April 2022 Roundup

Tamerlane.

A bit of a disappointing month gaming wise and in terms of projects done – I blame the distraction of helping decorate my sons new flat and Dave being a bit shook up after a car accident (all good now).

Our first game was the continuation and wrap up of our epic Carlist game; the scenario worked, the rules played well, and we got two afternoons out of it so less frequent packing away ๐Ÿ˜€. It also whetted our appetite for Partizan in May where we’ll be doing a Carlist refight.
Hoochville

Next up was an away game of Vietnam using the BOHICA rules; dear oh dear what a disappointment ๐Ÿ˜’, the rules were really rather bad, confused incoherent and definitely nothing to do with Vietnam. The day was fine, seeing guys we haven’t seen for a month, beer, food and a laugh, so not a complete write off.

“hey you in the jail”

Next home game was another gunfight game where we had another episode from our Dardenell County campaign and made a final decision on the rules we’ll use. After years away from the ‘western gunfight’ genre it’s been really nice to back into it and fun has been had painting figures and collecting buildings. What we need now is general clutter, wagons, civilians, horses, all the accoutrements of your average film set ๐Ÿ˜ƒ.

spear won land

Final game of the month was one from our, oh so slow, Successors project ๐Ÿคจ. Still bereft of pikes we put together an Achaean League v Middle Imperial Seleucid (pretty sure the Seleucids didn’t refer to themselves as that ๐Ÿคฃ), mainly because the hoplites we do have could make up the bulk of the League while the many Xystophoroi cavalry we have plus the freshly painted Galatians could justifiably bulk out a Seleucid army.

who doesn’t love an elephant?

The game played well and the rules seem to be giving us what we want in terms of a reasonable representation of warfare of the period and understandable mechanisms. No major ‘oh my god!’ moments but a bit of tidying round the edges still needs to be done; the acid test will be when we have sufficient numbers of pikes done and can go classical pike v pike.

In terms of getting things done it’s all been a bit miserable; there are some more Timurids in progress but the only things that got done were a stage coach and building for the gunfight game – need to give myself a good talking to!

the irony of building a half finished building

That’s it I’m afraid, enjoy your gaming.

March 2022 Roundup

Well March didn’t start off too well as we were forced to cancel our attendance at Hammerhead due to my date for investigative surgery being scheduled for the Friday before the show and Dave wasn’t up to running a participation game on his lonesome. A shame but given the pressure the NHS is under currently I didn’t feel like messing them about just because of toy soldiers ๐Ÿ™‚

From a gaming perspective, we managed to get quite a few in, starting the month of with an Italian theatre War of the Austrian Succession game featuring a GalloSpan army taking on Austro Piedmontese. A hard fought game resulted in an Austro Piedmontese victory due in part to an outstanding performance by the Austrian cavalry.

Next up was a dark age game using our Arthurian rules tweaked ever so slightly to accommodate a Late Roman v Goths encounter. It was the first outing for the Goths and was quite a bloody affair resulting in the death of two of the Goth leaders and a narrow victory for the Romans.

We played two separate western gunfight games during the month as part of our rejuvenated interest in the period, trialling two more sets of rules and kicking off a loose campaign to knit games together.

Probably our best game was a refight of St Denys, the second in our project to refight all the battles of the French Wars of Religion. This is historically a very lop sided battle which the Huguenots simply should not win but did and so it was in our refight even down to killing the right commander!

Our final game was a Carlist War battle done in the style of a ‘table top teaser’ scenario whereby a retreating government column has to get from one end of the table to the other while random Carlist brigades are generated to either side of them. At the time of going to press the government has seen off three Carlist brigades but another two bar their way – to be finished in April ๐Ÿ˜€

Projects wise a couple of small gunfight buildings were completed, some modern vehicles for our Cartel and Syrian games were finished, a couple of Timurid bodyguard cavalry units were finished after lingering around for over a year, some random desert terrain items completed and a unit of Galatians was added to the Successors project.

