We played another game of Fighting Season yesterday, not part of our campaign, but a playtest game to develop some new ideas. Once again we saw a British multiple attempting to patrol through part of the Dastarkhan Green Zone. Their objective was to simply move among and talk to the locals, doing some human terrain mapping and generally showing a presence in support of the regional government.
We rolled up the terrain with the terrain generator and ended up with the set up we see above. The black circles show the civilians working in the fields and we had a mosque on the left and a single compound across an irrigation ditch with a cluster of orchards in the middle of the table. A track ran along the table east to West.
The Patrol Phase saw both sides focus on the right hand side of the table as we see it above, and ended up with the insurgents locked down in the orchards and the ISAF patrol in posession of the compound which would serve as a good base of fire position.
The British began by deploying into the compound and immediately making contact with some civilians in there. The Lieutetant and the interpreter had a brief chat with them but it is noteworthy that this particular base of civvies has a track record of being very unhelpful when questioned. Do these little figures posess a mind of their own?!
The insurgents responded by deploying one of their support options, a civilian jump-off point, which lurked in the irrigation ditch, looking to make a move towards the mosque.
Meanwhile the Brits took up positions to protect the locals while the Lieutenant and his ‘terp moved up to chat with them.
With the insurgent civilian jump-off point moving around their flank the British send a fire team out to cover that area…
…occupying an irrigation ditch. By the wall in the background you can see the white robes of the chap on the civilian jump-off point.
Aware that the Brits in the compound were covering the orchard, the insurgents use their civilian jump-off point to work around the flank, deploying an RPG and PKM team who begin putting down fire on the fire team in the ditch. The civilians working in the field are just about to run fior the hills, but the civilian jump off point will remain to give the Brits real problems.
The fire team in the ditch are in trouble with a second RPG team deploying and putting down fire. On the roof of the compound the two GPMGs are silent as the presence of possible civilians means that the risk of collateral damage is too high to risk returning fire. Frantically they are attempting to PID their target.
Knowing that the insurgents have committed themselves to their main attack and that their rather clunky command system is likely to be overloaded, the British send one fire team forward into the orchards to shut down that potential position.
Man down. In the ditch the cry of “man down” goes up. The medic rushes from the compound to assist.
But it’s too late. Corporal Biggins is KIA.
Still unable to PID the civilian jump-off point, courageous restraint goes out of the window. The two GPMGs brass up the insurgent positions, pinning the PKM and shocking the two RPG teams. Fortunately their fire is so accurate that the civilians are not affected. Moments later the Lieutenant successfully PIDs their target. Those weren’t cvilians they were very naughty boys! A hail of 7.62 routs the insurgents, wounding their senior leader who is obliged to “Squirt” out of the action in order to save his skin.
The Brits gained one point of intelligence which in a campaign game would assist them in big picture stuff. They also gained a military victory; however, it was a close shave. At one point the insurgents had killed the Corporal and were one point off achieving a political victory for no losses in men. This was why the Brits were so reticent to open fire when there were possibly civvies in the area as one of them dead would spell a victory for the insurgents. The insurgents had elected to try for the lowest level of victory, they were never up for a toe to toe fight, but they found themsleves over-committed and risking a firefight as they were so close to achieveing a victory. The British took advantage of this and manoeuvred their way to achieve a military victory; not an easy feat against a nimble insurgent force.
All in all it was an interesting game which, to answer a post Bruce kindly made yesterday on our last game report, was very probably a far cry from reality and did include some poetic license in order to try to replicate some of the issues of modern counter-insurgency “asymmetrical” warfare. There can be no doubt that a wargame is not and can never be a precise representation of warfare. However, a wargame worth its salt can and should allow the gamer to better appreciate some of the tactical and operational issues which are pertinent to the conflict being gamed. Fighting Season uses the Chain of Command WWII rules as its basic engine, but the issues in modern Afghanistan, upon which conflict our Dastarkhan campaign is clearly based, need to be built in to the system or one ends up with a purely kinetic game which, with the imbalance of weapons and training, will always end up as a bizare “whack-a-mole” with the poorer quality insurgents being gunned down like dogs. An attractive proposition for some but a shoddy representation of reality. Here our objective is to produce a game system which is enjoyable to play but which is also illuminating and sheds some light on the bravery and frustrations of those who served.
Well, it’s taken a bit of time for me to feel happy with the playsheet I have been working on. We have run though lots of games and I wanted to be sure of two things which very much reflect my personal preference. Firstly, a playsheet should contain things which cannot be memorised but which