BoB/RCW: Setting the East Ablaze Rules

Like many BOB gamers I had to do a double take on hearing of a new book called “Setting the East Ablaze“, as many have got into BoB when Mark Copplestone and Chris Peers recommended reading Peter Hopkirk’s excellent book “Setting the East Ablaze”.

This is a new ruleset from Partizan Press available from Caliver Books. So always in search of the perfect rules set I went and ordered them.

they are a professional full colour throughout, glossy set of rules, A4 size. They are obviously aimed at BoB, but could take on RCW and other post WW1 conflicts with some ease as is alluded to in the text and some of the photos of Colonial African adventures.

They come with a Playsheet, which is separate from the book and printed on thicker paper/thin card, which is always useful to have.

The writers set out their aims on page 7, under “Principles”, where they clearly state what they’re aiming at achieving and as far asi can see they follow through non those principles ! This is perhaps something many games designers don’;t do – and I include myself here having tinkered with my own systems with various mates over the years. Take a step back and work out what you are trying to do, how you are going to do it and what the key principles are. If you don’t do this, then you end up with “mission creep” and a mish mash of rules ideas that seem good at the time and in isolation, but when brought together, make for an awful mess.

The rules are clearly laid out in numbered paragraphs (hmm, good for referencing, good for clarity but a bit clunky in style). As they are almost bullet point in style, the rules seem easy to read and understand. My only comment here is that the Morale section seems out of place in terms of order of sequence of play.

Activation of units is again determined by pulling cards – one card for each specific unit. What the unit can do is controlled by its Class (from 1 -5). There are suggested options for Event and Chance decks as well, which will go well with the more “Pulp” style of gaming.

Movement is mostly random – as a matter of personal choice I don’t like this. I can see merits where it is difficult terrain, improvised or primitive vehicles but not for infantry. But again at least it is in a clear table so very easy to use.

Ranges of weapons are quite short. Similarly the blast radius for most weapons is 1″ or 2″ only. Shooting in Ambush, Smoke, Fog and AA are also covered along with aircraft in general. Melee is fairly simple with the pursue rules clear cut and the “Table of Terror – Prisoners” equally ruthless. Trains and ships are also covered.

There is eye candy throughout which is always welcome and I’ve got a few more ideas for conversion (my wallet is crying, again). There is a nice style of headings using faux-Cyrillic letters, which again reinforces the aim that this is for BoB/RCW.

Appendix 1 briefly covers points values, but the basic assumption really is you should be making up fun scenarios. Appendix 2 has a good list or armoured cars and tanks and how they work in the game. Appendix 3 has some optional rules, mostly for arsonists. Though there is a good section on civilian mobs. Appendix 4 has some complex templates which I would have to play test to see if they’re useful, they remind me of the old Laserburn templates in some ways (again a personal preference KISS and use the GW deviation dice and templates). Appendix 5 covers army morale, so you need be concerned about your overall casualties not just a unit’s casualties. Good idea.

There are no army lists, and the authors on the Lead Adventure Forum (a place i’ve only really got interested in recently) comment:

There are points values, but no army lists. There are plenty of these around (Mark Plant, Chris Peers to name but two), and plenty of books that give orbats. We couldnt see how we could add value in these. We will be including battle lists in the campaign book, due out next year [2013].

Overall it looks a good set of rules, and one I will enjoy play testing. Hopefully should there be any decent light in the next week I’ll post some pictures of play tests.

AVBCW: Battle of Little Hereford (Alternate views)

Here are some alternate views:


Well we have found the blood soaked camera and the bodies of the murdered civilians, now we have had the film developed it has shown the brave defenders gallantly holding back the Red flood as its many waves broke upon the stalwart men and women of the BUF. These misled people who were driven forward by their false prophets with lies and threats are seen falling in a wasteful death. Professional and combined forces of his Majesty’s Government. Accurate artillery fire destroyed the Reds large tank and a young hero with his Boys anti tank gun bravely dueled against a Russian supplied tank and disabled it as it threatened the brave daughters of Britain saving them in a hour of need. It was also observed that the Trotskis shelled the houses of the local people who have stayed true to the King causing great damage. No BUF men had been stationed in these buildings as it was hoped that if not occupied the Communists would not attack them. We must now report that at least two families have been left homeless. The Independent forces from Hereford have also suffered a good bloody nose leaving behind many dead. His Majesty’s forces stand firmly on the banks of the Teme ready to hold the lines of his Majesty’s land.

