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The Last Hundred Yards Volume 3 The Solomon Islands by GMT Games  The South Pacific Islands are some of the most beautiful and desirable pla...

The Last Hundred Yards Volume 3: The Solomon Islands by GMT Games The Last Hundred Yards Volume 3: The Solomon Islands by GMT Games

For your Wargamer, Toy soldier collector, MiniFig collector, military history nut. Reviews, interviews, Model Making, AARs and books!

October 2022

The Last Hundred Yards Volume 3: The Solomon Islands by GMT Games

The Last Hundred Yards Volume 3

The Solomon Islands


GMT Games

 The South Pacific Islands are some of the most beautiful and desirable places to live on earth. They can also be one of the most inhospitable places that you would want to be in. Heat, humidity, and some of the most impenetrable jungles are present on a lot of the islands. Of course, the soldiers had to do their fighting on the latter and not the former. It was a campaign where your uniform rotted while you were wearing it. These islands also had their fair share of nasty critters, like poisonous snakes and crocodilians. The Japanese and Allied soldiers that had to fight on these islands considered the climate and terrain as much of an enemy as each other. Once the Allied forces decided on the 'island hopping' strategy, many Japanese soldiers were left to starve to death. The Allied command of the air, in the latter stages of the campaign, sometimes led the Japanese to cannibalism while they were still fighting the Allied troops. The US Marines were always knee deep in many of these battles. However, the US Army and its Allies also had to fight in these green patches of hell on earth. The sheer size and mileage of the campaign is breathtaking. For most airmen, their flights during World War II were measured in hundreds of miles. In this campaign it could be sometimes measured in a thousand or more one way.

 The Pacific Theater in World War II has had many games devoted to the full campaign and smaller parts of it. These are usually strategic in view or based on the separate campaigns. Most of the tactical level games are based on the naval war.  There are not too many that are tactical that are based solely on the island battles. One would assume that some grognards are not interested in being the hunkered down Japanese in most of these battles. With this game we have the early battles of 1942-1943, with one scenario from 1944. This is mostly before the Japanese would dig in and dare the Allied forces to take their defenses. So, let us go back to the years where the air would be rent with the yells of Banzai (literal translation 'may the Emperor live for 10,000 years). Notice it is not Bonsai, a small shrub or tree.

American Counters

 This is a blurb from GMT Games on The Solomons: The Last Hundred Yards:

"The Last Hundred Yards Vol. 3: The Solomon Islands is the third game in the Last Hundred Yards Series. This game focuses on the vicious and brutal Solomons Campaign, including actions to control the islands of Guadalcanal, Bougainville, and New Georgia.

When you play the Solomon Islands Campaign missions, you will experience some of the fiercest small unit actions in the Pacific Theater. The game will focus on actions involving the 1st (The Old Breed) and 3rd (Fighting Third) Marine Divisions, as well as the Army’s 25th Infantry Division—the unit that finally drove the Japanese off the island, earning them the nickname “Tropic Lightning.”

Take to the jungles of Guadalcanal with the 1st Marine Division as they begin the first ground offensive of the war. Landed onto Guadalcanal and with intermittent naval support as the struggle for naval supremacy raged offshore, the Marines fought tooth and nail to secure their small foothold around Henderson Airfield. They fought against Japanese Reinforcements coming from all over the South Pacific area. Engage in bitter jungle fighting with the 3rd Marine Division as they attempt to hold and expand the beachhead on Bougainville Island against the Imperial Japanese 6th Infantry Division.

Finally, serve with the 25th Infantry Division’s famed 27th Regiment, the “Wolfhounds,” as they try to reduce Japanese positions on Guadalcanal’s Galloping Horse Ridge (an action that is portrayed in the movie “The Thin Red Line”). You will also fight with the Wolfhounds in the jungle around Munda Point for the airfield on New Georgia. Each of these actions involved tense jungle warfare and the routing out of fanatical Japanese units from hidden bunkers and pillboxes. You will understand the nerve-racking frustration of clearing an enemy position, only to have infiltrators attack you yet again from a different direction, at night!"

