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!

Spectre Weekend 2017 – Game 2

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 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?

After having got my first game in, I was asked to help out with introducing the two new players from game 1, Laurence and Jess, to actually playing Spectre with a small game to show off what the rules can do. Lawrence took the Elite Operators while Jess took the role of El Jefe.

The sides were as follows:

Cartel Assassins:

4 Elite operators all with frag and smoke. All weapons are suppressed.

  • 3 with Assault Rifle, red dots and laser
  • 1 with SMG, red dot and laser, battlefield trauma kit

Cartel Defenders:

  • Sentries – 4 Trained with assault rifles, 1 Trained with pistol
  • Squad 1 – 1 Trained Squad Leader with SMG, 1 Trained with RPG, 3 Trained with Assault Rifles
  • Squad 2 – 1 Trained Squad leader with carbine, 1 Trained with flamethrower, 3 Trained with Assault Rifles
  • Civilians – 4 Civilians, one of which is El Jefe (Trained Commander) in disguise

This report is going to be pretty quick as I was too busy running the game to take pictures.

To begin, the elites crept onto the board, moving for cover to begin the infiltration. In order to find El Jefe, they had to perform a scanning action (taking place in the command phase and requiring the operator not to to move). Luckily for Jess and me (it’s hard to run a game if the objective is taken out in the second turn) the first civilian wasn’t the target.

After realising that actually most people would be alerted if a suppressed weapon went off due to the small size of the board, Lawrence took out one enemy stealthy before deciding that no one can set off the alarm if there is no one left alive. Instead, Squad 1 of the Defenders got wiped by a pair of frag grenades and the elites started advancing on the compound. However, one of the sentries was able to injure an Assault Rifle wielding operator reducing the squad’s overall effectiveness. The return fire from everyone else took this plucky fighter out.

This reduction however didn’t prevent them from easily suppressing the rest of cartel guys thanks to their better skills and attachments. While getting closer and closer to the compound, Lawrence’s Assassins finally managed to spot El Jefe in disguise. Before he could be engaged, Jess rushed him into a building; sadly it seemed like the El Jefe was going to be trapped in there while the remaining defenders would try to hold off the enemy.

At this point, JT came across and reminded all of us what the objective was – keep El Jefe safe. Rather than getting bogged down with fighting to the last, El Jefe could simply escape and trigger a win. On the other hand, there was a big patch of open ground he would have to cross before safety.

Barely were the words out of JT’s mouth when El Jefe had vaulted out a window and was running for the hills. As the sound of gunfire continued into the distance (including the death of the flame thrower before he managed to get a shot off which was a common trend on the weekend), El Jefe full on sprinted towards the board edge; with a few hints Jess kept him out of the LOS of any of the Elites and just out of range of any thrown grenades. With only three inches in it, El Jefe moved off the edge of the board and escaped, giving Jess a win.

Overall, I’m really glad that everyone left the game having enjoyed it. The elites are really powerful in the right situation but the ending helps to drive home the point that even the best fighter can lose based on the objectives. Running a tutorial for new players was pretty hard work but was a cool experience.


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

Spectre Weekend 2017 – Game 1

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 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?

Wanting to start the weekend off with a refresher, we decided to go for a reasonably simple yet exciting scenario. With JT on GM duties, my opponent Craig brought out his rather nice Task Force Operators painted up as French SF while I started emptying MENA militia and insurgents out of my bag.

The sides were as follows:
French SF:

  • 8 Operators (one of which was an Elite Team Leader) armed with the usual gear (body armour, frag/smoke/stun grenades, etc). They were armed with a mixture of LMGs, Carbines and a DMR.

Militia

  • 12 man mob armed with ARs except for two figures armed only with grenades (all Militia except 1 Militia Commander) 
  • 4 man team with two MMGs and two ARs (both rated Militia)
  • 2 man sniper team with DMR and AR (one Militia, one Militia Squad Leader)
  • 6 man “snatch” squad with carbines, an assault rifle with UGL and LMG (5 Trained and one Trained Squad Leader)

Before we got dice rolling, the GM pulled both of us aside separately and talked up some sneaky rules. I got to pick D3 buildings to act as spawn zone; the dice gave me two and so I picked ones close to the objective and in positions where I could trap the elites. Then, the SF were taken aside and told something; I later found out that the French were getting some OTA (off table assets) in the form of a Little Bird gun run and some orbiting snipers.

