The Roaring Northerners are Dave Stewart, John Hill and Iain Robertson; a loose affiliation of tabletop wargamers and figure painters who inhabit the frozen and somewhat soggy wastelands of west central Scotland. Shadowy and secretive, they stoically quest to reduce the scale of the lead mountain that threatens to engulf them all, and perhaps even find the time for the occasional game...
....This is their story

Thursday, 3 March 2016

Belated Updates! No.2- A Game of Black Ops

Having struggled to get our heads round the Force on Force ruleset from Osprey, we've been on the look out for something that could provide a workable alternative to allow us to actually get some figures on the table and rolling dice (I really want to like the FoF rules, they do seem to be a decent set, but just really poorly laid out out and confusing at first, without someone who knows what they're doing to actually teach you the game...). I'm looking forward to the future release of the Battlegroup expansion for Cold War, but that's a) years away and b) pitched at larger scale engagements than the usual platoon level skirmishes we usually play. Assuch, when I saw the release of the Black Ops set from Osprey, I was intrigued. Could this be something we could use?

While it seemed to be pitched more at sneaky-beaky style asymmetric engagements rather than conventional battle, it might at least provide us with something that in true Roaring Northerners fashion we could bastardise into suiting our purposes...

So, having picked up a copy and had a look through, it seemed that we could tweak it for some conventional shenannigans on the Central Front. Designed, as they are, for small unit, covert action in the modern period, a certain amount of "clunkiness" was expected, as we would be doing a 1980s Cold War setup, involving conventional forces, on a rather sparsely populated board....

However, it all went rather well, actually. We decided on a variation of the "Assault" scenario. Rather than two reconnaisance forces having a meeting engagement, it was arranged that a small  force of Dave's Czechs, composed of 4 fireteams mounted in two BMP-1s, supported by a BRDM-2 and a PKM team were attempting to punch through a covering screen of my BAOR, fighting a delaying action. BAOR forces consisted of a two fire teams, a MILAN team and a SF GPMG, all in pre-prepared positions. This worked out with the Czechs having about 150% of the points available to BAOR, which was what was suggested in the rules. 7 turns were allowed for the Czechs to either force their way of the opposite table edge, or drive the BAOR off same, and continue their advance towards the Channel.

It started well for the Czechs, although the BRDM stopped a MILAN missile early on and was immobilised half way across the board. Both BMPs charged past it and were rapidly bearing down on the BAOR positions when both were stopped; one falling victim to a MILAN missile, the other took a sustained burst of GPMG fire in the side armour. This caused both to burst into flame and subsequently explode, taking almost all of the crew and infantry dismounts with them. The remaining Czechs then came under sustained small arms fire, and despite some excellent suppression early on of the MILAN team (which had allowed the BMPs to get as close as they did), were slowly shot to pieces, and forced to withdraw by turn 4. The BAOR also suffered casulaties, but definitely benefitted from being in prepared posistions.

All in all, a very enjoyable game. A believable result was achieved by the use of realistic forces and tactics used by both sides, and had the Czechs perhaps had one more BMP and section, or even been luckier in saving more of those riding in the existing BMPs, the result could have been very different.

I was pleasantly suprised by just how well these rules translated into conventional warfare, from the more "stealthy" verison they are invisioned for. Definitely need to get my SAS painted up and get them sneaking about a Soviet supply depot I think!

Since this was a "first run through" I didn't bother taking proper chronological photos, rather just some snaps as we went along for the sake of recording the madness...

Definitely a game we will need to get back to, with more terrain. John has also caught the bug now and obtained not only the rules but several factions (which the bugger has already pinted too!) So inaddition to my Soviets and Brits, and Dave's Czechs, we now have Chechens, Mercenaries, terrorists and more Brits...


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