Japanese Counters +

 This is what comes with the game:

4 double-sided geomorphic maps (8 total)

4 full-size counter sheets

1 half-size counter sheet

1 full-color Rules booklet

1 full-color Playbook

5 Mission Cards (10 missions)

2 Combat/Terrain Charts

1 Game Turn Track

4 10-sided Dice

Assorted Counters

  "How do I love thee?" Let me look at your counters. I am pretty sure that Mrs. Browning would not approve, but it seems appropriate for our beloved hobby.

 The game comes with four two-sided hard stock maps. This means you get a total of eight maps in total. The maps are numbered instead of lettered as in most games I have played. The colors on the maps are a bit muted, but they work just fine with the dank and dark areas that they represent. The hexes are 1 1/4" in size. This is really big for most wargame hexes. Each hex represents 50 yards across. The only thing that put me on edge with the maps is that they come with terrain height lines, with some of the hexes being at multiple height. I will explain later how the game deals with this in the rules. The counters are nicely done. They are also large at 3/4". The numbers on them that you need to resolve combat etc. are large enough. The numbers and letters that are used for setup are small. Each counter that has a gun or an armored vehicle has its actual name underneath it. Those are very small. The pictures on them are well done, so that if you know anything about WWII weapons, you will have no need of trying to read the names beneath. The counters are somewhat muted also to fit in with the maps. Setup for the units is almost always by Company or Platoon. As I mentioned, those numbers are small but still readable. 

 The Series Rulebook v2.0 is thirty-nine pages in length. It is also in full color. There is a two and one-half page Index included as well. I love when companies add that in. As this is the third iteration of the Last Hundred Yards games the rules are clear to me. The only part I had to go over a few times is devoted to the use of mortars in the games. The designer has tried very hard to mimic their use in real battles. That is why those rules are more involved than others. The Playbook is simply amazing. It is thirty-six pages in length. The first twelve pages show full color examples of most of the rules in the game. This part made even a dolt like me understand any rule that had some nuance to it. From page thirteen to twenty-seven there is a play example of four full turns. If the first part of the Playbook didn't help you to 'get it' these certainly will. The last pages of the Playbook are the Designer Notes. These are a full nine pages in length. Once again, this is incredibly in depth. It is almost like the designer, Mike Denson, invited you over for coffee and you talked at length about the game and his design decisions. 

 There are five double-sided Mission Player Aids. These are made of hard stock and have a picture of the map that you use with that scenario. That map picture also shows you north (don't laugh I have seen maps that didn't), and what sides your troop consider home territory. Being double-sided, this gives you a total of ten missions. The next two Player Aids (one for each player) are a four-page fold-out that have all of the charts and tables for resolving all of the combat etc. They also have the terrain effect table on one page. The last Player Aid is a fold out; this has these on it:

Casualty Track

Random Event Table

Time Track

Fate Table

Coordination Table

Time Lapse

Mortar Support

Sequence of Play

 This is the Sequence of Play:

"I. Initiative Phase: Both players make a die roll. The player having
the Initiative on the previous game turn applies their Initiative die
roll modifier, if applicable, to the Initiative die roll [each mission lists the Initiative die roll modifiers for each player.] The player with the higher modified die roll wins the Initiative and becomes the active player. The losing player is the non-active player. In the case of ties, the Axis player wins the Initiative if the modified die roll is odd, while the Allied player wins the Initiative if the modified die roll is even. The Initiative marker is adjusted on the Game Tracks player-aid card to reflect the side that won the Initiative. A player without a Platoon Leader or an AFV in play at the end of the Initiative Phase — and after any Random Event results — automatically forfeits the Initiative to the other player. If neither player has a Platoon Leader or AFV in play, play proceeds to III. Fire Resolution Phase. In all cases, if the unmodified Initiative die roll is 1 or 10, that player must consult the Random Event Table on the Game Tracks player aid [18.0].

II. Activation Phase: The active player conducts Actions with units
of friendly activated platoon(s) [7.0], followed by both players
conducting Reactions [8.0]. Units of an activated platoon without
a Platoon Leader in play are restricted in their Actions [].
Once all platoon Activations and Reactions have been completed,
play proceeds to the Fire Resolution Phase.

