I spent a wonderful afternoon today visiting and gaming with members of the Colorado Military Historians. This is a local wargaming club that I have been thinking of joining, so I made the drive to their monthly meeting to look around, watch some games, and hopefully get an idea if this was something that I wanted to be a part of.
I was immediately met by some very friendly people, including Eric of Elder's Wargaming Blog. After a short meeting and introductions, it was time to get down to some gaming. I was very happy to see that there was a Russian Civil War battle that was planned for the day - I have a Master's degree in Russian history, so I was immediately drawn to this table and, lucky me, I was invited to play!
The figures for the game were 15mm and were very nicely done, with a majority of them being Peter Pig miniatures. The table also had fantastic buildings and terrain. Things were looking good and I immediately volunteered to lead some of the Communist units. The scenario had the reactionary Whites attempting to push through to Kiev while our Commissars had ordered us to a small village to stop or delay their advance on the important city.
We played the Return to the River Don rule set - and I have to say, it was a very interesting and fun set of rules but also extremely frustrating at times. Without going into too much detail (this was my very first time playing them) there was a fairly significant reliance on randomness to get anything accomplished in the game. Units had to roll to obey orders, and those that did choose to obey the commanders orders may not even complete all orders as given. Combine that randomness with Commissars using some dictatorship-of-the proletariat type of coercion as well as some very severe morale checks and we saw entire units running for home and the samovars before the real action had even began. I can understand some of this, especially for these troops during the Russian Civil War, but there were several turns in a row in which my units did nothing. In the end however, the People's soldiers triumphed and repelled the advancing soldiers of the enemy.
I really did have a fantastic time and I met some great people. I'll certainly be going back next month for more.
I was able to snap some photos of our Russian Civil War game, but I only had my phone with me so please excuse the lower picture quality.