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!

Weekend Warfare 3 – INTEL01 “Thieves in the Night”

Part 3 of Weekend Warfare steps away from the adventures of CGS (don’t worry, more reports are coming soon following those lunatics). Instead we look at a side story, based on events that took place in Bazistan before Commando Global Solutions arrived. These stories are based off Intel requested by officers in the company

Argo Corporation maintains several depots in Bazistan. These depots will often contain Argo made products getting ready for local distribution but can also act as storehouses for Argo Black Ops in the region.

6 months ago, -REDACTED- discovered Argo was stockpiling gear and preparing to move contractors in country. -REDACTED- hired a team of freelance operators to break into a depot and document the hardware that was in place.

The freelance operators chose to break in before the contractors arrived, when the only personnel at the site were an overnight crew not expecting trouble.


The freelance operators comprised of four characters

  • “Hawthorne” – Elite with SMG
  • “Compton” – Elite with silenced SMG
  • “Alameda” – Veteran with assault rifle
  • “Hollywood” – Average with assault rifle

There are two interesting points about these guys – the first is the range of experience. Two are elites ready to roll but the others are less well-trained. I presume they found Hollywood in a bar somewhere. The other thing is the lack of gear. None of the guys are wearing body armour and only one of them is using a silenced weapon. In other words, they are not in the best state for the mission they have signed up for – the plan is to rely on not getting spotted.

Against them are 8 guards. The four with M16s are all fully trained (rated Average) and start off duty in the sight office. The four armed with pistols are renta-cops (either Novices or Average) and begin wandering set paths inside the warehouse.

The goal of the game is for the Operatives to place trackers inside 5 ammo boxes spread throughout the warehouse. Depending on how many are tagged will determine if the Operative succeed in their mission, each tracker placed improves the final roll by 20%. If they need to set off the alarm off to do this task, it doesn’t matter. However, due to a lack of numbers and armour, it would be best to be avoided

The Operatives stack up
Warehouse 1 with the two guards on patrol
Warehouse 2 with the two guards on patrol. The operators were placed inside due to some camera positioning issues

As the game begins, all is quiet with the guards continuing their patrol routes. Hawthorne and Hollywood are the first to enter, sneaking up to the shelving and coming to a halt. Hawthrone, keeping his eyes open for movement ahead of him, finds the first of the ammo cases and cracks it open. Placing a tracker inside, the first part of the objectives are achieved.

Compton, the second in command of this little group, then enters the warehouse. Walking through the half-light of a dark interior, he spots movement and a flashing torch ahead of him on the ground floor. However, his attempts to spot the exact source fail. In contrast, one of the guards (Waters) peers over the gantry and spots someone who doesn’t seem to be wearing a security guard’s uniform. A flash of a torch and Compton has been spotted. All it would take is a radio call and suddenly the rest of the guards would come rushing in.

Sensing his hastily planned mission is about to go awry, Hawthorne now decides time is of the essence. He sprint up the board and runs head long into Jones, another guard. Hawthorne throws his weight and slams Jones backwards. However, Jones isn’t knocked unconscious (instead running back behind a shelf) and the noise of the scuffle sets alarm bells ringing. With the rest of the guards now getting into combat positions, Hollywood finishes placing a tracker, pulls his gun and starts to rock and roll. Spotting Waters up on the gantry, he raises his assault rifle and sends a burst flying down between the shelves. It misses but forces him to duck for cover. This movement attracts Compton’s attention and he also hammers a burst of 9mm rounds up towards the gantry. These rounds hit and cause a lot of damage, knocking Waters unconscious with a Critical wound. One guard is now out of action.

More worryingly, the reaction team begin to enter the warehouse, sprinting for cover (one of them even flips a table over thanks to too many action films) or rushing up onto the gantry. However Alameda, the final operative has also entered the proceedings and rushes to cover near his boss and long time friend.