As the game begun, the board was clear of both forces. The first sign of trouble was two teams of four operators (nicknamed North group and South group based on how far up the table from my point of view they were), each taking different routes to the downed bird. The groups remained in cohesion while checking the corners, carefully picking their way towards the target.

Spotting the operators arrive, the militia began to deploy. On the roof of one building, the sniper team appeared and setup looking covering the down helicopter and a main avenue. Across the battlefield the MMG team were deployed in order to take up a suppressing position on the roof, seeking to gain the height advantage.

At this stage, we were joined by two more players, Laurence and Jess who had never played Spectre before. Jess decided to watch to begin with, while Laurence took over as co-militia commander and gained control of the snatch squad and the sniper (presumably the squad leaders had spotted a chance to take some glory and decided to go off script a little bit).

The operators saw the militia appear and proceeded to start taking advantage of their superior equipment. In order to cover their approach to the wreck, the north team popped smoke into the zone covered by the MMG teams. It didn’t completely fill the gap but did do it’s job.

The militia saw this action as confirmation an attack was taking place. The bulk of the force, a 12 person militia squad, deployed out of the same building as the snipers and prepared to march down the street towards the operators. The large squad has an additional benefit for militia, giving them a boost to command.

As a response to the noise of a rabble, two of the operators from south group maneuvered into a position to cover the street and prevent them being flanked.

The operators also went for their tool kit and marked up the MMG gunners rooftop for an Off Table Asset (you can see the countdown dice showing the target). All I knew at this point was that something was coming but I had no idea what form the support was going to take.

The main focus of this picture was the first surprise of the day. Before the North Group could advance on the wreck, and taking advantage of a shift in initiative, the Snatch squad came pouring out of the MMG building and bum rushed the operators. However, due to the positioning, they only managed to surround one operator.

This would be an issue as my opponent easily worked out a counter strategy. Before rushing into combat themselves, the rear most operator rolled a flashbang in the midst of the combat. This worked wonderfully, stunning almost all of the snatch squad who were in combat and reducing their stats to 1.

The operators who charged home easily won the melee against their stunned opponents. With their close combat stat reduced to 1, it was very hard for the snatch squad to cause an sort of damage to them. In the following turn, the squad would attempt to fall back before re-engaging at range.

Above the melee, the MMG gunners had deployed and were now ready to shoot. It was also the perfect moment as two operators had just rushed the downed Blackhawk in an attempt to begin treating the injured crew. The smoke may have blocked the view but using the elevation (and the re-roll offered by being crew served) the team took one of the operators down and suppressed his buddy.

As the mob moved toward the crash site, they attempted to control the street by spreading out and putting a hail of fire down on the two operators covering their crossing. They managed to put down some suppression and threatened the Elite’s hold on the initiative.

In the following turn, a pair of operators moved past the retreating squad and set up in position to cover the crash site. Unfortunately for them, they found themselves exposed to the hail of MMG fire. One gunner wiped out the team leader sat by the wreck while the other shot up a member of North squad. It seemed that these guns were a serious threat, preventing the operators from keeping mobile and chewing through their higher than normal defence.

The MMG gunners were too busy hammering away to hear the sound of a helicopter. By the time they heard it it was too late. A Little Bird came screaming in across the map and lit up the entire squad with it’s miniguns. The remnants of the snatch squad were saved only by the geometry of the gun run, shielded from the gunfire by the overhang on the building. On the other hand, the remaining operators did finish them off by throwing a grenade in, completely wiping out the squad. The militia forces on the northern half of the board had been completely wiped out.

Back on the street, the mob continued their fire, as well as moving part of the squad to start covering the crash site/trade shots with north group. Around this time, the hail of fire brought down another operator and left another elite separated from his team (you can just about see him on the left side of the street).

The way cleared by the miniguns of the air support, the rest of North group pushed into the square. This quickly turned into a two way rifle range, with the operators getting capped at two suppression while piling points onto the mob. Their will held, thanks in part to their large numbers and the presence of the militia commander.

With the risk of the separated operator flanking the mob, the sniper team moved from their starting position and into one covering the mobs flank.

In addition, the mob’s grenadiers started to advance down the street to get into throwing range. The operators had attempted to pop smoke to cover their movement but some of the militia fighters were now overwatching the gap, ready for when the separated operator would attempt to rejoin his buddies.

With another roar, a transport helicopter overflying the area heralded the arrival of another OTA asset. This time, it was two elite snipers ready to turn the tide. With two targets (the militia commander and the militia snipers), they decided to focus on cutting off the command and slammed both shots into the Militia Commander in the streets. With the sudden drop in command, Craig was easily able to regain the initiative and keep it for the rest of the game.

