Monday, July 17, 2017

Back on Blogger! Modern Micro Armor concepts...

Look closely at the name - you'll see an homage to the memory of those who served "Up the Blue!"

So have returned from another glorious training session with a Stryker Brigade. Hot, humid, buggy, miserable for much of it, a constant reminder of the sacrifices that need to be made from the small [showering, sleeping] to the big [away from home and family, chance of death by heat cat / accident]. Also, renews a desire to do some modern gaming, if only to help me keep in mind the various staff lessons and approaches that I need to keep track of, ergo...

I'm now working on adapting my take on the OHW WWII rules to Moderns. 

At this point, it's pretty much a set of rules that is ONLY inspired by Neil Thomas' "One-Hour Wargames", really, as so much has been changed. Mainly the commitment to simplicity, and the use of the scenarios are the surviving OHW factors.

Modern / Contemporary OHW Concepts
Well, there are a two main changes I want to make with the update to Contemporary Combat from WWII - I want to portray the rapid pace / destructiveness of fighting and the impact of technology.

Rapid Pace of Modern Combat
This seems to necessitate two main changes:
1. A turn sequence that is highly interactive,
2. A combat mechanic that is quick and deadly, and allows easy incorporation of technology as needed by a scenario / theater / matchup, etc.
These are both "feel" driven and abstract, while also needing to be tech-specific at times so you can "feel" or "use" the technology. It doesn't always have to work, but it needs to be a player option so it represents a choice / coarse of action [COA] during the game.

1. Interactive Turn Sequence.
I tinkered with this in posts HERE, but that was fror Pike and Shotte, which isn't exactly a rapid-pace time of warfare. Today we'd decide and act in seconds or minutes what they would have fuddled around with for hours, pretty much.

IGO-UGO is quite manageable. It is also realistic to say that few actions happen simultaneously, and they are usually more a product of sequential or overlapping decisions and their consequences. Also, some COA are always sequential, in that the plan for one side depends on another event being effected, e.g. "We will advance on the objective when the artillery barrage concludes". So players need to be able to seqentially execute or even string together COA, both for game manageability and realism.

OTOH it is NOT realistic to say that one entire SIDE in a fight performs all of its actions followed by the other. Since decisions are allowed to be made by multiple parties in the vast majority of wargame "units" portrayed on the table. Indeed, the OHW scale would have 2-3 decision makers at least even in the ancient period, up to 1 / Unit in the WWII period. So, we need a turn sequence that allows a few actions by one side, and then a few by the other side, it seems.

NOR is it realistic to say that a side performs all Actions of the same type in a given time frame [move, shoot, close combat]. We need to allow that a Shoot Action may precede another action, e.g. a preliminary artillery barrage going in and concluding before the Blue force closes in on the objective for close shooting or even close combat.

So, I'm looking for an interactive seqence wherein each side gets to execute some Actions followed by the other side, and the Actions may be of several types: Move, Fire, Assault. However, I do not want a burdensome interactive sequence with lots of chits or phasing to remember. Much as I love and respect Fistful of Tows 3, I find its use of 8 Phases with 32 Steps to be quite cumbersome - it doesn't FEEL like fast action when you play it out! And having chits for Fire Zones, Reduced Effectiveness, Quality Checks, Suppression, Overwatch and Hold Fire is also unattractive and difficult to track.

Ergo, I will return to trying out a D6 Roll-Off mechanic. The amount by which one side wins allows that many actions, e.g. 6 v. 3 allows 3 Actions for the winner, 4-3 allows one, etc. Ties will end up with some sort of lost time and/or quick time for Actions. This neatly allows one side to initiate some Actions and then the other to react to it. Hey, if you roll well, you can get up to 5 Actions before your opponent. However, he will also be fighting back every step of the way in combat. Also, it will be easy to give a side with excellent C3 a +1 or something, so they've an advantage.

