GDPR and ChargeBlog

Yep, it’s one of those posts.

Time for a bit of housekeeping. Part of my weekend has been spent doing some spring cleaning on the site, fixing up some of the crud left over from running the same wordpress install since 2009. The other part has been working on some tweaks needed to bring the site inline with the new GDPR regulations. I’ve stripped out some systems that were gathering excessive data for a hobby project (such as Google Analytics) and updated the site to force HTTPS across the site.

What does that mean for you the reader? Honestly not much. There is now a basic privacy policy available showing what services I’ve been using for running all the cool tech stuff on the site. Reading stuff on the site hasn’t changed. In fact, you might even see a speed bump as there are less things being loaded when you hit a page.

The big thing is to do with people who subscribe to the site via the email functionality. This post is basically just a reminder to say that by continuing to use the site you’re fine with me having the data needed to keep sending you emails. If you no longer want to receive the emails, there is a link at the bottom of the latest email to unsubscribe. Otherwise, I’ll keep sending you the latest posts when they are released.

Apart from that, we’ll be back to the your usual wargaming content tomorrow.

Salute 2018 Trip Report

Salute is the largest wargames show in the UK and, for me, a chance to visit London, see the sights, catch up with other wargamers and then escape within 24(ish) hours with a bag full of lead and future plans made. Since going to my first in 2015 as I rejoined the hobby, I’ve eagerly enjoyed going along even when I moved up north and turned 1 hour on the train up to 4+ depending on the time of day. Salute 2018 was even better as I was joined by my demo game assistant Peeb’s Gaming Nonsense who came down to see the delights, share the cost of the hotel and work together to prevent us spending way too much while at the show.


With my trip to London being kind of part of my Summer holiday (at least in the budget), I usually try to get out to some local attractions and be a tourist. Thanks to taking the morning train rather than the afternoon, I was able to do my touristy stuff on the Friday rather than the following day when my bag is filled with models. With a few hours before I was going to check in to the hotel, I headed off to Chelsea to visit The National Army Museum.

The Museum is definitely very modern, with lots of interactive displays and graphics alongside display of artefacts. I’d actually done the museum last year so apart from a quick run round, my main focus was up in the temporary gallery area with their Special Forces exhibit.

The exhibit has an entry fee (unlike the rest of the museum) which was maybe a little on the pricey side but the exhibit was well done. If you’ve read a lot of Osprey books you’ll find most of the information familiar, although I felt it was presented well.

As well as plenty of information boards covering all aspects of the Special Forces, there was lots of kit on display, ranging from WW2 up to the present day.

More of the exciting kit and one of the interactive screens

The rest of the museum was still the same high quality, with multiple displays covering the entire history of the army and tons of artefacts. Having already been here, this was more of a cursory look round and soon I was heading back to the underground.

After heading off to check into the hotel, the rest of the evening was spent in the [email protected] until it was kicking out time.


Waking up in no great rush, we grabbed breakfast at the hotel and leisurely walked over to the Excel (one of the advantages of staying close by) for about 10:15. Despite being so close to opening time, we managed to just walk straight in with only the shell of a queue to join. I think the organisation team seemed to have nailed the process for getting everyone in at a sensible speed.

First role of the day was to go round and do the Ultramoderns check – see what new things/previews were on offer for my chosen era of choice.

Kicking off with Spectre Miniatures and they had their new releases (along with what seemed like their entire range) being shown off in the usual display cases and available from the racks behind them. Nothing new in terms of previews. Every time I went past the stall throughout the day, Spectre always seemed to busy.

I did also visit Empress, despite already having the latest releases on my painting tray. They didn’t have anything new and, although tempted by a T14, I ended up saving my money. I’ll be getting one of those when my Russians get to the tabletop.

Another company whose releases are in the queue is White Dragon Miniatures. I caught up with them at Chillcon and got to have a pretty long chat about whats coming next. These guys are the foot patrol versions of the currently released Vehicle Dismounts, wearing patrol packs and some slight tweaks.

