Thursday, October 30, 2014

New SAS Painted

EDIT Nov. 08:  Available now in the shop, proper release announcement will follow when the other sets are painted up, meanwhile they´ll already be available to my regular blog visitors ;) 

Just a quick shot of my painted SAS.

Not entirely happy with the DPM, but acceptable I think.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Upcoming Enfilade Figures - Preview

EDIT Nov. 08:  These are available now in the shop, though only with these preview-pics for most of the sets as I didn´t (and won´t) have any time to paint them all up properly. US Infantry will get a second fireteam + squadleader, so this set is a preliminary release and will be expanded into a full squad with the next batch of casts.


Getting home today I found a nice little package in my letterbox...  New casts!

So after basing and giving them a little pre-shading with black and grey primer, here we are with a small preview:

US Infantry in IOTV

SAS with SLR

Taliban Small Cell with Leader

Eastern European Insurgents with AK.

An together with those last four, Babai and his Crew will also be released as a second pack. I got no photos of him as he´s already half-painted, but here´s an old pic to refresh your memory:

All the new figures are slightly larger than the previous minis I made, as I got several comments on their size being a little bit smaller than other 20mm minis. So these should be a better fit!

Monday, October 27, 2014

Hunting Abu al Kabris - A mini-Batrep

Last saturday we had another demo-battle for our new modern warfare rules, so I´m giving you a very very condensed version of the events that transpired.

I brought to lists, pitching USMC with Cobra Air Support against a mixed bag of Insurgents, featuring Hardcore Foreign Fighters (the best of the best), regular Taliban and a small group of Local Militia hired to support the hardened troops.

The task at hand was to hunt down and kill Abu al Kabris, a high ranking leader in the Insurgent hierarchy who was believed to have a safehouse in a small industrial complex in the mountains.

The Target: Abu al Kabris

The Battleground
The Insurgents started the game by rolling an extraordinary success on their command roll, which enabled them to move the HVT into the central industrial complex closer to their troops. Even after doing that they had enough activations left to bring their troops into position and cover the road.

The USMC moved in slowly, covered the hills on the north-eastern part of the battlefield which overlooked a good part of the map.

Soon, a firefight erupted on the eastern flank as US Marines moved in, surprising the PKM-Team that where in an exposed position without cover.
The American killed three of four Taliban, the return fire caused a single casualty on the American side who turned out to be lightly wounded.

After seeing three of his mates go down the PKM-gunner decided to retreat into the nearby bushes but got shot during his retreat and didn´t get up again...

The nearby RPG-Team then unleashed a volley, scored a direct hit on an American Fireteam and caused two more casualties, one of which was a serious wound.

The US answer was swift, a fireteam unleashed hell on the RPG-team, the Forward Air Controller called in support from the Cobra Helicopter and though the request was successful, the strike would be delayed due to the RoE and Clearing procedures, giving the Taliban enough time to evacuate the position.

However, the infantry fire did kill most of the cell before the Taliban moved away.

The Taliban then consolidated their groups on the eastern flank and moved towards the buildings to avoid (or at least delay) further Airstrikes, leaving the left US flank relatively open.

Instead, they focussed on defending the western flank and tried to call in more reinforcements, who arrived in the form of two small cells in the back area of the US. One of those was quickly spotted and dispatched before they could mount a devastating rear attack from their ambush position, but the other team appearing out of a compound forced the US Marine players to divert a full Fireteam to guard the exit of the compound.

The game was finally decided when the US Marines tried to push on the right flank and ran into very determined resistance from a Syrian LMG-Team and an Afghan RPG-Team of Hardcore Taliban. Though the US where able to deal with the Afghan Team and initially pinned down the Syrians, they soon found themselves under a barrage of RPK-fire.

The Syrian LMG Team - the Game Changer

The final, incredibly lucky series of rolls was the US attacking the Syrian LMG team, firing first with four firepower successes. All four where saved by the Syrians, who counter-attacked with 5 Firepower dice, rolling ALL successes and had the US blundering by failing ALL 5 saving rolls against a 4+  

Three KIA where the result, bringing the Taliban up the Taliban victory score close to auto-win. They now needed to roll a 2+ to win the game (trying once each turn) and thus we had a Taliban victory, as the US where far from killing the HVT.

Decisive Taliban Victory!

