Picking up on my account of last weekend's war games slumber party Chez James, here are some more thrilling accounts of small scale derring do and (increasingly for the weekend) my tactical misadventures. Again, you can read Rabbitman's take on it here, with different pictures.
During OP TD1 I got a chance to play with James' modern Afghan kit, and I certainly wanted another crack at it. In a recent post here, I commented on how some gamers inspire me with their determination to assemble a large project, and with their perseverance to get it right over time. James' Afghan project is an excellent example of what you can do with a vision, some determination, and some spare cash. He also made a very interesting and, I think, wise decision to do it in 20mm, to be able to represent platoon scale actions and to take of the variety of metal, resin, and plastic kits out there.
We decided to try Black Ops from Osprey, using their rules for sneaky covert stuff in the dark. I was quite interested in evaluating the utility of these rules for my own Weird War project, which will also involve lots of dark sneaking and frights in the dark. We decided that we would send a small team of Canadian JTF special forces operators into a remote village to neutralize (good) or capture (better) a high value target.
Here's the view of the recce team from their mountain perch. Just waiting for night and the insertion of the grab team.
First team makes it move in the pitch darkness. Two more teams approach through the dry creek bed on the far side of the village.
Sniper team lies in overwatch. I was very nervous about using these fellows, as missing a shot and having a wounded, loud guard on a rooftop could have been bad, However, they did prove very useful once the op started.
Case in point. 'Hey, Achmed, you want to go get a falafel after our shift? Achmed?' At this point I had used the sniper to take out the guard closest to Alpha Team's infiltration route and had gotten lucky. However, a random movement roll brought the sentry's partner over to his colleague's direction. I committed my sniper a second team and, fortunately, took down this fellow before he could give a warning.
Both rooftop sentries down, Alpha Team moves past a ruined wall. In a small orchard nearby, another sentry was patrolling. Alpha team leader snuck through the trees and came up from behind, dispatching a third sentry.
Alpha team stealthily clears rooms, killing the sleeping Talib fighters. None of this is heard or noticed by the sentry above them, who, inexplicably, never looks down. It must be very dark in the wilds of Afghanistan.
On the other side of the compound, Bravo Team is not so fortunate. The roof sentry above them notices figures moving in the dark and challenges them with a burst from his Kalashnikov. One round hits the Bravo leader, but his chest armour saves his life. The rest of Bravo team, and the sniper, unleash a hail of rounds on the guard, who amazingly passes five saves before he goes down. The blue tiles are noise markers.
I would have thought that the whole warband (minus the half dozen killed in their beds) would have poured out of their huts, but that wasn't how the rules seemed to work. Instead, the leader came out to see what was going on. Alpha Team, hiding behind a Hilux pickup, watched through their NVG incredulously as Mr. High Value Target stauntered out in front of them.. Two operators dashed forward and bested HVT in a quick struggle.
Mr. HVT is bundled into the second truck, which has luckily was left with the keys in the ignition. Alpha Team throws HVT in the back, none too gently, and drives off into the night, singing BTO's Taking Care of Business loudly. Bravo and Charlie (Charlie never fired a shot, was never needed) melt back into the dry creek, where Alpha abandons the truck, rigging it with a block of C4 just because. A good night's work, and another Black Ops story that will never appear in the Globe and Mail.
In the afternoon we shifted to a game of Chain of Command in 15mm, pitting my Soviets against James' Jerries. A can of beer seemed the perfect accompaniment to a Too Fat Lardies game.
A randomly determined scenario had me on the attack, using a somewhat compressed games table. My objective, the village of Turnipograd. With 12 support points, I bought an elite squad of scouts, a 5-man Maxim MG team, and an opening barrage to hinder James' opening deployment. With our jump off points quite close to one another, I thought I might have a chance early on to grab at least one of his.
Turn one and my elite scouts grab part of the town and hope to press on. Thanks to my opening barrage, James doesn't get to put a lot fo troops down for Turn One, but diastrously for me, he rolls two sixes, meaning that he gets two turns in a row.
Turn one and my elite scouts grab part of the town and hope to press on. Thanks to my opening barrage, James doesn't get to put a lot fo troops down for Turn One, but diastrously for me, he rolls two sixes, meaning that he gets two turns in a row. Because James took two green squads with his support points, he gets two eztra LMG teams, and he has a lot of firepower and bodies to put in the way. I get held up on the right.
And on the left, my poor scouts are hammered by the Germans, waiting for them with an LMG in the cottage and the rifle team on the far side of the farmyard.
A third German squad deploys by its jump off point and while it can't move, it can shoot. They shred the squad supporting my scouts. I discovered that in a game of CoC where the Junp Off points are close to one another, the battle becomes a knife fight where you can be cut up quickly and fatally.
My Maxim team opens up and punishes James, landers in return, but on the right, my rifle squad is getting bashed about by its jump off point. Just before this shot was taken, my Maxim team got ten hits on ten dice, an amazing throw.
And in their second turn of firing, the Maxim team rolls ten misses on ten dice, and is now suffering from incoming fire. Meanwhile, James uses his infantry advantage to swing wide, taking my first JO point and threatening my second. My Force Morale is plumetting. The only good thing about my effort is how nice my Jump Off points look. They are painted resin objective markers from a ompany called Army Group North miniatures.
My scout squad has been wiped out, and I an now down to one intact squad. Time to call it a day.
After filling me full of lead, James filled me full of excellent Indian takeway. It seemed a fair compensation.
It was good to playChain of Command again but sobering to realize how unforgiving it is to poor tactics. My plan was very poorly thought out. I led with my best asset and had no way to support them. I put two JOs on the right axis of my attack but committed almost all of my attacking elements to the left axis of attack, leaving these JOs to be tempting prizes just asking to be grabbed, which they were. While it was unlucky for me when James got two turns in a row, these things happen and a plan which depends on luck is not much of a plan.
Black Ops was a lot of fun to play, probably more fun for me than for James, who bore his sentries' incompetence with good humour. I like the mechanisms in Black Ops, especially those for covert actions, and think it would be quite easy to modify them to my own Weird War Two project, which has lots of sneaking and skulking and frights in the dark.
Op Thundering Dice concluded with us playing the Lord of the Rings boardgame I have described here previously. It took us a good four hours, but I watched in increasing frustration as Sauron while the nasty hobits got into Mordor and kind of ambled their way to Mount Doom. Actually it was tense. I had several good chances to stop them but several supporting characters (Gandalf the Grey, Boromir and Legolas) all sacrificed themselves willingly and allowed the Ringbearer to achieve his mission. It was terrific fun, particularly as we imagined the Nazgul advisors leaving the council meeting where Sauron declared war, shaking their heads. 'Now my irrigation project for Nurn will never go forward. Always war, war, war.' 'Yeah, and my Mordor Tourism Board budget is getting totally slashed now. I had this great idea for aerial tours of Mt. Doom by Fell Beast.' 'Always war, never trade. My free trade agreement with Gondor was almost ready to sign. Years of work wasted.' Such is the sad lot of an evil counsellor.
Blessings to your die rolls and may all your games be as much fun! MP+