Monday, 23 December 2013

Quick AAR

Craig and I got together last night to run through some of the new elements in the forthcoming Taliban ORBAT. I was running the Taliban and Craig was running his Spec Ops force. Unfortunately Pooch was out to play elsewhere, so it was just the two of us.

Our brief was 2000pts and turn up and play, we had no idea of scenario or terrain, we just new that we would have to build a team from the 2000pts.

Both of us wanted to push the envelope on the rules to see if we can break the forthcoming Taliban ORBAT rules and some of our experimenting with Spec Ops so we knew that we would make some odd choices.

Now when Craig and I game, which isn’t as often as I would like these days, we play the narrative to the max. So while we would mini-max the points the game would be played out “correctly” i.e. how we envisaged it when we wrote the rules.

So in creating my Taliban I chose to use the Al Qaeda Leader and have most of my team made up of foreign Nationals, this mean I had access to Body Armour. (These are all new rules not currently available so don’t start looking in the main rule book for them :-))

Now to try and break the mechanics I brought two of my characters the sniper upgrade and gave them RPG’s. Now that doesn’t sound like it makes a lot of sense but an RPG uses Rifle skill so increasing my Rifle skill means that suddenly my RPG gunners are much better shots. Is this cheating? No, is it mini-maxing? Hell yes. But its this kind of thing we know certain players will do so we have to try it.

Craig set up the terrain while I made us a brew and as you can see in the pics he is always sneaky in his terrain. He doesn’t give anybody an advantage, because at this point he doesn’t know which end of the table he is starting at. But its always interesting and its terrain you have to look at twice as he will some how manage to get stuff to block your line of sight, just when you don’t want it too.

Now I had no idea others than Spec Ops what Craig would bring but I made a few guesses. 

1.     There wouldn’t be many of them, Specs Ops cost a fortune. They would be skilled up the wazoo and all be Elites.

2.      He would have off-table snipers, as they are a bugbear of Craig’s so I know he will try and use them to beat me over the head with the fact he has never been keen on those rules. (For the record I am the same over snap fire, but we have known each other so long we are happy to wind each other up as we play.)

With this in mind I went for the mortar barrage, no one likes mortars and I tried to make it that I had enough people in my team who could call in the mortars in case as in previous games my “dicker” got hit early on.

So the game…

First question, do we use snap-fire? It's optional and you have to agree it before hand and before I realise what I have said I have agreed to it, am I mad. :-)

This was a foretaste of things to come and I can only ask, how did it go so horribly wrong? 

In this game I couldn’t roll a spot roll to save my or my Taliban’s life. I had my spotter with a body of 20, he was the first man on the board. I should have been able to win the game with just the spotter on the table but the man was blind, blind I tell you. So time for a new plan

I advance on a refused flank but got the jitters because of the Snap fire rules being in use so failed to use my RPG snipers at all, they never got a shot off, almost 400pts wasted, again because they couldn’t spot a thing. Does blindness run in the family here? To make matters worse Craig killed one of them with an AT4 talk about overkill.

His two off table snipers, only fired one shot, but hit my leader and killed him outright. Fortunately for me we forgot to roll the new Taliban Leader morale rules we are working on.

I made some good shots on one of his chaps but my damage rolls where so low and his armour saves so high that I was only scratch him. Then to make matters worse his Mortar barrage went into action before mine killing 4 of my men in the opening salvo and when you only have 11 guys that really hurts.

By now I have occupied the main building (see above) but was slowly being picked off by Craig “luckydice” constant firing and the writing was on the wall. Probably in lead there was that much coming my way. 

My barrage missed and moved almost off table and only caught one of his guys a glancing blow and again he saved it with his body armour. I just wasn’t catching a break.

Then his fast air came rumbling in causing Morale rolls for all the Taliban. Now finally I made good rolls, the Taliban managed to hold as his F18 Raptor came in firing chaff. The Taliban where “ Ohh look at the pretty lights” rather than the usual Gandalfian “Run you fools, run!”

So the game for me, was a long slow attrition. The Spec Ops almost didn’t move after the opening rounds and I played quite statically because of my fear of snap fire and in the end I was the only one to use it and guess what I missed. Oh those dice, how they hated me.

So the long and short of it was a big win for the Spec Ops.

But what about the story? Well Craig and I do a lot of our research by watching YouTube head cam videos that the troops put out and looking at this as a story it felt right. 

The Taliban started big but the sheer weight of combined forces forced us quickly on the back foot and then destroyed us as a force with one major hit of the mortars. After which the ISAF just rolled up the Taliban. We have seen this dozens of times in country.

