Monday, February 25, 2013

Top Malo House

Today is my birthday, but I’m busy tonight so I had the 9th Annual Wargaming birthday Bash last night. We played the Top Malo House scenario out of the force on Force on Force. In attendance were Gary, Patrick and Other Tim again. Christian had said he was going to come but then decided he was sick of playing with me and my stupid games… (or maybe his family was sick…? anyway, it was something involving sickness!)

It’s been a while since I’ve played Force on Force and have been trying to learn – and exclusively playing – Bolt Action, so I was a bit messed up and totally forgot a few things… and was a bit confused about some of the scenario stuff… and I didn’t quite finish up my Top Malo House buildings… (and I cut my had while desperately trying to finish them up Sunday afternoon after dance class!?). All that aside it turned out pretty okay…

Top Malo House, East Falkland, 31 May 1982


On May 30th, 1982, a Royal Marine Mountain and Arctic Warfare Cadre OP reported the arrival of Argentine special forces in their area. Concerned that the Argentines might set up their own OP on Mount Simon from which they would be able to call in air strikes on the Marines advancing towards Teal Inlet, they had to be removed. The Argentines holed up for the night in an abandoned Sheppard house known as Top Malo House. ON the morning of 31 May 1982 a force of Royal Marine Mountain and Arctic Warfare Cadre troops was inserted by helicopter to attack the Argentines position.

There is information about the action at Wikipedia:


The scenario is straight out of the Force on Force main rules book (on page 182). The British Marines have to dislodge the Argentines from and/or kill or capture all of them. The Argentines have to hold the position or withdraw their forces off the table and try to cause as many British Casualties as possible.


Elements of the Royal Marine Mountain and Arctic Warfare Cadre

Assault Element

HQ Group
-Captain Boswell w/M16
-Signaler w/SLR
-Platoon Sergeant w/M16 and M79

RM Section
- Section Commander w/M16

Fire Team One
- Team Leader w/ SLR
- Grenadier w/ M16 and M79
- Rifleman w/M16
- Rifleman w/SLR

Fire Team Two
- Team Leader w/ SLR
- Gunner w/ L4A2 Bren
- Rifleman w/M16
- Rifleman w/SLR

Fire Support Group

RM Section
- Section Commander w/M16 and M72 LAW

Fire Team One
- Team Leader w/ SLR and M72 LAW
- Grenadier w/ M16 and M79
- Gunner w/L7A2 GPMG

Fire Team Two
- Team Leader w/ SLR and M72 LAW
- Rifleman w/M16 and M72 LAW
- Sniper w/ L42A1

Elements of Argentine Commando 602

HQ Element
- Captain Verseci w/ FN-FAL

Commando 602 Assault Group
-Section Commander w/ FN-FAL

Fire Team One
- Team Leader w/ FN-FAL
- Grenadier w/ FN-FAL and Rifle Grenaders
- 3x Riflemen w/ FN-FAL

Fire Team Two
- Team Leader w/ FN-FAL
- Grenadier w/ FN-FAL and Rifle Grenaders
- 3x Riflemen w/ FN-FAL

Commando 602 Support Group
Fire Team One
- Team Leader w/ FN-FAL
- Grenadier w/ FN-FAL and Rifle Grenaders
- Gunner w/ MAG58 GPMG
- Riflemen w/ FN-FAL
- Sniper w/ Weatherby .300 Magnum


Gary and Patrick took the British and Other Tim took the Argentines.

(Remember: click on the pictures for a bigger version)

Initial Deployment: in the foreground is the RM Assault Element commanded by Patrick. Further back is the fire Support Element commanded by Gary. All the Argentines are in the house.

Same thing different angle.


The RM Fire Support Element dashed up to the low ridge in front of them and the Assault Element held their position.

In the End Phase the Argentines spread out into the adjoining out buildings.


Fire Team Two of the RM Support Element fired on Argentines taking cover in the shed close, knockig them all out of action before they could effectively return fire!

The other RM fire support team fired on the Argentine commandos in the house – which drew fire the house and the stable. They caused one casualty in the house and set Top Malo house on fire...

...but the return fire from the Argentines took out all three British!

A pretty devastating first turn of action!


The British retained the initiative.

The Argentine casualty in Top Malo House turned out to be lightly wounded. The status of the RM GPMG team and the Commandos in the Shed remained unknown as they were all down and no one was present to check on them.

The RM command team started moving over towards the RM GPMG team to see why they were not firing anymore.

The other Fire Support Team sat on overwatch while the Assault Elements rushed the stable.

The fire from the two teams effectively put the Argentines within out of action before they could effectively return fire.


The remaining Argentines scarpered out the back of Top Malo House taking fire from the Fire Support team on overwatch – causing another casualty – Other Tim assigned the wound to the chap that was already wounded. He’d planned to abandon him in the house but only took him along on my insistence that abandoning casualties was generally a bad idea and that he wouldn’t slow them down on the first turn or two of running as the first they would be leaving the house – which can only be done as a Tactical Move  - and crossing the creek bed – which they would have to next turn – I had designated as bad-going and could also only be done as a tactical move. As it turned out Other Tim did have a use for the casualty – taking another bullet…


The British retained the initiative.

The Argentine casualty turned out to be seriously wounded now…

Top Malo House burns…

Beginning of Turn four.

The two RM Assault Elements advanced to the stable

 One RM Assault fire team entered the building taking control of the Argentine wounded within and firing upon the retreating top Malo House causing two more casualties. The Argentines falied morale and their return fire was ineffective.

The other fire team of the Assault Element ran round the back of the stable hoping to flank the Argentines the following turn.

