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  Strategy & Tactics #338  Russian Boots South, Conquest of Central Asia by Strategy&Tactics Press  When you talk about Strategy&...

Strategy&Tactics #338 Russian Boots South, Conquest of Central Asia Strategy&Tactics #338 Russian Boots South, Conquest of Central Asia

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Conquest of Central Asia

 Strategy & Tactics #338 

Russian Boots South, Conquest of Central Asia


Strategy&Tactics Press

 When you talk about Strategy&Tactics magazine the word venerable comes to mind. Unfortunately, the word also has some connotations attached to it. Such as: old, no longer of use, and perhaps stodgy. In sports, it is definitely used to convey a loss of a competitor's edge. As in, he was a venerable contender for the crown. Yes, you can call Strategy & Tactics venerable, but only if you are thinking of its direct meaning. Merriam Webster's says this: "calling forth respect through age, character, and attainments". Only in this respect is Strategy & Tactics to be thought of. Even if it had been around since I was young it still has the competitor's edge. If you compare it to any other history/wargaming magazine of today it can easily hold its own. To be honest, it has only gotten better over the years since its first release. This review is about S&T's #338 issue. Let that number sink in. You should also see the writers and designers' names that have graced its issues. There you will find a plethora of our hobby's notables. That is enough of the past; now let us look at this issue and the ones to come. Here is some of its index:

Russian Boots South: The Conquest of Central Asia
   By Joseph Miranda

Hill 395: Korea, October 1952
   By Jon Cecil

The Gallipoli Campaign, Part 2: A Strategic and Operational Analysis 
   By John D. Burtt 

End of the Safavids: The Battle of Golnabad, 1722
   By Vernie Liebl


  Will Russia Use Tactical Nuclear Weapons in Ukraine?
   By Gilberto Villahermosa

  Syria Update
   By Andrew Mulholland

  The Cuban Air Force in 2022: A Shadow of its Former Self
   By Javier Romero Munoz

For Your Information:

  Assyrian Siege Warfare
   By Cam Rea

  Anti-Communist Uprisings in the 1950s
   By Maciej Lonasz

  Operation Fork: The Allied Invasion & Occupation of Iceland
   By Jon Cecil

  As usual the magazine is filled with many more historical tidbits. 

 To be honest, I really did not know anything about the Russian conquest of Central Asia during the 19th century. I assumed that those areas were taken over much earlier. I have read about the 'Great Game' between Russia and England, but that is almost entirely about their actions in and about Afghanistan. I also knew very little about Persia and its history after the age of Timur. Opening up an S&T issue has always been an immense pleasure of mine. This is because I learn at least one thing, if not many more, new about military history. 

The Central Part of the Central Asia Game Map

  Russian Boots South is the name of both the issue's game and the largest article in this issue. This is one of the greatest points about wargaming that I absolutely love. You not only get to read about the actual history, but you also have a chance to be in the protagonist's shoes as it were, even if you do not have any intention of playing the game. The map that comes with the game will make that point in history much clearer to you. 

 The next article is about the battle for Hill 395 from October 5th to 15th 1952. While reading about the first attacks to take the hill from the South Korean defenders, the movie The Battle of the Bulge came to my mind. The defenders rolled napalm charges down the slope toward the Chinese attackers. This is another excellent article that, as usual, is full of maps. The lack of maps is a sore point in many military history books. S&T has never had this problem. 

 Tha next article is the second of two parts on the entire Gallipoli Campaign. This really caught my attention. As I grow older my interest in all things about World War I has skyrocketed. The Gallipoli Campaign is one of WWI that I especially like to read about. 

 Then we go into the 'End of the Safavids: The Battle of Golnabad 1722'. Reluctantly I have to admit that I do not ever remembering hearing or reading about this ruling house of Iran. I certainly never heard of the battle that brought the Safavid Empire to a close after ruling for 221 years.

 As I stated, the rest of the articles and the smaller insets about military history are there as they are in every issue, chock full of information that makes an old grognard blush for not knowing them.
Assorted Counters

  As mentioned, the game inside this issue is 'Russian Boots South: Conquest of Central Asia'. The area of the game is bordered by the Caspian Sea, Persian Empire, Kingdom of Afghanistan, and China. You will play either the Russians or the different Khans in the game.

 The map itself is 22" X 34" with the hexes representing roughly fifty-three miles across. The map is just as good as one you would find with any boxed wargame. The color scheme and the terrain depiction works very well on the map. There are 176 5/8" counters. The hexes on the map are also nice and large. The troop counters represent 1000-5000 men. The rules are done in normal size type and are sixteen pages in length. There are three scenarios. Each game turn represents a span of one to six years. The rules are done in full color. The only thing they are missing are examples of play. However, this is a magazine and only has so much room to stuff all it does between its covers.

