Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Back of Beyond Campaign

This coming weekend I am running a “Back of Beyond” campaign. The action takes place in a fictional Central Asia, nominally set during the Russian Civil War. We will be using a modified version of De Bellis Antiquitatis to play out the field battles.

(Click on the map below to see a larger version)


Player: Terry
Army: Canadian Central Asian Expeditionary Force
Commander of the Field Army: Brigadier Biggles-Smythe
Base of Operations: Canadar
Other Cities: Canuckand, Molsensk
Army Size: 12 Units

Player: Christian
Commander of the Field Army: Comrade Commissar C.I. Knudsoloffskivichstein
Base of Operations: Bakunin
Other Cities: Kropotkand, Engelsk
Army Size: 12 Units

Player: Gary
Army: General Strelnikov
Commander of the Field Army: Red October Division
Base of Operations: Kubassa
Other Cities: Pyrohy, Holopchi
Army Size: 12 Units

Player: John Bertolini
Army: 3rd Siberian Guards Division
Commander of the Field Army: General Bertolovski
Base of Operations: Baboushka
Other Cities: Borschka, Vlodkask
Army Size: 12 Units

Player: Chris
Army: Central Asian Cavalry Division
Commander of the Field Army: Baron Roman Christof Maximillian Von Ungern-Tighem
Base of Operations: Gura
Other Cities: Stlojia, Driutsek
Army Size: 12 Units

Player: Jackson
Army: “White Tiger” Division
Commander of the Field Army: General Sun Jak-Shen
Base of Operations: Wei-Li
Other Cities: Ching-ho, Ulaan-Goom
Army Size: 12 Units

Player: Rick
Army: Tang Ti Brigade
Commander of the Field Army: General Luong Wei-Roun
Base of Operations: Lung-Hu
Other Cities: Su-pei, Wurumchi
Army Size: 12 Units


These are the Campaign Rules we will be using for the Back of Beyond Campaign. They are similar to the ones use for the previous campaigns (with a few notable exceptions!) and are based heavily on the Campaign rules presented in DBA thought I have borrowed some concepts from the boardgame Diplomacy.

Each Player will begin with a region they control consisting of three (or sometimes four) cities, one of which is their “capitol” or “base of operations”. The cities are linked by designated routes, as indicated on the map.

To defend or expand the area they control, the players will also start with a Field Army. The Field Army will consist of 12 stands of troops.

The two central cities of Bashkent and Taskabad are independent and will fall to the first player that successfully besieges them or wins a battle there.

The Campaign will be played out through a number of years. Each year will be broken down into four Seasonal Turns: Spring, Summer, Fall, and Winter.

Before each new campaign year all players will secretly write down the location of their field army – it must start in a province that the player directly controls (not that of an ally). The location must have a direct route from the location they retreated to in the fall.

During the Spring, Summer, and Fall turns Field Armies may move about, engage in battles, and lay siege to enemies cities.

At the end of the Autumn season all Field Armies must retire to Winter Quarters in land that they directly control (i.e. land that THEY OWN). There is no limit to the number of movement stages of allied territory an army may retire through to get to get to lands where they can quarter. If an Army has no choice but to pass through territory they do not have permission to pass through (this could conceivably happen if some territory that they moved through in the previous year was subsequently captured by a foe and the army in question has taken no new territories themselves) they are destroyed.

During the winter player’s tax their people and raise new recruits for their Field Army. Players may add one stand to their Field Army for each territory under their control (excluding “remote territories, see below), plus an additional stand for their Capitol/base of operations, if it is still under their control. The additional stand for a base of operations is only available to the original owning player. If a player takes another players base of operations it does not give the new owner an additional stand, it only denies the original owner the bonus stand. The maximum size of an army is 12 stands. Additional stands cannot be saved or shared, if it cannot be used it is lost.

At the beginning of each seasonal turn players will secretly write down orders as to where they wish their Field Army to move. All are then simultaneously moved according to the movement rules below.

Field Armies may move up to two spaces along the designated routes shown on the map. In some cases the first movement will be determined by the outcome of the previous turn. Field Armies cannot pass through or over an area they do not control unless granted passage by the owning player. All armies which are moving will be moved one space, any armies moving two spaces will make their second movement afterwards if it hasn’t been halted. Armies that “bump into” enemy armies are halted and may move no further that turn.

In cases where two opposing armies are attempting to move into each other’s adjacent territories both will dice – the higher moves first and is the attacker in their opponent’s territory.

When the Field Army moves all elements must move with the Field Army.

As an alternative to moving a player my elect to “be on the Defensive” in which case they make no movement until all other players have moved one space – they may then move one space to meet an invading army that has moved into their territory.

A player’s Field Army is in supply if it is either in or next to a province controlled by either himself or another player that permits him to be supplied. If at the end of any turn (before compulsory moves are made – which are technically part of the next turn anyway) a Field Army is out of supply the player dices and loses a number of stands equal to the score rolled to hunger, disease and desertion.

When two armies meet it should be determined who is the attacker and who is the defender. In most cases the army moving into the territory is the attacker. In cases where both armies have moved into the same region at the same time the defender is the player owning the territory or the player allied with the player owning the territory. In the case of a Field Army moving into an area to relieve a siege the relieving army is the defender and the besieging player is the attacker.

