Going on Break

Shame this photo is from August

We’re here! The last post of 2017! Post number 113 for 2017.

I really hope you all enjoy the new part of the Great Big Modern Wargaming Rules Comparison. They are a bit of bastard to write but hearing people talk about the end result makes it all worthwhile. To make things easier, I’ve actually compiled both parts of the series into a single page that can be found at http://hntdaab.co.uk/blog/wargaming/great-big-modern-wargaming-rules-comparison-complete-edition/. So if wanting something long to read over the Christmas break, here is an option!

I’m taking the next two weeks off to enjoy my Christmas holiday, see family and friends and start planning out some of next year’s projects. I’ll be getting up to some hobby shenanigans over Christmas (including the yearly painting session/watching of Zulu in York and possibly a few games) so keep an eye on my Facebook page, Twitter or Instagram for plenty of pictures.

The site will be back on the 8th of January (my birthday!) with a “State of the Union” post, looking back at last year and going over the survey. Then on the 9th of January we’ll take a look at what’s coming up including multiple projects I’ve planned out. Then on the 12th we’ll be back to business with a new Something for the Weekend – the current plan is to take a look at Round of Fire assuming I’m able to get a few games of it in.

To all my readers, I hope you’ve enjoyed this year of content. May you have a happy Christmas period, and a great start to 2018!

The Great Big Modern Wargaming Rules Comparison 2: Electric Boogaloo

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

Last year I wrote the Great Big Modern Wargaming Rules Comparison as a way to share some of the information about the hobby which I had gathered over the years. To say it was successful is to put it mildly – it’s among the top posts every month and probably brings most of the traffic to the site. So, where can I take it from here?

For the difficult second album, I’m looking into some smaller systems – the ones that turn up in conversation less often but are still well worth looking into. I’m going to use the same headings as last time, including the two added in the appendix covering scenarios and campaigns.

Basic rules apply – 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.

Same as last time – 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

Fireteam Modern from Rory Crabb Games

Fireteam Modern is a set of small unit skirmish wargame rules for modern combined arms land combat using 15-28mm scale miniatures. The rules can be used to fight battles from any post WW2 conflict dating from the 1950s to the modern day or the near future.

These rules have been designed to work with opposing forces of approximately platoon size with additional reinforcements such as small numbers of armoured vehicles and light artillery support.

FUBAR by Craig Cartmell and The Forge of War Development Group.

FUBAR – One Page Modern/SF Small Unit Wargames Rules (There isn’t really much else to say about them)

Living on the Frontline: A Winter of ’79 Game by Mark Hannam, Matthew Sparkes & Mike Bradford

These rules represent an alternative history of the late seventies and early eighties. In this vision, the ‘Establishment’ take control of the legitimate government and the subsequent ‘crackdown’ is faced with spontaneous popular resistance led by trade union, liberal and left-wing elements, which boils over into civil war.

No End In Sight by Ivan Sorenson

“The M113 is burning behind you, the Reds are coming on strong. the platoon is in bad shape and mortar support is nowhere to be seen.

As platoon commander, you have to rely on your squad leaders to push your troops forward, lay down suppressing fire and win the fire fight.”

No End in Sight is a comprehensive guide to contemporary, cold war and near future combat. Lead an infantry platoon through random battles, several campaign styles or scenarios of your own design. Track the progress of your squad leaders as you play.

The rules feature an innovative activation and reaction fire mechanic that leaves you making important and tough choices constantly. Know when to push and when to hold off. Your men have to last for a long fire fight and you may run out of steam when you least expect it.

Combat is written to produce a fairly realistic level of casualties. Most fire will serve to pin and suppress the enemy with modest casualty rates until you close to assault.

Command battle hardened professionals and insurgent militia, dismantle IED’s, call in artillery fire, evac the wounded and take on enemy tanks. It’s all covered.

The rules are written to be both playable and enjoyable on a small gaming space, using approximately a platoon plus appropriate supports, APC’s and assorted vehicles on each side.

Wars of Insurgency: Skirmish Warfare in the Modern World by Mike Demana

“Rise up and free your country from its oppressors!”

  • Simple fast-play rules for man-to-man, modern skirmish warfare
  • Complete campaign system allowing rival factions to war for control of their fictional or historical country
  • Special rules & descriptions for 6 faction types drawn from 20th – 21st century History
  • Point system allowing balanced battles between Elite, Regular, or Militia troop types
  • Three sample scenarios and guidelines for adapting historical actions
  • Political scheming, Permanent Institutions (like radio stations), & more!

