Last Saturday we played a game of "B'Maso", a set of rules for the period of decolonialisation 1950-1990 by Too Fat Lardies. This set of rules is closely similar to "I A'int Been Shot Mum" by the same authors. The mechanics are simple but the play is very interesting with the native troops moving as blinds that mark their location but conceal their composition from the Europeans. Additionally there is usually one dummy blind for every real one, just to keep the enemy guessing. Pat kindly provided the figures (largely Peter Pig figures) and ran the scenario and rules for us.

The scenario was a Rhodesian Police Patrol responding to reports of "trouble" near Mr. Patel's General Store, see the map below;

Scratch one APC

Blinds were scattered across the table with one positioned near the store, the Rhodesian Police came on searching the surrounding terrain for terrorist activity (aside from the burning warehouses in the distance they could see nothing) only to have one of their "mineproof" vehicles stumble onto one of the two mines that the ZIPRA forces had laid in the road. The vehicle was disabled but none of the troops killed. The other two spread out off-road, one heading for Patel's store, the other toward a nearby hill that looked suspicious.

At this point the ZIPRA HQ popped the ambush and fired an RPG at the damaged APC, hoping to take it (and the two squads inside) out of the fight. Against the odds, the RPG struck the APC and detonated, utterly destroying the vehicle but only wounding some of the passengers,  The rattled, but largely unharmed, policemen rapidly de-bussed while the other vehicles spotted the HQ and the ZIPRA squad #1 and engaged them with fire.

the ZIPRA commander celebrates the success with the RPG

The APC approaching the hill was engaged with rifle fire by squad #1 to no effect (so they are mine-resistant but seem to be bullet-proof). The constables dismounted in the face of ineffective fire and, seeing only a few terrorists on the hill attempted to engage them in close combat to take custody of them. This did not pan out too well as there were a great many terrorists on the backside of the hill. The section was wiped out except for their leader.

the constables charge to their doom

The ZIPRA forces followed the "shoot and scoot" policy and also broke away from the fight in an effort to disengage from the Rhodesians, This is where one of the aspects of the rules came into play in the favor of ZIPRA, in an effort to mimic the chaotic nature of small-unit combat the rules assign a card to each unit, there is also a card marked "Sundowner" which ends the turn of play. A unit can find it self unable to move if the Sundowner card is played before it has its card drawn. This happened to the other police squad and they found themselves unable to take advantage of the retreat of the ZIPRAs.  Meanwhile ZIPRA squad #2 had moved stealthily into an area of heavy scrub to cover the retreat of squad #1. They awaited the advance of the Rhodesians.

squad #2 lurks in the shrubbery

the constables nervously scan the terrain for signs of ZIPRA activity

Fortunately for the Rhodesians they spotted squad #2 in the brush and went to cover before they took any damage. A desultory fire-fight began. Behind them the squads from the burning APC began slowly moving forward to assist. As they did so they spotted squad #3 in the front edge of a spot of woods and engaged them with fire as well.

squad #3 feels the weight of enemy fire

At this point the ZIPRA HQ foolishly decided to try to again engage the remaining APCs with RPG fire. Every free rifle on the Rhodesian side turned on the HQ and it was crushed by fire, the OIC killed, and the rest scattering to avoid death.

While this was going on the third APC scurried along paralleling the road and approached the Patel store. De-bussing just a short distance away they crept up on the blind located just past the store only to find that the "suspicious activity" was Mr. Patel's cow. A quick search of the store revealed Mr. Patel's lifeless body and a ransacked building. The APC driver attempted to re-position the vehicle and managed to drive over the one remaining mine that the ZIPRAs had laid.

not the proper way to deactivate a mine lad, I guess we will walk

Freed of the distraction of getting in and out of their APC the two police squads turned their full attention to ZIPRA squad #3 which quickly buckled under the pounding and fled. Away on the Rhodesian right the constables had put ZIPRA #2 to flight and then calmly mounted up and pursued the fleeing remnants in an attempt to capture them.

the constables give chase

Cornered!   the ZIPRA troops surrender

They rapidly overtook the fleeing remnants of squad #3 and took them into custody as the other police squads (resourceful lads that they were) decided to use Mr. Patel's truck to replace their damaged APC. Sadly they found it had very poor cross-country performance and decided to de-buss (once again) and pursue on foot.

constables on the move

All in all I enjoyed the rules, they play quickly and give a good feeling of the disorganized nature of small-unit combat. They are different from most rules and you will need to set aside your preconceptions to grasp them (at least I did).

Anton Ryzbak