Thursday, 8 November 2012

10mm RJW Solo game using Square Bashing 2012

RFCM and Peter Pig recently brought out a new version of their early 20th century rules - Square Bashing. As with the previous version the game is fought using a grid of squares with each square being 6 inches. The standard game is played on a 4 foot wide by 3 foot deep table giving a grid of 8 by 6 squares.

Peter Pig have a page explaining the rules on their site - here's the link

They have also produced a book of army lists covering not only WW1 and the Russian but also the Mexican  Revolution, the Boxer Rebellion, the Spanish American War, the Chaco War and the Russo-Japanese War.

Therefore I thought I would give Square Bashing (SB) a try out with my standard RJW solo scenario. The scenario misses out a lot of the rules such as assets and commander and only uses Moving, Assaults, Shooting and Morale

The scenario has had to be amended for SB because units are battalions rather than companies.

Firstly the depth of the table was increased from 2 feet  to 2.5 feet to give a playing area of 4 squares wide by 5 squares deep. This was to stop the attackers going straight into combat and to give the defenders somewhere to retreat to. I have tried to keep the same terrain of hills with a trench line and rough ground to slow the attackers down.

Secondly the forces were increased.- the Japanese now have 12 Battalions of Infantry attacking 4 battalions of Russian infantry backed up by 2 HMGs and 2 Field guns. In SB troops can be professional, average or reservist - all troops in the game are average. Each battalion has 4 bases

The battlefield from behind the Russian lines. - the orange pins mark the grid - I'm working on some more aesthetically pleasing markers.

The Russians have deployed  their artillery in the middle squares with a battalion of infantry in each trench square - the HMGs are in the 2 middle trench squares. In the distance the Japanese can be seen coming out of the Kaolin fields

A view from the Russian trenches

The Japanese army seen from an observation balloon

In SB infantry units move 2 squares but have to roll 4+ on a D6 to leave difficult terrain such as rough ground, hills and trenches

The initial Japanese advance saw most units get through the rough ground except on the Right wing where the 1st battalion passed through but the 2nd and 3rd failed to exit

It costs a square of movement to assault which is the main form of combat in SB. Therefore the Japanese were unable to assault on the first turn.

Shooting is carried out in the opponent's turn provided the unit has not been assaulted. Infantry and HMGs have a range of 1 square and artillery has a range of 4 squares with 6's being required for a hit. Hits can be saved but if they are not saved then the target suffers a 1/2 base loss per hit and the square gets a casualty marker which can generate a morale test. The Japanese unit in the middle square has take a hit and lost half a base.

On the next turn the Japanese assaulted. This costs a square of movement and if the assaulter is in bad terrain then an exit role is required. When using trenches the rules state that rough ground should be placed in front of them no doubt to represent barbed wire and no-mans land. However for this game I've only used the trenches.

Banzi! - the Japanese breakthrough - red dice are casualties, white dice are damaged HMGs or artillery and blue dice are "winning the fight" bonus dice.

Each assaulting unit gets 3 dice and each defending infantry unit gets 2 dice - which seems a bit weird but I'm sure there is a reason. Defending HMG get 5 dice. Extra dice are awarded for supporting troops in adjacent squares or if attacking from a flank square. When attacking trenches then the attackers loses 3 dice. Hits are caused on 5s and 6s but saving rolls are allowed.

The attacker wins if they inflict more hits otherwise the defender wins. The loser takes 3 more hits. If the defender loses then they have to retire back a square.

In the game the Russian left flank inflicted heavy casualties on the Japanese but right flank broke under the assault and the day was lost.

As this was a new set of rules for me I played this scenario 12 times to get a hang of it. In only 2 of the games did the Japanese break through and when they did they rolled up the Russian line. In the other 10 games  the assault failed and the Japanese retired back to the kaoliang fields. From my reading of the RJW that is about par for the course - 6 assaults to clear a trench line.

I used to play the original SB and thought they were ok. Although I have yet to play a full game with objectives and assets  I think the new version of Square Bashing is excellent - well done RFCM.

It's a toss up between Square Bashing and Future War Commander as to which set works best for the RJW - maybe I'll use both. I'm running an SB game at the club next week so it will be interesting to see how it works with other players

The figures were all from Pendraken and the trenches were from Dreamholme.

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