I was able to spend a little time in the bunker today, with the stove burning away, seeing off the Blighty damp. I've played Bob Cordery's Portable Wargaming in the past, but this current game is using his new book, and it seemed like a good chance to adopt some of the suggestions he makes there regarding solo gaming. So, on with the action.
Bob devotes some space to the question of representing unit strengths. He covers single figure, and unit bases, with declining strength being indicated by reduced figures in the first case, and markers in the second. Rather than re-basing my Russian Civil War figures, I opted for individual figures, but with two figures representing one strength point. So, below, we see a 'Poor' unit of rascally, part-time Bolshies, consumptive clerks, ticket collectors, and the like. The strength of this unit is 3, represented by six individual figures, who will be removed in pairs as the unit takes casualties.
The part-time Bolshie unit contrasts with the White unit below. In this case, as you can see, we are looking at an 'Average' unit, strength 4, represented by eight figures. Actually, looking at the mean hombre second from the camera in the front rank, I wonder now if the unit should actually have been 'Hard Core'.
I decided to use Bob's suggestion, for the lonely wargamer, of card-driven turn taking. The Reds, naturally, took the red cards, and the Whites, the black. A deck is created from two packs of cards (for details, see pp.38/9 of Bob's book), and drives turn taking, and number of units to be activated. It works well.
The Whites kicked off, and the infantry units on the right made a bee-line for the railway station. Which reminds me, I've been reading Dorothy L. Sayers' 'Lord Peter Wimsey' books recently, and haven't picked up so much antique slang since I read The History of Mr Polly when I was 12/13. A bit of Lord Peter slang: 'I'll make like a bee and buzz off'.
The White Whippet also went haring after the Godless, and crunched up a few rail tracks before coming under fire from the Bolshie artillery. Here, a near miss. The rather marvellous resin explosions will be used to mark hits, with a tank being able to take three before its end.
The Whites quickly seized the environs of the station, and, below, it's clear that some French 'advisers' have decided to sort out a few Bolshies before breakfast, providing the Chauchat doesn't get a bunged up magazine.
The Reds began to take casualties as they, tardily, approached the now occupied station. The unit below has lost a point, and two figures have been removed.
And, at that stage, the eerie, soundless call of my forlorn allotment plot reached me, and I emerged, badger-like from my bunker, armed with pruning equipment.
Speaking of Lord Peter, and the 1920s, another good read for those of a yarn-loving, and antiquarian mindset is Nevil Shute's So Disdained - quite a period piece.