Saturday, 13 February 2016

Black Ops from Osprey - First Games and Impressions

As a 'palatte cleanser' after our Saga campaign we decided to try a new ruleset that I bought on a whim just before Christmas - Black Ops from Osprey Publishing.

It's designed to replicate those modern action films and games with a choice of factions including special forces, militias, gangsters and even Ninjas! I don't particulary want to game any specific wars such as those in Afghanistan or Iraq but the idea of playing a Bond leading a crack squad to rescue the girl or blow something up is quite appealing.

To that end, and in order to save money I purchased a couple of packs of 1/72 plastic and 20mm metal figures last year from a few companies including who were having a sale and I can recommend them for quality and service.

However, while they are still on the painting table we chose our woefully underused (and in my case badly painted) 40k forces.  My Space Marine scouts were played as 'Professionals' and Phil's Orks were a 'Militia' force.

The photos below come from our second game, played as a standard mission without the stealth rules.  One of the houses contained an object of interest which we had to retrieve and move off table.  Activation is card based and therefore the turn sequence is fairly random.

The 'Ace' and team approach  the first building and one member enters through a rear window and luckily finds the object quickly.  Enemy forces are just out of sight on the left and sneaking their way through the hedgerows.

 A second team puts down supression fire on a unit that might threaten exfil.  Another group is out of sight behind the house on the right.

A lone sniper takes position in order to cover the team from a heavy machine gun just poking out at the bottom of the lane.   But he took some suppression forcing him to keep his head down.

 The Ace pays the price for leaving cover and the enemy ace takes the opportunity to put him down. This forces a morale check which I lost forcing me to fall back but since I have the object of interest (represented by the white gem) this doesn't matter as it's time to get out of dodge.

 The group pulls back as my units support weapon lays down covering fire, ending the threat of the militia heavy weapon.  In this game there is safety in numbers so they form a screen which means hits cannot just fall on one model.

The fallen leader couldn't be stabilised and died at the scene - the body was left where it lay and there was no 'leave no man behind' ethos displayed.  The enemy had broken from cover and were in danger of catching my men out in the open but the card which activated my 'Jacks' or standard troops came next and the guy carrying the 'football' crossed the line for a win.


The game was fun and it was fast - over in just under an hour.  It had a good cinematic feel and the potential for a good narrative which we both feel vital in our gaming.

The supression rule is interesting and I think most shots were suppressive fire which made for some interesting tactical choices.  Often it didn't seem the logical choice to fire on the man but rather on the area just in front of him.
It needs a lot more terrain  as you can't rely on armour for saves when you're not in cover.  Our last game had a lot of flanking for position and shooting at each other across a large open square.

The rules are quite ambiguous in some places and do require players to actually talk to each other and perhaps discuss what makes sense.  When that happened I tried to imagine it as a scene from a film and that often helped.  This abiguity might be annoying for some but I didn't mind at all and I felt that I got to interact with the game much more than in some games with very prescriptive rules.

One possibility for me is using the rules to game some old WW2 movies - 'Where Eagles Dare' or 'Guns of Navarone' style adventures.  Before that, i'd like to test the stealth missions which add 'spotting' and 'noise' to the mix.

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