Thursday, 31 August 2017

Plausible Deniability

Plausible Deniability

Hi, it's been awhile between posts but we are going to try and alter that moving forward.

I want to share some page samples of the new Spec Ops book for Skirmish Sangin called Plausible Deniability that is coming out soon. Exact date unknown but soon. I have been working on this book with Michael charge

It contains ORBATS for the following Special forces organisations:
  • SAS
  • GSG9
  • GROM

Plus 12 scenarios and a whole bunch of new rules and kit. I have been working on this book with my fellow author Michael Charge and you can check out his blog here.

Thursday, 13 April 2017

Platoon + Modern play through

Helmand, in the south-west of Afghanistan and roughly 500 hazardous kilometres from the capital, Kabul, shares a southern border with the unruly tribal region of north-west Pakistan. The province consists largely of furnace-like flatlands, bisected by the Helmand River, which is flanked either side by lush vegetation known as the ‘Green Zone’. The Green Zone is an area of densely irrigated land, supporting almost 90 per cent of the local population. Depending on the season, crops of poppy, marijuana and maize reduce visibility to 10 metres and sometimes less. The fertility of the Green Zone makes Helmand Afghanistan’s largest producer of opium.

Kemp, Richard. Attack State Red (Kindle Locations 763-768). Penguin Books Ltd. Kindle Edition. 


To clear the Taliban out of the their strongholds in the green zone to the north of Gereshk.


ISAF - Two platoons, 1 French and 1 British
Taliban - 40 Miniatures

Game size

100+ miniatures on a 8ft by 6ft board

The Battle

The game began with ISAF pushing into the green zone, on the right flank the French made quick headway, on the left flank the British went to ground and began to pour in covering fire at the Taliban occupied compounds.

 The battle field looked like this:

 Below: The British dug in and providing covering fire for the French advance.

 Below: The French begin to advance on the nearest compound.

 Below: Wide version shot of the opening moves.

Below: Taliban begin to pour fire into the advancing French (as the Taliban player - this is where I began to roll really badly and only having a few APs as I had rolled low on the command dice, I made the best use of cover to keep ISAF at arms length)

Below: The British had rolled high on their command dice and by going to ground and not move could now pour fire into the Taliban compounds. However the Taliban fired back with many RPGs and PKMs but to little effect.

 Below: The French commander Raymond d'Tawa surveying the battlefield prior to the engagement

 Below: The British LMG's and UGL's plus the French LMG's and AT4's begin to hurt the Taliban

Below: The Taliban move up reinforcements but too little effect.

Below:  The French finally occupy the first compound after some bitter fighting.

Below: The Taliban on the hill get into a duelling match with the dug in British who didn't have it all their own way. But clever tactics by the British nullified a lot of the Taliban fire.

Below: The Taliban Command calls for a general withdraw.


So ISAF carried the day, the Taliban had been too static for two long and once the British and French had spotted them the combined arms made short work of the opposition. Although a beleaguered Taliban did hold out for way longer than expected given how few command APs they had.

ISAF Platoon Unit Sheets


Well every time we play this game we learn just a little more. This time the command points were definitely an issue and we have already sorted a fix out for that. The fire teams worked well and the ability to go to ground for troops worked really well. The British  and French players using real tactics made the Taliban pay big time. The system handles the number of troops easily and its exciting seeing the game scaling up in size.

At the play test in Cold Wars (USA), that were using an earlier version of these rules we got these really great comments:

"I had the good fortune of playing a test version of the rules at the Cold Wars Con on Lancaster, PA, USA last weekend, and had a blast.  A platoon of British regulars sweeping through an Afghan village ran into 4 squads + HMG of Taliban.  We played in 20mm and the rules were streamlined - no armor or air, no off-board assets - and it was great fun.  To my mind, it struck the right balance between simulation and playability.  Really looking forward to the full-blown rules set."

Tuesday, 21 February 2017

Platoon+ - A WW2 playthrough

So as part of the ongoing development of Platoon+ we have started playtesting the rules and I have to say we are liking what we are seeing and can't wait to begin to share it with you.

As with all rulesets, no rules are born perfect and we are tweaking the variables to maintain accuracy and to obtain maximum playability.

There are still a lot of the mechanics you know and love from Sangin but now players get to play one or two platoons on their own. That's 60+ miniatures so as you can see this is a significant step up.

As always one of the ways we do a test is to play the rules in a different period to see if they still work and as part of this we have recently been playing a series of WW2 games using the rules.

See a typical platoon sheet below:

Here are some images of the game.