So it’s back to the drawing board with the group. I think the nucleus is there but it needs refining and Craig… the smile on his face said it all… B’stard!

Great game and we had a hoot.

As its summer here in Gods Own (New Zealand/Aotearoa) we are all now on vacation until 13 January, so there won't be anything posted for a couple of weeks. 

So we would like to take this opportunity to wish our rules buying public seasons greetings and as the great Dave Allen used to say "and may your god go with you".

Saturday, 21 December 2013

Making Terrain for Afghanistan.

Well over here at RadioDishDash we are in the process of making a completely new set of terrain – in fact probably two sets (One for Colin and one for myself).
Our board was lovely but eventually I got bored!

We needed some new compounds and hills and trees and random bits and pieces. This became evident as when we started to work on Despatches our new supplement we had to borrow some buildings from a fellow gamer (thanks Ray – you are a champ!)
So one of the requirements I gave myself was how do I make awesome compounds that are cheap and complement our existing Crescent Root resin buildings which are being removed from the table and also placed on modular terrain pieces.
So I did a bit of digging around on the web for Afghanistan buildings and what they might look like and surprise-surprise there is lots of regional variation J
For example you can have buildings that go from:


Armed with my reconnaissance I chose high density foam as my weapon of choice for the building material. Why? Well it is strong-ish and offers me a fully customisable surface to texture as opposed to the foamboard/foamcore or cork which form my tastes is a little too regular.
My tools are pretty basic. On top of these I use some woodworking glue and polyfilla and some dress making pins with tiny metal heads.

Here is the blue high density foam ruled up roughly for cutting into wall sections. The figure gives you a rough size of the wall thickness – about 10mm. The blue foam is 50mm thick.

This is how I cut it :-)
Be really careful and take your time and use a cutting mat underneath I use a craft knife with a thick blade “Ultra sharp, heavy duty 25mm wide x 0.7mm thick Rock Hard snap blades.” If I am going to take a finger off I need it to be quick! Seriously be really careful – lots of little cuts are the best and they won’t deform the foam. Change the blade regularly.
This is an essential item Pumice. Freely available at most beaches in New Zealand courtesy of being part of the Ring of Fire – no, not the Johnny Cash song, but the volcanic region of the planet. I do however, find it essential to play country music during all manual labouring jobs like building terrain.
The Pumice is used to squash into the foamcore for texture. A rock will do the same but you have to be careful not to crush the foam too much. Also pictured are my homemade brick stamps – made by removing the bristles from some old brushes. The hole in the middle is just me making some visual additions to my test piece to see what I could do easily:

Here is the above example showing the texture and size of my random test wall:

So after I cut out the walls, windows and doors and texture them as above I start putting them together. I use a PVA/Aliphatic resin wood glue and some pins pushed in and recessed. Don’t panic if it’s a bit wonky once it’s all glued down on the base it will look suitably Afghani:

Here is another example, also showing how I make the rooms and wall braces for the roof:

The stairs and walls go together. Stairs are easy to make cut them out scribe them and indent with pumice and glue and pin them in. If you start glueing best to make sure that when its drying you prop it up or put it on newspaper that can be torn off from underneath after it is dry or it will be stuck solid to the table you were doing it on-lol:

Making the roof sections For the top roof glue something on so its easy to remove from the building when you need to get it off – again don’t glue it in place:

These are all made on 1.5mm plastic-card and also pinned together by drilling underneath and inserting location pins:

Doors are made of plastic-card scribed and braced. I leave them as standalone so I can take them out or open them – you could hinge them but I don’t bother.:
So what does it look like all put together – pre gap filing with polyfilla and painting:

And after painting which I will talk about next building post it looks like this: 


Tuesday, 17 December 2013

28mm Kiwi's and Australians

Its with immense pleasure we announce our complete range of 28mm Kiwi's/Australians sculpted by eBob and cast by Eureka. These two sections include everything you need to take the battle to the enemy.

Remember we did them first people :-)

Friday, 13 December 2013

Bluestone 42 - Episode 1

This is definitely worth watching... comedic but also so good details. Mary the Padre and Bird are my favourites. Episode 2 is where it really takes off.

Sangin Despatches Photoshoot today

Huge day of hard work today on the Sangin Despatches No. 1 Photoshoot. Here you can see Craig (left) and Pooch ( right setting up between shoots).

Craig and Pooch have been working hard for weeks building beautiful terraina nd Painting hordes of figures while I have been working with the editor, putting the finishing touches to the articles and designing the book. We are nearly there folks.