In other news the 10mm Franco Prussian armies were sold off to a new (and probably more appreciative) owner and some of the money from that sale went toward the purchase of a 4Ground western town from a gaming acquaintance who was done with the period – now we really have got to get into it!

Till next time, happy gaming ๐Ÿ˜„

February 2022 Roundup

Well, we’ve managed to keep to a fairly regular schedule, managing to get 5 games in and complete some terrain items.

The month started with a multi player WWII skirmish set amongst our four foot square city scape, built for us quite a few years back by Dave Marshall of TM Terrain. Designed as a generic eastern Prussia/western Russia look, this game was set in the Caucasus a favourite theatre of operations for us.

The sides were a full platoon each of Soviets and Germans plus limited support, each side approached from the east and west of the town with different deployment options and variables on heavy support/transport.

The game split into the two halves of the board; on the main boulevard a bloody gunfight saw heavy casualties on both sides (mainly from deployed mmg’s & lmg’s) but by nightfall more real estate was in Soviet hands than Germans, in the suburbs both sides proceeded cautiously inflicting low level casualties and by nightfall neither had made significant progress.

Next up was another skirmish but this time just two of us trialling the Dead Mans Hand western gunfight rules. This was a project that had notionally started way back in 2020 when we got the buildings and a few figures but then sat dormant for the first year of Covid. A few more figures were added in 2021 and I got bought the rules as a birthday present so finally we got round to it!

Anyone who has gamed with me knows I’m not a huge fan of card driven games and excessive randomness which is exactly what the rules serve up but they are well produced and Dave and I recognised that for the occasional game we were going to need something fairly short, sharp and effective.

The plus side of being simple and effective was that we got through two games in the evening so that was a plus.

Next up was a ‘proper battle’ featuring Florentines and Venetians from our Italian wars collection and using our home grown rules.

It wasn’t our greatest outing, both sides were overly cautious and where they did get bold it was in isolated efforts. The challenge when using Italian states is the generally low morale of the troops and poor command ability of the generals and so the effort for the players is more demanding than commanding French or Spanish.

Ultimately it was a score draw but both sets of players enjoyed the game and swore to be a bit more aggressive next time!

The last game on home turf was another western gunfight, same rules, different terrain, less figures.

As a game this played better, maybe due to us knowing a bit more about the flow of the rules, maybe because we limited ourselves in terms of numbers, don’t know really.

Again we got through two games and for a knock about kind of game (what some would call “fun”) it was perfectly fine but the random element gives some really ridiculous results which did start to grate by the end of play. The upshot was that Dave and I are going to have a go with the rules we grew up on, the ‘Old West Skirmish Rules’, far more complex but certainly more realistic and have a another go with ‘Fistful of Lead’ which we gamed with a while back. Stay tuned ๐Ÿ˜

Final game of the month was an ‘away game’ with some long standing wargames buddies, near to us but not of us ๐Ÿ™‚.

The game was one of those glorious British colonial expeditions in the face of unruly Afghan depredations using a new set of rules ‘Beyond the Empire’ another set in the draw a card, roll a random dice to see if you do what you wanted to and then roll some more random dice to see if you are any good at shooting/fighting this turn.

Now we had great fun; the sun was out, the beer was flowing and much hilarity was had at each players expense but colonial warfare it most definitely wasn’t.

If the very luck driven, completely random course of events and frankly unbelievable combat outcomes are for you (and I know that for many players this is indeed what it’s all about) then these are as good a set as the many other of it’s type out there. For me, no thanks.

Earlier in the year I’d got myself a couple of the Grand manner buildings in their sale – couldn’t afford them full price ๐Ÿ˜‚ and so got them painted up. Although they are ‘Spanish’ I painted them in a more generic northern European style so we could use them for WWII skirmish.

Also got hold of a Blotz minaret to add to our individual middle east buildings.

That’s about it really. The Successors project trundles along, pikemen are being painted as we speak and Dave’s decision to do some Galatians has a unit nearly done – hopefully some photo’s in the March roundup, some vehicles to add to the modern middle east games are about to get started and more Carlists are underway.

