Thursday, June 12, 2014

Spectre operations beta rules playtest

If the number of painted miniatures is anything to go by, I have an abiding interest in post-war and near futures games set in Africa (I don't do present day conflicts, its too confronting).
Clearly, I don't have enough figures though, because I signed up for the Spectre Miniatures Kickstarter to get some more.
To go along with the cool miniatures, Spectre are producing some rules, currently in beta. Now these rules are quite close to a set I produced called "Combat Stress". However, I stopped developing these as I wanted to play the rules, not be responsible for writing them.
My hope is that the Spectre Operations, can fill a gap between Flying Lead (which can only handle a squad), and Battlefield Evolution. Anyway, Mr. Wong and I decided to give the rules a playtest
For reasons I will explain later, this report, is very short, but as far as we can judge from an early beta, the rules look pretty good.
Having said that, I have suggested a few ideas to the rule's authors that we tested out: these being:
  1. Instead body armour making you a harder target, it subtracted one from the lethality roll
  2. Instead of the shooter having to equal or exceed the defenders score to hit the shooter had to exceed the score (this made shooting elite troops harder)
  3. Instead of a lethality roll of '1' being a 'lucky miss', we made it a 'light wound' causing two suppression
  4. We didn't reduce suppression in the shooting phase. Actually we forgot, but this step seems redundant.
  5. When Suppression exceeded command, a soldier panics. 'Panic' means they were moved by the opponent in his or her turn. A panicking soldier most both move 6" away from all enemy and end its move in cover, or else gain one more suppression.
At this stage there is only one scenario, which is for some militia to get a high value asset to safety while being pursued by some special forces. The battlefield is shown below.

In the centre of this shot is the high value asset, the local warlord's family. The militia fighter in the red beret is a Big Man. In these rules each leader adds 'Warlord Perks' to your force. Thinking about how to escape, I bought these from the Warlord List:
  • Veteran Commander: which lets you seize the initiative
  • Lucky: which lets your commander dodge a bullet
  • Tip off: which allows you to see the enemy coming and rearrage your forces
  • And four lots of Guerrilla Force: which lets Militia move though terrain without hindrance for a whole turn.
Here is Seargent McWongs force of near-future English (assuming the UK ceases to exist in September) special forces. I believe these figures are from Hasslefree. The 200 points in the scenario only allowed for four trooper to complete the mission of "neutralising the warlords family"; classy.
Here is another operator, quickly updating his Facebook status before going into action. McWong had a plan to win this game quickly, he used his Command Assets to enlist an "Airborne Sniper" to do the dirty work for them
In these rules the soldiers are What-you-see-is-what-you-get; that meant I could only give two of my militia grenades, so I had to use them wisely.
Mu plan was to set up small security teams, each with a big-man in charge, around the perimeter of the battlefield. Militia, don't fight very well, but I was hoping the volume of fire would supress the enemy to the point they became ineffective.
Here is my Warlord (who is also a very big man). If he looks confused, it is because he is; but in the end he decides the best way to get his family to safely is to move them through the laneway towards the long end of the battlefield.
Calling out to his family to dash across the open ground is met with the reply "are you crazy, can you see that helicopter over there?"
When you are protected by brave men like these though, what can go wrong?
'What can go wrong' becomes immediately apparent when the sniper in the helicopter takes a bead on the moving target and... misses the missus. Blimy!
Looks like the special forces will have to do the job after all and they start to move in; the problem is there are enough of the militia making their command rolls and going on 'overwatch'. Here we see an operator hit (and having two suppression 'rocks'). He will bleed out in four turns, and has not friends to help him, so he decided to run off table to get picked up by a Blackhawk. Fair enough.
He didn't count on cadre Macimbo however, who took the operator out as he made a break for freedom. 
What happened next was too horrible to photograph. All of the operators were supressed, except for the sniper, who my troops couldn't get a clear shot at. The sniper competed the operators mission by shooting the 'target'. In hindsight they should have gone through the building instead of the laneway.

The prognosis, both Mr Wong and myself liked the rules, they are fast and easy, and don't try to simulate 'battlefield friction' with convoluted game mechanics (FoF I am looking at you).

One criticism is that it was so easy to lob grenades. Perhaps Grenades and PRGs should need a command roll to 'prep' them before firing.

I will be interested in how these rules progress.


1 comment:

  1. Yet another set of rules? Mac when will you ever learn! ;-)