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.

Spectre Operations: Building a Force – Task Orientated Teams

Despite this being a hobby blog, I do keep an eye on what seems to be doing well for me in terms of stats. My Starting Lists for Spectre Operations have done really well but I now want to expand it and provide something a little more useful than just “here am list”. Simple lists are good to begin with but there comes a time when you want to feel less like an accountant moving numbers of points around and more like a military commander, analysing problems and finding solutions with what meager forces your supplies (and wallet) allow.

To get you on your way, welcome to Building a Force! This series will be in multiple parts and cover some hints and tips when it comes to building your forces. In future installments, we’ll look at vehicles, Off Table Assets and getting your rabble together when playing the OPFOR.

This time however, we’re going to look at building a force for more well trained and organised armies (including Special Forces teams). In particular, we’re going to work on how you can pick your force more easily by selecting for the right tools for the job.

Using TOEs

“But Charge”, I hear you say “Why not just use the written down Tables of Organisation and Equipment?”

Okay, lets talk about TOEs.

TOE’s are a great tool when understanding history and tactics, writing rules or building a collection. Its much easier to balance a preset force or know how many figures you may need when making a platoon. However, from my understanding, when it comes to day by day operations the times when a unit deploys exactly to TOE is not 100%. Soldiers fall ill and aren’t replaced in time, squads are formed into multiples for specific missions and specialists are attached.

For this reason I suggest treating TOEs as a guideline. Start from them but when writing a scenario or preparing a force for a possible operation there is nothing stopping you from tweaking and adjusting the composition. Obviously this needs to be within reason – a squad made entirely of M249 LMGs and LAWs would be powerful but in reality they would have some ammo consumption issues and be a bit clunky to move round.

Basic Advice

Instead I recommend building your team around the objective given to you. Look at the goal, plan out what you think you need and pick from the example teams below. After a few games, I’d even suggest making up your own teams that you find effective. I look forward to seeing what everyone comes up with

Here are a few other bits of advice when picking your force:

  • Take attachments – red dots, lasers and scopes really help to improve your chances in ranged combat while different ammo types and suppressors can quickly change your role on the battlefield.
  • Suppressors and Subsonic ammo can be combined for ultimate efficiency in stealth but even just using the suppressor with regular ammo will give you a considerable benefit.
  • If you’re using Trained soldiers, adding a few additional riflemen to each team will increase your firepower and surviability.
  • Body Armour and Personal Med-kits will save your soldier’s lives. By affecting lethality and potentially reducing the damage from a hit, combining both is recommended.
  • Grenade choices are important – frag and smokes are good generic choices to expand your tactics while the other grenades are better in specific situations such as close quarters or asset destruction.
  • There are several weapons that can be added to the teams to give them additional edges in combat but don’t necessarily require a full additional team.
    • A Light Anti-Tank weapon to a team gives you a multi-role explosive device that lets you cause massive damage on a group of enemies or a vehicle/strongpoint.
    • A UGL can easily be swapped for a Multiple Grenade Launcher or a Airburst Grenade Launcher depending on your needs – the MGL is good for large numbers of enemies while the Airburst is perfect for when you are fighting enemies that are entrenched.
    • The humble RPG is actually a pretty tempting prospect – the multiple warheads (AT, HE and Thermobaric) gives you access to a range of effects for a reasonable points cost.
    • Shotguns are useful upgrades. Combat and Auto Shotguns may steal the headlines with Rapid and Auto fire but don’t underestimate the Under Barrel/Sawn Off Shotgun; It’s a cheap way to up your breaching skill and provide a nasty kick in close quarters when combined with the various ammo options.
    • Tasers can make capturing OPFOR alive much easier, reducing the need to get into close quarters.
  • Extra equipment like tactical ladders and climbing gear is very situational but can be the difference between success and failure. This is especially important when using the small Elite forces.

The Teams

The nine teams I’ve developed are below. Each will explain their task, show off the composition and then be accompanied by several notes explaining the idea behind them and how best to use them.

I’m going to use the term Service Rifle when describing the various teams. This can, depending on your forces nationality and skill level, be a carbine, an assault rifle or a battle rifle. There are only minor differences between them (the carbine has less range but gains bonuses in RI 1, the assault rifle is the default and the battle rifle is less effective at suppression but longer range and better lethality) so we shall be treating them as generic in the lists.

For people interested in points values, we’ll be covering that in the final part when we start building forces.

1. Basic Fireteam

Task: General Purpose – Provide a good mix of firepower at various ranges.

  1. Team Leader: Service Rifle
  2. Grenadier: Service Rifle + UGL
  3. Gunner: LMG
  4. Assistant: Service Rifle

Notes:

  • A common variation is to swap out the Service rifle on number 4 for a DMR or sniper rifle. This reduces your number of shots but does help you when engaging an enemy at long range.
  • This is a core building block – applying minor tweaks (such as those listed in the Basic Advice section) can massively improve the effectiveness of it

2. Assault Team

Task: Advancing and clearing a fixed position

  1. Team Leader: Service Rifle + UGL
  2. Pointman: Service Rifle + Combat Shotgun
  3. Breacher: Service Rifle + Breaching Gear
  4. Gunner: LMG

Notes:

  • The idea with this is a Basic Fireteam but more focused on the “Manoeuvre” part of the Fire and Manoeuvre Idea.
  • Pair these guys with a Base of Fire Team – it’s less flexible than two of the Standard Fireteams but more effective at their chosen job.
  • Close with the enemy to get to within RI1 and gain the most bonuses
  • The Pointman and Breacher are perfect to work together when assaulting a position – one can perform the breach allowing the other to enter and clear using the advantage of the shotgun in the same turn.

3. Base of Fire Team

Task: Providing suppressing fire on a position/covering the advance of another team.

  1. Gunner: MMG
  2. Assistant: Service Rifle
  3. Marksman: DMR
  4. Gunner: LMG

Notes:

  • The idea with this is a Basic Fireteam but more focused on the “Fire” part of the Fire and Manoeuvre Idea.
  • If you hadn’t guessed, pair these guys with an Assault team. See the assault team for more details
  • This team should find a good piece of cover with good line of sight across the place you intend to assault and then sit there
  • The Gunner and their MMG is the main focus of this team. That needs to keep up and running, putting suppression on enemy forces moving against your assault team.
  • The Assistant should be helping out the MMG gunner unless the enemy start to get too close to the Base of Fire team.
  • While the Gunners spread the suppression around, the Marksman lets you focus in on specific characters such as enemy weapon teams.
  • The LMG gunner’s main job is extra suppression but is also useful for close protection on your Base of Fireteam. Alternatively, this trooper’s gear could be enhanced with an explosive weapon if you want to add that capability to your force.

