Category Archives: Current

Back of Beyond Campaign: The French Expedition

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Your force is the Citroen Kegresse Trans Asia Expedition, under the leadership of famed French desert explorer Commandant Henri Lostagaine. You have successfully crossed the Sahara desert, using the latest in French automobile technology – the Citroen Kegresse half track – and now have been set the challenge of crossing the Gobi desert in Outer Mongolia.

The French government is very interested in the military potential of the Citroen Kegresse and the Citroen company is very interested in selling the half track design to the French army. As a result, you have been given a military escort and an attached army officer, Lieutenant Croissant, will be accompanying your expedition to evaluate the vehicles.

You have been warned by the French Secret Service, the Deuxieme Bureau, that foreign powers may try to steal the design of the latest half track model whilst you traverse the inhospitable and remote wastelands. As a result, you must be prepared to fight against any potential enemy force that you encounter – shoot first, ask questions later.

In addition, it is rumoured that your friend and fellow desert explorer, the eccentric adventurer and aristocrat, the Comte de Camenbert, is travelling through the Gobi on one of his famous expeditions. If you manage to meet up with him, his in depth knowledge of the terrain and his desert field craft expertise will be very useful.

(Colin’s force is based on the Dinosaur Hunter army list from the Back of Beyond supplement and a real Trans Asia Citroen Kegresse expedition in 1931. It has some nifty half tracks that he scratch built using Airfix bren carrier tracks and die cast trucks. It’s a tough little force to tackle as it is escorted by the French Foreign Legion. Zut Alors!)

Back of Beyond Campaign: The Chinese Warlord

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Your force is the rag tag  army of His Excellency Wei Phat Mac.

You were until recently the Tuchan or governor of Suchow province but have been deposed by a rival and forced to flee into the desert. You have a poorly equipped but loyal force of warriors including your ferocious bodyguard of ‘Dare to Die’ troops.

You are seeking refuge for your force in Urga, where you hope to recruit foreign mercenaries from the large number of White Russian refugees that are available for hire in the city. You will take advantage of any opportunity to obtain equipment and weapons for your badly equipped troops, especially if they can be captured on your way to Urga.

So, if you bump into anyone on your march across the Gobi desert, you have decided to shoot first and ask any questions later.

You also hope to hire the services of the notorious arms dealer Herbert Maximoff, who is rumoured to be in the area seeking potential customers. He is an unscrupulous and greedy profiteer, so you should get on really well. If you bump into him he’ll be sure to provide you with some much needed firepower, for the right price.

(Alan’s Chinese Warlord army is very colourful and has some really ‘interesting’ units including Dare to Die sword wielding fanatics, sub-machine gun armed assault troops and well-disciplined close order infantry. It even has an executioner!).

Back of Beyond Club Campaign Countdown

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The fourth club Back of Beyond multiplayer club campaign will soon be starting and we have seven players ready to march across the Gobi Desert in search of fame, fortune and the nearest Mongolian watering hole.

The campaign will start in November 2016 and will run for SIX turns and/or until a player wins. If there is no clear winner by the end of the campaign, the front runner will be declared the victor. There will be a final big battle to round off the campaign with all of the various factions taking part. This is always lots of fun and pretty spectacular!

The campaign is set in the Gobi Desert of Mongolia. It is semi-historical and includes a briefing for each of the commanders to explain how and why they are involved. The individual players will be encouraged to take these motives into consideration, in order to give the campaign and the battles a degree of colour and narrative.

The Major Players

This is the current list of participating players.

The Chinese Warlord – Wei Phat Mac (Alan)

The Bolsheviks  – Third Peasants and Workers Shock Brigade Colonel Igor Tubugerov / Peoples Commissar Nasti Tchestikov (Jim)

The French Trans Asia  Citroen Kegresse Expedition – Commandant Henri Lostagaine (Colin B.)

The British Museum – Brigadier Henry Winstanley Arbuthnot Cholmoneley-Warner (Andy)

The Mad Baron! – Baron Ungern Von Sternberg (Chris)

The Whites – Colonel I.P.Addreski (Colin N.)

The Japanese  – General Sushi Miyagi (Gary)

The player campaign briefings, house rules and explanatory campaign notes will be dispatched soon, but there is plenty of time for a few Contemptible Little Armies practice games before the campaign begins.

If you have a questions ask Jim and he’ll try to work it out!

