Home Forums General General B Troop IS coming back!

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  • #144409
    Peter Berry
    Participant

    Back in the early 1980s four young men shared an interest in playing with toy soldiers, spaghetti westerns, Monty Pythons Flying Circus and old Western films. The leader of this little gang was the inspirational Ian Beck who devised a means of playing a game that combined elements of all four of those passions. To this end, he came up with an ingenious idea whereby all the players were on the same side and had to work cooperatively to defeat the Indians and defend the various civilians populating the table.

    That game became ‘Pony Wars’.   Touring shows in the North and Midlands it was a huge hit with many followers and fans.  The radical approach of co-operative play and Hollywood style action was revolutionary at the time, and although both concepts are part of contemporary gaming, it was this rules set that pioneered the approach.

    Very sadly, Ian died in a car accident in the mid-1980s. This was a huge loss to his family, his many friends and the wargames hobby as a whole. His ability to come up with novel ideas and concepts and express them clearly and with style has never been matched. The Pony Wars rules themselves have been out of print for many years. Remaining copies are now collector’s items and extremely rare. Owners tend to hang on their precious copies!

    Requests for a reprint of the rules have become more frequent over the years, and as a result, the three remaining members of that little group are arranging a one-off edition, which will be made available via subscription.

    The new edition will be a faithful reproduction of the original rules with nothing changed or added. However, we will bring it up to modern production standards with a professional layout, full-colour printing and hardback covers. Some acknowledgement to the development of the hobby will be made with appendices offering some options for streamlining certain aspects of play and using the rules for other sized figures than the original 15mm. To accompany the rulebook there will be a double-sized deck of full colour, laminated incident cards.

    We aim to get the new edition out later this year – the 40th anniversary of their first publication.   To this end we have opened a subscription page here.

    It’s time to mount your horse, adjust your fancy yellow neckerchief, check that your bugler is ready, raise your right hand and utter the immortal words, ‘B troop, column of twos, forward, Yo!’ and ride to meet your destiny…

    #144421
    jeffersjeffers
    Participant

    You’ve probably already seen my reaction to the announcement  🤩. Although I still have my original battered copy…

    Back in 1983 I was off college with some virus I figured I got from homework. So, with time on my hands, I devised a way to play the game. I had plenty of art supplies, a rickety old table from my parents and a sheet of hardboard half the size of the recommended playing area. The rules said you could use card strips for the Indians, so I decided to do that for everything! I produced double-thickness strips (strong glue made them extra tough) to the right base size so it was to all intents and purposes now a 6mm game. Hills and buildings were super-thick card stuck with double-sided tape to the hardboard.

    I spent something like two weeks solid, playing every scenario until my dad pointed out I needed sunlight. It was a lot of fun, especially because it could be played solo so I didn’t have to come up with convoluted rules for the opposition.

    Sadly, those days are gone and I no longer have the time or space. But if anybody out there has, I thoroughly recommend these rules.

    More nonsense on my blog: http://battle77.blogspot.com/

    #144434
    deephorsedeephorse
    Participant

    This is great news Peter.  Despite being at the same club as Ian for many years I never got to play Pony Wars.  I do remember playing Ian’s ‘Lego brick’ ship battles which took up the entire dance floor though.  Thanks to another member of the same club I have a copy of Pony Wars, though I’ve never played it.  What prevented me was the sheer amount of ‘stuff’ you needed.  That much ‘stuff’ was well beyond my means to acquire until much later in life, and by then my wargaming interests had changed.  I now have the space, the means, the time, and much of the required ‘stuff’, so the inclusion of the laminated incident cards makes me interested in subscribing.  Thanks.

    Hitler was unstoppable at the time. People forget that at that time Hitler was virtually unstoppable. He was going through countries like cheese.

    #144435
    deephorsedeephorse
    Participant

    Subscribed.  I hope you get to the required number.

    Hitler was unstoppable at the time. People forget that at that time Hitler was virtually unstoppable. He was going through countries like cheese.

    #144448
    OB
    Participant

    It’s great to see this coming back into production.

    OB
    http://withob.blogspot.co.uk/

    #144451
    Gone Fishing
    Participant

    Playing a game of Pony Wars is my biggest unfulfilled wargaming dream. Like others have said, the sheer amount of stuff one needed (many cavalry troops, infantry, 600 mounted Indians (!), wagon trains, forts, villages, buttes…) kept me from ever taking the plunge. Maybe 6mm is the solution, though I fear they won’t have enough character to win me over. I’d love to be proved wrong! Some time ago there were photos of the new cavalry on the Baccus Facebook page. Hopefully sometime soon we might get a peek at the redskins…

    #144454
    MikeMike
    Keymaster

    Hopefully sometime soon we might get a peek at the redskins…

    Of course you mean Native Americans or American Indians?

    😉

    #144455
    deephorsedeephorse
    Participant

    Or The Washington Football Team.

    Hitler was unstoppable at the time. People forget that at that time Hitler was virtually unstoppable. He was going through countries like cheese.

    #144456
    MikeMike
    Keymaster

    Or The Washington Football Team.