The guards start attempting to spot the intruders and for a little while the battle turns into a two-way shooting range with both sides trading fire for not much result after everyone dived for cover. There are some close calls (including a shot missing by 1%). The main result is the slow progress of the operatives up the board, with a third tracker placed by Alameda.

On the guards side, one memorable moment is when Baptist (one of the reaction guards) draws a bead on Hawthrone. He spots, aims and shoots. Its unsure what happens next but probably inspired by the action film they had been watching in the hut and maybe related to an unauthorised modification to a trigger sear, but Baptist proceeded to mag dump all 30 rounds into the wall. Even worse, he seemed to have misplaced all his spare magazines and would have to go grab one from one of this buddies (translated: he rolled a 100 which is a fumble in Skirmish Sangin).

Compton rushed up to cover and almost barged into Jones, still recovering from that first melee attack. Compton however quickly responds putting two shots into Jones chest before a final shot to his head to finish him off. However, exposing himself to get there draws the attention of the guards and a hail of fire flies over his head, almost pinning him in place.

Other guards continue to hammer fire at the rest of the operatives. One, by the name of Brown, pulls up his pistol and scores a hit on Hawthorne. It’s only a graze, a light wound. In return, Hawthorne swings around and puts a burst of accurate fire at Brown. The hits pummel Brown and falls unconscious from the shock. This sudden violence shocked many of the other guards letting up the fire slightly.

Hawthorne, watching the clock, realises that it might be time to cut their losses and flee before the rest of the reaction force turns up. Giving clipped orders, the operatives start to peel away with Hollywood taking the lead. Alameda followed, popping off a shot to pin down any pursuit. Compton even managed to brave the fire and begin his own withdrawal. However, before Hawthrone could join them, one of the guards popped out from behind his table and dropped the leader of the operatives with a short burst (the hit was a massive 17 damage on 2D10).

Despite this last act of defiance, the Operatives had managed to fulfil at least part of their objectives and escaped into the night leaving only one of their number behind. Now they just had to hope the trackers were working….


So final count:

  • 3 Guards knocked out of commission
  • 1 Operative KIA and left in the warehouse
  • 3/5 trackers placed giving a 60% chance of the trackers actually working as intended. Rolling the dice I got a 25, meaning that the mission was overall a success and -REDACTED- now know where the Argo mercs are heading. Starting point for a future mission maybe?

Overall it was a fun game. The testing of stealth rules was rumbled by a valid detection and instead it turned into the test of fighting through the TTCombat Warehouse. There were a few places where I was struggling to fit my chunky gamer hands but it’s a great place for just a simple battle through it if you don’t fancy laying out an entire board. The multiple levels and bays, as well as the shelves you get in the kit. The only downside is that there are limited chances to flank without exposing yourself. Having smoke grenades or adding a small outside area would help solve the issue.

Additionally, the lack of people with body armour led to much more cautious play, sticking to cover and using suppression. However, when someone got hit they normally dropped down hard. A 1D10 pistol becomes a lot more horrifying when there isn’t body armour to block it.

I also really like Skirmish Sangin for such a small game – each character feels like a separate person with their own skill level. For example, Hollywood’s rifle skill in this was almost as good as Alameda but Hollywood did suffer from a lower morale due to being Average rather than Veteran meaning he was more likely. In your mind’s eye, Hollywood becomes the skilled new guy who may be more likely to run away than the seasoned old-timer Alameda.

I’m coming to the end of a few things, and hopefully with have my terrain boards back so expect more Weekend Warfare soon!

Battle Report: Spectre Operations 20/04/2017

Thursday’s battle at the club took us back to Spectre Operations and once more deployed to Bazistan. Wanting to get more horde of technicals on the table, what better opponent than heavy metal itself, the Challenger 2.


2 days after NATO intervention in Bazistan.

US and British forces are currently pushing towards Bazi city, engaging both the rebel militias and elements of the Bazistan army and police who have changed allegiances.

