Battle Report: Spectre Operations 23/10/2016

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.

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Forces

BLUFOR

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

OPFOR

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

The Game

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…

Gallery

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Play begins as the sun rises across the board
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The SAS deploy near the old communication hut
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Guard group A finishes their work at the target building and prepare to go on sentry duty
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On the roof tops above, a sniper team watch the horizon while Ahmed attempt to get some signal
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Two SAS trooper provide cover as the rest of the team advances forward
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“Hold on, I might need to call you back. The Americans are here again”
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Team A gets ready to advance
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A loitering munition drops out the sky
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The aftermath
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Fire support take up position on the roof tops
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SAS 5 regrets sticking his head round the corner – even the stunned soldiers are still armed
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The breaching team conducts some PR work
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Fire support comes out of overwatch and drops the hammer

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.

Project Little Bird Begins

There is a set of rules in Skirmish Sangin I haven’t had the chance to really use and that’s the helicopter rules (introduced in Dispatches 2 and Day of the Rangers). Part of this is down to the missions I’ve played (if adding the vehicles boosted up the points, adding a helo is something else entirely) but the other thing is due to lacking suitable models to hover around the board, dealing rockets and miniguns.

For 28mm models, 1:48 is the accepted scale for helicopter kits (sadly 1:50 scale kits don’t exist or are exceedingly rare). Now, aircraft are big – its amazing just how much bigger than most vehicles they are! So the idea of 1:48 aircraft for a long time seemed like a bad idea lacking the space to carry them or store them. There are also other issues: whats the best way to setup the rotors so they are fit for wargaming, how best to set them up and base them and how to make them look cool flying around; the list goes on.

However, now I have a bit more space and after watching too much Blackhawk Down I think its time to get some rotors spinning. Of course, there is only one aircraft to start the ball rolling.

Cool Little Bird pictured with some other less cool helos
Cool Little Bird pictured with some other less cool helos

The Little Bird.

To begin with, I’m making an AH-6 in order to provide some fire support. The first part was picking up the base kit, in this case an Academy Tow Defender. To make it into an attack chopper, I have ordered a conversion kit from which will give me the rocket pods, miniguns and other bits I need. Once that’s arrived, I’ll then have to work out a flying stand. Currently leaning towards a method on the Lead Adventures forum that uses a telescopic inspection rod to let you adjust the height. This will be great for two reasons: making multiple helos look cool flying together and also MH-6s coming down to land on the rooftop. It will also involve magnets because it makes everything easy to transport.

I’m a little worried about this project – there is a lot to worry about and lots of places to mess up. I’m gonna have to do stuff like painting components before assembly (which I hate) and also drilling into the plastic bodywork so I can place the magnets. However, if it works it means I can add a load of extra dimension to my tabletop games. Helicopters on the board really make it stand out and if I was to take a game to a wargames show, a helo is something to have on the board.

Also once the AH-6 is up, I’ll then start looking at other helicopters. Obviously, MH-6s are the next port of call (probably two of them so I can have cool simultaneous landings). I also have an Airfix Lynx that needs building but I’ll be waiting until I can get some crew figures and then see if all this helicopter malarky is worth it. And then we start moving on to brand new things like UH-1s, Blackhawks, Apaches. Heck, maybe even a MV-22!

In the mean time, here are some more painted figures!

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