Brown Man’s Burden

General Information:

  • Name of Scenario : Brown Man’s Burden
  • Final Score : 25.0/30
    (Breakdown: 0-10 terrible /11-15 Average/ 16-20 Good/ 21-25 Excellent/ 26+Best possible)
  • Type of Scenario :Historical
  • Name of Author: Carl Fritz
  • Name of Reviewer: Morten Blaabjerg

Summary of Scenario:

Pile on the brown man’s burden, and try and claim all of Africa for your nation, before the others do!

Playability – Section Sub-total: 5/5

scenario is a personal favorite of mine, because it is very fun to
play. It is not revolutionary, by any means, but a good, classic
scenario, using most of the classic Civ2 rules in order to portray the
theme. The theme is the European "Scramble" for Africa, from roughly
1890-1900, where almost all major European nations in one big rush
claimed parts of the African interior in search of trade opportunities
and imperial prestige.

The scenario extends this time
frame a bit, so it runs from 1886 to 1914 (breakout of World War I).
This is quite appropriate, in my opinion. It could even have started
earlier, with fewer cities in possession of the European nations. As
the scenario starts off, the European nations have a fair share of
Africa to begin with, which leads on to a "industrial war" playing
approach, rather than a "seek and conquest" playstyle. There are a
great deal of African tribes left for bidding, but not so many as one
could have expected. Afterall, this is a huge continent, with more
unexplored regions than anywhere else in the world. So the included
African tribes are a little disappointing at the outset. But rather
quickly it becomes one European nation watching the others every move.
And this makes for an exciting game, and is captured very well.

The tribes are the English, Germans, Italians, Mahdists, Ethiopians,
French, and Portuguese. As well as barbarians simulating the lesser
colonial powers, as well as the savage tribes in the interior. I was
personally a little disappointed that the Belgians was left with the
barbarians, as the Belgian king Leopold II was very much an active
player in the partitioning of Africa, and very much showed the example
for others with his overtly ambitious projects in the Congo Free State.
But I can live with this. The included African tribes, especially the
Mahdists and the Ethiopians, is set up strategically superbly, and is a
really hard nut to crack for the European tribes. Very challenging, and
quite realistically set up.

Units – Section Sub-total: 5/5

of the units are very clearly set up as either defensive or offensive
units, and a few in between. This is very intelligently done, so that
there are very few units you will choose not to build. I picked my
favorites, though. Some units are events generated and nation specific.
Germans get "preussers", English "gold-diggers" -and the French get
"nameless men" from the foreign legion. Some units, like the explorer,
is most useful in the beginning, but useless later in the game. I would
personally have liked to see a more offensive explorer type a la H.M.

One favorite tactic of mine, was the
Howitzer-Maxim Gun-Engineer tactic. In order to get close enough to
take any of the cities in this game, without too many casualties, you
need to carefully position units in fortresses along with
high-defensive units such as veteran Gatling Guns or Maxim Guns.
Otherwise those Mahdist and Ethiopian Horsemen will keep coming forever
charging, and you will lose your weak-defendants on end. As you can
stack units in the fortresses, you can actually win wars without even a
single casualty, using this strategy. Railroads speed up this approach,
and proves extremely beneficial, as always.

The strategy and combination/balance of units is in my opinion superb. Graphics wise the units are very nicely done.

Research – – Section Sub-total: 4/5

The tech tree was partly altered to suit the theme, while most of the
classic tech tree remains unaltered. The rate for tech development was
slowed somewhat, to a nearly perfect level, that suits the game. I
noticed something funny about the cathedrals, and I’m not sure, but it
seems to be an incident of "monotheism" not correctly applied to the
building of cathedrals, which makes these dysfunctional. But as said, I
am not sure, and I haven’t checked, as it is not so great a problem,
when the game plays and you forget things like this. And it could be
intentional. Islam was in many places much more successful than the
Christian missionaries proved to be; I usually built Mosques instead
(Coliseum), which work out perfectly. There are a bunch of wonders as
well in strategically placed cities, as well as a few still buildable,
including "Stanleys Expeditions" (a free advance), etc. All seem to
work quite balanced, and add to the atmosphere of it all.

Map & Terrain – Section Sub-total: 3/5

I wasn’t so impressed with the map, but it works and looks ok. There
are a few new graphics which look quite good, including the mountains,
deserts and hills. And some that look a little out of place. While the
setup geographically might be slightly disappointing, the strategical
setup is much better. It takes some consideration as to how to conquer
cities that lie in the middle of the jungle, with no roads etc. I would
personally have liked to see more difficult strategical set-ups with
use of the terrain, like the one in the Sudan and Ethiopia, which is
set up superbly using the mountain ranges as an effective barrier for
easy European conquest. So that the geography of the continent would
constantly prove a challenge to the European nations, like was the case
historically. Railroads somehow seem to make it a little too easy. -And
yes, there were railroads built in Africa during this period, but only
with great difficulty, because workers were lazy, and the sicknesses
and hazards from opening up the interior proved a tremendous challenge.
Another approach could have been sailable rivers, on which you could
launch steamers to control an area, which was used historically on the
Nile, as well as the Congo, to reach the interior.

Care & Details – Section Sub-total: 4/5

Carl Fritz must be said to be a veteran in the field of scenario
design, and this scenario proves this too. As said, this scen is
enjoyable, as well as challenging and balanced. But it is also full of
all kinds of surprises and nit-bits of humor, including the altering of
the advisors, and the icons are appropriately changed, where needed.
There are a load of random events which replay some of the great
incidents of the "Scramble", like the Kitchener campaign against the
Mahdists, the Boer War etc. Most of these events doesn’t have a major
impact on gameplay, though, and seldom lead to conquest on part of the

Originality and Technical Proficiency – Section Sub-total: 4/5


Overall Assessment and Other Points of Interest:

just loved the sound of the native spearmen attacking, which is
completely novel to me, and really make my day. Other sounds are more
common gunshots and explosions, but sampled too by Carl himself. I also
credit Carl for keeping the file size down, by using a sound.bat to
copy the sound files between directories.

It all comes
together quite seamlessly. This is a classic Civ2 scenario, which plays
very well, and accomplishes what I guess the author wanted. To simulate
the "Scramble" in a classic Civ2 context. Technically, it has the touch
of a proficient hand, who knows very well what it is doing, and so
doesn’t feel the need to rearrange everything in the game engine, to
accomplish his needs. You still know that this is Civ2, the time frame
and the setting is just a little different. No need for all brand new
complex tech trees or multi-events files. So, while this scen might not
be the top notch of originality, it is solid, entertaining work.

Within the frame of Civ2, this is a superb classic scenario, which should not be missed.