2. Quick and deadly combat mechanic.
I'd like to retain sequential combat resolution, but have each combat affect both sides simultaneously, rather than the "It's my turn and I shoot and only I inflict Hits on you" aspect of the OHW combat mechanic design. The simultaneous fight allows the turn sequence to be broken up more easily. I also want fewer Hits per Unit, so that I don't have to have 3D6 sitting on each unit. It pretty much fills the table with dice tracking Hits, not aesthetically pleasing.

The easiest way I can think to do this is to steal the DBA roll-off mechanic. If you win, you inflict a Suppressing Hit [can be rallied off], if you double the opponent you inflict a Permanent Hit- PH - [cannot be rallied off], and if you treble the opponent you inflict two PH, and if you quadruple the opponent they are auto-destroyed [poor bastards].  Units can take 3 PH and are then removed. They can also take 3 SH, but all Hits after that are PH Hits. The ratio mechanic has always been an outstanding mathematical model for DBA, it keeps both players fully engaged in the game, and it is quite simple.

The above Turn sequence and simultaneous combat introduces a more dynamic flow of actions by permitting a player, through the combination of BOTH the dice rolls [has to lose most of the turns initial roll-offs, then win the initial roll-offs next turn] and planning [has to save the Units he wants to move last, i.e. counter-move, for the end of the turn] to get two Actions before the opponent can Act. 

In this Modern Combat adaptation, I'm using a simultaneous roll-off mechanic, so taking two shots without being able to fight back is not an issue. It does help to win initiative at the beginning of the turn as you get to set the pace of Action. Also, engaging an OPposing UNit -OPUN- in a fight usually takes away its own turn.

I've already done one playtest / development session. I need to do a cleaner playtest.
Yep, it's scenario #8, Melee. 
The Blue ATGMs on the hill have just been wiped out and Green infantry are contesting it. Blue Infantry are digging in on the other side to likewise contest, while another infantry is holding off a few units from the woods, but it doesn't look good there...

Tuesday, June 6, 2017


The below items are for sale at a big discount if bought together:
  1. $200: 86 Figs, 40 British and 46 Afghan/Insurgents premium TAG & Empress figs, 
  2. $400: MDF Buildings by Game Craft Afghan MDF , 
  3. $60: Ambush Alley Rules, "Force on Force" Ambush Alley scenario book "Enduring Freedom: Afghanistan 2001-2010"
This is $ 660 of items. 
Willing to sell entire lot for $330 plus shipping @ cost.
Willing to sell figures and rules and half the buildings for $230.

*Shipping at cost and by agreement. Local pickup OK. 

*Reply in the COMMENTS section with a way to get in touch, OR
*email my gmail which is aama19147, THANKS!

I set to do this project with the best figs, buildings and rules I could. I was pretty keen on it for a while, but I decided that recent fighting isn't as fun as distant battles - I'd hate to run a game with a guest only to discover that they had friends or family involved in the war.  

So the thrust of our historical skirmish gaming efforts will concentrate on "long ago" fights in Afghanistan, and with figs twice as tall! ________________________________________________________________________

1. 86 Figures

  • British infantry from The Assault Group – TAG - [40 figs],
  • two TAG Afghan RPG dioramas [6 figs, pits to hide in]
  • ISIS / Taliban [[40] from Empress minis.

The Assault Group, aka "TAG"
BAB-006 Afghans w' RPG7 Diorama [3 figs w'foxhole emplacement]
BAB-006 Afghans w' RPG7 Diorama [3 figs w'foxhole emplacement]

BRT-004 Fusiliers w' Cockade [8 figs]
BRT-006 Marine Commandos with Beret [8 figs]]
BRT-007 British Infantry - Black Watch Command [in Bonnet w' Plume] [8 figs]
BRT-008 British Infantry - Black Watch Squad [in Bonnet w' Plume] [8 figs]
BRT-009 British Infantry - Black Watch Squad [in Bonnet w' Plume, shirt sleeves] [8 figs]
All have varied poses.
Packs run $10 / each, so $70 of TAG figs
Total is 24 Black Watch, 8 Marines, 8 Fusiliers, 6 Afghans

I think Brits would be a great platoon to add to an allied scenario. I picked out guys who are not in full combat gear but have the bonnets and berets, just for that purpose. I was going to have them on a civil affairs mission and need to get rescued.