Back at the crash site, the remaining operators popped more smoke and started to close on the objective while putting down fire.

The militia however were content to keep popping in and out of cover, with the lead fighter absorbing all the suppression coming his way.

The French were getting annoyed at this and so decided to really push back. Popping a stun grenade in, a hail of gun fire from every operator brought down a pile of the militia reducing them to a fraction of their starting number.

The game was close to an end and I was almost ready to concede. However, I decided to go out guns blazing. The militia rushed the operators around the wreck running forward in an attempt to lock some enemies in close combat and mob them. Unfortunately, I was bringing fists to a gun fight and so the last of the militia fighters was dropped.

After the final member of the mob was taken down, an eerie silence filled the air. The French SF had only just managed to capture the wreck and so they could begin treating the casualties giving them the win. It had taken a lot out of them, with four Elite operators killed. On the other hand, the only remaining militia was the sniper team so it’s safe to say the operators (and the orbiting helicopters) had given a lot more than they had taken. It was a close game with some great swings as each side seized advantageous situations but Craig seized the day thanks to some clever use of positioning and equipment.


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

Battle Report: CGS009 “Dawn Raid” : Spectre Operations

(Seeing as I’ll be too busy on Saturday playing Spectre to do the social media blitz I like to do when a post goes up, enjoy this early battle report!)

To get ready for the Spectre weekend in Cardiff (an event I’ll be on my way to when this post goes live), I decided to spend the first evening of my holiday over in York, playing a game of Spectre. Seeing as my opponent is part of the inspiration behind fictional band of contractors, we decided it was only far to add to the plot. A sneaky dawn raid to snatch a HVT should be an interesting challenge which couldn’t possibly go wrong.


After the Bazi City and Argo Affair, Commando Global Solutions was banned from operating inside of Bazistan. While the head of the Aden office was in Bazi City trying to re-negotiate their license, the acting operations chief (formerly in charge of the Bazi City team) was approached by the Aden Government to perform a dawn raid to snatch a troublesome tribal leader from the badlands that cross the Aden-Bazistan border. Seeing as the CGS A-Team was resting after the events of the Argo Affair, CGS B-Team were deployed into the hills, procedding to hike through the night to reach the target.

Commando Global Solutions were rolling with the following force. All had personal medical kits, pistols, close combat equipment, frag and stun grenades and radios.

Team 1

  • 1-1: Professional Squad Leader: Carbine (scope and red dot), specialist close combat
  • 1-2: Professional: Cabine (scope and red dot), Battlefield Trauma Kit
  • 1-3: Professional: Compact LMG
  • 1-4: Professional: Carbine (scope, red dot and laser), Breaching tools

Team 2

  • 2-1: Professional Squad Leader: Carbine (scope and red dot) and UGL
  • 2-2: Professional: Carbine (scope and red dot) and UGL, Battlefield Trauma Kit
  • 2-3:Professional: LMG
  • 2-4:Professional: Carbine and Light Anti-Tank weapon

Sniper Team:

  • S-1:Professional: Light sniper rifle (suppressor, subsonic ammo)
  • S-2:Professional: Carbine (scope and red dot) and UGL, Battlefield Trauma Kit

Design Notes: Overall, a pretty powerful array of firepower and useful gear. Team 1 is setup for the close assault, team 2 for mid-range fire support and the sniper team for backup. Interesting to note, the team is not wearing body armour, using silencers or carrying night vision goggles. Blame poor corporate spending or making the equipment match the models.

Arrayed against them there was a massive force of trained tribesman. These guys started unalert, with the vast majority off board. However, once the alarm was raised, the commander can start calling in backup (including a squad asleep in the buildings) and one random unit a turn will appear automatically. As long as the commander keeps being successful with his Command rolls, large amount of bad guys will appear from the village just down the road.

Initial Force:

  • Professional Commander – Assault Rifle, Radio (HVT)
  • Trained Soldier, 4x Assault Rifle, 1x MMG, all with radios (sentries)
  • Trained Soldier, 1x HMG, 1x Assault Rifle (HMG team)

Reinforcements:

Main Force – split into 8 man groups

  • Trained Squad Leader – 2x assault rifle
  • Trained Soldier – 4x RPGs, 4x MMGs, 1x LMGs, 15x Assault rifle

Support

  • Professional Soldier, 1x Light Sniper Rifle, 1x DMR
  • 2x Technicals – Random weapons

Design Notes: This was basically me getting as much of my Taliban force on the board and then adding some technicals for the fun of it. The main idea? You don’t want to get stuck in a slogging match with this lot. If the commander is able to get up and get on the radio, CGS B-Team will be in trouble.

