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The Orkney Wargames Club meets

in Kirkwall on Thursday evenings.


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The Yalu River, 1924

Back of Beyond, Contemptible Little Armies / Back of Beyond with home-grown amendments, 28mm 

This is only a Back of Beyond game in the loosest sense, as it’s set outside Central Asia – in fact somewhere on the Yalu River, in China itself. Still, it was a game played “in the spirit” of our Back of Beyond games, and used their rules, albeit heavily augmented by Colin Jack’s own rules for ships and characters. For some inexplicable reason I decided I was going to build a junk for this game, and crew it with a well-armed bunch of pirates. Here’s the result. I followed the “Build your own Pirate Ship” instructions in an old Wargames Illustrated, but I modified the bow and the masts to look more junk-like. The guns and guncrews came from Bearsden Miniatures, and the pirates from Eureka.Chinese%20Junk%202This rather crazy game involved at attack on a Chinese river pirate stronghold by an international force with American, British, German, French, Soviet, French & Japanese contingents – all with their own gunboats and landing parties. Two Chinese junks were in the area, defended by shore batteries and lots of guys with coolie hats and rifles.US%20GunboatThe scenario claimed that a contingent of international spies (accompanied by one Corto Maltese) were being held by the pirates – and the goal was to recapture them – with extra points awarded if you recovered your own agent. Well, the American, British and German gunboats approached from stage left, and the rest from stage right – both lots heading straight for the heart of the Chinese defences. To add a little mystery to the proceedings a detachment of Chinese government troops were present, threatening to join either side. The stage was set for a highly enjoyable if slightly cartoon-like colonial scrap!German%20Gunboat%20TigerThe big Weimar German gunboat ignored the scenario instructions and headed straight for the largest pirate junk – intent on some sort of Nelsonic boarding action. First it had to cut a boom laid to protect the anchorage, then it rammed the junk, fired its guns, then sent the German marines over to board in the smoke. All sterling stuff, but not exactly doing much to recover any spies. British%20GunboatFor their part the British were shot to pieces as they landed, although the Soviets and the Japanese did much better, destroying two pirate shore batteries before the Japanese boarded and captured the smaller junk.Core%20of%20the%20actionHaving read the objectives the Americans landed, and recaptured agents, although stirring up the Chinese regulars in the process, who occupied the main pirate base. By the end of the evening everyone claimed they had an enjoyable game, but when the points were totted up the surprise winner was found to be the Chinese government. Under cover of the international attack they had busied themselves occupying pirate strong-points, capturing  agents and generally skulking about in the background.Germans%20clash%20with%20PiIf nothing else, this game gave everyone a rare opportunity to dig out their 28mm scale gunboats, junks and weirs little boats… ranging in size from my German gunboat (a Riveresco card model which also doubles as a Turkish warship from Back of Beyond), to Colin Jack’s Mimi (or Toutou) from Lake Tanganyika in WW1. Now all I’ll have to do is to find another use for a large junk!


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