Empress Miniatures
Modern Combat line, Taliban HERE and Insurgents HERE

2xTAL1, 2xTAL2, TAL3, TAL4, TAL5, INS1, INS2, INS3, 4 FIGS ea = 40 figs
These are $13 a pack [yep, $3.33 a fig], so $130 of figs.

These are amazing figs – I shouldn’t be allowed to look at the page, it makes me want to buy their entire Spanish Civil War line...

Game Craft Minis Afghan / Middle East Village in 25mm.

Afghan village in mdf 28mm from Gamecraft Miniatures, $400 of buildings


Sample in package with Empress Taliban for scale - they're BIG!


Cutting-edge rules by Ambush Alley games, published in deluxe style by Osprey.

- Force on Force is $35 U.S. [some black pen markings]
- Enduring Freedom is $25 U.S. [mint condition]

basic rules have some black pen markings [just enough to help delineate the layout]

Enduring Freedom is mint - looks like this:

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Another Minor Action on the Frontier...P.1

As development of the rules continues, the difficult process of balancing tactical mechanics and streamlining has to be worked out through actual play. There's just no other way to do it! I do like working within a scenario and context, so here we go again, back to the Swat Valley, as two patrols clash at a river ford.

Below, the central portion of the table and the forces: 20 Pathans, 10 Brits. Both forces are almost 100 points as I presently have them figured - balancing the weapons is tough.

Seven warriors with talwar and dahl [sword and shield], Leader Gobi with pistol. They need a designated Leader to get in there and close with the enemy.

Eleven jezaileers [a suprisingly accurate flint or matchlock musket], four upgraded with Rifles [breechloading]. Leader Chapati with pistol. Plan is to snipe at a distance with Rifles, keep the jezails close to the dahl men to shoot or charge in support. All the Afghans are seasoned warriors, with a Quality of 4+ [represents both morale and fighting skill like shooting]

British Patrol of ten, a half - Section of 20 men in this period.

Two details of four Soldiers, one led by Sergeant Scone to left, the other by an officer to right, Captain Biscuit. They are Elite [Quality 3+ so they pass Quality Tests on a 3+] and armed with Rifles [Breechloading Martini-Henry's - Figs actually have bolt-action Lee-Metfords it appears]. Their plan is to give the savages what-for and get back in time for tea and crumpets.

Turn 1. The British won the roll-off and started with Initiative [IN]. They chose to go "Ready" with their entire force off-table, and have the Pathans enter first, giving them the opportunity to react to the Pathan plan. With no choice, the Pathans enter, all running onto the board.

Turn 1 Pathan dahls and jezails run up the middle, looking for Cover to approach the British and close range for shooting. The unbased figs are spaced to be "Apart" giving them a '2' save, or a 5+ on D6. This represents being spread out and using cover, crouching, etc., and the Fast Move in indicated by the dust cloud to remind me they don't get Cover Saves.

Turn 1 Pathan Rifles head towards a little wood with a commanding view up the river to a wood and rocky hill, both obvious spots for the Brits to take up a position. They're a little distant, but their 36" Range is enough to cover most of the center.

Turn 1 British also run onto the board, heading for a rocky hill that will provide Cover and a commanding view [hills add 12" to Range due to better visibility]. It is a bit close to opposing cover on the other side, but the river slows the Pathans and the other detail will support.

Turn 1 British Sergeant takes his detail into some rocks [not a hill] with a view over the ford, a likely place for the Pathans to cross against the Officer's detail. They can also see the Pathan Rifles in the distance, giving them a sure Target next turn.

Turn 2. Pathans Seize Initiative! Beating them by 1 [3+2= 5 v. 6] the Pathans decide to go Ready with the Rifles - they will now take Actions after the British [I use the green sprockets to show "Ready"]. This gives them an effective "reaction" or counter-move. The rest of them move up into the rocks or prepare to dash across the open space to the ruins.