So, until next time, be safe and get in as many games as you can ๐Ÿ˜

January 2022 Roundup

With the start of 2022 and our emergence from 2 years of grabbing a game when we could I thought I’d record each month’s activities for what looks like (fingers crossed) is going to be a more stable gaming year.

Gathering the group up to start gaming again at the beginning of the month was an emotional time and gave us cause to pause and reflect. We have been very fortunate, given our senior age span, not to have lost anyone permanently from this life as so many across the country have; that said we have slimmed down a bit, of the hard core group one of our number is still not comfortable about socialising so we have left it with him to choose his time, of the occasional players, none of them are coming back having essentially given the hobby up. That all said we did manage to get 4 games in and make some progress on some of the projects.

Our first game was a French Wars of Religion game, refighting the battle of Dreux.

Historically a Catholic victory we managed a reversal of history with a stunning Protestant victory that saw most of the Catholic army either dead or running away. It was good to start with a historical refight and we agreed we should try and do more, although that has not been the case so far ๐Ÿ˜.

Our next effort was a classic Prussian v Austrian Seven Years War bash with a considerable number of figures on the table – always good to see. Looking back we could easily have done one of the earlier historical battles but I got carried away with creating a challenging scenario for the game ๐Ÿ˜€.

The game was a points for objectives game, so high ground, bridges, villages. Some of the terrain units were already in Prussian/Austrian hands, a couple of which could be easily lost if players didn’t concentrate, the rest were there for the taking but most would involve fighting for them.

This was a hard fought game with several brigades being fought to exhaustion. The battle will be remembered however not for any great tactical insight but for the hilarity of the poor old Austrian cavalry commander receiving three sets of orders during the game that saw him canter from one part of the battlefield to another and not fight anyone ๐Ÿคฃ๐Ÿ˜‚. In the end the Prussians just edged it on points.

Our third game was an eastern renaissance game featuring Ottomans invading southern Muscovy.

This was great fun, as both armies were principally cavalry, we had units attacking, retreating, returning and the air thick with arrows. Ultimately it was a narrow Ottoman victory and at the end of it we were knackered, lots of cavalry is fun but it can get to be a bit of a slog when trying to work out the stats for numerous units all shooting and fighting at the same time.

Last up was an inaugural game of our Successors project.

The project is still ongoing but I reckoned we had enough done to be able to put together a passable semblance of a Eumenid and an Antigonid army which indeed was the case.

The game played well and we were pleased with where we’ve got to with the rules; some tweaks still need to be made but overall a good run out of the figures and the rules.

As well as the games we’ve been slowly working through additions to the armies; some more Streltsy have been completed for the Muscovites – too late for the game though ๐Ÿ™, the Carlists have been expanded in preparation for Partizan, a whole load of gunfighters have been finished for the Wild West games we still haven’t played yet ๐Ÿ™„ and the Successor cavalry were finished in time for the game.

In terms of frequency of games we are well down on pre pandemic times, prior to the pandemic we were usually gaming twice a week, every week and occasionally squeezing in a third. Chatting the other day we recognised we’re never going to get back to that, the Covid years sapped our energy and drive and we are all two years older which for a couple of the guys is quite significant. So going forward we’re thinking once a week would be good, maybe the occasional second game, and seriously look at the joint collection and see if it can be slimmed down – but that’s probably a bit of a pipe dream ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿคฃ

Stay safe everyone and enjoy your gaming.

Somewhere In Holland

Some time ago Dave made up and painted a squad of Polish paratroopers which have never seen the light of day so with the gang back together again we decided to do a multi player skirmish set in post Market Garden, Holland.

The basic scenario was, the para’s and a cell from the Dutch resistance have captured a fortified house guarding a crossroads on the route of XXX Corps, unfortunately the defending Germans managed to get a message out prior to being overpowered and a young resistance fighter has just cycled in to say German reinforcements are on their way!