III. Fire Resolution Phase: Fire attacks are resolved in any order.
Each DRM marker in play represents a single Fire attack. (Fire attack die rolls are based on the DRM markers in the hex at the beginning of the Fire Resolution Phase, even if players find an error was made when the DRM marker was originally placed.)

IV. Assault Resolution Phase: The active player determines the order
in which assaults are resolved [14.0].

V. Mortar Fire Adjustment Phase
1. Remove MDRM, Smoke, and Illumination markers.
2. Determine Mortar Recovery [11.4.8].
3. Forward Observers (FOs) that elect not to extend, or are currently
on their Final side, or in a hex without a friendly unit, are removed
— along with the corresponding Primary Impact marker — and
placed in the Mortar Support Pending Box on the Game Tracks
player-aid card.
4. Conduct Mortar Fire Extensions [11.4.9].

VI. Determine Time Lapse: The active player makes a die roll on
the Time Lapse Table to determine the Time Lapse (in minutes) and
adjusts the time on the Time Lapse Track accordingly.

VII. Clean Up Phase
1. Remove Overwatch and Motion markers from all vehicles that
did not conduct an action during the game turn.
2. Place returning Platoon Leaders [].
3. Recombine squads [10.3.3].
4. Conceal any units not in LOS of an enemy unit.
5. Reset counter orientation and record earned Promotion Points
6. Check whether the Mission Objective or Victory Conditions have
been met."

 It is the designer's contention that all battle is first and foremost confusing to the participants, especially at the tactical level. Many games try to take this into account, but others give you 'God mode' like powers to change your units mission and orders on a dime. As Mr. Denson writes in the Designer Notes "This has always bothered me about tactical level games, and one of the goals of LHY is to at least give the 'eye in the sky' cataracts." In this I believe that the design has done exactly what they started out to do. 

 The next important difference of this game to others is the 'Time Lapse System'. The game does not actually have game turns in the usual sense. In most games you will see each turn listed as 'X' amount of time as in fifteen minutes etc. After the turn is done you actually roll a die to see how much time has elapsed. This is meant to put the players on the proverbial hot seat. The amount of time it takes a player to complete their goals is added to their final score. So, dawdling is not encouraged. The only trick to this is that you have to roll the die at the end of each turn to find out how much time has passed. This could be anywhere from two to five minutes. This is to simulate the one factor that is completely out of your hands, which is the time it will take your units to do any action. To add to this, if a player rolls a one or a ten for initiative, they must consult the Random Events Table. If the player rolls a one, they are allowed to remove a concealment marker from an enemy unit that is five hexes away and in the LOS of a friendly unit. If you roll a ten you must consult the 'Fate Table'. These naturally are either a good outcome for the player or a bad one with some being worse than others. 

 Initiative is also done differently than other games. With LHY it is treated more like momentum and is slightly difficult for the opposing player to regain the initiative. So, it is not just the standard die roll at the beginning of a new turn. It sort of makes it like you need to wrest the initiative back from your opponent. If you have the initiative the game allows you to more easily go for broke.

 One other thing to take into account is the actual map size. Most are only 650 yards long. There is no maneuvering before battle really. You are dropped right into the midst of a knife fight. The terrain elevation of each hex is measured by what terrain height the actual center dot of each hex shows.

 What is the verdict, you ask? I believe the designers have hit one out of the park. They have achieved what they set out to do which was to make a tactical game with many new ideas and nuances. Playing this game made me go out and buy the other two volumes. If that isn't an endorsement, I do not know what is. The rules really give you some immersion. You are at times both happy with your units and then mad. You even take the Time Elapse roll as a personal affront at times. 

 Thank you, GMT Games for allowing me to review this game. Count me as being very impressed by this new system. The game volumes are:

The Last Hundred Yards:

The Last Hundred Yards Volume 2: Airborne Over Europe:

The Last Hundred Yards Volume 3: The Solomon Islands:

Coming up are:

The Last Hundred Yards Volume 4: The Russian Front:

The last Hundred Yards: Mission Pack 1:


 V-SABOTAGE MINIATURE PACK FROM TRITON-NOIR As promised a few days ago, here is  more a gallery tour of the visual and physical delights of ...