With Wars of Insurgency, players control 3-5 squads that can range in size from 3 figures or one vehicle to a dozen men. Each miniature represents one man. The rules can easily be used for 15mm, 20mm, and 28mm scales without modification of ranges. The rules are meant to give the flavor of modern infantry firefights without being overwhelmed by complexity. First Command Wargames rules are meant to provide a fast, easy-to-learn game for the new or veteran player.


HOW DO I GET THE RULEBOOK AND HOW MANY EXPANSIONS?

This was the year of the PDFs

Fireteam Modern

Available from Wargames Vault in PDF form. Currently no expansions.

FUBAR

Available for free from the FUBAR website. The most recent version is 4th edition. As FUBAR is a generic system, there are plenty of other additional elements that can be grabbed from the website to theme it.

Living on the Frontline

Currently only available in physical form from Cavalier Books (either online or at one of the shows they attend. There are two other books in the series currently listed – “View of a Disunited Kingdom” (which is primarily a sourcebook on the world of Winter of 79) and a Wild Geese inspired book with mercenaries in Africa.

No End In Sight

Available on Wargames Vault. There is one supplement (Rules Pack Alpha) and several smaller options to expand the game which can be found on the Nordic Weasel site.

Wars of Insurgency

Print and PDF available from the main website. You can also purchase the PDF from Wargames Vault. There are currently no expansions.


WHAT ARE THE CORE SYSTEMS I REALLY NEED TO KNOW ABOUT?

Fireteam Modern

  • Activation System: Alternating activation (winner of the initiative role goes first). Automatic unless suppressed, two action a turn.
  • Shooting: The RoF for all weapons in a squad are added together to give you your total number of dice to roll against your shoot stat (with only three modifiers). All successful shots can be saved but otherwise cause hits. If a single burst of fire causes 3 hits (or a HE weapon is used), they are suppressed. To help with this, units can choose to shoot suppressive fire (higher chance to hit but harder to cause damage)
  • Morale: Suppression makes it harder to activate but against depleted units (50%+ casualties) it can be devastating. Failure to activate followed by failing a morale test will kick off a retreat.

FUBAR

  • Three stats: Characters are super simple and consist of three stats: Activation (how easy is it for this character to do something), Expertise (how good they are at something and Suppression (how easy are they to suppress)
  • Initiative: Simple roll off to see who attempts to activate first and the player who wins can keep activating until they fail a roll. This causes all units to attempt to activate, with initiative passing back and forth until everyone has tried to activate.
  • Shooting: Different weapons have a different number of Fire Points. The total number in a unit is the number of dice to roll. Pass your expertise on a dice? It counts as a hit and then needs to be saved or else it will start suppressing your troops. If you take too much suppression, casualties start to stack up.
  • Suppression: Suppression stops you. Suppressed models can’t shoot AND they negatively affect the suppression role.

Living on the Frontline

  • Activation: Card based activation – each player is assigned a colour and a number of cards relating to the main experience level of your troops. Adding these cards to a deck along with the joke gives you your activation deck. The joker has a chance of ending the turn early. Each card is equal to a pair of infantry or a single support (such as a vehicle or support gun).
  • Actions: Activated units can either do Combat (aggressive ones including movement and shooting) or Non-Combat (reloading or staying low) actions. These qualifiers are important, as groups can only do the same action and non-combat actions let player choose to Duck down to make them harder to hit.
  • Dice Rolls: Skills are expressed as dice types, with modifiers shifting this type up or down (to a max of d12 and a minimum of d4). This system works wells and prevents the need for buckets of dice.
  • Shooting: After modifiers, the attackers shoot dice is compared to the defenders defence dice. If the result is higher, the target is hit and must roll against the wounds table which has a range of effects from simply knocking them down up to being KIA.
  • Morale: Suppressed figures need to be rallied before they can activate. However on a role of 1 on their morale test, the figure testing simply flees the field and is removed. If a force has reached its breaking point it begins to lose cards from the activation deck. This can be paused by passing a morale test (at the risk of more troopers leaving the battle) as once you reach 0 cards in the deck, your force has routed.