Turn 2 British. With no shooting threats or targets, the Officer's detail advances onto the rocky hill [just visible behind large lovely tree]; the sergeant's detail takes an Aim Action doubling their range and allowing them to shoot 72" instead of 36" - they can now target any visible Pathan next turn! This is indicated by the little crosshair marker. 
Note how the Action allows what is effectively "overwatch" without a lot of complex rules...

Turn ends as Pathan Rifles also Aim, so they can hit any visible Imperialist next turn.

Turn 3 - Pathans Retain IN [3+2=5 v. 2]. Using their ability to act first, the Pathan Rifles take a Long-Range Shot at Sergeant's Detail, having Aimed last turn [which doubles Range as noted above]. Unfortunately, needing a 4+ they get no Hits.

Turn 3. With no shooting threats and IN in hand, the Pathan warriors dash behind the ruins out of Line of Sight of the Sergeant's men and in Cover. The jezaileers take up shooting positions on the rocky hill. 

Turn 3, British support fire returns the favor against the Rifle-armed Pathans.  How'd they get Martini-Henry's anyway?? They are Elite and need a 3+ except for the Sergeant who needs a 2+ since he's a Hero. Naturally, like all superior Figs I use, he misses anyway. He only misses on a '1', and the red/black dice below is his.
NOTE - to speed up shooting, I just drop the total dice understanding that I'm spreading the shots out 1-1 on targets, applying the dice as they fell to the targets top to bottom. So these 4 dice groups are the 4 Rifle Pathans, 1-2-3-4 going down from the top.

Against the top Pathan, they roll [above]an auto-miss with the '1' [thanks Sarge!], and an auto-Pin with the '6' [note marker for Pathan 1]. Next is a miss on Pathan 2. The 3rd and 4th Pathans are Hits, but they make their 3+ save [2 for Cover, 2 for Figs Apart].

Turn 3 end. Brits take positions in rocks on the other side of the river. All moved, no shots.

Turn 4 - IN roll ties! There is a Respite, and everyone loses Smoke [Reloaded] and the Pinned Pathan recovers from being Pinned [as there's no Leader within 6", he needed to pass a Quality Test which he does easily on a 5 needing a 4]. No one has IN now.

Turn 5, Brits seize back the IN! [6 v 2, no plus for either side due to the Respite] 
Having the IN, both detachments shoot first targeting the warriors who will obviously charge CPT Biscuit's detachment, hoping to trim them down a bit. I could target some of the shooting Pathans, but hope to knock out a few of the dahl men and better the melee odds.

Above, the Sarge's detachment gets four Hits for five, not bad. The '1' is an auto-miss, the Sergeant's '2' is a Hit [barely] and the 4-4 & 5 are Hits, but the green 6 and 3 are good Saves [again, needing a 3+]. The other two miss Saves, but then easily pass their Quailty Test [QT] and there's no effect - some determined Pathans here!

Officer's Revolver is out of Range, so the four Rifles shoot, getting only two Hits. One Save misses but the Pathan rolls high and passes his QT - fights not out of these savages yet!

Turn 5 - Pathans. Jezaileers have a 24" Range but the hill gives them a bonus 12" so they're all easily in Range. They shoot 7, hit only twice [c'mon it's 50% guys!!]. Brits save one, and pass the QT with a '3' on the officer [who was fired at 3 times!]. 
CPT Biscuit calmly whisks some dust from his lapel...

Turn 5 Pathan dahls advance through the ruins, using cover and spread out.

Turn 6 British keep IN and start shooting. SGT Scone's detail gets four Hits, Pathans miss three saves. The resulting QT has two of them pinned [they'd be Wounded on a '1'].

Turn 6 British fire from the rocky hill.

Three Hits, one failed save, Pathan passes Quality Test.

Turn 6 Pathan Rifles have two Pins from which to recover, and they do on a 5 and 4. The other two fire to no effect, missing both times [still getting used to the rifles? damp powder?]
CPT Biscuit makes mental note to bring more repellent for "these pesky mosquitoes..."

