Saturday, November 24, 2012

Force on Force - Rules Review

Force on Force is a set of rules from Osprey Publishing that covers modern conflicts. They were developed and distributed by Ambush Alley games who have a strong and loyal customer base. The fire combat is based on shifting dice, so a D6 is worse than a D8, a D10, or a D12(best). Dice are shifted depending on the circumstances. Insurgents may have a D6 firepower which really bad, but may be a D12 morale as they are fighting for their cause against an invader.A typical US infantry unit is uses a  D8 or D10, with Navy SEALS using a D12.

I have played these set of rules about 6 times now and feel comfortable enough to rate them. The rules are based on gaining initiative and the person with intiative can perform actions one unit at a time. The person losing initiative can react fire or react move to a unit that takes an action during its inititiative. By the way Insurgents never get the initiative, a true assymetric engagement.

Organization: C+

The rules are organized by the sequence of play but do have some problems with organization, especially related to reactions. There are rules regarding movement, fire, and morale throughout the book several sections apart making it difficult to put all the pieces together.

 Here is an example:

On page 69 the rules state, "Remember that units lose 1 die of firepower and 1" of movement for each reaction after the first".

Well I checked the movement section on page 31 and there is no mention that a unit loses 1 inch of movement per reaction. The reference should be made under the Movement section as well.

I think the authors tried to cover reactions as a seperate section but since reactions can be movement or fire they influence movement and fire rules in other sections of the book. During the last game I played I was flipping back and forth so much I got frustrated and developed an outline. The organization of the content is my biggest problem with this set of rules.

Examples: A

There are a lot of eamples in the book for specific rules. There are examples for passing and failing dice rolls to help clear up any confusion. Some diagrams would help but the rules are supprted by a strong forum at Ambush Alley.

Support: A

The rules are supported by a forum on the Ambush Alley site. Rules questions and clarifications are frequently listed. Now one may state that a well written set of rules does not require a forum and you may have a case. I have found that every rules set I own has some gray areas that need clarification or some sort of house rule without exception. The website is user friendly and free down loads.

Complete Content: C

I have been flustered by missing content that is included as an addendum online. When playing out a game against insurgents I attempted to clear an unoccupied building. Page 115 refernces the section on how to clear a building of insurgents and refers you to the Building Clearing table. I went crazy trying to locate the table that was mentioned and failed to find it after a long search. I started twitching and cursing as I flipped back and forth reading the same lines over and over again expecting to see a table magically appear out of no where. We eventually skipped the rule completely and moved on. The following day I went on the forum and discovered that the table was accidentally left out of the book during printing. The table is given as a down load on the Ambush Alley website. Another issue is that the optimum fire bonus is not referenceed for vehicles on any QRS I could find. Even though vehicle weapons are always in optimum range so the bonus should be listed on the QRS as a reminder.

There are a lot of pictures included from Osprey books. This can help as a painting guide and understand the variety of troops you can use. I never knew there were Lebanese Marines....hmmph. Sadly there is little eye candy but oh well.

Playability: B+

Movement is very simple and rolling for fire and resolving combat is very easy. The complexity comes in rounds of fire and reactions. You have to remember how many times you fire as you lose fire dice and 1" of movement in every reaction, so an active unit will finish their move short of the intended location if it reacts multiple times. It doesn't hurt to use a players sheet for infantry and vehicles either, I developed my own but you can probably find one on line. The more you play and resolve reactions and chains of reactions the more confident you feel.

Overall a solid B+

You don't need a large investment in figures or terrain. After playing a couple ot times I really like these rules. A game can be played in 2-3 hours and the rules are scalable to involve whole platoons of infantry if you want a gmae that big. The rules are worth the purchase, just be sure to run a small game and build confidence. If you want to play a counter insurgency game then for F*%#s sake get the building clearing table from the website first.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

The French Collection - My 28s

Happy Thanksgiving, and if you are reading this from another country then Happy Thursday!

I spent part of the day going through my basement storage area pulling out boxes and totes of figures.

Well I finally started pulling things out of storage. I have been painting Russian figures from Old Glory, Perry and Warlord and it is taking a long time. I thought I should look at the French figures I painted last year because I forgot what I had completed. The infantry and cavalry are based on 50mm x 50mm masonite bases.

The completed French so far
  I have 5 units of infantry with 4 bases per unit and a 3 stand unit of Legere. I was able to find enough figures to make a 4th base. There are 4 bases of artillery and 13 stands of dragoons. I also have 30 figures of skirmishers based singly on 25mm square masonite bases. I also have 5 mounted officers based singly and one base of 2 mounted officers that can be used as a divisional commander. Lastly I have Napoleon on a large command base with 2 other figures. I plan to use them for Black Powder but they can also be used for Lasalle which makes the skirmishers important to the collection.

The infantry

A majority of the figures are Perry plastics with the balance from Old Glory. The Napoleon figure was a gift from an HMGS convention. I also have a Marshal Ney figure from another convention which is on the painting table.

Perry French dragoons
 The dragoons are also Perry plastics which have amazing quality. I did have difficulty assembling them and I am not looking forward to doing the cuirrassiers, but I really liked how they turned out. When I assembled them I had to keep making corrections. I damn near glued my fingers together and lost a few layers of the epidural on my right thumb and index finger. Lesson learned.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

10mm - Something Different

I am thinking about starting a 10mm project in the near future. I have always been interested in the Seven Years War involving the forces of Prussia and Austria. I am sure the Mrs will be happy to know I will require more storage space for another project. She has a tendency to say, "You have little army men, why do you want more ?" She does allow for hobby time whenever I want to paint or play so I can't really complain. I have it pretty good. I did pick up a copy of the Osprey book for Leuthen and Rossbach. The OOB and maps are a great resource, but not too much on uniforms.

OK, got it.

Why 10mm? Well I want to have the ability for maneuver during a game. I have played quite a bit of  28mm horse and musket and we use a similar approach due to the size of units, figures and game space. You line up across from the opponent, march straight ahead. Then we  shoot and melee until one side breaks and then its over. Don't get me wrong, I love the games I have played, but I just want something different. I like making the decision to send a division to guard a road that can be used by an opponent to flank my army. I like the movement and management of reserves and the strategic deployment of brigades to assault or hold key areas. I guess this is just me harkoning back to the time when I would spend a weekend playing SPI's Terrible Swift Sword, or A Gleam of Bayonets for hours on end.

So now I want to dive into the world of 10mm. The cost, availability and quality is an attractive combination. The figures don't appear to be so small that you can not see the figures. It is true that most of the gamers I spend time with have vast collections of 15mm figures and we could pool our resources to run a grand game. There are three reasons for me not to look to 15mm. The first is that it is difficult to coordinate having everyone available who owns 15mm figures, making the option of co-hosting a game difficult. The second is that the figures (Pendraken especially) are attractive to me personally. I am not a good painter, the figures seem more forgiving to my lack of skill. The third is that the game is easier to transport, especially at conventions.  Since I need to buy all of the figures to fill out the forces of 2 opposing armies I can only see 10mm as the way to accomplish the project. This blog is an excellent way to reference my decisions for consistency as I make progress.

The complete set up. Good lord  it's a lot of ground.

As you can see the Battle of Leuthen is no small feat. I need figures, terrain, bases and everything else to run a successful game. The map of the battlefield shows the vast distances needing to be negotiated as desperate Austrian commanders try to manuver troops into position.

Wurtemburg Grenadier...hmm looks Prussian

 So before I buy any figures or terrain I would like to list out the requirements and cost for the project on this blog. I need to decide on the number of figures per unit. the number of bases, the rules, the size of the game space. Will I just do the Prussian assault on the Austrian left wing, or concentrate on the grand battle; thus giving the Austrian commanders the opportunity to right so many wrongs of the actual battle? One thing is for sure, I want units that look like nasses of men, horses and equipment, not just game pieces. I will probably need more figures than I plan for, but 10mm allows for the option without breaking the bank.

I am still undecided about the project as I am still paining up 28mm Napoleonic Russians. I can't start another project until I make more progress on my 28mm Russians and French. But I can still make plans and dream. I am still learning the basics of the Seven Years War and I need to do some more research before pulling the trigger on this project. Perhaps in late 2013 or early 2014.

This is Fred, he hates Austrians, Russians, and French...research complete.