For your Wargamer, Toy soldier collector, MiniFig collector, military history nut. Reviews, interviews, Model Making, AARs and books!

October 2022





As promised a few days ago, here is more a gallery tour of the visual and physical delights of this latest expansion as the photos mainly speak for themselves.  So does the depth of the box which can better be appreciated from this angle.

Because of its contents including two trays of miniatures, this is not just the largest expansion, but substantially larger than the core game box. Also, because the fact that the heart of this package is the 65 miniatures, I feel I need to quote my original comment on the game in 2017:

"Certainly, the very good quality, circular, cardboard discs that represent the many single-man figures in the game are high on that list.  I had imagined buying and painting some commando figures [of which there are many fine products on the market], but soon decided that I much preferred what you see here."

I confess that I still rate the Commando counters very highly for their size, solidity and vibrant colours, but with what I can show you now I'm not going to be letting these miniatures sit idle in their perfect moulded containers.

This first set contains all your relentless enemies in four different poses, plus 2 alarm units.  I particularly like these models of hand-cranked alarms that immediately have my ears resounding to their imagined wail!

The second container holds five very individualised Commando figures, plus a further five figures representing the Commandos when disguised in German uniforms.  In addition, there are ten models of elite German troops armed with StG44s and three sandbag machine gun nests with separate MG42s.
Also visible in my photo are two good quality cloth bags to hold enemy reserve and equipment reserve and, just about visible, are the red plastic base rings that are attached to a Commando when he/she becomes visible and removed when the Commando returns to stealthy status.
Though the figures are the major draw of this expansion, there is considerably more to the box's contents than plastic.  There's plenty to satisfy my liking for cardboard. There are 54 enemy reinforcement tokens and a double-sided enemy board and, even more to gain my applause, a total of 25 new indoor/outdoor tiles, comprising 15 small, 3 medium sized and a superb 7 large tiles. 

To illustrate just one of the large tiles on its outdoor side, I've included a couple of German soldiers, along with an alarm machine and a machine gun nest.  While the next shot presents two large tiles on their indoor side, plus two of the different German soldier poses and the three types of doors.

And finally, what I hope you've been waiting for, a glimpse of the Commando figures: the first one on the left is in German officer disguise, while the other two are only too obviously undisguised!

Another very impressive large tile helps to provide a dramatic background to two more Commandos facing off against two German troopers.

The last item in the box is the rulebook, though not quite what you might be expecting.  It's a mere 4 pages, of which one page is the front cover and the second page [which really, really does not do justice to what is in this package] shows the contents of the box.

And the final two pages explain how to utilise specific aspects of the figures and tokens.

This Expansion is the icing on the cake with the cherry on the top and will be very, very hard to resist and so, it is with an extra big thanks to Triton-Noir for sending me a copy to review and I hope that my photos have given you an appetite for a more personal acquaintance with this addition.


  Red Strike by Vuca Simulations  This game seems to have flown under my radar (sorry, had to). This is still in preorder so I will let Vuca...

Red Strike by Vuca Simulations Red Strike by Vuca Simulations

For your Wargamer, Toy soldier collector, MiniFig collector, military history nut. Reviews, interviews, Model Making, AARs and books!

October 2022

Red Strike by Vuca Simulations

 Red Strike


Vuca Simulations

 This game seems to have flown under my radar (sorry, had to). This is still in preorder so I will let Vuca Simulations do all the talking. 

 "Estimation of included components:

Three map sheets (2x full size, 1x half size)

Numerous Airbase display sheets

One turn track sheet

One deck of ca. 50 cards

Nearly 2.000 counters

Numerous charts and player aids

One rulebook with lots of graphical examples

Red Strike is a game project based very closely on Mark Herman's Gulf/Aegean Strike game system. It is the Cold War turning hot and is about modern warfare (late 80's) on the Battlefield Central Europe.