The battlefield was arrayed as you can see above, with the road appearing from the north edge. The HVT was located in one of the two main buildings (rolled off when the game started). The rest of the tribesmen were deployed in logical positions – two on the tallest hill, three close to the vehicles and the heavy weapon team on the roof of the main building. CGS deployed on the north-west corner of the board. The sniper team found a good overwatch point while the main bulk of the force was hidden behind the hill. As mentioned before, all the tribesmen on the board begun the game unalert, with the target fast asleep.

The first two turns took place in the last stages of dawn and the operators took full advantage of this, sprinting down the flank well out of line of sight of any of the sentries. However, as the third turn began, PKM sentry and his friend spotted the last man in the team getting behind a hill.

Luckily, the sniper team saw the beginnings of an alarm cry and sprung into action deciding to go kinetic. The marksman dropped the larger threat (the MMG) but his spotter whiffed the shot. The other sentry saw his mate take a hit and so dived to the ground suppressed. Back in the village, the sentries broke up their meeting with one heading for a rooftop, blissfully unaware that a squad of operators was fast approaching his position.

As the next turn started, the sniper team changed his target to the .50cal gunner sat on the building top. Again, one shot, one kill. The LAW gunner in team 2 resisted the urge to drop a rocket on the village and instead engaged the rooftop sentry with his assault rifle and dropped him. Closer in, team 1 wiped the rest of the sentries and continued sneaking around the flank of the village. At this point, all that was left of the tribesmen was two trained fighters lying in cover with their squadmates suppression on them instead at different positions on the board.

However, thanks to the situation escalating, the next turn began with a group of reinforcements coming onto the board. An 8 man group of fighters (including an RPG and an MMG) moved down the road. Additionally, the commander shouted down the radio and a technical with .50cal responded. However, they did managed to roll onto the board at precisely the wrong place. While the rest of his team was on overwatch for enemies appearing from the village, Operator 2-1 saw an opportunity. He turned, aimed his UGL and popped off a round. It landed squarely on the bonnet and with a dull “krump” shredded the engine (a M-Kill) and both the crew members.

The Sniper’s Spotter then turned round and delivered a 40mm round straight into the heart of the new group of enemies that had appeared. By the end of the operators turn, the reinforcements were almost decimated, with only 3 very suppressed tribesmen left in any sort of effective combat state.

The other member of the HMG team on the roof ran to grab the spade grips and start hammering away at the attackers. However, the sniper once again earned his pay dropping the new gunner before he could even get a shot off. This shot however had an unfortunate side effect. Finally drawing a bead on the sniper team, the last remaining sentry fired off a burst of AK fire. One round found its target and suddenly the operators were one fighter down. What was left of the reinforcements also opened fire, putting some suppression points down.

That last burst of fire was important – for the first time, the initiative swung to the tribesmen as they started to be the louder party in the firefight. The Tribal Leader managed to roll spectacularly well, bringing on two squads of infantry (one from the collection of buildings and a weapon heavy squad from down the road) and a technical packing a heavy recoilless rifle. Perhaps the most worrying, the two-man sniper team crept onto the board, waiting to ambush the operators if they managed to snatch the target. The infantry in the buildings started out of coercion, needing time to form up.

This delay was an issue for them as Team 1 came busting in, stun grenades landing first before being taken out for a blast of close range shots. The operators were now within spitting distance of the target.

At the other end of the table, Team 2 and the Spotter were about to get lit up. An overwatch had dropped a few of the oncoming squad but the rest were now in a position to open fire. With a hail of MMG fire, Team 2 were cut down – unfortunately their position was lacking in cover and left them exposed. The final three fighters from the other squad put 9 rounds onto spotter. Only one hit but it started him bleeding out.

Unfortunately we ran out of time at this point. CGS had lost its sniper team and most of team 2. They had taken out a large number of tribesmen but unfortunately the survivors were about to get overrun. I think it’s safe to say that the CGS B-Team was up a creek without a paddle. The next operation into the tribal lands could be very interesting.

Design Notes: I think I made this scenario a little on the hard side for a second game of Spectre. Next time I would tone down the reinforcements, limit it to one a turn or add a delay.


“Let me get this straight. You embarked on a cross border operation, into a nation we have no right to be operating in, into a valley filled with hostile fighters, with no air support. And now the team is either dead or captured?”