Rays beautiful table, I am so lucky he lets me use his boards for play testing

Mike H trying to work out just where his Yanks will come on the board

Mike L moves his German's up to take the building, quickly followed by his second squad

Ray tries to out flank the Germans in the main building

Mike H Yanks take cover in the cornfield

The author trying to hold his gut in and insistent on wearing his skirmish OUTBREAk T shirt

There were Four platoons involved, 2 US and 2 German and the game was a meeting engagement with both sides needing to take the village.

I would like to show you the new turn sequence and how command and control works in the game

The new turn sequence Looks like this:

Turn sequence

The Command Phase
Player rolls command dice and allocates dice to each section in his platoon.

The Morale phase
Any morale tests are resolved.

The Activation Phase
The squad with the highest activation now activates (if there is tie both groups roll 1d6 with the highest going first).

The Combat Phase
The squad can them spend APs to do the following in any order:
Move, Resolve Fire weapons, Resolve Melee combat

In this blog post we are going to introduce you to the new command dice and discuss why we have added this element to the game.

At platoon level the game is no longer about the efforts of an individual man or even an individual squad, it's about how best to field your Platoon elements and to do that we need to show how the command and control elements work.

In most games your Platoon HQ (Command Group) is little more than a collection of miniatures that hang around at the back and have little to no influence on the game.

Platoon+ this is very different. In platoon+ squads only have 1AP to use per combat phase and their additional APs come from the way the Command Group hand out the command dice.

Command Dice

All Command dice are 1d6 and are allocated at the beginning of the combat round. The players roll the 1d6 and the number of points allocated are additional APs that squad can use throughout the combat round. When a squad runs out of command AP they still have 1AP per active combat phase, these cannot be saved and must be spent in their combat phase or be lost.

An average platoon has 3 or 4 command dice and these are rolled and allocated at the start of the combat round. Only one dice can be allocated to one squad and not every unit will get a dice.

Joshua has an average US Infantry unit. The unit has 3d6 command dice, Joshua rolls the dice and gets 2,3,4. Each number is the amount of additional AP the unit the points are allocated to now get and add to their single AP.

Joshua allocates the dice as follows:

SquadCommand Dice Roll
Platoon HQ2
Squad Alpha4
Squad Bravo3
Squad Charlie0 - no dice allocated

Players will have insufficient dice to allocate points to all units. Units without a command dice have a default 1AP to spend during each combat phase.

These extra points that each squad gains from their command dice have to last the full combat Round of 10 combat phases in which any one squads is only active 4 times, but you do burn through the command points pretty quick and to paraphrase the song "knowing when to hold 'em and knowing when play 'em" is a big part of the game.

In the opening move of the game. The first US Squad arriving on the board first (we are still using an initiative system similar to Sangin) spent 3 of their AP and raced across the board towards the village, stopping on the road taking cover from the corn field and a stonewall.

Next to activate were the Germans who burn even more APs (4) to move forward and occupy a building on the edge of the village.

The rest of the US units began an encirclement of the village while the Germans attempted to block the US on the right. The opening moves were mainly movement but when one US squad having failed its spot roll occupied the building across the way from the Germans they were meet with German grenades and many casualties were incurred?

The Germans didn't have it their own way, they were meet with gunfire from the USA in the centre of the village but did manage to move additional squads and their HQ team into the village?.

So more to come soon of this battle and along the way we'll tell you a few more things about Platoon+

Saturday, 11 February 2017

Mobile Combat Report

Great blog post here from Michael Charge playing a very mobile game using vehicles, on a very large board. Which is the only way with vehicles...

Friday, 15 July 2016

Skirmish Afrika now out

AFRIKA is an imaginary continent set in the modern world. This book contains 9 scenarios and all the background information players need to create forces (ORBATS) for each of the 14 countries and UN Peacekeepers, Private Military Contractors and Guerrillas. This book contains detailed background on 14 new and original Afrikaan Countries. Within this continent, its countries have a diverse range of problems that includes everything from war-like aggressive neighbours to internal dissent and terrorism. At the same time these countries deal with the spectre of modern colonialism. This takes many forms including aid dependency, unscrupulous trade deals and arms supplies from countries as diverse as China, India, Europe and the USA. This is not a standalone rulebook, players will need a copy of Skirmish Sangin to use this supplement.

Friday, 13 May 2016

Foggy Morning

For our usual Thursday night game we decided to play an old scenario from Sangin Despatches No.1, why well mainly because Ray had finally built his Airfix Jackal so we need a game that could show it off to its best.

The premise of the game is:

The local Taliban group is being pressured to make a successful strike against the ISAF forces by their immediate superiors. They have been ordered to make an attack on the highway that runs North-South through this area of Helmand. 

Taliban Briefing 
The Taliban group decides to lay two IEDs along the highway and lay an ambush further along on both sides of the road. The IEDs were placed the previous night and set up to work off a TV remote. All they need to do is press the button. 

