Display game to commemorate colonial New Zealand Wars


On Saturday 28th October I’ll be hosting a public display game of the colonial New Zealand Wars, as part of my country’s inaugural Rā Maumahara National Day of Commemoration of the New Zealand Land Wars.

gareth photo 2 from games day

This display game will take place in the Paraparaumu Public Library, so will likely get a completely different type of spectator than at at a wargames event or show. Most will never have seen a wargame before, let alone one that depicts local history.

We’ll be using The Men Who Would be Kings ruleset for colonial wargaming, though this will be a bit of a test for us, as I don’t think anyone here (including me) has played these rules yet!


Because I am hopeless remembering even the simplest of numbers, I wanted to have a more detailed quick reference sheet for The Men Who Would Be Kings than the one supplied in the rulebook.

Therefore I have developed a couple of new posters (see below), which I plan to blow up to A3 and pin above the table, so we can easily refer to them in-game for the most commonly used rules.

Poster_side 1

Poster_side 2

But overall this’ll be very much a display game, rather than concentrating too much on the game-play. The aim is more to engage with the public to promote knowledge of the somewhat forgotten history of the colonial New Zealand Wars.


I think this display will fit well with the vision of the New Zealand Wars committee chairman Peeni Henare, when he said, ‘The commemoration is simply to inform the people of Aotearoa-New Zealand. Once it is in our psyche, the day will grow in importance. It is beautiful, brutal, illustrious, deeply moving history.’


7 thoughts on “Display game to commemorate colonial New Zealand Wars

  1. Hi Roly
    Thanks for the heads up about the NZ Wars Commemoration. First I’ve heard of it to be honest. Don’t forget to take some pics and post them up. Will you be fighting any battle in particular or just taking the rules out for a test run.

  2. Sounds like a great project – I like the Empress figures you have painted up fort the day. Don’t worry about the rules – I have played them a few times and they are very simple to get a handle on! Hope you have a good day.

  3. Excellent idea to use a game to commemorate this conflict. I was always amazed that people in New Zealand know relatively little about it in comparison to the first or second word war. There were some good exhibitions on the conflicts lately. I recall one in Nelson and naturally the (I think now dismantled) permanent exhibition at the Auckland War Memorial museum. I believe the national army museum has also a good section on it.

    Anyhow, let us know how it went and what responses you got.

I hope I've given you something to think about - please do leave a comment with your thoughts or reactions.

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