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Mark H. Walkers Platoon Commander Deluxe The Battle of Kursk Tracks in the Mud The Battle of Kursk Strategy Guide by Fl...

Mark H. Walker's Platoon Commander Deluxe the Battle of Kursk With the Kickstarter Extras by Flying Pigs Games Mark H. Walker's Platoon Commander Deluxe the Battle of Kursk With the Kickstarter Extras by Flying Pigs Games

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

Flying Pig Games





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 It's big, bad, and beautiful. It is also very easy to start playing. Flying Pigs hits another one out of the park with this one. I was sent the entire Kickstarter kit and caboodle by Flying Pigs to inspect, thank you very much, you self-propelled porcines. I will go through the three pieces separately in this review. What I received was:

Platoon Commander Deluxe: The Battle Of Kursk
Tracks In The Mud
Platoon Commander Deluxe: The Battle Of Kursk Strategy Guide






 The first thing I noticed when  opening the box is how extremely well done all the components are. The next thing I did was to pick up what I thought would be a heavy sturdy many paged rulebook. Imagine my surprise when it turned out to be only nineteen pages long. Included in those pages are the twelve scenarios and the credits. The rules are only nine and a half pages long!!! How can a tactical game have only that many pages. Most tactical games have that many pages of errata. There are however many nuances in the rules that you have to carefully read. Take, for instance, one rule about stacking and movement. Rule 1.3 Stacking:
 "Up to two units may stack in a hex. Stacking limitations apply at all times". 
 This means that unlike many other games, stacking is not checked at the end of the turn. Only two units may be in any hex at one time during the full turn. So you cannot park two units in that hex, and then continue to move other units through that hex. So as the Strategy Guide says, "be careful about causing traffic jams". 




 You can see the sequence of play on the following sheet.




 This is what comes in the box:

252 colorful, one inch square die-cut counters
Two mounted 17" x 22" geomorphic game maps
18 playing cards
3 x player's aid cards
Full-color rules and scenario booklet





 The game plays like you would expect. The rules are easy to pick up, and you will be deciding the fate of your troops in Operation Citadel in  no time. Now, don't think that the brevity of the rules leaves you with a simple game. The rules and game give you the full panoply of a tactical World War II game. The cards can be used for barrages and for aerial strikes among other options. Here is a list of the card options.









 The game allows you to play with Tigers, Ferdinands, and Panthers along with the "animal killer" Su-152. So now we go onto the expansion Tracks in the Mud. Ah, the smell of cardboard representing heavy metal! This comes with this list of bad boys to play with:

Jagdtiger
King Tiger
Jagdpanther
T34/85
IS-3
IS-2
Pershing
Easy-Eight Sherman's
Two what if American versus Russian scenarios
Six scenarios in all




 This is just the icing on the cake. The addition of the ability to play with these monsters is a tactical dream come true. 







  With this already great pack you also get the The Battle of Kursk Strategy Guide. This guide is even longer than the rules and scenario booklet. Stacking, close assault, and fire combat etc. are gone through so that the player is spoon fed what he needs to know. Although to be honest, anyone who has played a tactical game or two should get the hang of the game in no time flat.






 The game play is abstracted so that it gives you a great tactical feel without getting all bogged down in the rules. The close combat rules seem to make a lot of sense. First, the attackers are not in the same hex like most games, so you can use units from multiple hexes to attack. The rules also give you a flanking bonus due to the multiple venues of attack. This would seem in line with real world tactical doctrine. The AFV combat also has some nuances that not only make gameplay faster, but just seem right.  What would you rather do on game night? Stare at the rules and fight over the rulebook or get to it? Those who love tactical minutiae should stay clear of this game. However, those of you looking for a good game that is tense, quick, and challenging, come on down. Simple, but deep tactics, and loads of new shiny AFVs to play with, what more do you want? You are free to argue to your heart's content about the various factors on the AFVs assigned by the designer. That is, once you have played it at least once. 