The para’s were allowed to position themselves anywhere around the house and the Dutch anywhere around the windmill and ruined barn, so essentially covering the north south and east west road approaches. The Germans had 4 squads and 10 potential entry points so each squad diced for where they would randomly come on and if it was a road they had the option of using a truck. As it turned out 1 squad came from the north down the road by truck, 1 from the south by truck and 2 squads from the south east, emerging from the wooded terrain. The allies were outnumbered 2:1 but did have the advantage of extensive cover and in the case of the paras better training.

Because the Germans entered at different points and were commanded by different players there wasn’t too much co-ordination (no radios = no player chit chat) so probably best to describe each squad’s ‘journey’ as a whole.

The squad on the northern road (3rd squad) drove as far as the wrecked lorry blocking the way and then de-bussed to head for the windmill (no Dutch were visible at this point) with the aim of using it as the fire base to pin down the defenders of the house. This plan deteriorated quite early on when the para sniper picked off the lmg gunner as the squad crossed the hedge ๐Ÿ˜•

The squad were then involved in a race for cover as the para Bren also opened up and by the time they reached the windmill area they had several men down. At the windmill the Dutch started to open fire but their poorer training meant they weren’t so deadly (by now the para’s had other Germans to worry about) so they were soon dispatched. Once at the windmill the Germans were able to outflank the resistance fighters who were outflanking the Germans advancing from the south and gunned them down. By game end this squad was settled in the windmill but nursing 50% losses. The Dutch had ceased to exist as an effective fighting force and the survivors slipped away.

The Germans on the southern road (1st squad) drove about half way to the crossroads then debussed and crossed the hedge to their left to advance on the house, reckoning that to drive any closer would invite a Piat shot (actually the paras didn’t have a Piat but the Germans didn’t know that ๐Ÿ˜€). The corporal and one other stayed by the truck to engage in long range distraction of the paras now visible on the bunker roof- they eventually downed one para who was bandaged up by his mates.

It was a long slog up to the crossroads and at the corner they took an unexpected casualty from the firing slit in the bunker door which covered the break in the hedge – this was a pure accident of the terrain placement and despite a bit of debate we agreed it was a legal shot. Alerted now, most of the the squad scrambled over the hedge and advanced on the house using the burning Hanomag as a screen, things were looking good as 2nd & 4th squads were converging on the house.

Now out of angle of the bunker door the squad prepared for an assault…….

Boom! Unfortunately one of the resistance team hiding out in the barn was positioned at the window, hidden by the other burning wreck, and let fly with a panzerfaust which exploded against the Hanomag taking out 3 of the squad in the blast ๐Ÿ˜ฎ – the funny bit was that the Dutch player thought that the guy he had placed there was armed with a rifle ๐Ÿคฃ๐Ÿ˜‚

The result of this debacle was that the sergeant died of his wounds and the resultant morale test saw that group ‘pinned’ and then ‘gone to ground’ which meant they crawled away from the action until rallied – they didn’t.

The remainder of the squad, a couple of guys the other side of the burning vehicles and the corporal and his mate, belatedly advancing up the road, pulled themselves together enough to kill off the Dutch in the barn (I wonder if it was a ‘Dutch barn’?) but that was them essentially done. A noteworthy postscript was that in the dying light of the day the corporal managed to place a charge against the bunker door and blow it in – the figure was equipped with a bunch of grenades bundled together for tank busting so we agreed that was a feasible outcome.

The German 4th squad emerged from the eastern woods into the sunlight and started out across the open field toward the house only to take rifle fire from the upper windows that downed the corporal, but the sergeant urged the men on, leaving behind a man to dress the corporal’s wound. They flung themselves into cover at some shell holes and returned fire supported by the lmg of 2nd squad behind them, after a couple of turns of no firing from the house (the para had been hit and was being treated by another) they rushed to the hedge in front of them and vaulted over and into the street.

Once in the street there was a ‘lobbing grenades into the house competition’ which saw grenades get through the window but land nowhere near those inside (as the Germans couldn’t mark their target the impact point was randomised) but the concussion from grenades going off in a small room were deemed to have concussed those inside. The main plan however was to rush to the rear of the house, storm into the yard and up the stairs.

