The Great Big Modern Wargaming Rules Comparison

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

EDIT: Two appendices have been added. These should be read after the main article.

A frequent question on the various wargaming sites is simple – “which rules should I play?”. The aim of this article is designed to assist players with answering this question. To do that, we will take a look at several rulesets, briefly discussing how they work and what they are best at. This isn’t a review – I have no plans of saying “this is best rules”. All the rules I cover are ones I have played, enjoyed and wish to detail for more people to get stuck in. So, let’s get started!

Basic rules – 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.

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.

Black Ops from Osprey

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Black Ops is a skirmish wargame of tactical espionage combat that recreates the tension and excitement of modern action-thrillers such as the Bond and Bourne films. The fast-play rules keep all the players in the thick of the action, while the mission generator provides a wide range of options for scenarios – from stealthy extraction or surveillance missions to more overt raids and assaults. Stealth, combat, and technical expertise all have a role to play, and players may recruit a number of different operative types – spies, mercenaries, criminals, hackers, special forces, and many more – to recruit the best possible team for the job. Players may also choose to join a faction – powerful organisations, intelligence agencies, criminal syndicates, militaries, or rebel groups, each with a stake in international affairs. By doing so, their team may receive certain benefits, but may also find itself limited at a crucial time. With the variety offered by the characters, factions, and scenarios, no two games of Black Ops should ever be the same!

Danger Close from Empress

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Tired of over complicated rules that take a degree in maths, physics and psychology to understand?

Tired of trying to find that particular mechanism that you know is there somewhere but cannot find the page?

Tired of setting up an evening’s game and having to pack up three hours later half way through move 4?

The Empress team are! We just wanted to get our toys out and play with terrain that we’ve spent years working on. We wanted a game that felt right but was accessible and smooth.

While searching we found “Some Corner of a Foreign Field” written by Matt Moran. This one sheet (two sides of A4) rule set is aimed at 4 to 15 figures per side. It’s easy to pick up and does everything that we wanted without any problems. We liked the rules so much we obtained the rights to them and have now re-released them under the name “Danger Close”

Force on Force from Ambush Alley Games

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Force on Force brings the drama and action of modern warfare to the tabletop using miniature soldiers. The rules cover all aspects of modern warfare from the confidence and supply level of troops to air-strikes and off-board artillery and accommodates scenarios set anywhere from the end of World War II to the conflicts on today’s news without sacrificing either character or playability. Quick to learn and play, the game rewards players who use well-considered modern tactics to try and achieve victory. From infantry and armor to artillery and air support, Force on Force presents everything that players need to recreate post-World War II warfare involving both conventional, combined-arms forces and the irregular guerrilla units that have become the hallmark of 21st century warfare.

Oscar Sierra Charlie: Part 1 from Evil Bear Wargames

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Oscar Sierra Charlie puts you straight in the front line of gripping battles. This is combat at the cutting edge; individual and squad-level action, desperate missions to capture key objectives, with victory going to best tactical mind.

OSC’s mechanics are deliberately streamlined for fast-paced tactical play. Straightforward stat lines are augmented by a plethora of skills, options and tactics. At its heart a player-driven rules system, no two games of OSC will be the same. Your troops will stand and fight at your command – their fate and that of the mission is wholly in your hands!

Skirmish Sangin from Radio DishDash

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SKIRMISH SANGIN is a tabletop skirmish game where players control opposing forces, either modern western military forces (ISAF) or insurgent militias that do battle everyday in the modern war for Afghanistan. Inside this book you will find:

  • Simple, fast combat rules that enable furious tabletop skirmish battles
  • Information and rules for creation of professional and insurgent forces
  • A full array of modern weapons and armour for both sides
  • Rules for off table support ranging from snipers to heavy weapon platoons, fast air and helicopters
  • A game that plays as easily with two people as it does for multi-player games.
  • A set of rules that provides an intense and compelling tabletop game regardless of whether you field four figures per side or forty.

Spectre Operations from Spectre Miniatures

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Spectre: Operations is a tabletop skirmish wargame from Spectre Miniatures which takes you to the cutting edge of modern warfare. Spectre: Operations introduces a world of action and intrigue, where special forces, intelligence agents and military contractors are on the front line, carrying out covert operations against a multitude of adversaries; including enemy nations, unstable regimes, ruthless warlords, insurgents, mercenaries and paramilitary groups.

The game mechanics within this book are realistic, fast paced and quick to learn, optimised for 2+ players with 4 – 40+ miniatures each side. It takes into account all modern battlefifi eld factors such as ranged and close combat, infantry and vehicle combat, air support, covert operations and civilians on the battlefield. The game uses mechanics to realistically represent darkness, adverse weather conditions and how alert your troops are, as well as cutting edge equipment such as night vision, suppressed weapons and surveillance drones. Stealth, cunning, and the ruthless will to win is the only way to prevail; you must rely on tactics, cover and careful selection of your forces to plan your action and succeed in Spectre: Operations.


How do I get the rulebook and how many expansions?

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Black Ops

Osprey publish the rules so it’s basically available everywhere that their books are sold – so their site, Amazon, etc. In addition, there is a digital version available in Kindle format, ePub and PDF. There are currently no expansions released.

Danger Close

It’s literally two pages, available from Empress as both a PDF and a laminated double-sided sheet of A4. Supplements covering more forces are available on the Empress website.

Force on Force

Finding a physical copy of the original rulebook is like searching for hen’s teeth. However, it is also available in PDF format from the Ambush Alley Games website. As for expansions, Force on Force is king. It has 8 separate books, covering actions such as Vietnam War, African Bush Wars, Somalia, Cold War Gone Hot,The Global War on Terror and one final book covering various Special Operation actions. Each book is pretty thick covering history, multiple scenarios and some details on the forces.

