Monday, September 15, 2008

Special Ops in Iran

Well I had to make use of the Russians I’ve been painting over the last week… So I set up a Savage Worlds: Modern Ops/Showdown skirmish scenario. It was somewhat inspired by a book I’ve been reading lately; Sword Point by Howard Coyle.


The Soviet Union invades Iran in the summer of 1989 – the US (and allies) move in to stop them, but end up fighting the Iranians as well.

Intelligence operatives on both sides discover that the Iranians may be working on a nuclear device in some backwater village in an “uncontrolled” (by Soviets or Americans...) part of the country….


Special Ops units from both sides arrive at the same time with the same mission: Take out the nuclear threat! (Now I was going to come up with some sort of special rules for the nukes… a time limit before the Iranians detonate it… or have specialists along with the teams that had to be in base contact with it for x amount of turns to dismantle and destroy it… but I just didn’t have the time… so taking out the nuclear threat basically meant taking out the technicians and it was assumed that the “winner” of the scenario would also destroy the device when all was clear!


The Russians and the British both had three teams of operatives. The Russian Spetsnaz had one more man in each team, but the British SAS were slightly better…

In the village there was four teams of Iranians guarding the facility plus a team of technicians.


I was really damn tired so I didn’t really take many notes…. Here’s the pictures and what I remember about the game. (maybe Tim and or Christian will post comments with their version of the events.

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

The SAS teams approach the village from the east. The sentries were “non active” so only failing a stealth roll – which each team had to make each time it moved – would make them active. Being active they would be dealt in and could make attempts to spot the approaching teams (opposed notice vs. stealth rolls). Christian’s SAS teams failed rolls on the first two turns! The first time he used a benny, the second time he didn’t bother… He was just going to start shooting them up anyway…

The Spetsnaz teams approach from the west. Straight off on the first turn Tim drew a joker (for his fortune and Calamity he rolled RALLY! – not so useful at this point…)

That’s The commander of the SAS team’s on the left there – Major Christian McKnudsen, formerly of the Scotts Guards (though I suppose the Scotts guards don’t actually wear glengarries… hmmm.. whatever…)

The commander of the Spetsnaz; Comerade Major Millerov. Though Tim did bring his “lucky” Cthulhu we refused to let him wear it.

SAS take out a roof top sentry. Also during this turn another team of SAS cleared a building with grenades – taking out one entire team of Iranian guards before they could even do anything!

The Spetsnaz team moving around the north end of the village takes cover as they hear firing erupt at the opposite side of town…

One of the SAS teams takes down a pair of Russians across the town square with a grenade from an M203.

An SAS trooper is taken down by fire from the Russians coming around the north end of town.

In the ensuing firefight a Spetsnaz team member is taken down.

A second grenade from the SAS takes down two more Russians. The SAS starts taking fire from another rooftop sentry - but he is quickly taken care of..

The SAS team moving in from the southeast enter the main building, lobbing grenades at the Spetsnaz sniper which has pinned down the two teams in the north end of town.

The SAS take down the technicians in the bomb facility.

Crazy fighting on the north end of town sees most of the Russians and British killing each other… actually a second team of Iranians was taken out by SAS clearing a building with grenades. The third team finally got up and going and took out three of the SAS with an RPG… A bunch of Spetsnaz were taken out by an SAS grenade… Grenades were the big killers in this game.

The Russian team coming around the south of the town finished off the third team of Iranians and follows the last of the SAS into the building. There was an intense little firefight there. Eventually the Russians won taking down the last of the SAS…


Based on tonight’s actions we thought of a few house rules we’re going to try out:

Grenades seemed a bit to powerful – we’re going to try them as 2d8 instead of 3d6 next time.

The +2 to hit and damage for three round bursts only works at close range.

Because you can fire at any point in your move – we had a lot of people moving up to corers, shooting at targets around the corner, and then stepping back where they couldn’t been seen and shot back at. So we’re also going to try a -2 to hit modifier if you are shooting at a target that you could not see at the start of your move or will not be able to see at the end of your move – and these will stack (i.e. if you are doing a pop up attack moving out from behind hard cover, shooting and then moving back, you will be -4 to hit anything you are shooting at…)

Not sure what we’re going to do next week… back to Cold War Commander or another Savage Worlds game to try out these house rules…? We shall see what the week brings and what I end up painting!


  1. This was a fun little scenario! Mr Millerovo and I took it right down to the wire, the only real difference being the one Iranian RPG dude that took out 3 of my guys - But them's the breaks!

    Perhaps an overwatch action? We could use a green marker to indicate that a guy is in overwatch, and he is basically treated as being on hold until otherwise? This would allow for more ambush situations and being allowed to cover areas, while not being as much at the whim of the card draw. The difference is that you would apply the hold to an individual vice a team, and that is the only action he takes. Make it need a roll to enter, which cuts down on moving and overwatching in the same turn, and make it an ability, ie poorly or untrained troops won't be able to do it.

    I think it would work well for this type of scenario, and we should try it...

  2. So a unit actives, some of it's guys can take actions, others can make a roll to stay on overwatch..? Those succeeding are considered on hold until the unit activates again...?

    If it's an action can they then move and then go on overwatch? If so, then they wouldn't really be "on hold" as being on hold you can do anything in reaction to the unit you're interrupting - inculding move. They would just have "held fire"? meaning if someone moved into their line of sight they could interrupt only to shoot..?

    I don't know could bog some things down a bit... We could try it though. What would they roll against? An overwatch skill?! Or it's just an ability/Edge:

    Overwatch- as an action a trooper in the unit may make make a smarts roll success means they are on overwatch and are marked with a green bead. At any point until the unit is activated again the trooper may attempt to interrupt any enemy units moving into his line of sight for the purposes of firing only...?

  3. In a nutshell - yes!

    Make it an ability, but not too restrictive ie not only super SAS types, but any reasonably trained or seasoned troop. We could house-rule scenarios to say that all troops have it, or hand out as deserved. I like the smarts roll idea, but give a slight penalty (-1?) if the model has moved that turn, to reflect not paying attention while finding cover, or adjusting kit, etc. Failures end that model's turn, as they are still covering, but are looking the wrong way or fucking around when the bad guys come around the corner. All else as a hold, except that firing is the only action possible.

    Cons? It does add some bookkeeping, but as well has the prospect of really slowing things down as teams break up into overwatch and movement groups. However, when you think of the 6 second turn, this is not too unrealistic. What did we play last night, 72 seconds of combat? Might be something to houserule for FIBUA type scenarios only.