Excitement abounds on Lard Island as we publish another scenario pack for I Ain’t Been Shot, Mum from Robert Avery! This time Robert turns his attentions to the late war Eastern Front with Bashnya or Bust!
Like its predecessors, Vyama or Bust! and Blenneville or Bust!, Bashnya is a collection of fictional scenarios set up in a five-step pyramid campaign, so Scenario 1 leads to either Scenario 2A or 2B; the result of this second game leads to one of Scenarios 3A, 3B, 3C or 3D; and so on until Scenarios 5A to 5P. It’s another whopper as well, consisting of thirty-one unique scenarios weighing in at 340 pages and just under 90,000 words.
Despite his hectic schedule, I managed to catch a few words with the author…
Clarkie: So, Robert, let’s once again start with the basics. What is Bashnya or Bust! and how does it differ from your other scenario packs?
RA: Bashnya or Bust! is a collection of fictional scenarios for IABSM set on the late war Eastern Front as part of the Kaunas Offensive. Soviet forces are attempting to drive through German defences in the Chera valley in order to break through into Germany itself, the Germans are trying to stop them.
The format is the same as Blenneville in that, as you said in your introduction, Bashnya contains thirty-one different scenarios linked in a pyramid structure but that can also be played as individual games. Once again, it’s deliberately designed to give those players who don’t have enough time to write their own scenarios a huge number of games that they can play with little or no preparation at all. All they need to do is print out the three briefings, set up the table according to the map, make up the deck from the list of required cards, break out the figures and dice, and start the first turn.
Clarkie: So it’s Blenneville in the east?
RA: Well in format terms, yes; but in content terms, no, it’s very different.
Blenneville encapsulates what the fighting was like in Normandy immediately after D-Day: bocage, large numbers of Shermans versus smaller numbers of much better German tanks, more bocage, little towns of stone houses on either side of a main road, even more bocage, well balanced forces on both sides etc.
Bashnya, on the other hand, is much more extreme. The terrain is generally flatter and much more open. Few towns, villages that are collections of wooden huts, rivers that dictate tactics and strategy…and everything is bigger, bolder, more anarchic.
There are tank versus tank engagements with hardly an infantryman in sight. A company-sized raid on divisional artillery that has let itself get too far forward. Infantry attacking tanks in laager. Tigers, Panthers, Joe Stalins, flamethrower platoons, tank-riders, panzer grenadiers with all their half-tracks. The list goes on!
Clarkie: But what about figures? One of the good things about Blenneville is the fact that all the OBs are based on Battle for Liberation. Are all these extremes going to mean I have to buy more figures to play a game?
RA: No, no: the OBs for Bashnya are based on Vpered Na Berlin so, just like Blenneville, anyone who has a company-sized force of late war Germans and Soviets should be able to play any of the scenarios. I think that all I had to buy to complete the roster were a couple of King Tigers and a Wirbelwind.
Clarkie: One thing I liked about Blenneville were the fact that all the troops came from the same fictional units. Have you done the same in Bashnya?
RA: Yes, absolutely. The Soviets are Bykovski’s Infantry Battalion and Dushkin’s Tanks; and the Germans are the same units and Big Men, although organised differently and with slightly different equipment, as from Blenneville. They were obviously sent to the Eastern Front after their performance in Normandy! I’ve also refreshed the unit badges and Blinds.
Clarkie: So, to summarize, Bashnya or Bust!, whilst being the same format as Blenneville, is very different in terms of the games themselves. It still gives you thirty-one contextual, late war, scenarios that can be played individually or as part of a campaign, but it’s eastern front in theme, feel, ethos, units and gameplay. Each scenario is designed to mimic a typical club-night pick-up game, and the whole pack is intended to make having a battle as easy as possible – just print out the briefings, sort out the figures and off you go.
RA: I wish I’d said that!
Clarkie: You will Robert, you will.
Bashnya or Bust! is now available in PDF format, along with Robert’s other scenario packs, listed below:
The Defence of Calais The events of 23rd to 26th May 1940, as 30th Infantry Brigade and 3RTR attempt to defend Calais against two panzer divisions.
Operation Compass The Italian invasion of Egypt in December 1940, and the British response, the “five-day raid” named Operation Compass.
Vyazma or Bust! (F) A fictional campaign set on the eastern front in late 1941.
Fall of the Lion Gate The fall of Malaya and Singapore, December 1941 to February 1942.
Bloody Burma The Japanese invasion of Burma, December 1941 to May 1942.
Sicilian Weekend The first two days of Operation Husky, the invasion of Sicily, 10th and 11th July 1943.
Anzio, Wildcat to Whale The first part of Operation Shingle: from the Allied landing at Anzio to the end of Operation Fischfang. January to February 1944.
Blenneville or Bust! (F) A fictional campaign set in Normandy shortly after D-Day. You can read more about Blenneville in our previous Lard Island News entry at: https://toofatlardies.co.uk/blog/?p=1147
We had an interesting discussion on the TooFatLardies Yahoo Group in the last day or so where the concept of wargames rules as a “tool box” was the subject of debate. Two sets of our rules take what is, I think, quite a different approach to most tabletop gaming rules in that they draw on