 It is a simulation of multi-arms synthetic warfare that simulates the European battlefield of the Third World War.

The game scale is operational, counters representing divisions and regiments/brigades although some battalions are included. Complete air, land, and sea orders of battle for several dozen nations allow you to fight each conflict to its unpredictable and often startling conclusion.

The map reaches from the southern parts of Norway to the Alps and from East Germany to the Channel. One hex is 28 km."

 The preorder price is $130 US.

 I am a tremendous fan of every game that I have played from Vuca Simulations. I just bought their '1914 Nach Paris' and will have a write up on that game coming up.

Vuca Simulations:

VUCA simulations - Premium conflict simulations from Europe – VUCASIMS

Red Strike:

Red Strike - 1989 – VUCASIMS


  Point Blank V is for Victory by Lock 'N Load Publishing  "I'm here, I'm here! Let the bells ring out and the banners fly!...

Point Blank V is for Victory by Lock 'N Load Publishing Point Blank V is for Victory by Lock 'N Load Publishing

For your Wargamer, Toy soldier collector, MiniFig collector, military history nut. Reviews, interviews, Model Making, AARs and books!

October 2022

Point Blank V is for Victory by Lock 'N Load Publishing

 Point Blank V is for Victory


Lock 'N Load Publishing

 "I'm here, I'm here! Let the bells ring out and the banners fly! Feast your eyes on me! It's too good to be true, but I'm here! I'm here!"

(If you do not get the reference, I am sorry for your cloistered childhood)

 The fighting that occurred in western and northern Europe in 1944-1945 has had many games designed around it. D-Day has been especially covered by games at all levels and in all sizes. Point Blank V is for Victory is a new tactical game based upon the Allied and German troops that fought in the entire campaign. The game is meant for either one or two players. It does come with a solo 'bot' if you will. So, when playing it solo you do not have to try and be on both sides of the table. Let us take a look in the box and see if we are stuck in the hedgerows or gunning our tank in open fields.

All of the decks stow away beautifully

  This is from Lock 'N Load Publishing:

"Point Blank is a tactical squad infantry card game set in World War II Europe and is loosely based on the award-winning Lock ‘n Load Tactical game series.  Players do not need not be familiar with any of the Lock ‘n Load Tactical rules to play.  Point Blank is designed by Sean Druelinger and is a game that dares to be different, with new game concepts that give a whole new feel to tactical wargaming. 


Point Blank V is for Victory is for two players pitted against each other in situational combat scenarios.  There is also a solo option as well as partnerships in teams of two.  Each scenario presents the players with a unique situation involving squads of men, support weapons, leaders, and individual armored fighting vehicles.  The first game in the series will pit the forces of the USA against Germany just after the landings in Normandy (June 1944) through October 1944. Each player has victory conditions determined by the scenario in which to defend or take objectives, seek and destroy their opponent’s units, or one of many other different scenario objectives.


The game is played on an abstract map board made up of terrain cards in the game and managed through a distance system that accounts for the range to targets, line of sight, and defensive attributes. The player has units that start out on the map and gradually work their way towards their objectives by advancing through the battlefield all the while conducting combat actions against their opponent or defending their troops from return fire or whatever hell that awaits them. Players draw cards from a common action deck where they will play actions on their units on the map board. The game is an IGOUGO impulse system and turns are managed when the action deck is exhausted. (Some scenarios may require multiple deck exhaustion to finish the game). Actions in the game consist of Fire, Move, Assault, Rally, etc. The action cards contain dice icons on them to determine random results.

One of the unique features of the game is that it contains a deck of terrain cards that are not part of the action deck. As players change terrain they will draw a terrain card in which their moving units will occupy. Some action cards such as Recon helps players manage what terrain they occupy but your opponent may have other plans for your moving troops during their turn.  Two players can play a game in about an hour (depending on the scenario size) and if you cannot find an opponent then try the game solo system. 


Point Blank system has been called innovated, realistic, and yet extremely playable, and with solitaire play, and two-player options available we expect you will too."