OSC: Part 1

The first book is out and available direct from Evil Bear Wargames in both physical and PDF versions. More books will be coming to expand the rules from skirmish level to multiple squads and from there into the far future.

Skirmish Sangin

The rulebook are available from the Radio DishDash site, who have distribution in New Zealand, the UK and the US (through . Studio Miniatures in the UK also sells the rulebook at shows. The physical version includes the PDF as part of the purchase, so you can start reading the rules before the book even appears. There are two dispatches books that expand the core game, a battle book covering the event of Blackhawk Down and a book covering a fictional Afrika setting (with lots of scenarios and forces). In addition, there are free scenarios and additional rules available on the Skirmish Sangin blog and website.

Spectre Operations

The rulebook is available from the Spectre Miniatures site, being shipped from the UK. There is currently no digital version but there have been many requests so watch this space. As a warning, there is an older beta set of rules that were in PDF and floating around. The rules are out of date and apart from a brief understanding of the core concepts should be ignored. This ruleset is very recent but expansions are already being planned to add commander upgrades and focus on jungle fighting.


What are the core systems I really need to know about?

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Black Ops

  • Card activation: Troops activates by pulling cards from a deck composed of two suits (or one for each player). Jacks let the standard troops play, Kings activate Heavy Weapon teams, Queens make specialists move, Aces allow for leaders to get to work and 2’s activate civilians. When a card is drawn, it activates all of that type for that player.
  • Dice rolling: In Black Ops, a low value is better than a high value. When rolling tests for various actions, the stat value is
  • Stealth Missions: As you might expect with the name, Black Ops has a big section focused on sneaking missions. It has some very nice rules for tracking noise and a useful table for running patrolling guards.

Danger Close

  • Skills and drills: Each soldier has a Skills & Drills value to represent their level of expertise. Skills and Drills form the core of all tests – higher values cause you to activate first, give you more activations and give you bonuses in certain tests.
  • Actions: Actions such as spotting, shooting or close combat are based around a D20 roll, with modifiers affecting the end results.
  • Stress and Morale: When soldiers are attacked or subject to other unfortunate incidents, stress markers are added. When they next activate, a test is rolled. In addition, stress also affects other actions, reducing how well a character can fight.

Force on Force

  • Troop Quality and tests: Core concepts behind Force on Force are simple – every test is based on a dice roll of 4. Troop quality helps to change how likely this is to occur. Forces are assigned a dice type (from D6 to D12) to be used when testing, with more experienced troops having a higher chance to succeed. Forces also are assigned a morale rating which is independent from skill level.
  • Fog Of War: Every time a reaction test is failed with a roll of 1, a fog of war card is played. These cards can do all sorts of things to ruin a forces day, from units running out of ammo or being needed elsewhere to aircraft performing an emergency attack run.
  • Rules: There are a lot of rules in the main rulebook. They cover everything from tiny SOF engagements to huge massed battles with air assets and fire support being called in. Rules also allow for engagements between different types of forces (regulars or insurgents).

OSC: Part 1

  • One stat system: All tests are based around a single stat value, ranging from 1 (a civilian) up to 7 (elite SOF). When using actions, this stat is added to a 1D10 to generate a final value.
  • Deployment and Objectives: On the first turn, players place a deployment zone from which their armies start the battle. Keep it clear is important, to allow more forces to arrive on the scene. The commander can also move the deployment zone by using their actions. In addition, the game is heavily focused on objectives. One objective is the main one while other secondary objectives provide more opportunities to win. In many cases, these objectives must be collected and stashed on the deployment point.
  • Actions and Skill tests: There is a long list of actions that can be played using your 2 activation points. These actions (from hip shooting to challenging an enemy to surrender) are either Action tests (where how far over 10 your final result is important) or skill tests (as long as the final result is over 10, its successful). Once you know the actions, it’s a very quick system to play. Players activate based on who gains initiative on a 1D10 dice roll. Additionally actions can cause
  • Card play:As the game progress, players will gain cards (either through losing the initiative or via the commander spending activation points). These cards can be played at during time and help to swing battles, removing counters or adding additional actions. Or just forcing an opponent out of an annoying building.

Skirmish Sangin

  • Stat lines: As you can see below, soldiers in Skirmish Sangin are more like RPG characters than simple soldiers. The body rating is used as the basis for all skills, with experience levels determining how effective they are. In addition, character packages (such as sniper or NCO) can be bought to improve skills This adds a boat load of character to each fighter.
  • Combat phases and Activation: Rather than IGO-UGO, all characters of a certain body rating activate at the same time. Body armour affects this activation time. Each turn, every soldier will activate a total of four times, able to use 3AP an activation to perform their actions.
  • Actions and Modifiers: Spotting, Shooting and Close Combat all test using the D100 against their skill rating with modifiers added. When you first start playing, the list of modifiers seems overwhelming but after a few games it starts to sink in. Worse, coming under fire will add more modifiers and reduce a character’s effectiveness.

Spectre Operations

  • Suppression: A core system of the rules, suppression is gained from coming under fire and drops a characters stats and movement speed, potentially locking them in place. Suppression is a nightmare incarnate, reducing a player’s battle plan to tatters. More well-trained troops have limitations on how suppression they can take but it is still a major issue.
  • Command Actions: The second phase of each turn allows a commander to (after they pass a test) use command actions. These actions can do many things, from rallying off suppression, going into overwatch or scanning for hidden enemies.
  • Tactical Actions: The movement phase is not just for closing with the enemy. This phase also allows more “cool” actions such as Tactical Movement (reduce speed, increase defence and stealth), Combat Sprint (increase speed but prevent combat) or breaching through an obstacle. Players can also deploy tactical grenades such as smoke or stun to reduce enemy effectiveness before the combat phase. Tactical actions can take place before or after movement, letting players setup room clearing actions with ease.
  • Stealthy stuff: Spectre can be used for all out battles but it is particularly good for stealthy operations. Teams of SOF operators with silenced weapons and using the night can sneak around much larger forces, avoiding patrols. I really like how effortless the play can move from creeping around to all out warfare.