This is a link to game and expansion:

https://flyingpiggames.com/t/platoon-commander-deluxe

 Robert


 This is a blurb from the designer:


So, What's Different?
I hear that a lot. With all the tactical games on the market, what makes Platoon Commander Deluxe: Kursk different?
Clutterless counters. PCD:K uses color to determine a weapon's range. For example, an Armor Piercing factor printed on gold indicates that the weapon can fire normally at a target up to four hexes away.
Unique phasing. Players alternate attacking in the Fire Phase, but move all their units at once during the Movement Phase.
Flanking Friendly Close Assault Phase. Units do not enter the hex of the Close Assault target, but rather attack from adjacent hexes. This allows the attacker to not only amass the overwhelming odds needed to take that key position, but also attack from multiple directions, which provide a flanking bonus. Additionally, alternating attacks in the Close Assault phase allow defenders to conduct true spoiling attacks.
Ranged combat results are based not only an the target's armor factor and terrain, which determine the column on which the attack is executed, but also the target unit's morale which determines how many hits affected the target.
Artillery is card driven. Neither player knows the other's artillery capability by glancing at a scenario card. Artillery barrages are determined by Action Cards.
Action Cards. PCD:K is not card driven, but rather card assisted. The Action Cards provide artillery, rally units, provide combat bonuses, and even unexpected Opportunity Fire shots.
Focus and Aid Markers. These markers allow players to influence the battle much as their real life counterparts would. Players may choose to focus on a specific area, providing combat bonuses, or provide additional aid to those disrupted by fire.








Armageddon War Platoon Level Combat in the End War by Flying Pig Games    Where to begin; I guess I should stat...

Armageddon War by Flying Pig Games Armageddon War by Flying Pig Games

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

Flying Pig Games


Platoon Level Combat in the End War

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 Where to begin; I guess I should state that invariably I play games and read books about historical happenings. That is not to say that I forgo what ifs as long as they are plausible. I usually steer clear of alternative history or, for want of a better term, imagined conflicts. The background story isn't really flushed out, but it seems plausible enough. 




 Armageddon War is based on a conflict that breaks out in the Middle East in 2028. To quote the rulebook," Geddon war has conflict between disorganized and poorly equipped militias, advanced weapon systems barely past the prototype stage in the hands of highly disciplined First World forces, and everything in between". So the player will be able to use a goulash of units from nowadays to some interesting possible future weapons. It is a platoon level game. So the scenarios run the gamut of small knife fights in urban areas to full blown battles of armor.

 The game comes in an oversized box with a bit of heft to it. This is what you get inside the box:
 Two mounted 22" x 33" full-color game boards
 Four sheets of 1" counters, One sheet of Action counters
 Full-color rule and scenario book
 Player Aid Cards
 18 colored dice



 

 The game comes with 16 scenarios. However, the game also comes with a whole list of the units and their comparable costs. So you can 'tweak' the 16 scenarios to your heart's content, or make new ones. Theses are some of the units you are able to use in these end of the world battles:
 Abrams M1A4
 Bradley M2A3
 Crusher (remote control)
 Armata
 BMPT
 Merkava M4
 Namer 2
 T-55A
 T-72M
 AH-64D Apache
 MI-24P 



 The maps are mounted, and visually are very well done. The hexes are oversized, as are the counters. The counters are in line with other games from Flying Pig Games, meaning that they drop out of the sprues if breathed on, and are small pieces of art. The players' aids and rulebook are also easy to read, understand, and strikingly colorful. The game turns are fifteen minutes per. So, one of the problems that the game designer had to deal with is that most of the weaponry could fire off its allotted ammunition in less than a third of a turn.



