Friday, 30 January 2015

Flying Lead, Dominar, Dainties & Dastardly Droids - what's not to like?

(Or) Why build a Police Force?

Have I not tried to steer you, oh my lovely Droogs, from the path of harm? So plug back your ear'oles (not anyone else's) as I pontificate.

Do not, under any circumstances contemplate a force with police or cops in the title. For in such an action you are opening a veritable Pandora's blue box that will prove to be larger in the implementation than in the planning. No manufacturer's (particularly GZG) or toyshop can be perused without “that would be useful”.

Cops, police force, gendarme, call them what you will. Peoples militia/self defence force UN peacekeepers (I'm thinking of the Balkans here) intrepid nasty-hunters be they Buffy, Persons in Black or Tourchwood. The British Army in the Northern Ireland “Troubles”*. Korean war is probably a bit too far outside this remit, we'll leave that to the politicians. Black Horse Down type scenarios where a higher tech invaders (with their own agenda) are engaged by local lawful militia defence forces.

They operate in a different environment to your average military. Usually urban, quite often their own “back yard”. Their equipment is often basic or old by their military standards. Training is quite different, rules of engagement quite tighter to non existent.

Police forces can also be played as a third force with a different set of objectives. Add in paramedic and firefighting assets as well. How often do random civilians, traffic, refugees feature in your game as a form of mobile scenery?

I prefer to play skirmish games with a less well equipped force of realistic people who are faced with an extraordinary situation. The more that can go wrong, the more interesting the game. Playing with the “invincible” army is just plain boring. Being able to tailor your TOE to the enemy is, well, silly. In our Trouble at t' Mill game I pitted ruthless alien invaders, with their own agenda, against a fledgling Tourchwood and the local Territorials (the British version of a local militia). So you could call that a Police Action. I made a force of modern(ish) American cops for Tony, these can be found here: I also have a militia force, my PAU.

Old-code GZG Paramilitary police.

My intention was to downsize but that sort of went into reverse. Proper Preparation Prevents Poor Pockets. I have a good selection used for Gruntz and Hammers Slammers with vehicles from Old Crow, Brigade, Combat Wombat and Ground Zero Games. Beware matchbox and other similar.

I've reorganised and “downsized” to what they were intended, a paramilitary police, security or specialist mercenary unit. This force facilitates, or hinders any other. I can see several jobs, each leading to a variety of scenarios:
Starport or base security. Calliopes, fast wheeled vehicles.
Patrol or checkpoint. APC's with light weapons.
SWAT. The rural squad and some heavy weapons.

Specialists. Robot or remote control vehicles for bomb, hazard or crime scene control. Drones. such as you might encounter in and around a starport or instillation. These do urban/enclosed combat as standard, having a specialist close assault team for rural action. These were fun and easy to do, a great way to add depth to a game.

This lot use shotguns and heavy pistols as standard with grenade launchers as squad heavy weapon. There are a couple of machine guns available to the HQ squad plus those on the APC's. Robots provide heavier area or anti-vehicle fire. I stripped out the old GZG power armour from this force to be used elsewhere, but added a few head-swap specialists.

Platoon of 4x5 man squads each of 4 troopers and one grenade launcher plus command squad comprising senior Sergeant any attached machine gun teams and specialists such as the net gun team can handle capture rather than combat. Each squad is assigned an APC or a couple of area cars.

The main robots deployed are hunter/killer or hunter/capture models that carries a micro-missile load chosen from HEAP, AP, CMC or flashbang grenades. Model one is wheeled for quiet internal use. A tracked version is available for rougher or off road use.

Techno-Ninja. Thanks Jon! A real GZG winner. I'm working on another article (last 3 months!) on urban warfare using military forces. These are the crossover. I'm also leaning towards “A Fistful of Kung Fu” and this game might be reinvented for that as well as HTS. Watch the skies.

These Ninja use a grav variation of the standard police robot for personal transport and protection, carrying a mini missile system based on the (Japanese) infantry launcher below. The infantry are close assault specialists carrying a fear inducing weapon. That gives a force of 8 quite capable of taking on a larger target. Using the robot for lift gives great mobility at the risk of reduced firepower, as the robot cannot shoot in that mode.

The basic light mini- missile is the standard Japanese munition. The launcher carries 8 chosen from:
Armour Piercing Fin Stabilised Discharging Sabot (APFSDS)
High Explosive Armour Piercing grenade round (HEAP)
Anti-personnel (AP)
Chemical Smoke Marker* (CSM)
Chemical Smoke Concealment (CSC)

Larger units add a fire and forget seeking HEAP round that reacts to the CSM*.

The infantry launcher and some other units have a signature exhaust suppressor. It's loaded like a revolver and either scrapped or recycled. Fortunately Flying Lead has a simple method for upgrading, a longer range and larger blast circle.

 The Scenery. I got this kit for £8 in “This is it” in the UK. Originally priced at £22, which is far too much. I must not buy another. I must not buy another. I must not buy another. I made yet more (period-specific) cover.

The Side

Cops. I wanted to use these vehicle based despite the enclosed nature of the scenery.

