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Dark Continent (Africa) Scenario

Blue Monkey

Archon Without Portfolio
Jul 31, 2005
Timeless Isle

About H. R. Haggard, hasn't someone been tempted by an African Exploration (1850-1900) scenario ?

This scenario could be quicker to appear than some of the others announced. No need for massive terrain graphics work. The vast majority of units already exist - even some of the strikingly unusual ones. LHs available for all civs afaik. The major remaining effort will be to work out a tech tree and the unit lines. That will take some careful planning in order to make possible things like varying victory conditions & radically different tech lines between civs / culture groups.

All posted descriptions represent current thinking. Everything beyond the map & a very few key ideas is in flux.
Scenario Background

Africa ... in an alternative and steampunkish world.

Rampaging Zulus & Mahdi fanatics, mummies, a lost civ or 3, rare flora & fauna to discover & return - perhaps even the fabled Mokèlé-mbèmbé. Set within a general steampunk alternate history - details still being worked out for it.

The playable factions will be the colonial powers (including one or two oriental empires). The colonial civs will start with at least one colony in Africa. Maybe a couple of major African powers like the Fulani or Bamana empires as well.
Gameplay Concepts

Room for Livingston, Burton, Roosevelt, Patterson & Ryall, Custer, Kurtz, H. Paget F., Holly & Vincey, D'Arnot, & Cordery. As well as their respective McGuffins. Meaning individual "hero" units for all the major factions. Also a UU available in each era to each faction.

Paths to Victory:
  • Conquest/Domination style by holding VPs rather than by area. This will emphasize the importance of ancient capitols, key geography, scarce resources, etc.
  • Exploration - one-off resources will allow the building of "space race" components. Discovery of things like "Source of the Nile", "Lost Civilization!", "Cryptozoological Sensation!", etc. building up as dispatches leading to becoming a Fellow of the Geographical and Exploration Society. The space race screen will look like a newspaper of the era.
  • By election as head of a corporate body - like Leopold II's setting up the Congo Free State as privately held territory.
Map Development

Exploration is emphasized. In keeping with the scenario title don't expect to see any previews of the whole map. Many of the AH elements should remain a surprise for players, at least the first time. One fundamental difference from our Africa is that the Holocene Subpluvial (Wet Phase) persisted until much later - making for more varied terrain in Northern & Central Africa. The Sahara is smaller & spreading irregularly. The major lakes are a little larger. The more extensive lushness of the interior gives room for & plausibility of some unusual animals surviving until the modern era, viable "lost" civs & some other surprises.

Taking an idea from Rise & Fall of the Mughals several of the colonial powers will be based on small islands in various places toward the edge of the map. There may also be some "special" islands not appearing on maps in our time-line.

This is the current stage of the map:

Spoiler :

Terrain & Resources

Perhaps some mangrove swamps and a second type of jungle (bamboo) would make good LM terrain? Veldt separate from grasslands? Don't want to get into too much need for new terrain graphics.

There will be variants on the basic resources. Alternatives that fulfill the same role. For example hippos as a bonus resource. "Turn the hippo steaks before they carbonize, Friday, there's a good chap!".

Several of the developed nations - both African and colonial - are based on AH survivals, extensions or divergences of real states.

African - developed nations
  • Fulani Empire (Sokoto Sultanate) RL: Fulani-Jihad proclaimed by Uthman dan Fodio in 1804 that led to the emergence of the Sultanate of Sokoto. This existed until the British invaded Nigeria in the 1890s.
  • Abyssinia - UU Axumite Templar?
  • Ottoman Empire - Lower Egypt & Levant.
  • Songhai Empire / Bambara Empire
  • Creole S. A. * with a Liberia analog as a colony
African - tribal
Colonial Powers:
  • Imperial Republic of Califexa. Thanks to Shirou there's finally a Emperor Norton LH. No other real-world American politician could touch him for Steampunkitude.
  • Anglian Empire (England)
  • Oc (France)
  • Dutch/German/Boer? An evolved Hanseatic League as a corporate thalassocracy. Or maybe the Bohemian Syndicate (a peaceful scientific civ more inclined to NGOs than military conquest). Or both?
  • Al-Andalus - based in Southern Europe & North Africa.
  • Empire of Brasyl
  • Libertalia - Sky Pirates of Madagascar. Led by Captain Beefheart.
  • Something like Kôr (She), Khokarsa or Bana-Mighdall
  • Nature itself as a faction - game animals, monsoons, cryptids, etc.
  • possibly something like Adamawara (Stableford's Empire of Fear). A penumbral menace - limited in extent and ability to expand yet formidable as an opponent.
  • minor unannounced civs - there may be a tribe worshiping megafauna, discredited researchers pursuing things better left unspoken, perhaps even a band of intelligent animals that have occupied an ancient ruin ...

