Russian Civil War – Offside by James Kemp
Russian Civil War
We were trying out a stripped down and streamlined resource allocation system for Bernie’s forthcoming megagame. We had the Siberian end of the game. A long thin strip of railway from just West of the Urals all the way to the Pacific Coast. There were four factions represented, the Whites, Reds, Greens (some Cossacks and also a Right SR provisional government) and Blues (foreign interventionists, Czechs, Poles, Japanese and a French General).
Broadly the system seemed to work in producing a minimalist accounting system for resourcing our revolutionary armies (and the counter-revolutionary ones).
With Bruce and Dave Boundy I played the Reds. The other factions were also played. Unlike the others the Reds started concentrated and with three armies. Given that the railway channels movement three manoeuvre units allows you to rest one to absorb reinforcements, or to have an active reserve. We also had three trains. This allowed us 9 points of unlimited movement. A point being either 5,000 men or the ammo to support them.
Bernie’s mechanics were intended to be accounting light. Each turn had a resource phase followed by two campaigning phases. In the resource phase we extracted things from the cities and factories that we controlled. This was the crux of what Bernie was trying to test.
Each city/factory generated one or two cards depending on the size of the garrison, and how well affected its population was to your faction. These were clearly labelled on the boxes (see the picture). The effects varied slightly by faction. E.g. the Reds needed bigger garrisons to get cards, but the cards have the Reds more.
Each complete garrison box give the owning player a city card, these had a table on them with a column for each faction. This showed how many recruits, ammo, money and resource cards the player got. If you got two cards then you got to pick which one to use. All the cards had slight variations. Every faction had a different result on the city card.
If the population was against you then you got one card less. There was some debate at the end of the game on how you should move the population’s support. The consensus seemed to be that you should spend either money, ammunition or a political cadre to achieve this. It didn’t come into play in our test run, but we recognised it as an important factor.
As Reds we pushed forwards, with two armies of approximately divisional strength attacking the city of Chelyabinsk from different directions. The City was defended by blue and green in approx brigade strength. However the Whites from Omsk also threw in their division to fight against us. It was a close battle but we lost owing to the superior military ability of the Whites and the fortifications in the city. Our two armies withdrew.