No End In Sight

  • Activation: Chances to activate alternate between players. Leaders are used to activate and can spend their activation points on figures below them in the chain of command (and within range depending on their skill level).
  • Stress: As leaders activate they gain stress which can prevent them from activating. Keeping this stress under control will let you activate more easily.
  • Reaction Fire: There is no dedicated overwatch action – instead, any movement in the open is vulnerable to reaction fire (unless you rush and manage to roll high enough to clear a gap)
  • Shock/Kill Dice: Shooting dice are based on the shooter’s firepower but generate different dice. Every point of firepower is a Shock dice, every pair of points is a Kill dice. When these dice are rolled, if the target values are hit (5 or 6s for Shock, 6s for Kills) then the effect is applied. Shocks pin, Kills cause casualties.
  • Morale: Having pinned figures in a squad take up valuable activation points to clear and get back in the fight. Combine that with casualties and troops are likely to start breaking and falling back.
  • Simulation: There are a lot of rules to look at but thanks to them it becomes a game that feels very realistic and very different to anything else around.

Wars of Insurgency

  • Orders: Initiative is a simple dice off but to actually order your troops, each player puts a numbered marker down to each squad face down. The numbering shows which order they move in. This means each player doesn’t know who which squads are going to move forcing some careful planning. However, careful use of your leader means you can quickly change the order of the the squad they are with.
  • Attack/Defence Dice: Modifiers don’t affect the final value, instead it adjusts the number of attack or defence dice you roll. Attacking dice succeed on 4+, defence dice on 5+. This makes massed fire easy to work out
  • Morale: Squads below half strength need to start taking morale checks which has the potential to lock them in place by knocking them prone. Before they can attempt an action another morale test
  • Campaign Play: A big focus in Wars of Insurgency is the campaign game, seeing your force increase in size and gain additional abilities.

WHAT DOES A UNIT PROFILE LOOK LIKE?

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.

Fireteam Modern

 ShootAssaultSaveMorale
Regular Soldier4+5+4+4+

Grenades are not modelled, weapons are listed individually.

FUBAR

Using the Afghanistan supplement, British Infantry are listed as:

Activation: 3+
Exp: 4+

Gear:

  • Ceramic armour 5+
  • Grenades
  • Personal Role & Radio
  • ISAF Assault Rifle

Living on the Frontline

We’re going to use the Trained profile for the standard squaddie

Troop QualityShootDefendMoraleInitiative
Trainedd8d6d87 Cards

Assault rifles and grenades are covered in the rules. There are no mentions of body armour in the rules.

No End In Sight

Troops are listed by a few ratings:

Troop Type: Professional
Battle Experience: Regular (or Veteran depending on situation)
Motivation: Moderate
Leadership: Either normal or Charismatic

Rifle, Hand grenades and Body armour all have effects

Wars of Insurgency

ProfessionalPointsAttack DiceDefence DiceMorale scored needed
Infantry, small arms12333-6

Also armed with Grenade. There are no mentions of body armour in the rules.


WHAT IS THE SQUAD SYSTEM LIKE?

Fireteam Modern

Small tactical unit is the rules is an element which is a fireteam. Each model in the element must remain within element cohesion and each element in a squad must be within squad cohesion for best effect. Additional, vehicles must remain within 12″ of another vehicle or element or else they will be risking negative morale modifiers.

FUBAR

Units are the smallest element and are activated together. They require the models to remain within cohesion and morale is based around the number of suppressed figures.

Living on the Frontline

Activations can only move a group under certain conditions which include staying out of sight of unsuppressed enemy models. For this reason, squads are best until the fire fight begins. Leader models can also choose to activate 1 additional model.

No End In Sight

Squads are the smallest unit which can be activated by their squad leader or anyone above. Squads have cohesion limits which vary depending on experience levels.

Wars of Insurgency

Each unit is a small squad. Cohesion depends on skill level. An important note is that each unit must be of the same skill level – you can’t mix Militia and Regulars in the same squad.


DO THE RULES INCLUDE VEHICLES?

Fireteam Modern

Yes. Everything from technicals up to MBTs. This also includes helicopters that act as vehicles once on the board.

FUBAR

Amazingly, yes. No mention of air vehicles though.

Living on the Frontline

Yes! It cover all types of vehicles from civilian cars to MBTs. There are also rules for helicopters in the Advanced Rules section

No End In Sight

Yes. The game is focused on infantry combat so the vehicles are more focused on supporting roles. Vehicles do not have specified profiles but is instead using an estimate based system, letting players work out the correct class, traits and armament.

Wars of Insurgency

Yes. No airpower due to the setting.


DO THE RULES INCLUDE OFF MAP SUPPORT?