As part of this advance, a British Challenger 2 named “Boar Fighter” has encountered mechanical issues and was separated from the main advance. A group of engineers (escorted by a US Army squad in Humvees) have managed to repair the tank and as a group are now advancing to catch up with the main force. Luckily, the Panther belonging to the engineers has managed to get some CAS in support.

Between the main force and the breakaway party is the village of Al-Kahal. Al-Kahal sits at the high points between two valleys, forcing vehicles along the road through it. Although Al-Kahal was cleared by US Army forces earlier in the day, the local militia has returned in their technicals and has additionally been reinforced by elements of the National Police of Bazistan. Having spotted the small convoy moving towards them, the fighters prepared to ambush the tank and destroy it.

As the convoy rumbles towards the town, the only sign of something amiss is the lack of locals outside.

BLUFOR comprised of the tank, a fireteam of Brits in a Panther CLV and a squad of US Army Infantry spread across two up-armored Humvees. Against them, OPFOR had a mighty 5 technicals (including a heavy recoiless rifle and a TOW missile system), a squad of Eritrean mercs, a squad of National Police of Bazistan, a mob of militia and a team of tank hunters.
As the game began, BLUFOR rolled slowly onto the board while the militia held their fire, waiting for the tank to get closer. Eventually, the M40 totting technical decided to take out the second vehicle in the convoy (the Panther) with a quick pot shot. However, the round sailed past, doing nothing more than alerting the Brits that they were under attack. As the tank started to rush the town, the rest of the OPFOR started to open up, doing nothing more than suppressing the crew in the tank.

However, in the next turn the tank recovered, rolled forward and rotated it’s gun towards the unfortunate technical that fired the first shot. The rest of the convoy moved up as well. The Panther got into position to deploy it’s troops.

Shooting began with the Challenger 2 hammering a HESH round into the technical and achieving a mobility kill, making all but one crewman into a casualty. The two Humvees then joined in, raining .50cal rounds into the pickup and causing it to finally explode. In response, the militia opened up with a second round of “fire everything” which did nothing more than add more suppression.

BLUFOR decided to turn off the road and head through the back streets, the Humvees keeping close behind the tank. The Challenger rumbled down the road, halting with its gun barrel poking round the corner. This obviously scared the pants off the driver and he started backing up.

Close by however, the Eritreans prepared to take out the more vulnerable Humvees with a hail of fire. Across the road, the fireteam of tank hunters also crept forward trying to get in a good position to knock out the rear of the convoy.

However, the Brits were too quick and spotted the attackers entering the wadi. Pouring on the fire, both the RPG gunners went down dead. In the side street, the American gunner spotted movement and hammered .50cal rounds into the gap. The four shots downed the RPG gunner and suppressesed the next threat. The Eritreans responded with a volley of shots that suppressesed the humvee but caused no damage.

The movement of the tank hunters also opened up a gap for the TOW to put a shot in. With a *foosh* the missile flew across the fields and slammed into the ground just next to the lead humvee (it hit and caused some mobility damage). The lead vehicle was now going to slow the convoy down.

Their job done, the Brits remounted and sped past the Humvees. The tank continued to rumble round the corner, it’s prey once again frantically reversing. However, it was all for naught.

Seeing the demise of their technicals, the National Police started moving, keeping it’s RPG gunners in position to tank hunters while the rest moved out of sight. The rest of the force started to prepare defenses against BLUFOR trying to ram through the wall and then run off the board

In a calculated move, the Challenger 2 started to accelerate towards the wall. Behind it, the Panther got into position and hammered the flank of the pinned Eritreans, keeping them of action. The Humvees limped forward. Bigger news was what the Challenger 2 did next. Knowing about the TOW that would be shooting at it once it cleared the wall, it set off its smoke launchers. The smoke dropped all around, with one grenade landing on the police unit causing a casualty while another hit the militia and caused two more men to go down. The Challenger was also overwatched by one of the police but it shrugged off the round and them wiped out the shooter with the co-ax.