 The sequence of play is:
 Draw a Command Chit, and place it on the track
 Movement
 Fire Combat
 Close Combat


 You will have to take the designer's ideas of what the new weapon's offensive and defensive capabilities are. However, these are always what each designer believes, so there is nothing really new here. With other games the designer does have the real world statistics and usage to go by. The game has opened up a new avenue of research for me. I was pretty much in the dark about the weapons that have or are just coming off the drawing board. The Russian Armata tank is one of these. Who knew there was an actual tank with a turret that was fully automatic, and the tank only needs two people to run it.

 The game also has Advanced Rules that include:

Indirect fire
Off-board artillery
Limited munitions
Unguided rockets
Smoke/Dust
Snipers

  The game designer does explain that because of the lethality and range of these newer weapons that he had to adjust some things. The hexes on the map represent 150 meters each. The range of some of these weapons are theoretically bigger than the map. He also explains that the casualties are not just actual losses, but the loss of the unit's effectiveness. 




 So how does it play? Just as in the real world, the actual armed forces of the combatants have tremendous killing power. The militia forces cannot stand up to them, at least not in the open. The lethality of the weapons mean that the best laid plans of mice and men literally go up in smoke. The air units (helicopters and drones), have only one damage step. Ground attack aircraft are not actually represented on the map. Their offensive capabilities are represented by the off-board munitions. This was probably done to simplify the game, and not make the player also  have to deal with too many extra AA rules etc. This game differs from most tactical platoon level games by taking into account logistics. As mentioned, the units in the game could fire off all of their munitions in less than one turn. So this game system uses Logistic Counters to keep your units at full strength for fighting. These counters must be placed outside of any enemy's line of sight, and no farther than two hexes from a friendly unit. The Logistic Counters can move up to three hexes in a turn, but must end up in a hex that it could have been placed in originally. The game also has no CRT. All of the combat and defense is predicated by the dice. It is a simple way that some games have removed the style of play of, I have three to one odds so I will attack etc, method of play. It just adds that much more 'fog of war' to game play. You can still see if your attack will have any hope of success, but you will not be able to calculate it that well. This mechanic adds more of the 'friction' of warfare to the mix.





 I was fully prepared to not really enjoy the game. I really like Flying Pig Games components; I also really like the way their rules are done. Can you tell I like their games? The only problem being was that a conflict in the Middle East, and especially one that is in the future, was not something that grabs me for wargaming. I bit the bullet and dove in. I can state that I was very, very wrong. Once you get into the game and its mechanics, you will find it is excellent. The game has many innovations that just work really well. I have to thank them again for going with large 'old man' counters. No need for tweezers and a magnifying glass here. So, like me, if you are hesitant about the actual area and time of the conflict, you should look into and get the game just for the system and the game components.

 I will be doing a followup review on the solo expansion "Alone in the Desert'.
 To add to your experience you can also purchase:
 Armageddon War: Burning Lands Expansion
 Armageddon War Strategy Guide
 Armageddon War Special Dice


Robert



YAAH! Magazine Issue #9 With The Wargame: Donetsk The Battle For The Airport by Flying Pig Games  Many different comp...

YAAH! Magazine Issue #9 by Flying Pig Games YAAH! Magazine Issue #9 by Flying Pig Games

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

Flying Pig Games



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 Many different companies have issued their own wargaming magazine down through the years. Some, like 'The General' from Avalon Hill, were just extra scenarios and write ups about their own company games. Other wargaming magazines were about the hobby as a whole. Many of these magazines came with a game. I am not sure why, but a lot of the times it has seemed that gamers looked down upon magazine wargames. It has never made sense to me. A lot of the magazine wargames were designed by the same people who gave us boxed games. I went out of my way to buy a bunch of the magazine wargames I no longer had when I got back into board wargaming about fifteen years ago. One thing that the wargames from magazines had over boxed games is that it seemed like the publishers would go out of their safety zone with these games. Meaning that we would see a lot more battles, and especially obscure ones, than we could get from boxed wargames. This was more prevalent in the 1970s and 1980s than now. With the advent of Kickstarter and only publishing games that make the cut now, we have been seeing more obscure wars and battles in the boxed game selection. 


