About Me

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My name is Gavin McClements. I am a wargamer and family man, living in Los Gatos, which is a suburb of San Jose, CA. Building terrain is one of my favorite aspects of the wargaming hobby - in fact, lately I've become more interested in making my battlefields "pop" than in actually playing.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

PMC 2640 gets played against a real human opponent!

I was pretty excited about PMC when I finally got my hands on it a few months back. I wrote my introductory battle report on it after doing a solo run simply because I had to...but I finally got my first "real" game in last night.

I decided to forgo my usual note taking and just enjoy the flow of the game for once. What Im going to present here is a series of pics with ultra-quick commentary, and then give a few more thoughts on the game itself.

Here is our battlefield as it shapes up and forces are chosen.

I had to introduce the mechanics of the game in and amongst the descriptions of the unit stats and what they meant - fortunately my opponent was a veteran and picked it up quicker than I would have liked him to!

We played an easy Tier 3, Priority 1 battle. Left to right:
4-man Tier 3 Rocket team
3-man Tier 2 LMG section
6-man Tier 3 LMG team (one member is being interrogated by the enemy, but managed to escape in time for the battle)
4-man Tier 4 sniper team
Tier 3 Light combat vehicle
8-man Tier 3 Rifle team

Honestly, as I was deploying, I thought the red thing in front of me was a hill...heh oops! :)

We played a Capture scenario, where we had 20 turns to contest 3 objectives: the 2 watch towers and the low, flat grey block in the center (it was VITAL, I swear it!).

Deployment as it is shaping up:

My opponent was fielding a version of the Slammers, with 3x Tier III Grav Combat cars, some mortars, scouts on grav sleds, and quite a few Tier I rifle teams.

His models were pretty cool. Here are his Combat Cars and Scouts.

The game starts, and he starts flanking to my left with his vehicles. I snake my way towards the center with my Light Combat Vehicle. His grav sleds rush up and pull their first Markerlight designation, which immediately brought mortar fire down from the other side of the map. Fortunately it missed.

The rules for buildings were really easy, but we had packed them in so densely that the only things really maneuvering where the vehicles (his to hunt, mine to evade).

You can see his tanks sneaking around to my left. I felt I was secure in the buildings - my snipers had Gauss weapons which gain a +1 vs vehicles, and I had a lot of faith in my bazooka team, but the snipers never got to cover before they were pounced on...and this was their quick and inevitable end:

(Hint: 1 guy, with a modified Morale of 1, with 12 Suppression markers....he wasn't long for the battlefield! [He fled the next turn])

My bazooka team didn't fare much better, either, taking lead from fire hoses at near-point blank range, which ended up being too close for them to arm their own rockets. To make matters worse, you can see the smoke billowing from the center - my light tank took its final demise from small arms! That's right - at point blank range from an angry mob, even assault rifles can finish off light armor, which was scary to contemplate!
On my right, the LMG team wasnt doing much better. They slogged through cover for two turns, and when they popped out, took some crazy-accurate fire from some rookie gunners across the way, and spent a few more turns cowering under cover.

They finally had had enough of being pinned down on the right flank, and decided to make a mad dash in a vain effort to redeploy and aid their ailing left flank.

It was a futile gesture. The Combat Cars kept coming, while mortar fire continued to rain into the Bazooka team. The tank at the bottom of the pic here wiped out a few more of the redeploying LMG team and sent them right back into the woods.

It was getting late, and with the all-but-complete destruction of my bazooka team and my LMG team pinned again, I called it. We made it 5 turns, and it was a complete route. I killed a few scrubs with my central Rifle team, but really didn't return effective fire on any front. Here is the outcome:

Finally, satellite imagery confirmed the conflict's result:

So, I had a blast even though the game was over almost before it began. I knew Aron would be bringing vehicles, but I put my points into small, more veteran units. I think he did it right, as the firepower from his tanks was almost always a 9, and only rarely a 7 - brutal in such short environs. He proved that Tier I troops might not be glamorous, but their effectiveness was plain to see. The few I hit did break nicely, but he rallied against long odds and kept them on the table.

Actually, come to think about it, his dice were hot when they usually aren't, so it was good to see luck back on his side. There was nothing atypical in this game - it had its ups and downs, but no single roll or action seemed out of place.

The game is, indeed, a fast-play ruleset. I'll borrow some of my opponent's words as he described it our local group, since he was seeing it with fresh eyes:

"It plays well, quick play set a bit like slammers but not as crunchy. Simple force building, with this "tiered" structure you may have read about. So no custom options but with a bit of imagination I was able to do slammers combat car platoon supporting some local irregulars.

I'd rate this 8/10
Slammers & StarGrunt 9/10
Tomorrow's War 7.5/10 for the complexity.

There is a Mordheim-like campaign system. So that could be fun. I'm going to get the printed rule book.

I like this better than Gruntz."

Of course, YMMV but this came together nicely. There are a few things that could be a splash more crunchy, but then it would lose a bit of its ease of play. Indirect fire, for example, had no scatter, but we realized that this would require a template, which the author stayed away from. The combat is pretty streamlined.

Next time we play, we hope to do two things to make referencing easier in-game. First, combat cards for each unit, instead of a roster. Similar to Malifaux or other similar games, we'll need to design these, but that shouldn't be hard.

Second, we think a chit or token with the unit's Morale stat on it would be a huge help, especially if it could be written on with a wet erase or grease pen. The chit would follow the unit around the board, in a similar vein to Dirtside tokens. For the purist, it might clutter up the board, but we were already using blast markers. That, combined with a small card, would make pulling up numbers in-game that much more quick.

Again, "factor factor factor" comes up a lot in the game, but the modifiers are so straight forward as to be quite simple.

This game is a winner. There are so many unit types premade that exploring them all will be part of the fun. Not being greedy and sinking all my points into smaller, elite units will be hard to resist, but this game values concentrated fire, and all units seem to have a purpose.