Impressions: Spectre’s December Releases

After the massive pile of releases in November, December saw a bit more of a focused set. For all of those who didn’t make it to Crisis, this was our chance to get hold of a set of useful support options for some of the other ranges. I’m always a fan of them going back to add new figures to the current lines rather than just pushing forward – when playing a skirmish game, it’s nice to have multiples of each role so you never end up with duplicates when outfitting your squad.

Task Force Nomad Sniper – Alfa

Task Force Nomad has a nice mix of weapons but only has one long-range support (the airburst grenade launcher). Luckily, this guy comes equipped with a XM500 sniper rifle to deliver the killing blow. This bullpup anti-material rifle is an update of the classic M82 and (depending on the profile you choose for it) should be a monster against infantry and light vehicles. In addition to his rifle, he is also sat on his kit bag. Finally, like all Task Force Nomad figures, he’s wearing local clothing to blend in with the crowd.

Like the rest of the Task Force Nomad range, this guy is great for playing some more sneaky missions or adding to a militia force as some advisors trying to operate under cover. He is a wonderfully detailed but simple character and will probably be a nightmare for your opponent when he appears on the tabletop.

Tier 1 Operators Breacher – Alfa

The Tier 1 guys seem to get all the good stuff and I have to say that this model has my favourite combination of gear. As well as his SIG MCX, this guy is also carrying a SIX12 shotgun. This revolver fed shotgun is the newest thing, able to be reconfigured for underslung and standalone use as well as various barrels. This one has an integrally suppressed barrel which should be perfect for when you need to silently infiltrate someone. If you want to be a little louder, the operator also has an axe to hand. This is perfect for breaking through windows and shattering locks, as well as

I have to say, this is one of my favourite models that Spectre has done. I’m always a fan of breacher focused figures and the axe/shotgun combination just makes this guy a must buy. It also makes the Tier 1 range a rather useful one to pick up. It now has 12 figures, with a solid core of 7 AR equipped soldiers and everything from SMGs up to multiple grenade launchers. All it needs is a second LMG figure and it would be perfect for people not wanting to go all in with the Task Force Operator figures. The range also now has two shotgun equipped guys, perfect for fighting through urban spaces.

Task Force Operators SMG – Charlie

The MP5 is the classic SMG, associated in one of its various forms with possibly every Special Operations Force in the world. That said, the availability of compact carbines and the rise in body armour can mean that it’s a little underpowered, leaving many to upgrade to its younger cousin the MP7. The two packs of SMG figures for the Task Force Operator range have only been using the newest kit so I was a little surprised when I found out that this latest figure was armed with the iconic 9mm subgun.

The model is posed in a pretty dynamic way, gun tilted to a 45 degree angle as he moves forward. From looking closely it has a retractable stock, red dot, laser and what appears to be a combined torch/foregrip. The barrel is also long enough to spot that it’s a integrally suppressed version. Overall, a pretty fantastic setup for sweeping rooms quietly. He also has the rest of the required Task Force Operator gear (helmet, sidearm, plate carrier, shades) along with a small assault pack.

Task Force Operators AT4 – Alfa

I am a fan of Professionals and Elites taking a Light Anti-Tank weapon in each squad for games of Spectre. Being able to hit back at RPG teams with a taste of their own medicine or knock out vehicles in a single hit is a useful bit of kit in the toolbox.  We’ve already seen the AT4 in the vehicle stowage pack so it was only a matter of time before we actually saw a figure with one.

This figure has the AT4 out and ready to fire. He also has a 416 (with magnified red dot, PEQ box and suppressor) slung in front of him. As you’d expect, he is rolling with the required Task Force Operator kit but with a much more complete plate carrier than the SMG operator. Plenty of storage places to carry extra gear.

The other cool thing with this release was that Spectre have released some weapon profiles for two variants of the AT4 which can be found on the page for this item. You can now pick between the HEAT round for blasting tanks or the HE for infantry killing. The HE round loses the Tank Killer ability and drops in lethality but increases the frag distance by 2″ making it much better for groups. Seeing as it’s a single shot weapon, I’d force the player using it to pick the

Task Force Operators MG – Bravo

Finally, the last figure from the release is a new operator with a LMG. For anyone who didn’t get the US SOF machine gunners from the early days of Spectre, you’ve been stuck with two LMG models. This guy should help to extend your options when it comes to building your team. What’s really cool is that he isn’t using the usual Minimi derivative but instead the Ultimax Mk5. This gun is considered very accurate for a LMG, with handling closer to an assault rifle and the ability to use a 100 round drum for when things get hot or standard STANAG mags to work with the rest of his team.

As for the model, he’s got the drum mag attached as well as red dot/magnifier combination and PEQ for laser/light duty. He seems to be wearing a low profile chest rig but is also carrying a huge rucksack just in case the drum runs dry. As well as a pistol he has the most dangerous of weapons – the operator beard. This should make him stand out from the rest of your team. Overall I really like this model. That said, he does have one hell of an awkward painting angle when trying to the underside of his left arm.

Final Notes

So final notes:

  • Really happy to see Spectre going back and adding more to existing ranges.
  • There were one or two mould lines that needed cleaning up but it was only very minor
  • The big thing with this group was relearning how to paint colour schemes I’d done before. Luckily two of the three ranges were mostly block colours
  • I’m looking forward to getting this lot on the table!

Wargaming Week 15/01/2018

Let’s start, covering the 8th through to the 14th of January.

BLOG STUFF

This week on the blog, we took a look at a brand new ruleset Round of Fire. I was really excited to try it out and from the few games I got in over Christmas it’s definitely something I want to play more of. Hopefully I should get a few games in.

To everyone who just started reading based off being linked to my Round of Fire Impressions, welcome! I hope you enjoy all the content that’s going up over the next few weeks. We’ve got a nice mix of articles planned, from figures impressions to tactics articles to battle reports.

NEWS

Not a huge amount of news this week, but I’d recommend going over to Tiny Terrain’s Facebook page to look at some of the new models from their “War in Chechnya” campaign. Beautifully painted up by Andy Zeck, these figures look awesome. I’m struggling to work out where I can fit them in the Bazistan/Zaiweibo theatres but I’m looking forward to grabbing them once they are available.

GAMING

Nothing yet – however, there is a Spectre game on the books for the 25th so look forward to an upcoming battle report on the 26th!

PURCHASES

As it was my birthday on the monday, and it’s a dumb item I’ve been looking at for a while, I decided to spend some money on the Citadel Painting handles. Before I go further, I am sure you could get something similar for cheaper but work being 5 minutes from the nearest Warhammer shop was just too tempting. I think I’m going to do a bit more of a write-up on them after they get a bit more use but I’m currently a fan. I’m not probably going to use them for bigger batch painting jobs but for doing small numbers (where you don’t have to keep swapping out the models) they are invaluable.

HOBBY

I was busy writing the Round of Fire Impressions this week but I did manage to get some painting in. The first set of the week (and in fact the year) was finishing off the models for the December releases impressions planned for Friday. These three were more Task Force Operators so apart from some of the new gear it was a return to the usual methods of painting this lot – block out the main colours, do most of the detailing and then paint on the multicam scheme.

