Sunday, 9 December 2012

Glossy and Colourful...

Force on Force Rulebook

Was away all last week at a conference but managed to visit a very good book shop and get hold of a copy of 'Force on Force' and the 'Cold War Gone Hot' and 'Bush War supplements.

I didn't know much about the rules and I usually resist the temptation to splash out on glossy, colourful copies of rules - I'm much more a monochrome Cold War 83 or DBR kind of chap. However, I've wanted a copy of this set for a while though as what I little I did know appealed to me greatly i.e. the emphasis is on the men not the weapons.

So there is an intriguing method of reflecting troop quality using different types of die (D8, D10, D12 etc) - not too sure about this - and no weapons tables for infantry weapons - like this idea.

Since the accent is on infantry combat that means no tables or a very minimal one for a few vehicles. The idea of different quality troops firing at different 'optimum ranges', whilst all weapons can fire across the table (line of sight restrictions notwithstanding), is really good. Shades of Phil Barker's 'Inferior' shot firing 100 paces whilst "Ordinary' and 'Superior' blast away at 200 paces.

The game is designed to be played around scenarios which means more work than a pick up and play set of rules but that's not necessarily a bad thing. And anyway the supplements provide plenty of suggestions in that department.

Davai! Davai!
 The Cold War Gone Hot supplement has been extensively reviewed in far more detail than I will here. It's unusual in that it covers a hypothetical war - but one which looked very likely for all that. I remember that by the mid eighties, with SS20s and Cruise Missiles being deployed in Europe and Reagan and Thatcher in office and CND out on the streets, the prospect of a conflgration in Europe seemed all too real.

The scenarios are in three groups. The first is the Cold War heating up as the West feared it may, with a massive Soviet led invasion of Western Europe and thousands of T-72s trundling across the north German plain towards the Rhine. The second is more realistic given what we now know, with NATO taking on a Warsaw Pact that is more of a military version of a Potemkin village. The third is a bit silly even for the nerd that I fear I may be - it's Hollywood's version of the war between the West and the Soviet bloc. Mid -western college boys resisting a Soviet occupation of the USA... 

There are handy ORBATs, some interesting scenario ideas that could be easily tweaked to be fought by different forces than the predominantly US versus Soviets ones that are listed and a few additional rules to go with these.

'We had joy we had fun, killing floppies in the sun'

The Bush Wars supplement is a useful addition to my library of African War rules and scenarios. If I'm going to get serious about playing these rules I'll have to consider re-basing my Cuban, Angolan and South African armies as the rules are designed for individual figures. That said, it wouldn't be too hard to amend the rules to play with my figures as they are based now, with three figures to a base for SLRs, Assault Rifles, LMGs etc and two for RPGs, HMGs etc

Again, there are plenty of good scenario ideas which can be easily tweaked to be played out between different forces.

The politics of the war(s) being played out is more evident in this book than in the main rule book or Cold War Gone Hot. The reality is that there is even less of a consensus in the West about African wars of de-colonisation and the Border War than about the current war in Afghanistan and the war that never happened in 1980s Europe.

I'm sure I'll buy a load of dice and give these rules a go. It's only a question of time.

Like Cold War 83, the basic rules would work equally well for any 20th century conflict with a little adpatation - how about the Russian Civil War?

1 comment:

  1. They take some getting used to, as they use mechanisms not normally seen in traditional rule sets, but bear with them and once you're used to them, I'll be surprised if you don't like them.