Sunday, December 6, 2015

Black Ops with Savage - First Impressions

I hope the Russians love their children too

It's been a busy week and to be honest the world is too much with us, but we had the pleasure of Capability Savages company. Mrs Kinch and Tootsie put the world to rights over a bottle of pro secco while Savage and I gave Black Ops from Osprey a shot. 


Not exactly West Germany

It was only later that I realised that the cars were all on the wrong side of the road. By which I mean the left hand side of the road, which is of course the correct side, but not for Germany. 

It's all too confusing. 

We picked the encounter battle scenario and 50 points of Conscript Soviets versus Professional BAOR.  The setting was 1979, the balloon has gone up and two sections of infantry find each other in some nameless German truck stop choked with abandoned cars. 

 
Probably not coming to a cinema near you if the Red Army have anything to say about it.

I really like Savages bill boards. They are top notch. Not least because using steel paper and magnetic sheet it is possible to change the movie poster as you wish. Alien next time I think. 

Looking at these Dark Future roads reminds me that Donogh very kindly gave me some felt road, damned if I can find 'em though. 


The field of battle

We set up the game. This was a starter battle and half of it was spent struggling with the rules rather than each other, but on the whole a very positive experience.  The British advanced from the bottom of the picture, while the Soviets were a bit more spread out and controlled the garage. 


Sneaky motor rifle men

The game ticked along at a decent pace as we worked out the systems for shooting, moving, suppression and so forth.  Aces are extremely useful for "pushing" because of their ability to give groups an extra activation. I used this to enable my GPMG crew dominate the centre of the battlefield. 

Savage used it to organise colossal firepower from a group of AK47 armed squaddies hiding out at the pumps. At close range, massed AK fire can be devastating and effectively silenced my GPMG, unfortunately Savage was unable to capitalise on that suppression due to casualties in his flanking forces. 

A manoeuvre group under Corporal Gruber move to flank 

While the GPMG created a base of fire, Corpora Gruber of the Loamshires moved to flank the Russian position. This was moderately successful and ensured the Russian couldn't rush the GPMG. 



Soviet PKM team lights up the GPMG team suppressing them

On the whole, we were happy with Black Ops.  It seemed more intuative and less abstract than Force on Force, though Savage observed and he's absolutely right, that our 50 pt forces seemed very small on a 4 foot by 4 foot board. I think we will need to look at the options for creating more movement in the game, such as smoke. 



But rapid and accurate SLR fire thins the Soviet ranks

I think a change in mission from a straight up fight might also make the situation a little more fluid. We haven't tried any of the Stealth missions yet. The rulebook was easy to navigate and well laid out.  I believe there is a QRF available from the Osprey website, which I will probably download. 


Pavel, more brave than wise, launches a solo flanking attack

The game ended with the Soviet centre disintegrating a hail of accurate SLR fire, while the GPMG prevented a close assault where the Soviets might have been able to use their numbers.  

On the whole, it's too early to tell whether Black Ops will become a regular visitor to the War Room, but there's more to like than dislike and I'd certainly play it again. It should be said that our first game took an hour and a half, which is quite speedy given that a lot of it was spent flicking through the rules. 

More play is required I think. 


21 comments:

  1. Looks and sounds like great fun in any case.

    Best Regards,

    Stokes

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    1. It was and I think we'll try and do it again shortly:

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  2. Replies
    1. Let's not go crazy - ok well maybe a little crazy.

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  3. Hi Conrad. Can you post some closeups of the miniatures you are using? Hard to see but they look well done.

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    1. Thanks Chris.

      I'll see what I can do, in the meantime, you can see closeups of most of my cold war figures here.
      http://tinyurl.com/zjm2f2n

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  4. Just reverse the picture and pretend that "Swaj" is an East European dubbed film :-)

    Regards, Chris.

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    1. It's in black and white - the shark smokes through most of it. Though critics loved Swaj, it's about a young sharks search for his father.

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  5. Definately try a stealth game soon. I found the none stealth games to be OK but not significantly different to any of its rivals.

    For a stand up fight look at 75-80 points enough to get you an 8 man section/ squad 'Jacks', a heavy weapon team 'Kings'and an 'Ace' leader. I've worked out a few different teams in advance based on what I wanted or felt would be right on the table before I looked at the points cost.

    Cheers,

    Pete.

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    1. Thanks for that Pete. I might make it the full 100, so that we can add a little support.

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  6. Sounds interesting. I bought Force on Force on the back of loving Ambush Alley precisely because it was intuitive, fun and great for solo play. Felt that it throttled most of what was so good about AA.Will have to look at Black ops, and then read F on F again, then play them all again. Thanksfor the ideas.

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    1. I never played Ambush Alley, but I found FoF a bit of a struggle. This definitely felt less abstract and more intuitive. I was thinking that some of the FoF scenarios, particularly the smaller ones might be well suited to Black Ops.

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  7. Now I have to go watch the original "Red Dawn" ....)
    Nice game, it should be a campaign.....)

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    1. You see, if I was doing a campaign, I would resurrect my London Calling idea and do British resistance to a Soviet invasion. "Red Dawn" with SLRs and a punk soundtrack.

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  8. I'm definitely looking for "Swaj" on Criterion. Sounds like an important foreign film.
    Up the Loamshires.

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  9. I picked up a copy of Black Ops recently Aa the simple card driven play appeals and the stealth missions sound like they could be worth the price of admission in their own.

    Thanks for the impressions.

    I heard that Swaj 2 is more palatable for Western audiences, but I couldn't bring myself to watch it after the shower scene in the original.

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  10. "Red Dawn" with SLRs and a pink roses know sound track would be great. "This Was England" with skinheads vs. Spetznaz. ...would need said ska though. Add in some Dr. Who and the Dale's a ton a day it's anyone's game.

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    1. We're mainly sticking to the specials and the clash at present.

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  11. Swaj 2 was a bit rough alright. I'll never look at a potato masher the same way again.

    We gave the stealth rules a go and they're quite interesting. Recommended.

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