I have discovered a universal truth. It doesn't matter how you plan things or what you do it doesn't matter. Traffic on the Friday before a bank holiday weekend will be dreadful regardless of where you are going. I should have known. I mean I was travelling from one fairly non-descript "new town" to another, - who gets away from it all for the weekend to a place that is basically a large industrial estate next to a motorway on the way to nowhere? So a 90 minute journey took me closer to 2 1/2 hours. Added to which I got caught leaving the building for a consultation on some project dynamics so I got away at closer to 4:30 than 4:00. All of which meant that I really should have set up Friday evening's game on Thursday so that I wasn't still rooting through the scenery boxes when the players turned up.
However the endless traffic queues on the way home had allowed me to work out in my head how I was going to do the game I wanted. We were revisiting the Russian Civil War with a variation on RFCM's Civil War Battles that we first tried a couple of years ago. I have rules that do Corps & Front Level games but I want something at a brigade level and we've had problems in the past with everyone else's favourites from The Perfect Captain.
I had set up a scenario with a White infantry brigade defending a bridge and a rail junction against a Red Army cavalry brigade with some armoured cars and a motorised infantry battalion in armoured trucks. It looked pretty nice, - I love the open spaces and the cavalry with waving sabres and the Kerr & King buildings.
So off we go, a Red Cavalry Regiment pushing down the line of the railway supported by the Armoured Cars. The Whites respond by throwing their artillery forward in an aggressive fashion and try to knock out the cars as they force their way across the railway bridge....and then my mobile goes off. It's IT Support telling me that the End of Day has halted on the Division's computer system and no one knows what to do about the error messages. Unfortunately I don't know what to do either, so I have to go off and call a couple of my team to discuss what might have happened. I eventually track down the right person to deal with the problem and get him in contact with IT and get back to the game.
I find things have moved on a bit when I get back to the game. The players have picked up the rules and seem to be working through them okay. Luckily I'm back in time to help them resolve some issues that I hadn't covered in the playsheet and / or hadn't understood or remembered from what I originally wrote. The game is going pretty well and the players seem to be enjoying it, which is good as I remember at this point that a number of people hated the rules last time we played them. Just as I get back into the game the phone goes off again. It's one of my team leaders "Treb....sorry to bother you but...". He's had a staff member on the phone almost in tears because of something that happened today and we need to get hold of someone's details before the weekend kicks off. So I need to put in a couple of calls and field another one on the End of Day problem that's just about fixed.
When I finally got back to the game the Red Army cavalry had just launched a charge on a disorganised White infantry unit, under the threats of their Commissars assisted by their Cheka bodyguards. These are bounced off quite comfortably and we have a detailed conversation on the odds of this happening, before closing down the game for the evening. Everyone has had a good game and wants to continue with the scenario next week once I've plugged the holes in the rules. All I've got to do is work out what actually happened whilst I was on the phone.