Everyone had great fun and loved the game, so I´m looking forward to playing some more demo-games, we seem to be on the right track. Some small balancing tweaks and finishing the writeup on the basic rules and we can enter the public playtesting stage!

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Code Red - Dev Diary 5: Dice, Cover and Conceilment

Today we´re talking about dice.


Those of you who played Force on Force will remember the multitude of dice used to display different quality levels. The charm about that solution is that you can set a flat target number (like 4+) as a success threshold and don´t bother about modifiers for different troop quality levels or profiles with differing success numbers.

A problem I encountered after inserting my saving roll into the infantry firefight was that I suddenly had two thresholds for successes - 5+ for saves on a D10 (always a D10, no matter the troop quality)  and 4+ on Troop quality dice on all other aspects.

You can probably see the problems that created - suddenly it was no longer clear which dice you should use, you had two different target numbers and no coherent ruling.

I also found that people mistook the different dies (especially D8 and D10) and grabbed the wrong ones, a problem not uncommon with players new to Force on Force.

So one day I wondered if it was worth sticking to the dice and principles inherited from FoF and came to the conclusion that I could simply switch to a single die type: my beloved D10.

Friday, October 24, 2014

The Russians are coming!

Hey folks,

with the next batch being processed by the caster (scheduled to arrive sometime next week, release soon after) I initially started working on the second US Fireteam to complete my squad, when an unexpected opportunity presented itself.

Russians in "Ratnik" Suits - Image Source:  RIA Novosti

A german customer looking to build up a modern Russian Force agreed to fund the creation of a full squad of Russians - modern Russians with "Ratnik" Combat suit. As these where somewhere down on my list of things to build sooner or later I was able to offer a very favourable commission fee and we set in motion the creation of 7 poses for Modern Russians.

So I suspended my work on the Americans and started doing Russians :)

(The figure on the left is still work in progress, the others are pretty much finished)

Some more pics from earlier stages:

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

More US Infantry

The start of a new Fireteam and the missing Squad leader...

The M249-SAW is being built right now, forgot to take a WIP-pic though.
Here´s the back side of the two guys:

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Taliban Small Cell

Life is colorful!

No, I haven´t been experimenting with drugs, but ordered some more colors of sculpting putty. I grew tired of always using grey and it´s sometimes hard sculpting with it when the light is not strong enough. So with winter approaching I ordered some bright orange and some blue to experiment with new colors.

Orange is quite cool, provides a good contrast and makes it easier to see crevasses and depths on the figure. Blue is fine when the sun is shining outside, for darker environments I´ll try mixing it with white to get a lighter shade of blue.

And as you can see, orange is much easier to photograph!

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Code Red - Dev Diary 4: Infantry Firefights

In this installment of the Dev Diary series I´ll be talking about the evolution of Infantry Firefights throughout the development of the rules.

Source: Wikimedia Commons

Infantry firefights have changed remarkably since I set out to design the house rules. Of course there´s been a major break away from Force on Force with the introduction of my special changes, but even compared to the Firefights of the Houserules the mechanic has changed quite a bit with additional aspects being considered (such as conceilment) while reducing the overhead procedures and simplifying the mechanics.

Friday, October 17, 2014

More Enfilade SAS

Another small sneak peak at the things to come with the next batch of cast metal...

SAS with SLR!

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Road Clearing - Post Game Analysis

Alright, as promised here comes the post-game analysis.

As a reminder, I´ll repost my Pre-Game analysis and work from that base:

 This game will be tough for me as the Taliban player. These Veterans will likely be able to inflict some damage and the worst thing that can happen to me is losing Leaders. I´ll have to preserve my leadership at all cost even if it means keeping them out of sight of those marksmen and detaching them from the local troops, drastically reducing their efficiency.
The PID-checks should give me a small head-start as do the Ambush-cards. Should allow me to chose my fights and strike hard where I want to.
Biggest problem will be to reach the ambush locations in time to set up an effective ambush. Hopefully my IEDs and dummies can slow the enemy down long enough for me to maneuver in. Once in position, I should be able to provide pretty effective fire on close range... hopefully some elements are pinned at that point, otherwise I might be on the receiving end before I get to act.

So, to be honest, it wasn´t as hard as I expected. We had a nice post-game summary discussing why this was the case and it came down to the following points:

I had expected to feel a lot more pressure on my chain of command. I dreaded the combination of Marksmen and Veteran units that could have taken out my leaders with ease once they had line of sight. But they never even bothered trying. In fact, a lot of the final result was due to playing the US list below its capacity. Combine that with some bad dice (or good dice for me) and you end up with the bloody mess you can see in the BatRep.

