Monday, May 4, 2015

Mixing it up with Modern FUBAR

Today I played 2 games of modern FUBAR skirmish  taking place "somewhere in the Middle East" with my friend Mike!  Stay frosty, and read this harrowing tale of modern combat at its most gritty!

Americans advance on Al Bathra
 The scenario was appropriately called "SEALS in Hot Water" and the American platoon leader had to rescue a SEAL team who has bitten off more than they can chew and find themselves deep inside a "red" town and have to be extricated by an American infantry platoon.  3 squads worth.  The US players were all "Veteran" the SEALs were all "elite" and the insurgents were "Green."

We allowed the insurgent troops to break down into whatever sized teams he wanted.  If you wanted a mob of 12 fighters or just 2 so be it.

Figures are a mix of Rebel miniatures and Khurasan
 To spice things up a bit, I added some special capabilities to the game.  The SEALs had a Predator UAV on station with 2 x Hellfire missiles at their command (piloted all the way back in Langley, of course).  The Americans had an AH-64 Apache gunship on station with no rockets or missiles, however 4 gun-runs of 30mm!

The insurgents also had some tricks up their sleeve with an IED strike anywhere on the board (FP 4) as well as a suicide bomber with a satchel full of grenades.  This was cool because it really forced you to make sure your American teams were placed on "On Guard" orders or suffer the consequences (as I was to find out as the US player in the second go).

insurgent mob!

Mike's GIs "slice the pie" scanning their sectors.  THey are 2 buildings from the SEALs!
 Mike executed a flawless mission, getting to the target with no casualties.  To be honest, my rolling was TERRIBLE and I only passed about a third of my insurgent activations.  we also played with a rule that the US forces always had the initiative, representing the many fighting advantages they have over an insurgency.  (actually this created a unique situation where, for the most part, the insurgent player enjoyed almost complete freedom of movement AFTER the US forces moved everyone.  Remember, the US forces were focused on getting to the SEALs, not necessarily destroying the insurgents.)

US fireteam passes a downed insurgent group in the alley.

SEALs on the move!  Mike's movement was great and he used cover and concealment perfectly, not allowing me as the insurgent player any opportunities to score an easy casualty.
 One other thing I should mention is that any US casualty had to be "cas-evaced" out of the AO.  So taking a hit really screws you over as you need extra bodies to move the casualties to the casualty collection point!  This was a tough game!!

This team of "hardcore" IS fighters had the best chance of doing any real damage as they had one of Mike's fireteams with their heads down almost the whole game.  Mike's javelin, after 1 "misfire", eventually shut them down.
 First game Mike executes without any US casualties except the "walking wounded" that were part of the SEAL team.  The second time around Mike showed he was just as ruthless an insurgent commander as he was a methodical American one!!

IED Strike!  This one was ugly, KOing (yes, completely taking out) the command group, my only Javelin, and some support weapons.  The Javelin missing was really going to hurt here because Mike had a "technical" that could carry 6 fighters around.  We allowed the Javelin unrestricted range on the table.

As if the IED strike wasn't enough, Mike activates his "suicide bomber"  special rule.  Since my fireteam was in a movement, the terrorist sprints into the middle of them and detonates, KOing 3 GIs.

I finally reach the SEALs but it's not a clean victory this time around.  I had to dedicate an entire team to CASEVAC...

Mike fiendishly converts some of his teams into RPG "hunter-killer" teams and starts to cause trouble during my exfil.  He still hasn't moved his technical yet which has me nervous.

Mike's technical makes it to the exfil (his activation rolling was great here - rolling "5s" right when he needed to).  He ends up hosing my overwatch section, who become suppressed.  One of my teams on overwatch turns the technical into swiss cheese and Mike thankfully fails the vehicle save!  we called the game and called in the dustoff to take out the wounded!

Lessons Learned:
Mike made great use of cover during his advance and was methodical about using fires to suppress my groups.  He also was not shy about the extra support assets he had available.  Make sure you're using everything you can, and if you're not running, try to at least be shooting each turn.

Use "On Guard" orders as you can disrupt enemy movement.

Security is important.  No one gets in the cordon, no one gets out.  This comes in handy when those maniac suicide bombers come into play.

Don't bunch up.  This is a universal military principle that was casually disregarded by me today and a painful lesson I won't forget next time.  That Platoon Leader, and Javelin gunner so close the the 3rd squad's A team must have been a tempting target for Mike.

On the whole, I've always liked FUBAR as a rules set and will continue to play it.  Mike had some great ideas about stuff to add into future games and I think I need some more buildings and vehicles!  Fallujah anyone?  The remaining US guys I could easily paint up as USMC I think...