At this point, most of the militia was combat ineffective through suppression or location. However the Challenger rumbled on, smashing into the wall and breaching it. The AT gunners sat on overwatch all fired but the rounds just bounced off the Chobam armour. The rest of the convoy followed up the tank and headed for the breach.

Time was rapidly running out but the BLUFOR player has one last task. Swinging the turret, the Challenger lined up its 120mm gun on the fake tank and blew it sky high.

By now the bar staff were slowly turn the lights off and so we called it. BLUFOR has managed to push through the village with only minimal damage. However, with another turn one of the .50cal technicals might have caught the Humvees in the rear and caused some damage. But that’s just mights and the BLUFOR had managed to break through. Looks like the militia commander will be in trouble with the Shiekh


Overall, it was a rather fun time. I think Spectre’s rules are great and the vehicle stuff work best at the lighter end of the spectrum of vehicles. The combination of “to hit” and “to penetrate” speeds up the game but can lead to some bizarre situations. The tank hunter rule changes help  it the fact lethality plays no part seems incorrect.

More the fault of us, we completely forgot about the off map options we had. BLUFOR were hampered by their ROE but i should have been dropping mortar fire like it was going out of fashion.

On the other hand, we threw a large number of figures and vehicles at the board and both teams has fun – that’s what matters at the end of the day. I was also really happy with how the technicals look on the table – there were quite a few positive comments made about them (including my favourite the “fake tank”).

Not sure the next time we will be playing Spectre, but I’m looking forward to it!

Weekend Warfare 2 – CGS S01E02

Part two of my attempt to play more wargames returns us to Skirmish Sangin, with a few new house rules this time. While the last mission was all out action against an inferior foe, this one sees a small team attempting to recon a warehouse currently being used as a base for a shifty corporation and their mercenaries. What could they be up to? It’s time for CGS’s Team 2 to deploy.

 


CGS S01E02 – 1 Hour Earlier

1 hour before CGS Team 1 go into action in Bazi City, the camera zooms in to a warehouse complex on the outskirts of town. Zooming out to the front gate, it pans over old and worn adobe building before directing towards four dirt lumps huddled on the roof. There is a pause and then a shuffle as weapons are drawn and placed into position.

Team 2’s mission was to infiltrate this warehouse facility (codenamed Site Bravo) and perform two tasks:

  1. Hit the comms tower and grab a data dump that will contain information on transfers around the site
  2. Investigate the interior of the warehouse, in particular a shipping container from the last shipment to arrive at the warehouse

Team 2 was comprised of four soldiers split into 2 elements:

  1. Sniper team with Tinkler (Sniper Rifle) and Richards (DMR)
  2. Assault Team with Ward (M4 w/ UGL and Suppressed Pistol) and Harrison (M4 and Suppressed Pistol)

Arrayed against them?  The initial Intel put a set of 4 security guards (Smith, Wright, Brown and Creighton) patrolling round the site or in static positions. On site observation in the days before the raid showed an 8 man from Argo’s Direct Action team – armed with assault rifles, SMGs and a light machine gun. Four operators began off site in an SUV (Dvořák, Pownall, Baum and Leusink), two were sleeping in the building next to the portaloo (Chichigov and Séguin) while the other two were guarding the warehouse (Montanez and Šnajdr).

Due to the imminent start of the operation in Bazi City, it was decided to bring the action part of the operation forward. With the SUV away from the site, Ward and Harrison chose this opportunity to sneak inside and begin the intel gathering.

Turn 1

To begin with Tinkler and Richards stayed quiet, using their shooting position to spot the various guards that were in the line of site. Wright and Brown continue on their patrol paths while Smith stayed inside the front gate shelter, looking back into the facility. This distraction gave Ward and Harrison plenty of time to sprint towards the dense on the south side of the facilty, moving past the jersey barriers via the gap. They then paused to climb the fence.

