All posts by Jim

Back of Beyond Campaign: The British Museum

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Your force is the British Museum Department of Oriental Antiquities Archaeological Excavation Party under the unflappable leadership of Brigadier (Retd) Henry Winstanley Arbuthnot Cholmoneley-Warner. You have assembled an expert team of archaeologists and antiquarians in order to survey and excavate the ruined lost cities of the ancient Silk Road, escorted by a detachment of Chinese Warlord troops and Mongolian cavalry.

Your task is to recover ancient manuscripts and works of art for inclusion in the British Museum’s Central Asian collections. As these artefacts are extremely valuable you must be prepared to defend yourself from marauding bandits and other unsavoury types, using your small arsenal of high powered rifles. You have improvised a number of armoured vehicles to protect your party and transport the antiquities to Urga. You will shoot first and ask questions later.

You have a potential ally in an old army chum, Colonel Algenon Utterley-Barkinge, famous big game hunter and all round good egg. He has set out for a spot of big game hunting on the Mongolian steppe, zoology not being his strongpoint. He is keen to join your expedition for part of the way and, as he is a crack shot, he will be a valuable asset to the party.

(Andy’s British Museum expedition is based on the Dinosaur Hunter army list in the Back of Beyond supplement. Andy has perfected some tip top tactics for his archaeologists which make them difficult to pin down. This is a surprisingly robust force and will put up a stiff fight, not to mention a stiff upper lip!)

Back of Beyond Campaign: The Imperial Japanese

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Your force is a flying column of Imperial Japanese troops under the command of General Sushi Miyagi. Your mission is to cross into the Gobi Desert as a reconnaissance force, with the aim of linking up with a Japanese agent, Captain Kagemusha, who has been operating in disguise on an intelligence gathering mission in Outer Mongolia.

As such, the mission is highly sensitive and clandestine, although you have successfully evaded detection thus far due to the small size of your convoy and the clever use of camouflage, night movement and counter intelligence, not to mention bribing the various tribal leaders along the way with gifts. You suspect, however, that your presence may soon stir up a hornet’s nest.

Your force is sufficient to ensure that it can easily deal with any potential threat, having an armoured car, heavy machine guns, a battery of artillery and an attached reconnaissance aircraft. Your troops are also of high morale and very well trained, so more than a match for any potential opposition that you might encounter.

You also have a considerable asset in the form of Captain Kagemusha who has been sent ahead on a secret mission to Urga. Captain Kagemusha is an expert in the customs of the region and speaks numerous local dialects. He has travelled extensively in China and Mongolia and has many useful contacts and a detailed knowledge of the lie of the land.

(Gary’s Japanese army is a well balanced and powerful force. His troops are tough and have high morale. This army is definitely one to watch and stands a very good chance. The figures are from the Copplestone Chinese range with a simple paint conversion).

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.