AKA, Unit 101's 6th Fight of Operation Payback
It's 0325 on 11 Jul 1990, and Unit 101 is in Lebanon, closing in on The Mayor in the village of Jezabyl. The village is very small, and inhabited only by people that are well armed and loyal to The Mayor, and the tactical problem is that the platoon needs to take The Mayor alive. Team 1 has busted down the door, and now it's time for Team 2 to rush in and grab the target. The sniper and MG teams are to the southwest, in position to isolate the enemy compound (keep reinforcements from getting in) and prevent escape (keep the target from getting out).
I'm playing this solo, using Ben Lacy's skirmish rules "Final Combat." These are super detailed, and you know I'm simple, so I'm using the activation system as written, and I'm using the movement, spotting, morale, casualty determination, and firing pretty much as written, though simplified just a hair. This game was fun, and didn't take as long as I thought it would, but was still longer than I generally am looking for. I really like the activation system, so I'll probably work to make shooting, spotting, morale, and casualty determination. Oh, and I didn't really mess with postures too much, everyone just kept moving forward. Part of that was I don't have figures to reflect the different postures (standing, kneeling, and prone) and I didn't really want to use more markers for it, though I'm considering getting some more Peter Pig US Marines so I can do this. The only problem is, I can't find suitable bad guys where I can do the same thing (no one makes modern prone bad guys!).
The Cubans are Khurasan's PMCs, while the bad guys are Rebel Minis' insurgents.
The Final Combat/SOF Warrior activation system is built around better troops activating more frequently, so I should be able to pit a small force of highly trained, highly experienced dudes against some local riff-raff, no problem.
It is time to fight! I'm using poker chips for activation: five TQ5 chips, four TQ4 chips, etc... I'm not using separate good guy and bad guy chits; the only overlap is TQ3, where I've got one good guy (Ratchet) and two bad guys (the squad leaders). I just roll one white dice and two black, then activate them in order from highest to lowest (re-roll ties).
But the enemy has been alerted, and is moving men forward to challenge the Special Operations commandos.
It might seem odd to you that I keep talking about spotting, but each element has to spot its own targets, even if other guys on their side have spotted the enemy, unless they're able to communicate it.
I could have marked him with a purple bead, meaning he's wounded and will use each phase to crawl off the map, but I was lazy and just swapped him out with a casualty figure. Unfortunately, I had to do it again later...
That was Trinity having to hesitate a phase due to enemy fire.
I actually rolled up a hit, but then the hit location was the left calf, which, due to the wall, was impossible, so I made it a miss, then I made the bad guy take his morale roll and he passed like a champion. I think I played that right, right?
Just below the bad guy on the roof is a wounded terrorist crawling to escape, and the bad guy Major Villanueva shot at and missed is at top left.
I can't believe he spotted that, there was about a 15% chance!
And all that signals but the end of Turn 1!
Is it weird, having hardcore terrorists surrender? Twice now this game. Feels a little strange to me; not saying none surrender, but these guys don't seem particularly committed ;)
While only three good guys are left in the fight, the momentum is clearly on their side, and they're pushing hard to get forward and keep The Mayor from escaping. I don't know how many bad guys were left still in action at this point (I think it was just the bad guy in the building at bottom right, the 1st Squad Leader escorting The Mayor, and a wounded guy that's pinned but hasn't been able to rally on the other side of the building Major V is up against), but we're winning. However, with only three guys, all it takes is one unfortunate event to change the complexion of the fight. And The Mayor could actually get into the crop fields and give us the slip...
Mouse just snickers to himself; "yeah, I kinda saw that coming, @#$%er."
In real life, when you hit a village like this, you build an overlay in the mission prep and apply an identifier to every structure in the area of operations, so that you can quickly reference it and everyone knows exactly what you're talking about. Works a lot better than "the third building on the left, the one with the red door and the blue roof." "On the left? Is that north or south from my pos?" "No, it's west of your pos, the one with the blue roof." "Is that coming north up the street or south?" "I dunno, it's on the left! The one with the blue roof!" "Look, @#%hole, I'm looking north and have three buildings with blue roofs, got four more blue roofs to the south." "I said to your west..."
