Archive for July, 2012

One of the most difficult problems in wargaming is the way to address the uncertainty faced by leaders. Wargamers are generally aware of the outcome of such big events, which were, in fact, unforeseen and for some unpredictable.

Let’s take the Czech legion: its withdrawal wasn’t a certitude for Russian factions on June 18. Players, on the contrary, are knowing in the official version Czech units will cease for the largest part any real military action in the few turns following the end of WW1 ( a 50% probability each turn).
This solution is hampered by 2 major flaws:

– the 50% probability is a very high one, so in most games Czech Legion will demobilize in the very first turns after the fixed turn. This event is too much predictable for both sides.
– Siberian player has no way to alter, even slightly, the outcome. Gaming pleasure comes mainly from the decision-making process. Trying to keep Czech Legion would spice up the Czech matter.

Previous version of FY has tried to deliver a better model. Reds must choose between leaving Siberian control most of the Volga bank and concentrating against Southern Whites first, to the risk of huge NM losses or give priority to the volga front in the first turns of the Great Campaign. Lenin didn’t known in June 18 Czech menace would be over a few months after.

Siberian will play with a refined model of FY features about Czech legion.

From September 18, a 6 sides die roll will be simulated each turn by events. Czech Legion will demobilize on a 6 result. Of course, other events will add modifications to the die roll results:

– Allied Powers pressure: -1 (25% chance to fire)

– end of WW1: 2 (85%)

– loss of Samara: 1 (75%; Czech were rather close to SR and the loss of Samara would signify the end of Komuch)

– High Siberian National Morale: -1 (75 %; victorious armies have more reasons to fight again)

– Komuch Left policy: -1 (50%; this Komuch option is simulating the adoption by the Komuch of social reforms pleasing the Czech revolutionary elements)

– War exhaustion: 1 to 3, with higher risks to get -3 each more turn ( variable probability; from October 18, Czech were more and more reluctant to fight in Russia, as the WW1 was over and Czechoslovakia created)

– Directorate created: -1 (75%; Directorate was felt mandatory to fight Bolsheviks in good condition, by a unified force)

– Directorate strong :-1 (75%; I will explain later how FY will compute the strength of the Directorate)

A few of these events are the consequence of player choices, giving him a way to alter the results, without full control over, as the Czech Legion is first a subfaction determined by its own political agenda, different from the player one.

However, it would remain a design problem: keeping Czech Legion longer in the game is a no brainer issue as the units are the finest of the early Siberian player’s army.

So I’ve added a new event: from October 18, some Czech units will be immobilized for one turn if the die roll is 5 or higher. This rule depicts the growing reluctance of Czech soldiers to commit themselves in the Civil War when their main goal is to come back home. In gameplay terms, the efforts done to keep Czech units a few more turns will maybe turn into waste, when these units stay inactive….

In the end, this system should create more uncertainty, replayability, choices to make, and adverse results…



The next version of FY will bring a complete overhaul of the rules applied to the White Siberian faction.That’s the main reason for the delay as it a rather long task….

I’ve never felt easy with the current FY system for this faction, even if in both historical feeling and gaming interest, it is a large step forward over the official version.

However, the rules weren’t homogeneous; it was a complex and blurred set. Then Siberian remained a bit too strong.

I’ve purchased lately Rememberingg a forgotten war, written by Serge P. Petroff, son of a former White General. This book is outstanding; the author puts with ease the key factors of the failure of Siberian: internal infighting between opposed political sides, lack of resources, dissensions between Allied powers, Kolchak’s shortcomings, aspiration for independence of national minorities or like Bashkirs or Cossacks.

This book has allowed me to rationalize the precedent chain of events to build a new one, based on a few principles.

First, no more choice between historical path or unhistorical one. Rules will portray the passage to the Directorate then to a military dictature (or not) , with outcomes varying each new game (replayability is a key factor in FY).

At the start, the Siberian faction was formed of several governments ( Komuch at Samara, Siberian Provisional Government at Omsk). To these 2 main bodies, Czechs, Cossacks and Bashkirs must be added as forces owning their own political agenda.

Siberian Provisional Government eventually didn’t help Komuch. Worse, Komuch and SPG were openly conflicting about Ufa control, war in the war waged sometimes by military means, but also by economic means, both sides instauring some sort of blockade.

In game terms, Siberian player has full authority on the whole, leading to unhistorical results: any player will move most of the Siberian Army and Czechs on the Volga, to help the tiny Komuch forces.

So in this first stage, rules are needed to hinder this unification of field armies. There will be high chances for SPG forces to be grounded each turn. There will be too fortuitous events reducing WS and money pools; last, some units could sometimes suffer losses.

Last, player will get only at start one conscription and one requisition regional decision. This hash limit will both slow military build-up and portray easily the lack of a strong political center, necessary to implement an efficient war effort.

Of course, such a situation will force the player to search to create an unified government, the Directorate, as it was named historically.Of course, such a situation will force the player to search to create an unified government, the Directorate, as it was named.
As the player hasn’t full control over his subfactions, and in order to avoid a no-brain choice, the option to create Directorate will maybe fail a few times before succeeding. By events, a 6 sides dice will be rolled, Directorate being created on a 4 or + results. Some modifiers will alter the results:

-loss of Samara:+1 ( simulates the necessity for Komuch to get th PSG support at all cost)
– Czech pressure on both sides from October 18 ( Czech played this role): +1
-Allied Powers pressure from October 18 (Knox, the British General threatened to stop the Allied help to force Agreement) :+1
– High NM level ( above 110) : -1 ( Victory incites subfactions to refuse political compromises)
– random assassination of a SR member by Cossacks or rightist ( historical occurrence): -1
– Playing Komuch right policy option ( no social reforms): +1
-playing Komuch left policy option (the reverse): -1

Each failure to create the Directory will have a cost in the future I will explain later, when examining the rules for the Directorate.


UGA faction is almost done. I’ve cleaned a bit Polish events, strenghtened Latvian Red forces at start of the Balt involvement in war.

Now, the Belarus National Republic lost Minsk the 10th December 1918. In game term, a few Green militia units should figure convincingly this short-lived State…

The Ukrainian Galician Army will join the fight in the next version of Fatal Years. This faction will be AI driven only, fighting against Poland. For now, the events are only partially written and the OOB needs refinements.