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.