Playing 'map' or mat for the cards

 The box that was delivered to me was a very heavy one. I knew enough about the game to know it did not come with mounted maps, so I was wondering why the heft? Well, it turned out to be the cards. You see, I believe there are almost 900 cards that come with the game. 

 Sean Druelinger, the designer, had done a write up for AWNT a bit ago about the game and himself. He is also the designer for Lock 'N Load's Tactical Series of games. According to him Point Blank is based on that series and the old Avalon Hill game 'Up Front'. I had seen things about Up Front down through the years, but I was not interested at all. At the time I was a very snobbish grognard and was only interested in hexes and hefty rulebooks. I would not play an area movement game, and the thought of cards being added to a hex wargame was an abomination in my eyes. Block games were another genre that would put my teeth on edge. I have now seen the light of these newfangled additions to my beloved hobby. However, this takes it one step further. You do not even need to use the map/mat at all. I believe I have done two different aircraft games that were just cards, but there was no terrain etc. In Point Blank everything is based upon the cards. So, let us see about this strange new animal (at least to me).

There are a lot more cards there than you probably think.

  This is what comes with the game:

119 x Mini Cards

698 x Poker Cards

1 x 32" x 38" Two Piece Map

1 x Core Rules Manual

1 x Scenario and Module Rules Manual 

9 x Double Sided 8.5" x 11" Player Aids

2 x Counter Sheets With Over 160 Counters

2 x 16mm Dice

Executive Producer:

David Heath

Game Design and Development:

Sean Druelinger

Game Art:

Shayne Logan

Some Cards

 This is the Sequence of Play:

1. Select a Scenario
2. Determine Sides
3. Layout the Battlefield
4. Deploy units
5. Draw Action Cards

2.2.2 Game Phases

1. Upkeep Phase – The phasing player
conducts upkeep tasks.

2. Impulse Phase – The phasing player
may conduct an action. There are
situations that allow more than one
action to occur from the play of a
card that includes multiple actions
or through the execution of a leader’s
Spend action (see Leaders 2.11).
Once a player completes his impulse
play passes to his opponent.

3. Turn End Phase – Check to see if the
Action Card deck has been exhausted.
If so, follow the turn end procedures
before impulse play begins

4. Victory Conditions Check – Check
to see if you have won the scenario
before impulse play begins again.

Terrain Card

 We will start out discussing the cards that come with the game. As mentioned, there are nearly 700 of the larger cards in six decks. The information needed to play on the cards is huge. These cards will have all your men and larger military equipment, such as: tanks, squads, anti-tank guns etc. They feel just like playing cards do. Then there are 119 mini cards. These encompass commanders, machine guns, PIATs, med kits etc. Even though these are smaller, the information on them is just as large as on the larger cards. Both sets of cards have a very nicely done picture of whatever they represent on them. They look like little portraits, especially the faces. The two-piece map is also well done. It is really only a background with muted colors, but it works well with the cards. It is large at 32" x 38" but if you have been a wargamer for any length of time you will have a table that can accommodate it. The counters are used for bookkeeping etc. You can also use the counters on the cards instead of using the map. These, like the rest of the game, are oversized and very easy to read. The coloring and design of them are up to the par of all the other components. The Core Rules Manual is ninety-four pages long. However, the type size is also huge (Do you see a pattern here?).  The rules go to page seventy-one with the rest being a breakdown of each terrain card and then the Solo Rules. The Scenario and Module Rules Manual comes with twenty scenarios and there is a section on building your own scenarios. At the end of the scenarios are the Campaign Game Rules. Both of the Manuals are in full color and made of glossy paper. There are five Player Aids that are made of hard stock, and they are double-sided. These are also in large type like the rest of the components. These give all the information for playing the game that you would need without having to look through the manual. The next four Players Aids are for playing the game Solo. These rules are done with an easy-to-follow flow chart method. These are also made of hard stock and in full color. 

Some of the Counters

 The cards represent everything you would find on a battlefield in norther Europe during WWII. The Allied cards represent both the U.S. and British and Commonwealth militaries. Here are some examples:

Germans - Marder I, Stug IIIG, Tiger, Panther, truck, halftrack, 75mm anti-tank gun, SS, Heer, and Luftwaffe troops.