What does a unit profile look like?

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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.

Black Ops

NameACCCQCDEDSaveCardEquipmentSpecial
Professional Soldier4444JackAssault Rifle, Body Armour, Smoke grenades, Frag grenades-

Grenades in Black Ops are purchased as a squad upgrade to outfit an entire force. The system works that lower stats are better.

Danger Close

NameS&DAMP. WpnS. WpnGrenade
Squadie 14HRL85A2None1 Frag, 1 Smoke

Soldiers are either regulars or insurgents which affects their morale.

Force on Force

Initiative Level: D8
Confidence Level: Confident
Supply Level: Normal
Body Armour: 1D
Troop Quality/Morale: D8/D10

1x Rifleman w/L85A2

Stats are usually applied for an entire force.

OSC: Part 1

TypeLevelArmourWeapon
Soldier5BAssault Rifle | Frag Grenade | Smoke Grenade

Skirmish Sangin

BodyArmourMoraleAPWeaponCBT Phases
13 (15)1D10+455%3L85A22, 4, 6, 8

Pistol (BODY x3) 45% | Rifle (BODY x3 +10%) 55% | Heavy Weapon (BODY x2) 30% | Spot (100%) | First Aid (40%) | Throw (BODY x3) 45%| Forward Observer (BODY x2) 30%

Spectre Operations

LevelDescriptionCDAGSTDCMEPVGear
7Professional Soldier3352310Assault Rifle, Body Armour, Frag Grenade, Smoke Grenade

What is the squad system like?

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Black Ops

There is no squad system but there is a morale (DED) benefit to remaining in a group when under fire. Grouped figures provide protection to leaders, heavy weapon teams and specialists, forcing hits off them and onto the poor Jacks protecting them.

Danger Close

No specific squad system but a benefit to remaining close to other soldiers when suffering stress (it increases the dice roll).

Force on Force

Squads is how this game is normally played, although the elements can be of any size from 1 up to 10ish. Size of the squad is normally set by the scenario writer. Squads can split and merge easily

OSC: Part 1

At the moment, there is no team system (it’s coming in part 2). However, a force’s commander can spend their activation on other soldiers nearby.

Skirmish Sangin

There are no rules for teams or squads in the main rulebook except for heavy weapons (which just means that the various soldiers that form the team activate together). However, soldiers close by can provide assistance during morale tests and enemy troop positions can be shared amongst characters. In addition, Dispatches 1 adds the concept of acting as a fireteam. It requires action to form, everyone must stay close to each other and it causes the team to activate using the phases of the lowest body rating in the team. But, it does let you activate all of the team at the same time which can be vital.

Spectre Operations

Squads form a key part of the final release for Spectre. Squads let soldiers use their commander’s command rating but requires them to stay within cohesion distance. Militia units gain even more command There is also rules for breaking and reforming squads when you need to separate a larger team. Finally, squad leaders can perform actions such as Fire control orders which lets you bring a lot of fire down on a particular target.


Do the rules include vehicles?

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Black Ops

Yes. Vehicle rules are simple but good enough for a vehicle to join the fight.

Danger Close

No – It’s literally 2 sides of A4 already filled with information for the infantry battle

Force on Force

Force on Force is a ruleset designed to have vehicles operating on a battlefield. It works very well and can model anything from civilian vehicles up to helicopters and fast air.

OSC: Part 1

No. The vehicle rules will be coming in Part 2.

Skirmish Sangin

There is a complete section detailing various additions to cover AFVs. Vehicles are based around a few key types (such as IFVs or MBTs) but with varying weapons, armour and IED protection. They are incredibly powerful and the rules writers felt it fit to caution against using them (especially the MBTs) in such a small-scale game. Day of the Rangers and Dispatches 2 also adds helicopters as onboard vehicles.

Spectre Operations

The is also another full section of the rulebook. The rules support vehicles in their full range of actions (include ramming enemy troops or colliding with terrain) and also feature a vast arsenal of additional upgrades for them, to make modelling different types more easily. The vehicles feel very different, with armoured vehicles causing issues to opponents especially.


Do the rules include off map support?

Black Ops

Yes. Various supports can be purchased as Faction Specialities.

Danger Close

Mortars, helicopter support and off-map weapon teams can all be called in via squad leaders.

Force on Force

Artillery batteries, helicopters and air units are modelled. All of these are well modeled, with air units even showing different styles such as strafing runs, pylon turns or dive bombing.

OSC: Part 1

None at the moment.

Skirmish Sangin

Both regulars and insurgents can take off-map support as part of the Advanced rules section. Due to the small-scale of the battlefield, supports also include snipers, HMG teams, mortars, anti-tank missile teams, attack helicopters and fast air (although only in a show of force role).

Spectre Operations

The off-map assets start with heliborne snipers and go up to artillery barrages, fast air units and even ISTAR drones. The list is massive and can be used by all the types of forces.


What is the optimum size of force for a single player?

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Squad size is between 6 and 13 figures, platoon size is 30ish figures (normally split into sections)

Black Ops

Squad although grouping units could allow for platoon games

Danger Close

Squad – There is a huge amount of detail in each soldier’s action.

Force on Force

Squad up to platoon level with depending on the size of each element (single figures for a squad game, teams for platoon level).

OSC: Part 1

Squad

Skirmish Sangin

Squad size – much like Danger Close, I really would not fancy playing larger than a squad (especially the 13 man squad for the USMC) due to the level of detail each man has in their actions.

Spectre Operations

Squad and Platoon both work equally well.


What is the points cost of a British Infantry Section in this ruleset?

