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Last Train to Tomsk, 1921


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

DSCF1460The great thing about Back of Beyond games is that nobody can take them too seriously, especially when Colin Jack comes up with the scenario. In this one a small detachment of the Czech Legion was garrisoning a God-forsaken hamlet in Siberia, which was then attacked by the Reds. However, help (at theory) was at hand in the shape of a motley collection of interventionist (Blue) forces, with contingents from Britain, Japan and the USA.DSCF1463Of course coordination was minimal, and while the Reds managed to launch a decent attack (supported by an armoured train), the Allies all did their own thing. For instance, the British never left the cover of a wood all evening, and spent their time shelling and machine-gunning some Red Siberian riflemen and the Cheka at long range.DSCF1459

After their own unarmoured train was damaged theAmericans advanced up the rail line to support the Czechs, but didn’t achieve much at all. As for the Japanese, they seemed to be holding back, waiting for the Czechs and the Reds to slaughter each other, but at least they launched a last-minute banzai charge into a wood, precipitating a hum-danger of a melee which proved that Banzai charges really do work.DSCF1458As for the Czechs, they managed to hold off the Red assault all on their own, although nobody had much of an answer to the Red’s armoured train, which shelled and machine gunned with relative impunity throughout the game. As usual great fun was had by all, and the simple rules worked a treat. Oh, and they allow a fairly big game with eight players and an unbiased umpire to reach a conclusion in a regular gaming evening.DSCF1465

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