Allied - M36, M20, Parachute Squad, Infantry Squads and Half-Squads, Sherman Firefly, Otter, and even a Tetrarch!

The smaller cards show - Satchel Charges, Radios, MG 42, Flame Throwers, and a slew of Commanders.

Mini Card Commanders

 So, you might be thinking: Is this game a behemoth in both size and rules? To be honest, you do need some table space for the game. In actuality it is an easy to play game, at least once you have the rules set in your head. Lock 'N Load says that most scenarios will take about an hour to play. Except for my first couple of dry runs, this seems to be about right. Playing Solo takes a bit longer, but it does in any game that has solo rules built in. The flow chart method for Solo Play does make it a lot easier to follow and play. I think that Solo Play should be included in most games. That way you can play your favorite game of the hour without having to round up a friend or more to play it. 

 As I mentioned. I have never played Up Front nor really ever had an itch to. Many people have compared Point Blank V is for Victory to Up Front and say it is the Up Front for the 21st century. If Up Front was anywhere near as fun to play as Point Blank, I am sorry that my rigidness stopped me from playing it. 

 I was at first a little put off by not being able to know the terrain in in front and around me. Then I put myself into the mindset of a Squad Leader at the time and it really made sense. You know your objective, at least most of the time, and you know what direction it is on your compass. Often that is about the amount of information you would be given. Oh, you know what could be out there between you and it, but you are only guessing. Unless you are extremely lucky you will not know what enemy force is out there until they open fire. Point Blank brings that guessing and Fog of War front and center. This is not a card game of tactical warfare in WWII. It is a tactical wargame that uses cards for play. There is a large difference. Remember that Point Blank uses a lot of the designer's Lock 'N Load Tactical Series as its bones. 

 The scenarios all have their own victory conditions. Many times, it is taking control of and holding a specific terrain piece. The turns all revolve around the Action Card deck. When the last Action Card has been played that is the end of that turn. The scenarios run from two, three, and four turns. So, for each turn you would have to use up all of the Action Cards. If you are not used to Lock 'N Load's Tactical Series games, you will have a bit of a learning curve. If you have played any of them the curve will be pretty short. It is not a difficult game to learn. That is, if you can get the idea of the Lines of Sight and movement and transpose that knowledge to the cards laid out on the table. I have played many of Lock 'N Load's Tactical Series games. However, I did have a problem in the beginning but not because of the rules. It was my own brain that was not getting it. Once I talked myself into the fact that the cards were the same thing as counters on a hex map, things went much smoother. I believe this was certainly a case of an old dog trying to learn new tricks.

 The game is big in components, and they are also visually striking. The muted colors of even the Rulebook pages gives a real sense of being in the rain, fog, and mud of a real battlefield. The visuals only help with the players immersion. Because the Rulebook is so large in size of type the rules themselves are not that long or hard to learn. There is no need of any die because the Action Cards have die values right on them on in the upper right hand. Yes, luck does have a place in playing the game. However, in any battle of whatever size, there is always some amount of luck. As von Clausewitz wrote:

 "The great philosopher of war, Karl von Clausewitz, coined the term: "Friction," he wrote, is "the concept that differentiates actual war from war on paper," those surprising things that happen during wartime that make “even the simplest thing difficult."

More Terrain Cards

 Thank you Lock 'N Load for letting me take this Maserati out for a test drive. I am now fully convinced that a ground wargame can be played with just cards. Not only that but said game can be totally engrossing for the player. It also helps that the manufacture of the cards etc. are of such a high quality. Great Game, Lock 'N Load. Keep up the good work. 


Lock 'N Load Publishing:

Point Blank V is for Victory:


V-SABOTAGE:GHOST EXPANSION   from TRITON NOIR If this series is new to you, I'd strongly recommend a read of my earlier review of the co...


For your Wargamer, Toy soldier collector, MiniFig collector, military history nut. Reviews, interviews, Model Making, AARs and books!