Turn 6 Pathan dahls begin crossing river, staying spread out to reduce casualties. The Jezaileers all Reload [losing the smoke marker] to support the attack next turn.

Turn 7, British keep IN and fire everyone on the advancing dahl warriors. Results are an auto-Pin with the 6 and two Saves from Scone's men...

...and three auto-pins from Biscuit's men. I'm not liking that a "good roll" like a 6 doesn't have more serious ramifications than an auto-pin result.

Turn 7 Pathan jezaileers fire, getting two Pins and a failed Save followed by a passed QT. Not bad since Pinned Figs don't fight as well in melee and can't shoot.

Turn 7 Pathan Dahls close in, get into three melees.

The top results in a Pathan win but a successful Cover Save. The middle against CPT Biscuit results in a loss, a failed Cover Save [needs a 5+, note that you don't get the "Apart" Save in melee, just from shooting] and the CPT dies losing all three wounds since he is Pinned. Well, the holes in his jacket and blood will certainly send his batman into a tizzy...
The bottom Soldier loses but makes his Cover Save, avoiding Biscuit's fate.

Hmmm, well, recent changes in shooting do result in more Pins, but I'm not sure if there's enough actual effect from it. Will have to keep at it and see how melee goes to judge where the mechanics are at this point. I like the low wounds from shooting, but it seems a bit easy to recover from. Of course, the Pathans are rolling very well on the QTs.

Tune in for more of this battle soon!

Monday, March 13, 2017

Just Another Little Skirmish...

The rules have been steadily progressing. I've spent time reading a variety of texts that have provided insights, as well as keeping my historical interest piqued by reading NW Frontier books. Several days ago I did a run-through of the rules, which are substantially complete but need some more development and of course playtesting.

After stealing some concepts on scenarios from Muskets and Tomahawks, and Victory Conditions the MP classic Starship Troopers, a clash of patrols took place "somewhere along the frontier" in a battle of "very little importance"; indeed, it would hardly be worth mentioning in a dispatch except for the casualties.

The Table. All terrain is conceptualized in the distances between being either less than 6" or more than 6", this being the base move for foot soldiers. As Figs only perform one Action a turn, they will be exposed if they move between terrain that is beyond their move distance - and what else matters, really?

As this is a skirmish game, simply touching the terrain grants a '2' Cover Save, or 5+ on a d6. Line of Sight [LoS] is actual, so altho one may get a Save being seen is figured separately. Altho the table has more terrain in the middle, it has some open sight lines along the small river, and in the bottom left and right quarters. For the game, I'm leaning into a more terrain is better way of thinking as I conceive the Pathans as being smart enough to know how to fight in the hills effectively after a few thousand years of doing so! 

Scale, Ranges. Again, a small-scale skirmish game, shooting range is therefore generous and the ranges more dependent upon quality of sights, aiming, and clear LoS than theoretical effective range in testing. Therefore, weapons may fire out to double their Effective Range if a turn is spent aiming; this represents distance affecting rate of fire more than the chance to "get a Hit" as any of the soldiers / warriors in the game can easily place a bullet close enough to effect the target at all table ranges. So a true rifle like the Martini-Henry has an effective range of 36" BUT may fire out to double the range every other turn. This impacts the scenario in that ALL the table may be fired upon by all the firearms except the pistols.

Formations. This being a small-scale skirmish game, there isn't much in the way of formation rules. Figs are either close together [bases touching] or clearly apart. If touching, they support one another in melee, and if apart they get a 2 Save, or a 5+. If combined with the Cover Save above, the net Save is 3+. This puts forward another of my design goals, only providing rules for that which really matters, or is decisive. Could I have a formation or terrain that allowed a save of 1? Of course! But why bother? The warriors themselves are going to seek cover that really matters, or formations that are less vulnerable to shooting, from their training and experience. Why bother with in-betweens?

With these thoughts, on to the skirmish!