More exciting is what was on the shelf above – as well as the quads, Foxhound and NVGs, Salute saw the first showing of the Taliban figures. These guys look rather nice and I can’t wait to see the rest of the range. White Dragon have shown off these guys in some images in the Modern Miniatures group if you want to see some nicer pictures.

Not necessarily interesting for me but I known a few people play Ultramoderns in 20mm. Well, White Dragon showed off some 1/72nd scale Brits. This is one of the great things about CAD designed models – it’s really easy to rescale or make minor adjustments.

Blotz were also showing off their range. As much as I’m excited about some of these buildings (that compound especially), some of the doors and staircases seem a little small for 28mm when I was there but I think I’m gonna pick some up in a few months once I finish off the pile I already have. The minaret especially would be a rather distinctive.


After looking around for things to buy, I instead set off to take a look and take all the photos of things that caught my eye. Most of these are not suitable for my prefered era of wargaming but it’s still great to see the best of the hobby all on display.

TT Combat had a massive stand which was dominated by several bundle tables offering tons of their MDF. It does show off just how much stuff they produce. I may have had to drag Peeb away from the sci-fi desert planet buildings in the top left.

They did however also manage to fit in a few demo tables for their range of games including this rather nice setup for Carnevale. Their buildings could be quite good for building a modern Venice, perfect for some spy related shenanigans.

Blood Red Skies from Warlord Games was being shown off in perhaps the most dramatic way possible for an air combat game – with a to-scale aircraft carrier!

This wintery game of Bolt Action was packed full of details. Quite cool to bring a background element as well.

Spotted this very early in the day and didn’t see a huge amount movement on it by the time I left. However, it was a great looking WW3 game, complete with lots of helicopters and carefully hidden NATO troops waiting to spring the ambush on the thousands (or so it seemed) of Russian tanks and BMPs pushing through the area.

Something that stood out all day was the blue tent at the very end of the convention hall. Upon reaching it, I was treated to this rather impressive sight of two games using custom lighting and effects. This Necromunda game worked especially well.

Looking at more sci-fi was this rather neat looking compound.

This setup actually stopped me in my tracks. The multi-storey hab block looks like something ripped out of every cyberpunk story. I’m almost tempted to get some and start doing some near future, megacity street fighting.

It’s also cool to see the detailing pack, letting you theme the boxy base buildings to whatever type of sci-fi environment is most appropriate.

A rather nice battle going down in Florida as the Spanish raid a plantation. The board included some tall ships sat in the creek while the main force formed up for battle.

Stand To Games were showing off Forager on two different boards. This game is right up my street and seeing some really nicely made small boards was a nice surprise

The first of two Battlegroup games, this one covering The Battle of Leros. I listened to the team behind it talk about the historical battle on A Few Brits and the Hobby and it sounded like something special – FJ, Brandenburgers and Luftwaffe troops fighting against the LRDG, British and Italians on one of the Greek Islands. The board itself is something else, with floatplanes and a mix of forces battling over a Mediterranean landscape.

The other Battlegroup game saw US and German tanks clashing in the desert in Tunisia. Aside from the nice buildings, I also really like the base material. It’s sackcloth with bits of sand and shrubbery piled on but it works well and saves on carrying big chunky boards everywhere.

I always find 40mm to be a mad scale to wargame in so seeing board with a fort (constructed by TM Terrain) AND big blocks of troops was something rather special.

Finally, this was something that I was really excited about. I have a soft spot for Mechwarrior, especially the Mad Cat/Timber Wolf, so seeing a 28mm version was fantastic.


I have something to admit – I find it really difficult to spend more than 2/3 hours at a wargame show, even one as big as Salute. I’m not a major fan of playing participation games at shows (I’d rather be running it) and with my main interests being WW2 and later, most of the stuff on show is just a quick glance and moving. After a few hours of looking around and taking photos, we decided to bounce and go check out a few other things in London.

