Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Donning hats and coats

Really mixing it up now as the Monday Night crew meets on a snowy Tuesday. A late return from work meant that I hadn’t had a chance to put on the heating before we started, so we were all in hats and coats at first as we prepared to face the challenge of the Russian steppes.

Despite blowing a fuse by plugging in too many heating devices we were soon running at a comfortable temperature, fortified by some warm beverages. Actually Shedquarters without the heating is about as warm as the office I’m working in at the moment.

We haven’t done any Russian Civil War stuff for a while, certainly not since Shedquarters was built, so it was about time that we did. The RCW kit represents one of my longer projects and my armies are more complete than some of my other collections. Except for aircraft, perhaps.

I don’t tend to have much truck with the interventionist forces as they were pretty much a sideshow, and tend to focus on the Russians themselves. I mainly play games set in the south where Denikin’s forces campaigned. The rules we were using for this game were my self-penned “Return to the River Don” which were initially based on an RFCM framework. They’re a little bit away from that now, although they still have some rough edges on them. Alas with my rule writing I tend to target being ready for CoW. Having done the CoW game I make a few amendments then go on to the next project, when what I should do is be relentless and return to the system until it is properly finished.

The scenario was a fairly low-key one, with a couple of infantry regiments and a cavalry brigade per side, plus support elements of armoured cars and field guns. Both sides were pushing forwards to seize the railway station and the substantial stanitsa close by. The Reds were slightly stronger in numbers (and had the armoured cars) whilst the Whites had slightly higher quality and a unified command (ie the were commanded by Chris A whilst the Reds were under the hands of a workers committee made up of Will and Phil).

Before the main business of the evening we had a brief show and tell as Phil had brought along his third place trophy from the weekend's DBA tournament. He was struggling to resist the temptation to pull the figure off its plinth and add it to his Bosworth DBA armies.

Phil re-enacts his acceptance speech
By the way he also picked up a DBA Theban army from Chariot Miniatures as a prize, so double well done to him.

Once we were settled down we got on with it at a fairly leisurely pace. The last week has been fairly stressful on the family front and I wasn't sure I was up to a game, so I didn't push it along that quickly. Once we'd got going tho' I realised it was the right decision to play, - wargaming is as much about the people you play with as the figures you use and the rules.
Any how, back to the game. I made the players deploy in the middle of the table, using about 2/3rds (ie leaving 1/6th at either end) to give us a bit of flanking area. Essential if you're using cavalry. You can see the general situation in the following picture, Reds on the right & Whites in the left. Oddly.

The Red armoured cars are rushing down the road, lead by the Garford Putilov (!). The Reds have adopted the original approach of putting their cavalry in the centre of the board. The Whites put theirs out on the left wing, then immediately regretted the decision.
As is common in these games there was a bit of a motivation issue on both sides. Some of the Red units in the first turn gave a resolute "Nyet" to their orders and had to be encouraged forwards by the exhortations of their officers and even some physical encouragement. You can see the evidence of such motivational efforts in the diamond shaped coercion markers in the picture below.

The game progressed smoothly through a number of turns and when we had concluded proceedings for the evening, the following had happened:

1) The Reds had lost all of their artillery to counter battery fire
2) One armoured car had broken down, one was retiring with mechanical problems (the Garford, - typical) and the other one had got fired up and was ready to storm the White positions single handed.
3) The White cavalry had performed a 90 degree wheel.
4) The Red cavalry was badly disorganised, but holding its own
5) The Reds had seized both objectives

Lots more juice in the game. Next week's episode will feature a bayonet charge on an entrenched Red unit in a stanitsa by a White Officer unit.

How could you miss that?


  1. Wonderful stuff. For "period" reasons, historical fascination,the hopeklessness of the "kit" and my own personal political traits, SCW and RCW are of great interest to me. I follow your posts keenly, I'd really welcome some close ups of your RCW armies and units. My wife is resisting my "time for a new period" pressure...but I'm very persistent and intend to make my arrival at Finland Station shortly!

    1. Hopefully you have trawled through the back pages of thissite, and also the blog entries over at Phil's P.B.Eye Candy.

      The armies work best "en masse" and may not take kindly to too many close ups.

      The literature on the RCW is very rich, if also a bit frustrating, and the PP figures are pretty good too!