The next main thing I’ve been working on was repainting the Spectre insurgents. The original set was done very early on in my return to the hobby and so had a limited colour pallet of OD and tan. This was starting to look a bit tired, especially next to the militia, and so I decided that enough was enough and they were dumped into the iso. As these guys are used pretty frequently amongst my OPFOR choices, the turn around has to be pretty quickly. This is especially the case as many of the insurgents are to be used as part of the demo game and a new paint scheme means new cards are needing to be printed. I’ve only done the basic colours so far, but the plan is to paint the insurgents in a mix of camo and plain colours to make them look a little more military than their militia buddies.


That’s it for this update, expect more updates next week!

Impressions: Round Of Fire Universal Skirmish Rules

As someone who reads a lot of rules, I should really starting asking for money every time someone calls their ruleset “revolutionary” – it would probably make me more than my current Adsense performance. In most cases people trying something new end up combining elements seen elsewhere in new combinations which do play in a different way but don’t feel like a brand new game.

Round of Fire from The Lazy Games is something new. It throws the common activation systems you know and love (card based, IGO UGO) to one side, create a new concept and instead makes it the core of the game, requiring a different set of tactics to most other games. It’s also something new for this blog in that’s it’s not an ultramodern ruleset specifically – the subtitle is the “The Universal System for Skirmish Battles”. As you might expect, universal rules are a risky prospect – go too generic and its lacking in character; focus too much on one era and other time periods feel stretched to fit.

Before we start full disclosure: I was provided these rules in PDF format by the author to play and give an impression on.

First up, let’s take a look at the book. It’s currently only in PDF format (available from the Wargames Vault) although there are plans for a physical copy. Starting to flick through it, the first thing that really stands out is how it looks. 98 pages long and each page is in full colour, complete with a background that doesn’t make reading difficult but might make it rather taxing in terms of ink if you decide to print it (EDIT: The author has informed me that the Wargames Vault download includes a printer friendly version). It’s packed full of wonderful pictures and clean, useful diagrams that actually help to understand the rules rather than just act as decoration. One comment is that it is a little bit dense reading which is handy for explaining the rules but it can occasionally be a pain when flicking through to find a specific rule – there is definitely a need for a quick reference sheet. I also think the book could do with two other little elements to help with navigation – the PDF needs bookmarks added for each chapter and an index in the back would be handy.

In terms of main ideas, the game uses only simple D6s – no fancy extra dice. The core idea when rolling is that modifiers reduce or increase the number of dice you roll while successes are on a fixed value (mostly 5+). The game also does a good job being playable across different scales by using distance units for all of its ranges rather than specific inch distances. The table in the introduction chapter covers playing everything from 6mm up to 28mm and also covers both playing with a ruler/tape measure (how wargamers normally play) or using a grid system.

Image from Round of Fire

The biggest new idea has to be The Wheel. This is the core concept, the key foundation that the rest of the game is built on. Rather than IGO-UGO, the game takes place in rounds, represented by a complete rotation of the wheel. Each round is split into 8 steps, with units of both sides activating on different steps. Depending on the action a unit does in its step, its activation counter on the wheel is shifted by a certain number of steps depending on the longest action taken by a unit (more on those later). Apart from the initial location on the wheel for each unit, there is no random chance involved in future activation times – it’s all down to player choices. Because of this, tactics require some careful use of forward planning and the right actions at the right time in order to get the edge. For example, careful smaller movements take fewer steps than mad runs, giving you more time to react to the enemy at the risk that they will move into the best positions before you get there. Several other systems tie into the wheel, with suppression and shock pushing the affected units around the wheel and delaying their activation. Additionally, certain abilities reduce the cost of activations or allow you to move a unit around the wheel, giving you more options depending on your force. (if you are wanting more information on this system, the author of the rules has released the chapter on the Wheel as a free preview on the Wargames Vault)

Each counter you are moving around the wheel representing a unit and this concept is pretty cool. Units are made up from a number of elements. These can small fireteams, single specialists or a vehicle. A cool feature is that each element in a unit can be different so you could combine two fireteams and a squad leader to represent an infantry squad acting together or a vehicle and a fireteam to have some close dismounts. Units move at the same time but don’t have to do the same actions, letting two elements perform fire and maneuver very easily without worrying about not being in close activation steps to each other. On the other hand, because all elements in a unit are tied to the same activation counter, they are also more easily affected by suppression. The way to counter this is to use lots of smaller units made of single elements but that can be more expensive in terms of points and requires a little more careful planning. Each element is designed to be assigned to a card, which is a neat way of keeping track of the actions costs and vital stats.

In terms of actions, there are a few to cover. Alongside the usual movement (at one of three speeds), shooting and close combat actions there are a few other cool moves, many of which are focused on affecting the wheel. Units can choose to wait any number of steps (perfect for choosing your activation step) or go into overwatch. Overwatch is especially useful but can really slow down your units as the total cost of overwatching in terms of steps can be huge if you decide to sit and watch a gap for a long period of times. Certain units can also use a boost action, delaying their activation to speed up others units.

Two teams settle into a firefight, with the Rogue (bottom left) easily able to pick off important enemies

When it comes to engaging fire, there are a few facts to look at. Basic shooting sees you targeting the nearest enemy unit, rolling a number of dice depending on your weapons attack value and then modifying the number of dice based on cover. Target values of dice depend on ranges and once you have found out how many successes you have, your opponent gets to roll defence dice. The defence dice, made up of armour, toughness and the number of successful hits, will nearly always outnumber the attacking dice (although needing a 5 or more to block damage) so it never feels like the defender doesn’t have a chance to keep their units alive. Certain weapons affect this system such as sniper rifles (which remove a number of defence dice from the pool) making them feel more decisive than others. Successful hits also cause shock, which pushes that unit back in the wheel, reducing their effectiveness.

The other shooting options are to assault (moving and shooting in exchange for having less chance of causing damage) or to suppress. This ignores cover and armour but gives up the chance of causing damage. Instead any successful hit will push the suppressed unit back in the wheel, letting you maintain initiative. The is perfect when engaging elite armoured troops or those in cover, while also letting you move up your troops for the killing blow. You can also setup deadly crossfires (which allows for multiple units to shoot) or, if your units are about to be engaged when you are close enough on the wheel, use reaction fire.

Close combat occurs, bogging down both parties as the fire fight goes on over their heads

Finally there is close combat. Like shooting, the attacker rolls a number of dice depending on melee skills and weapons (which also affect the required score to succeed) and then the defenders rolls against them, with extra dice added for melee toughness and From my games, it really doesn’t feel like a focus of the game. It takes up a lot of steps to fight and the defender has a massive advantage so really, unless you’re packing big knives or want to bog down your opponent, the killing blow will be executed through shooting and assault actions. In more melee focused settings, I could see this defender advantage being a bit more dramatic but for ultramodern, its an action of last resort.

The core rules may be universal but you can’t really play a game without detailing some example forces. The book goes for a modern/near future sci-fi setting, giving you access to a range of elements from the regular soldiers and insurgents to combat droids and heroic specialists (including my favourite The Slab). All of these units can be picked by any of the factions (which range from the brown coated militia and regular army up to The Agency and a tech focused team made mostly of droids) but there is a system in place to help make your lists themed correctly.

