Piotr Stolarski's blog

Back of Beyond: First Impressions of Setting the East Ablaze II

Last night saw the Bolsheviks (led by Rob, Richard and Phil) and Poles (led by Brian, Patrick and myself) clash over possession of a railway town on the outskirts of Warsaw, c. 1920.

Rob had gone to the trouble of setting up the table and producing action and chance cards for this first Back of Beyond game, using the Setting the East Ablaze rules (v. 2.0).

The rules, which we played for the first time, were a mixed bag, however. We agreed that the movement and firing aspects were sound and straightforward. Melee and morale were less user-friendly though, with the rules being unclear on the number of morale tests and additional factors needed for each close combat.

Another issue was the use of action cards: drawn sequentially from the deck. The rules stipulate one card per unit. Rob and I agreed to apply this to brigades instead, to speed things up. But with 6 Polish and 7 Bolshevik brigades in play (each of 2-4 units) – to exclude separate supporting weapons (each with its own card) – we only managed 3-4 turns from 8.30-11.30pm, so the game barely got going (each side lost about 15 figures).

While the period, figures, and terrain were generally inspiring and we all want to have another go, we may need to modify the rules in future. Specifically, the action cards may need to be reduced further, perhaps to one card per player’s command. Some decluttering of the melee and morale rules is also suggested, to avoid melees being unresolved for long periods due to the caprices of waiting for relevant action cards...

Overall, this was a keenly-anticipated game with somewhat underwhelming results due to teething problems with the rules. The use of action cards made each turn protracted (as opposed to unpredictable) with some players waiting a long time to make moves/combats. Patrick suggested trying Triumph of the Will rules by TooFatLardies, instead, which seem more straightforward.

Even so, I think there is great potential in the period as well as the figures we have managed to paint up. Once we settle on the rules we can definitely put on a fascinating campaign as well.

Hurrah!

Bayonets Polished: BoB Army Ready

I have now finished my Polish interwar army for Back of Beyond.

This consists of 10 infantry units, 6 MGs, 3 mortars, 3 field guns, 4 cavalry units, 3 tanks, an armoured car, and an aircraft. While perhaps not technically necessary, I will be adding seven mounted officers (including a converted Napoleonic Blucher figure for Marshal Pilsudski) to lead brigades before our first game in June.

B of B: Polish Army (3)

Some pictures of my Polish tanks (3 x FT-17s), Garford-Putilov armoured car, and Albatros DIII plane of the Kosciuszko Squadron, for Back of Beyond. These have been quick and easy to paint, using spray paints, then dry-brushed, with vehicle names or aircraft detailing by hand.

On to Moscow!

Here are some pictures of my cavalry units for Back of Beyond; part two of how my Polish army is progressing.

The lancers with blue-over-white pennants are the 4th Uhlans, a Polish army unit based in Lithuania, which had Napoleonic antecedents; these are Great War Miniatures' British WW1 lancers with Polish paint-job. The figures are a bit bigger than the Irregular Miniatures' castings I used for the remaining units, but it's not too noticeable.

Back of Beyond: Piotr's Polish Army (1)

Here are some pictures of my Polish army for Back of Beyond which I've been working on recently. Shown are: two units of Polish regular infantry, and three units of Polish 'Legionary' infantry in shirtsleeve order (54 figures in all). The former were 'White' infantry from Copplestone, the latter were 70p a piece 'British in caps in Mesopotamia in WW1' - cheapos from Warrior Miniatures. I intend to add officers and standard bearers, as well as sabot bases, to all my infantry units in due course.

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