The occasional exploits of Brigadier 'Tubby' Bykleigh and the Rhanzlistan Field Force

Monday, 19 May 2014

Out on manoeuvers {or outmanoeuvered} at Pendawar

A recent game played out here in GHQ between Phil ~ Comrade General 'Red' Robinski and the S.P.I.F.F. ~ and yours truly ~ Brigadier 'Tubby' Bykleigh and the Rhanzlistan Field Force  ~ over twelve game turns and using the current rules of choice for these games, 'Setting the East Ablaze' produced a classic which went right to the wire. Before the start of the game each of us chose five units to make up our initial force. The ten cards comprised the initial deck for activation, together with the 'Event' card and a card for the Bhurpa warriors. In each turn from Turn 5 onwards each of us could choose one extra unit, which units' cards were always added to the bottom of the deck after they had been shuffled for the following turn. The first three photos show, in turn, the general layout of the table and the composition and entry points of each of the opposing forces in Turn 1.
Table layout and dispositions at Turn 1

Initial S.P.I.F.F. force

The Rhanzlistan Field Force's initial units

The sharper of you will notice that we did n't start on opposite edges of the table. Not our way in these games. After we'd both chosen our initial forces we then diced to see where they would enter along our respective 'edges of the world' using a D x 6 to determine the location. Phil had three possible entry points: 1 - 4 the road in the foreground of picture 1; 5 the central road; and. lastly, 6 the road at the top of the picture. As you can see he threw 5! My choices were : 1 - 4 the pass in the top left of Picture 1; 5 the central road on my 'world edge'; and, lastly, 6 the near left corner in picture 1. As you can see, I threw a 1 ~ an all to ominous indication of what the dice gods had in store for me later!!!
Movement in the rules, if you don't know them, is distinguished between good and difficult terrain, each type determining the number of D x 6 to be used for differing units. We decided that the base terrain tiles were good, while all features were difficult. Arbitrary, but it worked well in the game.
In the early turns, the RFF got rather stuck in the pass due to very low dice scores for movement and the difficult nature of the going, whereas the SPIFF really got a move on from the off!
SPIFF enter Pendawar

A bottleneck in The Pass

Pendawar falls to the SPIFF

Finally managing to organise my forces, by dint of some decent dice throws, the RFF moved beyond The Pass only to find Pendawar firmly in the possession of the SPIFF and, ominously, their right flank threatened by enemy cavalry and none of their own to be seen anywhere! Taking stock of the situation, Brigadier 'Tubby' Bykleigh decided he must let the terrain guard his flank while he thrust straight for the village to oust the enemy.
The Loyal Tandooris on the RFF right flank

Brigadier Bykleigh oversees the attack from a paddy field!

The RFF moves in to the attack!

In the meantime, new units were added for the first time. Bykleigh needed cavalry, so the Shropshire Yeomanry were added to his force. They were badly needed to protect the right flank of the RFF's attack. So, where did they come on? You guessed, from the road in the top right of picture 1; as far away as possible from where they were needed! And confronted by extra Soviet cavalry and an armoured car!
Remnants of the Yeomanry bravely press on!

The Yeomanry met their inevitable fate, let down by the run of the cards, the roll of the dice and being placed in an impossible position by their inept commander. Never the less, the Rolls Royce Armoured Car was on hand ~ unfortunately the recipient of an 'Ammo Low' chance card played by Phil. The two mechanical marvels faced each other in the streets of Pendawar.
Out gunned, but not daunted, the RR armoured car attacks to no avail

Bhurpas, who had stayed loyal to the Crown, despite the bribes and threats of Robinski, now rose up and attacked the enemy in their midst. One Abdul Boombah bravely rushing forward to bomb the accursed infidel's infernal machine!
Abdul's hour of glory!

Meanwhile, in the outskirts of Pendawar, the RFF's attack was faltering.
Chance does not always favour the brave!

Despite all the difficulties, the steadfast men of the RFF were pressing the enemy hard and threatening to turn them out of the village. Suddenly, in Turn 10, the SPIFF cavalry rushed into the right flank of their attack, smashing into the Loyal Tandooris.
In the fading light the Tandooris suddenly feel the harsh
edge of the enemy's might.

Fighting on two fronts proved too much to ask of the gallant Tandoori Rifles and they were cut down mercilessly by their foe, while on their left the Gurkhas were making no progress against the enemy well dug into the buildings on the village's outskirts.
Captain O'Brien gives his all for King and Country!

Its all up for the RFF's brave lads and their stout commander. Reinforcements have not made it beyond The Pass and the infantry have been badly mauled in the attack. Little effective fighting capability remains and so they quit the field, leaving the SPIFF to plunder and pillage the honest and courageous Bhurpas of Pendawar!
The Remnants

Despite the trouncing I suffered here, it was a splendid game full of incident, excitement and action. Both of us had our highs and lows, though not in equal measure it needs to be said. While dice did not favour me on the whole, I made two serious errors in the game which led to the overwhelming defeat I suffered in the end. Next time we enter Rhanzlistan we thought we might give Bolt Action a go, although retaining the activation cards to determine which units come into play and then assigning an order dice to them. I'll keep you posted on developments as they happen.


  1. Spiffy game report! Thanks for sharing.

    1. My pleasure! Glad you enjoyed it! Thanks for saying so, too.

  2. A nice report and images, though full of Imperialist inaccuracies as always :-)

    1. Inaccuracies? What does a Soviet upstart know about inaccuracies?