Scramble for Africa Board Game

  • '13

    Sup people. Here is my idea for a board game. Its not meant to be a simulation of the times rather a fun game I would play with friends.

    Scramble for Africa

    With the rise of the industrial age of the late 19th century, came the next rise of European imperialism. Africa became the continent of choice filled with natural resources, and scattered with small kingdoms. During the Berlin Conference, it was agreed that Africa would be partitioned, starting one of the biggest conquests in all of history. In this game all the European powers are playable while Ethiopia is a mechanic of the game. (Fill this out later)

    Belgium:2 ships 6 soldiers in base

    France:2 ships 6 resources (starts with 2 provinces)

    United Kingdom:2 ships 3 soldiers in base and 3 resouces (starts with 1 province)

    Italy: 2 ships 6 soldiers in base

    Germany: 2 ships 6 soldiers in base

    Portugal:2 ships 6 resources (starts with 2 provinces)

    6 soldiers in the center province 3 soldiers in all other provinces

    Order of Play
    Place Reinforcements in base
    Buy units/ railroads
    Move Units/Conquest
    Collect Income
    Place Units/Railroads

    How to play
    To begin each round everyone will roll a die to determine the turn order. Best roll goes first, next is second…etc… After that each player will play their full turn. This will be repeated for every full round of play.

    1. Place Reinforcements in the base: At the beginning of each round place 3 soldiers in your base.(The colored square that represents the homeland) You can only take troops out via ship and can never transport soldiers INTO the base.

    Also during this part you can create a military training encampment. Its free and you may place it anywhere but you may only place 2 all game. Once an encampment is captured it will be destroyed permanently. It may never be built again.

    2. Buying units: You can buy 3 things.

    Soldiers: Cost 1 resource

    Railroads:Cost 2 resources

    Ships Cost 2 resources

    Fort: Cost 5 resources

    3.Move Units/ Conquest
    There are 2 types of units that move in this game. Ships and soldiers.

    Ship can be bought and are very important. They can move 2 spaces AND can pick up ONCE AND drop off ONCE. To pick up soldiers, the ship must be in a sea zone adjacent to the province(s). Each ship can carry 3 soldiers and must be adjacent to the province(s) that you are landing troops.

    Soldiers must have not moved to embark on a ship and can’t move once they disembark for a round. For land movement soldiers can only move one space per round. Instead of moving one space, a group of soldiers can also use the railroad. To use the railroad, the group must all be together in a province and must all move together to another province to a station connected to a contiguous line of railroad. The railroad can be used once per round by one group of soldiers only

    If you want to conquer a province whether empty, uncolonized, colonized, or filled with enemies you must have at least 3 soldiers in a group to conquer it. To engage in combat (a lot like axis and allies) move your soldiers to the space you want to conquer. You and your opponent will roll a die for every soldier you have. For each dice you roll a 3 or less count a point of damage to the enemy if you are the defenders(attackers roll on a 2). Once you and your opponent have rolled all your dice for the round of combat go ahead and remove units from the board. If at the beginning of the round, the attacker would like to retreat to the space they attacked from they may do so. If the attacker ever has less than 3 troops left at the end of the round the troops must retreat(even if there are no more defenders left. If the defender would like to retreat, they must choose a friendly (allied or personally owned province) space to retreat to. They will then roll a die. If the die is 3 or less than all the troops will move there. If 4 or more is rolled, the defender must engage in combat but can only roll for half of their troops rounded up during the combat phase. In the event of a fort being attacked, The attacker can only attack for one combat round that turn. The Defenders however, may salley forth and initiate sortie. This acts that same as a battle, but the attackers are the owners of the fort, and the defenders are the ones seigeing the fort. Defenders are not limited to how many troops they have and can fight to the death if the player wants. If the attacker conquers the province, all railroads and forts are destroyed and will take full control of the colony. If the province is empty or uncolonized, you still need 3 soldiers to conquer the province.

    Ship combat is very similar. There are no limits of ships needed for combat and retreat rules are the same. Same combat values as well.

    4. Collect income:
    This is simple. Count all you provinces and that is your resource income.

    5. Placing soldiers/ railroads
    You may place soldiers that you bought in any of your encampments you built. You may not place them in your base. You can,however place bough ships in the sea zone next to your base. You may also place railroads on any space you own.

    So that’s what you do during your turn so here is how the game goes politically.

    1. Colonizing phase
    1.5. Alliance Phase???
    2. Great War phase

    1. Colonizing phase
    This is the beginning part of the game and won’t end until all provinces have been colonized. No powers may war against each other and can only fight ethiopia. Once this phase ends Ethiopia may not be attacked if the nation still exists. Also, the scoring for resources begin. At the begining of the game, their are resources littered across the board in many provinces. Conquering them will help in this scoring phase.

