The Back of Beyond Campaign uses a simple but effective order system for each turn. To keep things easy to understand, I’ve provided a brief explanation here, so that everyone will know how it works. It does rely on some email communications and some organisation by the umpire to sort things out and to match up the players for their games, but otherwise it is pretty straightforward.
The objective is to reach the ancient town of Urga by crossing the Gobi desert. Each commander has a particular reason to reach the city as set out in their individual campaign briefing. All armies begin SIX ‘steps’ away from the town. Each of these ‘steps’ represents a turn in the campaign. Each turn the players have one of three options:
- Do nothing and stay put.
- Conduct a forced march across the desert
- Attack an enemy of choice from the list of players
As there is no consideration of the relative position of the different armies there is no restriction on choice of opponent. Each turn one player will be given the initiative and will select his/her options first. This will be determined on a rota basis, using an alphabetical list of the players. The other players will then select their options in descending order of initiative.
The options chosen for each turn of the campaign will be e-mailed to the umpire by a date set and the outcome determined i.e. meeting engagements allocated, results of forced marches determined etc. These instructions will then be posted on the club website to allow players to set up their games. The time available for these games to be resolved will be flexible to account for holidays, but will typically be between four and six weeks, with an obvious end date for completion.
If one player is attacked by another player with the initiative, then the orders issued for their army will be cancelled and there will automatically be a meeting engagement between the two forces. If two players attack each other in their orders, this will also result in a Meeting Engagement game.
If two or more players attack the same army, the armies will be paired off according to initiative. Any players whose choice of opposing army has already been allocated to another player with a higher initiative, will have the chose of attacking another player further down the initiative hierarchy or may elect one of the other options i.e. forced marched or remain stationary.
The results of a Forced March order will be determined by the umpire according to a modified version of the official supplement rules i.e. the umpire will roll a D6 with the following outcomes: 1-2 advance one step, 3-4 remain stationary, 5-6 retire one step away from Urga.The consequences of a successful forced march will also be applied in any subsequent battle that occurs in the following turn. This means some of the players units may fail to turn up for the battle.
If any player does not wish to take part in a game in a particular month for any reason e.g. work commitments, holidays etc. they must inform the umpire in plenty of time so that other players don’t attack the absent players army. Their army is assumed to have remained stationary for that turn and will be omitted from the initiative rota.