    No.

    #144464
    Peter Berry
    Participant

    Pony Wars was written in more innocent times  and was itself based upon a genre of a past generation.  It is no surprise that some terms associated with the rules sound dissonant to our more ‘aware’ times.   I use ‘Indians’, although nowadays ‘Native Americans’ or even ‘First nation’ are more poliically and factually correct.  It’s A tricky line to walk – we try to keep the description factual without using language that might be interpreted as insulting or uncaring nowadays.  The other descriptive used in the rules is, ‘Hostiles’, and they are written from a cavalry perspective, I think that thus also an acceptable term.

     

    #144465
    Mike HeaddenMike Headden
    Participant

    The only game of Pony Wars  I actually played in was set in the Indian Mutiny (How terribly Anglo-centric 🙂 ). Replacing “Red Indians” with badmashes and sepoys worked perfectly well.

    I’ve always fancied a Boudiccan Revolt game using these rules.

    So….

    I’ve subscribed.

     

     

    Growing old is mandatory, growing up is entirely optional!

    #144466
    Gone Fishing
    Participant

    Good heavens. It appears two apologies are in order:

    Mike, no offense was intended, but only to reflect the tone of the original rules – remember, they are played very much from the cavalry’s point of view, as the title highlights and Peter explains so well. You might find consolation in the fact that the cavalry (may I say palefaces?) are generally slaughtered.

    More importantly, apologies to you, Peter, as I in no way meant to distract from this exciting news.

    #144467
    MikeMike
    Keymaster

    Cheers Gone Fishing, I suspected no bad intention more of a bit of ‘flavour’ talking and or a genuine slip.
    Thanks for the apology all the same!

    May your dice ever roll well.

    #144468
    Gone Fishing
    Participant

    And yours too, Mike! Now pass me that peace pipe…

    #144469
    deephorsedeephorse
    Participant

    Or The Washington Football Team.

    No.

    Not a follower of American Football Mike?

    Hitler was unstoppable at the time. People forget that at that time Hitler was virtually unstoppable. He was going through countries like cheese.

    #144470
    MikeMike
    Keymaster

    I don’t need to be a follower to know that their name is controversial at best, not that TWW is the place for sports or current affairs.

    #144472
    Guy FarrishGuy Farrish
    Participant

    ‘The Washington Football Team’ is the new (albeit temporary) name they chose this season to avoid the controversy Mike – which was deephorse’s non-controversial light hearted point I think.

    #144473
    MikeMike
    Keymaster

    Ah. In that case my apologies.

    #144625
    Peter Berry
    Participant

    Maybe 6mm is the solution, though I fear they won’t have enough character to win me over.

     

     

    Characterful enough?

     

    #144631
    deephorsedeephorse
    Participant

    ‘The Washington Football Team’ is the new (albeit temporary) name they chose this season to avoid the controversy Mike – which was deephorse’s non-controversial light hearted point I think.

    It was, thanks.

    Hitler was unstoppable at the time. People forget that at that time Hitler was virtually unstoppable. He was going through countries like cheese.

    #144632
    deephorsedeephorse
    Participant

    Ah. In that case my apologies.

    Your initial response made me think that you hadn’t understood my point, which was why I followed up with my question.  Apology accepted. 🙂

    Hitler was unstoppable at the time. People forget that at that time Hitler was virtually unstoppable. He was going through countries like cheese.

    #144633
    MikeMike
    Keymaster

    Apology accepted.

    Cool, ta!

    #144634
    deephorsedeephorse
    Participant

    ‘The Washington Football Team’ is the new (albeit temporary) name they chose this season to avoid the controversy Mike – which was deephorse’s non-controversial light hearted point I think.

    It was, thanks.

    Very nice!  But my attempts at painting 6mm can’t match those, so I’ll stick with 15s.

    Hitler was unstoppable at the time. People forget that at that time Hitler was virtually unstoppable. He was going through countries like cheese.

    #144635
    Gone Fishing
    Participant

    Those do look amazing. I’m glad to be proven wrong!

    #144639
    Gone Fishing
    Participant

    Peter, thinking about this. Are you able to say whether you intend to make figures for the “specials” in the rules, like the Lone Ranger, Gunrunners, buffalo, etc.?

    #144651
    Peter Berry
    Participant

    We are doing all of the ‘specials’.  I have the sculpts for the Masked man, his faithful sidekick and  Pony Express rider waiting to be moulded.

    PW can be played in any scale and 15mm worked just fine for the original layout.  6mm just makes it more practical and affordable.  With the right technique they really are no more difficult to paint than any other size of casting.

    #144652
    jeffersjeffers
    Participant

    Oh dear Lord, those are super! Duplicating my efforts from 1983 by halving the ranges I might just be able to fit it on my current dining table. If I can kick the rest of the family off for a while.  Not sure I could keep it going for two weeks, though!

    I would now probably base them in groups of five and let the ammunition sheets double as casualty rosters. Easier to handle the figures.

    Like I really need is another project 🙄…

    More nonsense on my blog: http://battle77.blogspot.com/

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