Monday, 12 April 2021

Madrid 1936 - part 2 - A popular front?

To reflect the political differences between the various Republican 'factions' I identified six key personalities who were represented on the that side.  No player played the same role for two consecutive game turns.  The players then tried to activate various units needing to roll at least the number indicated in the table below.  It was agreed afterwards that this had added considerably to the 'feel' of the game.  I originally came across some of these ideas in games written by Bob Cordery.

Each turn I awarded points to each Republican player based on how well I felt they'd performed in role.  

Easy to control

Roll 2+

Average to control

Roll 4+

Difficult to control

Roll 6

Only one attempt can be made to activate a unit each turn.                                

A player can keep making activation attempts in a turn until one fails


Prepare to be appalled by some of the figures which follow!

Gen. Gorev greets one of his less equal comrades.  1/35 hard plastic figures by Trumpeter..

A:        General Gorev

Senior Soviet military officer and de facto commander of the defence of Madrid

Easy to control Republican artillery, tanks and International Brigade

Average to control Sección Móvil de Choque

Difficult to control Asaltos

Impossible to control other militias and NKVD

Score points for:  acting responsibly, minimising equipment losses, inflicting casualties on the enemy.

You win if:  the Fascists are bloodily repulsed and POUM & Anarchist militias are eliminated


NKVD Representative 'Orlov'.  An Engineer Basevich figure.

B:        Colonel Orlov

Senior NKVD Officer in Spain

Easy to control NKVD Detachment

Average to control Republican tanks, International Brigade, Asaltos

Difficult to control Columna Dututti, Republican artillery, SMC

Impossible to control POUM Militia

Score points for: staying clear of the front, eliminate traitors, act in a sinister manner

You win if:  you eliminate at least two non-Communist leaders


Durruti.  The figure started life as an Armies in Plastic ACW officer.

C:        Jose Buenaventura Durruti

Spanish Anarchist Leader

Easy to control Columna Durutti

Average to control POUM Militia, SMC

Difficult to control International Brigades

Impossible to control NKVD, tanks, artillery

Score points for:  making attacks, embarrassing the Communists, making speeches attacking other factions

You win if:  the Communists are disgraced and you survive


Kopp - the figure is a recast Britains(?) station master!

D:        Commandant Georges Kopp

Commander, 3rd Regiment, Lenin Division (POUM Militia)

Easy to control POUM Militia units

Average to control SMC

Difficult to control Asaltos

Impossible to control International Brigade, tanks, artillery, NKVD, Anarchists

Score points for:  launching heroic attacks, embarrassing the Communists, make speeches attacking other factions

You win if:  the Communists are disgraced and you survive


Miaja - bodged from a BMC ACW general

E:        General Jose Miaja

Republican Minister of War and Commander, Junta de Defense de Madrid

Easy to control  SMC

Average to control  POUM and Anarchist Militias, International Brigade

Difficult to control  Asaltos

Impossible to control  artillery, tanks, NKVD

Score points for:  co-ordinated attacks using infantry, artillery and tanks, make speeches attacking other factions and the Fascists

You win if:  no single faction appears dominant


Olivier.  And yes, it is the (repainted) ERTL Fat Controller... 

F:        Juan Garcia Olivier

Republican (Anarchist) Minister of Justice

Easy to control  Asaltos, SMC

Average to control  Anarchist Militia

Difficult to control  Other Militias

Impossible to control  artillery, tanks, NKVD, International Brigade

Score points for:  Anarchist victories, embarrassing the Communists, make speeches attacking other factions and the Fascists

You win if:  the Anarchists emerge dominant


Brad DeSantis said...

What a great cast of characters! Especially Sir Topham Hatt! "Thomas the Tank Engine" was my daughter's favorite show growing up. I never thought to enlist Sir Topham for my armies but it is an inspired move! I look forward to the next installment!

Pete. said...

Interesting system- must have made for a difficult time getting a cohrent plan to work.



tradgardmastare said...

Great ideas and characters, adds splendid depth.
I have always been put off reading the scw books I have because of the myriad acronyms of the factions. I start in good faith but give up. Sadly the same could be said of youthful attempts to read Tom Clancy novels.

Martin Rapier said...

A very clever mechanism which added lots of period flavour and provided an opportunity to field outrageous figures. The net result was similar to eg Blitzkrieg Commander as the Republican units lurched into action or sat immobile, but had a more human face than just throwing a load of low dice on activation rolls.

Tim Gow said...

Brad DeSantis
You know me - no standards too low!

Tim Gow said...

Predictably the players subverted the system - up to a point - but it still created an entertaining degree of mayhem.

Tim Gow said...

For this game I mostly returned to my trusty and well-thumbed copy of Hugh Thomas's classic. I've had it since 1989....

Tim Gow said...

Martin Rapier
The stop/start nature of SCW battles was well in evidence - and as you say, it beat rolling more dice.

Archduke Piccolo said...

Hi Tim -
Methinks that in consequence of this, a very interesting and entertaining narrative unfolded... Untimely self-righteous, holier-than-thou factionalism has ever been the weakness of the Left... One suspects that is how it played out!

Vauban and Shandy - Flanders garden wargames said...


Tim Gow said...

Archduke Piccolo
See - that's how realistic my games are!

Tim Gow said...

Vauban and Shandy
Thanks - but you are easily pleased!