However, as soon as the first soldier entered the yard a shot rang out from the bunker (this bloody bunker!) and down he went. This completely stuffed the plan and the squad was now stuck exchanging useless shots at a bunker slit knowing full well only a lucky hit would be enough – they never got lucky. One bright spot was a single soldier who had been sent crawling into the under house garage space, but more of him later.

The German 2nd squad emerged from the south east slightly behind 4th squad so when the 4th took fire the lmg team quickly deployed and opened up on the house – it was actually their fire that inflicted the casualty. While the lmg team remained deployed, the rest of the squad advanced, using the eastern hedge line as cover, arriving at the hedge to the south of the house just as 4th got set to advance round the corner.

Vaulting the hedge like their predecessors, the 2nd also went for the grenade lobbing trick but what a disaster ๐Ÿ™„, the grenade hit the windowsill, bounced back and exploded amongst the squad, killing the sergeant and one other! Despite the shock the corporal rallied the squad and led them up the road away from dangerous grenade throwing and into the hell that was the crossroads fighting.

The corporal firing his smg at the bunker firing slit this provided enough of a distraction for the lone private from 4th squad who’d crawled through the garage space to get to the side of the slit and post a grenade – boom!

In the fading light the rest of 2nd squad got round the side of the bunker but there was still no way of launching an effective assault. In desperation surrender terms were offered but the paras said they hadn’t got room for so many prisoners ๐Ÿคฃ๐Ÿ˜‚ (if you’re going to steal, steal from the best), even the blowing in of the bunker door failed to convince them!

At that point we decided the Germans would fall back far enough to keep the paras bottled up and hope to starve them out before XXX Corps arrived, which was probably a vain hope.

Overall we had a great time, plenty of tactical decisions to be made; when do you run across open ground, how many men are you prepared to lose in a suicidal assault, remembering to fire and move, etc. We also got a sense of the frustration of close assault against prepared positions, especially when those positions are held by good quality troops, although the fortified house was a lot harder nut to crack than we envisaged,

Anyway, we played, we bantered, we had a good game, all you can ask for really.

Thanks for reading and enjoy your gaming.

Back To The Blog

With the arrival of 2021 after the long dark night of 2020 I looked at the blog and realised I hadn’t posted since March of last year and asked myself the question why?

The most obvious answer was “well there was a lockdown dummy!” and still is of course, with the obvious result of there being no shows to talk about, no games to post pictures of and no projects to bore everyone about – well not quite but that’ll be another post ๐Ÿ™‚ But actually I think it was a bit more than that, partly depression – what’s the point and all that, partly lack of will – who am I going to play with, but mostly the lack of the creative spark engendered by being around others. Personally the death of a close family member early in the pandemic was a blow which was probably not properly dealt with and the ‘sadmin’ took a lot longer to deal with than normal and the clearing of the deceased belongings and property is still with us as a family and as anyone who has been through this it does grind you down.

For us as a Group the initial lockdown stopped us stone dead, we squeezed in Hammerhead (well me and Dave) which was a slightly surreal experience, but as most of the gang are in the vulnerable age group they went into isolation and I haven’t seen them since. That left Dave and I to make the best of the various versions of the rules to meet occasionally in the usual venue socially distanced and with the windows open and when that became untenable create a version of meeting outside where we gamed in Dave’s shed (it’s a big shed!) with the door and windows open but then of course it became too bloody cold and that was the end of that.

Wargaming in the shed did manage to keep us reasonably sane and gave Dave a chance to fully utilise the large playing surface (10 foot x 6 foot) with big set piece battles using a lot of our collections – “bang ’em all on!” No skirmish games here! Just like in the usual venue we could leave the game up and subject to Dave’s shift patterns we meandered our way though several of our big periods (Renaissance, ACW, Carlist & Sikh Wars) allocating 2 or 3 days per battle – what else were we going to do!

