Sunday, March 27, 2016

Play Testing a scenario for Ambush Valley

The group I play with generally put one  or two games on at local conventions and we take great pride in those games.  The scenarios that we run are generally play tested twice and sometimes more then that.  Nothing is worse then participating in a convention game and realizing that there is no way that your side can possibly achieve the victory conditions.

We got together this past Saturday at our local game store, Acropolis Games.   We were play testing  a scenario that was originally published for Face of Battle.  We figured that we could tweak it a bit for the rules we were using, Force on Force by Ambush Alley Games.  And we were using the Vietnam supplement, Ambush Valley.   One of our group is one of the Jims that is mentioned in the thanks at the front of Force on Force.  Our group also play tested the Ambush Valley supplement.

The scenario was an extraction on a hot LZ.  The Marines have heavy WIAs(this means in game terms that they were not walking wounded) and KIAs that have to be loaded up on the helos and troops to protect them also.  The WIAs were incapacitated, so we determined that it would take two figures to manhandle each WIA into a Huey.  Of course the same would be true for KIA for obvious reasons.

The above photo is of the North Vietnamese Regulars set up and victory conditions, that would be the side I played on. The North Vietnamese received reinforcements each turn.
The above photo is the USMC at the beginning of turn one.  The figures at the back lying down on the left are heavily wounded and the figures on the back right are KIA.

Here are the Hueys coming into hot LZ.
Here they are on the first turn they landed. The following are several shots through several turns.
Below is a photo of USMC reinforcements and they were going to hot rapel.

This is the chart for helicopter damage.  In Force on Force opposing forces dice off to determine if there are any hits.  There are offense dice and defensive dice.  Each unit troop quality is tied to dice, the larger the die, the better the troops.  The Marines and North Vietnamese were both d8 troops.  I shot  at one of the helos with a squad..  The I rolled had 6 dice(number of troops and weapons determine this) and the Huey had three defensive dice.  I rolled an 7, a 7 and a 6.  These were the only numbers above 4.  Any dice roll under 4 is ignored  The Marines defense dice failed to stop any.  So I have three hits.  I then roll three dice and I get an 8, a 7 and a 7.  So we consult the above chart.  I have 8 plus two.  What, a weapon damage?  That is when we said wait a minute.  The North Vietnamese player can never destroy a Huey with small arms fire.  Though that was not going to matter, the North Vietnamese stomped on the Marines the first game.

The second game we reworked the chart, we interchanged the weapon damage with the withdrawal results.  We then made the determination that if a Huey was forced to withdraw twice, it would have to RTB.  Then the Marines would have to roll on what turn the next Huey would show up.  The first game all three Hueys were Medevacs.  The second game we rolled to see if there were gunships and two were Gunships.  We also made it easier for the Marines to put wounded into the helos.

On the second turn I received this Fog of War card.
The way one receives a fog of war card is at the beginning of an action(firing or moving as example of an action) and an opposing player says, no I am going to fire at that unit before that unit moves or a unit will return fire if they are being fired upon.  If one rolls a reaction dice and it results in a one on the die.  A Fog of War card is drawn.  This card did not help the Marines cause at all.

With the above card and coupled with the outstanding dice rolling on my part.  It was a a slaughter

This is what the table looked like this after three turns.  One of the helos were driven off and would have to make a moral test to land again. 

In the next turn, all but two of the standing Marines were down and one  more Huey was driven off. 
At that point the Marines had absolutely no way they could win.  The Vietnamese got too many reinforcements  The quantity of those troops were determined by a dice roll and I received reinforcements ever turn. 

Now onto the main part of this entry.  You might be thinking, wow those games did not last long and you would be correct.  We have on many occasions used  scenarios designed for a different game system with some adjustments as I have said earlier.  I am not sure if we will be able to do so with this scenario.

I have done some research on Face of Battle and here is a blog entry describing the game play.

I have not played Face of Battle and from dhc wargames blog description of Face of Battle it is extremely different from Ambush Valley.  As I understand it, Face of Battle uses single figures as units.  While Force on Force is a squad based game.  So when reinforcements were rolled, I rolled for movement onto the table for the unit and not each individual soldier.  On first two turns reinforcements were five figures on the first and the next turn I got seven figures.  I rolled well enough that each unit could engage the Marines on the very turn they came on the board.   That was a big problem too.  Again, as the North Vietnamese I could put devastating fire on the few Marine units.  When we try the scenario again.  The North Vietnamese will only get reinforcements every other turn.

In the first game we determined that there was just too much for the Marines to do.  They had to defend the LZ and get all the WIA and KIA onto the choppers.  If everything went perfectly, it would take five or six turns to get all the WIA and KIA.  And then the living would have to be extracted too. We made it easier for the Marines to get incapacitated units onto the Helos.

We played two games in three hours, but neither was satisfying.  We have played Force on Force a lot and enjoyed it.  It seems that Face of Battle has a strong following too.  Because each rule system is so different, I do not think the scenarios are compatible. 

We have on many occasions used a different rule systems scenario, but never have we had this result and having to do as many changes to achieve balanced play. We are going to try it one more time to see if we can make the scenario work for Force on Force.  I am not optimistic that we will be able to fix it.

Let me know if you all have had similar problems with scenarios from different rule systems and not working very well.

Thanks for reading,



  1. Interesting post- I'll bear it in mind when I play FoF games in the future.



  2. Very cool. Made my weekly roundup.