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In modern wargaming especially, points systems should be treated more as a guideline in most systems – history is after all unfair. However guidelines are still useful things, especially when building a force

Points are calculated using a squad of 8 men in body armour with both frag and smoke grenades. The weapon loadout is 2x L85A2, 2x L85A2 w/ UGL, 2x L110A2 LMG, 1x L7 GPMG, 1x L129A1 DMR.

Black Ops

71 points – Two aces for the fireteam leaders, a heavy with the GPMG and the rest Jacks. Frag and Smoke upgrades taken

Danger Close

Danger Close doesn’t include a points system. It’s up to the players to balance their scenario. There are guidelines on the Danger Close FAQ.

Force on Force

Ah. Force on Force doesn’t use a points system, instead relying on pre-written scenarios or players to devise their own scenarios. As such, no points cost can be provided.

OSC: Part 1

245 points – 1 Level 5 commander, 7 Level 5 soldiers

Skirmish Sangin

880 points – 1 Veteran with Corporal/Lance Corporal package, 1 Average with Corporal/Lance Corporal package, 6 Average soldiers

Spectre Operations

374 points – Professional Squad Leader, 7 Professional Soldiers. In addition to the gear listed at the top, each man also carries a Personal Medical Kit and radio.


How easy is it to make your own force for scenarios?

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Black Ops

IT USES HALF POINTS, RUN FOR THE HILLS! Seriously, the main book includes a wide selection of forces from criminals to intelligence agents (and ninjas). There is also a big list of weapons, squad abilities, faction abilities and specialities from which to build your force. It’s a great and characterful selection from which to make a force suitable for any situation.

Danger Close

No points to guide (although the FAQ provides some guidelines), so its best to take standard squad arrangements. However, it does not take very long to get all the details together due to the simple statlines. It’s more a case of selecting their guts level and then weapons.

Force on Force

There is no points to guide but the forces are not hugely detailed making it easier to work out. All it really requires is a few force stats and then determining which squads have support weapons. The tricky bit is balancing if you are wanting that to be correct.

OSC: Part 1

The system works well – Pick a level, pick body armour level and then pick a gun or two. Values are simple and easy to calculate. The weapon list is massive from the simple bow up to multiple barrel rocket launchers. In addition. the ruleset includes a selection of close combat weapons.

Skirmish Sangin

All figures are either Novices, Averages, Veterans or Elite. Each figure can also take a Speciality package, to theme them into a particular role. Players can also select weapon teams, vehicles, off-map supports and additional bonuses (such as IEDs or ratlines to move around the board). The main time-consuming section of making a force is rolling out the stats from them, generating a body value and then working out the stats from there.

Spectre Operations

This game makes you feel like a kid in a candy store. There is a huge selection, lots of options for both guns and gear, 13 soldier levels from Civilian up to Elite commander. Overall, its easy to make a varied and enjoyable force to use.


What style of game is the ruleset best at?

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This is my own personal feeling about when the rulesets play best.

Black Ops

Small scale, sneaky stealth missions inspired by cinema.

Danger Close

Section on Section violence

Force on Force

probably platoon vs platoon fights using sections/squads as the element

OSC: Part 1

Fast paced section vs section fight

Skirmish Sangin

Section vs section fights with an immense level of detail. Multiple players could do a platoon on platoon battle with ease.

Spectre Operations

Section to platoon level fights, often starting with one force utilising stealth.


What do I need to know/need to have for my first game?

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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.

Black Ops

  • D6s
  • Pack of playing cards for activation. You’ll need at least two suits (1 red and 1 black).
  • Counters for suppression and noise.
  • Keep control of noise counters in night games! Causing a ruckus is a bad idea.

Danger Close

  • D20s
  • Markers for stress
  • Not much else to be honest – 2 pages makes checking rules very easy. It would work well as a participation game.

Force on Force

  • Dice of every number of sides under the sun for different sizes
  • Hit markers
  • There are lots of rules in the book so I recommend starting out small and working up. The scenarios in the rulebook are very good at illustrating the different rules as they are introduced.

OSC: Part 1

  • D10s and D6s
  • Templates and Counters – both are available from the website for free
  • Event, Action and Resource cards. Physical cards are available from the Evil Bear site. Alternatively, play using the table in the back of the book. The downside is that you can’t look over the top of your cards at your opponent.
  • Objective Markers for the table. You’ll need 5 markers – 1 main and 4 standard markers.

Skirmish Sangin

  • D100s, D10s and D6s
  • Markers – they are handy to keep track of a soldier’s state at any time. Multiple sheets of markers are in the back of the rulebook.
  • Quick Reference sheets – especially the modifiers
  • Character sheets – Vital
  • It’s good to have someway to know which figure is which at a glance. There are lots of ways from markers to making your character sheets cards with a giant picture of the model.
  • Play the two scenarios in the rulebook. Street Fight is a nice small game while Compound 17 is perfect for getting four players round the table. If you’re demoing, Route Clearance from Dispatches 2 is great fun with only a few figures.
  • The key concept I have worked out for Sangin is easy to spot, hard to hit, easy to kill. If you position poorly, not even body armour will save you.

Spectre Operations

  • D6’s and lots of them
  • Markers
  • Spectre is fast paced and bloody – you’ll want to stick to cover and practise all the small unit tactics you know.
  • Beware the Compact, Laser, Red Dot combo. BEWARE!

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.

Black Ops

Take a look at the Black Ops facebook page

Danger Close

Danger Close is on the Empress website and has an unofficial facebook group

Force on Force

Ambush Alley has a website and forum.

OSC: Part 1

Evil Bear has a website with forum, a facebook page and a facebook group

Skirmish Sangin

Radio DishDash maintains a website with store, forum and blog.

