Wednesday, 23 April 2014

First Look: Skirmish Sangin

When I first heard about Skirmish Sangin I took a look at their website and was a little concerned that the mechanisms might be a little heavy for the type of game I was envisaging.  Despite the draw of the Empress Modern British range, I already have the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan (using Force on Force) I wasn't keen to have two games that were going to play too similarly.  So I wondered whether I could do the Modern Brits at a different level (the Soviets being at Platoon plus) and so Skirmish Sangin came back onto the radar.

I picked up a hard copy of the rules at Salute but they are also available as either a pdf (£7.50) or hard copy (with the pdf as well for £25) from the Radio DishDash website (and in hard copy from other distributors I believe).

The rules are 170 pages in full colour (in softback if you get the hard copy) and illustrated with plenty of photos from the MoD and of various wargames along with a few explanatory diagrams.  After an introduction and a brief history of the conflict the book moves on to creating a suitable force, provides orbats for British, Australian, New Zealand, French and US ISAF forces before moving onto the rules themselves, followed by an example game, two scenarios, the quick reference sheets and some counter sheets.

Troops are given a "Body" attribute which determines their various combat skills and their initiative sequencing along with an armour rating (to reflect body armour if any) and morale.  Morale and skills are expressed as percentages.

Each turn each figure will activate four times and have three action points available to use.  The sequence in which the figures activate is dictated by their Body attribute which are grouped and this allocates their activations across the ten phases of each turn.  This approach reminds me of the system used by older games like Phoenix Command and Car Wars but in a simplified form.  Actions include various movement modes, kneeling, going prone, getting up, climbing etc. as well as spotting and combat actions.  Since a figure's position (moving, stationary, kneeling, prone etc.) along with their location is significant for spotting and firing you do need to think carefully about your use of actions.

Both spotting and combat actions start with a basic skill level and then the relevant modifiers are applied before a d100 roll.  Whilst the list of modifiers in each case is substantial it quickly becomes apparent which are routinely applicable to your current situation.

If a successful shooting roll is made the damage is then rolled and the target can then roll their armour (if they have any) to reduce or eliminate the damage.  Any residual damage then determines how badly injured the target is and whether any nearby troops' morale is affected.  However, even a miss will result in a morale test being required.

As I am sure you can see there isn't anything revolutionary here but the moving parts are assembled to produce a more granular level of game than say Force on Force - which is what I was looking for.  The rules are very nicely presented and I am interested to see how they play out on the table.

Sunday, 20 April 2014

The Obligatory Salute 2014 Post

It's a little late but I have been rather busy!
Lenin and I ventured along to Salute again this year.  Queuing was back to being in another empty hall rather than in the main concourse and it seemed plain that there were a lot more pre-paid ticket holders at opening time than pay on the door people.

As several people have mentioned the lighting wasn't good but there seemed to be a little more space than previous years and the range of traders was good as always.  I had pre-ordered quite a bit of stuff to ensure the journey made sense but I made the rather daft move of collecting most of it early and carting it around for the day (note to self don't do that again!).

Notable moments for me were meeting old friends and in particular seeing some from the Jersey Privateers putting on their first mainland show game - a very nicely executed 15mm WW2 game:

Having a brief chat with Richard Clarke from the Too Fat Lardies when I collected my copy of The Raiders for Dux Britanniarum - what a splendid chap!

Rich running the Lardies' Chain of Command game later in the day
The enhanced Maidstone WW1 Belgium game (no pics, sorry - not sure what happened there!)

The bloggers meet up (good to see everyone, finally meet Michael Awdry of 28mm Victorian Warfare and get some delicious fudge from Clint of Anything but a One - what a generous chap!):

Picture shamelessly pinched from Ray's blog (he got it from Carl's...)
And some lovely games on show:

And here's what I came home with (more of these in later posts):

Sunday, 30 March 2014

15mm Polish Soviet War

I met up with a few old friends yesterday for a 15mm game set in the Polish Soviet War of 1919-21.  The rules were a home brew set using a variety of mechanisms from other rule sets for other periods.  I was on the Polish side and our objective was to capture two of the towns on the table but one had to be the town on the far edge.  Unfortunately we had no idea where the Soviets were and our plan ran into instant problems once we had seen their deployment (as they had almost all their full Division concentrated in the town we were intending assault first).  I was in command of the Polish 6th Regiment which took a bit of a pasting trying to push round the town whilst the 5th Regiment assaulted it.  Meanwhile our mobile column of cavalry, motorised infantry and armoured cars easily captured the other one by the railway line and then faced the might of the Soviet cavalry.

The game was a lot of fun with the almost compulsory inclusion of weird armoured cars, ineffective air support and an armoured train; but ended as a Soviet victory as we couldn't break into the first town and were about to be assaulted by the Soviet's second full Division!

It was a pretty exhausting day with a 340 mile round trip in the car and 7 full hours of gaming but well worth it.  Here are some photos from the day: