Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Eureka Miniatures: New Pre-Colonial Maori Miniature Range Released - 18 Miniatures and Tribal Canoe


Eureka Miniatures: Natives of Aotearoa (Land of the Long White Cloud – New Zealand), the Maori have a long tradition of inter-tribal conflicts going back hundreds of years. Armed with patu (clubs) and taiaha (spears) or tewhatewha (long-axes) fashioned out of wood, bone and (very rarely) pounamu (greenstone) – the warriors of different tribes engaged in seasonal close combat to fight over food, land, resources and mana (honor). With colonial settlement in the 19th Century, the Maori adapted quickly to the use of firearms. Nevertheless, it was hard to get your hands on a gun, powder or ammunition if you were a Maori – thus the use of traditional weapons continued well into the New Zealand Wars of the latter half of the 19th Century.

Picture by Happy Wanderer on Lead Adventure Forum showing the Maori warband
With Aramiha Harwood's guidance, Alan Marsh has sculpted an excellent range of Maori tribal warriors – capturing the attitude and spirit/mana of the Maori warriors. It is nice to see that they also represent a cross-section of the population in various body-weights and sizes! In these 28mm figures, we see a range of clothing and jewelry – detailed in the figures – piupiu (grass skirts), dogskin cloaks, feather cloaks, woven flax kilts, flax cloaks that served as armor, feathers that adorned the hair, necklaces with tiki and manaia on them. Finally, we have two musicians in the tribal group – one with a conch shell, the other twirling a pūrerehua (bull-roarer) to scare the enemy and to communicate with the spirits.


In this range of 28mm miniatures, we have: an elder chief, wearing a feather cloak; several elite warriors with flax/feather cloaks and kilts; two musicians (conch shell & bullroarer); four warriors with patu/clubs; and four warriors with spears/staves.

On an island country dotted with waterways, the canoes (waka) of the Maori offered the best opportunity to launch surprise attacks on enemy strongholds or villages. Hollowed from larger trees, typically Kauri, the Waka was covered in carvings – particularly the stern and prow panels. Streaking through the water, different-sized waka could hold as little as 20 men for a surprise raid, and up to a hundred warriors for a major campaign into enemy territory. With carvings designed by Aramiha, Battlefield Accessories provide an excellent 28mm-scale model to launch a Maori attack on the enemy.


To go with your tribe of Maori warriors, a gamer could try using Tribal – the skirmish combat rules. Tribal focuses on the small scale skirmishes – raids, ambushes, revenge and murder – that have been recorded in history through song, dance, saga and legend. In these tales, it is the prowess and Honor of the hero that is remembered – the lone warrior facing a band of foes and either triumphing in bloody hand-to-hand combat or dying with Honor intact.

Mana Press: Tribal the skirmish combat game. In this book you get: the basic rules; optional rules for missile fire, dirty tricks and honour pools; four scenarios you can play in a variety of tribal settings; in-depth explanation of culture, weapons and combat for Maori, Vikings, Aztecs & Gladiators; extra rules for Stone-Age, Heian Japanese & Iroquois. Honour is everything! Tribal provides players with a game set in a pre-gunpowder tribal/clan setting. The rules  offer some new and exciting approaches to wargaming.


Firstly, honour is used to drive the narrative of the game. Players are rewarded in honour for the things that they do in the battle. Honour determines who wins Tribal rather than the normal determinants of wargames (killing enemy/taking ground). In turn, honour is a dynamic part of the game - it can be won and lost during combat, the deeds of combatants can win or lose honour, players can spend honour to do 'dirty tricks' to win combats etc.

Secondly, the game is played with a normal deck of cards. Cards determine movement, unit activation and - most importantly - combat. While cards still have the randomness of the draw from the deck, players can actually be involved in the combat through playing/holding particular cards. Attacking, defending, waiting for an opening, bluffing the opponent - these are all strategies the player can use in a round of Tribal combat. There are plans for future supplements involving Stone-Age cave wars, Modern-Day rioting/Gang warfare, and Polynesian Islanders.


2 comments:

Peter Black said...

Great rule set for close combat skurmish. Card system works really well.

Wargame News and Terrain Blog, said...

Heard nothing than praise for this unique wargame ruleset, thanks for confirming this. Cheers

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