Inside the warhouse, the two mercs eventually stopped their conversation and returned to guard duty. Worse, the two sleeping mercs woke up and move outside to get some fresh air. Luckily, Richards and Tinkler were able to pass on their locations allowing the assault team to pick the right moment to climb the fence and then sneak past the front security gate. Unfortunately, just as they were about to clear the guard hut, Smith finally stopped staring off into the distance, turned, noticed a man (Harrison) wearing a bush walking past and started reaching for his radio.

Before he could thumb the radio, it was time for Ward to activate. Walking forward, he pumped two suppressed pistol rounds through the open window dropping Smith to the ground, heavily wounded and unconscious. Brushing this off, the assault team crept in. Creighton, having swapped roles with Brown, walked out of the site office and strolled right past the front gate. Obviously thinking too much about the warm chair he just left, Creighton managed to miss both the pair of bushes and the strangely quiet gate post.

Turn 2

This lack of awareness would be his downfall. As the second turn started, Harrison activated and crept up behind Creighton. Rolling well, Harrison dropped the guard to the floor by causing 13 points of damage, an instant kill. Bounding past, Ward rushed to the the main hub building to get to the data tower and begin the download. Working his way through the building he reached the roof, placed the hacking device and started the transfer. Harrison moved into position on the floor below, ready to provide cover or escape should it be required.

It was at this point that an SUV started pulling up to the entrance of the facility. The four remaining members of the mercenary team had returned.

Tinkler and Richards, sat in overwatch watched the vehicle slowly turn in and halt at the barrier. Realising that the odds were stacked well and truly against them with the arrival of the relief team, and that the objective wasn’t yet complete, Tinkler decided now was the time to go active. Also affecting the decision was the sounds of dismay coming from two of the security guards – they had spotted Creighton’s body in the open and were about to raise the alarm.

Just as Baum stepped from the vehicle (planning to investigate why the barrier hadn’t been raised), a round from Tinkler came flying right past him, hitting the front of the vehicle and smashing through the engine block. The SUV was no longer functional, causing the rest of the mercs to dive out of the vehicle in disarray. Richards then attempted to send a round into Baum but he missed. The rest of the mercs outside the base then moved into their own cover points either by choice or by failing morale tests and retiring.

Inside the compound, the rest of mercs started appearing out of their various hiding places and started moving towards the front gate. Montanez headed up to the first floor of the warehouse to gain an advantage while the others (and the remaining security guards) moved into various pieces of cover to regroup.

This gap in the firefight was advantageous as Ward was quickly able to finish grabbing the download. At this point, CGS had fulfilled one of two objectives. After consulting with the CGS off-site commander (one of my wargaming buddies down in York), they decided not to risk entering the warehouse as they were unsure how many enemy troops were hidden away and the current situation was one they could more easily escape from. As part of this getaway, Harrison rushed down the stairs, vaulted through the window of the front gate’s hut and then hit the deck. Ward, data disc in hand, only made it to the top floor of the office.

Back at the extraction point, Richards was able to spot Pownall and bring an aimed shot to bear. It hit, dropping the unfortunate soldier with a single shot. However, this fire was starting to attract attention. Leuinksi, having pulled himself together managed to spot Tinkler after a few attempts. The rest of the mercs inside the compound started to engage the Assault team. Montanez sprinted up the stairs ready to breach and enter. The rest focused on Harrison, shredding the outer wall of the hut but doing nothing more than causing some morale markers. Chingov, looking for a new angle, moved behind the site office.

Turn 3

Baum and Tinkler have the same body and would activate at the same time so a roll off took place. Tinkler won it and responded by spotting Baum in the open and hammering a shot into him. The sniper round caused more than fatal damage and another merc was down. Success was also on CGS’s side inside the compound as Harrison climbed out the window and barely made a close range shot. It also caused a low amount of damage, doing not much more than putting Brown on the ground for a bit. Ward also caused some damage, spotting Montanez through the door and putting a burst into him. Montanez was in a bad way but still conscious. This shooting had a knock on effect as both Wright and Brown became pinned in place.