Map



  The magazine itself is eighty pages long, and it is in color. The pages do not feel like a normal magazine page. They feel more substantial, like a page from an oversized book. The first article is on Flying Pig Games newest game, 'Armageddon War'. One of the things about its rules is that there is no CRT. It comes with custom dice instead. The articles continue with 'Comancheria' from GMT Games, followed by 'Finnish Civil War' from Compass games. In total there are seven separate articles about different games from different publishers. Next up, we have add on scenarios for several different games. There are three scenarios for Flying Pig Games '65', and one for 'Night of Man'. The section ends with six scenarios for 'Command And Colors Ancients', and these are the battles of Arthur. Yes, that Arthur.



Back of counters



  The last part of the magazine is dedicated to this issue's game 'Donetsk'. It is about the different battles for the Donetsk airport. This would be between the Ukraine and separatist forces with the separatists having Russian help. The background history takes up five pages. The actual game rules are another ten pages. This is followed by more than a page of 'game notes'. The game comes with four different scenarios for you to play. The back page of the magazine is a full sized player aid card for the game. 



Front of counters



  The game comes with eighty-eight unit and action etc. counters. The counters are not like Flying Pig Games usual ones. These are thin even by magazine game standards. They are however, fully functional and easy to read and distinguish between. The map is 11x17, and has hexes (without full hex lines) that are marked from rows A to X. The map is well done and if not a work of art a lot better than some I have seen. Some of the counters are squad size (8-15 men) while heavy weapons and leaders represent three to five men. AFVs and trucks etc. are represented singly. The hexes have a scale of 150 meters per hex.
 





  The game's turns are broken into two phases. The first is the activation phase, and this includes:

 Remove all Smoke Markers
 Remove all Pin Markers
 Resolve pending Fire Support from the previous turn; Ukranian          player first and the results applied simultaneously.
 Plot and check current Fire Support; same as above
 Determine the Initiative Player for the Action Phase

 The Action Phase consists of:

 Initiative Player activates units
 Non-Initiative Player activates units
 Players continue alternating unit activations until no units on both      sides are left to activate. Players cannot pass to save activations,      they must activate at least one unit even if the unit performs no        actions.

 The fire support each side will have will be listed in each of the four scenarios. There are rules on 'wrecks' and also on the setup of heavy weapons. There are even some buildings that are multi-level and rules to deal with that. The game was designed to try and replicate modern warfare, so that it takes into account that today's killing distance is much greater than in earlier battles. A player's initiative is gradually eroded by unit loss. So going in guns blazing might win you one of the airport buildings, but then cripple you for the rest of the scenario. Victory conditions for most of the scenarios rest only on capture of some or all of a building's hexes. 

 



 In all, it is a pretty good little game. Those of us who are used to thinking in sweeping terms, and suffering a lot of casualties will have to readjust their thinking before starting this game. The game gives a good representation of today's massive firepower; in fact, even a small amount of casualties are often seen as excessive in the 21st century (as they should be).

 I was impressed by the articles and the fact that the additional scenarios didn't just belong to games made by Flying Pig Games. The game was one that has a somewhat limited replay value, but for someone who is interested in the conflict or has not played a game with new weaponry it is well worth the cost. The other issues have contained these games:

Beast At The Gates - U.S. Civil War
Lion Of Malaya  -  World War II
Steamroller - Tannenberg 1914

Robert  

65 by  Flying Pig Games   Strangely, I approach the unboxing of the game with some trepidation. I had heard about...

65 by Flying Pig Games 65 by Flying Pig Games

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

Flying Pig Games

65


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Flying Pig Games





  Strangely, I approach the unboxing of the game with some trepidation. I had heard about WWI and WWII from my father and grandfather, but it was more like a history lesson in class. With the Vietnam War this was actually history I lived, I guess vicariously, through the TV. Growing up in the 1960s, the war was always there. My friends and I rarely, if ever, talked about it, yet its presence was still felt. Some of my earliest memories are of watching the news, and listening to the casualties of the day. Sorry to get so somber. The game and year just brought back memories; back to the game.