Vehicle, has crew of 2, driver and gunner. Commander and EW slots are filled by the passengers as the vehicle is designated as close support.  Vehicle colour matches the helmets,

Cop car

Points 60 Quality 3+ Combat 1
Special Rules Armored +1 (Thin), Off-Road, Personnel Carrier 6 passengers,


Armor Piercing, Lethal vs. Soft Targets, Range: Long, Stable

Cops +19 for grenade launcher, plus +10 squad leader +15 leader -10 specialist no shotgu

Points 72 Quality 3+ Combat 1
Special Rules -Pistol, -Shotgun, Body Armor, Crack Shot/Marksman, Handcuffs, Personal Communication Device

Cop robot wheeled variant -3

Points 76 Quality 3+ Combat 3
Special Rules Armored +1 (Thin), Off-Road, Tracked, Vehicle

Gun buggy + MG +48

Points 78 Quality 3+ Combat 2
Special Rules Gyro Stabilization, Long Move, Off-Road, Vehicle


Points 72 Quality 3+ Combat 2
Special Rules Armored +1 (Thin), Off-Road, Personnel Carrier 9 passengers, Vehicle

Scout vec

Points 68 Quality 3+ Combat 2
Special Rules Armored +1 (Thin), Off-Road, Personnel Carrier 3 passengers, Vehicle

The BAD guys


Points 86 Quality 3+ Combat 1
Special Rules -Taser, Body Armor, Leader, Long Move, Personal Communication Device



Points 162 Quality 3+
Combat 3
Special Rules
-Machine Pistol,-Shuriken/Small Th own Knives, Acrobat, Body Armor, Chucker,
Combat Fiend, Crack Shot/Marksman, Fear, Personal Communication Device,
Steady Under Fire, Stealth


Points 71 Quality 4+ Combat 3
Special Rules
-Shuriken/Small Thrown Knives, Combat Fiend, Fanatic, Personal Communication Device, Sprinter

Ninja rid

Points 108 Quality 3+ Combat 3
Special Rules Armored +1 (Thin), Gyro Stabilization, Long Move, Off-Road, Vehicle


Grenade Combat 3, High Tech Ammo, Range: Long, Select Fire, Spread, Stable

Dominar 86
3 schoolgirl Bodyguards 213
4 Ninjas with ride 1,182 (Ninja, ride, launcher)
Total 1,481

2 Cars (vec, railgun, 5 passengers) 949
Car, robot + specialist + CO 304
Walker + railgun 91
Gun buggy 126
Total 1,471

No surprise to anyone who has looked at Tony's facebook page, he took the Dominar's force. His job was easy (or so I thought), come through the not-stargate*** head for the saucer, get the Dominar in contact with it for 2 activations then leg it. I' of course, intended to head them off at the pass.

Regular subscribers will be amazed that not only did I win the initiative (with a 3!) but managed to get a good grip on the centre of the table plus got all my cops out of the motors. You game (nearly put “play”, that will never do!) with a chap and you think you know him! Well Tony demonstrated an unusually adventurous and sneaky side. That he would use the Dominar in a very aggressive manner. Using his flying ability and excellent dice rolling his techno-ninja took the high ground and started a positive rain of grenades on my chaps. I lost my centre unit, they were first knocked down then blown up. My point-robot did a good job of absorbing hit after hit, doing some back even though out-gunned and teched.

My poor old walker took 3 successive HEAP rounds that KO'd then killed him.**** The gun buggy that had been guarding the other flank came to the centre's aid but was polished off be some fine shooting from a ninja.

The star of the show was the Dominar. He did an end-run (ignoring his leadership role) down my left flank and took on one of the cars. First he tasered the gunner, then knocked on the drivers door (what side DO they drive on in Japan?) and zapped the driver and fried the vehicles electrics. Never had that before!
 My gate – guard  (yellow) unit took their time getting in the action (NOW my leader rolls low!) and he ends up being chased by 2 shotgun wielding pissed off cops. (Cops are happy to proceed, but not have to walk). My surviving grenade launcher (the other suffered by having a car shunted over him. Not nice) took on the centre robot but proved a rather poor shot. My cops closed in on the ninjas, but were outgunned.

The schoolgirl guards did a rotten job, but one did get close enough to a grenade to get her hair mussed, skirt and blouse ripped, as they do.

I lost, superior numbers encircled! Fantastic game! We will get A Fistful of Kung Fu and redo. These cops will be back. As will the ninja. And the Dominar. We need more alien bad guys.

*Don't get me started on Northern Ireland. I lost friends, others lost bits without ever a thank you. A terrorist force funded by our allies and supplied by our enemies. Today we talk of taking away the passports of muslims who go abroad to fight. Yet these very terrorists sit in parliament and in power. How very different if, after serving their sentences we had removed these criminals British passports and dumped them on Ireland?