The next activation saw lots of things happen very quickly. Tinkler tried to shoot the LMG gunner but fumbled, causing a misfire that would need to be cleared. Spotting the shot, Lesunki popped up out of cover and put a burst of fire down on Tinkler to shut him up. It didn’t cause any damage but it did draw Richard’s attention. After a successful spot, a shot landed and caused a medium wound knocking Lesunki unconcious.

The mercs still in the fight spotted Ward and started putting rounds down. With the luck of the devil, Ward managed to evade all this fire, pass his morale checks and keep running. Both he and Harrison reached the exfil zone and were about to move off board when Dvorak, the Argo team leader, popped up and sent a few aimed shot towards Ward. The shots missed and the CGS team disappeared off into the desert.

Post Game

With all four team members intact and with the data disc in hand, CGS Team 2 had managed to fufil part of their objective. However, they had not investigated the warehouse and so are unaware of what exactly Argo are distributing in the region. Due to the lack of injuries, Team 2 will also be able to assist Team 1 in the next mission, either as heliborne snipers or by dropping into the city.

The rules I was testing was working well, and although there are a few tweaks needed it’s heading in the right direction. The other stand out part of this was playing over the excellent MDF terrain. Sarrissa’s factory is without compare and it’s a shame more of a firefight didn’t happen in there. Its also making me think about using the factory as one element of my demo board. Maybe CGS will be returning to Site Bravo? I also really need to get the boards assembled and the scenery painted – bare MDF is a little boring to look at.

Next game will be delayed a while (the next few weeks are very busy) but when we return it will be time for Team 1 to try and get out of Bazi City with a VIP in tow. Hopefully the arrival of Team 2 should help them out a little bit. On the other hand, there are a lot of cops and militia on their tail.

Team 2 sits in the back of extraction chopper, ghille suits stowed and weapons hung on the racks. The usual post mission feel is interrupted when the helo suddenly changes direction. The loadmaster breaks open the supply boxes and begins handing out ammo and weapons. Ward stands up, turns to his team and asks “You guys ready to pull Davison’s ass from the fire again?”

Battle Report: Skirmish Sangin 09/02/2017

Scenario 12 of the Bazistan Crisis – An RAF F35 Lightning II enforcing the no-fly zone has suffered an engine failure and has crashed somewhere in the rebel held zone. Unable to deploy conventional CSAR assets, British command has ordered an SAS team already in country to find and extract the downed pilot. Upon arriving in the area, the special forces troopers spot some mobile tangos also moving to find the pilot. It would now be a race to find where the pilot is hiding out

Coming back to Skirmish Sangin after a short break where I’ve spent most of my time writing scenarios rather than playing them, I decided to go all out. Big table, vehicles and everything. After dispensing with my original idea, I instead decided to send us off looking for a downed pilot. After lots of comments about “That’s a big board” (useful seeing as vehicles move rather quickly), we set down and started playing


The SAS begun in the village, getting ready for moving into the rest of the search area. In the fields, the rebel band was milling around next to an old watch tower, climbing aboard their technicals or setting up their machine gun to overwatch the area. One of the fighters moved north to scan through the crops but found nothing of use.

Across the board, the SAS drove north heading to the abandoned mosque. Coming to a stop nearby, the team leader disembarked and looked inside. With a whisper of a codeword, the pilot revealed himself. He was swiftly bundled into the SUV but the sight of potential pursuers caused the SAS to pause in place.

“Flying Officer Livingston I presume?”

Seeing the cloud of dust from a high speed vehicle, the rebel leader shouted for his band to roll out. Streaming across the desert, the two vehicles separated while the guard team (sat in the tower) started trying to accurately spot the target vehicle.