After leaving the Excel Centre I stopped at Meat and Liquor for lunch, visited an Airsoft shop to take a look at more expensive things and then rushed back to catch my train and head home to Edinburgh…. and then spend the following day assembling all my goodies.


So how did I like Salute 2018? Well it was pretty great! Not being on the London Marathon weekend meant the Excel wasn’t as packed as it usually is. Several people made comments about the lighting and, although it was reasonably dim, I didn’t find it too bad. A nice variety of stalls and games means there was something for everyone. I think Salute is without equal in the UK for sheer variety and, although you don’t get quite as much time to chat with the sellers about what’s coming next, it’s definitely worth going along to see everything the hobby has to show off.

Am I going back next year? Hell yeah.

2018 in Preview

We’ve taken a look at what happened in 2017, let’s take a look at what’s coming up in 2018.

Targets

The main plan is really just to keep going with the current plan as a base level. 2 posts a week works out pretty well, with Wargaming Week taking about an evening so the rest of the week’s hobby time is free to work on whatever is needed for the main post. However, I am going to start working on a buffer of posts (probably impressions of older models or tactics) that I can slot in to the calendar when things get a bit rushed. I also want to avoid the issue I had with the SAS releases at the end of last year, so rather than rushing to finish that week’s post, the plan is to now work one week ahead. Hopefully you won’t see this change but we’ll see what happens.

An experiment I’m tempted to try is do an extra post every other week focused on hobby elements (such as an extra impressions or Project update) depending on the rest of the week’s activities. However, this will all depend on how much of a buffer I manage to carve out. Tying into this is the desire to get new releases painted and impressioned quickly which can get in the way of pre-arranged blogs.

The big takeaway from the survey is that people like Battle reports. In an ideal world I’d be playing modern wargames every week but I’m not sure I can persuade other players to always be playing in the ultramodern setting. That said, I’d like to make sure that there is a new battle report every month.

Finally, video content. It’s something I want to try but I need to get the correct kit together. I’m also getting stuff sorted for better photography so hopefully I’ll get some better picture in this year’s post.

Projects

The big thing I’m doing this year is splitting the work I want to into several projects. Going to say now, not all of these projects will be finished this year. Instead these are target areas:

Dragon’s Hoard

The game has been run twice but I’m not finished with it yet. The main thing is improving the look of the downed C130 – it should be a bit more crashed and a bit less “attacked by hacksaw”. In addition to that, there are one or two elements to tweak in terms of the gameplay such as better balancing between the two sides. The final point is making sure the final objective is something more than just “HERE IS CAR PLEASE SEARCH IT”. The current idea is either a macguffin in a box or some form of gold on a pallet.

As part of this, I also need to reproduce the cards I have for the characters. This is because I decided to repaint the insurgents to improve them from the uniform green and black to something a little more ragged

Game 2

I really liked running the game at Fiasco and for a wide variety of reasons I think I want to keep going back there to run new games. I don’t particularly want to run the exact same thing two years in a row (and they probably wouldn’t let me) so that means I’ll need a new game by October. Not 100% sure on what it will be (either rules, scenario or figures) but the intention is to reuse the baseboards and just change what appears on it.

Compound

I’ve shown off these Knights of Dice buildings before and, as mentioned in the impressions piece, I really want to spend some time detailing them. Thanks to the design they are perfect for bolting new elements on top, such as roof panels. I’m going to aim for a much more modern look but I haven’t decided the exact details yet

Technical

I’ve done a fair few articles in this project already but it’s not yet finished. As well as the last weapons that I haven’t assembled yet (such as the AA guns), there is also the possibility of more weapons and crews being released. For example, we haven’t received any crew for the African militia. The aim with this project is to be a one stop shop for all the hints and tips you might need for building technicals.