The remaining RM Fire Support Element (in the distance there) would make a rapid move in the direction of the shed full of Argentine commandoes they’d previously shot up.

The RM HQ element arrived at the position of their wounded comrades on the low rise where they’d been shot down.


The British retained the initiative.

Checking the Fire Suport Team the HQ element found two to be Seriously Wounded (2 victory Points for the Argentines!)  and the other was only Lightly Wounded. The Argentines casualties in the group fleeing out the back of Top Malo House, one was Seriously Wounded and and the other Lightly Wounded. The RM assault Element checked on the Argentines in the stable and found one to be Killed in Action, one Seriously Wounded, and the remaining three were Lightly Wounded.

Beginning of Turn Five

The RM assault team in the Stable fired on the REtreating ARgentines again, causing two more casualties. 

The RM Fire Support Team rounded the corner of the shed and spotting the Argentines in the open lit them up causing two more casualties – only Captain Verseci remained standing at this point…

The flanking RM assault element can rounded the corner and spotted Verseci trying to flee…

…and they shot him down too…

The British took this game scoring 8 victory points (5 for killing or capturing all Argentines by Turn Six and 3 for clearing all argentines from the buildings before  Turn Six). The Argentines weren’t shut out, however; they scored two for the two serious injuries they caused the British.

Among the Argentines there were four killed in action, seven seriously wounded, and seven lightly wounded.

I really like force on force. There were a few things I wasn’t totally clear about in the scenario and a few things I forgot.

The big thing I forgot was Fog of War! (Can’t believe I forget that…)

The things I was confused about was whether we were to keep track of LAW rockets? Was each person armed with them carry just one or a few of them. We treated them as ATGMs and did a TQ test to see if they could fire one each turn the wanted to fire – of course being TQ d10  meant they pretty much always did – which gave them some pretty overwhelming firepower.

Also I was confused about the building destruction rules as it seems to be changed fromt eh standard rules which only allows weapons with an unmodified 4D to attempt such things… and it got kind of awkward when a fire team was firing two (or three) – plus a guy firing a rifle as the two (or three) building destruction tests and the small arms fire all had to be worked out separately… or perhaps they were supposed to only allowed to fire ONCE at a target each turn i.e. one rocket OR small arms…? I completely ignored the M79 grenade launchers (as they were supposed to be allowed to make building destruction tests as well – according to the scenario).

I suppose, had I been prepared a little further in advance I could have asked about this stuff on the forum… ah well…

The scenario is super tough for the Argentines - they are totally outclassed and outnumbered by the British (or at least British firing volleys of LAW rockets) . There is no way they can "win" in the traditional sense of defeating the British - they have to play to the victory points and try to execute a fighting retreat - give up the position to the British (which does give some VP to the Brits), but then deny the British points by exiting troops off the table (and potentially gain some if they get half off!) and then maybe try and pick up a few points by causing British casualties…?

I had thought I might run this at ToonCon in the fall, but now I’m not so sure if I'd run it for a convention (maybe a demo at a store…). Playing the argentines could potentially be a bit of a drag as things can go very (VERY!) bad for them very quickly! If I were to play the Argentines I could really only have to players - one playing each of the British Elements. If I had a british player playing each of the fire teams (4-5 players potentially) and one team was wiped out in a lucky round of shooting (as happened here), they’d pretty much be out of the game… With a player playing both teams of the two elements (as we did) there’s always that second team to contine playing if one gets wiped out…

I think the scenario wasn’t too far off the historical outcome. The Argentines were beaten with most of them wounded and a few killed. The British suffered a couple of casualties…

Coming soon on Tim’s Miniature Wargaming Blog:

Well now that that’s over… what to do next… I’m kind of jazzed to get going on some more modern stuff to play more Force on Force (and I just got my hot little hands on Classified - my little Birthday Present to myself! …among other things…). 


  1. Preferred the Force on Force AAR to the Bolt Action one. I'm not sold on the Bolt Action rules don't like the points gimmick for WW2. I would agree with your comments on the AAR write up the Bolt Action game seemed to get silly. Used to play Ambush Alley which I loved not tried FoF. Though I think its about time I considered returning to AA games.

    1. Thanks!

      I'm not really old on point systems for anything... There are far, far too many variables for anyone to develop any point system that can have anything approximating "balanced" forces... But when they're there I try them out to see what the author had in mind as "balanced" to start off with and then I throw it out the window. I think with some tweaks we could make it into something workable for quick actions of a slightly larger scale than FoF... We shall see..

  2. Hey Tim. Happy Birthday! I see that those styro-foam smoke/explosions really work well to show a burning building. Being so light sticky tack works wonders with them!

    Nice buildings as well! Did you make them out of mdf?

    1. Thansk Terry!

      Actually I held the burn markers in place with a magnet placed on the inside of the roof. (the base of the burn marker is a metal washer - initially put there just to to give it weight!)

      The core of the buildings are MDF - the details I've added on are balsa, cherry veneer strips and a bit of cardboard.

    2. I still need to finish painting the buildings... Normally I don't like playing with stuff that isn't finished, but in this case I thought they looked good enough...

  3. Great game- One I'm wanting to play myself at some point- thanks for the inspiration.



  4. I'm not sure about Force on Force. The scenario was so one-sided that I felt like we were just going through the motions to its enevitable conclusion. I'd like to try again with more balanced armies and see if the game is any more tactical. I know Gary loves the opfire stuff, but I've never been a big fan. In most cases the tradoff of complexity and slowing down the play is not worth it IMO. I didn't hate it though, so it's got a leg up on 6th edition 40K! And it certainly compared favourably to Bolt Action.