Spoiler :
Creole States of America - New Orleans is the capitol of what never became the Louisiana Purchase. In this AH the Haitian Revolution was even more successful, spread to the southern USA, and led to an independent state founded by a union of former slaves, Acadians, etc. The CSA encompasses the whole Gulf of Mexico from Monterrey to Florida & some of the Caribbean islands. It is listed with the developed African nations because of the similarities in cultural background & orientation. In game terms: Starting with a well established Liberian colony they're likely to share many units, improvements, etc. Which means they're likely to fall in the same culture group.

EDIT: see current working list (wip for discussion) in post #43.

The scenario will most likely be relatively short. Say two eras for the standard / playable civs. The primitive civs will be limited to a single era's tree. One era reserved for the very unusual civs. It would be possible to make parallel lines in the same eras. Doing it this way allows for things like more creative use of city graphics.

Already started work on some single tech lines - not connected enough yet to call it a tree. Hopefully some annotated previews before too long.

Mino - Dahomey Amazon Regiment
Spoiler :

AmaFengu Rifleman
Spoiler :

Ilmoran (Maasai Hunter)
Spoiler :

Without shield

The foreign legionnaires will be able to capture & convert units to auxiliaries. Several countries will have legions - thanks to the availability of zouave units.

"Hero" units: the major civs will have one-off units with some unique abilities. They'll upgrade from either static units or much weaker versions. Special thanks to Balthasar, King Arthur & the EFZI team for those ideas.
This is coming along nicely - love the use of Fog Of War to represent the Dark Interior. Oh and Sky Pirates of Madagascar got the big kid inside me really excited :)
This is coming along nicely - love the use of Fog Of War to represent the Dark Interior.
It's both pleasing & practical. Exploration is so key to the scenario that it's essential to reveal as little of the map as possible prior to release.
Oh and Sky Pirates of Madagascar got the big kid inside me really excited :)
Been reading whatever I can about Libertalia. Just got "Honour Among Thieves" by Rogozinski. With all the airships & rapscallions available had to have such a faction. Intending at this point to use the steampunk commando as their UU.

EDIT: Probably should explain why this is the first of the follow-on projects to get a thread even though others have been more publicly discussed. The map is the most developed - it doesn't require a heap of LM terrains with custom graphics like Hollow Earth or Sceptre & Orbs will. The vast majority - if not all - of the needed units are already available. It's meant to be a shorter scenario. more like EFZ than R&R. So it's a more a matter of the biq/rules slog than anything else. Which means - hopefully - that it can be developed more quickly & be fun to play while also serving as a test bed for things to be done in a big way in some of the more complex scenarios.
Captain Beefheart - is inspired :)

I have a unit idea for you: a planet of the apes/Doctor Moreau inspired colonial recruit, complete with military uniform and rifle - no pics yet but I'm sure I saw it somewhere (or dreamed it).
I have a unit idea for you: a planet of the apes/Doctor Moreau inspired colonial recruit, complete with military uniform and rifle
There's already a civ planned where that unit would fit. Find a pic & I'll add it to the units post.
Captain Beefheart - is inspired :)

I have a unit idea for you: a planet of the apes/Doctor Moreau inspired colonial recruit, complete with military uniform and rifle - no pics yet but I'm sure I saw it somewhere (or dreamed it).

there was an episode of Dark Matter that had a soviet scientist who was trying to cross humans with apes, but was appearently never successful. But what if his son did....

also, what about Alan Quatermain, from King Solomon's Mines as a explorer/guide/hero?
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