Most of the element costs are expressed as both points and an icon to represent a token. Each type of token means something different, such as Speed token which is linked to upgrades and troops that give your force an edge in movement or the Tech icon for the more prototype kit. The points values of each token depends on the force – the militia would only pay 10 points for a speed token while the slower regular army pays 20. The creates a nice balance and stops every force being the same. The other thing that helps to theme forces is the rewards charts which detail how much VP you can gain or lose during a battle. As well as the usual actions like killing enemies or taking casualties, there are VP modifiers for faction specific tasks. The Agency, for example, gains lots of additional VP if an enemy specialist is captured but nothing for killing them – after all, their focus is on the intel, not the body count.

The Spearhead operator (just above the black SUV) is taking full advantage of the corner cover

Elements can also take upgrades to add new weapons and new abilities. Some of these also cost tokens (such as the common ability to take a run in your first action rather than being forced to walk) again helping to theme each of the forces. There are multiple pages of abilities for both weapons and troops, giving you plenty of starting points when building your own units for a custom time period. As well as the modern/near future setting, there is also some discussion on gunpowder and medieval weapons which should make creating some forces for less firearm focused time periods easier. I’d expect force lists (including new factions and elements) to be released as the game goes on. There are fillable PDFs available on the Wargames Vault for writing down the details of your force.

Finally at the back of the book there is a big section on scenarios. With some general guidance on different types of objectives and more details on victory points, the final chapter includes 9 scenarios for you to play. There is a nice mix of symmetrical and asymmetrical setups on offer, with situations such as rushing for extraction or fighting the other team for control of a crashed cargo plane. Each of the scenarios are packed full of detail, and often include additional rules to help make the battle feel a little more unique.

So what are my overall thoughts? I really recommend giving this game a go. The new initiative system and simple core mechanics make it very exciting to play, requiring some careful forward planning. By being a universal system, it also feels like a great sandbox (even more so than usual) just begging for you to dig through it and try out all the various scenarios. When playing with my usual opponent in York, it didn’t take long for us to big up the key ideas and start planning and (more importantly) pull off some really cool maneuvers. It might not match other games for getting the feel of Ultramodern gaming 100% but it is an incredibly fun way of getting the toys on the table and playing something that challenges your tactical brain. I’m also excited to see what the future brings – from talking to him, the author seems very keen to keep adding new scenarios, settings and more.

I’m planning a few more games of Round of Fire, as well as creating some addons to really theme the game to the Ultramodern setting. So keep your eyes on the blog for more details!

Oh you would prefer the impressions in Great Big Ultramodern Wargaming Rules Comparison titles? Okay, I can do that. Click read more to see them!

Continue reading “Impressions: Round Of Fire Universal Skirmish Rules”

2018 in Preview

We’ve taken a look at what happened in 2017, let’s take a look at what’s coming up in 2018.

Targets

The main plan is really just to keep going with the current plan as a base level. 2 posts a week works out pretty well, with Wargaming Week taking about an evening so the rest of the week’s hobby time is free to work on whatever is needed for the main post. However, I am going to start working on a buffer of posts (probably impressions of older models or tactics) that I can slot in to the calendar when things get a bit rushed. I also want to avoid the issue I had with the SAS releases at the end of last year, so rather than rushing to finish that week’s post, the plan is to now work one week ahead. Hopefully you won’t see this change but we’ll see what happens.

An experiment I’m tempted to try is do an extra post every other week focused on hobby elements (such as an extra impressions or Project update) depending on the rest of the week’s activities. However, this will all depend on how much of a buffer I manage to carve out. Tying into this is the desire to get new releases painted and impressioned quickly which can get in the way of pre-arranged blogs.

The big takeaway from the survey is that people like Battle reports. In an ideal world I’d be playing modern wargames every week but I’m not sure I can persuade other players to always be playing in the ultramodern setting. That said, I’d like to make sure that there is a new battle report every month.

Finally, video content. It’s something I want to try but I need to get the correct kit together. I’m also getting stuff sorted for better photography so hopefully I’ll get some better picture in this year’s post.

Projects

The big thing I’m doing this year is splitting the work I want to into several projects. Going to say now, not all of these projects will be finished this year. Instead these are target areas:

Dragon’s Hoard

The game has been run twice but I’m not finished with it yet. The main thing is improving the look of the downed C130 – it should be a bit more crashed and a bit less “attacked by hacksaw”. In addition to that, there are one or two elements to tweak in terms of the gameplay such as better balancing between the two sides. The final point is making sure the final objective is something more than just “HERE IS CAR PLEASE SEARCH IT”. The current idea is either a macguffin in a box or some form of gold on a pallet.

As part of this, I also need to reproduce the cards I have for the characters. This is because I decided to repaint the insurgents to improve them from the uniform green and black to something a little more ragged

Game 2

I really liked running the game at Fiasco and for a wide variety of reasons I think I want to keep going back there to run new games. I don’t particularly want to run the exact same thing two years in a row (and they probably wouldn’t let me) so that means I’ll need a new game by October. Not 100% sure on what it will be (either rules, scenario or figures) but the intention is to reuse the baseboards and just change what appears on it.

Compound

I’ve shown off these Knights of Dice buildings before and, as mentioned in the impressions piece, I really want to spend some time detailing them. Thanks to the design they are perfect for bolting new elements on top, such as roof panels. I’m going to aim for a much more modern look but I haven’t decided the exact details yet

Technical

I’ve done a fair few articles in this project already but it’s not yet finished. As well as the last weapons that I haven’t assembled yet (such as the AA guns), there is also the possibility of more weapons and crews being released. For example, we haven’t received any crew for the African militia. The aim with this project is to be a one stop shop for all the hints and tips you might need for building technicals.

Humvee

At Vapnartak last year, I picked up one of the Humvees from Empress (pictured above). As much as I like them (and they are fun models to have), they are a lacking some of the detail of the Spectre vehicles. After hearing the announcement that Spectre were working on their own range, I quickly sold mine to a friend and started preparing to build some more. Having talked to the Spectre guys, they are looking at a pretty massive range with plenty of options for key components so you can theme them for almost any role. Due to this, and foreseeing the oncoming hole in my wallet, this range seems like the ideal candidate for the project experience.

Little Bird

Ah, Project Little Bird. Announced back in 2016, killed in 2017, reborn late 2017 after a friend pointed me to an ongoing ebay auction. The plan now is to finish building the third helo as a MH6 and then decorate them up (including fixing the armament) to make them look like the Little Birds from Modern Warfare 2. This means adding the FLIR turret and the rappelling rig.

The final stage is building the flight stands. I’d like to make them a bit more dynamic than the plastic vertical ones so I’m looking at retractable car aerials or something similar to adjust the height and then a way of adjusting the angle of attack so you can have them swooping around the board.

Brit Platoon

The British Army Platoon I have from Empress is the dream project. I was really happy when I finished it but then realised that maybe it was something that could be improved so I stripped them and rebased them. Combined with the new releases (such as the marksmen and the additional fireteam I built) this meant I now have a reinforced platoon ready to be painted up in the new multicam scheme. Once they have been finished, I’ll have a full platoon ready for a campaign season.

Zaiweibo

At the end of last year, I decided that I wanted to start setting some games across the Red Sea from Bazistan in East Africa. After doing some more reading on Eritrea, I decided that maybe it might be a bad idea to use it as the setting for some wargames. So a new imagi-nation is in order.

This project is both a writing and terrain building exercise. I need to set up the country, detail the factions and setup the ongoing engagement. The current plan is something a bit less high-intensity than Bazistan in the present day but with a different style of battle in the past (this may or may not be related to me eyeing up the Rhodesia range Eureka has). The terrain is also a bit different in terms of both the buildings and the natural environment. For example, I’ll actually need some green plants.

