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To the north of Baku, 1920

The Back of Beyond, Contemptible Little Armies / Back of Beyond, 28mm

This Back of Beyond game involved my Turks (with a few “White” allies) taking on the Bolsheviks (owned by Colin Jack & Dougie Trail). It was a meeting engagement, with initial reconnaissance forces being bolstered by reinforcements as the game progressed.  We fought it out over an 8×6 foot table, and as I forgot our sandy cloth, then we had to use bare painted boards, which don’t really look as nice.DSCF3483Still, it was a worthwhile sacrifice as we needed the larger playing area to fight over! The table was dominated by three villages, one of which was in Turkish hands, another in Red hands, and the third up for grabs by both sides.DSCF3462Inevitably this meant that this third village attracted troops like a giant magnet. First of all a column of Red cavalry entered it from one side, while Turkish cavalry entered from the other. Both sides dismounted and took cover, rather than fight a melee in the streets. So began a firefight which continued throughout the game, with both sides funneling reinforcements into the fray. By the end of the game the battle included the initial cavalry, plus Cheka, White Cossacks, Turkish regulars, Red Siberian marksmen, and sailors from the Red Banner Fleet!DSCF3479Elsewhere on the table a stalemate ocurred, with opposing forces on oppositie sides of a small hill. You see, if your opponent moves and you remain stationary, then you get to fire, and at point-blank range this is a battle-winning advantage. Consequently both sides stayed where they were for most of the game.DSCF3468The impasse was finally broken by the appearance of a Turkish armoured car, which chased the Bolsheviks away into a nearby village – the only member of the force to stand his ground was the Red Commander’s borsoi hound!  Things didn’t go entirely the Turks’ way though, as a dashing flank charge by a small body of Red cavalry almost routed the Turkish infantry, who were saved only by their high morale and some lucky die rolls.DSCF3471In the end the game was very much a draw. As umpire, Colin Jack solved the question of victory by dealing playing cards – one for each occupied building. Well, those darned Bolsheviks literally came up trumps, with a trio of face cards! Next time we’ll scurry around and occupy more buildings as we pass through towns – just in case!DSCF3470As always we used Chris Peers’ Back of Beyond rules – the Central Asian and Russian Civil War bolt-on to Contemptible Little Armies. The game has inspired be to dig out “Back of Beyond” figures I’ve been meaning to paint for some time – a bag of Afghan tribesmen, and my Czech Legion…


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