Victory for this scenario is based upon driving the opposition from the field by causing casualties [called Wounded or Killed but really representing out of the fight or incapacitated, respectively]. Casualties result in morale checks to the Force; if they fail, the Force will quickly retire from the field, possibly leaving wounded and dead behind. This results in loss of honor and more Victory Points for the other Force. These Forces are the scouts and patrols of larger forces, and if they are forced to retire intelligence and information cannot be effectively gathered, thus hampering the activities of the Main Force.

Turn Sequence, Initiative. As the scenario is a meeting engagement, the two sides dice for Initiative. The side that wins may take an Action with every Figure [Fig] in the Force, or hold off on Acting with any Figs desired until after the opposition. The Force that loses must take all its Actions, and cannot wait. Thus the Force with Initiative has both the opportunity - and risk - of acting first OR last with any Fig. Also, the side that wins Initiative dices for Initiative with a bonus of +2 until they either lose an Initiative roll or the enemy has Figs within 6" - at this point I judge it too unpredictable a situation for one side to have a clear-cut advantage, so resort to an even roll-off. 

If the roll is a tie, then there is a break in the action I call a Respite - Figs catch their breath, hunker down, load, and prepare for the next bit of excitement.

The Forces. I've nine Elite British with one a leader - The Sergeant - all with breechloading Martini-Henry rifles and bayonets. Elite Figs have a Quality of 3+, so will Hit shooting and pass Morale on a 3 or better with a d6. A tenth Fig is a Hero - The Lieutenant - with a Webley Revolver and a sword. He is Quality 2+, so a tough opponent! I toyed with having the Sergeant be the Hero, but that'll be for a different story. They Brits will fight in two teams, one lead by each Leader, to give them some flexibility. 

The Pathans have 18 Average warriors, Quality 4+. 11 have long weapons, 4 of which are Snider carbines, or breechloaders, the rest jezail muskets that need a turn to load between shots. 7 have sword and shield. The last 2 are Elite Leaders with a flintlock pistol, sword and binoculars [of all things]. They'll have two little bands of warriors, one swords and the other jezails, each led by a Leader. The four marskmen will shoot on their own without needing any Leader's help. Hopefully, they don't get Pinned!

Figs that do not have a Leader within 6" do not recover as easily from being Pinned, and may not want to move as fast or out of cover. So it is often important to stay together, altho one can leave a shooting or Elite force behind and get good service from it.

Pathans win the Initiative roll, so they decide to move last with all their Figs - therefore the Brits must all enter the table while the Pathans will enter the table last, after seeing the British choices.

Turn 1 Below. British view of the battlefield. There's open space in the middle, but a good wood to use as a base of fire on the right - it has a Line of Sight down the entire table. Getting into the woods or rocky hill near the river will provide a forward base with Cover.

Turn 1, Below. Pathan view of the battlefield. The open space to the left will have to be avoided - a change in Initiative could catch Figs in the open there and exposed. To center and right is denser terrain, providing an avenue of advance for the Pathan swordsmen, and a base of fire for the marksmen.

Turn 1, British Action. Brits Fast Move [marked with dust cloud] everyone on to the table, resulting in double move in the center by the Officer's team and a double move halved by the woods for the bottom team led by the Sergeant. The team in the woods now has a Line of Sight down the table, and a 3+ save from being spread out and in cover. The other has a 5+ save from being spread out, but are behind the rocky hill, anyway.

Turn 1, Pathan action. They also Fast Move everyone onto the table, and put the melee force at the river to right,  four marksmen with breechloaders against the hill, the jezails and a leader along the road to the center woods. All have a Leader within 6". Their plan is to use the rocky hill as a fire base while the swordsmen advance through terrain to fight up close. The jezails will go in the center to offer some shooting support and possibly join in the charge of the swordsmen with weight of numbers, as seems appropriate.

Turn 2, below. Brits advance for positions, the right team to offer firepower, or close support as needed - I'm relying on the 5+ save as there's no real cover there!

Turn 2, Pathans. The jezails move into the wood, the sharpshooters onto the rocks - ready to fire next turn, and the swordsmen cross the river.