I’m also chatting to a friend about improving the production values of both imagi-nations and it may lead to something else.

Maintenance

Okay so don’t be mad, but I kind of made a key mistake – due to botching up a varnish job a while ago, I haven’t been varnishing my models. This means they look great but quite a few are looking a bit banged up. Luckily I’ve grabbed some new varnish which seems to not mess up. The plan is to work back through all the painted models, touch up any issues and then varnish them.

Clean Sweep

Ah the big one. I have done the new year checkup and worked out what figures I actually own. From this, I can tell I’ve dropped below the 50% mark in terms of painted models. This need to be corrected. In an ideal world, I’d just crack on and concentrate on getting it painted but there are multiple reasons (including keeping a head of new releases) that means this isn’t what I want to do. Instead, I’m going to work on painting pretty much every day for at least 30 minutes. This will either be at work during my lunch break or in the evenings. The goal by the end of the year is to be over 50% and ideally over 75%. After all, bad things happen if you finish your lead pile.


So that’s the plan for the year. I’m looking forward to getting back into the hobbying swing of things and keep making all that content you guys like.

2017 in Review

Time to talk State of the Union. My Christmas break blog reading was packed with people talking about how their blog had done in 2017 and what they had planned for 2018. I always like reading these posts so I think it’s time to add my own to the pile. As is traditional, it may get a bit navel gazing-y.

The Blog

So let’s talk about how 2017 went for the blog. The big thing is that this year is the first year that I’ve focused entirely on the wargaming. In previous years, I had a mix of posts covering all sorts of things from tech to wargaming to airsoft. Now, every post is wargames focused which makes the site a little easier to navigate and a bit more interesting for people reading it – you find an entire site of posts to read rather than having to find the gold amongst the rubbish.

The other thing is the decision to aim for a schedule rather than just posting whenever I felt like it. Having a deadline to hit forces me to keep being involved in the hobby, to get my paintbrush out or sit down and think of ideas. I’ve managed to do a heck of a lot of writing, gaming, socialising, painting and buying (oh god the buying) off the back of preparing things for the magazine. That said, there is no fixed immovable deadline crushing down on me – if I don’t finish something or don’t feel like posting, the only thing that would force me to write something is me. There is just enough pressure to make me productive without causing issues relating to burnout. This will prove crucial as actual job becomes more and more frantic.

Combining these two has changed the site fundamentally. Rather than being another hobby blog, it’s closer to a magazine style, focusing on ultramodern wargaming (with one or two other periods sneaking in). However something I’ve tried very hard to do is to keep it MY hobby blog, rather than turning it into a faceless site. Every post is written by me and in my tone (leading to spell check having a nightmare sometimes) and I try very hard to never refer to the site as a group – it’s always “I” rather than “we at the site”. Much like how I’m happy that all my figures are painted by me, it’s just a little point of pride. It’s also something that came up in the comments in the survey (more details below).

Stats

Here are a few stats for 2017:

  • Total Views: 33k views (up from 6,978)
  • Total Visitors: 14,990 (up from 4208)
  • Top Five Countries for views: UK, USA, Australia, Germany, Canada
  • Total Posts: 113 (up from 34)
  • Estimate of painted models (as featured in posts): 235 figures, vehicles and weapon teams

I think the most promising thing is that the trend for monthly views is continuing to rise (ignoring the tiny spec that is January 2018). You can also really see the effect that doing two posts a week does when I started in May.

One thing I noticed is that actually, many of the indepent hobby blogs I follow were hitting much higher than 33k in their yearly views. There could be lots of reasons for this (long established communities, lots of sharing through social media or on forums that still float around) but I’m guessing “broader target audience than just Ultramodern players” plays a big part. If this was my day job, I’d be concerned but seeing as this is just a hobby I’m not that worried. I’d rather make the best thing for the people looking for this topic rather than water it down to appeal to more people.

The top 5 posts of the year were:

  1. The Great Big Modern Wargaming Comparison (2016)
  2. Spectre Miniatures: First Games and Rules Thoughts (2015)
  3. Spectre Miniatures: Rare Models (2017)
  4. Spectre Operations Starting Lists (2016)
  5. Spectre Operations Weekend 2017 AAR (2017)

So turns out Spectre is pretty popular – my guess is the popularity is down to both the active facebook group often referring to posts (The Starting Lists especially) and how well the site does in any search request that feature the terms “Spectre Operations”. Outside of the top five, the rest of the posts are all 2017 except for a legacy post which has since been removed as part of the purge. Overall, a good sign! Looking just at the popular 2017 posts, it’s really obvious that sharing via Lead Adventure and Facebook (as well as the few occasions where TMP has picked up articles) makes a massive change.

I’ll cover future plans in tomorrow’s post.

The Survey

In case you missed it, I ran a survey throughout December and got the required number of responses (100 as it’s the max I can get without having to pay for them). If you want to look at the data, you can find it at https://www.surveymonkey.com/results/SM-YD729TGM8/ – I’ve removed some of the open ended answers as it might allow you to identify people.

So the questions:

  1. Ultramodern Players – No surprises, most of the people who read the blog play ultramodern games
  2. Finding ChargeBlog – Lots of people found the site from Facebook. An option I should have included is google as 14 people said they found me via a web search which would have been third place
  3. Hearing About New Posts – Again the top was Facebook, but also quite a few people chose either checking the site or email subscription. In fact, lots of people converted from other social media to just checking the site
  4. Favourite Types of Post – Battle reports are the clearest winner. Wargaming Week is last which doesn’t surprise me – it’s really more something I enjoy writing to setup the week. What was surprising was how many people chose to write in “I like all of them” or “The variety is what I like best”.
  5. What Would You Like To See – Again lots of people voting for Battle Reports (seems to be the theme). Also lots of talk of projects (you’ll all enjoy tomorrow’s post) and scenarios. Interestingly, video and audio content was lower than expected – I though lots of people would be asking for video as it’s the most common request on many of the facebook groups.
  6. Painted or Unpainted – This was really a check to see how many people would be annoyed if I didn’t paint some figures for an impressions. The plan is always to get them painted but its nice to have the option to just ink them as a just in case.
  7. Comments – Seriously, thanks to everyone who filled this in. It was great to read all your comments, especially as lots of your were saying how much you enjoy reading the blog. I’ve also added quite a few blogs to my RSS reader than to people posting them.

Overall I found the survey pretty handy. It’s going to help tweak my plans for the year but it also showed me see how many people were actually interested in spending the time to fill it in – I must be doing some right to keep you all interested.


So that’s last year, tomorrow I’ll take a look at what’s coming up.

Wargaming Week(s): Christmas Break 2017

Let’s start, covering the 19th of December 2017 through to the 7th of January 2018.

But before that, its my birthday today! And to celebrate, its my first day back at work!

BLOG STUFF

Since the last Wargaming Week I posted up two articles. The SAS CT Response Impressions (I really like them) and the second part of the The Great Big Modern Wargaming Comparison article. Both of these did pretty well and I’m happy with the tail off – the two weeks I had with no posts still had a nice background number of views.

The plan for this week is to do an analysis post on 2017 tomorrow (looking at the stats and going through that survey)and then take a look at what’s coming up in 2018 on Wednesday. All this before a big post on Friday looking at Round of Fire, a new ruleset that is pretty exciting.