4. Scout Team

Task: Find and engage the enemy

  1. Lead Scout: Service Rifle
  2. Scout: Service Rifle and Combat Shotgun

Notes:

  • The inspiration for the scouting pair comes from the American WW2 squad.
  • Number 1 could alternatively equipped with a SMG alongside his service rifle for additional close quarters firepower.
  • This team would do especially well if equipped with suppressors and subsonic ammo. The idea with this squad is to close with the enemy and so benefits from avoiding detection.
  • Additionally, equipping this team with Ghille Suits would let them sniper stalk and reduce their chance of being detected even more

5. Command Team

Task: Command and provide support to the other teams

  1. Squad Leader/Commander: Service Rifle
  2. Medic: Service Rifle and Trauma Kit (Optional)

Notes:

  • Depending on your nationality and service branch, you might want to upgrade a team leader in one of your fireteams to be a squad leader rather than having a separate team.
  • In addition to two characters listed here, you could add another squad leader to act as a Forward Air Controller for an OTAs you may have access to.

6. CQB Team

Task: Clearing hostile area at extremely close range.

  1. Pointman: SMG
  2. Rifleman: Carbine
  3. Breacher: Carbine + Combat Shotgun + breaching gear
  4. Gunner: Compact LMG

Notes:

  • You’ll notice I explicitly mention carbines rather than Service Rifles. This is due to the Compact rule, something which gives you a real edge when inside range interval 1
  • To extend the above point, combining Compact weapons with Red Dots and Lasers gives you a +3 bonus in total which engaging targets inside RI1. This is perfect when combined with Rapid Fire or Automatic weapons as it removes the modifier for multiple shots
  • The Pointman and Breacher are designed to give you the edge in close quarters – in particular,
  • The Rifleman and Gunner will provide some longer range firepower which
  • For an additional edge, the Rifleman could be equipped with a Multi-Role dog. This is good for both detection and restraining enemy combatants. Also take a look at the various upgrade packages for your four legged friends

7. Anti-Tank team

Task: Destruction of enemy armoured assets

  1. Gunner: Service Rifle and AT weapon
  2. Assistant: Service rifle

Notes:

  • The AT weapon is generic – depending on your force and models it could be an RPG (with a variety of warheads), Light Anti-Tank weapon, Light Recoilless Rifle or a Guided Missile Launcher.
  • The Assistant, like in some of the other teams is going to either be providing security for the team or (if the weapon is crew served) providing the backup to the anti-tank weapon. They are also required by the Guided Missile Launcher in order to carry it.
  • The team has a lot of firepower but will need some

8. Sniper Team

Task: Long range precision elimination

  1. Sniper: Sniper Rifle (Light, Medium, Anti-Material)
  2. Spotter: DMR or Service Rifle

Notes:

  • Classic sniper team setup – one of the pair is the gun while the other is the eyes.
  • A worthwhile upgrade for this pair is some Ghillie suits, letting your avoid detection and sniper stalk. It also gives you cover bonuses.
  • If acting stealthily, suppressors are recommended for both. In addition, the spotter may want to consider subsonic ammo but the limitation to 2 range intervals of effectiveness may blunt the Sniper’s primary weapon. Alternatively, take a secondary such as a SMG.
  • Unless massed firepower is needed, the spotter should be crew serving in order to give your sniper the best chance of kill their target.

9. Heavy Weapon Team

Sadly I’m missing a photo for my heavy weapons – all of them belonging to the conventional forces are still in the painting queue

Task: Fire Support from a heavy platform

  1. Commander: Service Rifle
  2. Gunner: Service Rifle and Heavy Weapon
  3. Loader: Service Rifle

Notes:

  • One of simplest teams – long ranged firepower is your only mission
  • The heavy weapon could be any from the list but the most common will be either the Heavy Machine Gun, the Automatic Grenade Launcher or the Guided Missile Launcher.
  • Two men are needed to move a heavy weapon so including a third (or alternatively adding a few more) gives you a larger security element.
  • In an ideal world, a heavy weapon team should begin the game in a piece of cover with excellent sight lines. If that isn’t an option, your first priority should be to get this team into a position where it can cover the advance of the rest of your force. Until it’s setup, this team is not doing it’s job

With that we end Part 1 of Building a Force. The next few weeks are already planned out so there will not be any additional parts until the new year. However, once we are back I’ll be hammering through the other sections:

  1. Task Orientated Teams – Building the Core of a National Force
  2. From Quad Bikes to Tanks – Vehicles for a National Force
  3. “TBA” – Building The Core of an Irregular Forces
  4. “TBA” – Vehicles for Irregular Forces
  5. “TBA” – OTAs
  6. Problem to Solution – Assembling your force ready for the mission

Spectre Miniatures Rare Models

Despite Spectre only being around for a few years there are a few models that have achieved collectors status. Be this due to accidents or careful planning, these models are hard to find. That said, if you want to watch eBay or work out what your opponent across the table is using, this article should help you out.

All the photos for this article have been sourced from the Spectre Miniatures website and Facebook pages.

Salute exclusives

The first set we’re going to talk about are those models which were planned to be limited releases. Every April at Salute, Spectre release one or two sets exclusively at the show and in limited numbers in the online store on the same day.

2014 was the year of the Kickstarter. Before its start in May, Spectre attended Salute with demo board, early figures and a freebie. The operator below was for many people the first Spectre figure they owned. Armed with a PDR and carrying tactical kit over civilian clothing, he can be seen as the predecessor to the Agents range. He would also reappear in the kickstarter that year.

2015 (The first year I went to Salute) saw the first event after the launch of the wand the stall had all sort of figures on display (including some still unreleased). This exclusive was the first female figure released by Spectre, ready to work alongside the previous year’s freebie or other intel agents. There are some great details on her, such as the sunglasses tucked into the shirt or the Molle go-bag slung. I decided to tweak mine by adding a shemagh around the neck and I really need to get her painted up.

