Saturday, June 30, 2018

I Played a Miniatures Game and I Liked It!

I like to play all types of games.  I play board games, card games and CCGs, role playing games, play-by-mail games, and a few video games.  One genre of game that I have always wanted to try out are miniatures games.  I own several unpainted figures and rules, and I have even dabbled in Heroclix (which I define as a board game with miniatures, but that is for another post).  The type of game that I am talking about involves moving figures around a table, measuring distances with tape measures, and looking on as the modeled terrain and painted minis create a gestalt of a tiny battle.

Last week I played Fate of a Nation, a variant for the popular Flames of War rules that covers the Arab-Israeli conflicts.  This was not a conflict I ever thought of simulating.  However, I found a local wargamers club and one of the members graciously offered to bring his tank models and rules so that we could have a battle.

Setting up the table for the a desert battle.

It was awesome that I could participate in a game that had painted models and ready-made scenery and terrain.  Most of my own miniatures projects are languishing in the closet because I was overwhelmed with all the steps required to create a decent looking table battle.  Another great aspect was that the owner of the models agreed to be referee between myself and another player.  He explained the rules throughout the whole game, allowing me to focus on tactics and strategy rather that the minutia of an unfamiliar set of rules.

UAR forces prepare for their assault. 

Israeli tanks hide behind a hill, waiting for battle.

I did not come totally unprepared.  I brought dice and a small tape measure.  The game was a blast (no pun intended).  I played the Israeli side and I have two teams of tanks staring down a mass of invading enemy tanks.  The referee explained that this was a classic case of one side having lots of numbers while the other side had less equipment of a better quality.  My strategy was to roll my tanks to the edge of cover, fire, and then retreat behind the cover for protection.  The Israeli units have a special ability that gives them an extra move as long as they make a roll.  The downside to my plan was that my tanks could get bogged down in the covering terrain or they could fail their roll for extra movement.  This would leave them stuck or exposed to enemy fire, and since my total number of tanks was seven any losses that I took would hurt.

My tanks in firing position at the edge of the woods.

My other unit of tanks.  Notice that one tank failed to navigate the hill and is bogged down.

My strategy worked well, mainly due to good rolls of the dice.  I was able to pop up and back, taking shots at the advancing enemy.  I hit many UAR tanks, causing at least one failed morale check that sent a bunch of units running.  While a few of my tanks were hit, they we only bailed out and recovered on the next turn.  I won the scenario by destroying all the enemies tanks or causing them to leave the battlefield due to failed morale checks.  I would like to try a scenario where the Israelis are forced to take a more proactive role on the battlefield.  I can already feel the tension imagining a unit of three tanks maneuvering through a battlefield while 20 plus enemy tanks fire on them.

UAR tanks taking casualties as they charge the Israeli positions.

I had a ton of fun and definitely want to try Flames of War again.  I liked the system and I liked playing a tank battle.  I might look into the Team Yankee rules for Flames of War, which covers a hypothetical WWIII in Europe between NATO and Soviet Bloc troops.  Overall it was a great game and I will need to get some tanks and paints!