On the day of the attack it’s foggy and bitterly cold. The Taliban move to their target areas early and begin the watch on the road. There is little real cover and they make the best they can of what’s available. They sit waiting for their spies at the local truck stop to tell them when any ISAF vehicles leave. 

ISAF briefing: 
A Jackal, 2x Technical (we used a snatch Landrover because I forget the second technical) and Trucks are travelling in convoy between FOBs. After a brief stop to refuel at the truck stop the vehicles continue their journey. In each technical are six Afghan National Police (ANP) officers (Four in the back and two in the cab). The Jackal has a four UK Para advisers plus a driver. One of the advisers will be manning the vehicle-mounted 12.7mm HMG.

The Taliban lie in wait, its a very foggy morning so the maximum spot range is 12" and we use the -50% night rules to reduce players ability to spot. This made hitting anything hard for both sides.

The Jackal drives over the IED but no bang, unfortunately the next vehicle, the first technical, is blown sky high by the IED killing all the crew. Immediately the Jackal stops and tries to spot where the RPG was fired from. They see the Taliban hiding but the return .50 cal fire misses.

The Taliban now take aim at the side profile Jackal with their their RPG. There is a smattering of small arm but no further casualties for the convoy. How can they miss?

The words are not out my mouth when the RPG does miss but not by much and the crew are showered with DZ shrapnel but only 1 man take a minor word for 1 point, everyone else makes their body armour rolls.

The driver in the truck isn't stopping and pulls off the road to avoid the contact and keep going, while the second technical races forward, you can just see it in the background if you look carefully.

 The Jackal starts getting targeted from all the small arms fire but the fog and the bad rolls means they just stacking morale markers.

Finally three of the crew debus from the Jackal and move away from the vehicle. The main gunner continues to fire away but keeps missing the Taliban. Some appalling rolls on my behalf.

 The truck driver races a head not stopping.

Finally the Brits gather enough courage and charge the Taliban line which steadily crumbles under them. Their superior skills are brought to bear and the Taliban lose a lot of casualties in one round. The second technical not shown now also debused and its ANP make short work of the other Taliban force (unfortunately those pics didn't come out). At this point we called the game and it was a narrow victory for the ISAF.

It was a good close fought game, which went backwards and forwards between the activations with only the last two combat phases defining the win.

Many thanks as always to the Hutchinson's for all their kit and their great enthusiasm to play. I hope you guys all enjoy this AAR. We had a lot of fun playing it.

Sunday, 1 May 2016

Introduction to Afrika

Fantasy Afrika for Skirmish Sangin

In 2015 Dishdash Publishing (DD) was approached by the Miniature Building Authority (MBA) with a request to sell our game Skirmish Sangin in their forthcoming Kickstarter. The Kickstarter was to create a series of 28mm non-denominal forces for a fantasy modern Africa.

At the time we where creating our own Somali miniatures for our project Maalintii Rangers (Day of the Rangers) that went on to be a very successful Kickstarter for us and you will see many of those miniatures in the forthcoming book, as they make great Afrika OPFOR Forces

After a brief discussion between the two companies, I got over excited about things as is usual and decided I would create a special book called Skirmish Afrika especially for that MBA Kickstarter. 

As MBA wanted to make sure this was all fantasy we looked at the country of Africa and first off  completely redrew the country boundaries and renamed the countries. Being long time Deutsches Afrikakorps (DAK) fans we changed the spelling to Afrika to emphasis the difference.

Thus the book concept was born. As with all births, its had its good bits, its hard bits and it downright painful bits and I am still not quite finished... its currently weighing in at 25k words wise and has breakdowns on 15 countries with ORBATS for all the main protagonists in each one. It also has (currently) 6 scenarios and an article about making Afrika terrain (sneak peek below). ORBATS on PMCs and Guerrillas and few other things to add that Afrikaan flavour.

In our renaming we took all the existing countries chopped up their names and mixed them up, combining country names and keeping the feel of the original african nations. Sometimes we reverted back to ancient country names, sometimes we just went wild with the names. Until we settled on the map of Afrika.

Below you can see one of the proposed double page spreads of the book.

Once the map was redrawn we had to provide sensible backgrounds for each of the countries, we looked at the land masses and worked up using bits of real history but changing the names to protect the innocent and also looked at a sort of modern colonialism. Thus you will be see everyone from China, India, USA and Europe having some influence on our new Afrikaan countries.

We then choose one major conflict for a small campaign of linked scenarios to show how you as players can take these country background and create your own campaigns.

Now obviously this is still a work in progress. The first draft has been completed and gone off to the trusted readers in the Sangin Community for feedback. Once thats collected and analysed, the book edited and laid out, it will just be the photoshoot that will be needed before we can release this bad boy, first to those wonderful people who supported MBA Kickstarter and then to you the waiting public.