Saturday, 17 November 2012
Opperation Squad, Review.
The slim volume, a mere 46 A4 pages in length is full colour with a soft back cover stapled together. The Production quality is good, but not outstanding in any way. Following an introduction and some colour pictures the Rules start on page 6 and finish on page 23. Firstly let me say that the rules are all logical and appear in the right order starting with turn sequence and ending with morale checks and a summery of figure characteristics. The turn sequence is a reactive system where figures have a chance to react to what is being done by an opponents figures as opposed to a "you go I go" system. Having tried a practise game I will say they work and work quite well and can easily be adapted to other settings and eras. I know of one person who is adjusting them to a wild west gunfight setting, while I shall be looking at using them for WW1 East Africa. Shooting for example revolves around the attacker rolling 3d6 and adding a number of dice dependant on range, the figure being shot at rolls dice for things like cover and if they have moved and other factors like hiding. The Defenders score is subtracted from the attackers and should the result be 11 or greater the target has been hit. 11 results in pinning while 16 is KIA. So the difference in dice rolls dictates the severity of the hit. As in real life no figure has multiple wounds so getting hit by a bullet can result in instant kills no matter how much you might think the Sergent is a hero!
4 scenarios are included which takes you to page 30. They are nothing so special that you would not have thought of them yourself, but they do offer you a basic structured game scenario. Most people will accept them for what they are and treat them as a starting point. They are all designed, as is the whole game for 1 squad to fight one opposing squad. Bigger battles can of course be catered for but I would suggest that a single squad be played by each player, at least to begin with.
Most of the rest of the book cover squad rosters for some of the major nations. Therefore in the basic rule book you may take a squad of American, British (or Commonwealth), German or Russian. Each nationality has 3 or more squad choices representing standard infantry or elite squads. Each of these choices also has different points values.. A British Rifle squad has a points value of 235 pts while a British Paratrooper squad would cost 340 points. You then have the points values of any tweaks you might feel that you need to make to your squad, like adding a sniper (+90 pts) or buying the Medic Characteristic for a single squad member (+15pts), or adding some equipment, Binoculars (+10pts) if carried by a leader (corporal or Sergent).
Each nationality has its own weapon charts which define the weapons characteristics used by their troops. These are not usually given a separate points cost unless listed under the squad roster. The weapons characteristics seem to fit with what I have read about the weapons of the period, as such to me they do seem to be fairly accurate. I do have niggles about some of them, but generally I feel they are correct without relying or special rules for each weapon.
Generally these rules retail for about £18-20. My personal view is that while I do like these rules that price is too high. I feel a price of £10 would be more fitting. (As mentioned I got mine in an eBay auction for £7.60 including postage and for that price I am very happy.)
In conclusion: I do like these rules and have plans for them. I can see them being used at the club as they are quick to learn yet give a good level of challenge. Having already played a practise game I am happy with the way they work and they way they encourage you to use a squad tactically on the tabletop. My main issues with the rules is the cost as mentioned above especially as they have already published 2 supplements at the same price each. One supplement covers vehicles, while the other covers a greater variety of nationalities and squad roster. As I believe a single armoured vehicle would totally unbalance a game which focuses on single figures to create a squad I cannot see to mush use for it at present. The other supplement might be interesting, but I feel I could already adapt the basic selection of squads should I wish to field Japanese Finnish, Italian or other squads and weapons from the late war period.
I hope you have found this a useful review. I shall blog again on Monday. Enjoy the rest of the weekend and talk to you soon. Clint.