Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Bug hunt at the shed and Osprey Black Ops

The temple...of doom!

I had another kind invitation by Eric the Shed for a game yesterday.  Eric's scenery is legendary but I thought he had surpassed himself with his Egyptian temple set up. Set around thirty years in the future there were three of us with four figures (United Nations marines, or some such) each; a leader and three grunts, looking for some scientists who had gone missing in the Egyptian desert.  

The two of us who had arrived first set off to explore the scientists' camp only to be confronted by a horrific apparition which exploded out of the tent (like the Old Bat in the morning after the night she went camping on Hayling Island - her flirtation with camping lasted exactly one night, given the cold and no bathroom - I stayed in the Portsmouth Marriott).  Eventually, the two teams brought it down but it exploded, splashing my leader with acid.  One of many lessons learned that evening.  Don't get too close to exploding bugs!  

My team edges around the temple only to be confronted by one of GW's worse (or is that the knights of Dol Amroth)

We both sent our teams into the temple entrance in the cliff face and soon started running into all sorts of nasty creatures.  Armed with a collection of weapons we had chosen from an options list (such as assault rifles, light machine guns, grenade launchers, flamers etc.) we quickly learnt what did and did not work against the seemingly endless collection of horrible creatures lurking in the tunnels.  Eric gleefully generated our opposition as we searched for the missing scientists.  

Behind the temple Eric had set up a maze of tunnels which were only revealed as we entered them or were able to scout them ahead, on a dice throw.  I'm not sure how much use scouting was anyway as it just revealed the presence of the nasties.  We had to take them on anyway!  Our third marines player arrived and took a different route into the tunnels. 

A few grenades soon saw off this lot

After over three hour blundering around in the tunnels we had found one dead scientists but didn't have time to finish the search as all of us had taken dead end tunnels.  All three of my surviving troops (I lost one early on to a giant spider) were down to only one or two stamina points (out of 8 or 10) but I still had four medical kits which could have restored them.  Could we have won and rescued the scientists from the Queen of the hive (one of a lot of nicely painted Games Workshop Tyrannids)?  Who knows!

The rules where Eric's own and we had played them before in his Predator jungle scenario.  You have to manage your ammunition (unless you find a lot, which I did) watch your health and decide which weapons to use on different enemies.  It is almost more like a computer game than anything like I have habitually played. The tunnels were great and I thought that they would work for a nineteen twenties Egyptian setting and some of Dark Fable's mummified priests.  Another possibility would be a tabletop version of the old Disney Pirates of the Caribbean online game where you explore tunnels and mines and have to deal with undead pirates and the like.  Because the nasties were randomly generated it would work for a solo game.  Something to think about.

One of my Copplestone Future Wars (lady) troopers

Eric's figures were all Copplestone Castings Future Wars ones and it reminded me that I have a lot of these and have even painted some (badly)!  I did them when they first came out back in 2001, however, so they will need a lot of work to bring them up to scratch.  If I can take them along next time we do a bug hunt or Predator game that would be good.  My figures love playing on Eric's scenery; it makes all the hours of painting worth it to see them deployed on such gorgeous terrain!

In a similar vein I was intrigued by the announcement of Osprey's Black Ops Tactical Espionage Wargaming rules, which are due out in September.

Amazon describes them thus:

Black Ops is a skirmish wargame of tactical espionage combat for two or more players. It recreates on the tabletop the tension and excitement of modern action-thrillers such as the Bond and Bourne films, The Unit or Burn Notice TV shows, and the Splinter Cell and Modern Warfare series of video games. The fast-play rules use regular 6-sided dice and a card-driven activation system to keep all players in the thick of the action, while the mission generator provides a wide range of options for scenarios, from stealthy extraction or surveillance missions to more overt raids or assassinations. 

Stealth, combat and technical expertise all have a role to play, and players may select from a number of different character types - spies, mercenaries, criminals, hackers, special forces and many more - to recruit the best possible team for the job. Players may also choose to join a faction - powerful organizations, intelligence agencies, criminal syndicates, militaries or rebel groups, each with a stake in international affairs. By doing so, their team may receive certain benefits, but may also find itself limited at a crucial time. With the variety offered by the characters, factions and scenarios, no two games of Black Ops should ever be the same! Although the standard Black Ops setting is an ultra-modern world just a hair removed from our own, the rules are versatile and adaptable enough to suit OSS operations behind Nazi lines, Cold War-era infiltration missions in Moscow or Berlin, or sabotage runs against a rival corporation's interests in a cyberpunk dystopia, and the rulebook will include a guide to running games in such settings. 

What is the appeal of this show to the Legatus?

I really enjoy the TV series Nikita and have been thinking for some time that the setting would be perfect for the Future Wars figures.  It sounds like these rules may be just the job.  Combining these with the Sally 4th Terra-Blocks system will give you all the secret labs, nightclubs, Defense Department facilities, warehouses and  office complexes you could need.  And I don't have to buy any more Copplestone figures as I own them all (needless to say)!


  1. It was a good game - my post should go up in next 24 hours

    I'll liaise with you earlier next time so you bring your own figures

    until next time

    1. Thanks! I really enjoyed the game. Your Egyptian temple is the bees knees!

  2. That sounds a splendidly entertaining game!

  3. I am rather intrigued by the special ops rules.

    1. Yes, dealing with stealth and surveillance will be interesting in a tabletop game!

  4. Great looking game and terrain there. I like that lady commando - just saw an article of US Army females getting ready to start Ranger School. Not for the weak or faint hearted of either gender!

  5. That Egyptian table is very impressive and it showed in those great game photos. Looks like a very fun game which will be even more fun when you use your own figures. The sci-fi game Infinity has a pretty good stealth system so if you don't like the Osprey rules you could try those.

  6. Looks like you had fun...love that Egyptian set up :)

  7. wow , I think I will have to watch Nikita .............

  8. Great looking game and sounds a hoot.
    Black ops sounds interesting.... I had looked at those Sally 4th sets and disregarded them. Now I am not so sure.

  9. Nice game! I do like the sound of black ops. Waiting for it to be released and can read the reviews.