JP has updated his blog: Big Trouble in Little Hereford.

And the Bombardier has held forth on the usual places like The Very british Civil Forum: Free Tenbury NewsFascist Invasion halted.

The Bombardier also comments:

Things I did right:

  • Found two of the three fords, even though I didn’t fully exploit them.
  • Sent my veterans and sniper towards the river early. Despite them taking damage and being wiped out in the end, they at least took a BUF unit with them.
  • My mortar and steam lorry HMGs bloodied the BUF by the bridge.

Things wrong:

  • Sent most of my units down the road instead of towards the fords. By the time I turned them around, it was too late.
  • Forgot the fact I could run my soldiers 12″. If I had remembered that, my Pippin Fort soldiers could have got across the river earlier and might have made a difference (or at least fired a single shot!!).
  • Bunched my infantry together when crossing the ford making easy work for the BUF field gun on the other side. I should have spaced them and moved my mortar up in support.

AVBCW: Battle of Little Hereford (Part Two)

Tym and myself were the BUF defenders, and had to prevent the Commies (JP) and LDV (The Bombardier) crossing the river and taking the station (not represented on table). As we were using Went the Day Well ? rules we each drew a card from a normal pack of cards to decided initiative order for each unit – it is not an “I Go, You Go” set of rules. So you may see cards on the table in some of the pictures, a rare departure from my no extraneous cr@p on the table house rule – something all my guests did adhere to remarkably well, so thanks chaps!

My troops deployed next to the bridge over the river Teme that bisected most of the board, before it turned and ran off the edge after about six foot, which meant Tym and I were squeezed into a small area about 4×3, with the attackers, have the full 8×3 plus a flanking area. On top of this, JP had written some rules for finding fords on the river after an anomalously dry spring…

Tym occupied the large pub and the majority of the area to defend against incursions over these mysteriouisly numerous fords. My Cavalry deplpyed mid way the back read to rush to the rescue of any breaches of our line. Both Tym and I came packing field artillery. Just for once I did not use a tank, much to JP’s annoyance as he came with a tank busting crew.

JP deployed his steam contraption, HQ, HMG and a unit of infantry opposite the bridge in an obvious attempt to rush it. Nice and tightly packed… 😉
Though he did use his brand new spangly T26 and a unit of infantry to menace the long front opposite Tym. Along with a standard bearer and female commissar.

The Bombardier’s non aligned (cough) LDV deployed on my flank.

The game started. Unsurprisingly, I targeted my artillery on JP’s nicely packed troops opposite the bridge and drew the first blood.

The road signs, are morale markers. I took out the HMG, suppressed the revolting workers/infantry, suppressed his HQ unit and knocked out one of the weapons turretts of the steam behemoth…Meanwhile the forces jockeyed for position.

Jp then decided to move his steam contraption forward to bring the second turret HMG to bear. Sadly for him, I had mu BOYS rifle team on Covering Fire, and with a single well aimed shot managed to blow it up !!! Right in front of the bridge thus meaning they would not be able to get any of their impressive looking vehicles across the bridge. Oh woe.

More cases of “target acquired” hove into view, as the LDV marched over open terrain against my BUF defenders:

But JP dealt out some damage with his T26 perched on a hill, and Tym’s Women’s Auxillaries decided to make a well timed temporary tactical withdrawal.

I returned from my brief Beastwatch, to find that I’d lost my flank defenders (one unit of BUF infantry), and had not slowed the LDV’s attack. Tym had immobilised the T26 on the bank of the river by a ford, but it was still firing. The Bombardier’s Tankettes had been shaken up by my troops and diverted through a woodland to the river, where they found another ford. The advancing LDV troops on my flank got to the river, and guess what, found a ford.

However, they were facing down the barrel of my field gun, there was an irregular unit of BUF in the cottage, and my cavalry raced round to shore up the flank.

With predictable results for the LDV…

Meanwhile Tym and JP were exchanging fire as they were locked in a stand off. Tym lost his HMG to a stray shell from the T26. JP tried to send a unit of infantry to support the tankettes, but got shot up by my veteran infantry guarding the bridge, and Tym’s troops in the pub by the bridge. This didn’t stop my rapidly depleted veterans defending the bridge being made to withdraw after being flanked by the tankettes crossing the ford. JP’s troops had dug in on the other side of the board and were being hit by Tym’s stray shells he was aiming at the T26 which remained stubbornly in action all game !