Training Aid


 I had reviewed Flying Pig Games Old School Tactical Volume I, and I was very impressed with all of the physical components. In '65, you will be pleased to find out that there is that same attention to detail and high standard of craftsmanship, with one big difference. The counters are extra large at 1" X 1.375", and so are the hexes on the mapboards. I cannot thank Flying Pig Games enough for this thoughtfulness. It is almost like they included a fold up walker in the box for us old grogs.





 The scale of the game is: squads or gun teams, individual tanks, and snipers. You also get hero or officer counters with bonus abilities. You receive three mounted maps at 11" X 17" to display the flora, etc. of Vietnam. Because of the increased hex size they show less of a battlefield than other games. However, it works just fine for the scale.



Action Counters etc.


 The 'training aid'/rule book is also top notch. Its size is also in a large enough font for even my wife to read (she edits for me, so rest assured I have been properly chastised). Being a card driven game, it is good to see that they are up to the other components' standards. The game is not only card driven it is all about the cards. There are no dice whatsoever needed for playing. So no plastic was harmed in the games creation.



Vehicles


 Sequence of play:

Deal cards: From the shuffled deck each player gets four action cards.

Determine initiative: Both players pick one card and compare the 'targeting number' in the lower left block. The player with the higher number wins the initiative, and discards his card. The loser gets to keep his card.

Impulse actions: You fill your hands back to four cards. If either player pulls an  'end turn' card, you lay it down (more on this later).

Play: Play cards and activate your units and all other actions.

Discard: The players may discard up to two cards. 

Do nothing and pass: When the scenario's prescribed number of 'end turn cards' have been laid out or both players pass. You then move to the 'reserve phase'.

Reserve phase: The player who won the initiative goes first. No cards can be played in this phase. The player who has initiative moves all his eligible units, and then the second players moves his. 

Clean up phase: Fired, moved, and ops complete markers are removed. All 'smoke 2' counters are degraded to 'smoke 1', and 'smoke 1' counters are removed. The shaken markers remain.

Stacking: No more than three units may stack in a hex. One hero, one vehicle, and two leg units only per hex.

 The previous was just a synopsis. 



Troop counters


 This being the first war where they were used extensively, the U.S. player has helicopter units. They have some unique properties in the game. They are hard targets when they are on the ground or hovering, and they are soft targets when moving. The game also comes with fortifications such as foxholes and bunkers. There are also units that can use satchel charges.



Action cards


 The game is completely card driven. Your unit's movement, etc. are all allowed by the cards you have and choose to play. The cards also give you the chance for off-board artillery strikes. Armor and armored personnel carriers are also in the counter mix for both sides.

 Some of the card actions are: 

Blood lust: You can rally or reconstitute one eligible unit. 

Fast move: The unit can get one extra movement factor.

Aimed shot: Add two to a unit's targeting on a hard target.

 Some scenarios come with the ability for each side to draw a 'bonus victory condition card'. If you draw a card with a condition that cannot be fulfilled (the other side has no hero, etc), then you draw another card.


Bonus Victory Cards


 The game play is tense and nerve wracking in a good sort of way. With the smaller scale, and also the small number of units, lady luck can destroy an excellent game plan in a second. 


 The movement, line of sight, and combat mechanics all feel correct for this time of conflict. 

 The rule book is only nineteen pages long, with another eight pages of scenarios (each scenario is one page). 

 The game also has these expansions that can be bought for it:

Hue city map
Alone in the jungle solo
USMC/ANZAC
Action cards



First Scenario Opponent Cards


 As far as the card pulling goes there are times that you will have to pass. Some of the cards are 'vehicle only cards' so if you get one or two in a hand, and you are only playing with leg units, that is a fourth to a half of your hand that turn. As a house rule, some have suggested removing the 'vehicle only cards' from the mix if you are playing with only leg units. This might have been a deliberate decision by the developers, so use at your own risk.