Some bad news though. Looks like I’ll not be running Operation Dragon’s Hoard (my demo game) at Vapnartak in York. Some emails fell through the cracks and so they became booked up. It’s a shame, and I’m going to continue working on the game to get it ready for February, but the main focus will be making sure it’s ready for Hammerhead. More updates in the next few weeks.

On the other hand, I managed to get some really cool things in motion over the break. I’ll post more when I can say more but they are all pretty exciting.

NEWS

Hey a new heading! Yeah, I’ve decided I need somewhere on the blog to add weekly news updates. I post a lot of them on the Facebook page but I realise that a lot of people don’t actually use it that much, instead preferring the blog format. Some weeks will obviously be pretty quiet but I’ll endeavour to show off what’s coming soon.

The start of the year is always pretty quiet, but Spectre have dropped a preview image on Instagram. From zooming in, there are a few things to take a look at:

  • The torsos look like we’ve got a selection of gunners for the Humvee set
  • The crew in the foreground has baseball caps and a selection of kit as well as some M4 looking guns. Maybe we’re seeing some PMC troopers or alternatives Special Operations troops.
  • There are four civilians in slightly more aggressive poses than the current releases. Perfect for those angry mobs interrupting your missions.
  • There are a group at the back wearing what appears to be cowboy hats, although I think it’s actually more of a folded boonie hat. They are also carrying some interesting guns. Due to the distance, I can’t tell if they are QBZ-95s or just old style M4s. Either way, I’m expecting they will be some form of new African fighter.

These are all exciting additions and I can’t wait for when they are available. I do wonder if we are about to see a few new figures for Spectre’s original setting of Africa, something suggested by someone on facebook. Perfect timing as I’m getting ready for operations in Zaiweibo.

GAMING

For a change, I actually got a few games in over the Christmas break!

The first was not against my usual opponents. With the book and talking about my hobbies, my uncle asked if I wanted to run a game of Skirmish Sangin for him on the 27th of December (the day the extended family usually comes to Leeds for a meal). So I quickly threw something together (helped in a big part by the profile cards I already had printed), pitting four BLUFOR operators (a mix of Veterans and Elites) against the local militia (Novices, Averages and Veterans with assault rifles and a MMG). Add to that a combination of MDF buildings from REDVectors and a scratch built cardboard base board (assembled in five minutes) and the game was ready to go.

Overall the game was a nice intro, showing off all of the key aspects of infantry combat in Skirmish Sangin. Giving the new players BLUFOR (with their armour and high skill values) meant they were pretty successful at taking out bad guys and surviving bursts of fire. At the same time, when the MMG opened up they really got the picture of just how potentially deadly they can be. Frag grenades were used to deadly effect, cunning crossfires were setup and overall, while the night rolled in, we had a great time. It also means they now vaguely understand what I’m on about when talking about it.

Next up was the trip over to York for the regular wargames/painting days. After a bit of a delay due to snow, we set up the above town with a combination of my bought MDF and Peeb‘s homemade terrain, some of which is still WIP but looks great. The main aim of the gaming portion was to get Round of Fire on the table. We managed to put a few learning scenarios on the table, to test out certain elements of the rules before jumping into a bigger game with four elements per side.

I’m not going to say much (you’ll have to come back on Friday for my full thoughts) but it was a fun game trying out some cool ideas. The core concept of the game is something I don’t think I’ve seen before and it’s something I’ll be interested in playing more of.

You should also go follow Peeb’s Gaming Nonsense on Facebook. He does a bit more varied stuff than I do (including 40K) but I do keep trying to persuade him over to the moderns side. Don’t forget to tell him I sent you!

PURCHASES

I mentioned last time that I was in the midst of an ebay auction last Wargaming Week. Well, you’ll be pleased to know I won it. I was bidding on three unopened Radio Dishdash technicals, a product I’ve been wanting to look at for a while thanks to Project Technical. They arrived just after I set off for Christmas break in Leeds so I didn’t get to look at them until I got back. I’ve got to admit, I’m not overly happy so far. The hulls seem to be lacking in detail and the metal parts are covered in flash, similar to the troops I angrily abandoned midway through painting. There was a plan to investigate integrating them in Project Technical (trying to fit the hotswap Technical weapons) but I’m leaning away from that idea. Either way, expect an impressions this month.

Of course the big addition was Christmas! I received some wonderful presents, some of which you’ll be seeing on the blog. The big ones have to be the dremel and airbrush. The main reason for both these purchases is the demo board – I’ve reached the point where I need the right tool for the job. Trying to remove panels from the wing using a hacksaw or “lightly” spraying the damaged edges seems like a bad idea. I’ll need some practise before I go to town on the actual elements, but this way the end result should be better. The books are going to going their cousins in the reference library; the Special Patrol Vehicles will be especially useful as I wait for the Spectre Humvees to drop.

I also opened up my birthday presents and my sister got me another KRCase cardboard interior box with lots of space of infantry and some pick-n-pluck for vehicles/weapon teams. I am entirely sold on the KR products – they are great quality and the nature of them means I can stack them and just take whatever trays I need for a game day. I also used some birthday money to get a GorillaPod so I have a proper tripod – just what you need when you’re about to take a load of photos of tiny figures.

HOBBY

Despite having a fair amount of time off, I actually didn’t do a huge amount of painting. This was probably down to being busy writing things but also I don’t have a painting setup in Leeds (not helped by parents redoing chunks of the house). However, I did have the painting day in York. Well I say day, it was more of a long afternoon once we managed to get everything together after a lie in. I managed to paint two models to completion and get well on the way with five more (they just need camo). The two figures are extensions of existing ranges, so I got to have the fun time to make sure the colour palettes matched. I also think these are two of my favourite figures from Spectre, especially the new breacher. Now I just have to finish off the other three Task Force Operators

Speaking of piles of models, one thing I did once back in Edinburgh was to do a collection check. I find it a little too easy to just keep buying models and not realise how much is still on the “to paint” pile. So the plan this year is to create a list at the start of the year and then keep it updated at least every three months. I’ve done my collection check and the results will be coming soon. Lots still to do! But that’s going to be covered in Wednesday’s post.


That’s it for this update, expect more updates next week! And welcome to 2018!

Going on Break

Shame this photo is from August

We’re here! The last post of 2017! Post number 113 for 2017.

I really hope you all enjoy the new part of the Great Big Modern Wargaming Rules Comparison. They are a bit of bastard to write but hearing people talk about the end result makes it all worthwhile. To make things easier, I’ve actually compiled both parts of the series into a single page that can be found at http://hntdaab.co.uk/blog/wargaming/great-big-modern-wargaming-rules-comparison-complete-edition/. So if wanting something long to read over the Christmas break, here is an option!

I’m taking the next two weeks off to enjoy my Christmas holiday, see family and friends and start planning out some of next year’s projects. I’ll be getting up to some hobby shenanigans over Christmas (including the yearly painting session/watching of Zulu in York and possibly a few games) so keep an eye on my Facebook page, Twitter or Instagram for plenty of pictures.

The site will be back on the 8th of January (my birthday!) with a “State of the Union” post, looking back at last year and going over the survey. Then on the 9th of January we’ll take a look at what’s coming up including multiple projects I’ve planned out. Then on the 12th we’ll be back to business with a new Something for the Weekend – the current plan is to take a look at Round of Fire assuming I’m able to get a few games of it in.

