Friday, 18 February 2011

New War, New Rules

After buying some of the excellent 20mm Afghan and British modern
miniatures by Britannia, Mark B and I set about devising some rules for use in this period.  AK47 rules had been recommended as had Ambush Alley but these we felt were not quite what we were
While writing and play testing some rules tailored for the war in
Afghanistan, I have been thinking a lot about the conflict and the peculiarities of it compared to other conflicts and how one can factor these in to a tabletop game which is both balanced yet accurate.
On the face of it, this can be quite difficult.  The UN Forces have superior firepower and training and have access to resources such as air support and artillery not
available to the insurgent forces. 

The insurgents have none of this but they do have over 1000 years of experience fighting in the terrain. 

So how can we abstract this in to a set of rules that are playable?
Firstly we felt it was necessary to limit air support factor by having
the engagement take place “danger close” in other words with the UN forces being so close to the enemy as to make Artillery and air support risky.  There is a common misconception that “smart” weapons can drop a bomb or fire a missile through the car window of the enemy.  Unfortunately the reality is somewhat different.  There is a margin of error of about 300 meters which means if friendly forces are closer to
the enemy than 300 meters a friendly fire incident begins to become more probable.
Secondly and we felt fundamental to this particular conflict is the
political will of each side to achieve their objectives.
If we look at the British involvement in Afghanistan for example there is not the public support for the conflict as there was for say the Falklands War. The result is that there is a lack of  political will to accept any significant number of casualties, certainly over a short period of time.  The result?  Commanders on the ground are forced to
make tactical compromises which may go against their doctrine and instincts.  It leads to a lack of aggressive actions and forces the troops on the ground on to the back foot.  The insurgency is not constrained by the need for popular public support. 
The nature of their organisation is such that as long as they have the
lines of communication to get fighters to front lines then their priority can be their military objectives.
This has created a significant leveller between the two combatants and is something we felt was important to introduce to the rules.
In the end what we have done is write in a rule for the UN forces that if they sustain a single casualty within a Combat Section then the whole section becomes suppressed until that casualty is attended to by a medical team or withdraws the casualty to the CP.
In addition; The insurgent player achieves considerable victory points for causing casialties.
What we have found is that when play testing the game the result is that aggressive actions by the UN player can run out of impetus very quickly and it can make it very difficult for the player to achieve its objectives.
For example, we played last week a scenario game where there was a broken
down UN APC.  The British player had
to enter a compound, collect the two stranded soldiers and then withdraw far
enough to be able to allow air support to destroy the APC.  The Taliban player was attempting to capture one of the APC occupants alive.
The outset looked pretty positive for the British who with their advantage in weapons and training took a heavy toll on the Afghan fighters.  However, as sections began to take
individual casualties the whole platoon stumbled to a halt as the priorities of
the sections changed.
The end result was that; in casualties the Brits had a decisive victory in causing about 9:1.  However even though they made contact with the APC they were unable to extract and so the
tactical victory went to the Taliban.
The rules are in no way complete but seem to be coming on well.   I will post a copy of the same on the Leeds Wargames Club website shortly for people to view and comment
Published with Blogger-droid v1.6.7

Tuesday, 15 February 2011

20mm Afghans and British (modern)

15th February 2011

Various pictures taken with my andoid camera phone and using some basic photo editing suite for Android

Published with Blogger-droid v1.6.7

Monday, 7 February 2011

Is Bad Dice Rolling Infectious?

This is the questions we all had to ask ourselves following a fun game of Impetus Baroque at the Club on Wednesday.

Rob (B) and I were playing a small Impetus Baroque Game using the supplement and the Basic version of Rules.  We were playing against Mick and Bob.  

We have created a quick scenario were the Parliamentarians (played by Rob (B) and I ) emerged on the to table in column of march and the Royalist (played by Mick and Bob)  were waiting for them.  The terrain was laid out like a Valley mouth, the idea being the Royalist were trying to stop the New Model from breaking out.

Orders of Battle
These were taken straight from the sample armies on the Impetus Baroque Beta Lists

New Model Army
3 Units of Trotting Cavalry 2 of good quality 1 slightly less so.
3 Units of Pike and Musket units of good quality
1 Artilliery Piece.

The Royalist
3 Units of Galloping Horse
3 Units of mediocre foot
1 Artilliery Piece

The Royalists were deployed amoungst some enclosed fields on either side of a small village with their cavalry massed on one (the left) flank

The New Model Army came on in column of march, Cavalry First, then foot and then artilliery.

A more one sided game I have yet to play!  Rob (B) had command of the Parliamentarian Cavalry and I had the foot and cannon.  We marched on and spent some time organising ourselves in to a battle line.   Mick and Bob were in a well defended position so decided not to interfere.

We then advanced but  did not co-ordinate the attack so the majority of the  Cavalry headed off to take on their Royalist opposites and the Infantry rumbled forward supported by a single unit of Cavalry and the Artilliery.

The Royalists had good positions and it was impossible to isolate any units as each were well  supported by cavalry or artillery. 

Things started badly when a unit of Royalist Foot got 2 hits against the lead Cavalry Unit.  A dreadful saving throw pretty much reduced the units effectiveness to zero. 

This set the standard for the rest of the game with myself and Rob (B) rolling bad roll after bad roll.  For those who have not played Impetus (and you should because it’s great!)  A successful hit is a dice roll of a “6” or a double-5's with the strength of the unit and tactical factors determining the number of d6's rolled.  A saving throw must then be made by the target player the which require low dice rolls.  ("1" generally been a pass and a 6 being really bad news.)  What was happening here is that both myself and Rob (B) were throwing plenty of 6’s and plenty of 1’s…just not necessarily in the right order!

In fact the extent of the truly appalling dice rolling by Rob (B) has tempted me to arrange to play him as an opponent soon.  Bob did raise and interesting point however....It may not be Rob (B)'s rolling but my own legendary dice throwing that was infecting Rob (B) and that as soon as he sits far enough away from me, things will surely improve!  Watch this space for an update!

Getting back to the game: Unit after unit was blown apart by our opponents without so much as causing a powder burn to the enemy!

It was all over very quickly with 50% of the supposedly superior New Model Army being destroyed without causing a single casualty.

To be fair Rob (B) and I did not really think much about our attack and we certainly could have co-ordinated it better.  Rather than exploit Mick and Bobs static defence we rumbled forward.  We had no superior numbers and so such an attack was suicide.  All the same; the shear predictability with which our  distastrous rolls mounted became hilarious.  It really needed to be seen to be believed.

It was great fun but I would like to replay it again.  Probably give the New Model a slightly stronger force to counter the Royalist defensive position and probably discuss with Rob (B) first so we come up with  a more thought out plan of attack.

Rob (S)