Spectre Operations

Spectre are literally everywhere. Official website, official page and instagram. Well worth following all of them to keep an eye on the frequent new releases. The community has also set up a facebook group.


None of these rulesets are really working for me. What else is coming up?

I’m not sure how you’ve managed to not find a rule system you like out of that lot but sure. This is what I know is coming up in terms of modern military rules

Platoon+

Radio DishDash’s next set of rules. Designed to be easily scalable, so by using different elements you can play much larger sized games. A post on their blog lays down some basic ideas. Keep an eye on their blog for more details.

The Empress-Queeg Project

Empress and the House of Queeg are working on a companion set of rules to go with Danger Close. Expanding from the squad action up to large-scale combined arms operations/Company Battlegroup. Their blog at https://houseofqueeg.wordpress.com has some fantastic looking tables and gameplay.

Fighting Season

Too Fat Lardies make some great rules for other historical periods. Each ruleset is great at making you play in the style of the period. In fact, their motto is play the period, not the rules. Fighting Season, written in partnership with Leigh Neville, will update Chain of Command to the modern-day and seek to model both the battlefield and tie them into a wider campaign of counter insurgency in Afghanistan.

Ambush Alley: Boots on the Ground

The makers of Force on Force are going back to their roots with Ambush Alley: Boots on the Ground, a much more infantry focus game. Low figure count, small table size and quick play according to the announcement post. In addition, it will include a points system!

OSC Book 2

Evil Bear has been hard at work adding new playtest rules to their forum as a preview for whats coming next. The book’s name is War and plans to add Vehicles, fireteams, weapon teams and more specialists to the base game.


Well that’s 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.

Lead Mountain II – MENA Civilians

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First stage done – I have finished my MENA civilians from Spectre. The figures are perfect for civilians to dot the tabletop but their posing makes them easy to use as objectives or intelligence operatives (the guy in the baseball cap will probably be an undercover agent rushing for extraction).

Painting wise, I tried to stick to a similar colour scheme as my Afghan civilians but with a few additional tweaks to make them look slightly more modern. Simple blocks of colours with the usual Agrax Earthshade wash. The main difference was the use of Nuln Oil on some figures, especially on the jeans but also the burgundy jacket on the chap in the back row. This helped to add some depth to the colours without requiring masses of layering.

Plan for next post– Paint boiler suit wearing robbers, start on the Taliban weapon teams

Lead Mountain II – The Bad Guys Strike Back!

If you have been following my blog, last year you would have seen The Lead Mountain – an attempt to paint all my figures. Well it went as well as you would expect the average wargamer’s attempt to paint up everything would go. I also drove myself mad and posted up repeated posts going “I didn’t paint anything :(”

So this year I’m doing something different. I’m setting a much more manageable goal – themed posts with a smaller subset of figures to paint. Think of this as a nice winter feature where you get to see more painted miniatures than usual. Lead Mountain 2 will run from now (middle of November) until the end of February 2017. I’m aiming for at least a post a week, with a group of figures (fully painted and based) in each one.

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The Pile

As you might have guessed from the title, I’m going to be painting up my literal pile of OPFOR that I’ve collected. The models are a mixture – mostly Empress and Spectre ranges (Insurgents, militia and criminal element) but there is also a few remaining Eureka weapon teams and the models I reccived from the Day of the Rangers kickstarter to represent the Somalis. So a nice mix and not too much camo to paint. I can’t see the pile growing but the potential could be the SPG/rocket launchers from Eureka or whatever Spectre have been cooking up….

I’m looking forward to it!

Plan for next week – paint up MENA civilians, start  on boiler suit wearing robbers

Battle Report: Black Powder “The Battle of Newark 1776”

Up until now, I have only been writing reports for modern wargames battles.However, seeing as my fellow wargamers at SESWC report on all the games they play, I thought I should follow them and branch out a little to show the variety of games that are played down the club.

This week – Black Powder!

A group of players at SESWC have been running a campaign re-enacting the American War of Independence, with each player taking a general and their troops. So far, I haven’t taken part in any of this but I was invited to jump in and take control of a brigade of Colonials. Having only played a little bit of Black Powder, this was a good chance to learn with being overwhelmed by how much I was controlling at the time.

The situation was thus – Sixteen American regiments and guns (under General Washington) had managed to mass and were able to pin down a small group of British in an attempt to force them back. This battle saw a large force encircling Newark, home of a British garrison. Luckily for the Americans not only was this garrison only three regiments strong, it was also the location of the British C-in-C, General Howe out visiting the troops and unfortunately delayed enough to prevent him leaving the encirclement.

I took command as Brigadier Gen. Clinton, commanding the 7th, 17th and 26th regiments of the 1 Continental. Forming up close to the woods by the Northern road, the plan was to engage forces on the northern side of the town, providing support for other units to advance and capture the settlement. The rest of the Americans deployed to the North and West, including a small force crossing the ford and so able to approach the town from the West. Finally, the player in charge of Washington had used some rules of the campaign to deploy a surprise attack, bringing a final force into play from the South.

As the battle begun one of my regiments traded fire with the British while one of my other regiments moved through the woods to form an extended gun line. Elsewhere, the British were coming under a hail of fire. The southern troops had managed to enter the town. On the eastern side, the Americans had manged to reach the bridge and were pounding the flank. In the west, the Americans were redeploying but had managed to inflict some casualties and started to advance.

Seeing the end, General Howe decided to ride out in glory. Taking the least mangled British regiment, he charged into my forces. Luckily the American line held and thanks to the masses of support around combat, the Americans eventually broke the British and captured Howe himself. The British on the eastern flank were the last to fall, encircled on all sides by Americans.