First scenario My Cards

 In this play example I have used my card for its 'Move' value, and moved my U.S. rifle squad three road hexes closer to the enemy.  





 My opponent then uses one of his card's 'Fire' value to engage my rifle squad with his sapper unit. When counting the range you include the firing units hex, but not the target hex.





 So this gives us a range of two. Then you calculate the firing unit's HEF (High Explosive Factor). This is a two for the sapper unit. Next, we calculate the range modifiers which total up to a '+1'.





 So we now draw three cards (2 +1) from the deck, and consult the 'HE" result in the lower right hand quarter of the cards.





  The first card gives us a 'Hit' on the U.S. rifle squad. When a unit receives a 'Hit' for the first time, a 'Shaken' counter is placed on it. The next card is also a 'Hit', so the counter is flipped to its reduced side. 





 The third card had no 'Hit' value for its action. This is lucky for me because a third hit would have eliminated my unit.


  The game plays well in solo mode also. The small footprint and amount of counters in scenarios means that you will not have to take up much space for playing. The game's average time for the scenarios is one to three hours. So you won't have to set it up and worry about small children or animals getting at it while you are at work. With the relatively small amount of rules and all of the player's aids (and ability to read them), makes the game a quick run through after the first few games. The developers were looking to make a fun quick game on Vietnam warfare, and they have succeeded admirably. 

 Congratulations on another great game, Flying Pigs.

 As Katherine Hepburn said in 'The Lion in Winter' "there will be pork in the trees come morning". I have always wanted to use that line.

Robert

Old School Tactical by Flying Pig Games Review     While I own a fair number of board games, I have never done an unboxing, let a...

Old School Tactical by Flying Pig Games Review Old School Tactical by Flying Pig Games Review

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

Flying Pig Games

Old School Tactical by Flying Pig Games Review 
 



 While I own a fair number of board games, I have never done an unboxing, let alone a review of one. My reviews up until now have been of digital wargames. So in a sense this is like coming home. My purchases of boxed wargames have mostly been of older games with a few newer ones here and there.

 I have not really been that much of a fan of tactical games, since in my youth we played a lot of what I call 'squad argument'. I don't remember that much playing, but I do remember a lot of arguing. Give a man with a pocket protector a set of wargame rules, and he turns into an armored warrior on the side of right. I am, however, an equal opportunity gamer. I'll give pretty much any game a try. I will do the unboxing etc. with the game components and also use a very well done vassal port of the game.

  Flying Pig Games is the board game company that has brought us Old School tactical. They also publish, among others, 'Night of Man' a tactical futuristic game, and '65' a game about the early battles in Vietnam. Yaah! magazine that is up to issue six now, is also published by them. It contains a game in every issue. They are also doing a kickstarter right now for Old School Tactical: volume II West Front.

 The game is (guess what) a tactical one about the eastern front battles in 1941 and 1942. It is important to remember that this is before Tigers and Panthers were around. In most scenarios with tanks playing as the German you will be undergunned, and under armored. The German antitank guns are woefully under powered and undersized. The PAK 36 that you will use in some scenarios was nicknamed the door knocker by German troops.



 First let's start with the box itself. The box measures roughly 11"x16". I do not have my postage scale handy, but I believe the weight is roughly 7-8 pounds plus or minus. It is certainly hefty enough for someone to start weight training with. It is also a piece of art all by itself. Just looking at, and feeling it you would believe that you have something special in your hands, and you wouldn't be wrong. The first thing you notice when opening the box is the size of the maps. It comes with two mounted maps. One depicts spring, summer, fall and the other winter. They are 30"x41" with one inch hexes. There was also a Stalingrad map for some of the tiers of the kick starter campaign, and it can be purchased as an expansion. It also comes with four six sided die. There are four counter sheets some 3/4" and others 7/8". The tanks, and artillery are shown top down with the infantry etc. being shown from the side. There are 18 'luck' cards, and 54 unit data cards. The tank and gun cards have a table that is used in deciding combat. The other unit cards are a great addition in having all of the info which is on the counters also in your hand, and easier to squint at. The rule book is well done and in full color, as is the scenario booklet. Two player aid cards are also included. All of the components are top notch. I have never seen a board game with this detail and craftsmanship.  



 Okay, so the game components are first rate. The next part up is the game play and the rules. I cannot stress enough on the actual game pieces, but if it sits on the shelf because the game play is terrible and the rules are unintelligible, what is it worth? Does the game play like a tactical east front game? Is there any immersion factor? 

  The manual is only twenty one pages long and is well written and easily understandable. It has color shots of the units and some illustration of game play inside.

 In the scenario briefing you will be given map coordinates. These are used for you to setup the four map edge markers that cordon off the field of battle that you will play in. The next listing is control  hexes; these are given a victory point amount to asses at the end of the game. Then comes the scenario turn length, special rules, and off board assets, air strikes and artillery. Next will be the victory conditions for the scenario and the setup for your and the enemy's forces on the map. Mostly that is listed as map edge or near this unit etc. There is a lot of leeway in most scenarios for the players setup. You aren't handcuffed into putting X unit into hex 41Y for the most part. The victory conditions are mostly in controlling certain hexes on the map. It is a large scenario book with 27 scenarios. The scenario booklet is well displayed with clear and concise info for the player to use. There is no ambiguity here. 



  The infantry counters have their stats displayed across the top of the counter. From left to right they are firepower, range, defense, and movement. The range is in white with all the others in black, with movement being the larger of the three in black. Crewed weapons counters show, starting in the left lower corner, that they are not allowed to move and fire. Next, in a clockwise manner, is the Maximum AP firepower. Across the top next comes HE firepower. Next in white is the maximum range, followed by defense and last is foot movement. Both crewed weapons and vehicles have a red triangle in the upper left corner to denote facing. Vehicles have more info than either of the other counters, and you also need the corresponding unit data card to decide combat. At the lower left corner in black is their secondary firepower followed in white by its range. Next in a clockwise manner is the maximum AP firepower. In line across the top is HE firepower followed in white with its range. In the upper right hand corner is the unit's movement allowance, and whether it is tracked or not. Right underneath movement is the unit's front defense, and its flank defense. Leader counters have no firepower (except in melee combat), and have their command range in a white circle.  The counters also show the attention to detail in this game's construction. The counters simply pop out easily, and I have not had to deal with chunks of cardboard stuck to them or use a razor knife at all. 



 The Player aid cards have the usual board game info. There is the terrain chart, turn sequence, artillery, air strike, bogged down, and rally info on one side of them. The other side has the infantry combat, and vehicle combat tables. 



