This week I played a game using the Heroes of the Gap map and counters but substituting a modified version of Bob Cordery’s Portable Wargames rules. This made combat much faster and simpler, which has been very important to me lately. It’s a simple IGOUGO system with no opportunity fire, so it leaves out a whole lot that Lock ‘n Load fans like. But it also adds a couple of features not found in LnL, like the possibility of not being able to activate all units, and the ability to force retreat and advance position. It also has rules for flying units, which was important to me also.
I used the all-infantry Back to the Basics HotG scenario for setup and objectives. I managed to get everything into my house rules except for heroes. For that I simply used elite squads.
In Back to the Basics, a whole mess of Soviet squads advance on the fictional Eisenbach outpost from the north, including an elite airborne unit. Both sides have five turns to capture as many buildings as possible, and the Americans start in about 2/3 of the buildings, so it’s a challenge for the Soviets who outnumber them. The Soviets automatically initiate first.
Turn 1, all Soviets activated. Those in the big north building (“big north” from here forward) attacked an elite US unit in the same building at close range, and both fell back. A Soviet machine gun team moved from the woods to the road to attack big north but did not suppress the US squad inside. A Soviet elite unit took a small, empty house in the southwest. Sgt. Trinov attacked Col. Meade’s building, big west, but Meade’s team caused them to fall back. Lt. Ilvanich attacked the US squad in big north to no effect. Capt. Sarukin’s MG team moved into big north and climbed to the upper level, where they caused the US squad to fall back to where they started. Another Soviet unit left the building in L13, came down the road and fired on Lt. Moore’s grenade launcher team, cutting them down to 1 strength point each (first unit to take damage) but leaving them in the open.
Then all the US units activated. Moore’s GL team fired back but missed. A US sniper caused them to fall back. An M60 team in a house in the east hit them, causing casualties (first Soviet damage). Capt. Boone’s SAW team tore through the southwest house, causing the airborne unit inside to exit the house. Units in buildings to the south exited and entered the woods. The GL team in the east building moved to the big center building.
In Turn 2, the Soviets got the initiative and all were activated. A unit in a northeast building moved to big center. An airborne Soviet unit in big north moved upstairs and attacked the US elite squad, causing it to fall back. Sarukin’s MG team attacked them and they fell back to where they were. Trinov’s team attacked Meade’s position again, neither side prevailing. The airborne unit in the SW house left and moved on Meade’s position, causing no damage. An RPK team moved against Meade, to no effect. Another RPK team moved against the elite squad in big north, but the American squad cut them down in the street. Ilvanich’s airborne squad moved against the US elite squad, but missed. Another Soviet squad moved into big center underneath Moore. Two units stayed back in reserve.
The Americans activated all their units. Boone’s MG team fired on an airborne MG team in the street, cutting them in half. The sniper hit a reserve squad, causing a casualty. Moore’s GL team fired at the squad downstairs and missed. The other GL team attacked the same unit and caused it to retreat to another part of the building. A US unit in the south woods moved to fire at an airborne unit in the street, finishing it off (first Soviet unit removed). An MG unit across the river in the east house moved to the bridge and cut down Ilvanich’s airborne unit in the street. A squad in the south moved to the cover of the cemetery south of big west.
In Turn 3, the US initiated and activated all units again. The MG team on the bridge fired at Ilvanich’s squad, missed, and moved back into the woods. The sniper hit the same reserve unit again and it backed into a building in the north. Moore’s GL team moved downstairs and attacked the unit there, and neither side hit each other. The other GL team fired at a squad through the windows in another part of the building and missed. Boone’s team fired at Ilvanich’s team in the street but missed. A squad in the woods fired at Ilvanich’s team and killed him, causing his squad to retreat into big north. Meade’s MG team fired at an airborne MG team to north and caused a casualty. The squad in the cemetery wanted to move to the west house but had no cover, so they went into Meade’s building and attacked the airborne unit outside but were forced to exit, allowing the airborne unit to enter and engaged Meade’s team, forcing them to flee the building. Big west now belonged to the Soviets. A squad in the woods moved to the cemetery. Boone’s team moved to where Meade’s team had been in the building, so big west was still any side’s building.