2016 was a bumper year for Salute releases. Alongside the release of the core packs for the Tier 1 and Agents ranges, Spectre also delivered two exclusive figures.

This juggernaut is perfect for a scenario play, stomping round the board in heavy armour and wielding two long arms. The PKM and shotgun are dangerous combination, especially when backed up by the rest of a Spetsnaz team. coming in the door behind him. Seemingly a habit with my exclusives, I added a visor to juggernaut.

The second figure was designed to work alongside the Agents released on the same day, giving you some sniper cover for your team. She has a really cool pose and again the details are astounding – I’m a fan of the stowed Vector on the side of the pack.

2017 saw me almost knock over the stand in my rush to buy new figures and a few early releases. The first Razors were sold, a few pieces from the terrain range were released (such as the ammo boxes) and this exclusive figure came out.

Rather than being a tweaked figure for an existing range that could sub in, this set is something special. Its much more of a scenario centrepiece, showing an injured operator being carried by his buddy while under fire. There have been some really nicely painted version of this on the Spectre Operations group if you have one and are looking for inspiration.

 

Kickstarter

The main bulk of Spectre’s rare models all come from one place – the original Kickstarter. Starting May 2014, the project was the first many people (including myself) heard about Spectre and it helped to get them off the ground. During the process a total of 28 sets were made available to backers.

As it stands today, many of these figures are no longer available. This was due in part to the original moulds being lost. On the other hand, the core of the African Militia range comes from this release – it’s missing a few of the stranger models (yep, that’s a man wearing a dress as one of the bulletproof militia) but support weapons and crazed gunmen are all there. I originally went in just for the SOF figures and I really regret not picking up the Africans when I had a chance.

There are a few standouts among the list:

The original Delta/US SoF figures were the set that grabbed me and said “The is a range for you”. I think the newer Task Force Operators are a massive step up in quality (and don’t have separate arms that bend or need gluing) but these guys have a certain character to them. Also all the details we know expect from Spectre are there – from the kneepads to the attachments on the SCAR, they look just right. I still really like using them alongside their newer brothers in arms.

Delta in the Kickstarter also included this guy. Ready for breaching duty, he has a MP7 slung at his side with an AA12 out as his primary. He also has a collection of breaching gear on his back. You can see this guy’s concept being updated in the Task Force Operators AA-12 – Alfa figure.

The other pack that grabbed people was the SAS Recce Patrol. Laden down with packs and armed with L119s and various bits of kit, these guys are the forerunners of the SAS Jungle Ops range. There was also the SAS Close Observation Team, which is where the Task Force Operator snipers in ghillie suits came from. Unfortunately, their two buddies with L119s and a UGL got lost in the jungle somewhere.

Something I think is missing from the current range is some private military contractors in the less cutting edge kit, i.e. baseball caps and civilian gear with M4s or AKs. The kickstarter included three packs. The main things with them is that they are wearing non-standard kit but still look like a unit thanks to careful picked similar details.

PMC Alpha is the most modern of the three team. Armed with Vector SMGs and wearing plate carriers over t-shirts, these guys look like a well-funded team ready for a close quarters street fight.

PMC Bravo is a little more heavily armed. Equipped with AKs and various attachments/secondary weapons, these guys would work well as Russian advisors or mercs somewhere from the eastern bloc. You can see little bits of their design being used in the Deniable Ops range. I also need to point out the second figure – another with separate arms, something that drove me mad while assembling them.

PMC Delta is the classic Western Contractor look with M4s, plate carriers and, of course, shades. This pack also includes the AA12; combined with the UGL, it gives the team a nice mix of firepower for such a small team.

Speaking of mercs we come to the biggest kit that was part of the kickstarter – the PMC Technical. This was Spectre’s first vehicle and as you can see, it looks pretty cool. Like with the Deltas, you can see how this was the starting point for the current range of technicals. I’d love to see some parts come out for the current vehicles, letting us add the PKM mount for something a little lower profile than the .50cals.

Something else cool from the Kickstarter was the Weapons Caches. These were small bits to add to the scenery or work as objective markers. I’d love to see an updated version of these.

Early Releases

After the Kickstarter was finished, Spectre setup their webstore and started adding new items in addition to some of the kickstarter sets. Many of these are still available, such as the Task Force Operator Marksmen and Grenadiers. Others however have since left the store.

We’ve seen multiple dog handlers in both the Kickstarter and more recently with the UKSF releases. This guy was designed to fit with the original US SoF, giving them a dedicated dog handler rather than having him tag along with one of the normal riflemen. There is a load of extra detail on him, from his compact 416 to the setup on his rig.

Another set of additions to the US SoF range was this pair of Machine Gunners. The variation in poses and gear are great as usual for Spectre. I still use them and they look great alongside the newer figures.

The final part of the original SAS teams (alongside the Recon guys and the team in ghillie suits) are these operators in civilian clothing. It was quite cool to have the three teams, each with similar guns and heads to represent the same team in different roles.

To backup the SAS guys is this pair of support. Carrying their bergens like the rest of the Recce guys, the marksman and MG bring the team up to six and give you more tactical options.

Something else that happened in the early days of the store was an experiment. Spectre looked into producing high quality resin models and two sets were chosen – the UKSF assault team and a pack of militia that became . Although the results were spectacular in terms of detail, there were some mixed feelings about resin over metal; I personally wasn’t a massive fan having broken barrels much more easily. In the end, metal won out

 

I hope you’ve enjoyed this trip through Spectre’s back catalog. Hopefully when you spot some suspicious characters on an eBay auction, you’ll know a little more about them. It’s also great to look back and see how far Spectre has come – the early models are pretty good but each release includes more detail backed by more research to help bring us the most up to date figures around.

Continue reading “Spectre Miniatures Rare Models”

Battle Report: Home of the Wolf – Skirmish Sangin

It was the last club night before Halloween – something slightly spooky was required. With freshly finished scenario in one hand, and freshly painted werewolves in the other, we sat down to play… Home of the Wolf!

The scenario saw 8 UKSF soldiers and a SIS agent going up against 3 werewolves. Thanks to the design of the scenario, I managed to fit two games of it in.


The board ready to play, with an abandoned compound in the middle of a forested valley. I think this was the most trees I’ve used in any of my wargames.

