A game report isn’t something we originally planned to do with the blog but having jumped in with a purchase of Spectre Operations new rules, despite having had very little game play out of the original set, we thought we’d share the game and offer our opinion and invite comments. Why buy an update of a set of rules you haven’t really played that much? Well it was the Spectre guys who got us into considering modern skirmish, their stuff is cool and despite our learning curve problems we knew there was a good game in the rules, we just weren’t getting it. One gripe before we go on though, why publish a set of rules and not have a quick reference sheet ready to go with it? Annoying, as is the whole download the pdf thing; gripe over.
The game. We set up a 4 x 4 vaguely middle eastern town where a local leader, Amir El Masry, is holed up in his compound with about a dozen adherents scattered around three locations including the compound. All the insurgents were classed as Militia according to the rules, armed with a random assortment of weapons – basically we diced to pull them in no specific order from the KR Multicase tray we keep them in and added a technical with a .50 parked up at one of the locations. At the edge of town we positioned six operators tasked with extracting Masry and exiting the board in their station wagon, the operators were classed as Professional, had Radio Comms and two guys were classed as having suppressed weapons.
Dawn is breaking as we start the game, all the operators are Alert (basically ready for action) as are the two guards outside the compound and the guard on the roof, the rest of the insurgents are Unalert (can’t do anything until the shooting starts). The turn sequence is pretty straightforward, you dice (D6 – in fact it’s all D6) for Initiative and the winner goes first in all the phases of that turn which are, Command (changing stuff), Movement and Tactical Actions (standard 6″ move and stuff like sprinting, sneaking around, smoke grenades, etc), Combat (shooting the shit out of things). For some reason we struggled with this originally but it is dead simple as long as you remember to do one guy at a time and complete his actions before doing the next one. Once that’s done you dice again and start over.
The first few moves were pretty uneventful as the operators used the cover of the buildings to get closer and the insurgents did nothing because there was nothing to do, in fact who won the Initiative was a bit redundant really, the only things of note from a rules point of view were that the operators took a Command action test to split the team into two teams of three which they failed the first time (lol) so we assumed they just kept on moving as one group and the guard on the roof took an action to go on Overwatch for part of the street in his field of view which didn’t require a test. The command test requires the section leader to be Cohesive with his group for them to understand and you dice against his stat, the better you are the more chance of passing. The Cohesion is about how close to another squad member you need to be (so Militia 2″, Professionals 3″) to benefit from command actions and the rules state squads should adhere to this but as we played on there didn’t seem to be any real disadvantage to being non cohesive especially for the insurgents who were scattered about anyway and were just running to the sound of gunfire and getting stuck in as and when – this is the trigger point for furious e mails saying “for god’s sake, are you stupid? it clearly states on page ….”
Anyway…. Once the operators had the guards in sight the two guys with suppressed weapons (this was a “lets give it a go” decision) took out the guards, both passed the targeting role – basically the shooter rolls his stat plus a D6 against the targets defence stat plus a D6 (there are some basic modifiers) and if he beats it he hits, if not the target knows he’s being shot at! Once hit the shooter rolls for whether he kills – rolls against the Lethality (how good the weapon is) and if he beats it he gets a kill, if not there is a wound chart. You know what, this works pretty darn well, we made hard work of it by double checking the rule book to make sure we were doing it right (obviously a quick ref would have ….!) but that will soon fade. An important point to remember (and we forgot early on!) is that all shooting, whether on target or not, gives suppression points to the intended target which is in turn absorbed by the squad and at a critical point (depending on class) those accumulated suppression points trigger a test (call it morale if you like) which can result in the squad actually becoming Suppressed (reduces movement & firing) and from then on declining in motivation unless gee’d up by a leader (a reason to stay cohesive). More on this later!
Once this was done the operators moved on the compound but Bravo strayed into the remaining guard’s field of view and as he was on Overwatch he could fire in their movement phase which he duly did, hitting no one, but those Unalert fellas were surely Alert now! Undeterred the Operators moved to the corner of the compound, Alpha using conveniently placed boxes to scale the wall and Bravo taking position at some more boxes to cover the street – sounds almost organised doesn’t it?
