I first met Michael (and his family) of Angelbarracks about 4 years ago at Reveille, a wargames show local to both of us in Bristol. Over the years we would see each other at various shows and always have a chat. Last year at MadFest in Minehead we had chance to have a proper chat and to look at his wonderful range of figures and wargames terrain. Being a sucker for nice shiny toys I bought some starter packs off him at the show, followed soon after by some of his own range of figures, the detail of which has to be seen to be believed.
At MadFest he was running demo games of his version of the free FUBAR wargames rules, but unfortunately I was unable to find time to give them a go as I was running another game. However we resolved to try and get together to give them a go at some point in the future. So as the way with these things we finally found some time today, some 8 or 9 months later.
So after being a taxi for the family this morning, I arrived at Michael's house to find everything already set up and well laid out. With his figures being 6mm this made a big difference as I was able to easily pick out the various units that I had at my disposal. We would be using Michael's own rules, which are a development of the FUBAR ones. I had intended on reading them the night before, but for a variety of reasons I completely failed. However I need not have worried as they were extremely easy to pick up (Rather than bore you with the details fo the game mechanics, I respectfully suggest that you read the rules as linked above).
I would be playing the Junkers (freedom fighters or terrorists, depending upon your point of view), with Michael taking the role of the RDF (upholders of law-and-order or oppressors, again depending upon your point of view). The scenario was a simple one of the RDF having to locate an important person in one of the buildings and then escort them off the table. Simples, or so you would think. However no one knew which building said VIP was in and the Junkers where mixed in amongst the civilian population, and so there exact whereabouts were unknown to the RDF. The Junkers also has proximity mines at their disposal as well as groups of civilians within which to hide, that could move around the table at will, but at any time voluntarily reveal themselves to 'ambush' the RDF forces. The RDF forces for their part had more vehicles and better weapons to offset the 'home advantage' of the Junkers.
Unfortunately my camera memory card filled up very quickly due to a load of photos my wife had taken, so I was only able to get a few early shots of the game, but hopefully they will give you an idea of the terrain and forces involved. Let me say this that they in no way do justice to the superb painting that Michael has done on the figures and vehicles, talk less of his wonderful terrain (and no I'm not on commission for the doubting Thomas' amongst you).
|The overall view of the 3'x3' table, with the Junkers settlement in the middle, and the Junkers civilians going about there daily business. The RDF forces would enter via the right hand table edge.|
|A close up view of the Junker settlement.|
|A rather blurred shot of the RDF forces attempting to get round the flank, but unsure of the civilians on their right flank; innocent settlers or a mask for Junker freedom fighters?|
|The Junker buggy is no match for a proper APC.|
|The RDF forces start to surround the settlement in search of the VIP wanted for 'questioning'.|
|A general view of the game in progress.|
|A firefight between the Junker freedom fighters and the RDF APC. The APC would finish the game with no armament and barely able to move. The Junker on the extreme left does have side burns painted on his head!!!|
So after a hard fought and very entertaining game, with plenty of cinematic moments, the RDF forces located the VIP and managed to escort him off the table to help 'with their lines of enquiry'. The game lasted just over 2 hours which was just right, with plenty of ebb and flow of the game for both sides. The game mechanics worked really, really well, with its version of command and control providing the sort of game I enjoy. So below I thought I'd jot down a few of the highlights:
- The civilians wandering around hiding the Junkers forces made for an entertaining game of cat-and-mouse early on. With the RDF not knowing where my forces were, it was up to me when and where to reveal them to the best of my advantage.
- Michael and his RDF force had a wonderful run of command initiative that really turned the tide in his favour. Up until then I had been holding my own, with my freedom fighters causing nearly enough casualties to force his troops to retire.
- Michael wandering too close to the proximity mines twice, the last time when he had the VIP safely tucked up in his knackered APC and the game won. Unfortunately from my point of view the mine didn't blow the whole damn vehicle up! You should have seen Michael's face though, it was a picture...
- At the end I had a couple of chances to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat, but my freedom fighter and his RPG failed to do the necessary damage to the APC, even when hitting it from behind.
- The terrain and the figures were a joy to behold.