The game started out badly for me with a wonky initiative roll putting me on the backburner for the first turn, delaying my setup of the ambush. Fortunately I was still able to bring my forces into an L-shaped ambush position while the US Forces approached.
Once I commenced the assault it went downhill for the US as they never even tried to turn the tables.

Two blatant mistakes where: The lack of Overwatch to threaten my units - the psychological effect of having a Stryker on Overwatch can do a lot to restrict your ability to act. The fact that he gets a Bonus on reaction tests AND gets to interrupt multiple activations does wonders to inhibit your opponents - if you´re not trying to actively suppress a unit to prepare an assault or more your vehicle, Overwatch can be a powerful tool, not only on the offense.

Second mistake was the lack of smoke. Being under constant observation from a leader with radio connection to a mortar battery is never good (and even worse if he is as lucky as my guy was) so breaking Line of Sight can help a great deal (also against direct fire weapons) and give you the time you need to regroup and rally your troops.

Apart from those two un-used mechanics the US forces weren´t used in the best way possible. Conducting a counter-ambush assault towards the south would have broken line of sight with the ambushing troops on the eastern table end and potentially crushed the very thin Taliban presence in the treeline.

Alternative plan
In the dense terrain the Veterans could have played to their strengths - they are quicker to react, shoot better and have some decent chance of killing enemy troops at close distance. Of course getting close and personal also comes with the danger of losing troops easier, but there´s no risk-free option in combat

Pushin down to the south would either have forced me to retreat to the east, relieving pressure from the road or resist and go down fighting, but on American terms - not on mine.

With the southern part of the road cleared the Americans could have resumed the fight against my troops in the east, taking them apart piece by piece.

The way it played out, the US player was stunned and didn´t really act, so I got to do my bidding. And even veterans don´t survive long if caught in the open. They need to be in cover to fully exploit their superior skill, otherwise they will get pinned easily and suffer from reduced efficiency and take casualties and be occupied with stabilising the critically wounded.

Bringing no Medic was the another big mistake, he could have stabilized some of the critically wounded, freeing precious resources for offensive action.

Playing the way he did the US Forces would have needed Heavy Air Support...

Alright, on to the observations on the game mechanics:
There´s not much to say. The system works quite well by now, but there are some points for fine-tuning we discovered:

-RPGs are to expensive: Anti-Tank weaponry should have reduced cost to reflect their limited amount of ammo if played without an ammo bearer / assistant. So the cost will be reduced by 30-50% to reflect that

-Up-Armored vehicles are to easy to kill: The critical shot of the game was due to Small arms dealing too much damage to up-armored softskins. We´ll reduce the chances of small arms killing an up-armored vehicle by adding another modifier. Only heavy volume fire should be able to penetrate these vehicles.

-HMGs are too inaccurate. Time and time again the M2s fired and missed - too much missing for my taste. We reviewed the statistics and found that it was too hard for HMGs to hit, so we brought it back in line with the to-hit chances for infantry.

And that´s it. Some more ideas where spawned, but that´s nothing relevant to this game in particular. We both feel that we´re on the right track!

Thanks for reading through to this point, we hope you enjoyed the insight and hope that we´ve caught your interest.  If you want to know more, subscribe and/or tune in for the weekly developer diaries every sunday!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Hardcore Taliban Painted

Another late autumn day with good weather! So I spent the entire afternoon painting until the sun went down yesterday and here are the results:

These five guys will see some action on saturday!
And if the weather stays the same I might just get a few more Insurgents done in time :)

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Road Clearing - Playtest #2 - Bloodbath

While waiting for some new figures to harden I might as well continue with the BatRep.

In Part 3 we saw the US getting pinned down close to their first objective with the Humvee taken out by a lucky shot and American Soldiers in the crossfire.

At the start of Turn 7, the Light Mortar Salvo arrived with some delay and deviation.

Of course Allahs Hand guided the Mortar rounds right onto the top of the Infidel Invaders, striking fear into their hearts. Three Americans are wounded or killed by the detonation among their ranks.

Retreating from the battered position into the nearby fields, they find two dead and one seriously wounded, taking the Fireteam down to one effective member who has to tend to the critically njured.