The problem with just two of you of course is that you do get a bit comfortable, there isn’t the variable of someone else saying “hold on, what about……” and the banter/argument is two dimensional. On the plus side we did have the time to sit in the garden and just chat, mainly about the hobby, but life under lockdown generally and made some plans for a future we had no idea of when it would arrive. The big decision was us deciding to go full on for Successors in 28mm, no skirmish gaming, no few element bases pretending to be an army but full on; completely mad but that’s what a pandemic lockdown does to you! Original plan was to be well on the way by now but the prolonged pandemic has meant we haven’t been able to get together to really plan it out but I’ll save the full story for the next blog post.

The big decision for me personally was to get a Syrian city scape done to further utilise the 4 foot square road intersections I did for the Sicario games. This was something I’d wanted to do for some time to further enhance our Spectre games so I contracted the job out and was over the moon at the result; this too will be a follow up blog.

That’s enough I think for a getting back to the blog mind set. More to follow – what else am I going to do?

Away Game With Welsh Chechins

This game came about thanks to an invite from Gareth Lane, fellow twitterite, who suggested I came down to south wales for a game on his excellent Russian terrain of Russian Federation v Chechins using the Bolt Action Modern rules. So leaving the rest of the gang behind, mainly due to shift patterns and ‘real life’, I battled through the torrential rain to fly the Westbury flag in far off Wales.

I took on the role of the Russian Federation fielding a force of regulars – 3 infantry sections plus HMG, Grenade Launcher & Sniper support mainly of Inexperienced morale with a range of transportย  – BRDM, BYT80, BMP2 & ZSU23-24 all of Regular morale. On top of this was the good stuff being a Spetsnaz section plus Light Mortar & MMG support with an Mi17 transport helicopter and HIND gunship. Both had a dog team assigned to sniff out booby traps (of which Gareth kept telling me there would be many and deadly – psychological warfare!) – more of the dog teams later.

Gareth took the Chechins fielding a mixed force of Veteran Mujahadeen & their warlord Arbi Barayev, Regular Chechin Wolf Pack infantry sections and Inexperienced Chechin rebels plus HMG, Grenade Launcher & Sniper support and a captured BMP2. Also an array of anti personnel & anti tank mines that would be positioned prior to game start.

IMG_20200228_141928

Federation objectives were to seize both ends of the tram line and hold at the end of the game thus denying the rebels a vital supply life line and as a bonus kill the warlord Arbi Barayev. The Chechins had the rather simpler objective of protecting the supply line and bloodying the Russians.

The rules were new to me. Gareth had advised me to watch some YouTube play through videos, which I duly did, and to be frank wasn’t too impressed but my golden rule is ‘your house, you rules’ so decided to go with the flow and rely on Gareth to walk me through what could and could not be done.

IMG_20200228_161511

The Federation troops were deployed on the eastern edge of the board having three possible entry points at which at least half of the troops must start the game. The Spetsnaz were air mobile and couldn’t enter until turn 3 in what was a 7 turn game (with a random option for an extra single turn). With an abundance of caution (inspired by fear of mines and ambush) I deployed one infantry section plus the the HMG and the ZSU at the northern most entry point – a mistake in a limited turn game as they couldn’t cover enough ground. At the centre point I deployed (over two turns) the other two infantry sections one in a BTR80, one in the BMP2 – the right tactics I think but see later rookie error. At the southern entry point was the BRDM containing the command element leading the way followed by the other BTR80 holding the Grenade Launcher team, the Sniper team and the dog team. Theย  Chechins were all unseen until Gareth deployed them at pre configured positions and some were in Ambush – a rules mechanism thing.