Humvee

At Vapnartak last year, I picked up one of the Humvees from Empress (pictured above). As much as I like them (and they are fun models to have), they are a lacking some of the detail of the Spectre vehicles. After hearing the announcement that Spectre were working on their own range, I quickly sold mine to a friend and started preparing to build some more. Having talked to the Spectre guys, they are looking at a pretty massive range with plenty of options for key components so you can theme them for almost any role. Due to this, and foreseeing the oncoming hole in my wallet, this range seems like the ideal candidate for the project experience.

Little Bird

Ah, Project Little Bird. Announced back in 2016, killed in 2017, reborn late 2017 after a friend pointed me to an ongoing ebay auction. The plan now is to finish building the third helo as a MH6 and then decorate them up (including fixing the armament) to make them look like the Little Birds from Modern Warfare 2. This means adding the FLIR turret and the rappelling rig.

The final stage is building the flight stands. I’d like to make them a bit more dynamic than the plastic vertical ones so I’m looking at retractable car aerials or something similar to adjust the height and then a way of adjusting the angle of attack so you can have them swooping around the board.

Brit Platoon

The British Army Platoon I have from Empress is the dream project. I was really happy when I finished it but then realised that maybe it was something that could be improved so I stripped them and rebased them. Combined with the new releases (such as the marksmen and the additional fireteam I built) this meant I now have a reinforced platoon ready to be painted up in the new multicam scheme. Once they have been finished, I’ll have a full platoon ready for a campaign season.

Zaiweibo

At the end of last year, I decided that I wanted to start setting some games across the Red Sea from Bazistan in East Africa. After doing some more reading on Eritrea, I decided that maybe it might be a bad idea to use it as the setting for some wargames. So a new imagi-nation is in order.

This project is both a writing and terrain building exercise. I need to set up the country, detail the factions and setup the ongoing engagement. The current plan is something a bit less high-intensity than Bazistan in the present day but with a different style of battle in the past (this may or may not be related to me eyeing up the Rhodesia range Eureka has). The terrain is also a bit different in terms of both the buildings and the natural environment. For example, I’ll actually need some green plants.

I’m also chatting to a friend about improving the production values of both imagi-nations and it may lead to something else.

Maintenance

Okay so don’t be mad, but I kind of made a key mistake – due to botching up a varnish job a while ago, I haven’t been varnishing my models. This means they look great but quite a few are looking a bit banged up. Luckily I’ve grabbed some new varnish which seems to not mess up. The plan is to work back through all the painted models, touch up any issues and then varnish them.

Clean Sweep

Ah the big one. I have done the new year checkup and worked out what figures I actually own. From this, I can tell I’ve dropped below the 50% mark in terms of painted models. This need to be corrected. In an ideal world, I’d just crack on and concentrate on getting it painted but there are multiple reasons (including keeping a head of new releases) that means this isn’t what I want to do. Instead, I’m going to work on painting pretty much every day for at least 30 minutes. This will either be at work during my lunch break or in the evenings. The goal by the end of the year is to be over 50% and ideally over 75%. After all, bad things happen if you finish your lead pile.


So that’s the plan for the year. I’m looking forward to getting back into the hobbying swing of things and keep making all that content you guys like.

2017 in Review

Time to talk State of the Union. My Christmas break blog reading was packed with people talking about how their blog had done in 2017 and what they had planned for 2018. I always like reading these posts so I think it’s time to add my own to the pile. As is traditional, it may get a bit navel gazing-y.

The Blog

So let’s talk about how 2017 went for the blog. The big thing is that this year is the first year that I’ve focused entirely on the wargaming. In previous years, I had a mix of posts covering all sorts of things from tech to wargaming to airsoft. Now, every post is wargames focused which makes the site a little easier to navigate and a bit more interesting for people reading it – you find an entire site of posts to read rather than having to find the gold amongst the rubbish.