Yep, that leaves a pinned bad guy behind me (behind the trees at top left), but now the enemy squad leader has The Mayor out of the building and they're on the run, I've got to move quick lest they get away.
I wasn't going to tell you that Trinity failed his rally roll and stayed pinned, didn't want to embarrass him...
Thus ends Turn 2. This is nerve-wracking: I've only got three guys left, but we're right on the cusp of getting The Mayor. But The Mayor is right on the cusp of getting into the crop fields and escaping...
Holy cow, that should have never been that close, but the damn TQ3 tokens kept coming out!!! The Mayor got pretty deep into the crops, so I gave Trinity only about a 20% chance of finding him, and he passed! That may sound low, you may be thinking it's easy to follow the trail of someone in a crop field. Well, that's not my experience, and don't forget, it's 0330 in the morning, pretty damn dark, plus Trinity is pretty much at an all-out sprint to catch up.
It all worked out, but I was really thinking I was going to have to play another game to try and capture The Mayor. I was also second guessing myself, thinking I should have just had Trinity shoot him; better to whack him then let him get away ;)
The fight was fun, and tense, though it's still taking me a long time, about two and a half hours. But I'm pretty comfortable with the flow now, though I've gotten away from looking up the firing and spotting modifiers each time and just kind of laying odds (percentages) and rolling 2D10 to see if i worked or not. It doesn't really matter for the game I guess, but it's kind of fun knowing where rounds hit a guy. Actually, it does matter when the target is obscured by cover that can stop a round, I believe. But I believe I'm going to handle wounded in the future the way I did the Cubans here, which is just throw down casualty figures rather than track a bunch of wounded guys crawling to get off the map. And don't misunderstand, that's only for the guys wounded so bad they can't continue the fight; there will still be guys that get hit but remain in the fight. It's pretty cool having a few guys take on so many bad guys and 1) having a tense game, 2) a chance to win, 3) without it just seeming like a die-rolling exercise. I did use the term 'TQ5 superhero' in my writeup, but I just meant that in terms of Major V being an incredibly highly trained and highly experienced operator, not that the rules made him untouchable. Though you do need to make sure you don't have too many TQ5s, unless you have two guys and a hundred bad guys. Like "Strike Back" ;)
Regarding the fight, the Cubans suffered two more wounded, Link and Ratchet, and they were both hit pretty bad. The good news is that both will be able to return to the Unit, but both are going to be out awhile. This fight occurred on 11 July 1990, and Link is out until 1 Sep 1990, and Ratchet is out until 25 Sep 1990. Team 2 is now down three man, though Slate will be coming back on 16 Jul 1990. The bad guys suffered: eight KIA, four WIA that escaped and live to fight another day, and three captured (The Mayor and two wounded soldiers).
For those wondering how the Cubans got a Chinook into Lebanon, where it came from, and where they were going, there are rumors the Cubans have military ties to the Israeli Defense Force, who have their own interest in speaking with The Mayor. Due to these military ties, the flight is safe (owing to fighter escort, two F-15s) and quick (not having to go very far). The Unit sees to its wounded, inventories, surveys, and cleans gear, checks comms, grabs a quick bite, then beds down.
They sleep fitfully, and when they rise they find the intel guys have done their job: a new target has been provided by The Mayor. The Mayor stated the prime facilitator in the double-cross that went down, the man who knows exactly who ordered the ambush and exactly who carried it out, is known simply as "The Persian." The Mayor didn't know anything else about The Persian but that he resides off the grid in Malaysia. Israeli military intelligence was able to provide some details: The Persian is a Shiite Muslim born of Iranian parents in Lebanon in the mid-1960s, true name Ali bin-Schwammy-Roksamshammy (we'll stick with "The Persian"), and he lives in Langkawi, Malaysia. The Israelis were very helpful in assisting with logistics for the Unit to get to Langkawi.
Which is the next set of fights.