Tuesday, May 12, 2015

3rd Generation Warfare & NATO/Pact Cold War Data Book

Excited to see a big Lulu box plopped down on our front step this afternoon!  I ordered a copy of Nick Ayres' "3rd Generation Warfare" and it finally arrived along with the NATO and Warsaw Pact Cold War Data Book.
Rule book and the NATO / Pact Data Book

 Both are soft-cover with drool-resistant glossy covers.  The rule book is a small, "cargo pocket" sized book that is less than 100 pages and the data book is a hefty, 200+ page compendium covering most of the nations of NATO but only the Soviet Union for the Warsaw Pact.  I was actually hoping the rule book would be a little bigger but I guess this makes it easier for me to carry onto the train to read, and also makes it a more convenient size for gamers.

The rules are packed with pictures of models and figures, as well as examples of play

 Upon first glance, both are impressive and thorough.  If you secured yourself a copy of the BETA rules, then you already know most of the features of the game and I will not talk much about mechanics in this post.

Lots of tables and also background 

 The rule book itself is packed with examples of play, which is good for a half-wit like me.  I will say I should probably have bought the black and white version of the rules since there is this annoying tie-dyed background on the pages.

The NATO / Pact data book has excellent national backgrounds and Orders of Battle.  (pictures are used without permission - please don't sue me!)
 A nice thing about the first data book ( I'm assuming the NATO/Pact data book is the first in a series of supplements) is the fact that most of the NATO nations are covered in it.  This gives you the options to play Cold War Gone Hot battles ranging from Norway all the way down to Turkey and Greece in the Mediterranean and most of the countries in between.  That's alot of ground to cover and ought to keep you busy enough until Mr Ayres publishes the next supplement???

The Data Book organizes its sections into National Background, OOB for popular units you would encounter on a modern battlefield, and unit composition to form combat teams and units to game with ranging from higher headquarters all the way down to infantry platoons and sections.

The back of the Data Book (T-80 not included)

I was also pleasantly surprised to find Quick Reference Sheets in the back of the data book.  Those are much appreciated because there are many tables you must reference during the course of a full turn.  There are also helpful appendices that will help with game play located in the back of the data book.

Overall, I'm pleased with the initial impression I've gotten.  Mr Ayres has published what looks to be a thorough account of WWIII combat and I'm looking forward to my first game.  What I like the most about the rules and first supplement is the fact that everything you need for a wide range of games is right in these two books.  If you are content with the European theater of WW3, then these two books are likely all you'll ever need.  This is one of the strong-suits of games like Fistful of TOWS III and Coldwar Commander,

Oh and per David's request, here is the link:



  1. Will be very interesting to hear your thoughts on the rules. I was a little disappointed with the beta due to tables etc. and number of dice rolls required - but this may have been tidied up for the real thing. Also loved your Vietnam games recently. Must get a copy of battlegroup.

    1. I understand the pdf version of the rules is ready to go and Iron Fist is just wading through the EU's new digital content rules so they can start selling it

  2. Darren,
    I am going to read them over the next few days and I would love to play a game using them to see how it goes.
    I highly recommend Battlegroup: Kursk. It's a very clean, and enjoyable game, and one that I never mind coming back to replay. The level of flexibility you're given as a commander is unparalleled I believe.

  3. Steve,
    I like your new books there buddy [drool, drool]! Now, can you share a link. :-)

  4. Looks like a couple of great additions to the library!
    What level is the game played at? Company/Battalion or higher? at what model ratio?

    1. Paul,
      It is exactly the same level as Battlegroup with many, many similar mechanisms as well. All models and figures are 1:1! Goes from Company level games, all the way up to Brigade/Regiment and if you want to play Division it is possible as well.

    2. Interesting... I'll watch this with interest as it would likely be backwards portable to SE Asia in the 60s and early 70s too... "3rd Generation Battlegroup 'Nam!" :-)

    3. Paul, in his introductory scenarios (in the BETA rules) he has an infantry battle from the Falklands (Wireless Ridge). Looks like it handles infantry combat pretty well and there are rules for spotting in the jungle in the main rules. Check your email.

  5. How are you finding it? My copy turned up yesterday & I'm reading/re-reading as we speak.

    You mention examples of play in the rulebook though - I'm not seeing any and think this is a real lack, plus I think a couple of flow diagrams with regards to firing at tanks and infantry would be useful.

    Would be interested to hear your thoughts....

    1. Chalky,
      There are various examples when he explains his concept in a sort or example of play. They are all in italics. Page 13 underneath the Action Point Determination section, he gives an "example" of the concept in action during a game I presume.

      Yes I agree with you, the book is definitely short on "true" examples of play. (The BKC and CWC rule books come to mind as they are packed with color examples of literally every major mechanism in the game).

      I have not played it yet but there are many, many similarities to the Battlegroup family of rules so I imagine if you enjoy those rules, you'll like 3GW. It may be awhile before I get to play it, but I do plan on playing it - especially with the pricetag!

      I also wish I would have purchased the Black and White version. The color version is not what I expected it to be (the tie-dyed background on the pages for one thing).

      The small arms section is confusing. The armor section I grasp more, but there are many, many subtle rules and modifiers that affect the tank fires that I think a flow chart or diagram would be most helpful. (same with FOrce on Force in my opinion).