To all my readers, I hope you’ve enjoyed this year of content. May you have a happy Christmas period, and a great start to 2018!

The Great Big Modern Wargaming Rules Comparison 2: Electric Boogaloo

Before we start a disclaimer: I have done some writing for Skirmish Sangin (including the latest book) and I am listed in the Spectre Operations book as a play tester.

Last year I wrote the Great Big Modern Wargaming Rules Comparison as a way to share some of the information about the hobby which I had gathered over the years. To say it was successful is to put it mildly – it’s among the top posts every month and probably brings most of the traffic to the site. So, where can I take it from here?

For the difficult second album, I’m looking into some smaller systems – the ones that turn up in conversation less often but are still well worth looking into. I’m going to use the same headings as last time, including the two added in the appendix covering scenarios and campaigns.

Basic rules apply – all of these games are playable with 28mm figures at a 1:1 model ratio. They are all about playing games in the post 1945 world, although many of them would work for actions in WW2.

Same as last time – If anything is incorrect below, please drop me a message so I can fix it.


WHICH RULES ARE WE LOOKING AT?

Well, who best to ask about the details of each ruleset than the info pages for them on their store? Click on the images to go find them

Fireteam Modern from Rory Crabb Games

Fireteam Modern is a set of small unit skirmish wargame rules for modern combined arms land combat using 15-28mm scale miniatures. The rules can be used to fight battles from any post WW2 conflict dating from the 1950s to the modern day or the near future.

These rules have been designed to work with opposing forces of approximately platoon size with additional reinforcements such as small numbers of armoured vehicles and light artillery support.

FUBAR by Craig Cartmell and The Forge of War Development Group.

FUBAR – One Page Modern/SF Small Unit Wargames Rules (There isn’t really much else to say about them)

Living on the Frontline: A Winter of ’79 Game by Mark Hannam, Matthew Sparkes & Mike Bradford

These rules represent an alternative history of the late seventies and early eighties. In this vision, the ‘Establishment’ take control of the legitimate government and the subsequent ‘crackdown’ is faced with spontaneous popular resistance led by trade union, liberal and left-wing elements, which boils over into civil war.

No End In Sight by Ivan Sorenson

“The M113 is burning behind you, the Reds are coming on strong. the platoon is in bad shape and mortar support is nowhere to be seen.

As platoon commander, you have to rely on your squad leaders to push your troops forward, lay down suppressing fire and win the fire fight.”

No End in Sight is a comprehensive guide to contemporary, cold war and near future combat. Lead an infantry platoon through random battles, several campaign styles or scenarios of your own design. Track the progress of your squad leaders as you play.

The rules feature an innovative activation and reaction fire mechanic that leaves you making important and tough choices constantly. Know when to push and when to hold off. Your men have to last for a long fire fight and you may run out of steam when you least expect it.

Combat is written to produce a fairly realistic level of casualties. Most fire will serve to pin and suppress the enemy with modest casualty rates until you close to assault.

Command battle hardened professionals and insurgent militia, dismantle IED’s, call in artillery fire, evac the wounded and take on enemy tanks. It’s all covered.

The rules are written to be both playable and enjoyable on a small gaming space, using approximately a platoon plus appropriate supports, APC’s and assorted vehicles on each side.

Wars of Insurgency: Skirmish Warfare in the Modern World by Mike Demana

“Rise up and free your country from its oppressors!”

  • Simple fast-play rules for man-to-man, modern skirmish warfare
  • Complete campaign system allowing rival factions to war for control of their fictional or historical country
  • Special rules & descriptions for 6 faction types drawn from 20th – 21st century History
  • Point system allowing balanced battles between Elite, Regular, or Militia troop types
  • Three sample scenarios and guidelines for adapting historical actions
  • Political scheming, Permanent Institutions (like radio stations), & more!

With Wars of Insurgency, players control 3-5 squads that can range in size from 3 figures or one vehicle to a dozen men. Each miniature represents one man. The rules can easily be used for 15mm, 20mm, and 28mm scales without modification of ranges. The rules are meant to give the flavor of modern infantry firefights without being overwhelmed by complexity. First Command Wargames rules are meant to provide a fast, easy-to-learn game for the new or veteran player.


HOW DO I GET THE RULEBOOK AND HOW MANY EXPANSIONS?

This was the year of the PDFs

Fireteam Modern

Available from Wargames Vault in PDF form. Currently no expansions.

FUBAR

Available for free from the FUBAR website. The most recent version is 4th edition. As FUBAR is a generic system, there are plenty of other additional elements that can be grabbed from the website to theme it.

Living on the Frontline

Currently only available in physical form from Cavalier Books (either online or at one of the shows they attend. There are two other books in the series currently listed – “View of a Disunited Kingdom” (which is primarily a sourcebook on the world of Winter of 79) and a Wild Geese inspired book with mercenaries in Africa.

No End In Sight

Available on Wargames Vault. There is one supplement (Rules Pack Alpha) and several smaller options to expand the game which can be found on the Nordic Weasel site.

Wars of Insurgency

Print and PDF available from the main website. You can also purchase the PDF from Wargames Vault. There are currently no expansions.


WHAT ARE THE CORE SYSTEMS I REALLY NEED TO KNOW ABOUT?

Fireteam Modern

  • Activation System: Alternating activation (winner of the initiative role goes first). Automatic unless suppressed, two action a turn.
  • Shooting: The RoF for all weapons in a squad are added together to give you your total number of dice to roll against your shoot stat (with only three modifiers). All successful shots can be saved but otherwise cause hits. If a single burst of fire causes 3 hits (or a HE weapon is used), they are suppressed. To help with this, units can choose to shoot suppressive fire (higher chance to hit but harder to cause damage)
  • Morale: Suppression makes it harder to activate but against depleted units (50%+ casualties) it can be devastating. Failure to activate followed by failing a morale test will kick off a retreat.

FUBAR

  • Three stats: Characters are super simple and consist of three stats: Activation (how easy is it for this character to do something), Expertise (how good they are at something and Suppression (how easy are they to suppress)
  • Initiative: Simple roll off to see who attempts to activate first and the player who wins can keep activating until they fail a roll. This causes all units to attempt to activate, with initiative passing back and forth until everyone has tried to activate.
  • Shooting: Different weapons have a different number of Fire Points. The total number in a unit is the number of dice to roll. Pass your expertise on a dice? It counts as a hit and then needs to be saved or else it will start suppressing your troops. If you take too much suppression, casualties start to stack up.
  • Suppression: Suppression stops you. Suppressed models can’t shoot AND they negatively affect the suppression role.

Living on the Frontline

  • Activation: Card based activation – each player is assigned a colour and a number of cards relating to the main experience level of your troops. Adding these cards to a deck along with the joke gives you your activation deck. The joker has a chance of ending the turn early. Each card is equal to a pair of infantry or a single support (such as a vehicle or support gun).
  • Actions: Activated units can either do Combat (aggressive ones including movement and shooting) or Non-Combat (reloading or staying low) actions. These qualifiers are important, as groups can only do the same action and non-combat actions let player choose to Duck down to make them harder to hit.
  • Dice Rolls: Skills are expressed as dice types, with modifiers shifting this type up or down (to a max of d12 and a minimum of d4). This system works wells and prevents the need for buckets of dice.
  • Shooting: After modifiers, the attackers shoot dice is compared to the defenders defence dice. If the result is higher, the target is hit and must roll against the wounds table which has a range of effects from simply knocking them down up to being KIA.
  • Morale: Suppressed figures need to be rallied before they can activate. However on a role of 1 on their morale test, the figure testing simply flees the field and is removed. If a force has reached its breaking point it begins to lose cards from the activation deck. This can be paused by passing a morale test (at the risk of more troopers leaving the battle) as once you reach 0 cards in the deck, your force has routed.

