Wednesday, 7 February 2018

A Generous Review on Lead Adventure

A Mr wharfedalehome (possibly not his real name) has left a review of ARBM on the Lead Adventure forums that I would like to share: Direct Link to Review

His comments are very generous and I would be lying if I was not extremely flattered. As well as the link above I have pasted his review here. I hope others find the book as valuable.

(Author of ARBM) : If you are interested in obtaining a copy, I can contacted here.

wharfedaleme     Re: Australian Civil War or "A Right Bloody Mess"
« Reply #91 on: January 26, 2018, 01:44:49 PM »

This is a book review of A Right Bloody Mess by Matthew Clarkson. I don’t normally write reviews of, well, anything. I think that if a product is good enough it should sell itself. I know that in an age of mass media and image building this is very much a minority view. So be it. However I think that A Right Bloody Mess (ARBM) is truly exceptional and deserves acknowledging and widespread exposure - hence the review!

The book blurb elegantly and succinctly summarises the entire book for me, so I quote it in full:

Welcome to A Right Bloody Mess, an alternate history of civil war in Australia during the 1930s. A Right Bloody Mess provides you with everything you need to know about the first year of the Australia War, the events leading up to the crisis and its participants. A Right Bloody Mess is a plausible, alternate-reality sandbox environment bursting with historical detail. Created by a wargamer for wargamers, this volume is full of comprehensive information about Australia in the early 1930s and the factions involved in the conflict.

These are ambitious claims I think you’ll agree. But the truth is, Matt delivers these and more with style. OK, enough of the effusion. Here’s the nitty gritty:

Title: A Right Bloody Mess
Author: Matthew Clarkson
Price: £45 / A$80 + postage (you need to ask for local rates as it varies considerably)
Publisher: self published, Australia 2017
Distributor: or direct from the author at:
Importer to UK: None at present (but it really deserves somebody to get behind this exceptional product)
Support & Information: from the author at:
Format: hard back, 6” x 9” (your regular hardback book size).
Pages: 275 pages (there is probably more information in this one volume than has been published on all of VBCW in 10 years. OK, this is not a competition, I’m just trying to give you an idea of what you get for your money).
Quality: professionally bound, with colourful dust jacket, beautifully printed on semi-gloss sepia paper (gives it a very 1930s feel), lavishly illustrated with hundreds of images (troops, models, flags, equipment, interesting places, personages, maps, plans – you name it)
Contents: The contents are broken down into 6 sections:
Section 1 – An Overview of the Australian War (background on Australia in the 1930s, the constitutional crisis over funding that provides the “what if” trigger [ie: like the Edward Abdication crisis in Britain for VBCW] that led to the kidnapping of New South Wales’ Premier, Jack Lang on 13th May 1932 by the New Guard [ie: the “what if”], and what subsequently happened)
Section 2 – Australian Armed Forces Pre-Secession (a breakdown of Australia’s army, navy and air force in the 1930s including their equipment and weapons, details of civilian weapons and equipment that could be pressed into service)
Section 3 – Descent Into Chaos (commentary on the factionalisation that led to war, how troops might be organised equipped and uniformed, model figures that you can use or adapt)
Section 4 – Faction Guide (a long and imaginative list of factions that you could organise anywhere from the towns of New South Wales and Victoria to the outback of South Australia or Westralia. Factions cover left wing union and political groups, state organisations such as police, criminal gangs, right wing extremists as well as immigrant groups and more)
Section 5 – Wargaming ARBM (using and adapting miniatures, useful rules to model ARBM, setting up scenarios and campaigns, how to play skirmish, platoon ands regimental sized games, how to add roleplaying elements, two fully fleshed out examples of Factions from Section 4)
Section 6 – Additional Information (the use of Morale and Quality in an Aussie setting, Primitive 30s technology, raising Militia units, taking the history beyond the opening year of 1933, designer notes, useful links)

This is a work of love by Matt and a real thing of beauty. It is an inspiring, fun and intriguing wargame book on a believable, exciting and new campaign. So if you want to know what happened to Jack Lang, figure out who are the New Guard, want to lead the Australian Light Horse into battle or fancy tooling up an old roadster and screaming across the dusty tracks of the Big Red then get this book. Read it and you’ll be hooked, trust me. It’s like VBCW meets Back of Beyond with a dose of Mad Max thrown in. If you think VBCW is a little unhinged and jolly good fun then your Kangaroos will be loose in the top paddock when you’ve read ARBM.

Once in a generation a wargame book sets new standards. ARBM does this and more with it’s novel approach, its exciting ideas and its bravura performance. For me this sits up there with the best - Featherstone's and Bath’s early stuff of the 60s and 70s. Go on treat yourself, you’ll be pleased you did.

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