IMG_20200228_161507

The initial moves naturally belonged to the Federation. The northern team moved at Advance speed to start but realising this was too slow I had them Run and to hell with booby traps! Their objective was the northern end of the tram line where a unit of Chechins had materialised but desultory firing didn’t have much effect, the ZSU however which had moved down a parallel street was much more effective – 4 x turret mounted auto cannons at 3 dice a piece are great fun, definitely getting one of these for our Syrian games!ย  The centre forces moved into the broken terrain and the BMP2 disgorged it’s section and gave covering fire as they crossed the street under fire from Chechins further down, the BTR80 however didn’t deploy it’s troops (oops!) and so when a Chechin RPG came whizzing up the street it brewed up pretty quickly taking half the section with it. The southern force managed to deploy into some buildings to flank the Chechins at the end of the street opposite them with the dog sniffing out a booby trap, the sniper team getting up high and the Grenade Launcher team setting up nicely. The BTR80 got itself in an alley between two buildings which meant that though it couldn’t get hit it was no use in providing fire support so this role went to the BRDM once the commander had debussed.ย  At this point I was thinking ‘well I’ve drawn him out so I know where most of his stuff is but I’m not winning the fire fight and the tram line is a ways off’

Turn 4 saw the arrival of the good stuff. The HIND deployed to hover over the main street to support the Federation regulars – I didn’t quite get the hang of this to start with and the Mi17 hovered over the northern end of the tram line for the Spetsnaz to rappel down relatively safely due to the ZSU chewing up the Chechins at this end. The plan was now for the Spetsnaz to mop up so the regulars could secure this end and then proceed down the tram lines to the other objective but in the way were a Wolf Pack section in the adjacent street and the veteran Mujahedeen cunningly using the ruined factory as cover. It was going to be a race to the finish!

The HIND wasn’t as deadly as I thought it was going to be and I did have some heart stopping moments when the ambush HMG & Grenade Launcher revealed themselves on the roof top of a large apartment building and tried to bring it down – I could see the markers but couldn’t do anything until Gareth revealed them which is a bit of a clumsy rules mechanism as it could lead players avoiding a spot they wouldn’t necessarily avoid, however mutual good spirit avoided any problem. The plus of the volume of fire the HIND could deliver did however did ensure some judicious pin markers on the Chechins which prevented them overwhelming the Federation regulars at the southern end of the street who had by now lost their BRDM to an RPG and were holding on rather than advancing although this did mean the sniper team could get off some effective kills on the HMG and Grenade Launcher teams on the roof opposite.

In the centre of the action we had an exchange of BPM2 losses; the Chechin vehicle took out the Federation vehicle when I foolishly deployed side on which left the infantry sections there a bit in the air but a turn or two later, the ZSU, having run out of infantry to chew up poked its head round a corner and tore up the Chechin vehicle – love this vehicle!

At the northern end of the table the on foot regulars had got themselves into a bit of a firefight with a sniper they couldn’t hit and couldn’t really move due to the rebel BPM2 (soon to be brewed up) and the HMG team had triggered a booby trap and lost half their team. Spetsnaz to the rescue! They finished off the opposition using the MMG & infantry section while the Mortar team started lobbing shells into the ruined factory and the dog team used the available cover to loosen off a couple of shots which took out Arbi Baryev – spectacular! Now it all came together as the Spetsnaz raced against time; the Chechins advancing up the street alongside the tram lines were taken out and the HIND now hovered over the factory (narrowly avoiding a SAM missile fired on the last turn) raining fire on the Mujahedeen who although not all killed were so pinned they were going nowhere.

Time was called and a minor Russian victory declared having seized one end of the tram line and killed the Chechin warlord. I of course claimed that with the HIND hovering over the other end of the tram line and with most of the Chechins being eliminated – we counted around 40 dead, it was a Federation victory. What it was, was a victory for the hobby, two people who had never met, playing in the right spirit, no rule mongering but equally no silliness and having a thoroughly great day. Thank you Gareth for being a great host I hope we can have a repeat performance sometime soon in the Midlands.

A note on the rules. I’d never played them before but after a few turns they were surprisingly easy to pick up and despite my misgivings played well. Are they perfect? Well no, but what rule set is? They are not as nuanced as say Spectre but for a squad based game where you are effectively ignoring the individuals and concentrating on the whole they give a good game. Would I play them again? Yes.