  The turn sequence follows this format. The way your turns are counted is different from most games. If the scenario is for seven turns you start with the marker on seven, and count down. When you get to the number one for the turn marker and all of the impulse points are expended, then both players roll one die and add them up. If you get seven or greater, you both will get an extra turn. I like this, especially for the side that almost had a victory or captured that victory point hex. It gives you one more chance to complete your mission. Reinforcements are then added to the game map. You than can attach leaders and weapons. Then you get to roll for the various scenario rolls. These would be the chance for off board artillery etc. Then you have your rally and vehicle bog rolls. The players then both roll two dice for the initiative. High roll, as usual, wins. Then next part of the sequence is to roll for each side's impulse points. The number of die to roll is set by the rules of each scenario. Every action taken by your units costs impulse points. The game mechanic is to let one side use an impulse point and then to switch to the other player, unless there is a pass. The impulse point system in one way forces a player's hand. If you have less impulse points that your adversary you can choose to pass, and the other player continues with his turn. If you have the same or greater amount of impulse points, and don't want to use any on your units, you must expend one to pass. When both sides' impulse points are exhausted then that turn ends. A unit is allowed to move once and fire twice during a turn. The melee phase comes next. For melee to occur, a unit has to assault a hex containing an enemy counter. This costs one impulse point. You can choose to group move. This costs two impulse points, and you can also group assault for two impulse points. Unlike other games, you then just mark the hex and wait until all other movement and firing has taken place before deciding the effect of the assault. No terrain or fortification modifiers are used to resolve the melee. The melee results are usually bloody and quickly resolved. At times though, the melee can be unresolved and lock the combatants in the hex for the subsequent turns. During the following turns you are allowed to add other units to the melee. You are allowed to use opportunity fire against a unit the other player is moving. The opportunity fire rules add a tenseness to the game. Do you wait until the unit has completed its move, and possibly have a better chance at fire combat or miss your chance completely, due to line of sight? You announce it and then spend an impulse point for it. If there is no effect the enemy unit may continue its move. Then you add up the victory points from both sides. In some scenarios the victory points will not be tallied until the end of the game. You keep track of casualties for both sides on the casualty track. This is important, because for every five points a side loses to casualties, one impulse point will be deducted from the player's impulse point rolls.

  The game has an interesting 'gut check' rule. The  'gut check' number is listed in each scenario briefing. The player has to roll two die to check against any shaken/broken results on the combat tables. If the number rolled is the same or greater than the 'gut check' number then the shaken/broken result is ignored.



  Each scenario can also have hidden units added into the mix. These will not be found until an enemy unit tries to enter the hidden unit's hex. If a unit is in a structure hex, and it is attacked by heavy weapons ie. off board artillery or air strike etc., there is a check to see if there was a structure collapse. A light structure will collapse on a roll of a five or six, and a heavy structure will collapse on a roll of six. Line of sight is pretty straight forward, and can cause points to be deducted from the firing die roll.



  One luck card is drawn randomly at the start of the game. Unless the scenario rules state differently, the luck cards can be used during a players impulse, and do not cost any impulse points to play. Some cards can only be used for vehicles. If agreed to by the players, the manual states that in an infantry only scenario the vehicle cards can be kept out of the deck when choosing them. 



  The game is quick, easy, and relatively simple to play. It has a lot of nuances, but two players should be able to hash out the rules in no time and start playing. The play is relatively bloody, and resolved in a timely manner. You are going to be playing this game and thinking, not decoding the rule book.

  There is a free download available of the rules:

 https://www.dropbox.com/s/xn13k359aqrw2qt/OST-rules%20ver5.25%20.pdf?dl=0

  A print and play version is available also for download. It retails for $25.00, but the game itself is a steal right now for $75.00. You would also be missing out on the extremely well made components of the game.

  The game is certainly not a simple one, yet it is also not a game where you get bogged down in the rules, and stultifies game play. This game, while not really being 'old school' in a technical sense,  is a very good thing. It allows the players to play and have a good time destroying their cardboard enemies. This game will not sit on the shelf with all of the other 'might have beens'.

 Looking at all the different comments around the web most people, like me, are very happy if not ecstatic about the game. There are a few posts about rule questions etc., but what game doesn't have them. Sometimes it is the reader's and not the writer's fault (see above). I would like to see some more scenarios that use a larger part of the map. With small maps it can get stale because the defender and attacker both know where they are going to set up and move toward. Larger map usage would allow both sides to try out numerous combinations of play. One could make house rules and make some scenarios larger on the map, and just add more to the scenario length. It doesn't have the postage stamp size maps that some games have, so that is definitely a plus.

  Robert

 Game: Old School Tactical
 Publisher: Flying Pig Games
 Designer: Shayne Logan
 Date of Review:
PixelPLaybox.co.uk