Fireteam Modern

Lots of it! There are rules for off map artillery (including three levels of support), counter-battery fire and fixed wing air support.

FUBAR

The Afghanistan supplement includes rules for UAVs but no rules for CAS or artillery backup

Living on the Frontline

There is no specific mention of rules of off map support but there are rules for mortars and profiles for artillery pieces that could be combined as an ad-hoc off map support option.

No End In Sight

Full chapter on supporting fire including smoke rounds and the ability to model the effects of pre-game strikes on the opposition (also known as The Stonk).

Wars of Insurgency

Friendly Air Power is available as a political scheme to provide a bonus to your force. Apart from that though, it’s all up to what’s on the table.


WHAT IS THE OPTIMUM SIZE OF FORCE FOR A SINGLE PLAYER?

Fireteam Modern

Reinforced Platoon

FUBAR

Squad or Platoon – each unit you control is a fireteam

Living on the Frontline

A few squads up to a standard platoon.

No End In Sight

Platoon scale is the main focus but can be played with less or more.

Wars of Insurgency

Platoon


HOW EASY IS IT TO MAKE YOUR OWN FORCE FOR SCENARIOS?

Fireteam Modern

Forces are built with points values and are split into Compulsory choices (normally the infantry platoon) and optional choices (such as vehicles or specialist team). There are lists for British Army, US Army, Generic Middle East Army and an Insurgent force.

FUBAR

No points to guide but lots of mentions of using real world squads as a starting point. Much like Danger Close last year, pick your statlines and guns.

Living on the Frontline

No points values but there are some suggestions in force creation as part of the scenario guide.

No End In Sight

No points values. However there are some rough lists detailing platoons for various nations and

Wars of Insurgency

There is a big section of rules at the start, covering points costs for different weapons and skillsets. In addition, there are themes for your force (such as Tribal Militia or Superpower Backed Client Forces) which determine the exact makeup of a force.


WHAT STYLE OF GAME IS THE RULESET BEST AT?

Fireteam Modern

Reinforced platoon engagement. Game supports both asymmetric and conventional battles.

FUBAR

Quick and simple games with a few units per side.

Living on the Frontline

Small platoon sized fights between mixtures of regular and irregulars.

No End In Sight

Reinforced platoon

Wars of Insurgency

Platoon engagements in a post-colonial insurgency. The biggest vehicle to expect would be an armoured car or a technical and squads will be a mixture of skill levels.


WHAT DO I NEED TO KNOW/NEED TO HAVE FOR MY FIRST GAME?

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.

Fireteam Modern

  • D6s
  • Markers for activation and suppression.
  • Cotton wool for making destroyed vehicles

FUBAR

  • D6s
  • Markers for activation and suppression
  • It’s a one page set of rule so Quick Reference Sheets are not needed

Living on the Frontline

  • Multiple dice types – D4, D6, D8, D10, D12s
  • Playing cards for activation
  • Markers and Roster sheets from the book
  • Start off with a squad vs squad fight before jumping in to a full size battle

No End In Sight

  • D6s for gameplay
  • Two colours of D6 for shock and kill scores – either use the different colours or smaller dice
  • Stress Markers – smaller dice or counters
  • Counters for wounds
  • A way to differentiate your leaders in your force
  • Start off with a squad vs squad fight before jumping in to a full size battle – there are a lot of things to get used to.

Wars of Insurgency

  • D6s
  • Numbered order markers for each squad – the rules recommend poker chips or faction flags
  • A counter for how many grenades your force has remaining.
  • A marker to identify your Leader
  • A reminder of what your Political Scheme/Permanent Institutions is so you don’t miss out on your edge in battle.

DO THE RULES INCLUDE A CAMPAIGN SYSTEM?

Fireteam Modern

There is currently no campaign system included in the book.

FUBAR

It’s two pages of A4 – no campaign system.

Living on the Frontline

There is currently no campaign system in the main book.

No End In Sight

I think we have a winner in the campaign department. As well as three pages covering the basic rules for linked games and experience games, there are multiple subsystems covered which lets you theme your campaign around different styles of engagement. From insurgencies which requires keeping a close eye on the hearts and minds of the population through the Domino Theory style missions to affect a region up to the escalation of a full on super power war, these options present you with a massive range of possible combat situations. Add to this, there are also guides to setting up the personalities of your characters and a scenario generator to help decide the upcoming scenario.