The other thing is the decision to aim for a schedule rather than just posting whenever I felt like it. Having a deadline to hit forces me to keep being involved in the hobby, to get my paintbrush out or sit down and think of ideas. I’ve managed to do a heck of a lot of writing, gaming, socialising, painting and buying (oh god the buying) off the back of preparing things for the magazine. That said, there is no fixed immovable deadline crushing down on me – if I don’t finish something or don’t feel like posting, the only thing that would force me to write something is me. There is just enough pressure to make me productive without causing issues relating to burnout. This will prove crucial as actual job becomes more and more frantic.

Combining these two has changed the site fundamentally. Rather than being another hobby blog, it’s closer to a magazine style, focusing on ultramodern wargaming (with one or two other periods sneaking in). However something I’ve tried very hard to do is to keep it MY hobby blog, rather than turning it into a faceless site. Every post is written by me and in my tone (leading to spell check having a nightmare sometimes) and I try very hard to never refer to the site as a group – it’s always “I” rather than “we at the site”. Much like how I’m happy that all my figures are painted by me, it’s just a little point of pride. It’s also something that came up in the comments in the survey (more details below).

Stats

Here are a few stats for 2017:

  • Total Views: 33k views (up from 6,978)
  • Total Visitors: 14,990 (up from 4208)
  • Top Five Countries for views: UK, USA, Australia, Germany, Canada
  • Total Posts: 113 (up from 34)
  • Estimate of painted models (as featured in posts): 235 figures, vehicles and weapon teams

I think the most promising thing is that the trend for monthly views is continuing to rise (ignoring the tiny spec that is January 2018). You can also really see the effect that doing two posts a week does when I started in May.

One thing I noticed is that actually, many of the indepent hobby blogs I follow were hitting much higher than 33k in their yearly views. There could be lots of reasons for this (long established communities, lots of sharing through social media or on forums that still float around) but I’m guessing “broader target audience than just Ultramodern players” plays a big part. If this was my day job, I’d be concerned but seeing as this is just a hobby I’m not that worried. I’d rather make the best thing for the people looking for this topic rather than water it down to appeal to more people.

The top 5 posts of the year were:

  1. The Great Big Modern Wargaming Comparison (2016)
  2. Spectre Miniatures: First Games and Rules Thoughts (2015)
  3. Spectre Miniatures: Rare Models (2017)
  4. Spectre Operations Starting Lists (2016)
  5. Spectre Operations Weekend 2017 AAR (2017)

So turns out Spectre is pretty popular – my guess is the popularity is down to both the active facebook group often referring to posts (The Starting Lists especially) and how well the site does in any search request that feature the terms “Spectre Operations”. Outside of the top five, the rest of the posts are all 2017 except for a legacy post which has since been removed as part of the purge. Overall, a good sign! Looking just at the popular 2017 posts, it’s really obvious that sharing via Lead Adventure and Facebook (as well as the few occasions where TMP has picked up articles) makes a massive change.

I’ll cover future plans in tomorrow’s post.

The Survey

In case you missed it, I ran a survey throughout December and got the required number of responses (100 as it’s the max I can get without having to pay for them). If you want to look at the data, you can find it at https://www.surveymonkey.com/results/SM-YD729TGM8/ – I’ve removed some of the open ended answers as it might allow you to identify people.

So the questions:

  1. Ultramodern Players – No surprises, most of the people who read the blog play ultramodern games
  2. Finding ChargeBlog – Lots of people found the site from Facebook. An option I should have included is google as 14 people said they found me via a web search which would have been third place
  3. Hearing About New Posts – Again the top was Facebook, but also quite a few people chose either checking the site or email subscription. In fact, lots of people converted from other social media to just checking the site
  4. Favourite Types of Post – Battle reports are the clearest winner. Wargaming Week is last which doesn’t surprise me – it’s really more something I enjoy writing to setup the week. What was surprising was how many people chose to write in “I like all of them” or “The variety is what I like best”.
  5. What Would You Like To See – Again lots of people voting for Battle Reports (seems to be the theme). Also lots of talk of projects (you’ll all enjoy tomorrow’s post) and scenarios. Interestingly, video and audio content was lower than expected – I though lots of people would be asking for video as it’s the most common request on many of the facebook groups.
  6. Painted or Unpainted – This was really a check to see how many people would be annoyed if I didn’t paint some figures for an impressions. The plan is always to get them painted but its nice to have the option to just ink them as a just in case.
  7. Comments – Seriously, thanks to everyone who filled this in. It was great to read all your comments, especially as lots of your were saying how much you enjoy reading the blog. I’ve also added quite a few blogs to my RSS reader than to people posting them.