This time instead of building one table we have gone for modular buildings, see a new one front left and an old one chopped out of the last table and re-purposed and in the background our very good friend Rays buildings that he leant us of the shoot.

Here the two of them, many hours later, setting up and rural shot.

ISAF patrol crossing the river.

None of our books could have been possible without my very good friend  and work colleague Neil Pardington lending us his top notch camera equipment and lights.  Neil we could do it without you.

All of our books are an amalgamation of people working very hard, from editors, article writers, fact checkers and people who lend us their kit for the photoshoots the are very generous with their time for which we cannot thank you enough.

Sangin Depatches No.1 should be on sale very early in January.

Thursday, 28 November 2013


This AAR is a play through of one of the new scenarios that will feature in our next book Sangin Despatches.

The battlefield


As part of a big push into the green zone, your platoon has been ordered to advance to contact. Your platoon is to follow the canal north isolating and arresting the enemy. If that is not possible they may use lethal force against the insurgents.

Over the Bowman (British radio system), another platoon has a 5-meter contact and chases off the Taliban after a serious firefight. The Taliban retreat and are heading away from the battle, unfortunately right into the path of an ISAF blocking force.

ISAF Briefing

This game can be played as two individual battles with separate sections or one large battle.


On a roll 1-5 on a 1d10 off-table snipers may be deployed.

USMC Patrol

The USMC Patrol is based on the platoon attributes shown previously. 1 and 2 Section are each assigned a blocking task with the reserve being as shown below.

Let Battle begin

This was a battle between Pooch and I, Pooch had brought his USMC and I was fielding the Taliban. My small group only had one heavy weapon and RPG and came on the board running only to slow down to a walk when they realised all was not as it seemed.

The US moved to secure the high ground (building roof tops) and act as a blocking force to stop me getting off the board.

On the left side of the board the Taliban ran through the cornfield, only stopping as they reached the hedge.

The marines continue to move men into position while still trying to spot the Taliban. The Taliban are easier to spot as they are running but initially the US are failing their rolls. This is looking good.

Finally the dice gods show their sympathy and the US  spotting works and they open fire.

First casualty inflicted by the USMC.  The damage roll a 10. A badly wounded man. The Taliban next to him is left to take a morale test (red counter) having seen the effects of the American fire.

A Taliban and US 203 gunnar exchange gunfire through the hedge. He is too close to use the UGL.

The Taliban hit the American but roll double 1’s for damage, a disaster. The return fire scratches one Taliban. More marines drawn onto the board by the sound of gunfire.

Although the US have blockers in the way, the Taliban have to make a decision, to try and exit the board to gain points or fire their RPG… after a brief discussion Abdul and Abrahim make the decision to run and I believe I have two easy victory points.... but Pooch, always a crafty fighter, declares snap fire from his blockers. The two of them roll to hit taking the -30% for snap fire in account  and miss. Two Taliban victory point for me as my guys exit the board.

Meanwhile in the middle of the table a brief hand-to-hand battle starts but after several combat phases there can only be one decision, the marines superior skills win out. Scratch one Tally.

The US continue to man the building heights taking fire but the medium cover and kneeling saves them time and time again.

The Taliban move on the left and try to outflank the Americans.

On the right hand side the Taliban twins (They both have BODY 14), dig in and begin to give the advancing Americans a whole lot of hurt.

The battle rages with one of the Americans is taking hit after hit from multiple Taliban (Remember my earlier article about massing fire on one man, we'll it only works if Pooch stops making his 1d10+4 armour saves). His guy is slightly wounded but keeps bring the fight back to the Taliban.

All of those red markers each one give -10% to his morale after the first one and he still makes the roll. I think Pooch has John Rambo on his side.

The fighting gets down to some serious hand-to-hand. Pooch will do anything to stop the Taliban getting off the board.

At this point I could see the writing is on the wall for the Taliban, I  have managed to kill several Americans but can't get through them to get my victory points, I mean men, off the board.

Eventually numbers overwhelmed  the Taliban with this chap surrendering. he is quickly in the plasticuffs and is lead away.

In conclusion

It was a tough fight that early on seemed to be going all the Taliban’s way but then the slower Americans started to appear and block the bolt holes. The US defence slowed the Taliban advance by shear weight of fire. Eventually the Americans managed to grind out a win.

It was at this point we remembered that Pooch had rolled at the start of the game and got an off-table sniper, guess that sniper was kind of busy and missed all the excitment.