I’m writing this just after two weeks of manic work and then a weekend away getting back to the airsofting/shootmans for the first time in a while. Airsoft was really good, great site and I got to rock and roll with my favourite airsoft gun that hasn’t been used in a year (thanks Timehop for that reminder). I also got to spend some time with friends and have a fun drive back up through some great countryside – Autumn really is the best time for driving (except for the torrential rain that came out of nowhere as I got past Newcastle).
More importantly, I got to play some Spectre Operations with my wargaming friends down south. As usual, I took the OPFOR while the 6 SAS operators were split between three new players to the rules. So without further ado, lets take a look at the game.
Barzistan is a breakaway region in the Middle East, containing parts of Saudi Arabia and Yemen. 24 hours ago, two civilian aid workers were kidnapped by militants. In response, SAS operatives in the region have deployed on a snatch and grab mission. Based on recon information, they strike at dawn before the major groups of militants return to the target village.
All BLUFOR has body armour, a pistol, radio and three types of grenades (Frag, Smoke and Stun)
1x Elite Commander w/ Carbine (Laser, Red dot, Scope, Suppressor) and Underslung Grenade Launcher
1x Elite Operator w/ Carbine (Laser, Red dot, Scope, Suppressor), Underslung Grenade Launcher and RPG w/ Thermobaric Warhead (a M72 ASM)
2x Elite Operator w/ Carbine (Laser, Red dot, Scope, Suppressor)
1x Elite Operator w/ Compact Light Machine Gun (Laser, Red dot, Scope, Suppressor)
1x Loitering Tactical Munition
1x Militia Commander w/ Assault Rifle
1x Militia Squad Leader w/ Assault Rifle
20x Militia w/ Assault Rifle
1x Militia w/ Sniper
1x Militia w/ DMR
1x Militia w/ LMG
5x Militia w/ MMG
4x Militia w/ RPG
As the operation starts, the SAS team is formed up near the communications mast. Inside the village, the militants are split into several groups. The two largest were the attack groups with around 10 figures in each group. There was also a 5 person sentry group (just heading out to their prepared positions) and two pairs of sentries on various roof tops.
The SAS figures quickly split up, with two forming a fire support team while the rest moved into the village. Approaching the first house, the fire support team spotted the 5 man sentry group getting close. Rather than risk detection, they opened up with the suppressed weapons. Three guys went down but two more were left standing forcing a quick response from the assault team. Sneaking in closer, the assault team managed to carefully dispatch the other two sentry groups, the last just moments before they tried to set off the alarm. However, by now both mobs of militia were sat on the outskirts of the village and would pose an issue in getting to the target building.
Upon agreement with all three players operating the SAS, the team decided to go kinetic. First up, the Commander dropped a Loitering Tactical Munition out the sky and onto group 1 causing multiple KIA and a pile of suppression points. Group 2 was engaged by the fire support element, dropping rapid fire onto the mob and forcing them back behind the buildings. Two more of the SAS planned to advance onto the taller building, stacking up on the doorway and planning to breach.
However, at this point we rolled for the civilians (having forgotten to do so up until this point – oops). Most groups scattered but one group took offence at the arrival of a bunch of westerners and immediately mobbed on of the breaching operators. One short close combat later and an elite SAS operator was knocked unconscious for the loss of one civilian also knocked down. His buddy managed to drag him into the building’s cover and then proceeded to stun grenade the angry civilians.
Ignoring the public relations work two of the SAS were doing, the renaming 4 operators went off to finish the militia. Group A (lead by the commander) worked its way round to start finishing off the group recovering from a drone strike. One of the suppressed militia managed to pop a shot off but the suppression was cleared pretty quickly. Group B waited for the larger mob to pop its head out. As soon as they appear, the two man team performed a Fire Control Order, dumping a burst of MG fire and an M72 ASM to pin the remaining fighters down with a pile of suppression. With all the militia combat ineffective and unable to rally off the suppression, we called the game
As the militia huddled under the blistering fire, forced away from their captives, two of the SAS operators manhandled the hostages and the team broke contact, falling back into the desert. The rebels will need to find another way to get the leverage they need…
So how are the rules? Well I was playtesting the rules for a little bit (see previous posts in the Spectre Operations tag for the early days) but this is my first time with the final version. Overall I think they are a fantastic little set of rules. The addition of squads really make the game standout – its not just focused on the individual characters but really focused on how a squad works together. Combat is pretty nasty (up close the tooled up operators were getting masses of modifiers thanks to compact/red dot/laser and more) and remaining unaware is very bad if you intend to stay in one piece (unlike the militia in this game). My biggest issues with the game are fixed – suppression is limited on professional and elite figures so they feel a little more special while frag rules just make more sense and are much harder to break. It is a little strange when you initially work out points values – 6 elite figures tooled up are equal to 50 odd militia fighters with AKs. However, after playing you soon see they can handle it. The game has a nice flow to it, even with the various markers and additional dice that end up on the board. It also still gives you the kid in the candy shop feel with the massive list of weapons and gear. There are a few beta features I miss but based on what Spectre have been saying it looks like they have plenty of stuff planned out.
Overall, I am super happy with Spectre and I’m really looking forward to playing some more of it. I have some more situations I want to try with it and see how it works (the big one being militia hunting AFVs) but I’m already getting sorted for my next game of it!
Now I’ve played this rules, I’m going to start work on the comparison article of the various modern rulesets. It won’t be a “X is better than Y” but more a comparative look into just what is available and what each does well/less well.