More casusalties are the result of the other firefights of last turn - all in all, a pretty devastating first aid phase for the US.

The Taliban have initiative this turn and continue pouring fire into the battered troops by the Humvee-wreck. The firefight is pretty ineffective for both sides, nothing happening due to bad shooting, good cover and good morale.

Taliban-Team 4 now maneuvers towards the rock formation to get into close range and engage the Fireteam that is exchanging bullets with the Taliban MG-Group (Cell 1).
They manage to pin them down and inflict another casualty.

The Stryker now turns the gun barrel towards the MG-Group (Cell 1) and suffers a malfunction due to an Event Card / Fog of War.

The US Player is getting desperate and keeps calling for an A-10 to bail him out, but none is currently available. Support is being scrambled but will take time to come on station.

Turn 8 begins and the American commanders seem to get their act together by rolling a good initiative roll. Unfortunately it will be hard to turn this into any tangible results with all the trouble going on....

They chose to regroup under the Cover of the M2-Humvee which engages Team 4 to no effect (missing their shots) and gather their effective squads at the Stryker.

Observing the cluster of activity that forms around the Stryker, the Taliban leaders again radio their Mortar crew to drop more rounds on that position. Again, the rounds land squarely on top of the Stryker and while they are not capable or arming the ICV, the troops taking cover behind it are certainly effected.

Another casualty is caused by the Mortar rounds.

Meanwhile the Taliban leadership is trying to get their RPG on target to kill off the Stryker, but the RPG gunner are unwilling to expose themselves. Cowards!
The HMG-crew isn´t very cooperative either and keep ignoring the call to arms as I try to reposition them closer to the fight.

So I order my leader to get down there, do some slapping and drag the unwilling recruits to the fight.

Turn 9 then follows suit.

The mortar casualty is found lightly wounded, scratched by some shrapnels but easily fixed up.
 The M2 Humvee fires at Group 4, again failing to inflict any damage.

The battered Team from second squad (2-2) moves into the Stryker to drop their critical casualty and reorganize themselves.

The Stryker joins the Humvee and opens up at Team 4 as well, I try to interrupt this with my RPG-team. Again they display their cowardise by ignoring my command!

The Stryker manages to pin my Team 4 but fails to cause any more casualties.

Meanwhile, the Taliban radio their Mortar again to drop more rounds at the previous position (which is giving a bonus compared to chosing another target point!).

As a last activation for my turn, I move the HMG-team closer towards the white compound, this time they follow the command.

Turn 10 starts with the Mortar barrage arriving, again landing squarely on target with one round exploding on top of a US soldier, instantly killing him.

Again, Stryker and HMG-Humvee are battering Team 4 - this time the RPG-Team manages to interrupt, but the RPG swooshes past the target and explodes a few meters back. The blast does inflict more casualties on the Fireteam (2-1) taking cover behind the vehicle. The return fire from the Stryker is rather unpleasant for the RPG-crew though, taking down both members.

The focused fire on Team 4 causes the expected amount of casualties and neutralises the team.

Finally, the US Infantry starts to join in with their fires on Team 1 and Team 7. They manage to take down a member of my MG-Team and pin it in place, but their fire in Team 7 is ineffective.

In my last activation I try to end the game, with 42 Victory points and 2 Fog of War cards in my hand I need a 6+ to win if my opponent doesn´t spend any of his own..

He does spend two Fog of War cards he has on his hand, forces me to test on 8+ on a D10 to carry the victory home...

And that´s it.

Knowing they have hit the Americans hard and fearful of Air Support coming on station or QRF troops rushing in the Taliban disengage in an organised fashion and scatter into the underbush and hide among the locals in the nearby village.

US Media outlets are feeding the bleak news to the public and another brick in the wall crumbles...

Last part will be a small post-game analysis.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Modern US Infantry

New figures fresh from the workbench.

EDIT: With the sun shining today (one day after the original entry) I took a new pic on the balcony - MUCH better now!

A work in Progress pic: 

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Code Red - Dev Diary 3: Command and Control

Today we´ll be going into the details of developing the Command and Control Mechanics that form the core of activating units in our new Modern Rules.


