Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Recon Patrol - Skirmish Sangin AAR

Finally. A proper Skirmish Sangin game!

What sounds like a miracle did happen - earlier today I played my first proper Skirmish Sangin game.
How was it? Did I have fun?

OMG, this game is so cool, I wanna play it again!

The End.

So for those of you, who would want to read more, here is an AAR of our first Skirmish Sangin demo game, between me (as Taliban) and a friend of mine who took control of two USMC fire teams.

As this was an introductory game, I chose a scenario that seemed as the most accessible - Recon Patrol from the main rule book:

After three hours of patrolling the streets and fields surrounding the village, Bravo Section begins its return to base. It’s at this point that the Taliban springs their trap and Bravo Section is involved in a short but intense fire-fight from which its withdraws. The section retreats towards the rest of the platoon but as they are working their way through the streets get confused and take a wrong turn. The platoon finds itself outflanked, spread along one street with Taliban forces at both ends and its here the game begins.

Start of the game

The scenario has two ISAF fire-teams being outflanked by two Taliban teams, so both players have similar forces to play with. We did not roll for the Body attribute for the individual soldiers, but used the numbers from the book.

The game started with the USMC guys moving from the Humvee towards the enemy on both ends of the table. One of the soldiers immediately loaded his UGL in order to finish a whole group of insurgents at once, however he had to find them first.
Quite soon we had our first casualty, when an eager Afghan youth met his demise as he ran round the corner to shoot some Marines - he missed and was killed on the following turn.
He thought he could peek in and shoot them. They shot him.

Few turns followed when nothing happened, both sides were moving around until one of the Afghans realized he had an open shot and shot the Marine with loaded UGL from the back - serious wound and an unconscious soldier on the ground.
No cover? You will be shot, my friend!

At this moment it looked like that this will turn into a victory for Taliban, which unfortunately (for me) was not the case. The Marines started to move around and methodically reduced the threat with luck being on their side and them hitting the insurgents with at least a couple of very improvable shots (To hit rolls between 12-15).  
Surely this is a great position for the Taliban force..
Well that depends - you need to hit them, otherwise they will hit you!

One of the Afghans was surely not having the best day when in two consecutive rounds didn't manage to hit a Marine 2" away from him with no cover at all - his LMG would rip through the body armor like butter - two misses and a shot in the back of his head from another Marine was the end of this unlucky lads day.
Peekabo! (Missed him twice, was shot in the back)

As the Taliban side evaporated with only two remaining insurgents standing and only one critically wounded Marine (one of the guys managed to hit the wounded soldier one more time), this started to look like an absolute disaster, however the Marines started to be a bit too eager - and not sticking to cover resulted in another critically wounded soldier. To add insult to injury, one of the Marines, who saw his mate fell down failed his morale roll so badly, that he immediately ran for cover and a turn later deserted for good (counts as a casualty for the insurgents).

Second Marine is hit

This was the last 'hooray'moment for Taliban as the brutally outnumbered insurgents were killed one by one pretty quickly afterwards.
Only one Tango left

So this is where I share my impressions:

  • The game is so much fun! Honestly I can't recall if I ever had so much fun on a tabletop!
  • Even for a first proper game (only played one solo game before) this was an amazing, suspense experience
  • The game might look like it requires a bit  too much bookkeeping with all those counters and stuff, but honestly, this is absolutely not true - you won't even notice it once you start playing
  • Same thing with the various calculations - there's a pretty long list of modifiers for shooting and spotting, but again, you will remember these pretty soon and they are actually pretty simple and logical
  • The game has a very strong narrative element - it really is an RPG hybrid - it's not just two sides meeting on a battlefield, it really forces you to come up with a story, give your game some meaning.
  • It's fast! The phases are quick, you get a few seconds to plan your next move as your opponent activates one of his guys and then it's onto you again
  • I need to make some IDs for the figures - I have their names on their bases, but that forces you to turn them around, so need to come up with something better
  • If you're thinking about Rambo - forget it, this game is brutal and no cover means you will get shot at and most probably killed immediately - you need to be cautious and patient
  • Game time 120 minutes - even with table setup, quick rules introduction and us looking up stuff from time to time 
  • I can't wait for my next game

End game

I do plan a few more demo games as there are several guys who are interested in this - and I definitely need some more targets for my Taliban force.