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.