Thursday, May 2, 2013

Midnight in some burning town

Capability Savage contemplates how he is going to move his drinks cabinet six feet closer to Moscow

This was a game played a couple of weeks ago now, mainly as an exercise in working out how Savage Worlds could handle modern (post '45) combat.  The scenario was cribbed from the Force on Force supplement, Cold War Gone Hot, and was called "From Afghanistan with Love". The scenario showed a Dutch unit (I substituted my Brits) defending a hamlet against a platoon of Russian Motor Rifle Infantry.

The mention of Afghanistan in the title is a reference to the fact that the Soviets are using a tactic called the "Bonegruppa". While Soviet infantry were expected to dismount and frontally assault on foot over the last 300 yard from their transport.  In Afghanistan, the BMP's would drop the lads off and then flank the enemy position while the infantry assaulted.  

The scene - a crossroads petrol station somewhere in the Low Countries

The buildings are some Dapol plastics that I bought from a chap already assembled and more normally seen on model railway layouts. The petrol station is a surprisingly robust card kit again meant for model rail roaders assembled by young Savage. 

The figures are a mix of Elheim and Liberation. 

Can we spot any Imperialist dogs in the town?  I guess not. 

The Soviet flanking force move in, but fail to spot any of the British infantry skulking in the hamlet. 

Plan? I don't recall there being a plan.

A lone Russian is pinned down by fire while the rest of his squadmates dash for cover

The Russian plan was a simple one, they would attack on three sides, with two dismounted infantry teams attacking from the south and the west, while the bonegruppa moved in from the east to support the advance with fire and gun down the fleeing NATO troops if they decided to bug out. 

Villanous LeGlace checks his copy of the rules

"I'm not normally a praying man - but Comrade Stalin if you can hear me..."

Soviet infantry plaster the yellow Dutch house with fire

One thing we quickly learned about modern weapons in Savage Worlds - if you can see it, you can probably kill it. In some ways, I don't think the system is particularly well suited to infantry firefights with automatic weapons, however, I think we may have found a solution that particular problem. 

A lone British officer staggers out of the house rocked by gunfire and explosions

Meanwhile a sniper (artistically balanced on the cinema pot) keeps the Russian infantry (out of shot to the right) pinned, while he picks them off. 

Soviet infantry move forward through the woods firing as they go. 

The Soviet infantry assault is going rather well here, the same could not be said of the attack elsewhere. 

Villanous LeGlace moves his Soviet blocking group of armoured personnel carriers

Du Gourmand suddenly realises that LeGlace has mixed up his left and his right

That's some really tempting side armour you have there old chum

Capability Savage notices that LeGlace has moved into line of sight of his Carl Gustav team and opens fire. The rocket glances off the vehicles armour in a particularly unlucky fashion, but causes some damage and panicks the crew. LeGlace guns it and accidentally exceeds the vehicles top acceleration, forcing him to make a driving check. 

Which he fails. "You just can't get the help these days," thinks Du Gourmand.

LeGlace blows his driving roll causing the vehicle to fishtail wildly, striking the gentlemen's convenience immediately outside the petrol station and then carrying on. There is then a brief flick through the rules, while we discover what effect the collision has on the vehicle. LeGlace was apprehensive, but we soon realised that bricks and mortar couldn't harm the BMP beyond giving the crew a bit of a shake.

The Fallen


Meanwhile the advancing Russian infantry had wiped out the defenders in the petrol station in a flurry of grenades and move forward to clear the place out. 

The surviving British infantry decide to make a run for the table edge, dropping smoke to cover their retreat. 

The Soviet infantry give chase

A brutal close range firefight ensues

The British attempt to dive for cover into the house and manage to scramble through the windows. 

Unfortunately, the Soviet squad pursuing them hit the deck 
while LeGlace's BMPs have finally made it to the ball. 

Note the BMP on the left (partially obscured) which has been gaily knocking down trees and continued to do so, once LeGlace worked out how the collision rules worked.

Sadly for the forces of the Free World, the lead BMP fired it's machine gun and Grom 73mm cannon into the building and that did for the rear guard. The seven survivors scarpered off the table edge. 

The Platoon commanders BMP (still covers in the remnants of a Gentlemen's convenience no doubt) proceeds in triumph down the road. 

This was another proof of concept game and we learned a lot. 

- When playing Savage Worlds with miniatures and modern firearms, the table represents such a small area that if you can see it, you can probably kill it. 

- Vehicles are not difficult to run under the rules. We slowed up quite a bit at first, but once we got the hang of things, LeGlace's Soviet BMP driver was running things over like a....Russian driver?

- Grenades are fantastic in assault. This should not have come as a surprise. 

- Simply plonking figures down on the table a la a regular wargame is not going to work. We need to take a serious look at how the rules for notice function. Everyone was using cover, but concealment is going to have to be looked into. 

- Suppressive fire was always non-existent, mainly because the men had point targets almost all of the time. As General Du Gourmand put it, "Why scare him when I can kill him?"

- Man packed anti-armour weapons are extremely nasty in Savage Worlds. To be honest, any armoured vehicle that is finding itself on the same tabletop as hostile infantry is already too close. 

We will be approaching the next game differently. 


  1. The range issue is the same in FoF really, modern guns just have huge effective ranges. This is not helped at all by modern optical attachments.

    If you work out how to integrate notice rolls into the game and not have it seem a bit arbitrary and forced possibly then suppressive fire could be directed against targets that you haven't got a direct bead on. Obviously *someone* suspects that bush to be hostile and counter-revolutionary.

    1. "Meanwhile the advancing Russian infantry had wiped out the defenders in the petrol station in a flurry of grenades"... and presumably themselves as well! :o))

  2. I have to ask. Before the Soviets assaulted the petrol station, WITH GRENADES, did the Brits think to turn off the fuel lines / pumps?


    1. Not quite...

      My initial query on the subject was along the lines of "Well I'm out of here! I wonder can I get this heap to blow up in Ivan's face, with all my dead and wounded inside it?"

      Turps and lime cordial does wonderful things for ones concentration, but not so much the moral instinct.

  3. I am heartened to see fine wine and the cheeseboard regain its rightful place as the refreshment of choice for discerning wargamers in preference to fizzy cola and extruded foam snacks.

    Kind regards, Chris.