Monday, March 5, 2012


This weekend we played out a large scale Back of Beyond game set in 1920 in the short lived Far East Republic in eastern Siberia. This was a Colin Jack special with multiple players, hidden objectives, special events and some back stabbing. The action took place around the town of Khor on the Trans-Siberian railway 72 km south of Khabarovsk.

Uptrain from the South Manchurian railway...
There were 4 factions in the game. Each faction had 2 players each with a command.
Red 1 - Bill Gilchrist.
Red 2 - Donald Adamson
White 1 - Simon Douglas
White 2 - Dave Paterson (Mad Baron Ungern-Sternberg).
Chinese 1 - Colin Jack.
Chinese 2 - Ronan Paterson. (Chinese Bandits)
Japanese - Hugh Wilson.
British - Rob from Reiver.

Mad Baron A-team rollout in their armoured car
Most commands had 3 units and 1 support weapon. The commanders in a faction had to cooperate with each other but only 1 of the commanders could win the game.
Each faction started in a corner of the table. In the centre was the town of Khor with 9 buildings including a railway station with the Trans-Siberian railway running the length of the table. Holding the buildings in the town gave cash if a train from the faction arrived as a special event which was doubled if they also held the Railway station. Reinforcements arrived either as special events, when a command had lost half its units, or were found in a building in the town. The Czech Legion held the railway station as an independent force against all the factions.
Final victory was assessed on basis of control of buildings, value of remaining cash, and some specials e.g. control of Tsar. The tactical part of the game was played using Chris Peers’ Contemptible Little Armies rules. They are simple and enjoyable rules.

The Mad Baron attacks the railway station

How the game played
Effectively the commands from each faction which were furthest from Khor engaged their opponents whilst the nearer commands advanced rapidly to gain a foothold in the town.
North of Khor Hughs Japanese attacked Simons White Russians whilst the British and the Mad Barons White Russian troops entered the town. Daves troops entered a warehouse and found the parts to build an improvised armoured car. Hughs Japanese cavalry and then Robs British entered the prison and liberated the political prisoners who joined them as extra irregular units.
After much firing, Hughs artillery destroyed Daves armoured car but by then he had found a volunteer pilot who took to the air and strafed the interventionists.

Armoured car blazes as Japanese milita advance
Dave as the Mad Baron got to the railway station first and succeeded in bribing the Czech legion to join him. Shortly afterwards another trainload of Czechs arrived and re-captured it. The station became the scene of fierce fighting as the Czechs, Whites, Reds and Chinese all battled for its control.
On the east side of the table the Chinese eventually took action against the Reds and Ronans Chinese bandits and Donalds Reds contested until the end of the game over an insignificant and worthless railway halt.
Tsar and Tsarina being led to safety almost....

My Reds took 2 of the buildings in the town but were then severely worn down by the Chinese who discovered a tank in another warehouse. The Chinese even launched an attack through a secret tunnel from the town hall that came up in my defences in the Khor Grand Hotel.

Lots of reinforcements arrived and were thrown away on more suicidal attacks. At the end the British who had the smallest force - with no cavalry - won the game. Rob held 3 buildings in the town and had located the Tsar and hurried him away to safety. The Tsarina was tragically killed by a strafing run by the Mad Baron’s aircraft. Donald won the wooden spoon - he was a loyal ally and even gave up a building to me so that he could concentrate all his troops against the Chinese bandits. Well done Comrade!!!

My thanks to Hugh Willson for providing the venue and especially to Suzanne Wilson for the Russian catering - beef stew made with kvass served with kasha and for dessert pashka.

Here is the link to the Flickr photostream with all the photos from the game.


  1. Really fun looking game Bill. I'm always a bit envious when I hear the words "Colin Jack special"- from the few BOB games I was lucky enough to play at SESWC I know he has a real talent for making the games fun and entertaining.

    Great to see a slideshow to illustrate the action.


  2. Excellent game looks like everybody had a good time and once again I am sure Sizanne made a great meal. Cant get home cookin like that here stateside thats for sure.

  3. Steam trains and colonial wargaming...a match made in heaven. Love your work sir.

    Good to see the plucky Brits punching above their weight as usual...Hoorah!