October 2022


If this series is new to you, I'd strongly recommend a read of my earlier review of the core game, V-Commandos [note, too, the change of name to V-Sabotage] to understand the basics on which all subsequent expansions build.  It goes without saying that the core game is essential for the play of any expansion, including this one.

So, what does this latest expansion add.  Well, once more, quite a lot!  More cards, more tokens, more commando operatives, more terrain tiles, more missions, more dice and more rules.  For once, I'm going to start with the rules, as I think these are the most cogent reason for buying this expansion.  Why?  Because they offer three modes for playing: XP Mode, Lone Wolf Mode and Campaign Mode. 
This allows your commandos to gain new abilities [XP = experience].  These are provided in the form of two decks of Experience cards.  As you complete 1 objective of a Level card, one of your commandos draws a card from each deck and keeps one of them.  Apart from the cards, another new component are 18 double-sided commando display sheets. Each commando can possess only a maximum of 3 cards, but can always draw two new ones, choose one and discard one of the those already on his/her display sheet.  A neat counterbalance to the benefits of XP Mode is that you also randomly draw a Danger Token - definitely not a benefit!
I don't think most of you will find it too difficult to know which film and actor influenced this Commando Display Sheet! [Just in case, the answer is at the end of my review*].
If you're playing cooperatively, you will need to decide an acceptable method for deciding whose Commando gets to draw and keep the card.  Randomly with the roll of a die is one obvious solution, the Commando whose action actually completes the objective is another, though this may affect game play and introduce a note of competition.  I'd never really contemplated this before, as I'd always seen cooperative play as involving the players spending some time discussing how they would proceed.
As I often play solitaire, running two or three Commandos, those new Commando Display Sheets are a nice addition for keeping track of items.  However, Lone Wolf provides just my cup of tea... all you are allowed is one Commando [plus, if you wish, a trusty dog called Gander!] for the mission, whether it be a single level, an operation or a campaign.  

One trusty dog, as mentioned!

What to do is covered, whether you're playing with the core box or one of the previous two expansions and you must always incorporate XP mode rules.  Do I need to say that this part of the expansion is definitely for the experienced player!
Even better, among the several new Operations, one is a special Operation, entitled Operation One-Eyed Ghost from which the expansion gets its name.

Based as always on an historical background, there is an excellent one-page outline of the war time career of Leo Major, whose story steps straight out of any book entitled Amazing Tales! Enjoy, if you dare.  Too tough for your liking, well you can always add in some extra commandos for back up.

This really is very simply the sequencing of several Operations, making sure that you maintain the same number of commandos and accumulating all that you acquire as you move from Operation to Operation.  In itself nothing greatly original in the idea, until combined with the final section of this Expansion's rule book: Challenges and Medals.
The Challenges are divided into six categories: Combat, Equipment, Game Modifiers, Levels & Operations, Commandos and finally Stealth.  Each Challenge successfully completed has an accompanying number.  These are ticked off on the Medals chart working your way up from King's Recommendation for Brave Conduct to the ultimate Victoria Cross.  There is even a set of stickers to apply as you gain a medal!  And if you don't want to spoil your rule book, you can always download a copy of the medals page from Triton-Noir's site and, in case one sticker set of medals isn't enough, the game provides three.  

It's these little touches of completion and thought for gamers that I really like about Triton-Noir's production levels.  It goes without saying that every aspect of this Expansion adheres to the first-class production quality of the original core game.  The striking monochromatic artwork is reflected in the pairs of new Operation cards, Level cards, Event cards and XP cards.  

The many new tokens are as large, solid and colourful as ever, especially those for the Bonus Commandos and SS Enemies.  Similarly, the additional double-sided tiles for creating the terrain for the Levels are top notch; especially this large tank one below.

.... and if this Expansion isn't enough for you, just wait for my next review featuring the next addition to the series - Expansion: Miniatures Pack!

As always, a big thank you to all at Triton-Noir for providing this review copy.

*Commando Display Answer: Clint Eastwood in Where Eagles Dare
And just in case, you need more cinematic reminders of that excellent film, one of the new Level cards just happens to be ... 
the Cable-Car!