30 September, 2010


I raised the issue of using casualty markers in games in a poll a while back and discussed the results here last week.

Photo from the Helmand Blog - more photos on Flickr

Here's the medic and casualty figures from Britannia's Afghan range

Medic and wounded squaddie

Both medics and a few casualties
Medics Treat Casualties

Close-up of the two different casualty types (there's something quite plaintive about the face-down model I think)
British Casualties

Afghan casualties
Afghan Casualties

Close-up of the Afghan casualties
More Afghan Casualties

Also a couple of new US entries - including one double-figure of a guy dragging his wounded buddy
Fire Team takes Casualties

Until next time!

28 September, 2010

If it Moves, Shoot it

After BattleTech we considered a game of Inquisitor, but settled on Frag instead.

Definitely a game for more than two, but the potential carnage is plain to see. After wiping the floor with me in the first game, and the initial stages of the second, I pulled off a coup-de-grace with this shot.

Frag - Wall, What Wall

-You reckon I can see you from here?
-You could, except for the wall, Gavin calmly asserts
-Wall, what wall? (I triumphantly display the card)

Jimmy Changa is not happy!
Frag - Jimmy Changa

Hanzo chuckles to himself
Frag - Hanzo

Also, I noticed a fantastic piece of terrain (done up by Dave Churchill)

Stage 1 - disturbed ground
Dave's Monster - Phase 1

Stage 2 - Maw and tentacles erupt
Dave's Monster - Phase 2

Stage 3 - Monster emerges
Dave's Monster - Phase 3

All three stages side by side
Dave's Monster

Also spotted in the BattleTech case was this Centurion, carrying the head of a Victor (spinal actuators still dangling)

Centurion displays fallen Victor

27 September, 2010

No Way Out!

Played this scenario from the Fourth Succession War scenario pack on Saturday. Gavin and I agreed that we could do without the usual crazy concentration of forces for published scenarios and cut the number of 'mechs involved by half.

The scenario places a heavy non-jump lance in a swampy mapsheet, cornered by a superior force. It's mission is to escape off one of the narrow map edges
Lance cornered

Stalked from other flank: I deploy my lance in the central four rows first, and then Gavin deploys his anywhere on the other two mapsheets. The challenge is to not tip my hand and allow my opponent to fortify the obvious route
Stalked from other flank

Long trek around or through the swamp begins. I've chosen the way past the more manoeuvrable trio (Stalker aside) but at least this way I'm going straight through the jump-capable Phoenix Hawk and Jenner (who could've caught up with me no hassle if I went the other way)
Long Trek Begins

Rifleman starts to take fire - he takes an enormous amount of damage throughout the encounter, and does quite well for a lightly armoured 'mech
Rifleman starts to take fire

Phoenix Hawk looking for trouble - overheating and damage causes him to choose discretion over valour over the next few turns
Phoenix Hawk looking for trouble

Heavies pursue the lance, I try to keep terrain in between them and my forces, but they still manage to get off some long-range missile and laser/PPC shots
Heavies Pursuit

Rifleman's leg taken out by close-range barrage from the Stalker
Rifleman's leg taken out by Stalker

Lance finally gets free of the swamp - although just in time. I'm starting to take fire from the forces behind me
Lance free of swamp

Battlemaster exits forest and turns to take on the Stalker (we did make some jokes about this pose suggesting a kneecap shot!)
Battlemaster Kneecaps

Long Range Missile from Crusader kills Warhammer! Having previously taken a large laser to the head, a missile salvo destroys the internal structure. Mostly undamaged and just in brawling range of the blocking units the Warhammer is a big loss to the lance
Long Range Missile from Crusader kills Warhammer

Stalker seriously damaged, including two leg actuators (kneecapped indeed!)
Stalker seriously damaged

Rifleman continues to fight from the ground, and with the Stalker pilot unconscious, the prospect of damaging an immobile 'mech is seriously tempting the Battlemaster to stick around
Rifleman continues to fight from the ground

Jenner's intervention unwise, a single PPC shot from the Battlemaster destroys its right arm entirely
Jenner's intervention unwise

The Stalker, satisfied that the danger has passed attempts to rise, but falls back down. The pilot's in serious danger of falling unconscious from repeated bangs
Stalker falls back down

The Battlemaster and Archer escape, the nearby Phoenix Hawk and Jenner are both probably unable to press matters any closer, but there's no time to dawdle as the intervention of the Zeus and Crusader could prove fatal
Pair escape

A nice little game, a draw is declared as I've gotten two 'mechs off in pretty good shape.