In the end, the Commies and the non-aligned (cough) LDV were driven off and withdrew the one tankette still mobile, and the one LDV troops from outside of the river as they realised they did not have enough forces to exploit their small bridgehead as Tym also brought up his reserve unit of troops to support our flank and front.

Loads more photos here.

The Royalists and BUF in Hereford have not been cut off, and have prevented the strange alliances of forces hostile to the crown from joining up…

AVBCW: The Battle of Little Hereford (Part One)

Byakhees JP, Tym, The Bombardier and I played a game today:

Following the brutal but inconclusive siege of Ledbury, the opposing factions in Herefordshire were exhausted and a stalemate ensued.

The Anglican League, together with sundry other anti-government and/or anti-fascist groups, were unable to complete their goal of cutting off Royalist Hereford as an advance towards Bromyard and Leominster would stretch their already threadbare supply lines.

The Royalist and Fascist forces of government were similarly hamstrung – failing to regain the initiative as they struggled to simultaneously push back the Anglicans, deal with left-wing insurgents, ‘Twiggy Mommet’ protests and patrol the border with Wales; as well as keeping the peace within the county.

As the new campaign season began, another faction appeared on the scene to break the impasse: the Worcester Loyalists. Based in Tenbury Wells, this pro-Albertine group sought to create a Worcestershire Free State, very much in the same mould as neighbouring Shropshire. Seeking to establish secure supply lines, they had already brokered a deal with socialist forces in the West Midlands (a splinter group of which had begun operating in North Herefordshire), and now made contact with the Anglican League.

A plan was formed: if the Worcester Loyalists and neighbouring socialists could co-operate with the Reds and the Anglican League, a large anti-government coalition could be formed along the Gloucestershire/Herefordshire/Worcestershire border, linking nationalist Wales to the Midlands via the Forest of Dean, Ross, Ledbury, the Malvern Hills and Tenbury Wells.

The first step was to continue to cut off Hereford and allow the unsupplied Royalists therein to wither away without having to besiege the city. With this in mind the Worcester Loyalists proposed to seize the rail junction at Wooferton on the Hereford/Shropshire border, thus cutting the Leominster – Shrewsbury line and further isolating Royalist Herefordshire.

As is typical in this part of the country however, word quickly spread to the Royalists, who dispatched a force to deal with this attack, blocking the Tenbury – Wooferton rail line whilst setting up defences at the road crossing of the River Teme near Little Hereford. The stage was set for the latest chapter in the story of VBCW Herefordshire and Worcestershire as a combined Worcester Loyalist/Socialist force met forces of the King and Mosley head-on.

That was JP’s write up that The Bombardier aided and abetted him with.

JP, and The Bombardier played Commies, and opportunistic “unaligned LDV” based in north Worcestershire attempting to join up with the ne’er do wells in southern Herefordshire like the Anglican league. Tym and I played the dastardly BUF protecting HM at his base in Malvern/Madresfield. The forces clashed near Little Hereford and the Wooferton junction of the railway over the River Teme.

Set up:

(A peaceful countryside you would think…)

The BUF were defending the bridge.

(A bucolic countryside (protected by the fair minded clean limbed members of the BUF), whose peace is shattered by…)

The Reds and allies were attacking.

(…the revolting proletariat with their foul contraptions spreading disease, death and destruction over our fair and green countryside…)

We used Mort’s Platoon generator. In game we had a DUH moment and allowed the attackers reinforcements. So circa 3×10 infantry, a heavy weapon, some form of heavy support (tanks, field gun etc) and A N Other AVBCW unit. The table was 8×4′.

We used OOk’s Went The Day Well ? rules.

Minor downside, I had to go do Beastwatch for my parents at their smallholding.

To be continued…

Incoming, to a lost city near you…

A short hiatus in posts, does not mean I have forgotten this blog. More like, I can’t take any fracking photos in these poor light conditions.

Luckily, there will be a number of updates tonight, tomorrow and the day after.

A frenetic AVBCW game, has resulted in 35+ photos, a Special Guest Superstar DJ entry is forthcoming, a review of the newish rules set “Setting the East Ablaze“, some Terek Cossacks, and maybe more.

A few of the older posts on House Rules, basing and so on will also be turned into proper pages because even I can’t find them easily, and when you have new recruits trying to guide them in the ways of righteousness, it gets difficult.