However, the SAS had easily drawn a bead on the pickup trucks. A second trooper disembarked, dropped to a knee and opened up on one of the approaching vehicles. A burst of fire ripped the vehicle to pieces blowing it up and immolating all the passengers except the rebel leader. This cunning veteran had dived out the vehicle just before and was now lying prone on the desert floor.

The other vehicle tried to spot the source of the gunfire but the gun crew were distracted watching the burning wreck of their comrade’s ride. This distraction was deadly – a second burst of fire (this time from the squad’s LMG gunner) shot up the crew compartment wrecking the vehicle and stopping it from functioning. The passengers bailed out, going to ground around it.

However, it wasn’t going all the SAS’s way. The guard team in its tower was putting fire down on the SUV, with the combined PKM and assault rifle pinning the troops inside down. In an attempt to respond, the JTAC in the squad started trying to call down a hellfire from an orbiting drone. Despite the visible threat, the drone operators were in a no go situation, requiring more details from the operators. The JTAC was happy to give them, in addition to a few choice words.

The rebel leader was, to bit it mildly, a little annoyed. He had been robbed of his prize to parade on TV, two expensive weapon platforms were destroyed and several soldiers were either dead or injured. Angry, the battle-worn fighter levelled his AK at the figure behind the bonnet of the SUV, took aim and fired a shot. He saw the target drop behind the vehicle but before his eyes the injured man crawled out of sight.

With an injured squad leader (mostly alive due to his body armour) and still under MG fire, the team was now all in cover behind the vehicle and trading shots with rebels. The UGL punched out a grenade that took two more rebels down, leaving 3 of the attacking force still alive. The second squad leader didn’t want to become stuck out in the wasteland so he and his buddy sprinted off towards the village in the hope of finding cover and a better angle.

Also around this time, another white SUV was seen off in the distance. This was the second team in the SAS element, having been alerted to the ongoing fight. The offroader bounced across the plains, pulling to a stop near the edge of the crops in the centre of the play area. The second team then started to disembark, providing a distraction to the guard team in the tower. The PKM swivelled to face the new threat.

The let up of incoming fire allowed the JTAC to do his job more easily. Transmitting the target co-ordinates to the help flying aboce,  nothing initially seemed to happen. Nothing that is, until a titanic explosion ripped the tower apart as a hellfire missile found it’s mark. With the gunfire slackening off, the SAS started to prepare to leave.

The rebels were shaken but not yet out the game. The force’s leader became pinned down in a crossfire, lost his nerve and then left the field of conflict. However, the other squad leader sprinted up some stairs to a rooftop. Using this advantage, he and his partner in crime riddled SAS team 1’s SUV, causing the pilot to bail out and potentially giving them a long walk home. However, before they could finish the job, Team 2 landed a 40mm round on their position putting them out of action.

The AO now clear of enemies, the SAS were victorious. Now they just have to fix their holey vehicle and get out the hinterlands and back to civilisation. I’m sure this is one story the pilot will be telling for a while.


Overall we both had a fun time. It was great to get back into playing Sangin after a break and it’s still my favourite system to play.

Learning Points

  • Vehicles look tough but actually technicals and humvees (whose profile the SUVs were using) are still vulnerable to small arms fire.
  • JTACs and UCAVs are very fun to use as a player, even if they take up a massive points value.
  • Scenario still needs a little balancing. If I had all my vehicles painted, the insurgents would have received a third technical as well as a team to go with it as reinforcement for the OPFOR.

Battle Report: Spectre Operations 01/12/2016

More photos and coverage of the game can be found at Pioneer Painting and SESWC

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This week’s wargaming took me back to Spectre, demoing the game for the first time to two members of the SESWC. I also wanted to put on a bit of a show and get lots of insurgents on the board. I had originally planned for the game to be 4 sections of Professionals vs an equal points value of militia and trained but I very quickly found myself running out of figures (and time to paint more). Luckily, I had overestimated the number of players that would be taking part and so my points values worked out great against only two sections. Moral of the story: stop panicking.


