Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Modern Disposable Heroes Action! The Middle East ENDGAME!

Finally was able to play the final rounds of my Middle Eastern Disposable Heroes game.  The enemy finally threw in the towel and headed for home.  But they'll be back in the morning!  Hopefully the battle-weary "sky soldiers" will hand-off to the armor and mech boys to do their thing.  For a few turns there, it got a little hairy.

Revolutionary Guard Corps troops breaking from cover!  A favored tactic was to wait until an American fireteam had done their work, then use the "sneak" 3 inch move to crawl forward and unleash a fusilade on the enemy, then take the inevitable pin marker when the next US team fired on you.  The next PIN marker would force you back into cover. 
 The Martyr Corps on the American right flank made really impressive progress working the flanks of the village and forcing a US Fireteam into cover.  Luckily for the US player, skillful use of reserves at the right moment literally turned the tide of the battle.  Without that reserve squad, the US player would have been over-run for sure.
Martyr Corps penetrates the courtyard walls!  Then is brutally cut down by SAW and M4 fire

martyr advance on the right.  They would be chopped up by us auto weapons fire while attempting to storm the next building and capture the pinned US Fireteam on "FALLBACK" status.  Note the burning T-55 in the foreground.  Victim to the final JAVELIN round!!

You can almost make out the limit of the enemy's advance by the piles of over-turned "pennies". 
 The Guard Corps makes one final thrust into the courtyard and it pays off with some US casualties and a pin marker before a desperate call comes over the radio, ordering a withdrawal from the village.  They were quitting!

The Guards' performance was much better than their irregular counterparts in the "martyr" corps, who really lived up to their names!  Had the enemy player had an entire force of Revolutionary Guards, the tide of battle may have gone in their favor.


I haven't done this in awhile so I thought it might be handy to write down my thoughts upon completion of this latest game.

Lessons Learned: 
If you are playing an insurgent or assymetric force against a unit from a professional army, there are a few tactics you can try to even the odds in your favor.  

The "sneak" attack I spoke of earlier worked great.  Basically, find a position of cover, move OUT of cover only 3 inches so the enemy can't "SNAP FIRE" against you, fire  with your LMG or Asslt Rifles, cause casualties, and when the enemy returns fire, the ensuing "PIN" result simply places you right back into cover where hopefully your squad leader is waiting to rally you next activation.

Keep Armor in cover when going in against infantry.  Either that or prep the objective with MG fires first, pinning down all the infantry before moving your tanks up.  The US JAVELIN had free reign over the battlefield when he should have been an easy target for the LMG teams.  The Armor should have waited for the infantry to do their work before moving forward.  While I think they operated closer to how a true 3rd World Country would have operated, I still think there was a better way to keep the tanks alive longer than they were...

In that same line of thought, you don't always have to use the main gun from the tank.  You can probably get better results from the MG!

Keep a reserve.  You saw how quickly the US fireteams got put out of action!  And also how literally vital the reserve unit was to plugging in the line and cutting off that last Martyr Brigade assault.  Had they not been scanning that alley way, that pinned US fireteam would have been toast.

Blast / Area Weapons: M203 GLs, RPGs, and the like dont have a "great" chance of killing anything in this game, however they have a really good chance of pinning.  A favorite tactic of the "bad guys" in this game was to use their RPGs in volley fires to increase the odds of failing a morale check, even if the RPGs sailed over their heads.  It worked pretty well when it was used!

Disposable Heroes:  I like DH.  I think it's a solid system and doesn't have too many "gimmicks" that other rules have.  Some players have said they find it "too gamey" which I always thought was a way to describe how wild meat tastes, as opposed to a game but oh well.  Anyways, DH is a solid system that does exactly what it sets out to do and my hats off to the writers as they have taken an immensely complex subject, infantry combat, and turned it into a special game that will happily fill an afternoon and leave everyone pretty happy - even the guys who lose.

The GOOD:  What I really like most about DH is its versatility in working across the spectrum of combat situations.  It's ease in accepting whatever scenario you throw at it makes me a return-convert.  (I had gotten rid of all my DH and supplements about a year ago save for "This Very Ground"). 

I like good handfuls of dice for automatic weapons.  I like easy rallying and I also like the chances you have to pin your enemy.  (I finally found the use in blast weapons and under barrel grenade launchers!  easy pins!)

One answer I have to those who say it's too gamey is to take a look at the game's activation process, which is where it shines.  I activate 1 unit, then you activate 1 unit.  We activate units until we exceed out "Guts Rating" in activated units and the turn starts over.

Since you take turns activating fireteams, I can instantly react to a move you make and the action during the game flows like a firefight.  No one is sitting around for too long and there is alot, ALOT of lead flying around.

The BAD:  I can't remember my other DH AARs but the thing I don't like about DH are the many small rules that have a big impact on play that I usually forget about, accidentally.  In this case, I forgot to apply the US' "Fire Dominance" to the bad guys' morale rolls (due to superior training and drills, the US player received a "Fire Dominance" bonus - basically the enemy receives an additional -2 to morale checks after the US player fires.  This all but guarantees the enemy is going to be pinned down when shot at.  This was just one rule I forgot about.  

Also, while I have no doubt that DH can handle a bigger game, a platoon is probably the limit of what you want to play with.  Anything bigger, especially WW2 when you will have more close quarter combat, your games may bog down with lots and lots of book flipping.  If you can make a reference sheet with your data all written down, it makes the game go quicker.


  1. Great review. Great AAR too. I guess teh complexity ramps up with unit size here, but sounds like a soild ruleset.

    I'm going to try your Battle WWII variant and Company Commander during next week. It will be good to compare different sized actions.

    1. Thanks, Darren. It's been so long since I played DH that I thought I owed the rules a proper AAR.

      I tried the BATTLE Squad WWII variant using 3 251/1 Halftracks, a Tiger and a Panzer IV (Elite/Veteran Morale) against a dug in Infantry company (6 squads) and 3 T-34/76 (Regular Morale). That was a very satisfying and fun game. The Germans picked apart the Soviet infantry in the trenches but the problem I faced was:

      Do I advance the Tiger and the Mk IV, giving them a worse fire mod against those dug in tanks?

      Or do I keep them on an overwatch position to guard the flanks while my infantry advance. I ended up keeping them on overwatch and they were able to KO 2 x T-34s, with the Tiger using its superior Strike Value at range. (those T-34's needed a solid "12" to penetrate the Tiger's armor at the range they were at).

      The best the Soviets could do was either break from the cover of their works, advance and engage the German tanks closer (stal! stal! stal!) or just simply shoot, forcing a hit and making the Germans make constant morale checks.

      The result was my Tiger was pinned for about half of the game as all 3 T-34s concentrated their fire on him!

      My word this was a blog post in itself! I'll try a larger Company Assault soon and see how it goes. Look for a post soon. Can't wait to see how your game goes.

  2. I agree with you; you've got to limit the size of the forces involved. I've played DH games with too many units which makes for many,many activations and a slower game. There is a tipping point to the system... which is a system I truely like.

    1. It's a great game - there's just alot of work for a solo wargamer to do. Bolt Action is much better for solo play in my humble opinion. Much more brainless so I can focus on tactics and maneuver and less on modifiers and cumulative effects on target.

  3. Nice one Steven. Different strokes for different folks. Playing with my mates with Command Decision, its not uncommon to play over 20 hours will hundreds of unit activation.

    There is beer & bourbon however to dull the pain.

    1. Paul,
      Excellent point. I think next time I'll bring a few beers down with me - that would help me get through the accounting drill with the morale modifiers!

      All kidding aside, I think this game would be much more fun playing with another human being