Weathertop – Amon Sul terrain piece

Finally, I have finished painting the Forge World Weathertop/Amon Sul terrain piece. And in the dying light I photographed it:

I’ve spent the last couple of weeks doing the big base which is about 12 inches in diameter:

Here it is in the film:

Having done the separate pieces, I had the base to do:

So here it is from different angles:

I haven’t glued the separate pieces in, as the Byhakhees initially commented they should be separate so we could place figures in and around the piece.

The centre of the piece has faded static grass with mixed leaves as scatter…

Other than that it is washes of Devlan Mud and Thrakka Green. Or whatever their equivalents are now…

Not perfect but well on the way there.

Lemon Soaked Napkins

Bored Now

As the Byakhees and others know, I like to get a move on with things and can’t stand petty paperwork, indecision and so on.
Hence, I often comment that we are waiting for Lemon Soaked Napkins.

From The Hitch hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (radio series)

Ford & Zaphod Beeblebrox are searching for Zarniwoop (and his cat) on the planet Brontitall and find a derelict spaceport that contains a number of crumbling old spaceships, one of which is still on power, “delayed” for over 900 years due to the non-arrival of its complement of lemon-soaked paper napkins. Zaphod creates a stethoscope for both heads out of some pieces of tubing, and is shocked at what he hears inside. Ford asks to listen, and finally, everyone gets to hear an android stewardess making an announcement about their delayed space flight:

“Transtellar Cruise Lines would like to apologize to passengers for the continuing delay to this flight. We are currently awaiting the loading of our complement of small lemon-soaked paper napkins for your comfort, refreshment and hygiene during the journey. Meanwhile we thank you for your patience. The cabin crew will shortly be serving coffee and biscuits again.”

The ship is waiting for life on the current planet to evolve, civilizations to arise, and manufacturers to provide the lemon-scented napkins…

“Nine hundred years” he breathed to himself. That was how late the ship was.”
How could he have ever known that it was 900 years? Perhaps he could visually analyze the intergalactic dust that settled on the ship’s rudder … or ?
ANSWER: There was a reader board with a list of departures. So he simply did the math.

At this point, we go back to Ford and Zaphod entering the very late space ship, just as the passengers are being woken from suspended animation for coffee and biscuits. Ford and Zaphod flee the scene, eventually arriving on the flight deck, where they are continually ordered by the autopilot to return to their seats. The autopilot argues with them over the statistical likelihood of another civilisation delivering the lemon soaked paper napkins required by the spaceship before it can depart, and Ford and Zaphod flee again, this time to the First Class compartment.

Now, if you happen to know where your towel is and therefore you are a hoopy frood, this will have all made sense.

BoB: White Russian Lancers in Chinese service

As hinted a few weeks back, Copplestone Castings have come out with some new White Russian Lancers (BU50).

I’ve been badgering Mark Copplestone for some time about these and he finally gave in. 🙂

The models are based on the ilustration in the Osprey book: Chinese Warlord Armies 1911-30.
So where do these guys come from ?

They’re referred to in “Sand Against the Wind” by Barbara W Tuchman, in her biography of Joe’Vinegar’ Stilwell.

After trying in vain to see Chang Tsung-chiang he prowled around the city. “Rusky Cavalry” the feared and prized adjunct of a northern warlord’s army galloped through the streets. They wore dark green, almost black uniforms with yellow leather boots reaching to their thighs, and carried an armoury of weapons: penannt tipped lances in their stirrup holsters, long barreled Mauser pistols in their wooden holsters, ands the da Bao or Chinese beheading sword, like an oversize machete, strapped over the shoulder in a canvas scabbard.

So having worked out that I could cobble them together from other Copplestone pieces from different packs, and make some pieces myself/greenstuff, I asked if they’d do me a deal on the pieces. Instead he offered to make them.

Ask and you shall get (eventually) !

WHFB: Orcs & Goblins vs Dwarves – Players perspective

Byakhee Gavin:

Outmanoeuvred by Dwarves – oh the embarrassment !


  • Managed to use magic quite effectively and imaginatively for once !
  • Bolt throwers certainly thinned out the Dwarven ranks but did not stop them. need to be better protected though.
  • Re-instating the Orc general on a Wyvern, getting him into combat and doing some damage , and could have been very much more effective if it were not for bad dice rolls.


  • Hamstrung myself with inflexible deployment with wide frontages of units, that then suffered animosity and blocked the key units behind them.
  • Unlucky dice rolls on LD rolls that meant c25% of my army fled off the board before doing anything !
  • Dwarf Miners – not sure what to do against them.

Despite losing still had a great time.