    Thye are scored like this:
    Each type of resource:1 pt

    For each majority: 5pts

    For every monopoly: 10pts

    Resources are :Gold, Copper, Iron, Coffee, Rubber, Diamonds, and agricultural goods. Once this scoring is done, start the war.

    Ethiopia Mechanics: Combat is the same but if Ethiopia is attacked during the round, after all the European powers are done with their turn, Ethiopia has a turn. It will spawn 3 soldiers in any and all provinces that the Europeans have taken from them and initiate combat. Ethiopian troops will fight to the death and if they win, they will take the province and replace the troops they lost fighting to garrison the province. If more than 3 provinces are captured by europeans, troops will not spawn to defend Ethiopia. During the great war, ethiopian provinces owned by players can be fought over but those still owned by Ethiopia can no longer be attacked.

    Alliance Phase: (NOTE: THESE ARE SUGGESTED RULES FOR ALLIANCES, FEEL FREE TO CREATE RULED FOR YOUR OWN GAME)At the end of the colonizing phase, all nations will get together and discuss plans for war. Each player will talk to another privately and at the end of the discussion, everyone will get a price of paper.

    Everyone will write who they want to ally with and turn it in. It will be announced what each person has written and alliances will be formed officially. In order for an alliance to go through however, the writings of both parties most be mutual.

    However this is where subterfuge come into play. If player A and player B both write down that they want to be allied then that’s that. But let’s say player C negotiates with A that they should backstab B. If this is done at the before the writing

    2. Great War phase

    At the end of the round in which all European powers have colonized all of Africa(Ethiopia excluded),or if 2 rounds go by with something being colonized, the following round starts the Great War.  You can also no longer recruit soldiers or build railroads and you will collect no income. However reinforcements are doubled to 6 being produced in your base. You may walk in you allied territories but you may not use their railroads. Also you may defend together with your ally. You also can’t return or capture friendly provinces either. War goes on 5 rounds and at the end of the 5th round the game ends and scoring begins. If a side loses before then or no great war happens, final scoring begins.

    How to win the game:

    Once scoring begins, here’s what to look for.

    1 pt for every province you own

    10 pts for having them most railroads.

    20 pts for owning all of Ethiopia

    10 pts for having the majority of Ethiopia

    5 pts for owning a province in Ethiopia

    NOTE: pts gained by conquering Ethiopia do not stack

    also add the pts that you recieved from the first scoring phase

    Person with most points wins. Hope the game isn’t too complicated.

    Comments,questions, and suggestions are welcome.:)

    Pic of proposed map

  • Liaison TripleA '11 '10

    Sound interesting 🙂

  • '21 '20 '19 '18 '17 '16 '15 '14 Customizer '13 '12 '11 '10

    Sounds like this could be fun.  Here are a few comments, in no particular order.

    • I’m wondering about the concept of purchasing railroads.  My impression (which could be completely wong) is that there wasn’t much railroad construction in Africa during the Victorian era.  South America saw a fair bit of railway construction during this time (concentrated mainly in four countries, as I recall, and to a large extent European-owned), but I don’t think Africa had anything on a similar scale.

    • If I understand your concept correctly, the game basically has two phases, similarly to Risk: an initial territory-placement phase, and then a general war phase.  That’s fine, but there are a few aspects of this arrangement that are potentially problematic:

    1 “All ships are taken off the board and are no longer in use.”  This eliminates what could be a very interesting element of the game: a naval component, aimed at cutting off the other side’s logistical support and at maintaining your own.  European armies, by and large, could not have kept functioning in Africa during the Victorian era for an extended war without a lot of logistical support, since there was no industrial infrastructure there that they could have used to produce what they needed (bullets and gunpowder being perhaps at the top of the list, with medication – notably anti-malarial drugs – coming close behind).  The railroads I mentioned previously, if you decide to keep them, would be a further complication along these lines: steam locomotives are complex machines that require maintenance, spare parts and coal for fuel.  My recommendation would be to keep the ships, both for purposes of realism and in order to have control of the sea be a game element that players have to include in their war efforts.

    2 “You can also no longer recruit soldiers or build railroads so income that you have left goes to waste.”  I think a lot of players would be unhappy at the concept of wasting income.  Besides, as discussed in point 1 above, retaining an income flow would help reflect the fact that logistical support is vial to sustaining wars, especially wars in distant theatres.

