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nick_g_02When I got back into miniatures after a long break of working and making a family, I started with 15mm. Way back when I thought 15mm was where the action was and I bought a complete painted army of the Sudan (1890’s). Pretty soon I found that a group of 12, 24 or even 36 figures shoulder to shoulder does not look like a battalion, even though that’s what they were supposed to represent. I tried to rectify this by going to 10mm and making the groups bigger. This still did not work and the abstractions of ‘battlefield intelligence’ (I’m the general on a hill but I can see absolutely every man in this battle and I can command groups individually to change formation) took a lot of the fun out of it. I turned to 28mm and skirmish and have generally never looked back.

However the 15mm urge has always been there and I was momentarily tempted by Flames of War until it became painfully obvious that it was just a set of rules for Ancients, and the cavalry were models of tanks. My painted Falshirmjagers and support never saw action.

And in another corner of my mind was science fiction. Over the ears I have been on the search for a set of rules that would allow me to play ‘reinforced platoon’ level games (like Crossfire and Poor Bloody Infantry did for WWII). Most rulesets I have read do not really cover the kinds of advancements and therefore changes in tactical doctrines that I want to see. No one knows what the future will hold and new technologies will make old tactics futile and present new ones unimagined today. However you can be pretty sure that enhanced battlefield surveillance (drones, possibly robotic, with live feeds to command posts), guided and precise range detonated munitions, and improved communications are going to play a part.

At present Tomorrow’s War by Ambush Alley Games seems to have all the elements I need. The models shown in the book, and most of the games I see in other people’s blogs are 28mm. However, no model moves in isolation: they are all part of a fireteam. And as it says on page 55, ‘Many Tomorrow’s War players may already have figures based on multi-figure stands for use with other games. This basing method works perfectly well with Tomorrow’s War, so there’s no need to rebase your existing armies or replace them with new figures. Simply treat each stand as a fireteam and keep track of how many casualties it has taken.

This is the green light to proceed with Flames of War basing techniques in a sci fi setting. And so we get to the first project of 2017:

Project 1701 – Lost & Found

Overview: I don’t know if 15mm figures based in fireteams is actually fun to play. I don’t know if Tomorrow’s War is fun to play. This project is about testing those two unknowns.

Goal: to play out the scenario in the book from page 96, with as much as possible following the example, in solo mode.

Project elements:

  • 1701a – develop enough of big picture backstory to allow a more specific story to be built
  • 1701b – develop the scenario story to breathe life into the game
  • 1701c – identify, paint and base figures to populate the sides in the scenario
  • 1701d – build terrain for the game arena
  • 1701e – play the game
  • 1701f – after action report