First game saw me taking control of the werewolves. The SAS setup throughout the central compound, in particular taking the high ground.

Slightly blurry shot, but it isn’t a werewolf film without a shot of one howling to the moon. I went for a scatter approach, probing for a thin point and then using my superior speed to mass suddenly at that position.

The start of the game didn’t exactly go my way. Werewolf number 3 was shot before he even activated, having been spotted early on and shot down by the combined gun fire of two Operators (including the SIS agent).

Werewolf number 2 ran straight into the two-man combination of shotgun/LMG trooper, leapt on top of the gunner and ripped him to pieces sending morale markers everywhere. Werewolf kills generate additional morale effects so even the elite and veterans were suffering morale failures.

Meanwhile the Alpha bounded over the wall and engaged one of the operators covering the front. Luckily for the trooper, he managed to parry the werewolf’s furious strikes.

I must have missed the photo but the two-man killing team that took out Werewolf 3 slewed round and finished off the alpha as well. About 4 phases in and I was down to 1/3 of my force.

Back on the rooftop, the shotgun trooper now stared down the last werewolf. Before it could leap forward he took aim and pulled the trigger. And….

Rolled a misfire. The shotgun jammed and now required 3AP to clear it.

The last wolf leapt off the roof and went running for some concealment. Maybe another ambush would help it get its prey.

After having watched the operators move to regroup, the wolf jumped in to take out another operator but got hit by the mother of all snapfires. Everyone in the arc opened up. However, the wolf managed to take the storm of bullets before slashing it’s target down and then sprinting away into the darkness.

As the wolf player, I was running out of options. So I went for a hail mary – moving round the compound, leaping over the wall and then trying to get some stealth kills by sneaking up behind

Alas, it was not to be. The wolf’s attacks were parried and in the next turn, he was dogpiled by the remaining SAS troopers.

Final result – all wolves dead, two SAS trooper critically incapacitated. Looks like the boys at Porton Down are about to have some new things to investigate.


I took a different approach when I jumped in as the SAS. Rather than sitting in the compound, I decided to make a break for the separate building and look for a spot where I could take advantage of massed firepower without being ambushed (also to avoid wolves jumping over the walls). To this end, I setup at the south gate ready for a sprint.

The downside of this blob approach was the fact the wolves could get much closer and very soon one had jumped over the wall to get at a straggler. However, snapfire inflicted some serious damage, dropping him to half health and his attempts at combat were parried.

This wolf then attempted to flee but Cunningham the SIS agent was having none of it. Upon activating she turned, sighted the fleeing wolf and dropped it with a burst before it could regenerate

The SAS attempted to make a break for it but upon exiting the compound got slammed by the other wolf.

After some bouncing around (including a good few hits on the wolf that regeneration didn’t get round to fix) one of the wolves managed to cause a wound on one of the rear guard. This caused a bubble of morale markers but the Operators were not being put down by a few oversized dogs.

At this point, the Alpha really got to strut its stuff. First it disemboweled the shotgunner (the snapfire shot missed by rolling equal to the target value) before killing the LAW gunner outright.

Raging at this kill, three of the SAS bum rushed the Alpha and with a flurry of blows (helped by the fact the wolves can’t parry).

The other wolf, seeing the Alpha taken down, promptly failed its morale test and made a run for the hills, followed by a chorus of jeers from the surviving troopers.

And with that, another victory for the SAS. Two men dead (minced by the Alpha) and one injured but the werewolves had been fought off.

One point we thought up while playing – the pounce move mentioned in the PDF which knocks the enemies prone is designed to cause a problem in close quarters. For this reason, we changed its effects to match up to the “Trip Up” combat action – a nasty way for the wolves to avoid enemies parrying them. Similarly, if you find the wolves a little too squishy, some light armour would help.


Overall a fun, dumb scenario – perfect for Halloween. Don’t worry, we’ll return to your regular scheduled Ultramodern content next week.

Impressions: Spectre’s September Releases

September saw a pretty big set of releases for Spectre. With 5 separate sets covering a selection of collections, there really was something in it for everyone. More importantly, it added some more female figures and filled some capability gaps. 

Tier 1 Operator – Delta

 

We start with a new Tier 1 Operator. She looks just like her male counterparts, with SIG MCX, silenced pistol and fast mag equipped battle belt. She fits perfectly into the rest of the range and provides some variety to the squad. I’ve painted her up to match the rest of my Argo contractors (solid colour clothing, tan webbing), but she would also work well in an Agent or other undercover force.

Task Force Operators – Golf

Two more operators to the giant Task Force collection. These two are equipped the same as their colleagues, wearing body armour and fast helmet while carrying carbines with the trifecta of upgrades (red dot, laser and silencer). One is wearing a full size vest while the other just has a chest rig and carrying a kit bag, both packed full of gear. These figures fit

One thing to point out – with the figure with the carbine pointing down, I noticed it was quite easy to bend the weapon back and forth. I don’t think it will snap but it’s something to keep an eye on.

GRU RPG – Alfa

A key capability for any force is the ability to knock out armoured vehicle and fortified positions. Since release, the main way the Russian GRU had to do this was the pump action grenade launcher. Now, a Russian player can pick up this figure and have a light anti-armour weapon perfect for knocking out insurgent technicals or the SUV the VIP is riding in.

I really like this figure – from the crouching pose to slung PP19 SMG, he is spot on for the role. Also there is nothing better than dropping an explosive rocket right on the target

Insurgent Stinger – Alfa

If the GRU RPG was a pretty useful piece of kit, the stinger is going to level the playing field for the OPFOR. In Spectre Operations, MANPADs can prevent airborne off map assets which are often used by the more elite teams (as I know well from the Spectre weekend where a little bird managed to wreck an entire flank). This figure, in balacava, vest and utility trousers, may not have much else but totting the stinger around is a pretty useful task.

As well as being useful against airborne targets, this guy would also be useful as VIP/objective for missions where your SF team is hunting down potentially dangerous gear.

Insurgent Kill Team

The first release in the new Squad packaging is a new team perfect for augmenting your insurgent force. Sculpted moving more tactically than their insurgent buddies, they are armed with tactical AKs, wearing BDUs, plate carriers and comms gear. These guys can form a core of a force, able to mentor your less trained troops or focus on snatching enemy VIPs. In addition, they could also work as special forces from a middle eastern country, ready to work alongside your Western buddies or as Republican Guard infiltrators.

So why the new Squad packaging? In this case, it makes sense to get all the team members togethers giving you a powerful single unit in one go. I can see the format doing well in other situations such as for specific scenarios (VIP + bodyguards) or interesting packs that wouldn’t sell by themselves. Its strange to see Spectre go from packs of four down to two (or one) to suddenly bounce back with these big releases.

Painting Notes

Painting notes, the place where I explain all the painting decisions when it came to getting this article ready. Again, the usual rush to get stuff finished in time for a post. I’m getting better though; this time around the figures were painted Wednesday night mean they were less rushed than usual.

The latest Tier 1 Operator is painted the same way as the other Argo Contractors – block single colour for clothing, tan webbing and a dot of blue for the glasses. She ended up a little darker than her comrades, closer to the other female agents I’ve painted

The two task force operators are also painted similarly to existing figures in my collection.  As they were only wearing tshirts, the trousers had to multicam (using Spectre’s great painting guide) to match the rest of the force. Block colour Tshirts, US field drab for webbing and tan gun parts. The mad rush to

GRU was back to using my Surpat camo. I’m actually happier with this batch than I was with the original GRU figures as I used more green, which in turn made the other colours pop more. I’m tempted to redo the original group, especially as I’m about to paint up the CQB guys in the improved Surpat. Webbing was in Russian uniform.

The stinger wielding insurgent was super easy to do. Nice blocks of solid colour across the different clothing items and then the Agrax wash to dull the colours and make it fit my collections aesthetic (which has been described as having a “Post Gears of War 3rd Person shooter”filter applied)

As I’m using the Killteam to represent Bazi SF, I went for US 3 colour desert camo with painted guns and khaki boots. The 3 colour recipe came from Bolt Action CP on youtube and is super easy to do. They also match up pretty well with the Empress Universal figures I have so mixing in the odd operator to mentor the trained Bazi Army should work well.

Initial Impressions: Tiny Terrain’s Figures

So far most of this blog has been filled with models from Empress, Eureka and Spectre. Today however, I’m going to take a look at Tiny Terrain’s current offerings – in particular his law enforcement pack (that was released a few weeks ago)and the two man JTAC team released earlier this year. This is just a small selection from the range, that seeks to cover some figures not normally seen. Based on reading around, these figures are sculpted by Phil Lewis, formerly of Games Workshop fame.

In regards to customer service, its excellent for such a small operation. I ended up with a figure missing, sent an email to him that evening and had a new figure sent out the following day.

Full disclosure – I’ve talked to Craig (Mr Tiny Terrain) a fair amount and he is a great chap. Three of the games from the Spectre weekend saw me going up against him. When his blog was running it was at the very top of Must Read list.

Law Enforcement Pack

The Law Enforcement pack, purchased for £30 during the pre-order phase, is designed to complement the already released Narcos and will set you up for engagements around the border. Each pack contains 14 figures, each with a unique pose. Apart from the dog, they all have separate heads, and available options include baseball caps, bush hats, helmets (as seen here) or a mix of all three. The helmeted heads are in tactical hoods and have some nice variety to them, mixing some with goggles on and others with them stowed on the helmet.

A plus point about the heads is that they actually fit in the neck joint properly, with no issues of giraffe neck or major trimming required (unlike a certain manufacturer whose head slot fills me with dread every time).

There are seven figures armed with AR15 style carbines in a selection of poses. I did manage to snap off one of the flash hiders while fixing a bend in it but the rest went back into shape really easily. The poses all feel different and unique which is great but the overall feel of them is very static. This is definitely a group not in the midst of direct combat.

The other seven figures are specialists, giving you a few more tools for the job. Two guys with ballistic shields will help room clearing, two guys with breaching tools and another with a shotgun will get you into a room and the dog team is always handy.

I do have a pet peeve with these specialists – I think that all of them (apart from the dog and the shield users) should have a carbine slung across their back or chest. I can think of a few reasons why they haven’t but it does make WYSIWYG a pain.

I also really dislike the dog handler. The pose is off, he isn’t armed – he just looks like he standing there waiting patiently for the dog to finish off its business rather than him leading it through a search operation.

Looking closer at the shield guys, I really like them. Shields definitely help you to tell a SWAT team apart from a SF team, and these two look the business. The shields come separate and I did have some issues when I tried the goggle wearing head on the crouching body when it came to attaching the shield so be warned about a possible incompatibility.

That said, I think the breaching tools are the stars of the show. These are two figures I haven’t seen the likes of anywhere else which is something Tiny Terrain has been good at with the range so far. The circular saw + arms is a separate piece that slots into place.

Looking at the back, you can see an impressive amount of detail. From the molle strips on the vest to the belts full of gear, each of these troopers look like they are ready for the mean streets of El Paso or Juarez.

As this is a new company, I’ve grabbed a size comparison. Going from left to right we have

  • New Empress US SF
  • Old Empress US SF
  • Tiny Terrain
  • Eureka Force Recon
  • Spectre Miniatures Task Force Operator

The pack of figures is currently unavailable but should be up on the Tiny Terrain store soon. on the Tiny Terrain store at https://tinyterrainmodels.wordpress.com/law01-law-enforcers/

JTAC Team

Slightly older, the JTAC team is two man pack designed to let you add a pair of troops calling in fire support to your force. Both figures are kitted up on SF style kit, with beards and heavily laden packs on both of them. Both figures also have M4s lying on the ground next to them. One figure is posted calling in on the radio while the other is crouched over the included SOFLAM

The SOFLAM is mounted on a tripod which is seated on triangular base. To help with alignment, the front of the spotter’s base has a triangular groove, making it easy to get the different parts into position.

Overall a very simple but characterful set of figures with plenty of ingame uses for them.

Edit: Find them on the store at https://tinyterrainmodels.wordpress.com/jtac01-jtac-team-with-laser-target-designator/

Conclusion

So what do I think of this range? Are they worth your time? Yes. I think the figures are well sculpted (apart from a few poses) and cast, with lots of detail at a reasonable price for a small company. The rest of the range provides some more figures you are not likely to find anywhere and so fills a cool place.


That said, there is a reason I haven’t painted them up. While I think they are well sculpted in a technical sense of the word, from an artistic stand point they don’t really grab me. The style of sculpt just looks old to me and I don’t have great fondness for them. And if I don’t like them they are not going to get painted or used. For that reason, I’m going to sell mine off. Don’t take this as me saying “Don’t buy them” – I think a lot of people will love them but for me they just fell a little flat.

That said, Tiny Terrain has plenty of upcoming things to be excited about. As well as these figures, his store also has some cool MDF terrain and free scenery models for 3D printing. At the time of writing, his Kickstarter for a Chechen War range is going on. This is a different sculpter and so I’ll probably be taking a look when they final product comes out.

Spectre Miniatures Unreleased Models: October 2017

As you may have seen based on the posts, I really like Spectre Miniatures. They make a great set of rules and make some of the coolest figures available to the modern gamer.

Another thing that particularly good about them is how often they post up some previews and show the world what is coming out, fresh from the workbench. Most of these previewed products are released soon after they are shown but amongst them there are a few figures hiding out, biding their time. In this post, we’re going to take a quick look at some of these. The main rule when choosing these early looks is to focus on the physical previews rather than the occasional renders – seeing things in the flesh is always better than a render and are more likely to be released due to the extra amount of work that has been put into them.

Bleeding edge operators WIP..#wargaming #spectreminiatures #spectreoperations #28mm #tabletopgaming

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Going back to October 2015, we have these three operators. They are wielding some pimped out rifles, complete with thermal optics and other attachments. Based on appearances they seem to be SIG MCXs, similar to those used by the Tier 1 operators. Looking at clothing, they are very similar to the Deniable Ops or Agents ranges, although the silenced pistols make me lean more towards the Agents, as the marksmen in that range are also equipped with them.

New African militia on the way #28mm #wargaming #sculpting #modernwargaming #spectreminiatures

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The African militia are among the oldest figures in the Spectre range, with all of them from the original Kickstarter. They are still fantastic models but you can really see the difference in detail and style between the Africans and the more recent releases. However, the Spectre Instagram showed off some WIP models of some new fighters ready to join the militia. This one is wielding an AK and a revolver, marking him out as someone of standing, ideal to be a squad or gang leader. The pose is also much more animated than the older style of model. I’m really excited to see the rest of this release when it finally comes, especially as I have yet to purchase any of this range.

Salute releases off to the casters.. #spectreminiatures #sculpting #modernwargame #tabletopgaming #28mm #wargames

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This requires a bit more of an eagle eye than the others. Before Salute 2016, this preview appeared showing off releases coming soon. Most have since come out (a mixture of criminals and vehicle crew) but there are two interesting figures – you can see both on the left side of the image. Both are armed with Steyr AUGs (one raised and one at rest) and wearing clothes similar to rest of the Criminal faction but we haven’t yet seen them on the store. This is a pretty cool gun to give to that group, especially if you’re wanting some slightly more professional criminals or just really like Die Hard. There is also two crew figures – one on the right side of image with a projectile and the other other crouching on the left.

More new toys with new toys on the way.. #spectreminiatures #spectreoperations #sculpting #tabletopgaming #wargaming

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A more recent preview, these three operators are pretty interesting and also show Spectre are about to go back and add more to some existing ranges.

The top figure looks like he is part of the Task Force Nomad collection, based on the combination of modern gear and traditional Middle Eastern clothing. His weapon, a bullpup Barrett, is also bang up to date and will add some nice long-range precision firepower to the squad.

Bottom left looks to be part of the Tier 1 Operators range (based on the baseball cap and fast mag pouches). The pose is cool but even cooler is his gear. In one hand is a breaching tomahawk, ready to help out your tactical actions or give you an edge in close combat. In his other hand is a SIX12 modular shotgun with an optic. The flat frontend shows it is set up in suppressed format. The level of detail is great as you can even see the three M-LOK holes on it. In related news, I think this is my new favourite breacher figure.

The final guy looks like a Task Force Operator. The weapon is an Ultimax LMG, designed to give MG firepower in a package that handles like an assault rifle. He also has a rucksack on his back.

New MWDs on the way… #spectreoperations #spectreminiatures #wargaming #tabletopgaming

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Much like with the African militia above, Spectre seems to also be revisiting our four-legged friends. Another figure from the original Kickstarter, the dogs were nicely detailed but also pretty static. This updated figure is much more dynamic, looking like he is moving alongside his master.

You can actually see part of his handler. Based on the fast mag holders and the pelvis plate, he is going to be some form of operator although I’m not 100% on which group – some of the detail looks very similar to a new collection that Spectre have been teasing in the past few days.

Speaking of which….

WHO… #spectreoperations #spectreminiatures #wargaming #sculpting #L119A2

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DARES #spectreoperations #spectreminiatures #wargaming #tabletopgaming

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WINS #spectreoperations #spectreminiatures #wargaming #tabletopgaming

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New SAS! From talking to the guys at Spectre, they are really excited about this release having really done the research on what gear is in use. They have all sorts of really cool equipment – some of it close to the Task Force Operators but there are plenty of UKSF specific items. I am particularly excited for the guys in SOTR breathing gear – perfect for CQB operations or (if you fancy a change) hunting zombies!

I am also interested in seeing how they will be released. Comments on the group seem to point to these guys being released in the new Squads packs (as seen with the insurgent killteam) with some specialist support characters sold in the normal blisters.

The armoury grows… #spectreminiatures #spectreoperations #tabletopgaming #wargaming #3dprinting

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As well as figures, the Instagram also includes this picture of 3D printed weapons we can investigate for hints. Spectre’s process is to use CAD tools to design the hard items (like helmets, fast mag pouches and guns), 3D print them and then add them to the greens before being cast as one part. The 3D sculpts are not sold separately so if they have been printed, good chance they are going on a figure.

So far, several of these weapons have been used:

  • The AT4 was part of the stowage kit. That kit also included some LAWs but these were packed up. The one in the picture is unfolded and ready for action, so presumably it will be used on a figure actually shooting it.
  • The Russian anti-material rifle is on the Militia sniper from the August releases.
  • The three RPGs at the bottom were also in the Militia releases from August.
  • The Stinger and Russian LAW (the weapon under the M79) were both used in the September releases for the Insurgents and GRU Spetsnaz.
  • The bullpup Barret has been shown in an unreleased preview (see above)

So what’s left over that hasn’t yet been used? The mix of weapons are unusual, from the high-tech ACR and Scorpion Evo down to the original Scorpion and the M79, making me think we’ll see these items appear across multiple ranges. However, two pairs of weapons are particular interesting. Two Tavors (one standard and one X95) and two Type 97s might show us the arrival of two new SF teams from Israel and China. Of course, these weapons might not be in the hands of state actors so we could see some more heavily armed insurgents, like the pair with F2000s. As someone who used to own one for airsoft, I’m also looking forward to seeing who will be wielding the blooper.

All of these have come from the Spectre Instagram but there was an even better place to see some greens – Salute 2015! My first trip to Salute some me come away with this picture. It’s interesting to see just how much in the image has since been released and also how many haven’t seen the light of day.

So, who came out and can be bought now?

  • Crouching MENA militia marksman
  • Task Force Operator breacher
  • Group of Task Force Operators at the back
  • Criminal with Mac 10 in the foreground
  • Insurgent leader shielding his eyes
  • MENA Militia RPG 29 gunner

Overall, a good number but there are still some guys left. Moving from left to right we have:

  • The moving low marksman armed with a scoped AK.
  • The Indigenous Forces figure, with PASGAT and AK. This is a range that is always exciting as it’s an area that for a long time was not filled with options. I really look forward to this group coming out and it would not surprise me if they are doing some updates to match the more recent changes in equipment.
  • The map using figure who I think was an insurgent. A nice alternative to the combat focused figures, he also makes sense to use as someone who has access to OTAs – checking the grid reference for a mortar strike perhaps?
  • The super early figure at the back – not sure what he would end up being but he was armed with an AK. Possibly a militia fighter?
  • The loader for the RPG 29 – I find it mad that the main gunner came out but his buddy didn’t. This guy would also be great for mounting up on technicals as a loader.

From talking to the guys at Spectre, it seems like they have releases and targets planned out for years to come. They also mentioned that anything shown on the Instagram is probably coming out in the future, they might just be delayed until a good group of figures are ready to be released together. As you can see from the list above, we’ll have plenty of goodies coming our way for years to come.

 

 

 

That said, there is one set of figures I’m still waiting for.

Operation Dragon’s Hoard: 100 Years of War, Falkirk

All the posts so far have been leading up to this: the first play through of the game. The original plan had been to go in at the deep end and running the first attempt at a proper show. After that fell through, running the trial at a smaller event made a little more sense. 100 Years of War is an anual event run by the Falkirk Wargames Club

After spending the Saturday typing up a play sheet, Sunday saw me waking up at 8:30 to drive over to Falkirk (about 45 minutes from my flat). The weather was a bit grim but it wouldn’t really matter much. The venue is a community hall, very easy to get to by car and with plenty of parking nearby. Its also really bright, great to see in a wargames club venue. In addition to my game, there were quite a few other being setup, including a huge Indo-Pakistani air war game next to mine and a ridiculously large Boxer rebellion game further up, complete with the walls of Peking. Overall, it was a great event – a very relaxed time that I am looking forward to next year.


So, lets take a look at the first game. The picture below shows the layout (although the gunner on the technical was removed before play began). Three players each took a fireteam (created by choosing four operators from the decks I’d made) while I took the OPFOR. My force was randomly generated, based on a dice roll for number of characters and then draw from the pack. Although this was fun to do, I think it may have made the game too easy.

There were four objectives for BLUFOR to achieve

  1. Destroy the flight deck with thermite
  2. Secure the black box
  3. Search the white SUV for important documents
  4. Destroy OPFOR technicals 

As the game begun, the players headed off for their objective. Fireteam A headed for the broken wing section in order to dominate the flank and then advance onto the white SUV. Fireteam B started close to the nose section and so they set off to place the charge. Finally, Fireteam C moved to grab the black box, as well as setting up to hit the various vehicles. All groups started infiltrating (using the stealth rules from the new book).

As they crept closer, one of the militia marksmen managed to spot an operator from Fireteam A. With no suppressed weapons, this basically meant they would have a limited time before they were rumbled.

With a ridiculously high shooting skill, Fireteam A’s marksman was easily able to shoot down his target and incapacitating him. Fighters nearby were unnerved by the sound of this first attack and started locking them in place with morale tests. Fireteam B used this distraction to get into the cockpit and placed the thermite device.

On the other side, Fireteam C got to work. The first shot sent a UGL round flying across the board and into a technical. The resulting explosion set off the fuel being stored there, destroying the asset and taking down two insurgents in the blast. The anti-material gunner 

Fireteam B and C also opened up, engaging the group near the white SUV. The first shot took down the middle of the group with the morale effect pinning the rest of the squad in place.

Fireteam C saw the fight starting and decided to use this distraction to sneak up on the black box. The fireteam leader sprinted to the box before kneeling next it.

Unfortunately, this move exposed him to the waiting sniper. Swinging the anti-material rifle around, a quick shot hit and inflicted massive damage, immediately killing him.

As the next phase started there was a sudden blast as the thermite detonated, immolating the sensitive equipment and achieving one of the objectives.

After being pinned down in the open, one of the militia sprinted to seek cover in the back of the plane. However, this move exposed him to gun fire and he was taken out by the dead eye marksman from Fireteam A. Also note the two operators in cover behind the wing, easily able to pin down anyone trying to move up on them.

Covered by their team mates, more operators started to move up on the white SUV, seeking to quickly snatch the intel. 

Having reloaded his grenade launcher, Fireteam C’s grenadier sighted the red technical and sent a round flying towards it. Another hit, another asset destroyed.

I must have forgotten to grab a picture but I should mention what happened to the machine gunner on the roof. Fireteam B’s SMG character, still standing close to the nose section, managed to thread a difficult shot through the plane and land an incapacitating hit on him.

Moving round both sides of the plane, the operator catch the last few enemies in a cross fire allowing easy access to the SUV. Both Fireteam A and B took full advantage of the cover provided by the wreckage, including crawling under the wing.

One final bit of excitement – as one operator was search the vehicle a militia man spotted him with the intel and opened up. He didn’t cause any damage and in the next turn, his target rallied and took him down.

As the game ended, nearly all of the OPFOR lay dead or incapacitated. BLUFOR took one casualty and managed to achieve all their objectives. Scratch one for the good guys. All three players had a good time which was great to hear.


After a short break for lunch (including a trip to Subways located 2 minutes from the hall), game two began with three new players picking three new fireteams. I also changed up the enemy team and the objectives, the black box now on the other side of the board. I also set up my OPFOR a little differently

Rather than jumping straight into the shooting, BLUFOR this time managed to actually be a little more sneaky.

While Fireteam A setup at the nose, Fireteam B and C can be seen above moving up on the central part of the plane.

Of course you can’t stealth forever. Fireteam A held off detonating the charge as long as possible letting element of Fireteam B sneak into position next to the engine. The insurgents didn’t spot him but did notice the marksman rushing forward.

As we learnt in the first game though, spotting marksmen never ends well. Before the alarm could be set off, the LMG gunner from the sentry team was taken down by a well-aimed shot, momentarily pausing the sentries as they have to handle the sudden appearance of BLUFOR.

Hearing the sound of gunfire one of the militiamen ran to the back of the SUV and opened up on a prone operator. His shots hit home but the body armour absorbed it all.

Before the shooter could get away, a BLUFOR SMG operator managed to get behind him, drop him with a quick burst and then begin grabbing the intel from the SUV.

Back on the wing, Fireteam A and B moved up. Fighters from Fireteam A, who had blown the cockpit, now moved to join the fight, including one who rushed up to the wing. An insurgent way back on the edge of the board (just out of shot) started shooting but was swiftly silenced by the combined efforts of an entire fireteam.

Meanwhile on the other side of the board, Fireteam C was causing havoc. Having taken out a technical and the marksman, the subsequent morale tests (and their many failures) had pushed lots of troops around and into less advantageous positions.

Seizing the opportunity, two operators moved up and started what was the strangest fight. As the shotgun wielding breacher turned the corner, the closest enemy managed to avoid all the shots fired at him, pass a morale test, drop prone and get into cover. Before the breacher could even act, the insurgent leader came screaming in from out of nowhere and engaged him in close combat. Luckily the leader manged to fluff two turns of close combat before the breacher threw him to the floor. The machine gunner eventually engaged the man under the car, forcing him to surrender.

Start of the final phase and the only effective fighter left on the board was the lone RPG gunner still frantically trying to reload his RPG. As the Operators closed in, two players almost caused a friendly fire incident. As a LMG gunner crept into position behind the tail, his AT gunner compatriot tossed a frag at the last insurgent alive. It didn’t land exact but luckily scattered enough that the plane’s tail absorbed all the shrapnel while still vaporizing the hapless goon. With the operator’s ears ringing we called the game.

Again, BLUFOR wiped OPFOR from the table (even managing to capture two of them) and got all the objectives. BLUFOR did end up losing one character to a PKM burst (this was the team leader in Fireteam A). Once again, everyone left the table having really enjoyed it.


So after getting back and having some time to think back over the events, there are a few things that I think worked and a few that need improving.

What worked well:

  • The baseboards: I am really happy with how the baseboards look and work. They look great, didn’t chip too badly despite having dice and terrain on them all day and I was easily able to carry them around by hand from car to table.
  • Terrain: The whole “crashed plane on board” idea worked. Despite not using a huge amount of terrain, it managed to successfully break the lines of sight and present something interesting to play around. It was also successful at grabbing people’s attention, with lots of people walking past stopping to take a look at it.
  • Cards: Everyone who played (and many people who walked past) commented on the cards. Having the stats plus picture in a handy format really made it much easier for player to get to, rather than having to check bases or look at descriptions.
  • Basic play sheets: The basic playsheet/quick reference I wrote up reduce the QRF down to four pages. People seemed to find them very handy and by the end of both games players were working out the modifiers.
  • Everyone enjoyed it: The most important part of running the game. Talking to everyone after the game, all of them said how much they had enjoyed playing and liked the system.

What Didn’t work well:

  • It was too easy: Both games saw the BLUFOR operators walk away having ripped OPFOR a new one and with minimal casualties. This is way to easy – the ideal is that the players should be able to do all the objectives but it would be a close thing.
  • The demo board gaps: The tables I was using had metal rims on the edges of them. This lead to there being a slightly higher point in the centre, leading to some gaps appearing. I think I should bring something to help level it out but I’m unsure what. Something to think about.
  • Transporting the boards: Moving the boards in my car was a bit of an experience – while driving back a sudden brake caused them to come sliding forward. Ideally, I need something that will both protect them and stop them shifting around.
  • Standing up all day: I really need to get used to being on my feet all day. By the end of it my legs were aching. Basically I need to stretch more.

So before the next showing, what am I going to do?

  • Detail the plane: As mentioned previously, I need to make the plane look more like it crashed and less like someone took a hacksaw to it. The plane is to add some structural elements to the joins, paint on some different textures (smoke and oil). Additionally, the board needs more clutter from bits of wreck that were ripped off, like panels of the fuselage or bits of cargo.
  • Better objective: Speaking of cargo, the middle objective needs to be improved. The white SUV was a good placeholder but it needs to be something more exciting for the main release. I’m still deciding what it should be but whatever it is it needs to be very important.
  • Rework the balance: The game is too easy. My solution is two-fold – increase the number of OPFOR and make the objectives take longer to succeed at. I think my time/AP estimates were off when it comes to placing a demolition device or checking for documents
  • Tweak the layout: The core idea is there but I think the buildings should be adjusted to make them more than just show off where the enemy are staying. I also want to add some elements to make it look like the insurgents are working on a recovery operation. Finally, the technicals need to be a little more spread out
  • (maybe) Paint up more operators: I really like the start of the game where people would pick their operators from the deck presented to them. If I go ahead with my plan to add some permadeath to the event (operators lost in the morning will not be available later in the day), I need more specialists (MG, UGLs and DMRs primarily) to prevent later teams from being screwed.
  • Tweak the timing: I’m tempted to drop the teams down to only two fireteams vs equivalent insurgents to speed up play and allow for more playthroughs of the scenario. It would be nice if this was a quick game that players could jump into. However, I’m not decided on this just yet.
  • Other things: I have some other ideas to help get the players in the mood for the game. However, these are secondary to getting the main game fixed so I’m not stressing too much about them yet.

That’s all the update for now. The next update will be after Fiasco but keep your eyes on the Wargaming Week posts for WIP photos as I work on my tweaks.