, then hold on the eastern side, while most of his forces go around the western side of the mountain and seize Hints and Discoveries from as many of Mary’s units as possible, before exiting the table to the north to claim a victory.
By coincidence, Mary has come up with an almost identical plan, but she intends to go round the mountain in the opposite direction.
On turn 1, Ujuwa gets an Animal Encounter, and places a leopard in one of the Dangerous Terrain areas close to Mary’s Young Warriors. He also sends his Warriors and Pygmy Archers to guard the mountain’s eastern flank, while the Young Warriors, Bundukis and Scouts make the rounds gathering up the Hints and Discovery tokens in the southern half of the table. Ujuwa himself, accompanied by his blowpipe-armed Archers, moves around the western flank.
His Bunduki collect Hint #6, and the Young Warriors pick up Hint #4. Neither, of course, are any use to Ujuwa, but they decide to take them with them anyway.
Meanwhile Mary’s Adventurers move to grab a Hint token, but the Jungle Encounter roll reveals they have found a patch of quicksand. Fortunately they are able to escape the area without losing anything more than their composure.
Most of her forces advance in an easterly or south-easterly direction; clearly it is her intent to send the bulk of her forces around this flank of the mountain.
On turn 2, Ujuwa moves with his Archers and succeeds in grabbing a Discovery token from the Dangerous Terrain directly west of the mountain. Using an Extra Moves Action card, his Bunduki grab a Discovery in the southwest corner of the table, and his Pygmy Archers enter the Dangerous Terrain directly east of the mountain, successfully beating Mary’s forces to Hint #2.
Meanwhile, Mary and her Young Warriors, with their leopard pet, enter the Dangerous Terrain in the northwest corner; they encounter and kill a leopard, earning themselves a Hunting Trophy. They also pick up Hint token #1.
Her Askaris find Hint#3 in the Dangerous Terrain in the northeast corner, while her Adventurers move southwest towards Ujuwa and his Archers, and her Ruga-Ruga close to shooting range with Ujuwa’s Pygmy Archers. In the ensuing exchange of fire, the Ruga-Ruga kill a Pygmy Archer, but the Pygmy King survives his Terrifying Death Roll, and in return the pygmies’ poison arrows kill two Ruga-Ruga. JJ also survives her TDR.
Ujuwa moves his Bunduki and Young Warriors north to support his Archers on the western flank of the mountain, while Mary’s Ruga-Ruga reload and her Soldiers move southeast to support them.
On turn 3, Mary seizes the Initiative, and her Ruga-Ruga charge the Pygmy Archers. It is a disaster; they lose two casualties in the ensuing melee, and JJ subsequently fails her TDR! To salvage the situation, her Soldiers continue south on the eastern flank of the mountain, only to collide with Ujuwa’s Warriors who are moving in the opposite direction.
However, the ensuing melee is a draw, meaning that the Warriors have to retreat, and they then receive fire from both the Soldiers and the Ruga-Ruga, losing a total of four casualties. The Fang Chief survives his TDR, but the Warriors are suddenly a spent force, and Ujuwa’s flank on the east of the mountain is now defended only by his remaining Pygmy Archers.
Meanwhile, over on the west flank, Ujuwa is having considerably more success. His Archers and Young Warriors both move north to confront Mary’s Young Warriors, and Ujuwa successfully casts his Bull’s Breath ritual on them, but Mary saves it. The Archers and Young Warriors open fire, killing three of Mary’s Young Warriors, but Mary survives her TDR.
Finally, Ujuwa’s Pygmy Archers are able to stabilize the situation east of the mountain somewhat, when they use their poison arrows to wipe out Mary’s Ruga-Ruga, leaving a dropped Discovery token up for grabs.
Turn 4 is a Downpour, so all missile and visual ranges are reduced for the turn. However, Ujuwa’s Young Warriors are close enough to fire at Mary’s, and incredibly they score no less than four kills! This wipes out the unit, including their accompanying Bearer, and their leopard pet; however, Ujuwa can’t claim this as a Hunting Trophy, as he already has one for a leopard.
Unfortunately for Ujuwa, Mary survives her TDR. She is left alone, and wisely retreats with her Hint token.
Ujuwa uses an Action card to remove a Move Stress token from his Archers, freeing them to move north with a view to getting him successfully off the table. He also casts his Bull’s Breath ritual on Mary’s Adventurers, but Kiva is able to save it.
Seeing the threat developing in the west should Ujuwa break through to the northern table exit, Mary uses an Extra Move Action card to move the Askari west to support her Adventurers, while her soldiers retreat north out of range of the Pygmy Archers.
Ujuwa’s Young Warriors now charge Mary’s Askaris, killing one in the melee. The Flag-bearer survives his TDR.
However, Mary now draws an Animal Encounter, and the roll calls for a Hippo. She places this in Dangerous terrain near Ujuwa’s Bunduki, who are promptly charged; they lose 1 casualty trampled.
On turn 5, the Downpour ceases, so all ranges are restored to normal. Ujuwa’s Archers immediately fire on the Adventurers, wiping them out and killing the accompanying Bearer; however, Kiva survives his TDR.
Feeling very vulnerable on her own, Mary continues to head towards her Soldiers.
However, Kiva, also on his own since the destruction of the Adventurers, is not so quick on his feet. He is attacked by Ujuwa’s Young Warriors, who amazingly cause no casualties. Kiva is pushed back and somehow survives the encounter.
The Soldiers shoot at the Pygmy Archers, killing one.
Ashamed at their failure in melee, Ujuwa’s Young Warriors shower Kiva with their assegais, and finally down him, leaving another dropped Discovery token on the ground.