This mission saw the NZDF commitment to Bazistan moving into an area to destroy weapon caches and confront the opposing force.

NZDF
Two sections with body armour, radios, PMK, pistols, frag and smoke

  • 2x Professional Squad Leader with Assault Rifle (scope and red dot)
  • 4x Professional with Compact LMG (scope and red dot)
  • 4x Professional with Assault Rifle and UGL (scope and red dot)
  • 6x Professional with Assault Rifle (scope and red dot)

Militants
Militia Commander w/ Assault Rifle + Long Range Comms + Binocs + Radio + Remote Detonator
3x Mortar Strike

3x Militia Squad Leader w/ Assault Rifle + Radio
4x Militiamen w/ RPG
6x Militiamen w/ MMG
20x Militiamen w/ Assault Rifle
Militiaman w/ HMG

Trained SL w/ AR + radio + remote detonator
Trained SL w/carbine + radio + remote detonator
9x Trained w/AR
5x Trained w/ carbine
Trained w/ AR and UGL
2x Trained w/ MMG
Trained w/ DMR + scope
Trained w/ RPG
Trained w/ Combat Shotgun
2x Trained w/sniper rifle w/ scope
4x IED (victim operated)
2x Vehicle IED


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The game started with the Kiwis advancing onto the board behind the diplomatic compound giving them plenty of time to creep forward around the unalert militants. The two sections broke down further into fire teams. Two teams went south towards the main street (with one team vaulting the wall into the compound itself) while the other two crept along the north wall. However, as one of the southern groups crossed the street, both an insurgent sniper and HMG weapon spotted the team and became alerted. In the following turn, the HMG hammered down the street. It caused nothing more than a few points of suppression but it did alert every figure on the board. In response, the other fireteam opened up with its Compact LMG and brought the gunner down.

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Drawn towards the fire, other militant forces started to stream through the village. The militia led the way, intending to mob the better trained and equipped New Zealanders, while the trained groups waited back. One mob streamed around the buildings towards the southern most fireteam and managed to put some fire down. In response, the Kiwis opened up with an LMG and Grenade launcher knocking most of the mob down and getting them some breathing room. In the next turn, section 2 relocates with one fire team falling back to the security barriers while the other climbs onto the first floor to provide some top cover. From this cover, the section managed to put a lot of fire into the mob coming down the main street and wipe them out. They also managed to put a lot of fire into a group that came streaming out of the southern most courtyard and knock out all but three of the militia.

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On the northern edge of the board, section 1 had managed to skirt round the compound and get close to the courtyard where another arms cache was being held. However, before they could do anything, trained fighters started streaming over the wall (except for one soldier). A round of shooting managed to kill 2 but more appeared, forcing the NZ player to frantically get out of the road and into a piece of cover.

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Now at this point, I was ably assisted by a friend of mine at the club walking over to the game and offhandedly commented “Hey, can’t that sniper see someone?”. A quick check, a lucky dice roll and one member of section 2 was lying down bleeding out. The fire team drags their injured comrade back behind the concrete walls of the diplomatic compound. Up top, the overwatching team causes casualties to more of the militia but they just keep coming. The three fighters left alive suddenly prove their worth, hammering MMG fire and an RPG into the overwatch team and causing more casualties and downing two more professional soldiers.

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Back in the north of the board, one of the two NZ fire teams crept around the top of the board and got into a close quarters fight with one of the trained squads. The fight downed another Kiwi but also cost quite a few of my unarmoured troops including the squad leader. As the last move of the game, one of my opponents noticed I’d left my commander by himself and within line of sight of the Minimi gunner in the surrounded building. Three round burst later and my highest command value suddenly dropped.

As we ran out of time, its was obvious the militia had taken a beating but only one arms cache had been destroyed. This is the first time as a militia player I’ve managed to make a huge dent so I’ll be doing much more mobbing in future games

My main takeaway? THE FOX (and his spotter) STRIKES AGAIN!

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