With Our Backs to the Wall

Since the start of August I have been unable to play any games as I was finishing off my MA dissertation. It's all changed now and I am able to get back to playing, so Ninjasaurus Rex came over for our first game in ages. I decided I wanted to try out Square Bashing 2nd Edition again, even after a disappointing first game of it back in April, but I'd also finished the casualty half bases and wanted to try them out to see if they improved the game any.
I had been encouraged on TMP to stick with the game and as I'd put a lot of work into it already, I took this opportunity. Ninjasaurus and I had also discussed various ways to mark out the board and came upon an idea of using sewing thread to make the 6 inch squares. It looks a lot better than using the counters I used before:

It's easily done, insert map pins in the side of the board and thread the cotton across the top of the table using the pins to hold it in place. I had marked the edges of the board at 6 inch points to make it easier to line up the squares.

Anyway, His Nibs arrived and we set up. It was a quick game set up, meaning the British attacker (me) had 620 points against the German defender (him) with 450 points. We were playing a 1918 game, probably during the 100 days campaign where the Allies had the Germans on the run. The OOBs were as follows:

10 x Regular Battalions
2 x Professional Battalions
2 x Heavy Tanks
1 x Light Tank
3 x Field Gun
1 x Higher Command

6 x Regular Battalions
6 x Machine Guns
6 x Field Guns
1 x Higher Command

I set up with the idea of a heavy central advance against the crossroads and mansion objectives (indicated by the white counters) and a lesser flanking move against the hill and woods objectives (on the left hand side and right hand side respectively). Ninjasaurus set up with a thin screen of mutually supporting units in most of the scenery.

First moves went well, my central units moved up to the broken ground whilst the Germans on the crossroads readied themselves for the attack.

The British line moved forward as one, and assaults went in against the woods (bottom of the picture) and the crossroads.

On the crossroads a single German battalion faced my Professional Indian battalion, another regular battalion and a heavy tank:

To the left two battalions (the other professional one indicated by the red base) assaulted two machine guns emplaced in the ruined buildings. Some of my units got caught up in the central rough ground and only the Whippet and a supporting battalion was able to make a move against the mansion objective.

Fortunate dice rolling meant that I damaged one machine gun and forced them both out of the buildings with no damage to my two units.

A similar story occurred at the crossroads, I lost half a base in the assault but forced the German defenders back to their own lines and captured the objective!

The mansion fell very quickly as well, it seemed I was on a roll!

A roll that ended very quickly in the assault on the right hand wood objective. I took heavy casualties and was unable to gain a foothold in the trees.

The Germans didn't take any of these losses lying down and quickly gathered for a counter attack on the mansion, but British pluck held them off, although they managed to damage the Whippet (red marker).

The story was different at the crossroads, a concerted assault saw the objective back in German hands and the Indians and the regulars driven back.

However, a heavy tank evened the score as it trundled up the road to face the Germans.

On the left side of the board the British soldiers and supporting tank had finally reached the German lines and assaulted the hill objective.

The crossroads was back in British hands with the support of the heavy tank.

Meanwhile, back at the hill, the British attack was desultory and gained me nothing except casualties when a German assault from down the hill pushed my battalions back.

Hard fighting at the crossroads dealt out more casualties to the Germans.

The situation about half way through the game was that I had massive gains in the centre, but desultory results on the flanks.

The German defenders in the centre were on the back foot and I kept up the hammer blows which pushed them further back to their start lines.

The German centre collapsed completely, even the Higher Command had been forced from the table. It was pretty secure here now for me.

If only things had been similar on the flanks, the British were pushing against the German defence but gaining nothing.

And the casualties mounted in front of the woods from dug in machine guns and a tenacious German defence. My morale collapsed and the two battalions fled from the field in a rout.

The German point of view of the central collapse. British units were running amuck in the German supply lines.

The defence line around the crossroads was shattered and could offer very little resistance to the British battalions.

Yet the Germans still held their own in front of the hill objective.

However, because of the German central collapse, help was on its way through the woods and buildings in the form of a Whippet and four battalions.

The story was the same on the other flank, the wood was attacked from the flank.

But time was ticking down... The game timer ended the game before I could make an impression on either flank and it was all over.

Final situation photos:

I had captured two of the objectives in the centre, but the German flanks had held on.

The German casualties are gathered in the bottom right of the picture, below the rear table edge line. They had lost thee full battalions, three guns and three machine guns.

So, we managed to finish the game this time around and I also found that the game is excellent. My opinion on Square Bashing 2nd Edition has totally changed, we played for nearly five hours and it flew by. We both said that we were totally immersed in the game which proves Peter Pig is doing something right. The game-play flowed really well and we had a definite outcome, although some of that might have had to do with not being massively hungover whilst playing...

After totting up the victory points I had 85 to his 44, meaning a difference of 41 or a Breakthrough Victory, just like the British army did during the 100 Day Campaign in 1918.

I'm already looking forward to my next game of Square Bashing!


  1. I went back and read your report on your first game of SB. Why do you think this second game went so much better than the first - better familiarity with the rules perhaps?

    1. Thanks Dave, a combination of several aspects, I think. The hangover certainly didn't help... But I also thought it may have been the unfamiliarity of the turn sequence, which didn't make sense at the time. And I also had a tester game the day before just to run through a small game and that seemed to help.

      Also, in the first game we got really confused by the half bases and casualty figures, however when I separated the two, things got a hell of a lot clearer. Unfortunately, this isn't explained very well in the rule book and casualties are used to indicate both morale and half bases... Very confusing...

  2. Thanks very much for the review- I am very tempted to buy a set...

    1. Thanks Simon, I would thoroughly recommend SB, but just be warned of the confusion about half bases and casualty figures. it doesn't explain it very well in the rules where it says use casualty markers to show morale and casualty and this is where we got confused in our first game. The answer is to make two separate markers one for morale and one for half a base. Then the game really flows!

  3. Looks like you guys had lots of fun. Thanks for the entertaining AAR.

    1. Thanks Moiterei, it was a great game, I'm glad you enjoyed the AAR! Hopefully there'll be more in the future!

  4. A Very nice report, however I noticed that there was no mention of artillery barrages, gas, air attacks etc. Did you decide to play the game without those assets?

    1. Thanks Bersagileri, yes, you're right, the quick game doesn't have any assets available, and anyway we thought that adding another level of complexity to the game when we were still learning it would be too much. Next time though, I will have all the other aspects of the game added.


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