I haven’t played a huge amount of Black Powder but I’m a fan of them. As someone who doesn’t know a huge amount about the period, its more important that the rules work (at least for now) and Black Powder is quick, light and fast to play (as long as you don’t spend too much time arguing about rules. As for the game, the Brits were in one of those situations you occasionally find in a Total War campaign that you would normally skip; they put up a good fight but sadly they were doomed from the start. Luckily for them though, this change in campaign position has put the bulk of the Continental Army right in front of the British Regulars. We might be returning to Newark sometime soon for a different type of battle.

Other Views

For more photos and viewpoints, take a look at some of the other reporting on this battle.

SESWC – https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=1158037994234172&id=158670127504302

German Michael – http://meneken.blogspot.co.uk/2016/11/howe-could-ye-ever-let-that-happen.html

Jack (George Washington) – http://pioneerpainting.blogspot.co.uk/2016/11/battle-of-newark.html

Bart (Howe) – Coming soon

Gallery

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The paperwork
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Overview of the board from the North-West corner
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Howe joins the battle!

Spectre Operations Starting Lists

As a fan of Spectre Operations, I’ve been spending a lot of time on the Spectre Operations Wargaming Group. Due to this, I’ve seen a fair number of people looking to get into the game for the first time and seeking advice as to what they should be getting in terms of figures. True, you could just get what you like

To help out, I’ve decided to throw some example lists together along with which figures you should get. There will be a mix of forces, from Special Forces in assault mode down to a horde of militiamen seeking to cause trouble. These lists are not perfect but think of them more as guidelines or places to start off from. Also ignore a few places where I disregard the gear limitations. Hopefully you will will find it helpful!

To reiterate – these points values should be used as guidelines. War isn’t fair and some my my best games have been played between two very differently sized forces.

Photos from Spectre Minatures Facebook page.

Elite – Close Assault Team

https://www.facebook.com/spectreminiatures

Sometimes you need to rock and roll. The Assault Team is kitted up to the nines with body armour and a wide selection of specialist gear, ready for doing some door kicking and owning the close quarter battle.

List

All models have body armour, radios, night vision, frag, stun and thermobaric grenades

1x Elite Team Leader w/ Carbine (red dot, laser and suppressor) (86 pts)

1x Elite Operator w/ Carbine (red dot and suppressor) and Automatic Shotgun (101 pts)

1x Elite Operator w/ Carbine (red dot and suppressor) and Combat Shotgun. Carrying breaching tool and breaching charge (107 pts)

1x Elite Operator w/ Carbine (red dot, laser and suppressor) (86 pts)

1x Elite Operator w/ SMG (red dot, laser and suppressor) (83 pts)

1x Elite Operator w/ SMG (red dot, laser and suppressor) (83pts)

Total: 546

Models

Well, why would you be looking anywhere else but the Task Force Operator range.

Tactics

The squad has one specific role – fighting in close quarters (range interval 1). So you’ll need to get in close, using the carbines and SMGs if starting off undetected. Then once you are ready to go, use the shotguns and tools to breach, pop grenades in (stun is especially useful) and then rush (use the compact/red dot/laser combo to full effect). The main downside is the lack of grenade launchers and MGs but the AA12 will do sterling work as a close range suppression machine.


Elite – Russian Assault Team

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Like above but less ‘Murica, more unconventional breaching methods and vodka (if we go off stereotypes)

List

All with body armour, pistol, radio, stun and smoke grenades and personal medical kit

1x Elite Squad Leader w/ Carbine (w/ red dot and laser) (63 pts)

1x Elite w/ LMG (w/ red dot) (62 pts)

2x Elite w/ assault rifle (w/ red dot and laser) (60 pts each)

2x Elite w/ assault rifle (w/ red dot and laser) and breaching tools (65 pts each)

1x Elite w/ Carbine (w/ red dot and laser), battlefield trauma kit and stimulants (73 pts)

1x Elite w/ assault rifle (w/ red dot and laser) and MGL (75 pts)

Total: 523

Models

All of these guys can be found in the GRU Spetsnaz range

Tactics

This isn’t a list for the subtle. LMG and MGLs form a good firebase while the rest of the team move up using smoke and stun grenades. Red dots and lasers help to improve fighting in RI 1. There is less gear


Elite – Recon Team

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In contrast to the Assault Teams, the recon team is more for the player wanting to sneak around and do their best predator impression.

List

All have radio, pistol, frag and smoke grenades and personal medical kit

1x Elite Squad Leader w/ Carbine (laser, suppressor and subsonic ammo) (60 pts)

3x Elite w/ Carbine (laser, suppressor and subsonic ammo) (60 pts each)

1x Elite w/ Compact LMG (54 pts)

1x Elite w/ Carbine (laser, suppressor and subsonic ammo) and Automatic Shotgun (red dot) (78 pts)

1x Elite w/ Heavy Sniper Rifle (scope) and ghille suit (69 pts)

1x Elite w/ DMR (scope, red dot) and ghille suit (60 pts)

Total: 501

Models

Tactics

Form up the walking bushes into a two man sniper team, creep them into overwatch positions taking advantage of the ghille suit. Use the DMR figure to act as a crewman to the main sniper, giving him a reroll (unless the enemy get real close)

The other four operators will be your hammer, moving carefully onto the objective. Silenced weapons help to being with but once you go loud, the auto shotgun and the compact LMG will give you a load of suppression when pinning down the OPFOR.

Just be aware you’re lacking body armour so when you get hit, it will hurt.


Professional – British Army Infantry Section

Spectre Operations may talk a lot about special operations but its well suited to playing with conventional squads in a kinetic environment. This is the British army layout of an 8 man section that can be split into two fireteams.

List

All have heavy body armour, pistol, personal medical kits, radio, frag and smoke.

