Monday, 3 March 2014

Squaring Up Again

A few months ago (September last year, I think) Monday Night irregular, Harvey, gave us a demo of RFCM's "Square Bashing" 2012 re-write. We played the Amiens Scenario and it gave me a chance to get out my Great War armies that had been languishing in unopened boxes for far too long,

The game went pretty well and was enjoyed by all present. I had previously had a soft spot for the original SB but was unable to convince my fellow players of its merits, so I went out and bought this version with high hopes we'd find more use for it. That was last October, I think, and it has remained unread ever since.

Harvey, meanwhile, has found other pursuits to occupy him on a Wednesday, so this weekend I pulled the book out resolved to set up a game for our next weekly get together.

Martin has done a lot with his rules over the years. Production standards have risen, and he now incorporates Contents and an Index and helpful photographs. I applaud him for this. Martin is a lovely bloke and his ideas are always interesting and thought provoking. They seem to tumble out from him like an undammed stream, hastening to be captured on paper and shared with us. It's a shame he doesn't work with a competent editor.

For the game this week I'm going to use the "quick game" option, that does away with all of the pre-game jiggery-pokery and off table assets and just gets to the core of the rules. I'm combining it with the "Trench Game" for that 1916 feel.

Trench warfare is where some of the concepts in the rules break down. Players are supposed to turn up with their favourite terrain pieces and slap them down on the table. That doesn't work for a trench system that needs to spread across the table from side to side, so there's a sort of scenario game ready provided where both players agree to "do" a trench game and it just gets put on the table, with an added bunker.

I think that'll do us just fine. Once I get a grip of the core mechanisms I can add in the "Assets" and start to think about doing a "Monday Night" job on the rule systems. Martin's quite clear on the ground and figure scale for this game, so it shouldn't be a problem to translate actual divisional actions to the table top. Martin has designed the game for two table sizes - 4' x 3' and 6' x 3' - but I see no reason not to adjust this.

It is also clear to me that my collection has some holes in it. I'm missing a German Divisional HQ for reasons that completely defeat me.I have British Divsional and Brigade HQs, but no German command bases at all. Most odd. I don't recall not buying them (if that makes sense) and they're not in my lead pile.

In any event I think I need some casualty markers and some flamethrowers as well, and once I work through the army lists properly I may find I have some other missing bits and pieces as well. So I may take a short break from my Assyrians and do a quick, one off order from Minifigs .

Then perhaps order some French.


  1. It may be just me but I find his recent rule sets hard work - I much prefer his older ones . I have the new edition of Square Bashing but have not played them yet - look complicated

    1. I agree that some of the recent sets are more...."dense". My favourites would still be the original AK47 Republic. I love those rules, - so much energy and fun about them.

      The new SB isn't as complicated as it appears, I think. Try one of the scenarios or the quick set up game.

    2. Like a lot of the newer RFCM rules it is one of those sets which rewards regular playing to figure out the nuances, rather like PBI. That doesn't really suit our 'play something different every week' approach.

      I too remain a fan of the original SB and AK, which you could indeed walk away from for months and come back and just pick up and play.

    3. I think that new SB might be easier than it first appears. Not a patch on first edition AK47, however.

      Agree with you on not fitting with us flighty types who swap about from week to week.