PS I also want to try this game with "Disposable Heroes" and see how it goes that way.

Coming up soon - Battlegroup: 'NAM, Battlegroup: Sinai, and a practice run for my big Authie/Cussy/Buron game in June!  


  1. Fantastic report Steven.

    I found the same thing re. initiative when we played FUBAR with our Brecourt Manor game - in that the US troops kept the initiative, but gave the other side free reign after that - but I think it still works.

    I do like FUBAR, and want to do more, but am torn with modern scenarios whether to do them with Force on Force or not. I think you've convinced me to stick with FUBAR - it's a great system. I actually see it working perfectly for Mogadishu, in that very large groups of insurgents will get lucky shots - after US initiative, which can ruin the taskforce's day.

    We have a few PMC missions in mind also...will be interesting to see how Disposable Heroes goes with same, or similar, scenario.

    Also will be very interested in seeing your Battlegroup Sinai games.

    1. Darren,
      It's funny - I own Force on Force and really want to play it but after reading it a few times and trying it on my own, it doesn't feel right - like I'm not playing it correctly. I need someone to show me just how to play it the correct way. I don't like the way the rules are laid out within the book.

      FUBAR has not let me down yet. It produces some very interesting dynamics. With more balanced forces however, it's a little more frustrating so I imagine the switch back and forth between FUBAR and "Disposable Heroes" will be interesting.

      The Battlegroup: Sinai game will be based off of my modern "conversion" of Battlegroup: Kursk which I call "Battlegroup: REFORGER" and will use the Sands of War unit values for my armor values. That should be fun.

      I've also been planning to play a Vietnam game for awhile now so I've got that on the list - when I can find the time.

    2. I found 1st edition FoF much easier to understand than the Osprey edition. I've emailed you the free primer they used to give out to see if it gets you the same way.

      Matt M

    3. Thank you AH! Received and I will give them a readover!

  2. Great report - really great. Love your terrain and figure setup too. Thats quite a collection of goodies you obviously have in your Man Cave!

    "Coming up soon - Battlegroup: 'NAM" - Bring it!

    1. Paul,
      I have a huge assortment of unpainted lead, and quite a nice, small collection of painted stuff. Problem was/is I could never stick to a particular scale or period. I think I've pretty much found my niche with 10mm and 15mm and the occasional 6mm for microarmor. I'm whittling away on my 6mm and 20mm plastic stuff - simply planning on giving it all away.

      You won't have to wait too much longer - I think a Battlegroup: NAM game could happen on or about Thursday - you've waited patiently for long enough! :)

    2. You are definitely not the Lone Ranger on this issue - the problem is that everytime I reconsider what I have, I decide that I like it all and that I went that way for a good reason

      Plus, replacing sunk costs means less funding for new projects without actually getting anything early new!

    3. I went through this consideration recently myself:

  3. Nice write-up. I agree to a point - the Force on Force rules could be laid out better. But the rules get just about every key component of modern war right. Or, at least way more right than wrong.

    My latest game, with a U.S.-Iraqi Joint Security Station under siege in Iraq:

    1. Beast,
      I should restate, I really like the rules concepts and having read through the rule book a few times, the authors really do know their stuff. That said, I've only ever played it solo and when I play it, it's awkward and confusing when I only have the rule book to draw on. I believe in the rules' popularity and do think they deserve their spot at or near the top of the pile of skirmish rules!

  4. We use Force on Force for moderns and like it a lot. We started with the old Ambush Alley rules, so weren't starting from scratch with FoF. AA may have been a little clearer as it was trying to achieve less, so to speak. Waiting to see what Fighting Season is like when it comes out later this year.

    1. I will give AA a shot, Stuart - thanks for commenting. As stated before, I completely believe that FoF deserves its place as one of the most popular and effective skirmish games ever. But there are alot of growing pains for this FoF newbie!

  5. Will be interested in seeing how your Battlegroup Moderns plays out... Starting on the initial rules for our Cold War book at the moment.

    Did some work on a Vietnam version, as I wrote Ambush Valley for AAG, but got distracted...

    1. Piers,
      Been playing a modern version of Battlegroup for some time (we call it "Battlegroup: REFORGER" and use the armor/pen values from the Team Yankee game with a modified pen table) I'm not sure anyone on earth is as excited about Battlegroup: NORTHAG than I am. I'm "that guy" on all the facebook posts lol.
      The Vietnam one will be a lot of fun and I'm going hopefully be playing that soon after I finish out the squad / platoon TOEs.
      Also going to try Battlegroup: Sinai with my 15mm stuff. That will be fun. Stay tuned!

    2. Piers - regarding the Vietnam version, is there anything you might be able to share with us as we play about with that also?