Prufrock's Wargaming Blog

Prufrock's Wargaming Blog

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

WWIII 1980 with Brigade Commander

The second game that Luke and I got through on Sunday was a first attempt at FiveCore Brigade Commander, from Nordic Weasel Games (see Luke's report here).

Our usual Cold War rules are Modern Spearhead, but the problem with Mod.Sp is that it takes us a very long time to play it. A standard MS game for us will start about 10am, finish around 5:30pm, involve about 500 failed artillery call-in dice rolls, and will close with us calling the game for one side because there isn't time to game the scenario out. It looks spectacular, but we get a bit bogged down.

The FiveCore rules on the other hand are supposed to be very quick (and solo-friendly), so I got the Company Commander version and Luke picked up the Brigade Commander edition.

This is what happened.

My Americans (bottom of this picture) were tasked with holding the hill in the centre (marked here with a red circle) while Luke's Czechs were instructed to get twenty-five percent of their force off my edge of the table (see the black arrows).

I had three companies of  M60A1s, three more of mechanised infantry, and another of M60A2s to come on in turn five. I don't know what Luke had exactly, but there were two or three tank companies and a lot of mechanised infantry.

My plan was to advance to occupy the hill, push into the woods beyond it if possible, and hold the high ground to the east of it. On the other flank I wanted to take the village and push another company of tanks onto the ridge to the west.

Arrows show the grand plan...
Luke began by rushing forward at speed, but my tanks were able to destroy one of his mechanised units almost immediately. We got some units into a strong forward position and waited for the rest of our force to catch up.

Champions of democracy on our left...

...and more of them on our right.

The village is secured.
For the next hour we had a massive to-and-fro battle as my companies were driven out of position, rallied, pushed forward again, and again driven back.

The Czechs closed to assault where they could.

Czechs close assault but are driven off.
The Americans continued to attempt to seize key terrain, but Czechs in good forward positions kept forcing the boys in MERDC to back up with effective and accurate reaction fire. The armour on our right was destroyed by artillery fire, and things were looking very iffy for the Americans.

Czechs take the objective!

A series of badly timed 'scurry' (movement only, no shooting or close combat) and 'fire fight' (shooting only, no movement) turn results for the Czechs prevented Luke from being able to make the best of our involuntary withdrawals.

Our lowest point.
At last however we were able to creep forward without being driven back: our tank reserves arrived, and when we were finally able to lay down some fire, it was with powerful effect.

The tide turns; we begin to advance.
An armour company broke through from our left, sweeping around behind the Czech lines and in so doing destroyed three units in successive turns.

These chaps are fighters, and have some juicy targets ahead...
With devils coming up behind him, Luke rushed for our board edge, hoping that enough units would survive our reaction fire, bypass our positions, and allow him to achieve his objective.

Czechs advance towards the guns.

With a couple of 'scurry' turns in succession, the Czechs were indeed able to get three units off table and achieve their mission.

About to get through!

Although both sides achieved their objectives we gave the game to the Americans because they had destroyed a higher percentage of the enemy force. The number of kill dice that the Americans could bring to bear gave them a huge advantage; the kill dice being much more dangerous than the shock dice that the poor old Czechs mostly had to rely on.

We need to play this more to get a proper feel for it, but here are some initial impressions.

1) It does play nice and fast. We got through a lot of turns and a lot of action in a very short (by Modern Spearhead standards!) time.

2) There is room for tactics.

3) The system of rolling up scenarios and forces seems to be quite promising.

4) It feels as if there is a lot of luck involved.

5) We're not quite sure about the 'scurry' turns or the 'displacement' rule. We probably need to re-read the rules in case we missed something there.

6) There is a lot of moving forward and then being pushed back by reaction fire. Not sure how realistic this is, so will need to do a bit more reading.

7) It was an enjoyable game and we'll definitely be looking at this again as a way to get our moderns models and figures on the table more often and relatively painlessly.

Thanks to Luke for a great day's gaming, and for bringing down his superb moderns terrain boards and beautifully painted Czech hordes.


  1. Great report! I too have been following Just Jack's reports. I like a lot of the mechanics of it, but I to me, the way combat works for AFVs is not my cup of tea. Maybe its because I'm an old school rivet counter from the 70s!

  2. That's a great looking game. The terrain and the models go really well together. I agree that the back and forth doesn't seem quite right to me. On the other hand you had fun and got the game done, so that should count for a lot.

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  4. purchased the rules a while back. some interesting concepts and quick playing There are some items that such as the ability to switch units between commands regardless of army doctrine or command capability that were questionable.

    1. Cheers, author-bloke here.

      I figured that people who want more realistic C3 limitations will impose those limitations themselves.

      Since the rules are aimed at covering from ww2 to near-future, I felt trying to cover each era in command/control specifics would be better left to possible setting-specific rules.

      That's my story anyways, and I'm sticking with it :-)

  5. Thanks for your thoughts, gents! I think there are a few tactics that I missed and a few things that will be improved by trying some of the more advanced rules, so we'll keep at it.


  6. Nice report, this tabble is splendid!


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