I´ve covered the reasons for designing this mechanic in Dev Diary #1, so I´ll not repeat the details here. As a reminder, I didn´t like certain aspects and had the following vision in designing the mechanic:

  • The number of units that can be activated per turn should be restricted to raise the question of prioritising and a decision over scarce ressources.
  • Squad and Platoon Leaders should become important elements of the game
  • Units operating together should be encouraged to do so on the tabletop (i.e. fireteams in the same squad operating close to each other in mutual support). 
  •  Morale Effects of Units should restrict their ability to act or react. 

A lot of research and experimenting followed.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Road Clearing - Playtest #2 - Hell on Earth

Last time we stopped in the middle of turn 4 with the Americans slowly advancing along the road...

Of course the Stryker wasn´t completely oblivious about the presence of the Sniper team, but being restricted by the Rules of Engagement they where not allowed to engage at this time.

The other Humvee then positioned itself behind the Stryker with a Line of Sight to the treeline. Spotting another Taliban cell there and even confirming them as enemy, they started dropping grenades. Unfortunately the shells landed off the mark and fails to do any damage with the few fragments that land near the cell.

In return, the Taliban called in Mortar fire from an off-table light mortar, dropping a few shells right inside the enemy formation.
With an exceptional roll I managed to get the mortar rounds right on target immediately - unfortunately I had anticipatd some amount of deviation, so the rounds where not landing at the best spot.

One Infantry group was within effect radius but suffered no adverse effects. The Humvee also remained unscathed while the Stryker was immune to the light mortar rounds.

The Sniper, perfectly aware of the Stryker HMG pointed at them finally engage the Infantry team in the treeline. With their scoped rifle they manage to take down one US soldier and pin down the team.
The US Soldiers return fire and kill the Taliban Spotter.

Now being occupied with the Sniper team they barely notice the second Taliban team creeping close from the south through the underbrush. Due to their superior training they actually manage to fire first on the flanking team but fail to do any damage thanks to exceptional die rolling by the Taliban.

The flanking fire by the Taliban (being an MG-team firing with a PKM on point blank range) is far more devastating, dropping two US soldiers and forcing them into retreat. They reposition behind the Stryker and begin patching up their wounded

Using an Ambush Card the Taliban reposition their RPG-team into the treeline to the east of the road to save some time, hoping to squeeze off a shot at the Stryker. Unfortunately the team is a bit slow to receive the orders and cannot act this turn.

So I order more reinforcements, receiving a HMG of my own that still has to be brought into position.

With the final activation I order another team in the treeline to get more lead down range. They manage to pin the US team at the northern part of the road but fail to inflict any more damage.  US return fire pins the Taliban cell and makes them put their heads down.

Turn 5 starts with me trying to wrest the initiative from enemy hands, again failing with just 2 successes versus 3 american activations.

The M2 Humvee (immobilized) starts shooting at the Taliban Sniper and kill him (or so they think, maybe he´ll come back?).

The Stryker is driven onto the middle of the road to obscure the view on the wounded team and the exposed infantry. All the while, the HMG is belching lead.

The third vehicle joins the barrage by moving forward, firing the 40mm-AGL into the densely populated treeline. Of course the Taliban population doesn´t like the grenades and suffers heavy casualties, including a precious RPG-gunner and a LMG-gunner.

In a desperate attempt to stop the hail of grenades, two local Taliban empty their magazines on the vehicle and manages a critical hit on the Humvee...
One of the bullets penetrates the armor, ricocheting inside the cramped Humvee, destroying the CROWs-electronics and disabling the vehicle.

All crew and passengers (the Humvee actually contained another infantry team) bail out and make a quick headcount. Infantry Team 1-2 has two casualties, the crew has its gunner wounded (or dead?)

The Taliban leader in the treeline calls for another mortar salvo, again straight on top of the Stryker hoping for some deviation.  The call is not immediately available, but it will hit in 2 turns with a deviation of 2", which could get interesting...

With the RPG-team disabled for the time being (maybe someone can pick up that RPG later...) I call for more reinforcements and get ONE Insurgent. Just one. Well, better than nothing, he will reinforce the battered RPG-cell which was down to one man.

I actuall forgot to place the Humvee-passengers. There´s another team north of the disabled humvee

In Turn 6 I finally took the Initiative with the US troops rallying a team and rolling very very poor for command and control.