The boss closed his eyes; it had been a long week negotiating with the Bazi Interior Ministry and this was the last thing he wanted to do. With a resigned sigh, he opened a cabinet and pulled out a plate carrier.

“Okay, here is a new plan. I’m going to call in a few favours and then we are going to take a little trip. Get the A-Team together and talk to the quartermaster about some gucci gear. When we get back we can have a talk about biting off more than you can chew”

The Action will continue in CGS010. Coming soon!

Tactics: Razors on the Battlefield

Photo from Spectre Miniatures

So now you’ve got your Razor, built it up to how you want and found the rules for your system of choice, how should you actually use them on the tabletop? I’m going to primarily look at their use in Spectre Operations, in particular, analysing the rules that the team at Spectre have released. However, many of the concepts are applicable across multiple games.

Fast Attack

The first thing about the Razor is it’s really, REALLY fast – a move value of 16″ means it’s almost the fastest thing on the board (just in behind the motorbike). In addition, it’s also All Terrain so rough ground barely slows it down. It also has the rule Agile, making it able to turn on a dime; great for getting out of harm’s way in cramped and crowded streets. Finally on the positives, the rule Muffled Engine let’s the Razor get even closer before the alarm is raised, a great addition for stealth games.

The downside is that it has no armour with one of the lowest  DC values in the game. This isn’t an AFV, it’s a taxi designed to get you from A to B quickly and over rough terrain.

So as a high-speed, all terrain vehicle it can be great when you need to make a quick getaway or extract a VIP from the hot zone. Just remember you can only board a stationary vehicle and it can’t move in the same turn passengers embark. On the plus side, it’s open-topped nature means the rear passengers can easily put down fire as you race away.

Fire Support

Photo from Spectre Miniatures

By default, the Razor’s only weapon is the commander’s machine gun. This arm mounted weapon can be a compact LMG up to a 7.62 firing minigun (the current kit and crew come with a MMG with scope and suppressor). If the Razor only has this, then it’s mainly in place for self-defence or suppressing the bad guys during the final run into the drop off/exfil – the range of these weapons is going to put you right under the nose of the bad guys and you are in danger of biting off more than you can chew. Additionally, the arm only has a limited field of fire, so it can’t engage targets on the other side of the vehicle or behind it – this is where your passengers come in handy.

The Razor can also take a roll bar mounted weapon system. The weapon in this slot is limited by being Move or Fire (something the unarmoured but quick vehicle would probably prefer not to have) but the options for this slot are much more destructive, including HMGs and auto grenade launchers. Having both slots filled with weapons turns the Razor into something similar to a WMIK, perfect for forming a fast-moving base of fire for your main assault. Take advantage of the range of these systems to stay away from incoming fire and keep moving to the best locations, bearing in mind a vehicle mounted HMG doesn’t need to pack and then unpack when relocating.

Supply Point

Photo from Spectre Miniatures

The Razor also has another bonus to it – the fact it can carry additional gear. I can see this ability being underestimated by many players but it could actually be something very important for a small force. If you max out each character with multiple weapon systems (using the rules in the book for max equipment carried), then additional launchers and items for specific uses can be stored in a moving supply point. It’s conceivable that when a team of operators assaults a town, a character could use a sniper rifle outside the town to take advantage of the large range intervals before swapping it out for a shotgun as the fight gets up close and personal.

Stowing kit in a vehicle also means weapons that include the encumbering rule (such as MMGs) can be stowed until close to the fighting, removing that modifier to agility and allowing them to move at the same speed as their team (when sprinting or tactically moving) before grabbing a bigger gun when needing to form a fire position. The other items (long-range comns and medical gear) let you have access to this important kit with a certain character being stuck in the role as the game begins. Instead, as soon as the first casualty happens, any figure close to the Razor can grab what’s needed and then rush to begin triage.

The Razor 4 also has the ability to transport a crew served missile launcher, making the Razor a great vehicle to carry a tank hunter team when fighting armoured opposition. Just remember to shoot and scoot, seeing as your armour is not particularly thick.

Conclusion

Overall the Razor provides some new capabilities on the Spectre battlefields. When all of its functionality is being used, it provides a unique vehicle with multiple benefits. There are some roles it should not be used in (frontal assaults across minefields for example) but for the ones it’s suitable in I can’t see it disappointing the player in charge.

The main thing to remember is to play to its strengths : keep moving, don’t get pinned in place, think about your loadout carefully before the game begins. Apart from that, it’s a cool model to have on the tabletop and I look forward to seeing them crop up in battle reports.