1x Professional Squad Leader w/ Assault Rifle (scope and red dot) (61 pts)

1x Professional w/ Assault Rifle (scope and red dot) and Combat Shotgun (red dot) (65 pts)

1x Professional w/ Assault Rifle (scope and red dot) w/ UGL (61 pts)

1x Professional w/ Assault Rifle (scope and red dot) w/ UGL and tactical ladder (64 pts)

2x Professional w/ Compact LMG (scope and red dot) (66 pts each)

1x Professional w/ DMR (scope and red dot) (59 pts)

1x Professional w/ Assault Rifle (scope and red dot) and battlefield trauma kit (61 pts)

Total: 503

Models

Okay so this is cheating; I wouldn’t get this list from Spectre – the models are lovely but at the moment they are focused on more elite groups or militia. If you’re wanting to make a British Army force, Empress has a fantastic range of exceptional figures if you want some more conventional looking blokes available at http://www.empressminiatures.com/userimages/procart31.htm.

Tactics

Split into two fireteams, perform fire and move drills to advance safely. Use the team with the DMR as a base of fire and use the other team to breach and clear. These guys have heavy body armour so you loose 1 agility but get a bit more survivabilty.


Trained – Insurgents

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The trained forces don’t gain any special bonuses but they do get an improvement in terms of stats compared to militia forces

List:

All have body armour

Trained Commander w/ Assault rifle (Red Dot) (33 pts)

Trained w/ MMG (Red Dot) (33 pts)

Trained w/ LMG (25 pts)

Trained w/ RPG (AP and HEAT warhead) (45 pts)

Trained w/ Combat Shotgun (21 pts)

4x Trained Squad Leader w/ Carbine (28 pts)

7x Trained w/ Assault Rifle (20 pts)

5x Trained w/ Carbine (23 pts)

Total: 524

Models:

This is the entire Insurgent Range

Tactics:

The old tactics are the best; Find, Fix, Flank, Finish. MG’s and RPG provide a good base of fire while the sheer number of carbines and shotgun work well in the flanking force. You’ll need to stick to cover to avoid getting pinned down but you should be able


Militia – Militia

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On first read, the militia are pretty weak. However, large numbers of cheap troops mean that you can easily swarm a more well trained force. In addition, the different factions (African and MENA) provide some different opportunities in terms of available models.

List

1x Militia Commander w/ Carbine, body armour and Radio (33 pts)

1x Milita Squad Leader w/ Assault Rifle, body armour and Radio (25 pts)

1x Milita Squad Leader w/ shotgun, Stimulant Pack and Radio (17 pts)

2x Militia w/ RPG (HEAT)  (12 pts each)

2x Militia w/ MMG (17 pts each)

1x Militia w/DMR (10 pts)

1x Militia w/ Light Anti-tank weapon (22 pts)

24x Militia w/ Assault Rifle (7 pts each)

1x Technical w/ HMG (40 pts)

1x Trained Squad Leader w/ Assault Rifle and UGL and Body Armour (30pts)

6x Trained Soldier w/ Assault Rifle (10 pts each)

1x Trained Soldier w/ RPG (HEAT and AP) (30 pts)

1x Trained Soldier w/ LMG (15 pts)

Total: 508

Models

MENA Militia and African Militia will provide you with a huge number of figures. If you are looking for some better trained backup, the African Rebels, Insurgents and African Forces look visibly distinct from the rawer Militia soldiers.

Note: Militia armies are huge if you are trying to points match. Alternative ways to go up against the tooled up Elite forces might be to give them advantagous position or off-map support

Tactics

Suppression is going to be your friend and your enemy. You’ll take a lot of it but using your commander and the large squad 10+ figures will give you some bonuses in terms of both command and in close quarters. On your side, massed rapid fire combined with RPG/MMG combo will help to even the odds.

The trained soldiers (be they former soldiers or rebels) provide a core of fighters with better stats while the Squad leader with the stimulant pack can keep your guys in the fight… for a little while longer. The technical is vulnerable to being shot at but its HMG will help with pinning down the opposition, no matter where they hide.


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Trained – Bank Robbery Crew

Get the urban terrain out, place the getaway car on the street and check your timings. This group is perfect for robbing the bank before fighting their way out

List

All have radios

1x Trained Commander w/ Multiple Grenade Launcher, pistol (37 pts)

4x Trained w/ SMGs and smoke grenades (20pts each)

2x Trained w/ Carbines (Red Dot) and smoke grenades (23 pts each)

1x Trained w/ Shotgun, breaching tools, breaching charge and smoke grenades (22 pts)

Total: 185

Models

Tactics

Use the guys with the carbines on the street while the SMGs and shotgun are used in the more close quarters area. Shotgun criminal is geared up for breaching. Then save the commander for when things go badly wrong and you need a few extra bangs.


Trained – SWAT

Protect and Serve!

List

All with Stun Grenades, radios, body armour and pistols

1x Trained Squad Leader w/ Carbine (Red dot and laser) (41 pts)

3x Trained w/ Carbine (Red Dot and laser) (36 pts each)

1x Trained w/ SMG (Red Dot) (30 pts)

1x Trained w/Combat Shotgun (Red Dot) and Breaching Tools (36 pts)

Total: 215

Models

Tactics

Breach, Bang, Clear. Stun grenade any possible hostile rooms, utilising the compact/laser/red dot combo. The Shotgun will get you through the doors, SMG has automatic for hammering suppression down when needed while the rest can put fire down.


This is just a taster of the lists that can be made for Spectre Operations. I haven’t even started to cover covert forces or go in deeper on the vehicles. I’d love to hear any feedback you may have, so get out there and have fun!

Battle Report: Spectre Operations 03/11/2016

If you haven’t realised based off previous posts, my wargaming opponents are split between friends down in York and SESWC up in Edinburgh. Having introduced Spectre to the guys in York, it was now time to try it out with the Edinburgh crowd. Here is how things went down


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The game begins

After the SAS operation robbed them of their prize, Militants in Bazistan are looking for ways to raise funds. Their latest target is the Argo Corporation, a multi-national with various commercial interests in the region. The militants have managed to kidnap two contractors and are now holding them for ransom. Eager to recover their people, they have sent some of their Private Military Contractors to sort out a deal with the militants.

