Jon and I played out at a meeting engagement between his Whites and my Reds last night. It turned out to be a bit of a close run thing, although the Whites only held on by hiding behind an enormous armoured train for most of the game. In casualty terms the Whites came off worse, mainly due to my armoured car's twin machine guns, the strafing of my plane (once it turned up half way through the game) and the close range fire of my Cheka infantry who held on until virtually wiped out.
The Reds didn't come off entirely unscathed, however, with Jon's armoured train shooting up my tank and my field gun, turning them into piles of twisted metal. He also lobbed a few shells into my infantry in the centre with his field gun, then followed up with a fusilade of Lewis gun and rifle fire which cut them to pieces. This was balanced by the annihilation of his Cossack cavalry on the left flank when they charged into the crossfire from two reserve Red infantry units.
At the end of the day, it was stalemate, with Jon's armoured train left untouched and able to steam up and down the track at will. My aircraft and armoured car were also in full working order and would have shot up what was left of his infantry in due course. I could have assaulted the armoured train with my infantry bombers but this would probably have been a suicide mission. As a result, I suspect that both commanders would have withdrawn their forces under the cover of darkness, to lick their wounds and write up their after action reports in glowing terms for the higher command.
A good game but it did highlight once again the holes in the Contemptible Little Armies rules that make them frustrating to use for the Back of Beyond. The lack of an index and the sprinkling of rules throughout the text make it difficult to find the information required for specific situations. There are also some rules which inhibit certain actions, particularly moving and firing, which seem unrealistic. We have made some club ammendments to the rules to address these issues, as the core of the system is good, but it's time to find another set of rules to use for the Back of Beyond.
I quite like the look of Triumph and Tragedy whilst Jon suggested Through the Mud and Blood. I think a bit of playtesting with one or other of these systems would be the way forward. We've used Warhammer Great War for VBCW in the past too, so that might be another possible option. I think I also need to build an armoured train for my Bolsheviks, as they're pretty effective and look really cool! If I had the time, I'd also either finish off my Japanese or start a new (small) army...but that's another project for another time.