Wednesday, 22 April 2015

Red Actions in action

The Estonian centre. More photos below. All
figures are 10mm Pendraken. Late WW1

British stand in for the Estonians (who were
British-supplied).
Following my last post about Red Actions, I introduced the rules to my local wargames club. It was a test game and a learning exercise for us all, but it went well. The four players all enjoyed it, would play the rules again, and were so impressed that one of them is even interested in raising some armies for it. There is, however, a 'but' coming, so please read on.

I don't think the actual detail of the particular game is of any particular significance. Set in the Baltic, it was a simple Freikorps attack on an Estonian line with 7 companies per side. The Germans came forward mostly using 'evasive' moves and lost a couple of companies before time ran out and we had to pack up. The game could have been speeded up if the armies had been deployed closer at the beginning, but you live and learn. Overall, the game produced believable and 'realistic' results, and involved no mental pain to the players.

The German left. Late WW1 Germans serve as Freikorps.
Despite my best efforts to locate the latest official version of the rules, I later found that I had failed to do so. This is partly because there are so many drafts and variants hanging about on the Internet. As of now, I am told that the latest official version is the RA_RevRule07.doc in the OFFICIAL REVISED RED ACTION RULES folder of The Perfect Captain Yahoo Group. That might sound obvious but it isn't, so I'm publishing that guidance (kindly given to me) in case anyone else is struggling with the same problem.

The German right.
The latest rules are more complete than the ones we used, but I still feel there are some fundamental gaps, if not in the rules themselves, then in my understanding of them. I've been trying to get some answers but it's been slow progress. If all else fails we will do our own fixes, but I generally prefer to keep house rules to a minimum.

Germans left, Estonians right.
For example, the rules allow for line, multi-rank lines and road columns but there is nothing in the rules about changing between them, when that can be done and how much it might cost in reducing movement. The same goes for cavalry changing between formed and loose, and infantry changing between normal or evasive mode. Maybe there is no cost, but that needs stating.

The Germans threaten to outflank the Estonian right.
Other rules (e.g. shooting from buildings) seem to float around in the 'oral tradition' of the Yahoo Group, presumably emanating from unofficial variants or other Perfect Captain rule sets. These oral rules in the 'collective folk memory' of RA players may be admirable, but it makes life very difficult for newcomers.

German cavalry encircles the Estonian left.
Another area of vagueness is measuring. One convention might be better than another, but the fundamental thing as soon as you start playing with other people is to have some mutually agreed system.

These are great rules but they could and should be tidied up. Please.

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