Back of Beyond Battles

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Over the years, we have played a lot of Contemptible Little Armies in the Back of Beyond at the Wessex Wargamers Winchester club, including three large multiplayer campaigns. The Contemptible Little Armies rules have been around for a long time and, whilst not everyone’s cup of tea, they are ideal for the ‘semi-skirmish’ Back of Beyond setting. We haven’t found an alternative we like, or indeed bothered to look that much anyway!

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The various members of the club, past and present, have fielded a wide range of armies in these multiplayer campaigns including a Red Shock Brigade, a Red Propaganda Detachment, the Whites, a British-Indian Field Force, a couple of Chinese Warlord factions, a French Trans-Asia exploration, some Texan Oil prospectors, the Japanese, a Cossack Warlord, the Czech Legion, a British Museum archaeological expedition and last, but not least, the Mad Baron, Ungern Von Sternberg himself.

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We all have suitably silly ‘nom de guerre’ and there is an element of tongue in cheek roleplaying to the whole campaign set up including such colourful characters as Kommissar Tchestikov, Colonel Rubachek, Wei Phat Mac, Henri Lostagaine, Comrade Colonel Igor Tubugerov, Brigadier Cholmondely-Warner, Wei Tsu Phat and Major Short-Cummins, to name but a few.  Whilst some have met a sticky end  many of these characters are still to be found wandering through the Gobi Desert for occasional club games.

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We still play the occasional one off game using the Second Edition of the Contemptible Little Armies rules. These are always good fun and frequently end up in a fast moving and enjoyable skirmish. We have devised a number of special club rules and have adapted the campaign system to our way of doing things but otherwise the rules are off the shelf (we have tried the Third Edition rules but didn’t like them much). The Second Edition rules are currently out of print but still pop up on eBay now and then.

You can read more about some of these club games and the campaigns over at Jim’s blog:

http://jimswargamesworkbench.blogspot.co.uk/search/label/Back%20of%20Beyond

A fourth Back of Beyond campaign is planned for late 2016-early 2017 and there are half a dozen players already involved. If you’d like to join in, have a word with Jim when he’s at the club or contact him via the Contact Tab above or the Wessex Wargamers Winchester Yahoo Group.

Iron Cross

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We tried out the Great Escape Games rules for WW2 skirmishes, ‘Iron Cross’, at the club last week for the first time. We were quite impressed with our first play through with our two equally matched forces of British and Germans slogging it out in a meeting engagement. I particularly liked the use of command tokens where you can choose to react to an opponent’s movement or shooting and attempt to seize the initiative. You can also spend them on multiple activations on the same unit which is a nice mechanic if you want to lay down some serious fire or get an assault moving. Morale is managed very similarly to Bolt Action in the form of hit counters which count against unit activation and firing. These can be removed by company morale tests at the cost of the command tokens, of course. In fact, it is the spending and/or reserving of these command tokens which lies at he heart of the game. A good example of this is where both sides spent pretty much all their tokens in attempting to dislodge/protect a machine gun team. One side laying down heavy fire whilst the other reacting and attempting morale tests to keep it going. We’re going to give it another go soon to try and get our head around some strategy and tactics to use these tokens to best effect.

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More Sharpe Practice 2

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Our second, and first proper, game of SP2 was remarkably more successful than the first. The rule’s systems now becoming embedded and making sense and providing an engaging, often tense and very entertaining game. This was a basically an encounter fight between two similarly sized French and British forces. On paper the British were technically superior in points but not by much. The roll for position found the British forced into the corner between a wood and a farmhouse and the French, in space, having much more room for maneuver and some useful cover which they used well. The British were unable to deploy their formation into a full line. However, it was a close run thing until the French skirmishers struck a mortal blow to the British senior commander. The British were unable to recover and no replacement appeared from the ranks. Numbers proved decisive in the end and the French were able to bring guns to bear quickly and efficiently to deal the killing blows.

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Sharp Practice 2

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We played our first game of Sharp Practice 2 at the club this week using a collection of Peninsular Napoleonics. We were using two similarly sized forces of French and British who were basically stumbling into each other and getting into a firefight. The idea being to start with something simple enough to get the fundamentals sorted. So while we attempted to ‘play’, it quickly became more of a muddle through the rule book and a testing out of various mechanics! This isn’t a bad thing as there’s clearly a lot more of the game to work out so we’ve decided to run it again next week and give it a chance to embed.

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