In Turn 2, no one Fast Moved as you can't do that two turns in a row. Fast Moving also results in no Cover Saves at all since you are by definition moving too fast to get any benefit from terrain - you could end move out of LoS, however, so a FM can really help.

Turn 3. Pathans have kept the Initiative [IN] easily, moving first or last as desired. The Brits take up positions at the river and in the rocks. The Pathans respond by Fast Moving the swordsmen into the ruined building, and the jezails into the woods but still out of LoS [the edge of area terrain is the LoS line, so they can't yet be seen, nor see out].

Turn 3. Pathan marksmen fire to no effect - they hit on a 4+ and the Brits have a 3+ save. Note dust clouds on jezails and swordsmen from Fast Move. I now regret moving the swordsmen so fast - they get no cover benefit!

Turn 4. Lots of shooting breaks out. Pathans keep IN, which they keep for rest of game. Pathans edge swordsmen forward a bit, losing the dust cloud and getting better Save.

Turn 4. Pathan marksmen take out a Tommy. Black dice show two Hits [4+] followed by one successful save with green dice, a 3+, then the Brit checks his Quality for the effect of the Hit [which I see as a shot close enough to matter]. If he ties his Quality, he's Pinned, if he misses by '1' he's Wounded, and if by two he's Killed. Alas, poor Tommy rolls a '1'! British shooting is ineffective.

Turn 5. Pathans charge in! They take a regular move to contact a couple of Figs. It results in lots of Pathans attacking one Brit. There's 2 melee dice for the officer, and two more for the two warriors, one each, [black dice]. The Elite Tommy gets two dice [red]. The Pathans win the roll-off, getting two Hits, one of which is not blocked by cover [the green '1'] and then this chap ALSO rolls a '1' on his Quality! Poor luck or just carelessness?? The Brits have lost two Killed and done very little. What will the General say about this??

Turn 5. Other British team responds by dashing across the river and threatening Pathan shooting support. Gave this careful thought - the second team had to either move closer to their fellows in the rocks, or do something threatening and offensive, and I chose the latter.

Turn 6 kicks off with the Pathans keeping the Initiative, yet again. 

Turn 6. Pathan jezails move into LoS and shoot - black dice show 4 Hits, all Saved. There was only space for 7 Pathans at the wood's edge, as I wanted to keep the Save for not being together. I chose to leave the officer at the back. All Actions have a one base width free move at start, allowing small adjustments of position or facing for these alert individuals. This means you can pop into LoS and Shoot, but not hide again until next turn. This took care of needing any overwatch type rules and more needless complexity. Note that the jezails all need to spend a turn Reloading, now.

Turn 6. Pathan swordsmen keep up the pressure, and another Limey is Killed. Note the black dice winning a melee, getting two Hits [one from each Pathan actually in contact], one Save, the other not saved and a yellow dice for the quality check - another '1'!

OK, full disclosure here - I thought I was taking a risk with the British team led by the officer, but hey, I wanted to try out the melee rules...a tough training day for these Tommies!

Turn 6. British officer and Tommy shoot nearest Pathans for a kill. The red dice with black spots show two Hits with Revolver [Hooray for Mr. Webley, and well, the Beatles, I guess] and one with Martini-Henry, the red dice with white spots; two are saved and the one not resulting in a '1' and a Killed Pathan. First blood! The Sergeant's team kills one Pathan jezaileer in the woods, even as the team begins pulling back across the river to support their fellows - either shooting or retrieving fallen comrades as needed.

Turn 7 Pathans.  The swordsmen fiercely charge in again! Leader challenging the British Hero. Cool, calm and collected, the officer kills him outright. This is seen with his red/black dice outrolling the two black, and the yellow '1' showing his Quality Test - miss by two from his 3+ is a Killed result. Less fortunately for Queen Vic, the officer's last team member is killed. Dice don't show it correctly, I must've used them for another roll, but you can see the poor fellow to the top left of the pic, above the green marker.

Turn 7, British.  Hero officer fires his Webley to little effect. Sergeant's team is moving in at top left of the pic, just touching the fallen before them. Pathans at arm's length!

