Tuesday, 24 February 2015

Modern Skirmish Gaming

After an enforced break caused by the usual clashes of work or family commitments, my regular gaming partner Craig and I were finally able to meet up for a game. We decided upon a game set in his fictional African country of N'Bote using the recently published free rules from Spectre Miniatures. I had played the Beta rules before and since then they have undergone quite a re-write according to Craig. They were fun to play first time round but lacked a certain something as I won the game easily without really having to do anything. So I approached the game with an open mind. As usual Craig had set up a lovely table with plenty of cover, but as I took the camera out the batteries died on me. Fortunately Craig has put up an AAR on his Blog, so you can see how the game unfolded there.

So how did I find the game? Well it was very easy to pick up again and had certainly improved over the last game. As usual we made a few mistakes with the rules, which in retrospect favoured my Militia forces. This did not take anything away from the game which had a certain cinematic feel about it, but with plenty of challenges for both sides in how best to use their troops. Actually having a printed rulebook to hand rather than a pdf. on a tablet etc made a huge difference as we were both able to read the rules at the same time as we went along. We both felt that the lack of spotting rules needed to be addressed, but some house rules should easily work to fix this. All-in-all a nice little ruleset that gives a fun and action packed game without constant reference to tables or the need to different die etc. I'd highly recommend that you download the free rules from the Spectre Miniatures website and have a look for your selves.

Post game Craig and I had our usual chat and one topic that cropped up was the current number of rulesets that deal with modern skirmish wargaming, mainly set in Iraq and Afghanistan. Now neither of these settings appeal to me, probably because the conflicts are too current for my taste and in game terms I don't find the scenarios that interesting. We both tried 'Ambush Alley' a few years ago and despite the rules being beautifully presented, they were awful to play and the scenarios varied in quality to say the least.

I've heard of 'Skirmish Sangin' by RadioDishDash, but as mentioned the setting doesn't float my boat. I invested in 'No End In Sight' by Nordic Weasel Games late last year as they seemed an interesting set of rules but importantly come with a very well thought out campaign system. Currently I enjoy playing linked narrative campaigns, either solo or as with Craig's N'Bote one, dipping in and out as time permits. I believe Craig is using this system for his campaign, but stand to be corrected.

I must be honest and find current African conflicts a little too close to home, given that I have a Nigerian wife, have lived in Nigeria and the current Boko Haram attacks have been rather too close for comfort at times to my in-laws. However I find Craig's setting to be one that I'm comfortable with and more convential as it were, without suicide bombers and IEDs, so something that would have happened in the '80s and '90s. Now these conflicts were brutal at times, make no mistake about it, but for me they are a period and setting that I'm comfortable to game. So much so that earlier in the year I bought some SAS and British Regulars from Empress Miniatures with the aim of joining in with the N'Bote campaign. I'm extremely tempted to buy some Militia as well but in all honesty I know that I simply won't have time to paint them.

I have yet to have a game of No End In Sight or have a proper read through of the rules, but from a quick glance they do look rather good. Of course the proof of the pudding will be in the eating. Either way, it is nice to have found what look like two good, if rather different rules sets for Modern skirmish wargames, not something I had been expecting to play this year to be honest. But then unexpected 'finds' such as this are one of the pleasures of this hobby of ours.


  1. Good posting Steve, I tried the Beta test but I to struggled with the lack of spotting and the fact that he who had the most guns seemed to win, however saying that we did not use the specialist rules.
    Have you tried At Close Quarters - They might be to your taste - figures tend to be pinned rather than killed, they struck the right balance for me, with militia often going to ground and then running away once to or three of their buddies are taken out.

    1. I'll stick with it for present and see how the house rules go re: spotting etc. Never heard of At Close Quarters, but No End In Sight has a similar feel by the sound of it, with figures supressed rather than killed. Still will check ACQ out just in case.