On turn 6, to no one’s surprise Ujuwa and his Archers head for the northern table exit as fast as they can. Mary’s Soldiers move northwest to meet up with her, while she places some juju on Ujuwa and his Archers. As luck would have it, he draws a Panic Stress token – no movement or shooting for the remainder of the turn.
Mary and her Soldiers then shoot at the Archers, killing 2 of them; however, Ujuwa survives his TDR.
Stymied in his attempt to get off the table, Ujuwa has his forces focus on maximising their Victory Points; his Pygmy Archers and Young Warriors both gather up dropped Discovery tokens.
He also tries to cast another Bull’s Breath ritual, which he has used quite successfully so far in this adventure. However, once again, his bad luck continues to dog him. He draws a Panic Stress token for the ritual, which means that it backfires on him catastrophically. This time, a giant scorpion appears out of a hole in the ground, and stings him into unconsciousness.
Mary’s Askaris charge Ujuwa’s Young Warriors, seeking to deprive them of the Discovery token they have just picked up. However, they lose a casualty in the melee, forcing them to retreat, and they pick up a Panic Stress token, which effectively immobilises them for this turn.
Mary’s Soldiers also charge the Archers, but the resulting melee is a draw and they are forced to retreat.
On turn 7, the scenario rules require the holder of the Initiative marker, which at this point is Ujuwa, to roll before each Action Phase to determine if the game is over.
The first Action Phase is played normally, and Mary’s Soldiers fire on Ujuwa’s Young Warriors, but do no damage. Ujuwa’s Archers shoot at the Soldiers, killing one, but Mary survives the TDR.
Ujuwa then rolls a second time to see of the game is over, and it ends before the second Action Phase.
Tallying the Adventure
Because neither side attained its main objective of exiting the table, no Victory Points were earned for that objective.
Mary has two Hint tokens, but they are both odd-numbered, meaning they are Ujuwa’s, and of no value to her.
She also retained one Discovery token, worth 2 VP.
Mary can claim the leopard killed as a Hunting Trophy. It doesn’t give her any VP’s, but will contribute towards the campaign.
Despite being wounded, Mary’s reporter JJ was able to get her trip report into this month’s bulletin of the Société Géographique; this earned her 2 VP’s.
However, Mary’s forces were able to despatch M’Otowanfa, the renegade Fang chief, and Ujuwa self-immolated while casting one of his spell rituals. These “kills” earn Mary 2 VP each.
Ujuwa forces hold four Hint tokens, but three of them are even-numbered, meaning they are Mary’s, and of no value to him. The remaining one, Hint #3, is worth 2 VP.
He also collected five Discovery tokens, including two dropped by Mary’s units. In this scenario, they are worth 2 VP each, for a total of 10 VP.
Ujuwa’s forces were able to despatch both the reporter JJ, and the caravan guide Kiva; these “kills” earn Ujuwa 2 VP each. His forces also despatched two of Mary’s Bearers for another 4VP, as well as the Young Warriors’ pet leopard – we didn’t count this one for VP, and unfortunately Ujuwa already has a leopard Hunting Trophy!
Ujuwa cast two successful Sacred Rituals in this adventure, earning him two more Spiritual Link points. With no surviving Sacred Warriors, he is unable to roll for bonus Link points.
No additional domains of Knowledge were earned by either side.
That means Ujuwa earned a total of 20 VP, and Mary earned 8 VP, so Ujuwa has finally had a convincing win in an adventure.
JJ and Kiva were both feeling rather Poorly at the end of the campaign.
Ujuwa ended the campaign In Agony, while M’Otowanfa was feeling rather Poorly.
All of these effects, together with the Discoveries made in the final adventure, were recorded into the two sides’ Travel Logs, which provide an ongoing record of each side’s status. The Logs play a key role in the campaign end-game, because the Knowledge and Discoveries made throughout the campaign now contribute towards the two leader’s movement as they progress towards their ultimate goals.
Mungo Mah Lobeh’s end-game is played on a pair of A3 size boards, one each for Mary and Ujuwa.
These are supplied in the campaign pack, but they are printed as one double-sided board, and since you need to use both sides at the same time, we had to get A3 copies made by the local printing shop. An annoying and not-insignificant expense which could have been avoided by a little joined-up thinking, Studio Tomahawk!
These boards represent the final journeys made by the two leaders, “Scaling the Throne of Thunder” for Mary, and “Constructing the Ritual of Awakening” for Ujuwa. On each board, a path of linked circles track the different stages of the journey. Each player attempts to advance as far as possible during the journey, which represents nine days for Mary and nine nights for Ujuwa.
Also on each board, a chart describes the nine days or nights, and the domains of Knowledge that will be useful to each of them.
In essence, for each day or night, the leader has to either show possession in their Travel Log of a specific domain of Knowledge, in which case they advance automatically, or alternatively roll a given number of dice and hope to score successes. Any Hints acquired in the last adventure provide bonuses which affect play at this stage, such as extra dice or re-rolling ‘1’s.
Once the nine days and nights are over, each player notes down on their Travel Log, the point reached, and the corresponding number of Accomplishment Points awarded to each.
The campaign then concludes by summing up all the Accomplishment Points achieved or lost during the entire campaign, according to a whole range of criteria:-
1) The adventures won.
2) The Journey Length for Mary (the quicker the better), and the Spiritual Link points (the more successful spell rituals cast the better) for Ujuwa.
3) Discoveries made.
4) The state of the Characters, with sick, wounded or dead characters costing points.
5) The domains of Knowledge acquired.
6) Medicinal plants located.
7) Hunting trophies bagged, one per different kind of animal.
8) Scaling the Throne of Thunder for Mary, and constructing the Ritual of Awakening for Ujuwa.
The final total of these Accomplishment Points determines the overall campaign winner. In our case the final totals were:-
Mary 37 Ujuwa 35