One of my gaming friends was passing through town this weekend, and offered to demo the Spectre Operations rules for me. The scenario called for eight French Foreign Legion troops to rescue two reporters being held hostage in a small Malian farming village by twelve Islamic insurgents. He did not know where the hostages were being held (2nd floor of the two-story building) and I did not know what direction he would be attacking from. As such, I decided to keep my forces as mobile as possible and placed a squad in each corner, assuming he would come in from one of the long edges.
While he did pick one of the long edges, he unexpectedly came in from the corn and cotton fields on the corners instead of the shorter central distance behind the walls.
The sentry watching the corn field was unable to spot the French Legionnaires advancing, but the insurgents saw the movement in the cotton field and opened fire. Unfortunately, no injuries were inflicted. The insurgents had the initiative the next round,with more troops moving to cover the cotton field. Again, they were unable to hit their targets.
The Legionnaires returning fire in the cotton field had success, with the minimi operator chewing up three insurgents. The team leader and grenadier also managed to kill and stun two more insurgents on the far side of the compound before taking cover behind on the of the buildings.
Things were better for the Islamists on the other side of the table. An RPG-equipped insurgent caught the other FFL team coming out of the cornfield and eliminated two members before they could reach the wall.
Back at the cotton field, the Legionnaires tossed a grenade into the alley, killing one more insurgent. They also gunned down the Islamist leader and he tried to get into a better firing position. However, the enemy RPG still had a lock on the passage, keeping it a potential death trap if the French tried to enter.
On the corn field side, another Legionnaire rushed the wall and wildly threw a hand grenade. It missed its target and bounce off one of the buildings, but still managed to take out the other RPG-equipped insurgent.
The suppressed survivors of the attack returned fire with a shotgun and AK47s, but their frantic firing was all for naught.
The FFL gave up on the alley, using a smokescreen to hide their rush to one of the other buildings, kicking in the door and finally entering the village.
The surviving insurgent moved behind hard cover and hoped a target would present itself. Meanwhile the other Islamists in the village were all gunned downed.
The Legionnaires guessed the hostage location correctly, sending one trooper through the trap door and freeing the reporters from the upper room. It was the final round of the game and the French Foreign Legion were victorious, though it cost the lives of two comrades.
My first impressions of Spectre Operations were that it's a fun game for small actions, but I think these rules would bog down with larger forces. My friend kept the rules and mission simple for my benefit, so it would be interesting to try something more in depth to see how it plays. The hardest part for me was the mind shift from planning unit actions to individual actions, as I've mostly been playing Bolt Action with my usual group. I also didn't realize how poor my insurgents' skills would be against the Legionnaires. I probably should have broken them up into smaller fire teams and kept them hidden in the buildings for as long as possible. But you live and learn, and I still had a good time.