However, the two hostages are actually responsible for several acts of sabotage and spying, including one on a Russian competitor. Even worse, this competitor is a front for the Russian Intelligence services and as such a team of Spetsnaz have been deployed to secure the two hostages and “question” them about their involvement.

The deal goes down in an abandoned town. While the contractors and militants converse, the Russians advance…

Forces

Spetsnaz

All with body armour, pistols, radio, thermobaric and smoke grenades and personal medical kit

1x Elite Squad Leader w/ Carbine (w/ red dot and laser)

1x Elite w/ Heavy body armour, MMG (w/ red dot) and Combat Shotgun

1x Elite w/ LMG (w/ red dot)

4x Elite w/ assault rifle (w/ red dot and laser)

1x Elite w/ Carbine (w/ red dot and laser), battlefield trauma kit and stimulants

1x Elite w/ assault rifle (w/ red dot and laser) and MGL

Contractors

1x Professional Squad Leader w/ carbine (w/scope and Red Dot)

3x Professionals w/ carbine (w/scope and Red dot)

1x Professionals w/ carbine (w/scope and Red dot) and Battlefield Trauma Kit

2x Professionals w/ compact LMG

1x Professional w/ carbine (w/ scope and red dot) and automatic shotgun

4x Professionals w/ carbine (w/scope and red dot) and UGL

Militants and AWOL Eritrean soldiers

Eritreans

All have body armour, radios, frag grenades and personal med kits

1x Trained Commander w/ assault rifle and UGL

4x Trained Soldiers w/ Assault rifle

1x Trained Soldier w/ RPG (HEAT and AP)

1x Trained Soldier w/ LMG

1x Trainer Soldier w/ Battle Rifle and Battlefield Trauma Kit

Militants

1x Trained Squad Leader w/ carbine and radio

1x Trained w/ MMG

1x Trained w/ Combat Shotgun

6x Trained w/Assault Rifle

5x Trained w/ Carbine

The Game

Militants start inside the compound while the PMC start in the village, with the two sides having a conference by the front gate as they attempt to make the trade. Inside the compound, the hostages are stored in a shipping container where they have been held for several days. The Russians are infiltrating from the other side of the drainage ditch. As the game starts, everyone but the Russians are unaware.

For a while the game was pretty quiet – the Russians move into position against the wall of the compound, the contractors sneaked a unit into the L-shaped building and a small group of militants patrolled around – worryingly, the militant’s leader re-entered the compound leaving the contractors to deal with his subordinate. However, the Russians soon started the party with a bang; Two soldiers were propped up by their buddies so they could shoot over the wall while the grenadier hefted his pump action grenade launcher and rattled off three quick shots (Ed: yes this required some rule improvisation). The assault rifles dropped two of the militants while the grenade launcher missed, scattering and shredding the trees the Eritreans were hiding in. Realising the alarm was raised, the rest of the Russians opened up with machine guns and suppressed more of the Eritreans.

As the sounds of gunfire erupted, the other sides swiftly swung into action. Before the targets could even react, the leader of the mercenaries and his backup swiftly went into action and double tapped the guards outside. The rest of the contractors, assuming a double cross, started opening up with 40mm grenades and LMGs even attempting to hit the shadowy forms on the other side of the compound wall. The Russians continued to take out the exposed Eritreans even as they fled into the fields. On top of a tower in the compound, the Eritrean commander repeatedly failed to rally his forces and was hamstrung more when another grenade launcher round hit the tower and took out him and his RPG gunner. Looks like the AWOL soldiers were a bad investment as backup.

However, the fight wasn’t going all the attackers way. The militants springing into action managed to put some fire down on the perched Russians forcing them back over the wall. After rallying off the suppression, three of the Spetsnatz (including the medic and commander) leapt over the wall and got ready to rush the remaining militia. Upon landing, the militants managed to drop one and pin down the others with scattered automatic fire. On the far side of the compound, the PMC moved up and got ready to breach the interior in an attempt to grab the hostages before the Russians.

Time was running out and so the final two turns saw a lot of stuff happen very quickly

  1. The Militant leader and his buddy grabbed the two hostages and used them as human shields
  2. The PMC team breached, saw the two militants holding the hostages and dropped the bad guys
  3. As the militants advanced on the Russians, three more Spetsnatz operators climbed over the wall and dived onto the OPFOR taking them out in CQB
  4. The rest of the Russians inside the compound opened up on the PMC intruders dropping two of them
  5. That dastardly operator with the MGL fired his final blast and blew away the last contractor inside the walls.

As the time ran out, the militants had been wiped out. The Russians had 1 KIA but the rest of the team was in a good position and closest to the objective. Finally the contractors had lost three of their number but still had troops in position on the rooftops overlooking the compound. All the players agreed that an extra turn or two would have probably seen the Russians win, but it would really close.

Gallery

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Hostages all ready for the trade
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The Contractors run through the plan
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The PMC backup team waits for things to go wrong
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One of the Spetsnatz leaning over the wall
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The Russians Fire Support all ready to support
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The PMC Red Shirt’s view of the battlefield
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The compound at the start of the final turn
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PMC pop smoke as the Russians come running in

 


Another good game, everyone seemed to enjoy it. Looking forward to getting some games in and playing around with some more forces.

The other two players will be writing up their thoughts – SESWC at https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=1150900081614630&id=158670127504302 and Bart at http://asienieboje.blogspot.co.uk/

Preview Post!

Got a demo game down at SESWC tomorrow to show off Spectre Operations. Expect a report coming soon!

As a preview, here is one of the sides

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