 The game system is based on other games for S&T: They Died With Their Boots on, Julian, and Sepoy Mutiny. This is one of the games that wargame magazines were made for. I would be surprised if many wargaming companies would take on a relatively unknown part of history like this. S&T has brought many of these games that are a niche of a niche to the wargaming table. 

 The game is a good one. It takes a while to get used to the terrain and your troops. There is a 'Great Game' table that marks the level of how each player is doing in the game. The higher the number, the better it is for the Russian player. The lower the number, the Khanates are doing better. To make the fog of war more interesting there are also an Incident Table and a Fortunes of War Table. The designer, Joseph Miranda, has added these optional rules to make the game even better:

The Russians can build the Trans-Caspian Railroad. The 
Railroad connects Krasnovodsk to Khokand fortress. 

26.1 Starting the Railroad
Railroad Construction is done as part of the Russian 
activation of the Caucasus Sub-command, during the 
Movement sub-phase. To start Railroad building, the 
player must have a Railroad Engineer in the start hex 
(Krasnovodsk). Expend one OP (8.0) to move the 
Railhead marker in the hex. 

26.2 Continuing the Railroad 
To further extend the Railroad, move the railroad 
engineer unit up to its movement factor along 
contiguous railroad hexes. For each such hex, expend 
one OP and move the Railhead marker. 

26.3 Railroad Movement 
To use Railroad movement, a mobile ground unit starts 
or moves onto a railroad hex. Expend one MP and 
move the unit an unlimited number of hexes via 
contiguous railroad hexes. If the unit has movement 
factors remaining, it can continue to move normally. 
Railroad and non-railroad movement can be combined 
in the same Movement phase. 
EZOC: A unit may start in in an enemy ZOC when it 
begins rail movement . It must cease its rail movement 
when entering a hex in an enemy ZOC. (This is a special 
case for 15.0). 

26.4 Railroad Supply 
Units on a railroad are automatically in supply if they can 
trace a line of railroad hexes back to a Russian 
controlled port or fortress hex. All intervening hexes 
must be clear of enemy units and their ZOC. 
ZOC do block rail lines of supply. 

26.5 All the Live Long Day 
Only Russian mobile ground units can use the railroad. 
Once built, a railroad hex can not be destroyed. 
The railhead marker has no other effect on play. 
The Railroad Engineer can also move without building RR 

26.6 RR and Victory Points 
When playing a scenario ending on Turn 8, modify 
Victory Points (5.2) by one of the following: 
No RR built: -6 
RR reaches Geok Tepe: -3 
RR reaches Merv: 0 
RR reaches Bokhara: +3 
RR reaches Samarkand: +6 
RR reaches Khokand: +9 

27.0 MORALE 
Historically, winning big battles did much to shift overall 
morale in Central Asia. 

27.1 Incident Markers 
1) if the attacker plays an Abject Lesson marker and 
pursues into a fortress, raise the Great Game index by 
2) if the attacker plays an Agent marker and pursues into 
a fortress, lower the Great Game index by one. 
Note: these effects are in addition to the index shifts for 
gaining control of the fortress. 

In the 1870s the Russian military went through an 
extensive reorganization and modernization of 
armaments. Therefore... 

28.1 On turns 1 to 3: 
1) Recruiting: the Russians pay one additional OP for 
each regular cavalry, infantry and artillery unit 
recruited. Other units are recruited per the Outfitting 
2) Cavalry Pursuit: Russian regular cavalry can Pursue 
only one hex instead of two hexes (19.0). 
27.2 Starting with turn 4: 
The above special cases are dropped; use the normal 
rules for Recruiting and Pursuit. 

Historically, both the Russian and British empires were 
reluctant to engage in open armed conflict with each 
other. Therefore... 

29.1 Open War 
The first time in a turn a Russian unit attacks a British 
Empire unit or vice versa, raise the Great Game index 
by one. Open War is applied on each such turn. It is 
applied only once per turn, regardless of the number 
of such attacks. 

29.2 Empires Only 
This applies only to the three Russian and the British 
Empire Sub-commands, not to other Sub-commands 
controlled by the players. 

29.3 Apocalypse in the Steppes 
If as a result the Great Game Index is pushed above the 
max number, the game comes to an immediate end 
(special case for 7.1). Check victory per (5.2)"

 Thank you S&T for allowing me to review this issue. The components and magazine are up to their normal level of history and gaming goodness. I will soon have a review posted about S&T issue #339 Saddam Moves South: What If.


Strategy&Tactics #338 Russian Boots South, Conquest of Central Asia: