Battle Report – A Brush With The Law – Spectre Operations

Before we get into the good stuff, I’m running a survey to get some feedback on the blog. This is to help me work out how I can improve it next year. The form is really short, doesn’t need a login and can be found at https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/2FXWLKF. Hurry though, there are only 25 more responses before it closes.

This week’s battle report sees us return to the ongoing campaign in Bazistan. Following the kidnapping of the Geordiestan Ambassador from the Petramco/NZDF force back in September, it’s time to go to the next stage of the operation.

 


The Geordiestan Ambassador has been missing for two weeks. After being kidnapped en route from the airport by an unknown group of militia, intelligence has been working day and night to recover him. Unfortunately, the whims of the Bazistan government has caused this process to be delayed as only Bazi SF can act on any intelligence partner nations provide. A Special Forces team from Geordiestan did arrive in country but was turned round at the airport. Other nations have also been held off, with American, British and Russians all barred from operating legally on Bazi soil.

However, a new piece of information has come to light. Multiple sources point to a group in the badlands bordering Aden which is preparing to move two high value targets out of the country. This compound has attracted the attention of the Bazistan army as well as British Intelligence. Two teams from the SAS (codenamed SABRE and WANDERER) have been deployed to extract the hostages before the Bazistan Army does.


The game takes place in a frontier town in the Badlands of Bazistan, close to the border with the Aden Republic and only a short drive to the Red Sea. Intel had found two target buildings, (the tan coloured ones in the photo above) that were militia strongholds and could be the location of the two hostages. Both buildings would need to be checked. As the game began, the militia were completely unalert – the town is in safe territory and the police hadn’t tipped them off to any possible attackers. The Bazistan Army wouldn’t arrive until later – Bazi SF arriving on turn 2 and the bulk of the force arriving on turn 3.

The forces were simple:

SAS

  • SABRE – 6 Elite operators with usual direct action kit, including a LAW, LMG, UGL and DMR
  • WANDERER – 6 Elite operators in local clothing. Designed for stealth, they also had a SMG, Auto Shotgun and a Airburst grenade launcher

Bazi Army

  • Bazi SF – 6 professionals with modified assault rifles and the usual support items like body armour and medical kits
  • Bazi Motorised – 8 Trained soldiers with Assault Rifles, a MMG and an RPG accompanied by an Elite Special Forces mentor

Militia

  • Three technicals – two with HMG and one with a recoilless rifle
  • Multiple small groups of trained fighters, armed with the usual mix of Assault Rifles, RPGs and MMGs

The SAS came on from the Western board edge, seeking the shortest route to one of the buildings that avoided the patrolling guards. SABRE headed for one of the ruined buildings, aiming to set up a base of fire to assist an assault on Objective Bravo.

WANDERER headed for Objective Alpha, stacking up on the door before breaching into the empty interior. Carefully sneaking around, they headed upstairs. Due to the buildings not including staircases, we added two in opposite corners of the building. Next time I’ll add some markers

Upstairs, they found themselves in the midst of a small collection of insurgents. Taking advantage of their silenced pistols and SMGs, the team took the first shots of the game easily dropping the two fighters inside the main room. After disposing of them and the two RPG gunners on the balcony, only three militiamen knew something was up.

Unfortunately, their intel was faulty – this building was completely clear of hostages. Time to dig in and start covering

Instead, time to focus on Objective Bravo. SABRE moved into an assault position, with the LMG, DMR and UGL gunner digging into the damaged building while the rest of the team prepared to sprint across the road.

Interestingly, they spotted a white SUV moving away from the target building. It seemed to be forming up into a convoy with one of the other technicals.

As turn two began, the first sign of real trouble turned up. Six operatives of the Bazi Special Forces had appeared, moving through the ruins of the African Quarter. They managed to stay relatively quiet, not alerting the militia as they crept into position.

Turn two was pretty uneventful – WANDERER dug in to the building by setting up positions covering the staircases and aiming to cover any assault on Objective Bravo. At the same time, SABRE moved into final positions, with the assault team going into cover behind one of the pickups by the side of the road. By now these actions were starting to concern some of the civilians and it was only a matter of time before the militia was entirely on alert.

Of course, elements of the Bazi 12th Motorised Division have no concept of stealth and rolled onto the board in their BTR80A. This could be a major game changer – the armour would be hard to penetrate while the heavy autocannon would easily cut a swathe through tightly packed squads.

This was the battlefield as the engagement shifted from a stealthy operation into a more kinetic experience. A few other things happened very quickly:

First up, the technical leading the convoy about to escort the SUV away swung round at the sight of the enemy. The M40 recoilless rifle it carried on the back would be one of the main weapons against the enemy AFV.

Two of the local Bazistan police ran forward to see what on earth this military unit was doing here. Once in cohesion range, these two police changed from being ambient civilians to working alongside the military.

As for the militia, they quickly started moving some more assets around. One of the technicals with HMG moved into an ambush position, ready to spring out with the .50cal. Of more immediate danger, a fighter with a RPG-29 moved into position on the balcony and prepared to engage.

Across the road, SABRE waited.

Rolling forward, the BTR was quick to drop the ramp and send deploys its squad of Bazi soldiers. Of note was the fact that they had been joined by an Elite mentor to give them a bit more sticking power in the fight.

Thanks to the massed fire from three separate squads, the Bazistan army quickly started taking a toll on the smaller militia units, pinning them down under massed suppression of simply taking them out.

Meanwhile, SABRE bust into the target building and came face to face with a few surviving militiamen. Ever the professionals, they quick dropped them before pushing forward. From upstairs, they could hear the steady sound of gunfire as the insurgents engaged the oncoming army. The fire managed to down the two policemen and suppress the oncoming soldiers but did distract them from the team of killers slowly climbing the stairs.

At the same time, WANDERER got involved and pulled a cool piece of kit out of the toolbox. Rather than engaging an isolated militia group with carbines, the airburst grenade launcher took aim and sent a single shot flying out across the roof tops.

Safe to say, it was quite effective.

An interesting side diversion was the two police at the end of the map. Rather than meeting up with the Bazi army to begin operations, they instead got stuck in a fight while trying to defend themselves from the militia trying to restrain them.

Back in the fray, the militia were taking a beating with huge numbers of suppression markers. It wasn’t just the Bazi Army – WANDERER were assisting the assault on Objective Bravo by eliminating incoming militia units thanks to sitting on overwatch – the -1 modifier was easily nullified by the optics and high shooting skill.

Meanwhile in the building SABRE rushed up the stairs to be confronted by a stack of insurgents. However, they were ready for this. In went the flashbang.

After a blinding flash and a hail of gunfire, three insurgents lay dead – the other two were to follow in the next turn.

At this stage, the photos dry up but there were a few great events

  • SABRE’s base of fire started engaging the Bazi Army, kill several with a mix of 40mm, LMG fire and DMR shots. However, many more were saved thanks the body armour and personal medkits
  • The BTR and technicals started trading rounds, leading to both parties ending up with no drivers.

However, the big thing was unmasking of the hostage in Objective Bravo revealing the ambassador’s aide. Finally being told that the ambassador was in the quickly escaping white SUV, two members of WANDERER decided to engage. And for the first time this game they actually rolled pretty high on their armour penetration roll leading to this.

The aimed precise shots were a little too effective, with a carbine killing all three passengers in the vehicle with a single burst.

Good job everyone.


Henry Mitchell reports on the situation in Bazistan after the dust has settled

Seeing as the Ambassador is no longer with us, Geordiestan must be furious with everyone involved in this affair from Petramco and the Kiwis to the Bazistan government and the rumoured involvement of British troops. We shall have to see what happens next!

Slightly more concerning is what the rescued aide recounted to the SIS when being debriefed. He overheard his kidnapper mention a safe house they were to be taken to… in the city of St. Davide in Zaiweibo!

The next game will pick up this trail, possibly going for a slightly stealthy mission as intelligence forces seek to discover more information in the land across the Red Sea.


Hope you guys enjoyed the battle report! It was a really good game, where I got to put a lot of toys on the table, hiding the militia in amongst civilians. The most important thing however was that everyone left the table smiling having had one hell of a battle.

Next week we’ll take a closer look at those SAS chaps, along with their more urban focused buddies. There might even be an additional impressions based on another set of figures I’ve recently painted…

Spectre Operations: Building a Force – Task Orientated Teams

Before we get into the good stuff, I’m running a survey to get some feedback on the blog. This is to help me work out how I can improve it next year. The form is really short, doesn’t need a login and can be found at https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/2FXWLKF

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

Battle Report: “The Welcome Party” – Spectre Operations

Having been asked last week to plan a game, I sat back and had a careful think about what might be an exciting scenario to get my opponent’s figures on the table. Some sort of escort mission maybe but what to protect? As my eyes wandered across the various modern wargaming Facebook groups I settled on a name. Geordiestan is the setting for Whitley Bay’s 3D Gamers current moderns campaign, a middle eastern paradise that seems to involve every group under the sun.

Who better to protect than a visitor from a foreign country? After all, how dangerous can the drive from the airport be?


Geordiestan, a fellow Middle Eastern backwater, is seeking to establish relations with the newly established Bazistan government. To begin this process, Geordiestan have sent a political team to begin talks. While planning the trip, an issue has arisen in regards to the ambassador’s safety.

With the local forces split between the Pro-Democracy and Pro-Monarchy factions and therefore unable to provide protection, Geordiestan instead turned to the private sector. Unfortunately for them, the two primary contracting firms in the region (Commando Global Solutions and Argo Asset Protection) were unable to provide close protection due to various legal issues.

A new company to the region, Petramco, has instead been contracted to provide close security during the ambassador’s visit. The trip between the airport and the city would see the protective detail joined by two patrol vehicles from the New Zealand Defence Force as required by ISAF-AP.

However, anti-government forces have been informed of the ambassador’s visit. Capturing or eliminating the ambassador would be a massive blow to the new government and any strike against the western forces would put pressure on ISAF command.


Rules: Spectre Operations
Setting: Bazistan, Post Intervention
BLUFOR: NZDF, Petramco and Geordiestan Diplomatic Services
OPFOR: Bazistan Militia – Anti-Government Forces


Protecting the ambassador was two groups. 8 professional contractors (with carbines, LMGs and a battle rifle) working for Petramco would provide close protection while a squad of soldiers from the NZDF were tagging along to provide protection along a common ambush route. Both groups were mounted in vehicles – the NZDF had borrowed some armoured Humvees while the two teams of contractors were riding in armoured SUVs. Finally, the Ambassador rode in a covertly armoured car along with two bodyguards and his aide.

However, against them was a pretty substantial force. The core was four large groups of trained fighters, each with a squad leader and a mix of heavy weapons. In addition there was a snatch squad of professionals armed with carbines ready to drive in. The heavy hitters were a Anti-Material team occupying the high ground and four technicals. Three of them were armed with HMGs but the last was carrying a M40 heavy recoilless rifle. Finally, this group was receiving some outside support from an unknown group – each of the infantry units were accompanied by a professionally trained soldier, complete with body armour and grenades. This professional was able to take advantage of the mentoring rule and boosted those guys he was working alongside.

The goal for each force was simple – BLUFOR was aiming to move off the opposite corner of the board while OPFOR seeked to capture the Ambassador and his aide. However, if this wasn’t possible then killing the ambassador would be a partial win.

The starting positions for everyone. ROE for BLUFOR was to only respond if fired upon or if overt actions were spotted (such as an armed vehicle or group armed with heavy weapons moving to fire positions).

The convoy begins moving, with the NZDF taking front and rear positions while the ambassador rode in the centre.

Spotting BLUFOR’s movement, one of the groups of fighters started to get moving. Originally planning to just engage in a fire fight, my fellow warlord came up with an ingenious idea. One fighter hotwired the HGV while the rest prepared to jump on board. This spur of the moment idea is one of the reasons why I really like Spectre.

As the lead vehicle rounded the corner, one of the OPFOR teams decided to seek cover behind the parked car. However, the gunner on the top spotted this movement. In particular, the sight of two RPGs and a PKM being moved into position prompted a burst from the M2HB to rattle down the street.

The first salvo was deadly – both RPG gunners were killed and the suppression spread amongst the rest of the squad.

As the next turn started, more of the convoy began to enter the high street. This prompted some reaction from OPFOR. The red technical with the recoilless rifle rolled forward to block the escape route but managed to be immobilized and stripped of its crew, leaving the gun ready to fire but missing its crew. This would be a constant threat to BLUFOR, as gun teams frantically tried to get its tank busting power back online.

At the same time, the blue pickup carried the snatch squad to a forward position, getting them in a location from which they could ambush the incoming convoy. However, this did expose the team to a drive by shooting from the lead Humvee, causing the death of one of the team.

In addition, this turn saw the start of the barrages of fire from nearly every group. Machine guns and RPGs flew everywhere adding suppression to the incoming enemy vehicles.

The next turn saw more movement as the BLUFOR commanders ordered them to “push push push”. The rear NZDF vehicle however slowed, setting itself into overwatch to protect the rear of the convoy from anyone sneaking in.

As you can see in this picture, this was lucky. The HGV roared forward, heading to ram the rear most vehicle. However, the overwatching Humvee was easily able to rip the vehicle to shreds knocking almost all of those onboard out of action. This also caused it to change heading,leading to it blocking the road rather than colliding with the opposition.

Further down the road, the lead elements of the convoy got caught in a cross fire as the snatch squad and a hidden technical opened fire.

The next turn saw the tide start to turn for the insurgents. As the lead SUV started to move off, the snatch squad opened fire. After causing major damage, a burst managed to hit the driver. This shot incapacitated him and the vehicle swerved to a halt. The first contractor was out of action.

Taking this as inspiration, the rest of the insurgents opened up. One group of fighters and it’s technical began to move to hit the rear of the convoy.

This turn also saw the contractors begin to engage the enemy from their vehicles. Although opening the windows reduced their protection, the automatic fire helped to put suppressive fire down.

The rear SUV also suddenly got into trouble as two RPG gunners moved into view. The rockets managed to cause some serious damage to the vehicle, rendering it almost immobile.

On the other side of the board, a duel of HMGs opened up. The rear Humvee hammered a few rounds at the exposed technical. It managed to cause a m-kill. In response, the insurgent gunner shot back but failed to do no more than cause a pile of suppression. Unfortunately a civilian was also hit in the crossfire.

The hits to the rear vehicle forced the contractors to make a choice. Either they could sit in their vehicle until it was destroyed or they could deploy and broaden their tactical options. Deciding to get stuck in, the four mercs rushed into cover behind the barricade and prepared to open fire.

While the commander of the lead SUV struggled to get into the driver’s seat, his rear passengers moved to shut down the closet threat. Rushing the technical that was causing damaged to their Humvee escort, the contractors managed to take out the driver and began moving towards the rear gunner.

At the same time, the snatch squad rushed the lead SUV. Attempting to grab the one of the contractors, two of the team rushed the door. The first was shot down by the remaining merc’s pistol but the second grabbed him and pulled him into the street, aiming to take him as a prize while his squad mates moved on the ambassador.

The rear team was also in the thick of it. After seeking cover, they had engaged the incoming insurgents. The SAW gunner took out the technical while the other three used their carbines to great effect. However, this is where the hidden professionals showed their use. A single frag grenade flew through the air and killed three of the contractors out right with the final guy left stunned. However, fire from the rest of the squad failed to take him out.

At this stage, the NZDF had had enough of being plinked at. The rear vehicle started to move up, partially to collect the remaining contractor but also to begin racing to the exit.

Four soldiers from the lead vehicle deployed, leaving the gunner on board to man the gun. Two soldiers moved to hit the snatch squad in the back and rescue their contractor buddy while the others move up to engage the team that had moved towards the ambassador’s car. The Ambassador however had screamed forward, slipping between the gap and heading for the exit, right into the two squads of insurgents waiting to engage him.

Before the Kiwis could get stuck in with the snatch team, they were engaged by a HMG from the immobilized technical. The shots flew into the melee striking one NZDF soldier down but also killing both of the snatch team. The contractor had been freed from his captors.

The last turn also saw a few other actions I didn’t grab photos of. The other two Kiwis from the lead vehicle moved into position but were shot down by the two members of the snatch squad in a close range firefight. In return, the two insurgents were eliminated by the ever-present Humvee and it’s .50cal. The other contractor left alive from the lead vehicle had managed to take control of the technical he had been attacking, removing one of the major sources of suppression.

Unfortunately, we ran out of time and had to call it. Looking at the board, it was going to be very close. However, the ending consensus was that the Insurgents had just about managed to out fight the western forces and snatched the Ambassador from his vehicle. BLUFOR might have still been able to put up a fight – it was possible that the remaining vehicles could have pushed through. But it would have been a slog as every vehicle, except the rear Humvee, was damaged in one way or another.

A few post game dice rolls worked out the final situation which saw the Ambassador taken captive and the loss of his aide, killed during the final snatch. In other words:

Whitley Bay, I have some very bad news about your Ambassador.


Overall it was an excellent game. The vehicles did a good job of soaking up all the fire but eventually the hits started counting. I decided to give the OPFOR a few more bits of gear when building the scenario so they could actually handle the armoured vehicles more than in my last game. I think the anti-material rifle was a waste of points – one of the professionals should have used it and maybe it would have done more than plink a few rounds off the Humvees.

Most importantly when running a game, both teams enjoyed themselves. We got a few rules mixed up but common sense (and Jack reminding me of rules I’d forgotten) saw that the game was an entertaining time.

But what is going to happen to the ambassador? And who were the hidden professionals working for? Most importantly, how will Geordiestan respond to this outrage? You’ll have to wait and see in future Adventures from Bazistan.

Battle Report: “Big Dave Must Die!” – Spectre Operations

Sometimes, pre-planning games don’t always go according to plan. On Monday, the game was a 7 person multiplayer game on a massive 6×8 table where every side had designs on Big Dave (mostly killing him). On Wednesday I had changed the sides. On Thursday morning, it was now going to be a much smaller game. When I got to the club, it had become a 1 vs 1 over a standard 6×4 board.

And honestly? It was a barrel of laughs that I enjoyed every minute of.


“Big Dave” was a Corporal in the Eritrean Army until he and his squad decided to cross the Red Sea and become a mercenary in the badlands of Bazistan. For the first few years he worked for the various factions before setting himself up as a pirate warlord. Due to his ongoing actions, his name and group quickly joined the list of targets of ISAF-AP seek to remove from the region.

Today, his number has come up. US Army Special Forces Command has dispatched an 8 man team (along with a US Army Security Element) to the small town where Big Dave holds sway. They seek to capture but if no other option is available, deadly force is authorised.

The American Force consisted of two parts: The team of 8 elites in a Razor and a SF Pickup and their Security Detail (a standard 9 person squad with a medic accompanying, all rated Professional) mounted in two up-armoured Humvees. The Americans had an advantage – as far as they knew, the defenders had no idea what they were doing in the region.

 

Against them were two groups. Big Dave had pulled back as many of his pirates as could, giving him a mob of African militia, 4 local militia and three technicals (two with HMGs and one mounting a BMP turret). In addition was his own squad, which were trained to a professional standard and had followed him over the sea from Eritrea. He had also paid off the local police force, giving him an additional 12 Trained fighters which included some heavy weapons. Most of the village was abandoned but a UAV had spotted two armoured SUVs arriving the previous day. The allegiance of the inhabitants of these vehicles were unknown – the Americans would have to be careful.

 As the game begins, the Americans moved into the Area of Operations from the north. In the centre of the board, outside the police station, a group of officers were milling around, chatting with some of the militia and generally standing guard. More officers sat inside doing the general tasks of a working police station, all while trying to not think too much about the most recent guests who had appeared in town. Importantly, all the heavy weapons (the RPGs and MMGs) were still in the station’s armoury.

Inside the compound, the 3 technicals (Red, Green and Blue) sat idling. One was preparing to set off on patrol, with the pirates waiting to help open the gates. However, Big Dave knew something was coming. A little bird had mentioned there could be trouble in the next few days and now dust clouds had appeared on the outskirts of town. He set off to start alerting his troops and getting everyone ready for the fight.

Entering the town, the two American units split. The grunts headed for the covering position, planning to take advantage of the long sight line of the main street. The SOF took the side streets, with the Razor zooming ahead of the upgraded pickup.

Despite the vehicles moving around, the bulk of the OPFOR hadn’t spotted the incoming threat. The green technical set off on patrol while the militia finished their discussion and moved to go back inside the compound.

However, the two most northern cops had spotted the bulky Humvees rolling around and became alert to the incoming threats.

 

As the next turn began the Americans moved even further into town. Both the Humvees finally rolled into their positions and prepared to set up an overwatch.

The two SF vehicles continued to speed along, heading straight for the compound wall and a possible assault position.

In the next turn, the pirates snatched the initiative. The alert police had grabbed the rest of their team and sprinted across the street in order to find a fighting position. However, this was a major tactical blunder. One of the Humvees had setup overwatch and the .50cals ripped a bloody hole in the team, piling on the suppression. The other Humvee fired past the police at the green technical just pulling out of the compound. However, all the rounds missed causing nothing more than suppression.

After having interrupted the enemy’s movement phase, the US Army deployed. Leaving the gunners in their seats, the rest of the team spread out. One fireteam setup on the roof to provide more fire while the other began checking nearby buildings for possible insurgent hotspots.

The SF had finally reached the corner and momentarily slowed in order to take it.

However the gunner on the pickup was itching for a fight. The grunts had reported two police heading for side road and the gunner was now ready. As they passed the gap, the M2 hammered between the buildings. This burst of fire dropped two more police, bringing that main squad down to one policeman hiding behind a car.

In the next turn, the SF vehicle came sliding round the corner, guns facing forward. This sudden appearance shocked the militia and the snarl you can see above appeared. Green had frantically reversed and turned to get away from a crossfire of .50cals while Blue had just moved through the gate as the main gunner frantically wheeled the turret around. The smaller gate had seen action, with all the militia pouring through as Big Dave started to move to join the fight.

Before Blue could hammer a round into the new attackers, the SF pickup sent a burst of .50cal rounds into it. No major damage was caused but it began a hail of rounds onto it.

The rest of the American forces began to send fire down towards Blue. Multiple hits caused damage, first immobilizing the vehicle and then sending .50cal rounds straight through the passenger compartment. The driver was instantly killed while the passenger was incapacitated.

Also at this time the Razor commander had swung its M240 round and lit up the squad of local militia. It’s four shots took down half the squad with the rest being removed by carbine and LMG fire from the grunts further up the map.

However, it wasn’t all going the Operator’s way. Green emptied a burst into the Razor. Only one round hit but it slammed into the driver. It only incapacitated him but the lack of action sent the Razor skidding towards the wall.

The following turn saw the SF disembarking from their rides. The team medic rushed to deal with the driver while the rest of the operators started engaging enemies.

A UGL blast was targeted at Green. However it missed and scattered onto the group of militia around the technical. Both the RPG gunners were vaporised and even one of Big Dave’s squad took a hit. At the same time, one of the operators had requested a missile strike to drop right on top of the wall next to the Green technical.

 

While all this had been going on, a small group of contractors had appeared from two buildings on the board. Initially it seemed like they intended to fight, with one team using the armoured SUV as a shield and advancing behind it. However, seeing the Americans at the compound gates, the rest of the mercs saw the way the wind was blowing. They quickly rushed to get in their vehicles, slinging kit into the boot and moving in a non-combat way. One of the contractors also radioed to the Americans, quoting the days authentication code for Private Military Companies in the region.

Checking the codes against the daily orders, the Humvee gunner did not engage the vehicles, instead letting them speed away from the battle raging behind them.

Around this time, the heavy weapon teams from the police had got their act together and moved to join the fight. However, they were still in the firing line and were taking rounds from the Americans.

Back at the main gate, a traffic accident appeared to have occurred. Blue had been immobilized right in front of the gate and so Red would have to ram the damaged vehicle in order to get into the fight. Luckily the ram didn’t destroy either vehicle but it did end up knocking Green (who had rolled forward to get out of the firing line. The militia decided to use these vehicles as cover and got ready to engage the attackers.

Despite this, the militia got pounded again. Rounds poured in knocking down fighters, killing the gunner on the back of Red and pinning everyone in place.

 

The Argo mercs reached the AO edge and swiftly drove off in the direction of the highway.

Big Dave saw the way things were going and started sprinting (along with his team) towards a parked pickup that could be used to escape. It was a slim chance but maybe the mess behind him would distract the Americans.

And just after everyone had cleared the target zone, a Maverick missile screamed out of the sky and blew a hole in the compound wall.

At this point the middle battle was basically over. The police had been annihilated (only one officer was left alive) while the militia were drowning in suppression or dead. Big Dave’s pride and joys (the technicals) were all combat ineffective, unable to do nothing more than act as a roadblock.

Big Dave kept running to his escape vehicle just as the two Humvees moved into position to block the main routes.

Big Dave reached the vehicle and, rather than wait for the rest of his team, slammed the car into reverse heading for the exit.

This move took him into the firing line of the Humvee. For this turn, he was safe as the Army wanted him alive.

Slamming into gear he skidded round the corner, sped past the two remaining members of his squad (one having been engaged by the Humvees) and began to make a break for it in the other direction.

However, he hadn’t taken into account the three operators that had crept into his compound. Before he even saw them, two carbine bursts and a hail of battle rifle rounds had slammed into the crew compartment. Everyone inside were injured, with Big Dave beginning to bleed out in his seat.

Having just seen their boss’s vehicle get shot up, and presented by a pair of .50cal barrels from the Humvees, the remaining Eritreans surrendered to the US Army.

A few minutes later the operators come to verify the casualty. Big Dave was now dead and the battle won. Not the best outcome but a victory for the US Forces.

But why were Argo in the village? And what had been in those containers inside of Big Dave’s compound? Maybe the interrogations of the remaining Eritreans can reveal who Big Dave was dealing with. 


Overall a really fun game. It came about due to some improvisation and would need a few tweaks if played again but both of us really enjoyed it. There were loads of cool moments, from the SOF sliding round the corner to see the crowd of technicals in front of them to Big Dave’s failed attempt to escape.

My big problem was forgetting two assets I’d been given. As this was pirate town, I should have been rolling for reinforcements every turn once I started taking casualties as the rest of the pirates started flocking to the fight. I also had a mortar strike that I should have dropped on the US Army base of fire and prevented the two 50cals from locking my guys down.

As the game was wrapping up, one of the other players at the club asked if I wanted to run a game next week so he can play with some of his toys. It’s only fair but I think I’m going to get all my insurgent toys out the cupboard. I’ve got some trucks to hunts down.

Scenario: Warehouse Shoot Out

The start of this week saw the release of the film Free Fire on Blu-Ray and DVD in the UK. Set in the 1970’s, it’s an incredibly tense film all set in one location as an arms deal goes incredibly wrong. The film is packed full of twists and turns and well worth a watch. Incidentally, it was also filmed just round the corner from where I used to get my car serviced when I was in Brighton.

When I first saw the film, I started writing a wargames scenario (scribbling down ideas on the way back from the cinema) but then that whole “lets write a book” happened and it fell by the way side. But seeing as the film has just come out for everyone to watch it, I thought it would be a good time to finish it off.

The scenario is going to spoil a few things from the film so go watch it before coming back. Everyone past the double horizontal lines should be considered spoilers.

 

 

Seriously, don’t read further unless you don’t mind being spoiled on a really good film.
Continue reading “Scenario: Warehouse Shoot Out”

Spectre Operations Weekend 2017 AAR

I’ll admit, when they announced that Spectre were running a gaming weekend in Cardiff I had tons of questions. What was it going to be like? What figures did I need to bring? Were the other Spectre players going to turn out to be tournament mad points fans? Would I find somewhere sensible to stay? Is driving to the other end of the country really worth it to play a wargame? Having got back from it and had some to think and decompress, I think it was one of the best wargaming experiences I’ve ever had.

The weekend began on Friday with me driving 9 hours from Edinburgh to get to Cardiff (mostly in the rain) and then checking into the nicest Youth Hostel I’ve ever seen. The rest of the evening was full of drinks, curry and some good chat with everyone before we eventually managed to grab some shut-eye.

Saturday started with all of us heading to the venue for the event. Now, when it was announced we were going to Cardiff to play Spectre, I think a lot of people (except those in Bristol and other places close by) found it pretty inconvenient due to the fact it wasn’t a more central location like London or Birmingham. However, after seeing Firestorm I can easily see why I’d found myself in Wales. It’s a fantastic place, with a huge space for boards, a nice casual area for card games or grabbing lunch, a bar serving both food and beer and a massive shop packed full of stuff (I had to prevent myself from being tempted into picking all sort of goodies from the well stocked shelves). Most importantly for anyone who likes taking photos of wargames or has ever served their time at the King and Queen in Brighton, it is very well-lit!

The gallery above is of all the board layouts that were in place at the start of Day 1. The terrain was from a mixture of sources – several tables were filled with stuff from Darren’s rather excellent collection while a few near the front had items brought by the Spectre team themselves. This included some new terrain items in the shape of some resin pallets and brick walls. I am a huge fan of those walls and will be on them like a shot when they come out.

The rest of the boards showed off the terrain available at Firestorm. As you can see in the picture above, the entire back wall is full with shelves for terrain for everything from fantasy to modern batman-esque games to the far future.

Of course, the main reason for being there was not to marvel at the venue but to get some games in! There were a selection being run, from a two day multi-game boot camp for two players (Mike and Si) who had never tried the game before to a four player game that a whole family were taking part in. Due to the number of people who were there and the varying experience levels, I ended up being matched against Craig “Tiny Terrain” for most of my games. He was a great opponent in all the games we played and I’m looking forward to the next time we get to play against each other.

Before I cover the fighting, I should mention a little bit about how the games were organised. The Spectre team had brought down almost all of their painted models in perhaps the biggest figure case I had ever seen. People wishing to run games had free rein to select figures from this box (or bring out whatever they had brought down themselves) and set up the scenarios how they wished. It was great to have the rules writers to hand while playing, answering all those minor questions and suggesting little tweaks to play around with. Thanks to JT, Matt, Ivan and Stephen for answering all the random queries throughout the weekend.

Anyway, enough introductions, time to get into the meat of the event – the battle reports! The italicised introductions are just some scene setting on my part but the rest of the action was entirely down to the dice and our choices as players. Just so this post isn’t a ridiculous long one, I’ve split most of the battle reports off into separate posts linked below. Each one starts and ends with a link back to hear to make reading easier.


Game 1 – La Chute du faucon noir

Bazistan: During operations, a US Army UH-60 Blackhawk has been shot down in the old town of Bazi City. Observers have spotted two casualties attempting to extracte themselves from the wreckage. Needing to secure the site, Coalition command has deployed a French SF team to the Old Town to capture and defend the area from the Militia. However, this is the Militia’s home turf and they know that the enemy are coming. Will the French be able to hold the crash site long enough to treat the wounded?

Click here to find out!


Game 2 – Teaching

Val Verde: A team of deniable operatives working for a Cartel is closing in on a facility owned by their rival. Their aim? To take out El Jefe while he is out in the open. Two problems: El Jefe has surrounded himself with some Bad Hombres and worse, the team don’t know exactly what the target looks like. Will El Jefe be able to escape?

Click here to find out!


As Game 2 ended, the staff from Firestorm were coming along to gently shepard the gamers out the door. After packing up my gear and taking it back to the hostel, the plan was to then head into town for a quiet drink. However, a pretty intense day of wargaming had drained us of any desire to go anywhere, so we grabbed a few beers, ordered pizza in the hotel lobby, had a casual chat and then went off for an early night, drifting to sleep to the sound of 101 hen/stag parties heading out into Cardiff.

As Day 2 started (after a minor delay), the Spectre team also got to pull out some previews of what is coming next. As well as mentioning the releases that came out on Monday (more veteran militia) and showing off the fully painted SF Technical with a mounted minigun that had previously been spotted speeding round the board during Operation Razor Strike (and is due out THE WEEKEND THIS POST APPEARS possibly), some greens (the final sculpted product ready to be sent off for casting) were also shown. I’m pretty excited for these; they included two female Task Force Operators, equipped with all the latest gear, and a small group of more tactical looking OPFOR with better equipment than usual (such as soft caps, chest rigs & tactical AKs). Fans of certain middling history channel tv shows may spot some of the inspiration behind them. It’s always fascinating to see what’s coming next, especially before it’s cast in metal and still fresh from the sculptor’s touch. We also got to hear about some things that are planned for the future. I’ll be keeping quiet on them for now but it’s obvious we’ll be seeing cool things from the team at Spectre for quite a while.

Of course, the real reason we were there was to get some more games in and so the battle reports carry on!


Game 3 – Bad Day in Bazistan

Jazan, Bazistan: an Emir in charge of one of the Bazi Militia is heading home after a meeting. The convoy is powerful force, thanks in part to the backing of the Argo Corporation. What the Emir doesn’t know is that the Russian GRU have issued a capture order on him and he is about to roll into a trap. Will the GRU be able to capture their prey?

Click here to find out!


Game 4 – Deck by Deck

Off the coast of Val Verde, two cartel lieutenants are meeting about this month’s pay with the gold bars sitting on the meeting room table. The two groups are enjoying the delights of a pleasure yacht. Unfortunately, their partying and lax attitudes to sentry duty has allowed a small team of operators to sneak on board. Splitting into two groups, they set off to do perform a HVT extract on the high seas. Will they be able to grab the targets?

Click here to find out!


After putting the dice down on the last game, it was almost time for the event to finish. Several people had already headed off (a minor downside of running an event on a Sunday) leaving only one table still active – a real clash of companies as Spectre and Warmill fought over a battlefield filled with some rather nice looking mansions that Warmill are working on. The Cartel put up a hard fight but it looked like the Operators were seconds away from snatching the target. As the day finished, we packed up what was left, said our goodbyes and then headed back to our various homes. Luckily my journey was split with a quick trip home (and a chance to check on my WIP demo boards) and so I didn’t have to do the full 9 hours on Sunday.

Final Thoughts

Having now had a chance to sit back and think about the weekend, its safe to say that I had an exceptionally good time, creating a very nice end to my summer break. The chance to head out and get some really solid games in against opponents other than my regular ones was great.

I think one of my main thoughts from the entire weekend is this – there is no better way to really see a set of wargame rules then to play it solidly for two days. I have had some little misgivings about Spectre Operations for a while, little things that were hard to quantify but meant it didn’t flow as well as it should have done. Having taken part in four quite varied games over the weekend it’s safe the say the misgivings are gone; they were probably caused by still being a little unfamiliar with bits of the rules that frequent play would have removed. Spectre Operations is something pretty special; lightweight enough to get anyone into it but still with a level of detail and realism that makes it not just feel like a reskin of Warhammer but more like something closer to the modern battlefield. The guys behind it know it has a few places that need tweaking (I’ll stop banging on about the vehicle rules at some point) and are also looking for ways to expand it, to polish off the rougher edges and make it better and better.

It’s also still incredible how wargaming brings so many types of people together while still keeping them civil. Throughout the weekend, I don’t think I ever heard anyone getting annoyed at each other. Any rules disagreements were swiftly settled by either a GM or the roll of a dice. As befitting the rules, no one appeared to be a try-hard, too focused on winning at all costs rather than enjoying and playing the scenario. There were plenty of people over the weekend who had never played Spectre before and I think all of them left with a smile on their face and chatting about the events of their games. Overall, it was just a really pleasant time.

To wrap up, this weekend was fantastic. Good gameplay, some fun times hanging out with friends and a chance to get all the toys from Spectre off the shelf. Yes, Cardiff was a long way but if you told me they were doing it again next year I’d be getting my booking in faster than a team of Elites would rampage through a small force of Militia.

Maybe I should talk to a friend about setting up something Spectre Operations in the north…

Spectre Weekend 2017 – Game 4

Hey, this is one of the battle reports from the Cardiff Spectre Operations Event. If you haven’t read the main post yet, you can find it here. If you just want the action, keep reading!


Game 4 – Boarding Action

Off the coast of Val Verde, two cartel lieutenants are meeting about this month’s pay with the gold bars sitting on the meeting room table. The two groups are enjoying the delights of a pleasure yacht. Unfortunately, their partying and lax attitudes to sentry duty has allowed a small team of operators to sneak on board. Splitting into two groups, they set off to do perform a HVT extract on the high seas. Will they be able to grab the targets?

The sides were as follows:

Operators:

All operators have body armour, pistols, personal med kits, frag and stun grenades.

  • Team 1:
    • Elite with Carbine (Red Dot and Laser)
    • Elite with Battle Rifle (Red Dot and Laser)
    • Elite with SMG (Red Dot and Laser) “Pointman”
    • Elite with Carbine, Automatic Shotgun, breaching charge and breaching tools
  • Team 2:
    • Elite Team Leader with Carbine (Red Dot and Laser)
    • Elite with Carbine (Red Dot and Laser)
    • Elite with SMG (Red Dot and Laser) “Pointman”
    • Elite with Carbine, Combat Shotgun, breaching charge and breaching tools

Cartel:

  • Sicario Faction:
    • 1 Civilian VIP
    • 1 Trained Squad Leader with Assault Rifle
    • 4 Trained with Assault Rifle
    • 1 Trained with LMG
  • Gangers Faction:
    • 1 Civilian VIP
    • 1 Militia Squad Leader with Assault Rifle
    • 7 Militia equipped with a mix of SMGs, machine pistols and assault rifles.

Additionally, there are several civilians on the boat. These are working for the cartel but not the main combat troops. If a 6 is rolled on the civilian reaction table something different from the rulebook happens. Rather than attacking the nearest figure, they are simply converted into another fighter for the cartel player; there is also a roll off to see if they are armed with a pistol or a machine pistol. These figures are still civilians and so are not particularly skilled. That said, they could be a nasty surprise if left unsecured.

The operators start on the bottom deck. The two factions of cartel start separately, with the VIPs on the Bridge and Captain’s Quarters deck. Above them on the roof deck, the cartel are enjoying the sun and partying away. Below the meeting, the team of sicarios are patrolling through the ship (aka doing their job).

The original plan for the operators was to sneak around as much as possible. However, two turns in the sicarios had just glimpsed Team 1 sneaking past the pool. They were able to put some fire down on the Pointman (lightly wounding him but mostly saved by his body armour) which alerted the rest of the boat. In response, the breacher in Team 1 swept his AA12 around and filled the lead target full of buckshot. Despite being injured, the SMG equipped point man was also able to put a burst into the last sicario visible and drop him. Team 1 then consolidated to protect the flanks while starting to clear the interior.

On the deck below, Team 2 were stacking up to breach the wall of the engine room so they could push through the rest of the deck. However, this activated one of the civilians. It seems like the Cartel VIP’s flunkey had finished being sea-sick and was now ready to investigate the strange noises going on in the ship.

On the top deck, the gangers stopped the party and started to form up and head downstairs to secure their boss. Several of these civilians started panicking before almost all were converted into pistol wielding goons.

Back on the middle deck Team 1 was tactically clearing the rooms, beginning with the dining area. The Sicarios opened up with a LMG, putting some suppression down and a lot of bullets through the furniture. Seconds later, the rest of the operators were able to incapacitate the gunner before he caused too much damage. This fire also put a ton of suppression points on the now injured bad guy.

The bottom deck saw Team 2 attempt a breach. The charge was placed but rather than create an entry hole, it simply caused some damage to the wall. The breacher would have to manually expand the gap. On the other side, Fatty heard the loud noise and moved to investigate.

As Team 1 moved forward to clear the deck, they flung a frag grenade to clear one of the corridors. This grenade wiped out two more of the trained Sicarios and finished off the gunner, moving all of the suppression onto the final enemy waiting in one of the side rooms to ambush the operators.

Team 2 finally busted through the wall and found themselves facing Fatty down the corridor. Rather than just shooting him, I decided I was going to try to secure as many civilians as possible (I blame long sessions of SWAT 4). A rush into combat, a few rolls, and the Pointman was slapping on the plasti-cuffs.

Team 1 continued to sweep through the deck to prevent anyone trying to flank them. As mentioned before, this poor sicario in the middle of the picture is drowning in suppression points, making him easy prey to the operators.

There were a few turns between the last picture and this one. I spent my time moving through the ship, cuffing civilians and cartel fighters such as the suppressed sicario to prevent any nasty surprises. The gangers spent that time fortifying the deck, setting up overwatch on the staircases and using the converted civilians as alarms against the operators sneaking up. It was going to be a pig to clear out.

The picture actually shows the start of the final assault. After using the leg up move to get Team 2 onto the correct deck and positioning most of Team 1 at the bottom of the stairs, my last operator stood in the pool and flung a stun grenade into the meeting room to hit as many people as possible. It was a hard throw but he managed to hit it dead on. Team 1 then started up the staircases. The stun grenades had reduced the effectiveness of the overwatch but it still put some suppression down on my assaulters. From the other end, Team 2 traded shots through the glass on the bridge. They easily took out the armed civilians before advancing inside to trap the gangers in a pincer move.

The final turn saw the operators continue moving forward. What was interesting was that the cartel had taken the initiative at this point as they were the only ones shooting (my operators were too busy rushing into close combat to prevent them being shot at). This led to the operators taking casualties, with both breachers finishing the game with 5 turns of the bleedout. That said, as the Team 2 breacher took his hit, his sidearm shot took out the militia squad leader and killed him. As the clock ran out, it was safe to say the operators were in charge of the boat.

Once the mission was over, both myself and Craig sat back and breathed out for the first time in a while. That final assault was on a knife-edge – a few fluffed rolls or the enemy armed with some more destructive weapons (like a combat shotgun) and it would have been a very different. Many of the advantages of the operators are tempered due to the close quarters, you can’t clear your way through with explosives. Fighting across 2D ship plans was something really different from usual and I would love to see someone make an actual MDF ship with all the interior rooms.

Big thanks to Harry from Warmill for letting us play across his excellent shipping plans. It was a really unique battle and a great end to the weekend.


Finished reading? For the rest of the battle reports and more on the event itself, the main post is here!

Spectre Weekend 2017 – Game 3

Hey, this is one of the battle reports from the Cardiff Spectre Operations Event. If you haven’t read the main post yet, you can find it here. If you just want the action, keep reading!


Game 3 – Bad Day in Bazistan

Jazan, Bazistan: an Emir in charge of one of the Bazi Militia is heading home after a meeting. The convoy is powerful force, thanks in part to the backing of the Argo Corporation. What the Emir doesn’t know is that the Russian GRU have issued a capture order on him and he is about to roll into a trap. Will the GRU be able to capture their prey?

The sides were as follows:

Russian Attackers:

All the Russians have body armour, frag and stun grenades, pistols

  • Elite Squad Leader with Machine Pistol (with armour-piercing ammo) and Full length shield.
  • 2x Elites with machine pistols (with armour-piercing ammo) and half-size shields
  • 3x Elites with assault rifles (equipped with red dots)
  • Elite with Grenade Launcher
  • Elite with Light Sniper Rifle

The Russians also have an Anti-Vehicle IED which could have been place anywhere on the road. This was marked onto a sketch map.

Emir’s Bodyguards:

  • Vehicle 1: Technical with HMG
    • Crewed by 4 trained and 1 trained squad leader all with Assault Rifles
  • Main Vehicle: Armoured SUV
    • VIP sat in the back
    • Crewed by 3 professional armed with carbines (equipped with Red dots) and 1 professional Squad Leader with SMG (equipped with Red Dot)
  • Vehicle 2: Technical 2 with HMG
    • Crewed by 3 trained all with assault rifles

As the game begun, all the Russians were hiding around the board (Craig had marked the positions using a sketch map). Unaware of the approaching attack, the bodyguards and their allies mounted up in their vehicles and drove away at half speed to begin their route.

Two turns passed and nothing happened (apart from a civilian wandering into the road). Moving round the corner, the lead vehicle was about to accelerate when there was an almighty bang. The Anti-Vehicle IED had been detonated, throwing the vehicle off the road and stunning those inside. The driver however was close to the blast and took the worst of it, a serious wound that knocked him out and caused him to start bleed out.

Following protocol, the rest of the convoy accelerated aiming to clear the killzone. However, the were quickly interrupted with more gun fire. The rear vehicle’s gunner was snatched from his mount by a shot that seemed to come from out of nowhere.

On top of the tower, the Russian with the pump-action grenade launcher pulled away his cover and began to aim his launcher. Meanwhile, on the factory in front of the convoy, three assault rifle wielding figures deployed and started pouring fire down on the militia.

In the following turn, the Russians continued firing, putting multiple bursts into the second technical. This caused enough damage to the engine to halt it. The VIP’s vehicle was now the only one moving, thanks mostly to its armoured nature.

Photo borrowed from TinyTerrain

The crew of both the technicals began to disembark, primarily looking for cover against the attackers. At the back, the second vehicle’s crew were moving swiftly to get the HMG back online. In front of them, the Vehicle 1’s casualty was dragged to the rear and out of the firing line while the rest got ready to engage the Spetznatz on the roof. 

Before the .50cal could bring the pain however, a flurry of grenades from both the launcher on the tower and the team on the roof landed amongst them. The blasts took out everyone from the lead vehicle, massively reducing the ability for the convoy to defend itself.

Meanwhile, the VIP’s vehicle had continued racing forward. As they approached the next junction they were shocked to see three Russians in siege gear and carrying shields stepping out into the road. Worse, when they opened up, the rounds were actually capable of penetrating SUV’s armour and caused suppression.

With the sounds of the last of the militia being taken out and the team leader in the back shouting at his driver to push it, the SUV managed to rally and kept racing forward. As long as they could keep moving, there was still a chance the Emir could escape.

That is until a penetrating shot ripped straight through the door and killed the driver. The vehicle came to a halt, right next to the rest of the Russians. It would take an agility test for the crew inside to be ready to go again as they would need to move the casulty out of the way before they could drive away.

(At this point Ivan quietly reminded us that as this was a US vehicle, the driver should be on the other side. We decided to fix that)

The squad leader managed to rally off most of the suppression but the crew fluffed the agility roll (the driver must have been wedged in place). All around, the Russians were getting closer but the armour was holding. That is, until one of the Russians placed a breaching charge on the door and pulled out a clacker.

I was too busy rolling dice at this point but a ridiculous bit of fighting went down. As the door blew away (stunning the crew inside), the Russian breacher stepped away and his buddy engaged the bodyguard behind the door in close combat. The first bodyguard went down but this just let the team leader put an automatic burst of SMG fire into the attacker. It didn’t cause any damage but it did cause some suppression. Next turn, the attacker shrugged off his suppression and climbed in the back of the car to engage the team leader into close combat, leading to the VIP being exposed as the team leader was taken out. More concerning, the passenger in the front finally got his act together and moved a into position to drive away.

Of course at this point, the driver was very aware of the angry Russian in the back seat trying to abscond with the VIP. Buckling in, he put his foot on the gas and slammed straight into the rear of the car parked across the road. Rather than the gentle tap that would have thrown the operative out of the car, the slam sent the car spinning away. It smashed past some boxes before landing heavily and exploding, immolating all those onboard. I rolled super high on the collision table and the follow-up armour penetration table roll, hence the rather destructive finale.

I had great games all weekend but I think this one takes the top slot. It was so evocative, from the first IED blast through the SUV being breached to the crazy attempt to escape at the end; As Craig said afterwards, it felt just like the opening scenes of a movie. Despite losing all of my guys and the VIP being immolated by my own mistake (man these Argo mercs suck), I still had a really good time.


Finished reading? For the rest of the battle reports and more on the event itself, the main post is here!