Anthony says:

My plan was to try and get the Dwarf flanking tactic to work – I’ve trialled this previously unsuccesfully (KIY says: against Empire, and Dwarves!). On these previous two occasions I was unlucky with the dice against me. the miners didn’t come on and that lost a lot of points, this time…the plan survived contact with the enemy and got the flank attack mopping up enemy units. The use of the Strollaz rune on the army BSB was a key success, and got the entire army 6 inches forward (at least those meant to move)


  • Stonethrowers, when souped up are reliable, and did their job admirably
  • Quarrellerers held the flank remarkably…
  • the scouts (Longbeard Rangers) got into combat second round.


  • Didn’t have enough anti magic, they literally stomped on me…though to be fair they got lucky with irresistable force 5/7 times ! (KIY: he didn’t get his rune of spell breaking off even)
  • The Black Orc Big Boss (Eeza Ugezod) was nasty surprise with a magic weapon with d6 extra attacks and the same d6 result, boosting his strength. The fact I took no wounds was extremely lucky.
  • Getting out manoeuvred by the Orc Shaman on the flank – a difficult one not a huge problem just annoying. One way round this is to give a dwarf hero pistols as a matter of course.

Overall I enjoyed, and had time with time with friends which is the point really.

WHFB: Dwarves vs Orcs & Goblins

Byakhees Anthomy & Gavin came round today for a game of WHFB, Richard had to cry off due to fatigue. I was already booked as host and co-conspirator (but not active player) supporting Gavin and his Orcs & Goblins.

Gav & I buffed his army for about 45 minutes (Gav has not regularly played WHFB since our teenage years so is getting a helping hand from the rest of us). He deployed his army:

Anthony’s Dwarves, deployed and refused a flank:

A big firing line, with 18 Thunderers and two stone throwers which were souped up. Longbeard Rangers (38) were deployed in the woods as Scouts. He also one first go as well, using the Rune of Strollaz which moved his enite army forward 6 inches before the game even started ! I’ve never seen stunties move so fast.

(NB: Due to the size of the unit, the two dwarves out the left hand side of the terrain piece are actually representing where the unit is, as there is no way a solid unit like this can be sat in the terrain piece. This is a common sense rule we use as a bunch of mates to keep the game going and fair)

Before we knew it, the stunties were on top of the Orcs and nearing close combat. the goblin fanatics were released but did not deter the bearded sprinters ! In the first go, the dwarf stonethrowers did a direct hit on the massed ranks of Harboths, and killed 13 of them, causing a panic text, which predictably they failed, and ran off the board. nearly 500 points of Orc gone !!!
They also hit the trolls, with a flaming shot and killed two out of six, again first go.

The Orcs then responded. Mostly by failing animosity tests, squabbling amongst themselves and hurling abuse at each other. This paralysed their left flank entirely.On the upside, the foot of Gork spell was succesful and killed 11 Hammerererererers straight off, which was quite a lot of points ! They were also hexed with itchy feet and reduced to a crawl, which is saying something for a dwarf ! The goblin spearmen charged into the Dwarf Longbeards,lost combat (predictably), and ran away.

The bolt throwers were effective (much more than my supposedly suprerio DE bolt throwers !), and the stone thrower did actually hit.

Second go, the Dwarves charged the fleeing goblin spearmen, and followed into the (stupid) Trolls, which they defeated in combat. This caused a cascade of panic attacks, with 20 Orc archers running off the board !.

The Black Orc Lord on Wyvern charged the Longbeards, did some damage, losing combat resolution by zero (musician broke the balance) and promptly failed LD (a roll of 10), and ran away, fortunately not being run down by the stun ties. However it did end up inches away from the board edge which was to prove fatal in the next round, when it fled again off the board (another ~400 points gone !). Again the Waagh! magic went off with another stomp from Gork causing 8 more casualties to the Hammerererers. Again they were also slowed by their itchy feet !

The Rangers having defeated the trolls, and reformed and went in against the bolt thrower crew (x2) with predictable results. The longbeards followed up into another bolt thrower, crewed by Notlob, who did some damage but was defeated and this caused the Orc general to flee again.

In the middle. The Black Orcs (Uza Ezzagod) charged into the remaining Hammerers, made the challenge (a very close run thing) but held at the end of the day. The archers finally moved foward, too little too late. The wolf riders had been decimated by the Quarrellerers (lead by Josef Bugman) and were fleeing and the Savage Orcs again were too little to late.

Gav called it a day at 7.30pm, with the Dwarves winning, with an aggresive combat army list, set up, and fairly lucky dice.