This turn I would be able to dictate the flow of things...
But first we had to check casualties.
My Sniper was dead and would not come but, but the RPG gunner had only suffered a concussion and was indeed far more valuable in this situation than the Sniper.
On the American side, one of the casualties by the Humvee was found dead, torn apart by the bullet spanking around inside the vehicle. The rest of the passengers and crew where lightly wounded

The critical casualty behind the Stryker had meanwhile succumbed to his wounds for the lack of professional advanced first aid by a Medic.

So the scales where starting to tip towards a Taliban success with 3 Objectives met (2 KIA, 1 Vehicle Disabled) I just had to eliminate a few more hostiles or vehicles while keeping them from pushing through

And the first thing I did to slow them down was trigger the IED that was placed right next to the disembarked Teams...

The explosion caused another casualty for the Humvee Crew who where again down to one and keeping their heads down.

I then activated my RPG-team which was back in action with their heavy weapon to take down the Stryker.  Unfortunately the team by the Humvee pre-empted my move despite being pinned and took down the RPG with their Designated Marksman. So much for disabling the Stryker then...
At least my return fire caused some more upheavel in their ranks by shooting another US soldier.

The Hardcore Taliban MG-Team then maneuvered closer to the humvee, ready to strike the killing blow by targeting the leader taking cover behind the wreck.

The NCO was quick to react and squeezed off several shots, taking one of the Afghans down before being pinned down by a salvo of Machinegun fire.

Then the dreadful howling of incoming mortar rounds filled the air...

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Road Clearing - Playtest #2 - Contact!

We started the game (see Setup if you haven´t read it yet) and bad luck struck the Taliban:
Their command structure fell into disarray in the very first turn, with leaders discussing their different views and versions of their plans far to long without acting, giving the US Forces a considerable head start.

The first US Humvee approached the main road while the Taliban where still quabbling over minor details. As you can see, the road was cluttered with suspect devices, forcing the US commander to advance carefully or take considerable risks of having his ass blow up.

More movement followed, the Taliban were merely able to activate one unit. So I chose to deploy my hardcore RPG-team into the treeline along the main road.

Beginning of Turn 2

Turn two was a lot better, rolling for activations still gave the US Forces initiative, but this is to be expected when playing against veterans.

The US commander disembarked his first fireteam (note that we overcrowded the Humvees a little, they did have gunner, commander + 4-5 passengers, so it must have been very cramped in there) and headed straight for the first suspect device to disable it. The other vehicles followed up and lined up nicely behind the first humvee. Unfortunately I didn´t have Line of Sight, otherwise that would have made a nice mortar target.

But the Taliban where still struggling to get into position after the fatal results of the first turn.

Turn 3 begins

Turn three actually yielded a draw in the initiative phase, which means the US keeps going.

As his first activation the US Leader advanced his Humvee, trying to pick off my Hardcore-RPG team (Team 3). The Humvee makes his PID-check and identifies the hostiles, but finds itself under fire before it can walk the rounds in.

Taliban positions

The RPG wooshes past the vehicle and lands somehwere far behind it, causing no damage.
Infantry small arms fire fails to do any damage to the up-armored Humvee, but the Humvee Crew is still struggling to spot the Insurgents and fail to hit them with their HMG.

The Stryker turns up on the scene and also starts pumping HMG-rounds in the direction of my RPG team, again missing their mark (but just barely, the impacts are coming closer), then the second Humvee follows on the track of the heavier vehicle

The Taliban commander orders their right flank to catch up with the rest, hoping to prepare an L-shaped ambush. Unfortunately Team 6 does not get the order or still has other plans - anyway, they refuse to move at this time and need more shouting, threats and insults.

Last action is bringing more reinforcements onto the board - and I roll a Sniper-Team which should give me some counter-sniper ability against the marksmen and enemy leaders. I set them up on the right (eastern) table edge where they can observe the entire main road.

Turn 4 is about to start

Rolling initiative for Turn 4 I thought for a second that I could wrest initiative from the US with 4 successes - if the US rolled badly.. but of course they achieved 5 sucesses which will have me on the backburner this turn just like the previous one...

So the HMG continues to put fire on my unlucky RPG team...
Again, my RPG-team is faster to fire but as the Taliban logistic network is far from effective, they have no more munitions for their RPG, which leaves them in peril. They resort to their AKs, burst-firing at the Humvee and riddling the vehicle with bullets. Aiming for the wheels they manage to destroy a tire, immobilizing the up-armored jeep.
Unfortunately this leaves the vehicle operational, so no Victory points for that feat.

