Back of Beyond: First Impressions of Setting the East Ablaze II

Last night saw the Bolsheviks (led by Rob, Richard and Phil) and Poles (led by Brian, Patrick and myself) clash over possession of a railway town on the outskirts of Warsaw, c. 1920.

Rob had gone to the trouble of setting up the table and producing action and chance cards for this first Back of Beyond game, using the Setting the East Ablaze rules (v. 2.0).

The rules, which we played for the first time, were a mixed bag, however. We agreed that the movement and firing aspects were sound and straightforward. Melee and morale were less user-friendly though, with the rules being unclear on the number of morale tests and additional factors needed for each close combat.

Another issue was the use of action cards: drawn sequentially from the deck. The rules stipulate one card per unit. Rob and I agreed to apply this to brigades instead, to speed things up. But with 6 Polish and 7 Bolshevik brigades in play (each of 2-4 units) – to exclude separate supporting weapons (each with its own card) – we only managed 3-4 turns from 8.30-11.30pm, so the game barely got going (each side lost about 15 figures).

While the period, figures, and terrain were generally inspiring and we all want to have another go, we may need to modify the rules in future. Specifically, the action cards may need to be reduced further, perhaps to one card per player’s command. Some decluttering of the melee and morale rules is also suggested, to avoid melees being unresolved for long periods due to the caprices of waiting for relevant action cards...

Overall, this was a keenly-anticipated game with somewhat underwhelming results due to teething problems with the rules. The use of action cards made each turn protracted (as opposed to unpredictable) with some players waiting a long time to make moves/combats. Patrick suggested trying Triumph of the Will rules by TooFatLardies, instead, which seem more straightforward.

Even so, I think there is great potential in the period as well as the figures we have managed to paint up. Once we settle on the rules we can definitely put on a fascinating campaign as well.


Renaissance - Second Italian Wars

Wargaming under the rule of 6 continued with Renaissance game. Chris kindly brought over his magnificent collection of Renaissance figures - which we told were a product of the Lockdown. It was French, Italian and Swiss against Spanish, Landsknechts and Venetians.

Phil and I played the French and Chris, Brian and Philip Marshall played the Spanish & Venetian. Both sides left flanks collapsed our Burgundians were crushed by Spanish Colunela whilst the Landsknechts were mowed down by the Swiss pike. The centre was largely Spanish held wit [some French Gendarmes on the way to see if they could clear them. A great game and absolutely fantastic figures.

Bayonets Polished: BoB Army Ready

I have now finished my Polish interwar army for Back of Beyond.

This consists of 10 infantry units, 6 MGs, 3 mortars, 3 field guns, 4 cavalry units, 3 tanks, an armoured car, and an aircraft. While perhaps not technically necessary, I will be adding seven mounted officers (including a converted Napoleonic Blucher figure for Marshal Pilsudski) to lead brigades before our first game in June.

Back of Beyond - My Bolos are completed

At last I have completed my Bolshevik army for the BOB games we intend to play. I have 11 units of infantry formed into 4 "brigades" each with a commander and MMG, 6 cavalry units in 3 "brigades" supported by 2 Tachankas. The army has support from 2 field guns, 2 armoured cars (Garford-Putilov & Austin-Kegresse half track), a tank (FT17), a Nieuport 17 plane and an armoured train...

You will also see some armoured car crew, Commissars, Pilot, Heroines of the Soviet union and Mikhail Borodin! Looking forward to getting walloped by those fierce Polish troops.

Wargaming Again under the Rule of 6!

I hosted a game in the War Room now we can meet up again under the rule of 6. I put on a 20mm Vietnam game set in 1965 with all the players apart from Phil as the US. Their mission was to search for rice and weapons catches and destroy f possible a Local VC unit of around company strength in the area.

The US had a company of grunts that could be ferried in by helicopter to several locations on the board working in conjunction with a mechanised infantry company in M113 . Air support and artillery support was also available. Attached are some pictures at the end of the game after they were successful in finding most of the food and weapons. They were unable to destroy the VC who suffered far fewer casualties than their US counterparts thanks to some seriously good shooting by Phil!


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