**Any resemblance to the August Personage of Dominar Rygel xvi  is, of course, purely coincidental.

***We had collected some cheap transforming robots from the various pound shops over the holiday, these are a good source of bits. I based these using charity game credit type cards smeared with a thick layer of no-more nails then the parts pressed in and the filler gently smoothed around it. When dry a little dark grey paint and any “overs” used to paint. These took next to no time and pennies each. My original plan was to make burnt out vehicles for the last of my planned HTS games. I may remodel or simply start afresh.

****We do the vehicle and HW combat a bit different than the book. We use the same method and results as normal shooting but scaled up. A vehicle shoots a vehicle as a person shoots a person. HEAP and grenades, plus heavy machine guns or low calibre cannon either stun (taking 2 actions to recover) or force an evade. A penetrating hit (double) will cause the vehicle to stop and damage is logically assessed (for instance this car took 2 grenades between the front wheels in close succession, so we worked on the front end was gone. An APDS round will destroy a vehicle if it beats the armour score + armour. But again we look at where it would hit – very important in an APC. Such a round hitting an engine block will crumple a vehicle, but hitting thin armour such as the troop compartment, it can go straight through with little damage.

Sorry for the lack of pictures. Ton's camera was low of juice and 'er in doors had nicked mine.

My flying stands worked, I hadn't considered stacking them before.

You never know what you'll find in a junk yard.

The saucer is an old GZG resin 28mm(!) Grey .  Originally bought for my 6mm Daleks

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-.

Tuesday, 20 January 2015

Martians vs Mycenaens TMP inspired Battlesworn game.

Gate to right, rat-run in the middle, market top left

Barsoom needs Eggs. “We want our egg back!”.

This game was inspired by a post in TMP.

The plot – Martians are egg-laying mammals, THE Helen was born in an egg as her poor mum was raped by Zeus in the form of a swan.

This seemed the ideal scenario to use my Troy. It also encouraged me to make some more smaller scenics. You can never have enough. Plus, they are fairly generic. These wooden blocks are cheap, a bit bigger than I'd like. They are covered and wrapped in tea bags from herbal tea. Cheap as chips.

Gate and guards

The plot is simple, the Martian need to go through the gate to recover the egg. There was 2 potential entry points with the smaller Mycenaean force in the middle. A dice score of 1-3 the side road, allowing a fast running battle with force to the rear or rushing for the rat-run to head them off at the pass. Score of 4-6 the rear entry, enemy to flank but offering the rat-run and main route to the gate. One point that occurred to us, the technological difference is less than that in an South American/vs Conquistador game.

Both sides were simple, you could add more variety.

At the gate 4 Fighters, 1 Brute/Leader, 2 Archer shooters. At the yard, 4 Rogues.

Martians 4 Fighters, 6 Shooters 1 Brute/Leader.*

The game.

 Almost as soon as I arrived, Tony established a skirmish line on my (Martian) flank. I sent a force, shooter, fighter, leader up the rat-run. A firefight ensued between the rooftop archer and my radium rifled raider. I sent 2 more shooters and a supporting fighter sneaking up the main road. Thinning my force threatened my rear, so I put another shooter and fighter up the run as a rear guard.

Tony spent his rolls sniping and keeping me low on actions. Finally, my shooter coming off the worse his leader comes steaming in, but we both pull 3's, so he's left there. Up comes my leader and wallop! One set of Dendle bites the dust. A spearman goes for my leader, whose turn it is to die to pointy stick technology.

I advanced my road-force and reinforced it with another fighter to draw Tony's remaining fighters away from the alley. That worked, but allowed his rogues to come piling in after a couple of ineffective shots on my part.

So an all-in scrap that was very pyrrhic. I failed in my objective. Perhaps I should have been more aggressive? Damn the arrows, full speed ahead!? There was the other entry-point and swapping sides, so for no effort there's a series of 4 games. Having lots of cover and options – there's no reason why we couldn't have gone through buildings, really works. Now you know why I always take an overhead shot. Being in 15mm the base is 4 floor tiles and there is not a lot of cost, everything was made for other use.

Tony's townspersons ready to go in, the guard are drawn off to the right
This turned out to be our most enjoyable game of Battlesworn to date and I can see a few variations coming up, one possibly based on the film 47 Ronin, the bit in the ships and/or one of the battles.

You don't do as we did, but please try something similar. I used the rogues to represent the more aggressive townsfolk and if you use a different class you could spread a few around at random or have a patrol of watchmen. Carts or similar on the road. Someone does packs of goblin slavers and watchmen. This game is a good excuse to buy the fun stuff or to use all those impulse buys sitting in the back of the wardrobe.

I've managed to lose the painted poker chips that I'd used before, so in advanced panic mode I found a pack of cheap wall plugs that just happens to contain the right colours! We used them “raw” here, but adding a clout (roofing, with big head) nail allows them to stand up well, even if they do look a bit phallic! Saves having to pick the figure up, proper job.

*I had bought 1 pack each of Martians with swords, rifles and personalities. The latter can offer a gone-native human who could be a sniper or warmage (service pistol, wot?) plus a rather nice princess or the priest that could double as a magic user. Curiously, the figures come from Black Hat and their 18mm figures are slightly smaller than their 15mm ancients. No problem, love 'em all!.


The famous thin red line