Overall I found the survey pretty handy. It’s going to help tweak my plans for the year but it also showed me see how many people were actually interested in spending the time to fill it in – I must be doing some right to keep you all interested.


So that’s last year, tomorrow I’ll take a look at what’s coming up.

Going on Break

Shame this photo is from August

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

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

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

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

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

The Great Big Modern Wargaming Rules Comparison 2: Electric Boogaloo

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

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

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

Basic rules apply – all of these games are playable with 28mm figures at a 1:1 model ratio. They are all about playing games in the post 1945 world, although many of them would work for actions in WW2.

Same as last time – If anything is incorrect below, please drop me a message so I can fix it.


WHICH RULES ARE WE LOOKING AT?

Well, who best to ask about the details of each ruleset than the info pages for them on their store? Click on the images to go find them

Fireteam Modern from Rory Crabb Games

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

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

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

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

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

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

No End In Sight by Ivan Sorenson

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


HOW DO I GET THE RULEBOOK AND HOW MANY EXPANSIONS?

This was the year of the PDFs

Fireteam Modern

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

FUBAR

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

Living on the Frontline

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

No End In Sight

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

Wars of Insurgency

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


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

Fireteam Modern

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

FUBAR

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

Living on the Frontline

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

No End In Sight

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

Wars of Insurgency

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

WHAT DOES A UNIT PROFILE LOOK LIKE?

For this test, we will be using the profile for a British Army squadie (so a professional soldier) with body armour, assault rifle, a frag grenade and a smoke grenade.

Fireteam Modern

 ShootAssaultSaveMorale
Regular Soldier4+5+4+4+

Grenades are not modelled, weapons are listed individually.

FUBAR

Using the Afghanistan supplement, British Infantry are listed as:

Activation: 3+
Exp: 4+

Gear:

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

Living on the Frontline

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

Troop QualityShootDefendMoraleInitiative
Trainedd8d6d87 Cards

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

No End In Sight

Troops are listed by a few ratings:

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

Rifle, Hand grenades and Body armour all have effects

Wars of Insurgency

ProfessionalPointsAttack DiceDefence DiceMorale scored needed
Infantry, small arms12333-6

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


WHAT IS THE SQUAD SYSTEM LIKE?

Fireteam Modern

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

FUBAR

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

Living on the Frontline

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

No End In Sight

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

Wars of Insurgency

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


DO THE RULES INCLUDE VEHICLES?

Fireteam Modern

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

FUBAR

Amazingly, yes. No mention of air vehicles though.

Living on the Frontline

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

No End In Sight

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

Wars of Insurgency

Yes. No airpower due to the setting.


DO THE RULES INCLUDE OFF MAP SUPPORT?

Fireteam Modern

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

FUBAR

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

Living on the Frontline

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

No End In Sight

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

Wars of Insurgency

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


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

Fireteam Modern

Reinforced Platoon

FUBAR

Squad or Platoon – each unit you control is a fireteam

Living on the Frontline

A few squads up to a standard platoon.

No End In Sight

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

Wars of Insurgency

Platoon


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

Fireteam Modern

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

FUBAR

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

Living on the Frontline

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

No End In Sight

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

Wars of Insurgency

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


WHAT STYLE OF GAME IS THE RULESET BEST AT?

Fireteam Modern

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

FUBAR

Quick and simple games with a few units per side.

