Friday, 19 January 2018

A World Aflame Rules - The Great Antipodean Adventure

Okay I’ve decided to try Osprey’s A World Aflame rule set for this campaign. I’ve completed three test games with the rules will use them with a few clarifications/modifications. I’ll run through them with the rest of the Ol’ Gits when we start our regular sessions later in January and see if they agree/are happy with the choice. I think they’ll be happy...If not I’m going back to the drawing board.

I picked A World Aflame as not only are they written for the period The Great Antipodean Adventure is set in but they are simple and will lend themselves to the colourful gaming which I believe all this hypothetical interwar type stuff is about. You want to have your tongue set firmly in your cheek when your All For Australia League’s 1st Volunteer Rifle Company throw themselves into action against a force of armed Police to capture that vital communications hub i.e. the street side Phone Box!

I’m not going to write a full review on a set of rules that were released several years ago as there are several already online. These rules look good for the social games we’re looking at but they could be have been more comprehensive. I’m just giving you my thoughts on each section of the rules. Oh and just so you know there is no pre-measuring allowed.

What you’ll need, well it lists all the usual suspects from figures to an opponent(!) but there are a few ‘items’ that interested me;
-Arrow die to use for scatter, don’t have any so going to use a D12 and a clock face (noon pointing north or a designated table edge).
-Average Dice well I haven’t used these suckers for years and at least one of the Ol’ Gits said “What are they?” I for one don’t mind seeing Average Dice in play, I don’t have any but it’s easy 1=2 and 6=5. Nice inclusion for me but think I may be in the minority here!
-Chance Cards well I like this idea to include randomness into the game as well of some of the lightheartedness I mentioned above. A selection of sample cards is included in the rule book and you are encouraged to create your own.  Being sick of making cards after doing them for TW&T, IABSM and Longstreet what I’m going to do is used regular cards with a chart listing what each one means and I’ll update the chart for each game...easy. Here’s my only real gripe I have with the rules, I know it’s hard to include cards that cover every conflict and imaginary conflict in the 1919-1938 period but a lot more support should be offered here by Osprey even if it’s just with a larger selection of cards available online with generic ideas, the author himself says “I now have far more cards than I’ll ever use” well Mr Eaglestone how about sharing them online as if they aren’t directly useful they can at least give gamers ideas for their own?
No scale is given but it’s not an issue for our skirmishing games.
There’s an explanation of unit organisation from section upwards which is straight forward and is helpful in setting up games.
A Unit sheet is supplied as you need to record a units strength, quality, leader ability, morale and ammo levels etc. In my trial games I only needed to record ammo the rest was just stuck to the base of the unit leader or covered with markers (morale).
Command and control is included and this is good as so many games just leave this out (even abstractly) allowing our toy soldiers to do whatever we want when we want 😒. There’s levels of command, squad unit level where anyone within 15” of the leader is in command and that commander needs to be within 5” of the next level leader to be in command. This can be repeated depending on how big your army is! Units start the game with an overall written order/directive they must follow to the best of its ability until changed by a new written order which must be received from the command at the next level at 5” range, by a runner or phone/radio then that must be followed. This order can be as simple as ‘capture the phone booth’ or 'exit board south edge', this process will probably be academic in our TGAA scenarios.
Building strengths against fire and weather (affects visibility and smoke drift) are included which are nice touches.
They are suggested victory point allocations again helpful in creating scenarios.
The turn sequence is:
-Draw a Chance Card
-Carry out initiative checks with moves and firing
-Carry out Melees
-Final Morale checks
The initiative checks are carried out in pairs, I pick a unit you pick a unit we roll for initiative winning unit goes first loser second. You continue to do pair by pair the same way until one player runs out of units any extras then carry out their actions in any order the player desires. I’ve not played anything like this before and it worked well.
Movement covers foot and vehicular units with units having a base movement amount which is augmented by average dice adding extra inches. Nice to see bicycles are included. A cool rule for movement but listed in the Anti-Tank section is the ‘curiosity test’ where vehicles approaching obstacles or structures need to roll to see if they will halt as they are suspicious of said obstacle or structure...why isn’t this in every set of WW 2 rules where we see tanks racing through towns or up to trench lines fearlessly! In the Movement area Engineering type activities like entrenching are listed as well. 
For Firing the full range of weapons is covered from hand guns to artillery and smoke is dealt with too in this section (I like how smoke can be generated by fires as well as smoke shells). The mechanics of firing is stock standard with a hit number for each weapon at various ranges and then a number of dice each weapon rolls, these are modified successful results are kills. All looks pretty deadly. The bit I like here is units have limited ammo (though they can be resupplied). There’ll be no firing at extreme range as you husband your supply of rounds. Running out of ammo unsurprisingly affects a units morale, great rule! This will entail bookkeeping or markers but the trade off in tactics and play in my opinion are worth it.
Looking at the ranges on the firing table I think they relate to ‘realistic’ in the field ‘effective’ maximum ranges rather than maximum weapon ranges. Plus they play well on our 6' x 4' tabletop.
There’s a basic set of aircraft rules but in The Great Antipodean Adventure these may not get a run in as most of the action will be in the street of Sydney and terror bombing of cities was still a way in the future...but I suppose you never know!
Melee is pretty simple and deadly. Cool that the attackers need to pass morale to charge the defenders and if successful, the defenders then need to take a morale test to see if they’ll stand their ground. If both pass the melee goes ahead, each figure rolls a D6 with modifiers and the highest wins. There is a maximum of two figures attacking one.
Morale rules worked well. Every unit has a morale rating roll a D6 add/subtract the modifiers and a 5+ result is good. There is a need for a markers here as your units can be 'confused', 'demoralised' and 'routed' plus taking a morale check in a previous turn has consequences in the current turn an interesting idea as pressure can build up on a unit turn to turn. May simplify some this for The Great Antipodean Adventure!
The rest of the book contains 3 scenarios, the above mentioned sample cards and a unit roster template.
There’s no QRS, a sad omission! Working on one now (got some guidance online)!

The book is well printed. The layout is good but a few less glossy pictures may have allowed for more space for the rules to be fleshed out or more scenarios to be included. It’s a funny but the PDF version of these rules actually would have cost me more than the AUST$14.00 the printed copy did (thank you Book Depository for the free shipping!).

Next time I write on the TGAA I’m hoping it’ll be an AAR.


  1. Sounds interesting... I will have to investigate the rules

    1. Thanks for visiting Shelldrake!
      These look to be good Rules for fun interwar VBCW type actions.
      They include some interesting ideas.
      Not the best rules by far but good what I envisage...