We did comment that it could've only ended up this way with 3025 technology, anything more advanced and the battlefield would have been a smoking ruin!

24 September, 2010

Camlann Lancers ready for battle

Four posts in four days, and more to come after the weekend. Don't let this become a habit or people will expect the same level all the time!

Off to Galway for a spot of BattleTech with these guys. Classic heavy 'mechs with some real personality - though I have no idea what they'll be facing...

Heavy lance moving through urban area
Lance Moving

Battlemaster leads the way

Rifleman provides fire support

Archer ready to loose missiles

warhammer providing some heavy firepower

The lance concentrates at a junction
Camlann Lancers

Scenario writing for Gaelcon is coming along nicely. Got an order from S&S Models last week (great service by the way) so I want to paint up their hotspots and IEDs as well as finish painting a few buildings. So (fingers crossed) in pretty good nick as far as preparations are concerned.

Results of the Poll on using casualty figures are in:
Absolutely - The more flavour pieces, the better 12 - 46.15%
I Should - But usually I can't be bothered 6 - 23.08%
Maybe - If they're available 5 - 19.23%
No - Don't see the point 3 - 11.54%
Never - I don't want to be reminded of the realities of war 0 - 0%

Interesting. Personally I love the flavour they add to a game, and if they're available I try to use them. But I would never not play a game or think the less of a setup if it didn't have casualty figures.

23 September, 2010

Black Mamba Down - Scenario

A scenario for Tomorrow's War...


The Sakhan Liberation Army (SLA) in the Anabar region have been planning their first major strike for some time now. A large dropship has been shot down and has crashed near an out-of-commission processing facility. The incident has drawn in a nearby HCPS patrol and the SLA intend to do it some serious damage before escaping with any high value targets or equipment which has survived the crash.


Secure the crash site and destroy the rebel force responsible for this outrage


Capture if possible or eliminate any high value targets at the crash site. Bloody the nose of the relieving column.


A large factory complex dominates the battlefield. The crash site is located near the main office. The factory complex has a perimeter fence, but this is badly maintained and has several fallen sections.

The complex is surrounded by some rocky ground, fields of a wild wheat analogue and further north there is the beginnings of a hilly forest. A rough road leads from the forest edge to the compound.

Deploy the HCPS on the road to the north of the fields
Deploy the Sakhans in the forest near the compound perimeter


Human Co-Prosperity Sphere
Type: Regular
Confidence Level: OK
Supply Level: Well-Supplied
Tech Level: 2
Networked Command (Grid): Sometimes (TL2)
Body Armor: Light Body Armor (+1)
Troop Quality/Morale: D8/D8


Patrol Force

ZSL-12 (Armoured Personnel Carrier)
1st Squad is commanded by an NCO and comprises two fire teams (2xIWs, 1xSAW), (2xIWs, 1xAT)
Weapons Team (1xHMG, 2xIWs)

ZBD-39 (Infantry Fighting Vehicle)
2nd Squad is commanded by an NCO and comprises two fire teams (2xIWs, 1xSAW), (3xIWs)

ZFB-35 (Light Tank)

Quick Reaction Force

Z-22 (Utility VTOL)
Power Armour Squad is commanded by an NCO and comprises two fire teams (2xIWs, 1xGPMG), (2xIWs, 1xAT)


Sakhan Liberation Army
Type: Irregular
Confidence Level: High
Supply Level: Normal
Tech Level: 2
Networked Command (Grid): None
Body Armor: Light Body Armor (+1)
Troop Quality/Morale: D6/D8

1st Squad is commanded by a leader (6xIWs, 1xSAW, 1xMarksman) and also includes a medic

2nd Squad is commanded by a (5xIWs, 1xSAW, 1xAT)

3rd Squad is commanded by a leader (6xIWs, 1x SAW, 1xMarksman)

Anti-Armour Team (2xAT, 1xIW)

Sniper Team (TQ D8) (1xSniper Rifle, 1xIW).

Sakhan Mercenaries

Type: Regular
Confidence Level: High
Supply Level: Normal
Tech Level: 2
Networked Command (Grid): None
Body Armor: Light Body Armor (+1)
Troop Quality/Morale: D8/D10

1st Squad is commanded by a squad leader and comprises three fire teams (3xIWs, 1x SAW), (3xIWs, 1xAT), (4xIWs)

2nd Squad is commanded by a squad leader, and comprises two fire teams (3xIWs, 1x SAW), (3xIWs, 1xAT). Elusive. No Body Armour

Drone Team comprises three tracked Smart Bots. These are typically integrated with the fire teams of 1st Squad.

