I shuffled in to 2018 with a weekend of Wargaming at my friend Pete’s. Here follows a look at four of the games we played, two miniature, two board.
Five Core Brigade Commander is essentially the RTS video game Wargame Airland Battle in table top form. Our setting is cold war gone warm central Deutschland 1980s. In this weekend’s game I had a Soviet Armoured regiment mostly composed of T72s with some infantry and specialist support, and crucially two hind attack helicopters. The game is structured around ‘bases’ a square a few cm wide holding some 6mm minis that represents a company, either armoured, mech or foot. You get perhaps 12 of these with a few platoon sized assets supporting them. Each asset, e.g. Anti-air manpads or engineers either confers a special ability to its attached company or operates as an orbital unit that is thrown out from its parent to do something useful. For instance recon units can be thrown out to spot enemy in cover.
|T72s line up against BOARs Chieftans. Bill scouted my force in the woods and hammered it with arty.|
You also get some cards you can play that allow you to call in off map artillery (with great effect) and deploy spec ops etc. A turn comprises of an initiative roll and turn type determination followed by igougo in which you get an activation for every 3 bases you have*. Turn type has as similar effect to a chit pull system in a board war game in so far as it stops you doing what you planned to do periodically. You roll a die and you might get a normal turn, or you might get a scurry turn, move only no shooting, or a fire fight shoot only no move. Hopefully you get a normal turn then you move your bases and shoot.
*I’m simplifying a bit here.
|Hinds move in to avoid a disaster, dead eye Bill seems to roll only hits|
Moving works the way it works in every minis game I’ve played. Terrain is quite simple, you have wood and urban areas that basically just block line of sight, allow you to hide, and slow you down. A look up table tells you what can shoot what, and how many blue (shock) and red (kill) dice you can throw. Only 1s and 6s do something, 6s wiping stuff out, and 1s simply stunning units.
|A late charge up the right flank seemed like an ace move. Bill countered with some quickly redeployed manpads.|
I usually try to keep my reviews low on mechanics descriptions and high on bluster but minis games are a more alien world for me. Fivecore manages the double feat of being simple enough to play with a concussion but rewarding smart play with your recon assets, and area denial tactics. There isn’t a vast amount of differentiation between the different factions (I’ve played games with Soviet, BOAR and US) but different regiment types, armour, mech, airborne would all be quite asymmetric in play. The use of one use off map artillery and spec ops cards also generate some pivoting movements. It looks good (if you’ve got Pete and Bill’s minis) and there is no rules referencing but it still feels convincing. I found that my helos could be used in a similar way to how I use them in the Wargame video game series, as a highly mobile reserve that can be used to both plug a gap and draw the enemy forward.