We had to work a bit now as we had four insurgents piling out of a building and climbing into a technical, two more taking up positions on a roof and three piling out of the barracks building of the compound. Now strictly speaking none of these guys were in Cohesion because they were a 12 man ‘squad’ but other than the individuals in the groups being in 2″ of each other they were nowhere near the leader (who remained in one of the compound buildings and in fact would later leave) and nowhere near the other groups but we couldn’t see how this was a problem provided they didn’t try and do anything other than move and shoot so that’s how we played it. Comments gratefully received.
By a quirk of fate the insurgents got to go first in the next turn and seeing Alpha on the roof threw one hand grenade each all of which were smack on target so exit Alpha team!
The look of shock on our faces must have been a picture! “Surely we’ve got that wrong?” We went through the rules but couldn’t see where we went wrong but as it was early in the evening we made an executive decision of no hand grenades for insurgents and re-set the clock. Please feel free to comment in if you can see an obvious error.
So with the operators now backed away from the roof edge so the insurgents can’t see to shoot them two of the insurgents go back into the barracks to access the roof trapdoor and one stays below over watching the building. Alpha get smart however and use the trapdoor on the roof to drop into the building which has no windows and only one door which opens onto the courtyard! Not so smart.
Out on the street the technical roared round a corner and took fire from Bravo who killed the driver resulting in the truck crashing into a wall but the rest of the guys were unharmed. The vehicles rules look a bit daunting at first and we did get it wrong to start with – didn’t notice the cap on the amount of damage small arms fire can inflict, but it’s pretty straight forward, compare die rolls like in normal shooting, if you get a hit look at the penetration stat of the weapon plus a die and a chart tells you what happens. We liked this.
A gunfight now erupted in the street which the big .50 essentially won. Both sides ended up actually Suppressed but the operators lost their team leader so couldn’t rally out of Suppression – we think? The rules state that as soon as a group reaches the command stat number of their leader (or just the highest rated guy in the case of the technical crew we decided) they test and pass or not, which is probably why you need to fire one figure at a time, not roll for everyone in the group at once which is what we did to start with. The rules then state that any suppression points left over are carried forward but also state that after the test they are reset to zero (both statements on page 43) so although we were happy with the all round result we’re not sure we actually did it correctly. Comments from experienced players please.
Things didn’t get much better for the operators after that. The guys trapped in the compound building decided to open the door and chuck a grenade just outside the doorway to hopefully clear away any potential bad guys (remember they don’t know what’s there even though the player does – very difficult to stay honest!). This was a complete nightmare; the ‘shot’ missed so we rolled for direction and the grenade bounced back into the room taking out two of the team including the team leader!
Not surprisingly that was mission over, the operators had 50% KIA and the target was in the wind. Did we enjoy it? Absolutely. Do we think we got everything right? Nope.
Our chief after game discussion points were Cohesion and Suppression.
With Cohesion, if our insurgents all had to be within 2″ of each other we couldn’t set up the game as we did – which seemed pretty realistic to us and having them all in the compound would have made the game unwinnable for the operators. We were happy with the way we played it but we’re not sure it was right. I had e mailed Steve at Spectre but unfortunately that hadn’t helped. Comments please.
The Suppression is a key part of the game as volume of fire forces command tests and the less skilled falter and the changes Spectre have done make this work a lot better – the squad gets the points not the individual which was quite clunky in V1 so we liked the mechanism, we just weren’t clear about the the carry over or re set to zero thing. Any comments gratefully received.
Well that’s that. This wasn’t meant to be a review – we’ll leave that to others, just a couple of guys having fun in a reasonably historical setting with a set of rules we want to be successful so comments are genuinely invited. The rule book itself is well set out now and great to read even when you’re not playing so don’t be put off by our incompetence, this was a raw, first time out of the box, lets do it evening. The full gang is round later in the week so we’re going to re run the scenario to see if the blindingly obvious jumps out at us!
Enjoy your gaming.
y we keep them in and they also had a technical with .50 parked up at one location. At
the edge of town is a station wagon and six operators, Professionals, tasked with capturing for questioning back .