Sakhan Sniper Team (TQ D10) (1xSniper Rifle, 1xIW)


Fog Of War cards are generated by reaction tests as normal.


The Grid

Due to the distance from the regional capital, the HCPS force does not have access to The Grid.

At the Crash Site

Each figure on board must make a successful Troop Quality check to avoid becoming a casualty.
Crew: Pilot, Co-Pilot, 2xTechnicians (TQ D6)
VIPs: Colonel, Chief of Staff (TQ D8)
Security: NCO, 3xIWs, 1xSAW (TQ D8)

*Crew and VIPs are only armed with Pistols.

Quick Reaction Force

The QRF can be called for when the Patrol Force has lost a man KIA, had a vehicle disabled or destroyed, or had two units pinned down.

A successful TQ test by a unit leader (like calling in an airstrike) will result in the QRF coming on board two turns later.



Each Regular Unit reduced below half strength +1
Each Irregular Unit broken +1
No POWs in enemy hands +5


Each HCPS Unit reduced below half strength +1
Each HCPS Vehicle destroyed +3
Each HCPS Vehicle disabled +2
Each VIP captured +3
Each VIP killed +1


Available here as a pdf

22 September, 2010

Tomorrow's War, Today

The pre-release version of Tomorrow's War is out today.

“If you want a game where you can 'buy' success with your army list, where every weapon you have works as it should all the time, every metal or plastic figure follows his orders exactly, and where the flow of the game is chess-like in its predictability, then there are quite a lot of others out there for you. But if you want a game that makes you feel like you are leading a squad of real soldiers in full NBC gear through the rubble of Beijing, or you’re up to your ass in mud and bugs in the jungles of Exlax V and you know that a Separatist Militia sniper team is out there somewhere, then you want Tomorrow’s War.”

– Jon Tuffley, Ground Zero Games – from his introduction to Tomorrow’s War.

GZG's stuff has been my North Star for science fiction gaming for years, so it really says something that he's given his imprimatur to the rules!

Read the full blurb from Shawn here

I nearly have my scenario (Black Mamba Down) ready for my Novaya Sakha Rebellion background, so I should get that out over the next couple of days once I've given the final version of the rules another once-over.

I'm heading down to Galway this weekend for some BattleTech and possibly Inquisitor action, so you'll probably be seeing a lot of action here next week.

Also, the casualty figures poll is closing tomorrow (on the top-right of the blog) if you still haven't registered your take on the issue. Thanks!

21 September, 2010

The Wounded Beast - Scenario

This is the scenario originally written for last weekend, until we discovered that the T-72 model was a behemoth (probably 1/48 scale). It should be fairly easy to re-fit for a different setting though.
Of course T-72s weren't really in use in Afghanistan (I don't think they made it off the airfield!) either, so we were going to use the T-62 stats.
Available as a pdf here

Mission Brief

A punitive column has been sent deep into Qandahar by the Soviets. A T-62 is with them, in order to test how it can cope with the green zone.

It’s thrown a track when making a tight turn inside a village, and due to a command oversight, the T-62 was left behind. A single BMP carrying an engineer team has been sent back to get it moving again.

Soviet Mission Objective

Repair the T-62 and get it back to the main column as soon as possible.

Mujahideen Mission Objective

Destroy the tank or prevent anyone from repairing and moving it away; it will be helpless once night falls.

Table Set Up

A small village with outlying walls. The two main buildings form a rough square while the outlying buildings are separated by open ground. Surrounding the village are several poppy fields.

To the south of the village is a wadi, overlooked by broken steep banks. A rough road crosses it at a small ford.

A small copse of trees lies to the east, and to the west lies some broken rocky ground.


Deploy the Soviet T-62 at the main corner and the recovery team at the ford.

Deploy one Mujahideen group near each hotspot.

