Thursday, 1 January 2015

Hostage Rescue

We played this game a couple of weeks ago, but then real life intervened... The subject was the rescue of a western hostage from a group of insurgents, which was based on ongoing events in Iraq and Syria. Possibly a little too sensitive, but set in our fictional country of Malikastan, and played with 15mm lead figures, dice, and the force on Force ruleset, I thought it made a good subject for a scenario. However, the very next day, there was a hostage situation ongoing in Sydney. I felt it was probably not appropriate to post this then, and, even a couple of weeks after, I'm not entirely comfortable. All I can fall back on is the standard disclaimer - "This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents either are products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events or locales or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental." If anybody out there is still having trouble distinguishing reality from a game, I suggest that they refrain from visiting this site, and seek professional help.

The game - I tried to keep it as simple as possible, to make it run swiftly and involve a couple of new(ish) players. In Malikastan, insurgents allied to the WOZ militia have seized several westerners - journalists and aid workers - and have threatened to behead them. This does not play well in the western press, so their resue is high on the agenda of the governments.
Intelligence has identified the location of one of the hostages, and a team of special force operatives has been assembled to carry out the rescue. They will infiltrate into the area by night, moving on foot to the target compounds; arriving there, they will seach for the hostage, release him from his captors, and exfiltrate back to a waiting helicopter for extraction. Time is limited - they must get out before dawn, and the exact location of the captive is unknown.

The two players were each given four special operatives - highly trained and motivated individuals, armed with weapons of their choice (suppressed M16's with grenade launchers, with a SAW (unsuppressed) for additional firepower if needed; Night Vision Goggles; body armour; stun grenades and pistols). They were stealthy, elusive and were also trained medics. The table was set up as shown, with six buildings in four compounds. The special forces were told they could enter by either of the corners (top and bottom in the photo), and that they had to exit by the end of turn ten; they chose to have one team approach from each corner.

As umpire, I chose to randomise what the insurgents did; I placed six counters, face down, one in each of the buildings. Two of these counters denoted that the building was empty; two had 1D6 insurgents with AK's in; one had 1D6 civilians, one of whom had an AK (a local man with his family); and one with the hostages and four guards armed with AK's. (Yes, you read that correctly - unknown to the rescuers, there are two hostages - not one - being held in the same room). I didn't know what was in each room; the special forces operatives did not know what the counters represented, and would only find out when they actually entered the room, and then only in vague terms described by me - to simulate the confusion of a night raid. I then set up two groups of two sentries - using scatter dice to determine where they started and then moved - and a wandering dog, just to add to the mix, for the players to avoid. Insurgent reinforcements (1D6) would only arrive from the board edges once/if the alarm was raised.

Team one moved on from the top of the board, into the group of trees; a pair of sentries were lurking close by the corner of the building, and the team leader ordered them taken down. (Photo shows the situation at this point, game turn 2). The suppressed shots were hardly heard, and both insurgents went down - however, one wasn't dead, and started shouting for help. The alarm was raised, but the insurgents had no idea where their attackers were. however, team one's luck continued to run bad - reinforcements poured on to the table right next to their location, and there were several desperate turns where they were beating off attack after attack. During this, one of their number was seriously wounded, but their superior discipline and firepower enable them to hold on.

Team two, meanwhile, had approached from the bottom end of the board, found no sentries en route, and made it to the large central compound. Bursting in through the door of the nearest building, they discerned five individuals, one of whom appeared to be reaching for a weapon. He was quickly despatched, but he turned out to be a civilian trying to guard his family. At this point, shooting and shouting broke out from the other side of the village, and all attempts to keep silent were forgotten. The team swiftly searched the other nearby buildings, finding them both to be empty. Exiting the compound by the main gate, they broke into the isolated building, to find it occupied by a group of armed insurgents. Taking them by surprise (the insurgents were peering out the window at the firefight between their colleagues and team one), team two quickly eliminated them, and moved against the forces opposing team one.

With this help, team one finally overcame their opponents, and were able to break into the nearest building. This was found to be occupied by a half dozen individuals; a fierce hand to hand battle erupted in the darkness between the three active members of team one and the insurgents, during which they realised that they had found the hostage(s). Once again, speed, surprise, and the better training of the special forces told; all the insurgents were downed, and the hostages hustled from the building, and away from the compound. With team two covering their rear, and carrying their wounded colleague, both teams withdrew to safety, as, behind them, the village resembled an ants' nest, with armed men milling around in the pre-dawn darkness.

The mission was judged a success, despite the serious wounding of the team member, and the killing of a civilian. Two hostages were rescued unharmed, and up to thirty insurgents were eliminated. The whole game took just over an hour to play, and tension was high throughout; ranges were short in the darkness, and insurgent teams kept on appearing where they were least wanted. Team one came close to being overrun, but held out until rescued by Team two, who did most of the work, by searching most of the buildings and fighting off the reinforcements. Team one get the kudos for rescuing the hostages, though !

1 comment:

  1. Absolutely love the blog and reading the AAR's you write. Just getting started on FoF so very inspiring!