Went down the club and had a game of Through the Mud and the Blood with Rich.
As it was the first time playing the game for both of us I am sure we made mistakes on the rules, so my observations may be a little awry. I had the rule book, and had read the rules, Rich had not, so it is entirely a positive for the ruleset that after a quick explanation by me about the mechanics we both grasped the principles very quickly, and there were very few rules queries.
I played the Bolsheviks, and Rich played the British.
The British deployed on the table and were defending a village. The first turn was pretty non eventful as the snifter card showed up before the Russians. When the Russians did show up the fighting was fierce and bitter. The British were hampered early on by a shortage of ammunition that allowed the Reds to move more freely than they otherwise would have.
In the end the British were reduced to a diminished squad who manfully held the earthworks, and were facing off against a section of Red Guards, who were loitering in some shell holes, and a section of riflemen who managed to sweep around the village to get into a position to assault the earthwork.
And so to the game.
Because this was a test game I set it up so that the section leaders were level 2 and the platoon leaders level 3. In hindsight I should probably have reduced these, as for most of the game the leaders had more iniative than orders to give, and made suppression less of an issue than I would have liked. Perhaps if we were more experienced with the game, and were splitting sections for scouting, sniping, sending runners etc, then there would have been more hard choices.
Machine guns were certainly not overpowered, which I liked. True, one of my sections that ran forward to assault over open ground did lose 8 of it's men, and stacked up a heap of suppression, when it was opened upon by a lewis gun and supporting rifle section. But it was fine. And in truth the machine guns were often jammed, and for most turns were chipping off the odd casualty here and there.
We both agreed that we liked the card mechanic for iniative. It keeps both players involved throughout the game turn, and I rather liked that units would often remain static for two or three turns in a row.
All in all it was a good first try for the rules.
And they offered a fun and challenging game.