Soviet Force Composition

Soviet forces are well supplied and are confidant (TQ D8/ Morale D8)

The Beast

1 Fireteam (3xAK-74s, 1xRPK)
Marksman (1xDragunov)

Recovery Team

1 Squad of two four-man fireteams (3xAK-74s, 1xRPK) & (3xAK-74s, 1xRPG)
1 Machine Gun Team (1xPKM, 1xAK-74)
2 Engineers (2xAK-74s)

Mujahideen Force Composition

The Mujahideen have normal supply and high confidence (TQ D6 Morale D8)

Leader & Group of 6 (5xAKs, 1xRPK)
Leader & Group of 5 (4xAKs, 1xRPG)
Group of 6 (5xAKs, 1xRPG)
Group of 6 (5xAKs, 1xRPK)
RPG Group (1xAT RPG, 1xAK)

Reinforcements Table

Roll Reinforcement Unit

1 Leader + 1d6xAKs, 1xAT RPG
2 D6xAKs, 1xRPK
3 D6xAKs, 1xRPG
4 D6xAKs, 1xRPK, 1xRPG
5 D6xAKs + Roll Again
6 D6xAKs, 1xRPK
7 D6xAKs, 1xRPG
8 Leader + 2D6xAKs

The Insurgency level is 4 for this scenario and reinforcements appear at the beginning of each turn when a 3 or less is rolled on D6.

Fog of War

Draw new Fog of War cards during reaction tests as normal.

Special Rules

Repairing The Beast’s tracks is going to be a difficult task.

Two successful TQ checks by the Engineers are necessary to get the tank back moving. If the Engineers get a full fire-team of soldiers to help they’ll roll a D10 instead of just a D8.

After the repair any movement at Flank Speed or over difficult terrain may throw the track again. Roll crew’s TQ at 4+ to avoid this.

[I realise that repairing a track isn’t quite so quick or straightforward in real life, but if it bothers you, just pretend it’s a different technical problem!]

Victory Conditions


The Beast’s track is repaired +5
The Beast crosses the ford without major damage +5
Each Mujahideen Group Broken or Destroyed +1


The Beast is destroyed +10
The Beast’s Track is not repaired or it does not make it over the ford by nightfall +4
The BMP-1 is destroyed +5
Each Soviet soldier killed +2

15 September, 2010

Mujahideen Counter-Attack

On Saturday night I ran a follow-up scenario of Ambush Alley. This one saw a depleted Soviet force (although one with a BMP-1 and a BRDM attached) defend the Panshir village against an Afghan counterattack.

Lloyd took advantage of my liberal deployment instructions to place his entire force on the two hotspots at one end of the compound (though it may have been due to the free chair there!)

Afghans swarm

Swarming techniques alarm the Soviet commander, as he realises that a fire team and sniper in the other compound will have difficulty engaging, but can't be withdrawn just in case.

How did they get so close

The BMP-1 engages the Mujahideen on the other side of the compound (where all their RPG assets are concentrated). A group of Afghans scurries across the open ground and the BMP turns its main gun on it, bringing it crashing to the ground. Only one Afghan is killed and the rest are unfazed
[Forcing me to look up the rules for heavy weapons attacks on buildings, and damage to troops inside!]

BMP Intervenes

A long-running firefight erupts across the rooftops, with the Afghans pouring men into the building but they are unable to force the Soviet troops out

Firefight across the rooftops

A lone ant-tank RPG gunner sets up to take on the BMP. He survives its machine gun fire and takes out the main gun!

Brave RPG gunner

Two Mujahideen show up behind the ridge, and contemplate going over the top...

Lonely reinforcements

The BMP retreats, having lost its machine gun to RPG fire as well. It avoids an explosive device in the market but the nearby Afghans behind the ridge can't muster up the courage to put their RPG to good use

BMP Retreats (avoiding IED)

Long-range fire takes out the fire-team in the compound nearby. The sniper team has also taken casualties (all Soviet infantry casualties came from this compound, and not the hornets' nest across the way!)
No one's available to keep an eye out for the wounded BMP now, and the lone sniper must drag his spotter across the rooftops to check on his mates (helped by a medic who suddenly appears beside him)

2nd Squad taken out

The BRDM explodes as it takes more fire from the Afghans in the wrecked house

BDRM explodes

Having finished their tea downstairs, a four-man team of Spetsnaz arrive on the scene to lay waste around them, crushing the last vestiges of Afghan strength in the area

Spetsnaz finish tea

A nice follow-up game, touch-and-go again until the end. The Spetsnaz were decisive, but amazingly enough the Soviets hadn't taken any casualties where they were most at risk.
Of course the vehicles didn't come too well out of it!

We also discussed doing a campaign for Steve's new Soviet platoon. I'll be lifting the great campaign structure from Ambush Valley (the Vietnam supplement) wholesale.
Though obviously I need an Afghan with a Stinger to take out the Hind Steve's ordered!

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