Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Ambush Alley test

Well onto something a little different. My involvement and the recent massive expansion in my other hobby (http://www.milsims.blogspot.com/) has given me an idea to compliment the teaching of modern squad based combat through the use of tabletop wargaming. The idea is to get all the admin and TAP and Section leaders and 2ICs in to run through scenarios on the table to reinforce or teach field principles and tactics.

The rules used would have to be pretty spot on in balancing real world squad based combat and still fun and over in a few hours of gameplay.

An ex US Marine and I played around with our own set of rules 12 months ago and had a couple of great gaming nights over the year, but a good set of rules would help this to pick up again.

That's when I revisited Ambush Alley.


I neeed to be able to have different affects from ARs or ARs with UGL 40mm or GPMG or Sniper rifle or RPG or whatever weapon.
I didnt need to know whether someone was hit in the head or the leg.
I need to be able to place squad members on overwatch and get some sort of bonus for doing so and therefore be able to simulate danger zone crossings, bounding overwatch, contact drills and so forth.

Over the past week I have been discussing this with a number of gaming contacts recently made over the TMP forums and the Ambush Alley forums. It sounded very promising.

I downloaded the Quick Start rules and read through them a few times and then read the Developers notes on the website. All was set for a quick demo game at home.

Demo Game

A quick game was set up in my gaming room on a section of terrain covering 3" x 3". A squad of US Rangers were tasked with clearing a outlaying section on the western edge of an Iraqi village as the rest of the combat team was assaulting from the south with a blocking force of Iraqi Army units in position covering the north side exits and approaches. A large mosque dominated the boundary line of this squad's AO and the rest of the village to it's east.

The squad's orders were to infil on foot to the edge of the village and push through to the mosque, eliminating any threats thereby securing the left flank of the advance and protecting it from any flanking counterattack.

A few of the eastern edge of the village with the dominating mosque in the background

A fuel distribution point to the south of the mosque

Gunmen are spotted on the edge of town as they are mobilising to repel the attack from the south by the rest of the combat team

Deployment of the Ranger squad after debussing from their vehicles. Alpha team are at the top covering the open approach to the centre of their objective area. The squad leader and Bravo team leader on the left are discussing the movement Bravo team at the bottom.

As Bravo team bound forward on the right, enemy gunmen spot them and open up. Before they can adjust their fire, they are taken out by Alpha team members on overwatch.

Bravo team make it safely to their overwatch position on the right.

After a number of exchanges of gunfire with gunmen, eventually both teams make it to the cover on the edge of the village.

2 more assaults by gunmen are met with a hail of effective crossfire from LSWs, ARs and 40mm grenades. The squad holds position and fends off the attacks without incident.

After another 2 assaults, the squad move forward and link up with the left most unit of the combat team as it moved across from the south. The attack has gone well and the squad are relieved to grab some breakfast and rearm.

Although this was a quick and nasty demo game concluded within an hour and not using the full scenario of the Quick Start rules, it did give me some good insight into the mechanics and the level of play. So far it looks pretty good. I was able to use bounding overwatch and overlapping firelanes to good effect. I had to separate myself a little in moving around the bad guys which leads me to pursue any details of solo play for these rules. On a game night with the MilSims guys I can basically run the bad guys with my added "flavour" while each squad leader could command a squad.

I would certainly need to invest in more dice. Having only 2 x ten sided, a couple of 6 sided and 1 x 8 sided die, I found I had to roll the same die 6 or 7 times and remember what I had rolled. Having 10 of each would help.

Going Forward

Now I just need to purchase the full rules to see what is covered for sniper teams and other support units as well as how to link things together for campaigns and followups to the end of missions, etc. I already have some ideas on campaign mechanics if nothing is provided!

I also need to invest in some more figures and in particular some vehicles and build more terrain including buildings and bits that provide cover. (AA requires cover rich tabletop).

A couple more simple playtests to get more familiar so I don't need to look things up.

And most importantly a way to sell this idea to the few of the MilSims group that think throwing dice on a tabletop to simulate combat is something a 12 year old would do with a wizard and a dragon!

Good start so far.

Comments welcome!

1 comment:

Shawn said...

Glad you found the rules to your liking, David! If you ever have any suggestions to improve them, don't be shy with the input. You know where to find me!

Shawn Carpenter