No End In Sight

  • Activation: Chances to activate alternate between players. Leaders are used to activate and can spend their activation points on figures below them in the chain of command (and within range depending on their skill level).
  • Stress: As leaders activate they gain stress which can prevent them from activating. Keeping this stress under control will let you activate more easily.
  • Reaction Fire: There is no dedicated overwatch action – instead, any movement in the open is vulnerable to reaction fire (unless you rush and manage to roll high enough to clear a gap)
  • Shock/Kill Dice: Shooting dice are based on the shooter’s firepower but generate different dice. Every point of firepower is a Shock dice, every pair of points is a Kill dice. When these dice are rolled, if the target values are hit (5 or 6s for Shock, 6s for Kills) then the effect is applied. Shocks pin, Kills cause casualties.
  • Morale: Having pinned figures in a squad take up valuable activation points to clear and get back in the fight. Combine that with casualties and troops are likely to start breaking and falling back.
  • Simulation: There are a lot of rules to look at but thanks to them it becomes a game that feels very realistic and very different to anything else around.

Wars of Insurgency

  • Orders: Initiative is a simple dice off but to actually order your troops, each player puts a numbered marker down to each squad face down. The numbering shows which order they move in. This means each player doesn’t know who which squads are going to move forcing some careful planning. However, careful use of your leader means you can quickly change the order of the the squad they are with.
  • Attack/Defence Dice: Modifiers don’t affect the final value, instead it adjusts the number of attack or defence dice you roll. Attacking dice succeed on 4+, defence dice on 5+. This makes massed fire easy to work out
  • Morale: Squads below half strength need to start taking morale checks which has the potential to lock them in place by knocking them prone. Before they can attempt an action another morale test
  • Campaign Play: A big focus in Wars of Insurgency is the campaign game, seeing your force increase in size and gain additional abilities.

WHAT DOES A UNIT PROFILE LOOK LIKE?

For this test, we will be using the profile for a British Army squadie (so a professional soldier) with body armour, assault rifle, a frag grenade and a smoke grenade.

Fireteam Modern

 ShootAssaultSaveMorale
Regular Soldier4+5+4+4+

Grenades are not modelled, weapons are listed individually.

FUBAR

Using the Afghanistan supplement, British Infantry are listed as:

Activation: 3+
Exp: 4+

Gear:

  • Ceramic armour 5+
  • Grenades
  • Personal Role & Radio
  • ISAF Assault Rifle

Living on the Frontline

We’re going to use the Trained profile for the standard squaddie

Troop QualityShootDefendMoraleInitiative
Trainedd8d6d87 Cards

Assault rifles and grenades are covered in the rules. There are no mentions of body armour in the rules.

No End In Sight

Troops are listed by a few ratings:

Troop Type: Professional
Battle Experience: Regular (or Veteran depending on situation)
Motivation: Moderate
Leadership: Either normal or Charismatic

Rifle, Hand grenades and Body armour all have effects

Wars of Insurgency

ProfessionalPointsAttack DiceDefence DiceMorale scored needed
Infantry, small arms12333-6

Also armed with Grenade. There are no mentions of body armour in the rules.


WHAT IS THE SQUAD SYSTEM LIKE?

Fireteam Modern

Small tactical unit is the rules is an element which is a fireteam. Each model in the element must remain within element cohesion and each element in a squad must be within squad cohesion for best effect. Additional, vehicles must remain within 12″ of another vehicle or element or else they will be risking negative morale modifiers.

FUBAR

Units are the smallest element and are activated together. They require the models to remain within cohesion and morale is based around the number of suppressed figures.

Living on the Frontline

Activations can only move a group under certain conditions which include staying out of sight of unsuppressed enemy models. For this reason, squads are best until the fire fight begins. Leader models can also choose to activate 1 additional model.

No End In Sight

Squads are the smallest unit which can be activated by their squad leader or anyone above. Squads have cohesion limits which vary depending on experience levels.

Wars of Insurgency

Each unit is a small squad. Cohesion depends on skill level. An important note is that each unit must be of the same skill level – you can’t mix Militia and Regulars in the same squad.


DO THE RULES INCLUDE VEHICLES?

Fireteam Modern

Yes. Everything from technicals up to MBTs. This also includes helicopters that act as vehicles once on the board.

FUBAR

Amazingly, yes. No mention of air vehicles though.

Living on the Frontline

Yes! It cover all types of vehicles from civilian cars to MBTs. There are also rules for helicopters in the Advanced Rules section

No End In Sight

Yes. The game is focused on infantry combat so the vehicles are more focused on supporting roles. Vehicles do not have specified profiles but is instead using an estimate based system, letting players work out the correct class, traits and armament.

Wars of Insurgency

Yes. No airpower due to the setting.


DO THE RULES INCLUDE OFF MAP SUPPORT?

Fireteam Modern

Lots of it! There are rules for off map artillery (including three levels of support), counter-battery fire and fixed wing air support.

FUBAR

The Afghanistan supplement includes rules for UAVs but no rules for CAS or artillery backup

Living on the Frontline

There is no specific mention of rules of off map support but there are rules for mortars and profiles for artillery pieces that could be combined as an ad-hoc off map support option.

No End In Sight

Full chapter on supporting fire including smoke rounds and the ability to model the effects of pre-game strikes on the opposition (also known as The Stonk).

Wars of Insurgency

Friendly Air Power is available as a political scheme to provide a bonus to your force. Apart from that though, it’s all up to what’s on the table.


WHAT IS THE OPTIMUM SIZE OF FORCE FOR A SINGLE PLAYER?

Fireteam Modern

Reinforced Platoon

FUBAR

Squad or Platoon – each unit you control is a fireteam

Living on the Frontline

A few squads up to a standard platoon.

No End In Sight

Platoon scale is the main focus but can be played with less or more.

Wars of Insurgency

Platoon


HOW EASY IS IT TO MAKE YOUR OWN FORCE FOR SCENARIOS?

Fireteam Modern

Forces are built with points values and are split into Compulsory choices (normally the infantry platoon) and optional choices (such as vehicles or specialist team). There are lists for British Army, US Army, Generic Middle East Army and an Insurgent force.

FUBAR

No points to guide but lots of mentions of using real world squads as a starting point. Much like Danger Close last year, pick your statlines and guns.

Living on the Frontline

No points values but there are some suggestions in force creation as part of the scenario guide.

No End In Sight

No points values. However there are some rough lists detailing platoons for various nations and

Wars of Insurgency

There is a big section of rules at the start, covering points costs for different weapons and skillsets. In addition, there are themes for your force (such as Tribal Militia or Superpower Backed Client Forces) which determine the exact makeup of a force.


WHAT STYLE OF GAME IS THE RULESET BEST AT?

Fireteam Modern

Reinforced platoon engagement. Game supports both asymmetric and conventional battles.

FUBAR

Quick and simple games with a few units per side.

Living on the Frontline

Small platoon sized fights between mixtures of regular and irregulars.

No End In Sight

Reinforced platoon

Wars of Insurgency

Platoon engagements in a post-colonial insurgency. The biggest vehicle to expect would be an armoured car or a technical and squads will be a mixture of skill levels.


WHAT DO I NEED TO KNOW/NEED TO HAVE FOR MY FIRST GAME?

Assume for all games that a tape measure, playing surface with terrain and models are required. All the rules work on a 6’x4′ table although some are better on a small one.

Modern battlefields are a lot more cluttered than those of ancient war. I personally recommend lots of scatter terrain to provide plenty of cover and concealment for the forces involved.

Fireteam Modern

  • D6s
  • Markers for activation and suppression.
  • Cotton wool for making destroyed vehicles

FUBAR

  • D6s
  • Markers for activation and suppression
  • It’s a one page set of rule so Quick Reference Sheets are not needed

Living on the Frontline

  • Multiple dice types – D4, D6, D8, D10, D12s
  • Playing cards for activation
  • Markers and Roster sheets from the book
  • Start off with a squad vs squad fight before jumping in to a full size battle

No End In Sight

  • D6s for gameplay
  • Two colours of D6 for shock and kill scores – either use the different colours or smaller dice
  • Stress Markers – smaller dice or counters
  • Counters for wounds
  • A way to differentiate your leaders in your force
  • Start off with a squad vs squad fight before jumping in to a full size battle – there are a lot of things to get used to.

Wars of Insurgency

  • D6s
  • Numbered order markers for each squad – the rules recommend poker chips or faction flags
  • A counter for how many grenades your force has remaining.
  • A marker to identify your Leader
  • A reminder of what your Political Scheme/Permanent Institutions is so you don’t miss out on your edge in battle.

DO THE RULES INCLUDE A CAMPAIGN SYSTEM?

Fireteam Modern

There is currently no campaign system included in the book.

FUBAR

It’s two pages of A4 – no campaign system.

Living on the Frontline

There is currently no campaign system in the main book.

No End In Sight

I think we have a winner in the campaign department. As well as three pages covering the basic rules for linked games and experience games, there are multiple subsystems covered which lets you theme your campaign around different styles of engagement. From insurgencies which requires keeping a close eye on the hearts and minds of the population through the Domino Theory style missions to affect a region up to the escalation of a full on super power war, these options present you with a massive range of possible combat situations. Add to this, there are also guides to setting up the personalities of your characters and a scenario generator to help decide the upcoming scenario.

Wars of Insurgency

Campaign play is a big focus for Wars of Insurgency and is designed to let you fight through a civil war.. After picking a faction style from the list included and gaining victory points through games, you get to see your faction grow (from Obscure Movement up to eventually taking control of the country). As you grow, your force organisation changes to give you more access to better trained troops and vehicles. In addition, you also gain access to Political Schemes and Permanent Institutions. Political Schemes are effects chosen before each mission and effect your force for that mission (examples include employing Tactical Advisors or performing Magic Rituals). Permanent Institutions are chosen every time your group increases in size, giving your force access to Spy Network or by having your faction Leader appear on the cover of Time Magazine. These two abilities really help to theme your force and make your game feel like it’s taking part in a late 20th century insurgency.


DO THE RULES INCLUDE ANY SCENARIOS?

Fireteam Modern

There are seven missions included in the book (four for Asymmetric warfare and three for conventional). These are generic missions which don’t specify exact forces for each player.

FUBAR

No scenarios are included. It’s literally 1 page (2 if you include the Afghanistan supplement)

Living on the Frontline

Two scenarios (one focused on a section sized action, the other for a platoon) and a scenario generator with 5 archetypes to use.

No End In Sight

This set includes one of the best scenario generators I’ve seen. It’s packed with multiple tables for rolling up things like terrain, objectives, forces, arrival method (!), support options and possible complications.

Wars of Insurgency

Three scenarios with maps, objectives and special rules but no specified forces.


I LIKE RULESET X. WHERE CAN I GO TO LEARN MORE AND TALK TO OTHER WARGAMERS ABOUT IT?

Basic rule – head to Modern Miniatures Wargaming group on Facebook or the Lead Adventure forum for general modern-day warfighting.

Fireteam Modern

Rory Crabb has a site for all his games (I’ve linked the page for Fireteam Modern)

FUBAR

The main website for FUBAR.

Living on the Frontline

I haven’t found a specific website for the game but two sites of interest are the Winter of ’79 group and the original blog that inspired it – This blog is probably one of the main reason I got back into wargaming.

No End In Sight

The main nordic weasel site and the blog for future updates

Wars of Insurgency

There is a group for First Command Wargames on Facebook


NONE OF THESE RULESETS ARE REALLY WORKING FOR ME. WHAT ELSE IS COMING UP?

Have you checked out part 1? There are lots of other rulesets in there which already have all of this information on them.

Okay still haven’t found something you like? What. Well, in terms of what’s coming soon, there are a few updates from last year and a few new entries:

Round of Fire

This ruleset is out! I actually have a copy sat in the PDF folder on my tablet and I have been having a read through them. Rather than trying to rush a very interesting ruleset so it fits into this post, I’m going to be doing a separate impressions piece in January (provisional date is on the 12th). But it’s well worth a look! You can find them on Wargames Vault at http://www.wargamevault.com/product/227996/Round-of-Fire–Core-Rules

Platoon+

Still on its way from Radio Dishdash. There have been two playthroughs of it on the blog – one for Modern and one for WW2. Colin was kind enough to send over a version for me to look at (and help find those issues you start missing after you’ve read something 1000 times) and I’m really excited for it – it’s got some of the same flavour as Skirmish Sangin but much more suited for Platoon+ levels of engagement.

The Empress-Queeg Project

This has gone a little quiet. I think one of the authors is currently busy with real world issues so there will be a wait on this one.

Fighting Season

It’s gone very quiet. Based on talk on the Meeples and Miniatures podcast and from talking to Mr Clarke at Claymore, the core rules are in place but it’s now a case of making a campaign system that properly gives the feeling of operations out there. I fully understand Rich’s desire to not release until this campaign system is ready – too many modern games I’ve played have turned into full on fights to the death with no care for the consequences.

Ambush Alley: CQB and Force on Force 3: Boots on the Ground

So this is a story and a half. Early in 2017, Ambush Alley Games have decided that rather than trying to make a one size fits all ruleset, they were going to split the game in half – Force on Force 3 will focus on the larger size platoon games while Ambush Alley is more focused on the Close Quarter battles. As always, keep an eye on http://www.thewargameswebsite.com/forums/forum/ambush-alley-games/news-and-community/

OSC Book 2

The author has been distracted recently with real world stuff (having a kid will do that to you) but sounds like it’s starting to ramp up. So we should soon be seeing vehicles and teams running around on the fields of OSC.


WHAT ARE MY PERSONAL THOUGHTS?

I’ve decided to hold off on my personal thoughts on the games in part 2 for now. The reason is that I haven’t played these games anywhere nears as much as I had when I wrote part 1. I want to get a few more battles in before I come forth with judgement.


Well that’s part two of the comparison done. I hope the page is useful to you and helps you answer that tricky questions – “which rules should I play?”

If anything is missing or incorrect, please drop me a message and I’ll update it.