Wars of Insurgency

Campaign play is a big focus for Wars of Insurgency and is designed to let you fight through a civil war.. After picking a faction style from the list included and gaining victory points through games, you get to see your faction grow (from Obscure Movement up to eventually taking control of the country). As you grow, your force organisation changes to give you more access to better trained troops and vehicles. In addition, you also gain access to Political Schemes and Permanent Institutions. Political Schemes are effects chosen before each mission and effect your force for that mission (examples include employing Tactical Advisors or performing Magic Rituals). Permanent Institutions are chosen every time your group increases in size, giving your force access to Spy Network or by having your faction Leader appear on the cover of Time Magazine. These two abilities really help to theme your force and make your game feel like it’s taking part in a late 20th century insurgency.


DO THE RULES INCLUDE ANY SCENARIOS?

Fireteam Modern

There are seven missions included in the book (four for Asymmetric warfare and three for conventional). These are generic missions which don’t specify exact forces for each player.

FUBAR

No scenarios are included. It’s literally 1 page (2 if you include the Afghanistan supplement)

Living on the Frontline

Two scenarios (one focused on a section sized action, the other for a platoon) and a scenario generator with 5 archetypes to use.

No End In Sight

This set includes one of the best scenario generators I’ve seen. It’s packed with multiple tables for rolling up things like terrain, objectives, forces, arrival method (!), support options and possible complications.

Wars of Insurgency

Three scenarios with maps, objectives and special rules but no specified forces.


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.

Fireteam Modern

Rory Crabb has a site for all his games (I’ve linked the page for Fireteam Modern)

FUBAR

The main website for FUBAR.

Living on the Frontline

I haven’t found a specific website for the game but two sites of interest are the Winter of ’79 group and the original blog that inspired it – This blog is probably one of the main reason I got back into wargaming.

No End In Sight

The main nordic weasel site and the blog for future updates

Wars of Insurgency

There is a group for First Command Wargames on Facebook


NONE OF THESE RULESETS ARE REALLY WORKING FOR ME. WHAT ELSE IS COMING UP?

Have you checked out part 1? There are lots of other rulesets in there which already have all of this information on them.

Okay still haven’t found something you like? What. Well, in terms of what’s coming soon, there are a few updates from last year and a few new entries:

Round of Fire

This ruleset is out! I actually have a copy sat in the PDF folder on my tablet and I have been having a read through them. Rather than trying to rush a very interesting ruleset so it fits into this post, I’m going to be doing a separate impressions piece in January (provisional date is on the 12th). But it’s well worth a look! You can find them on Wargames Vault at http://www.wargamevault.com/product/227996/Round-of-Fire–Core-Rules

Platoon+

Still on its way from Radio Dishdash. There have been two playthroughs of it on the blog – one for Modern and one for WW2. Colin was kind enough to send over a version for me to look at (and help find those issues you start missing after you’ve read something 1000 times) and I’m really excited for it – it’s got some of the same flavour as Skirmish Sangin but much more suited for Platoon+ levels of engagement.

The Empress-Queeg Project

This has gone a little quiet. I think one of the authors is currently busy with real world issues so there will be a wait on this one.

Fighting Season

It’s gone very quiet. Based on talk on the Meeples and Miniatures podcast and from talking to Mr Clarke at Claymore, the core rules are in place but it’s now a case of making a campaign system that properly gives the feeling of operations out there. I fully understand Rich’s desire to not release until this campaign system is ready – too many modern games I’ve played have turned into full on fights to the death with no care for the consequences.

Ambush Alley: CQB and Force on Force 3: Boots on the Ground

So this is a story and a half. Early in 2017, Ambush Alley Games have decided that rather than trying to make a one size fits all ruleset, they were going to split the game in half – Force on Force 3 will focus on the larger size platoon games while Ambush Alley is more focused on the Close Quarter battles. As always, keep an eye on http://www.thewargameswebsite.com/forums/forum/ambush-alley-games/news-and-community/

OSC Book 2

The author has been distracted recently with real world stuff (having a kid will do that to you) but sounds like it’s starting to ramp up. So we should soon be seeing vehicles and teams running around on the fields of OSC.


WHAT ARE MY PERSONAL THOUGHTS?

I’ve decided to hold off on my personal thoughts on the games in part 2 for now. The reason is that I haven’t played these games anywhere nears as much as I had when I wrote part 1. I want to get a few more battles in before I come forth with judgement.


Well that’s part two of 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.