Personal Blog and Miniature Game Journal

How I got more paint on my thumb than on the figure and learned to love it!

A blog about miniature wargames, miniature painting and related geeky topics.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Force-on-Force and Marine Boarding Operations

One of my favorite ways to spend a lazy summer afternoon is by taking a quick trip to the local Half Price Books. I just never know what I might find there. On this most recent visit, I picked up a copy of Force on Force by Ambush Alley Games. It is a miniatures game designed to recreate modern era skirmish level battles from 1950's to the present. Typcial forces include, SAS commandos, Navy Seal Teams, Marine Recon, Spetznaz, Middle East Insurgents and so forth.

I've only browsed through the rules so far but it appears to be promising.  The designer notes that the game puts an emphasis on the quality of the soldiers and not on the type of weaponry. This makes sense to me. I imagine any soldier from any modern army would be well trained and deadly at close range with just about any kind of slug throwing weapons in their possession. 

Strangely, this game does not provide any army lists. There are no point systems to build an army. Everything is based on scenarios that determine the number of troops and tactical objectives. I can appreciate that because there is no potential for min-maxing like many other skirmish games.

The book stays true to the setting by including some excellent military jargon to describe certain aspects of modern conflicts. Scenarios are separated into "Kinetic Operations", in which armed belligerents meet up and shoot it out; "Non-Kinetic Operations", which include counter-insurgency engagements; and "Asymmetric Engagements" which involve regular units against irregular forces.

I am excited to try this game out!  Any scale of miniatures is acceptable and there is no specific manufacturer for the figures. So, I'll need to go out and start collecting an army. There is an intriguing expansion book called Classified - Special Operations Missions, which is a book of scenarios inspired by actual events.

Anyone have experience with these rules?  What miniatures would you recommend?

On a similar topic, I recently read a very unusual book, USSMC FM 7-22: Space Boarding Operations. I picked it up at one of the dealer tables at OwlCon. This is a fun little book for anyone who likes science fiction mixed with military adventure. (Think 'Hammer's Slammer's' or 'Starship Troopers') It is a field manual for military commanders in the imaginary US Space Marine Corps but is written with all the style and prose of a real-world training manual. Some of the authentic details include lousy typesetting and photo copied illustrations typical of a book published by a military contractor. The first chapter provides a narrative history of a near-future sci-fi setting. The rest of the book is all business. It includes an overview of boarding operations, how to write a five paragraph field order, close quarter combat training principles, and squad level room clearing techniques. The book is endearing in it's authenticity and is written by someone who clearly has experience in writing field manuals. Recommended reference for science fiction authors, tabletop war gamers, or fans of the Halo video game series.

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