"Back, you savages! Take that <bang>! and That <bang>! The pop of a Webley in anger...

Turn 8. Pathans win Initiative yet again, and take the opportunity to make a surprise move - scarpering off! With the right moves, all the Killed and Wounded are retrieved, with all getting out of LoS or in cover. Amazingly, all the sharpshooters Hit the British officer standing tall atop the rocky hill, like some crazed bronze statue! Equally amazing, he saves every single one of them! He then fires the Webley at the Pathan dragging away the dead Leader, but his one unsaved Hit is shrugged off by the fierce warrior who is clearly determined not to leave his Leader behind. The Sergeant's team have to move over but are still threatening the retreating Pathans with some distant firepower. 

Turn 9. Skirmish winds down. Pathans pull into cover, load weapons, and pull back under the guns of their sharpshooters in the rocks at top right. A lone shooter carries his dead comrade into the little gap below them. With 7-8 Pathans still shooting and all their dead and wounded secured, Queen Vic's men have no more opportunities for glory this day.

At bottom left, the Sgt's team secures cover from any final Pathan incursions, as the Officer carried away one dead redcoat. The other three will have to be carried by the team. It was a close haul all the way through, with some higher casualties than should've been expected, frankly.

Counting the cost - and the Victory Points! Pathans lost six dead and two wounded - the high number of dead has to do with bad rolling - seems like they always rolled a '1' instead of a 3 or 4 which would result in a Wound or Pin instead. Six of the casualties were from the swordsmen, unsurprisingly. Only two of their jezail-men died. As all the Pathans are worth the same, shooter or swordsmen, they gave up 20 points for the 5 dead, 4 for the 2 wounded [1/2 or 2 each] and 9 for the dead Leader, or 33 total. They also lost no honor for failing to take away their dead and wounded.

British lost four dead for 32 pts, 6.5 for the wounded officer [1/2 of 13 pts] for 38.5 total.

With the Pathans coming out ahead, 38.5 to 32, their margin of victory was 1.2-1, not quite enough for a win, which I'm presently saying is 1.25 to 1. A decisive win would be 1.5-1. So I'm giving the Pathans a marginal victory for being over 1.1-1. 

Present Victory Point schedule is:
0.00 - 1.1 = tie
>1.1 - 1.25 = Marginal Victory
>1.25-1.5 = Victory
> 1.5 = Decisive Victory
Of course, it could be in margins of .20 instead of .25, but one has to start somewhere!

Thoughts. I am pleased with how the rules played out. Nitty gritty bits of mechanic went quite smooth. There are plenty of options for players with every Fig, but most choices are in the fire and maneuver vein, as is to be expected with a straight up patrol clash.

Some mechanics, like Fast Move, worked just right. You can do it every other turn, and it paces things nicely while giving players opportunities to seize terrain, suddenly threaten, etc. Yet, it isn't overwhelming or unrealistic. The strict IOGUGO sequence actually plays very smoothly, and one side has INitiative for a few turns usually, giving them opportunities to set the game's pace. While it is harder for the side without INitiative to do the same, it is not impossible and careful planning can also result in unexpected threats to the enemy. 

I'm especially thrilled with the system of Saves. They are easy to remember, drive action and decisions, feel realistic and have significant impact that can still be thrown on its head by good or bad luck, which I'm OK with. One is always in the player's control - spreading out the Figs - and the other is driven by terrain and maneuvering - taking Covering terrain. On a table with less terrain, or with it spread out differently, the hills and woods will provoke totally different choices by the players, especially when combined with the mission's victory conditions.

A few things I want to work out is further differentiating shooting combat from melee combat. The former is mostly about Pinning and the latter about taking ground, IMHO. I'd also like to make shooting a little cleaner with a distinct difference between average and superior troops.

Overall, this was a great, fun game, filled with interesting choices but driven by core combat principles rather than loads of special rules. This made it feel very realistic but also play very simply. This core platform of rules can certainly withstand the occasional extra rule for a unit, such as cavalry or cannon, without becoming bogged down and tedious.