The Soviets activated all units. An RPK team in H16 fired at Boone’s new position and missed. Trinov’s team fired on Boone’s squad, causing a casualty and forcing Boone to move outside alone. A squad in big north fired at Boone but missed. Another squad in big north attacked the US elite squad but missed. Sarukin’s MG team fired at the US elite squad through the windows, and they had nowhere to run and took a casualty. Another squad trapping them couldn’t hit them. A squad in big center fired through the windows at Moore’s team but missed. Two reserve squads moved in on the west side, avoiding the sniper.
In Turn 4, the Soviets initiated and activated all units again. Two squads in big center fired at Moore but failed. Sarukin took another casualty in big north, as did another squad. The unit downstairs from the trapped elite US squad kept firing at Meade’s squad outside, wounding him and taking another casualty. The airborne unit in big west attacked Boone’s MG unit, neutralizing it, and big west once again belonged to the Soviets. An MG unit moved into big west and fired at Meade, missing. Trinov’s team fired at Meade’s squad, neutralizing it and causing Meade to retreat east alone. The two reserve squads went after Meade, but he avoided them.
The US activated all units. The elite squad in big north fired at Sarukin but missed. A GL team in big center fired at an RPK position in big west and cleared it. Meade attached himself to them, and they moved into big west. The sniper fired at a squad in big north and missed. Moore’s GL team moved to big north and fired upstairs but missed. Boone attached himself to a unit and moved into big center, running a Soviet squad out into the street. The MG team across the river moved back to the bridge and fired at the team that just retreated from big center, causing a casualty. The squad in the cemetery moved toward the west house for their last chance to claim it for the US, and then fired at Trinov but missed.
Turn 5, the Soviets activated all their units. The Soviet squad in big center fired through the windows at Boone’s squad, causing a casualty and forcing Boone to run to the other end of the building alone. The Soviet squad then left the building and claimed a another building to the SE for Russia, since they had no chance of running the Americans out of big center. Trinov fired at Meade, and missed. Three other squads tried to push Meade out but failed. The US elite squad in big north finally fell. An airborne unit upstairs pushed the GL team that was downstairs outside and killed Lt. Moore, giving big north to the Soviets at last. A squad in the street fired at a squad in big center, but missed. A squad in big north fired at the GL team in the street, finishing it off. Another squad in big north left the building and fired at Meade, missing. A squad in the street moved back into big center, but it had already fired so it couldn’t attack.
The US activated all units. The squad in the west moved into the west house and fired at Trinov, causing casualties and wounding him. Meade fired grenades at the Soviet unit in big west, pushing them out and leaving big west for the US. Boone attached himself to a squad in big center and attacked the Soviets that had just moved back in, causing a casualty but not pushing them out. The MG team on the bridge attacked that same squad from street but failed.
In the end, the Soviets took control of 2 buildings they didn’t have before for 3 VPs. The US took 1 building for 1 VP. They denied the Soviets 2 VP for big west and 2 more for big center, both of which were nearly lost.
If counting total buildings completely owned at the end, it’s 8 VP US and 6 Soviet. But the US started with far more buildings. They only totally lost 2 buildings worth 3 VPs.
This was fun enough for an IGOUGO game played solo. Even with these extremely simple rules, it took me well over two hours to play it, and that’s without having to consult a rulebook constantly. So I may stick with this system for a while. I’ve been pining for something simple like the game I learned on years ago, and this is as close as I’ll probably come. I found these rules yesterday, and I’m feeling pretty happy. Of course I’d be even happier if I could find an opponent for a future game.
Link to Portable Wargames rules (I used big board modern hexmap rules):
1945 - 1991 AD
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