Friday, 11 August 2017

GZ: Training scenario...

it seems to work!

AO Barnet: Block B3 Building 6

Mission: This area has been infiltrated by OPFOR during the night. Surveillance indicates the enemy have occupied building B6 (red circle) with the intent of interdicting the main supply route (dual carriage road to north). The intent is to enter the building using fire and manouvre and destroy enemy forces in close combat.

Enemy: Estimated at 10, light weapons including automatic weapons. Likely course of action is to resist as exfiltration routes are limited.

Own forces: Three fire teams from ready response squad plus one HMG team as manoeuvre support. 

Terrain: The enemy occupies a walled area (low walls) surrounded with open ground. scrub and trees to the south provides a covered approach to the rear of B6.

Time: Building to be cleared by 0700. Units to secure Line of Departure at 0500.

Execution: HMG team to provide support by fire from covered position to left of start line (yellow) with fire team 3. Teams 1 and 2 to manoeuvre and gain access to walled area and then assault and clear the building.

Time schedule: Supporting fires to commence at 0515 and manoeuvre to commence at 0520.

My apologies to anyone that knows how to use METT-TC and OPORD procedures correctly. This is a quick trial run of the basic mechanisms in GZ to see whether they produce the game I have in my head.
Set up

So, not quite like the surveillance photo but not bad. OPFOR occupy the house and a small walled grove. Coalition in the tree line, teams 1,2 and 3 reading from the right with the HMG team on the far left.

By the way, Fab Foam hexes and Junior General paper house and trees. The low walls do not block LoS but do provide cover. Friendly teams do block LoS.

0515: HMG suppresses the OPFOR team on the roof but it rallies and goes into overwatch. Teams 1 and 2 manoeuvre. 

0525: The HMG team keeps OPFOR on the roof suppressed while Teams 1 and 2 start engaging the enemy in the grove to little effect.

0530: The HMG team fully suppresses the enemy on the roof who now disperse (destroyed, but in reality they couldn't take the heat and scarpered). Coalition pop smoke to obscure the enemy's LoS from the grove.

0535: The guys in the grove make a break for the house as Coalition teams move up to set up a new base of fire. That HMG is proving tricky to move up!

0540: Small arms fire pins the OPFOR team down in the open, they are disrupted and finding it hard to rally and move into cover. Unsportingly, Team 3 with a great LoS pours intense fire into the enemy who crumble and run. My plan had been to use Team 1 to try out the close assault rules.

AAR: Did the rules do the job?

Absolutely, I'm really happy with that little battle. It told a story and the tactical feel was spot on. Even though the rules are simple, they are a bit slippery and I made some errors. 

Tactically, although in this scenario this was the right start line (concealed approach and cover for the support teams), it was too far from the building to make a rapid assault.

Although I rated the Coalition troops as three activation dice (i.e. very good) and the OPFOR troops as 2 (which is not shabby), if the OPFOR had an HMG on the roof then there would have been problems as they would have raked the start line. As it was, two Coalition teams took casualties. 

Overall, a nice little battle. My fallback plan was to call in an airstrike which I might do next time just to see how it works.

Thursday, 10 August 2017

Ground Zero.....

street fighting in Vietnam!

On my first post about GZ Duc commented that it could be used for Hue or even a 1985 cold war gone hot battle in Germany. Well, the funny thing is that I chanced upon this article on the War is Boring site about the new book on Hue by Mark "Black Hawk Down" Bowden. The book will be released in the UK in a few weeks and looks like it will be really interesting.

What caught my eye is the video above of a CBS news report from the battlefield. This shows some fascinating things:

  • As a nine year old I was glued to the evening news abut Vietnam so this looks really familiar. This sort of coverage though is not something you expect nowadays and probably reflects some significant changes in news reporting and societal norms. I don't see Kate Adie doing anything like the reporter in this news item.
  • The US Marines had to relearn street fighting from scratch, as every generation of soldiers does. What this report shows is a classic hesitation in troops moving from a covered position under fire to make an assault. You see Marines making the "is it worth it" calculation and then deciding that it isn't with some unfortunate results.
My design objective with GZ is to make a simple game that feels like the real world, but without the bullets. This seems a bit tricky but I'm hoping I'm almost there. More on this soon. In the meantime, I'm dipping back into Leo Murray's Brains and Bullets which is very much on the money in terms of the reality of combat.

Tuesday, 8 August 2017

Even more free stuff.....

how cool is that?

I went into my local game store (Battlefield Hobbies) the other day. The mission was to find under coat (Vallejo Surface Primer), matt varnish and matt medium. Mission accomplished. However, I noticed a big stack of Team Yankee rule books, the small version that comes with some of the other products. I asked how much they were to find they were free. So, I now have the rules. Something to ponder. I don't know if this is the practice elsewhere but something to bear in mind.

I was reading Geordie's Big Battles blog yesterday and found this great description of a small Battle of Britain fighter encounter. The rules used were Blood Red Skies. I hadn't come across these before and tracked them down to Warlord Games. The rules are actually free and you can get them from their website. Warlord have some 1/200 aircraft product coming out later this year which the rules will support. A bit pricey but I reckon you can have a lot of fun with just the free rules and some nice Zvezda kits.

Now, I can either play around with the free stuff or get back to work on Ground Zero. Decisions, decisions! 

Friday, 4 August 2017

More free stuff....

well, nearly!

I'm continuing work on the Ground Zero rules and am aiming to have an initial playtest version out in the next week. This will feature infantry only combat so will be very simple. This time round I'm looking to get feedback as the rules develop.

In the meantime a few shiny new things have popped up, they are mainly free too!

Panzer Grenadier: The game system from Avalanche that has millions of scenarios. They are now advertising a free try it out module, all you need to do is pay postage for the counters and map, the rest is downloadable. You can find this package here. You can also download the latest rules and even a set of modern rules for free.

I have never looked too closely at this system, I simply don't like the maps, but it might be worth it for free. I'm still very much into Flying Pig/Tiny Battles Platoon Command system at present to want to branch out (even further some might say!).

Lee at Gettysburg: This is a Lock n Load game that is a revamp of one of their POD games. The reason for mentioning this is that is is on Wargames Vault for "pay what you want".  I leave it to you whether you can resist the temptation to pay not very much for a $14.99 game at full price. I for one really like the map. It may be a little odd for some people's taste but it suits mine fine.

Last Full Measure: Another Gettysburg game, totally free from the designer's page here. I don't like the look of this much, very late 1970's, but that doesn't mean its not a good game!

The Second Battle of Kharkov: Here's a free scholarly article, Prelude to Fall Blau: The Second Battle of Kharkov.

Thanks to Consimworld News for some of these references!

Thursday, 27 July 2017

Cleared Hot!

Ground Zero: Helicopters

JTAC: “Deuce 31, Broadsword 11, 5-line, Type 2 control, BOT, rockets and guns, my position is checkpoint 295 marked by IR strobe, northwest 200, single technical vehicle marked by IR SPARKLE, make all attacks over my right shoulder, left pull, keep all effects of fires west of MSR Clovis.”
A/C: “Deuce 31 copies over your right shoulder, left pull, keep all effects of fires west of MSR Clovis, pushing.”
JTAC: “Deuce 31, CONTINUE.”
A/C: “Deuce 31 and flight, VISUAL, TALLY, IN.”
JTAC: “Deuce 31 and flight, CLEARED HOT.”
Today I have mainly been thinking about rotary wing close air support (RW CAS). To you and me that's choppers! Here are the first thoughts.....
Helicopters: Helicopters have special capabilities and vulnerabilities. These rules modify all relevant sections above. Helicopters have three activation dice. On an odd d6 result they may only move (they cannot rally, go into Overwatch). A helicopter may not discard an odd d6 result.
A helicopter may be subject to anti-aircraft fire as opportunity fire from enemy units in Overwatch in any hex that it starts in, passes through or ends its move action in. A helicopter that does not move at least three hexes in a move action becomes a sitting target and enemy units firing receive a fire bonus when firing at it.
Helicopters ignore terrain restrictions. They may only land in clear hexes that contain no vehicles (or wrecks).
Unlike other units, helicopters may fire at more than one target if they have more than one even d6 result. They may also make an intense attack on a single target if they have more than one even d6 result.
Special actions available to helicopters include: Landing, taking off, embarking or disembarking passengers (this includes allowing passengers to disembark by rappelling) and lasing targets for air strikes.

And, yes, I'm nicking ideas off Peter again!

Next problem to solve is that helicopters don't roam around shooting stuff up for fun. The air response must be proportionate and avoid collateral damage (as well as friendly fire) and enemy anti-air assets. That's the job of the JTAC who must have eyes on target, at least for a type 1 weapons delivery (visual contact with both target and A/C). How do we represent the JTAC and their interaction with the CAS? I have a few thoughts, they make for good scenarios! 

Sunday, 23 July 2017

Ground Zero.......

work in progress!

I suppose it says something if I have gone to the trouble of designing a logo for this game. My enforced absence from blogging and game related activities has spurred my enthusiasm.  

As usual, I blame Norm and Peter for ideas which have lurked for many months. This game represents, at long last, my attempt to model squad level modern combat in a simple way and in a way that I actually want to play.

I even have a blurb (of sorts!):

A nameless small town somewhere in the war zone. This game is played on a six by nine hex grid, there is no scale but each hex represents an area sufficient for the footprint of a small house, back yard or street.

There is no timeframe other than that each battle is concluded in a day. Each turn may represent anything from a few minutes of violent combat to several hours of desultory gunfire. Units are activated by random card draw and unit actions are dice driven. 
The troop types reflect what you see on You Tube videos, small groups of men, of varying commitment and training, largely fighting in built up areas. Weapons are light small arms with heavier weapons in support, with the ever present HMMWVs and improvised armoured vehicles. 
Scenarios reflect the reality of modern combat, often mundane tasks fraught with risk and unexpected dangers.

Nuff said at this stage but progress has been excellent. This time I will blog test games to show the mechanics in development.

Sunday, 9 July 2017

I have returned.....

not that I've been anywhere of course!

After a blistering few weeks of work I'm finally getting back into the swing of things. Not easy when my thought processes generally resemble a plate of spaghetti!

What's new?

Now, I like a bit of Firestorm and it's great to see the Team Yankee folks starting up a Cold War version. Fulda Gap here I come!

What's next?

My first task is to complete a longstanding development project which has unfortunately lapsed over the last few weeks. Once this is done and dusted my list is:

  • Ground Zero: Modern squad combat - my latest attempt to finish Desert Eagle.
  • Ground Zero: Modern platoon combat - I have recently become very interested in the Lock n Load Nations at War and World at War system. As I have said before, I'm also very interested in the Tiny Battles Platoon Command game system. First thoughts are to adapt these ideas for the Turkish assault at al-Bab, Syria, in December 2016. 
  • Arras, 1940 - Time to finish the scenario map (it is nearly done!).
  • 5Core Sandbox: Also time to play with some toy soldiers using this squad patrol campaign game system from Nordic Weasel. 
  • Pikeman's Lament: Finally, I'm doing something with the rules as written. However, I have come across this chap (Roll a One) using 6mm figures to play GNW games. Very nice! Even I could paint up enough little chaps to do this!