The Humvee returns fire, this time hitting with full effect and causing a casualty and a morale effect. I decide to retreat in the face of massive US Firepower and lose another man while pulling out. Hopefully I can patch at least one of them up, but the chances are slim.

Volker then dismounts his Infantry Squad from the Humvee, fanning out to inspect the suspect devices that scatter the road. A high-risk strategy as any of those could be an IED!

And all the while, they are observed by the patient Sniper team waiting for the right time to engage...

Stay tuned for part 3 to see if my ambush suceeds or if the superior American firepower and training will win the day!

Part 3 is up: Click here to view

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Road Clearing - Playtest #2 - Setup

Hello everyone and welcome back to another playtest session for our new modern ruleset.

This time we´re going to test some more advanced aspects of the game, including Fire Support (both onboard and offboard) from heavy weaponry, Vehicle destruction (hopefully) and the scenario generator including the inherent balance.

The following scenario has been generated with the mechanics supplied by the game, which will be covered in a later dev diary. For now, I´ll just reveal that this is a game of about 1200 points (1175 to be exact, originally planned as 1000pts but we had to adjust some aspects that where forgotten in the pricing and just chose to expand the game by granting the other side more points).

Knowing what we´re about to test we generated our list independent of each others and ended up with the following setup: 

US Forces

The US Army fields a veteran patrol in three vehicles. These combat-hardened troops will be a tough nut to crack for my Taliban as they are just faster and better in everything...  asserting initiative, identifying threats, shooting...
And their designated Marksman are certainly going to hurt my command structure.
But they´re few and if they suffer casualties the bullets won´t care for their veterancy.

1x Platoon Leader
2x US Army Rifle Squad (Veteran, Good Morale, 1x Designated Marksman per Squad)
2x Humvee (1x M2 HMG, 1x Mk40 AGL)
1x Stryker ICV  (M2 HMG)

Taliban Forces

My Taliban are a small but flexible group, a mix of "full-time" hardcore fighters and ragtag locals recruited for this specific mission. The idea is to have a list specialised on ambushes with a good mix of reliable troops (the hardcore fighters) and disposable meatshields (the locals) combined with a set of Ambush-Cards that enable my troops to pop up where the enemy doesn´t like it.
The list also brings in a number of IEDs to inhibit enemy maneuvers and Rules of Engagements to lessen the impact of the American Firepower. I also made sure to bring reinforcements to put more troops into the meat grinder.

1x Small Cell (+PKM-Weaponteam, Hardcore)
1x Small Cell (+RPK, +Leader, Hardcore)
1x Small Cell (+RPG, Hardcore)
1x Small Cell (+RPG, Local)
1x Small Cell (+Leader, Local)
1x Small Cell (+ RPK, +Leader, Local)

= 6 Small Cells (=18 Taliban), 3 Leaders, 2 RPG, 2 RPK, 1 PKM

1x Medium IED + 2x IED Dummies
1x Small IED + 2x IED Dummies
Mortar Support (Light Mortar)

Rules of Engagement:
PID-Checks Level 1
General Fire Support Restriction

Reinforcements Level 3


US Force have to clear the road of IEDs and continue their patrol to the southern end of the table, exfiltrating a number their units off the board. 

The Taliban have to conduct an Ambush on said patrol and kill as many US Serviceman as possible and/or destroy as many vehicles as possible.

The Battlefield

The battlefield is a small intersection of roads in the greenzone, with a lot of adjacent fields and some compounds scattered around the area.

The US rolled the northern edge as their starting edge, which puts them behind a large field as cover ready to work along the road and exfil to the south.

Pre-Game Analysis

 This game will be tough for me as the Taliban player. These Veterans will likely be able to inflict some damage and the worst thing that can happen to me is losing Leaders. I´ll have to preserve my leadership at all cost even if it means keeping them out of sight of those marksmen and detaching them from the local troops, drastically reducing their efficiency.
The PID-checks should give me a small head-start as do the Ambush-cards. Should allow me to chose my fights and strike hard where I want to.
Biggest problem will be to reach the ambush locations in time to set up an effective ambush. Hopefully my IEDs and dummies can slow the enemy down long enough for me to maneuver in. Once in position, I should be able to provide pretty effective fire on close range... hopefully some elements are pinned at that point, otherwise I might be on the receiving end before I get to act.

We´ll see...  Let´s get rolling!

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