    3 “Before turn order is determined, everyone will flip a coin. Everyone that flipped tails goes on a team and everyone that flipped heads will go on a team. The teams may be unequal but that’s war.”  As you pointed out, this could potentially lead to some very skewed games.  My preference would be for something that’s more even-handed (this potentially more fair) and at the same time more realistic and potentially more interesting too.  What I’d suggest is that, in between the territory-grab phase and the general war phase, you introduce an alliance-making phase (similar to what goes on in the clasic game Diplomacy).  The players would be allowed to hold discussions among themselves, with the ultimate aim of establishing two opposing alliances.  I don’t have a detailed methodology to propose for resolving the negotiations, but the general idea is that the alliance system would have to operate within certain parameters; the six players can ally themselves in any way they want, but within two limits: there can only be two coalitions formed, and the allowable number of partners in each collation can only be either three-per-side or two on one side and four on the other.

  • Liaison TripleA '11 '10

    3 per side, or 3 groups of two would be interesting.

  • '13

    @Garg Thanks for the interest man 🙂


    Thank you for the reply. I agree, perhaps I should allow the ability of ships and warfare. During the colonial era, as the colonies grow I want to represent the fact that the land is producing more goods to justify the Europeans to invest the supplies in the area to create the troops and infrastructure needed to keep the places profitable. Thats what income represents. War should change that.  I think what I want for war is for it to be a time where most supplies that were sent to Africa from Europe are now being kept for the war effort, limiting the recruiting of the African colonies. Maybe what I should do is keep the naval element and bases going, but instead, during war time 6 soldiers are produced rather then 3 in the bases. I know people would like having an income stream and development of soldiers but I want to prevent the wars developing into steamrolls. With a naval element now, even if your army has been smashed, if your navy prevails, you can prevent any enemy reinforcements from arriving while you can resupply your provinces thus allowing you and your allies try to scramble a defense to stop the advance. Maybe make the war last 5 rounds instead of 4 to really develop some interesting campaigns and allowing for the swinging of tides.

    The only problem I perceive is that during war, destroying the enemy navy will be made a priority(thus starving the enemy of reinforcements for the entire war!), though maybe this will be offset by that fact that if you neglect your navy, you will have invested tons of money into your army to make up for it. Thus you will be more mindful in the planning for the war as it approaches and you must manage the troops in war as they will be more valuable. Maybe that attack on Ethiopia weakened your army quite a bit, and now you are struggling to field enough numbers to face your enemy. You can choose to defend your own borders or maybe you feel you can reach out and risk conquest or destruction as you try to conquer and gain more territories. I will be interesting to see how your allies negotiate with you also, maybe forcing you to make a rash offensive so that your ally doesn’t starve you of territories you need to help you win.  Definitely adds some more strategic elements.

    As to address your doubt of railroad development during the Victorian era, I’ll provide some evidence to show that the Europeans did try to construct extensive railroads.

    British Railroad in Sudan
    This out lies Rails built in North Africa as well as rhodes
    Development of South African Railroads as you mentioned
    Failed development of a railroad from cape to Cairo

    This outlines the areas where Rails were majorly constructed. Most finished before WW1. This one show some of the less known

    German Railroads in East Africa and German Southwest Africa

    I think I’ll plan on sticking with Railroads even though they may not be as prevalent in real life as they may become in the game.

    As for your suggestion of making the allowing a discussion of alliances secretly, I believe you are probably right. To develop these sides though I will have to think about how to create a system that fits with a smaller playing group too. I think that I will limit the game to 4 players or 6 players allowing for an even alliance setting. I think I will limit the alliances to 3 and 3 or 2 and 2. In between the the phases of war and colonizing, their will be a sit down discussion where the alliances will be formed. After a brief discussion everyone rolls a die and the 2 people will be the war leaders. They will then pick there team dodge ball style starting with highest roll which will set the final boundaries into play. (If anyone has a suggestion, please feel free to chip in as this way isn’t the greatest.

    So as for the changes for the rules:

    Ships may now be purchased for the cost of 2 dollars,

    During war, there is still not income, though your soldiers produced in your base increases to 6.

    Ships will cost 3 and they will strike damage 3 or less just like ground troops.

    War time also increased to 5 rounds.

    Also ships when bought may be placed outside of the base only.

    The last worry I have is preventing people from all huddling around building a military for the war, though if a player is behind in the developing of soldiers, they may have an incentive to start a war to stop the income as fast as possible.

    Also any comments on the board? Everything look good? Thank you for the comments so far.

    Edit: (Also the canal zone acts as a sea zone, nothing special)

  • '13

    Ive received my map and painted peices for the game. I’ll try to get a game going in the next week or 2, and see how it goes.

    The last changes I would like to do is in the alliance making, so that will probably changed. I’ll have my rules adjusted if I do make changes and will make a report here if anyone is interested.

  • Liaison TripleA '11 '10

    Post a report and photos please! I want to see it in action!

  • '13

    Deleted, rules have been updated so this playthrough is no longer good for information. If i play again I will try to put a new playthrough here.

  • '13

    This is on Table Top Simulator now for anyone interested. Rules have been updated on the TTS version, still have yet to update this forum post. If I see interest, I will post the new stuff on here.

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