After the attacker and defender are determined the defending Field Army has three options:
1) to engage the attacker in battle
2) to retire into the locations stronghold and stand a siege
3) retreat away to an adjacent location and stand a siege without the presence of the Field Army.

The exception to this is when an army arrives to relieve a siege in which case the “Attacker” (the army currently besieging the region) has the option of retiring away to an adjacent location, the “defender” (the army arriving to relieve the siege) must engage the attacker in battle if the attacker wishes to stay.

If the Defender (or attacker in the case of a siege being relieved) decides to retreat away from the location it is treated as a compulsory move (just as losing a battle) and the movement counts as the Field Armies first movement of the following seasonal turn.

If the defender decides to engage the attacker in battle it is fought on the tabletop using the battle rules.

It is possible that more than two armies would end up in the same territory during the same season. If all players agree this can be played as a Big Battle game where all armies are deployed on the table at the beginning of a battle. Otherwise two primary antagonists should be determined. They will be deployed on the table at the beginning of the game and the rest of the armies do not arrive until later. Each army not deployed on the table at the beginning of the game will dice each turn on their sides bound and will arrive when they score 6. Then up to three stands of that army will arrive in a single element frontage column at the table edge best representing their map route to the battlefield relative to the main protagonists. Further elements can thereafter be deployed in a similar manner at the cost of 1 PIP per element. If an army does not arrive before the battle ends, and their ally has lost, a second battle may be played out between the full army of the late arriving army and the surviving enemies (elements will be recovered before the second battle takes place).

The tabletop battle is fought until ended as specified in the battle rules. The losses of allied players are added together when determining whether the side is defeated. Secondary Armies that have not yet arrived do not count towards the sides total stands. As soon as they arrive the full strength of the army is added to all allied forces for the purposes of determining whether the side is defeated – regardless of how many have actually yet arrived on the tabletop.

Loss of a main protagonist’s general or camp is penalized by the further loss of an additional two stands from his Field Army in addition to those destroyed during the battle. This simulates desertion by demoralized troops. The may be diced for and rallied/recovered just as units destroyed in battle as below.

Elements that leave the table return to the Field Army after the battle.

Elements destroyed by combat are diced for after the battle to see if there are enough survivors to rally, regroup and reconstitute the unit. On a 5+ the stand returns to the Field Army immediately, otherwise it is lost. This roll is modified by the following:

+1 if you won the battle
+1 if the battle took place in a territory you owned at the beginning of the game.

If the player owning the city fought over is defeated, it is captured by the opposing main protagonist without any further siege.

A defeated Field Army must retreat to another of it’s own cities. If it cannot it may retire to the province of an ally that permits it to do so. If it cannot do either it is destroyed. The retirement move is considered a compulsory first movement segment of the following turn – or part of the Field Armies retirement to winter Quarters in the case of a defeat in an Autumn turn.

After a battle, each player gains two prestige point for each stand his troops have destroyed or forced to recoil or flee off-table in excess of those of his own elements that have been destroyed or forced to recoil or flee off-table. This is done BEFORE rolling for recovery of troops. A player who captured an enemy camp during the battle or whose troops destroyed an enemy’s General gains an additional 4 prestige for each such instance.

If the defender elects not to fight a battle the province’s stronghold is besieged. To determine the outcome of the siege the attacker dices. He must score 6 to capture a stronghold in which an enemy Field Army is present, or 5+ in an enemy Field Army is not present. If a captured stronghold contains the defender’s Field Army, the whole army is treated as though it was destroyed in battle – all elements may be diced for as per units lost in a battle above and any survivors must retire just like an army defeated in battle.

If a besieger fails to capture the stronghold he loses one stand of his choice from his own Field Army (not an allied contingent). The Siege continues next season unless winter intervenes or the besieging army moves or is defeated in battle. The score needed for capture reduces by 1 each season the siege lasts. A Field Army that has accepted a Siege can sally out in it’s next turn to give battle, but not retreat without battle.

When the time limit has been reached, each player counts as his score the prestige points he has gained in battles, 6 points for each city now under his control. A player who is knocked out of the game before then gets no points for provinces, but retains his prestige points.

A remote territory is one that is separated from the rest of a player’s lands by lands of another hostile player. If there is a route to said region through the lands of an allied player that allows passage through their lands none of the following rules apply.

A Remote region will not provide reinforcements during the winter to an army that has retired to the players main lands, or another remote territory, and cannot be deployed in during the spring.

If an army retires to a remote territory to over-winter, the army will not receive any reinforcements from the main lands and must deploy in that territory (or an adjacent remote territory) in the spring.

There are no Tributaries or Overlords. You may not cede territories to another player. If a player no longer owns any territory they are simply out of the game....


  1. We are using Hordes of the Things to play RCW games. We call it RED HOTT

  2. Tim where can I find the version of HotT you are using?

  3. For the most part we are using the DBA 1500 - 1900 Extension - extending it to 1920 with a few little tweaks of our own.... If we continue to play this I'm sure we'll be making further tweaks - adding some HOTT-like elements to include tanks, armoured cars and aircraft...