Wednesday, 21 January 2015

A Game of Two Halves, Laserblade vs Flying Lead

"A Game of two halves". " At the end of the day it's all about getting the baddie in the net". "This is the result we predicted except the other side won". Delete as applicable.

Way back when, Tony and oneself used to wargame on a Thursday in my wife's shop. We were limited to an A3 cork pin board. We cut our Flying Lead teeth here, our first few Song of Spear and Shield test games.

One of our regulars was a team of Expendable ex- Alpha special forces special missions squad.

Tony wants to bring them back into the fold. Neil Goodacre of Echida Games sent me a copy of their beginner set of rules called Laserblade. I had replied to their request for playtesters, but too late. This gift was unsolicited and I'm giving an honest review. So putting two and two together to make five, which is either quantum mathematics or factoring in my recent GZG seasonal sales goodies.

Laserblade. Not overly complicated, simple language and well laid out. Aimed at the youngster with plastic army men, possibly Dr Who plastics or any other collection who wants to DO something. Ideal set for a parent to give over a holiday. I can see a couple of youngsters having lots of fun and “what if's” with these. No “that is that figure, has to be painted like this. Negotiation, planning, swearing at calculator. Character building. After this something like USEME series should be doable.

Here are the combatants, I'm not going into too much detail – this is how it plays out, if you want to known more, pay up! Everyone costs a basic 10points & starts with Ranged combat of 6+ and Close combat (cc) of 6.

Leader. “Butch”. Marksman hits on 5+ Brawler hits on 5+ in cc. Total 22
+1 Initiative, +1 Activation. +2 Valiant (morale) rolls as Valiant

Scout. “Slick” Scout, always in cohesion. Sniper hits 4+ Total 23
Valiant, +2 on rolls

LMG “Goon” Heavy weapon, Hard to Hit (shots at -1) Marksman hits on 5+ Total 20
Valiant, +2 Valour if in cohesion, +1 in not.

HMG “T.Rex” Heavy weapon, Rapid fire, 2 attacks per turn. Total 19
Valiant, +2 Valour if in cohesion, +1 in not. Group total 84

Opposition. There's no stats for vehicles, so I'm classing each as static scenery.

10 points & starts with Ranged combat of 6+ and Close combat (cc) of 6.

Easy to hit -1 on shooters to hit is -3, so 7 each. 11 @ 7 = 77

1 Leader Easy to hit, +1 Initiative, +1 Activation. +1 Valiant (morale) roll for him @ all in cohesion. @ 12 Group total 89

Very Hollywood, heroes shoot, bad guys fall down.

Perhaps comparing it to Flying Lead is a bit like draughts vs chess. But consider this. Dad has a game sorted, lets youngsters use same terrain and figures.

Leader. “Butch”.  Points 192Quality 3+Combat 3
Special Rules-Assault Rifle, Combat Fiend, Crack Shot/Marksman, Hero, Leader
Scout. “Slick”Points 132Quality 3+Combat 3
Special Rules-Semi-auto Rifle w/ Scope, Jungle-craft, Light/Bushwacker, Sniper
LMG “Goon” Points 98Quality 3+Combat 3
Special Rules-Drum Fed Light Machine Gun, Crack Shot/Marksman, Stealth
HMG “T.Rex” Points      36Quality 3+Combat 3
Special RulesStrong.
Weapon  Points:29  Armor Piercing, Auto Fire, Lethal vs. Soft Targets, Range: Long, Stable
 Group total  487
 Fortunately I'd "worked" the PAU troops in my previous post, so I can just cut n paste:
Militia cannon fodder as bad as you can get.1x Officer Q4 C1* 59points  Leader, Green, Reluctant, Submachine gun, Commo, Pistol
1x Sergeant Q4 C2 59points  2ic, Green, Reluctant, Submachine gun, Commo, Pistol
16 Troopers Q5 C2, 20points, Green, Mook, Poor Shot, Submachine gun
1x LMG Team Q5 C2 44points, Green, Mook, Poor Shot, Crewed LMG.

2 Squads of 8, 1 with officer, 1 with sergeant plus attached LMG.

Group total 482
* C1 may seem low, but I've used it to represent unready/unwilling rather than untrained.
Green means shaky morale, Mook refers to one hit and they're out.

Perhaps comparing it to Flying Lead is a bit like draughts vs chess. But consider this. Dad has a game sorted, lets youngsters use same terrain and figures.


Game 1

Tony's A team jinked through the buildings (first use of Troy, don't look out of place!) .My guards failed to spot them. There are no spotting rules in either, we use a quality roll. Butch takes out the guards, sniper takes out another. Trex and the other MG cannot miss, so a very quick, very Hollywood game.
Game 2 went just about the same way, the green troops lost it when a very good burst from Goon's LMG took out both guards and the LMG team. Ouch. The officer was about to get people moving when the sniper took him out. Most left the field then leaving the way clear.

An old lesson re-learnt. No matter what the rules, widely different quality troops just make for a poor, if more realistic than most, game.

However, the Laserblade rules performed as well The roll-for activation works. I'd prefer to lose the flowchart for a playsheet. For some reason I'm reminded of Irregulars Ancients rules. I was sold on 6mm when I saw two young lads as (then) Armageddon in Reading with a starter pack of rules & 2 armies playing a game on the stairs. These rules are a good way to get youngsters away from overpriced rules and miniatures, get something, work it out and play. One advantage of a basic set is that it gives room for “house rules” and adaptation.

Game 3. Ok, there wasn't going to be a game 3 but thanks to the flu I was too lazy to do much. I did get a set of box's from This is it (UK), I had planned to use smaller, but this was the last set they had. I wanted to make walled enclosures after the African/Arab model but in a “colonial” style rather than a modern. I also had a selection of box's and fittings I'd picked up needing using. The garden is from a disposable lighter display. I had originally planned to reuse Troy, but this works.

The scenics are the basis for the ultramodern trial game of Harder Than Steel,
said he patiently.

Plus I'd painted the tower!

I worked the PAU's a little differently. I had 6 groups of 4 troops + leader. Each team had a heavy weapon, 1 sniper, 1 MG, the rest RPG's. I made 6 entry points and randomly assigned the teams.

Tony's objective was to get across the board. He rolled 2 as his starting point and it seemed logical to give him the initiative. Almost immediately my group plowed into the back of his. We took this as 2 groups colliding, coming out of separate doorways. I ended up with 3 guys in contact with the LMG. I could/should have shot my way in, but I decided on close combat. I'd only got the one activation, so it was over to Tony. The chain gun opens up, stitching my RPG chap and leader like a kipper. Loss of leader morale (there's a lot of this-) and my 3 head for home sharpish. Tony then heads for the main crossing. The scout secures the T, heading down while the leader the crossing.

The scout headed for my (sniper) team on their flank, working his way around and flanking them whilst the LMG provided support. That team melted. The leader worked his way up to the tower (LMG) team and routed them single handed. This gave a secure flank while the heavies concentrated on my build-up at the extraction end. One of mine got a shot at the chain gun at max range to no effect. The return fire wiped the team out except the RPG who legged it towards his mates, to be taken out by a grenade.

The chain gun melted my rear support bar two.  Amazingly these two rallied and one did an "end run" towards the A team, rounded the corner gun blazing at the three stood there - ands missed every one.  Aaaaagh!  They go down to aimed shots from the LMG.  My last team heads through the garden but are too late, they are away.

A much better game, each time Tony was out pointed but had the initiative and weapon to break me.   Could have been different-.

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