David Bickley's Wargames Blog

The occassional ramblings of an average gamer, journeyman painter, indifferent modeller, games designer, sometime writer for Wargames Illustrated and host of games in GHQ.

Friday, 27 September 2013

Battle Group Kursk game

While I did n't buy this set of rules when they were released, being a dyed in the wool Rapid Fire! gamer, I have now played three games. Two have been at Phil's OHQ set up, using his wonderful figure and vehicle collection and fantastic scenery, but recently I have had the chance to play on a much larger table. This was entirely due to an invite to the Midlands Wargames Centre, hosted in the Stafford Games' unit just outside Stafford.

I have visited the Centre before: once to watch a very large Battle Group Kursk game between Phil and Jon and once to play in a very large, if not even huge, Blackpowder ACW game using Jon's wonderful collection. A game which I won, incidentally, despite being restricted to gaming here in GHQ on a table no more than 7' x 4'!
The BGK game was not based on a scenario from the rule book, but an encounter and objective driven game devised by Jon, who commanded the Germans. The table looked daunting at the outset I thought, with woods running down the Russian's left flank and two small hamlets occupying the centre of the table astride a road down which the Germans would attack.

Luckily for the Russians, they could deploy up to half way in from their table edge, so I took the opportunity to deploy in depth, while keeping some units in reserve in case of a sneaky Kraut move through the woods on my left flank.

I was able to deploy five Ambush orders at the outset of the game which, together with splendid observing and firing o occasions ~ we'll brush over my bucket full of 1's I think, restricted the Germans to capturing the first objective in the hamlet nearest their base line. Despite the violent off table artillery barrages and air attacks my gallant troops were subjected to, they steadily eroded the German's capability by destroying their armour, initially thanks to the cunning use I made of the Ambush Fire orders. To such an extent in fact that they never ventured beyond the hamlet and Jon conceded defeat after seven moves.
It was an engrossing game I felt and very demanding for my old brain, as I'm just getting to grips with the game system. I feel that its well suited to larger tables than I enjoy in GHQ, but I suppose we could play at the lower levels, as we have managed two at Phil's as I said. In truth I find the rules a tad more complicated than I would like; looking up the different guns stats and tank/vehicle stats was a bit cumbersome I found; while the constant re-observing was not my view of how a game should play out, but it produced some interesting situations. While I don't think it would tempt me away from Rapid Fire!, which I feel I know well, I have invested in the small pocket sized rule book, so Phil and Jon don't have to do everything, and also the Battle Group Overlord hard back book, mainly for the scenarios and the pictures I have to confess!
If you have n't tried BGK yet, then give them a go, they may be for you, you never know!


  1. Well done there Comrade Bikkliski, certainly a better feel for the vastness of the Russian steppes there than on my claustrophobic set up here at OHQ. Still I hope I can give you a suitably challenging game here on Monday.

    1. I shall hopefully rise to the challenge!

  2. Very nice review. If it taxed your brain, however, I think we'll not even try. New follower. Come visit my new blog: The Amateur Military Historian

    1. Don't be put off by my struggles, I put them down to age and a misspent youth...