Living on the Frontline

Small platoon sized fights between mixtures of regular and irregulars.

No End In Sight

Reinforced platoon

Wars of Insurgency

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


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

Assume for all games that a tape measure, playing surface with terrain and models are required. All the rules work on a 6’x4′ table although some are better on a small one.

Modern battlefields are a lot more cluttered than those of ancient war. I personally recommend lots of scatter terrain to provide plenty of cover and concealment for the forces involved.

Fireteam Modern

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

FUBAR

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

Living on the Frontline

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

No End In Sight

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

Wars of Insurgency

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

DO THE RULES INCLUDE A CAMPAIGN SYSTEM?

Fireteam Modern

There is currently no campaign system included in the book.

FUBAR

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

Living on the Frontline

There is currently no campaign system in the main book.

No End In Sight

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

Wars of Insurgency

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


DO THE RULES INCLUDE ANY SCENARIOS?

Fireteam Modern

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

FUBAR

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

Living on the Frontline

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

No End In Sight

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

Wars of Insurgency

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


I LIKE RULESET X. WHERE CAN I GO TO LEARN MORE AND TALK TO OTHER WARGAMERS ABOUT IT?

Basic rule – head to Modern Miniatures Wargaming group on Facebook or the Lead Adventure forum for general modern-day warfighting.

Fireteam Modern

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

FUBAR

The main website for FUBAR.

Living on the Frontline

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

No End In Sight

The main nordic weasel site and the blog for future updates

Wars of Insurgency

There is a group for First Command Wargames on Facebook


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

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

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

Round of Fire

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

Platoon+

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

The Empress-Queeg Project

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

Fighting Season

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

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

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

OSC Book 2

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


WHAT ARE MY PERSONAL THOUGHTS?

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


Well that’s part two of the comparison done. I hope the page is useful to you and helps you answer that tricky questions – “which rules should I play?”

If anything is missing or incorrect, please drop me a message and I’ll update it.

Important: Cleaning Up and Coming Soon!

Hey everyone!

So, if you you may have received a pile of emails earlier this evening talking about video games. You may also have noticed there has been a bit of a drop in the number of posts on the site and lots of categories have gone missing.

This is because I’ve decided to tidy up this site! Although it’s now focused on wargaming, before it was my personal place to scrawl everything from video games to tech to how my life was going. However, with how the site is going (and what I’m planning for next year) having that many articles was starting to cause issues in features likes search. So I decided to move all of the posts from before I started wargaming. This led to me disabling them and reactivating during the process which caused the 

The big thing about this: This blog is going to be almost entirely about wargaming now.

This is me saying sorry about spamming all your inboxes – so as an apology, here is some good stuff coming up! Next week will be some impressions on Knight’s of Dice’s buildings and the start of a new project. The week after, I’ll be taking a look at Under Fire’s West German Police (along with a few tweaks). Depending on Spectre’s release schedule, the final week in November will either be talking some tactics for building forces in Spectre or taking a peek at some new figures.

Looking further into the future, there will be three projects coming (Little Bird, Humvee and Compound) and I’m planning to look at a few new ranges such as Full Battle Rattle’s Canadians. I’m even in the early stages of planning on a new card game/planning aid setting up random games, as something different from rolling dice. But more details on all of this soon!

What happened to Project Little Bird?

A while back I wrote a long post about making some Little Birds to add to the tabletop. Since then, nothing has happened.

The reasons for this are multiple:

  • I have been super busy so didn’t sit down and build the kit
  • King’s Hobbies have shown off some 3D renders for both the AH6 and the MH6 version which they will be releasing in plastic. These will be a lot more resistant to damage that a fragile plastic kit and will require less work to get ready for tabletop. They will also be releasing crew figures which are added bonuses.

Due to this, I’m going to sell the model kit and reinvest the money in buying the King’s Hobbies models. So that’s why you haven’t been seeing tons of picture of little birds.