Archive for the ‘Ambush Alley’ Category

I’m very pleased to share the early reviews of Cold War Gone Hot, for which I was the lead author:

Overall, I am quite pleased by the early feedback. Most of the criticism is for a few typos and the desire for more content (always a challenge in this industry), but everyone seems to like the three-part format and the “Hollywood-style” scenarios. I am very honored to have worked with such a great team — Shawn, Rich, Jim and Piers, as well as the many other contributors. Dixie did a great job with the maps and my thanks to Osprey Publishing as well. I only hope the next book I’m working on turns out as well.



Given my crazy weekend (tons of errands, snow shoveling, massive cleaning in the house and band rehearsal), I didn’t get a chance to organize before heading over to Games Plus on Sunday afternoon to run a Tomorrow’s War demo. Looking through the figures I brought and that Zach had on hand, we decided on an assault by a Neo-Soviet force against a US Army defensive position comprised of a small settlement surrounding an industrial area.

The Neo-Soviet attackers were a large force consisting of a company of 9 Pegasus III tanks, moderately armored and gunned; a platoon of mechanized infantry in hover APCs; another platoon of VDV troops in tracked APCs and wearing TL2 Power Armor; and a tracked tank hunter attached to the VDV forces. All troops were TQ:D8/Morale:D8, except for the VDV, who were TQ:D10/Morale:D10. The Neo-Soviets set up second and had initiative for the first turn.

The US defenders comprised 3 Patton Heavy Tanks (also known as the Khurasan Siler tanks), 3 Ramirez IFVs, two squads of infantry and a weapons squad with 2 AT teams. All troops were TQ:D8/Morale:D10. We also gave the US tech level 3 and plasma weapons (negate one die of armor) to give them a better chance at holding off the Neo-Soviets. The US players had to set up first.

The village provided 1 extra die of cover in each building, 2 extra dice in the industrial buildings. The scenario objective was simple. Add up the number of buildings controlled by each side when time expires and the highest total = the winner.

The settlement...the US players set up to the left of the road, the Neo-Soviets came in from the right.

I should have known things would not go as I thought from the first turn. The Neo’s pushed one flank hard right from the start, using one platoon of hover tanks to fire smoke (pretty ineffectually, I might add) and then pushed forward a second platoon who drew reaction fire from two of the Pattons. That’s when things went…weird.

The Neo-Soviet advance at the end of Turn One

The first thing that happened was a Patton fired a round into a Pegasus for a quick kill. During the subsequent turn, another Patton rolled into view, and lost the draw with the surviving two Pegasi. One missed, but the second one rolled two hits with 2D8s. The frontal armor for the Patton is normally 5D12, but it was up to 6D12 because of the lower tech level of the Pegasus. Guess what? A hit, and one that proved critical: main gun knocked out. My son Steve (commanding the Pegasus in question) let out a whoop of glee! A second Patton rolled out to engage the platoon firing smoke. Moments later, the unthinkable happened again. The Patton lost the draw, but this time the return fire from a Pegasus knocked out the vehicle entirely. Harlow (commanding this Pegasus) had trumped my son’s achievement!

One burning, one main gun knocked weird day!

Paying the price for the Pattons

After this, the US players hunkered down and kept in cover. The wounded Patton decided to fire at APCs and infantry targets, while the sole remaining intact Patton stayed in cover for the most part, waiting for the Neo-Soviets to close. The Neo-Soviets did just that, but at incredible cost. The AT teams, along with the Ramirez APCs, played hell with the Neo-Soviet APCs, brewing up many and causing casualties among the dismounting infantry. On the Neo-Soviet extreme right flank, the VDV dismounted and advanced rapidly to take the first row of buildings, taking fire and light casualties, but putting it to the US defenders.

APCs burning bright from expert US gunnery

The VDV advance next to the burning hulks of many of the Neo-Soviet APCs

It was at this point that time ran out with the issue very much in balance. From a “buildings occupied” perspective, the US players were in the lead, but the VDV were chewing up the US infantry and not taking much in return.

A Ramirez IFV waits for the final push

All in all, it was a fun game with plenty of momentum shifts and thrilling moments. It just goes to show you that what looks like a balanced scenario can go to hell in one turn. But unlike other games, Tomorrow’s War doesn’t necessarily stay that way, as the US forces did a very effective job of turning the situation around and making it a very close game, despite the early losses.

First official post of 2012 (the WordPress generated summary of 2011 doesn’t count) is about my painting backlog of projects. I’ve decided that my one New Year’s resolution for 2012 that is hobby related will be to reduce the number of unpainted figures that I own. This will be a tough job as I don’t intend to stop buying new stuff, but it does mean that I will need to start selling off or otherwise getting rid of my considerable collection of unpainted figures that languish in my workshop.

I didn’t do too badly on my last five projects list for 2011. I got about 1/2 the Vietnam 15mm figures that I had primered done. I finished off the Space Worms. I got a good chunk of Picoarmor stuff done. I totally blew it on the Martian Racing skiffs, however. Not a one of them even prepped for priming. Sigh.

After discussions with my son Will, we’ve decided to pare down the 28mm zombie stuff that we own. Why? Well, it takes up way too much space in our workshop/crawlspace storage. The buildings we have are mostly ‘O’ scale railroad buildings and they are huge in terms of footprint. We’ll keep the basics for smaller layouts, but the big city layout has to go. Also on the chopping block is my vast collection of unpainted Clan Wars figures. I bought heavily when it first came out, but I have yet to play a single game, and the number of painted figures still numbers less than 100. I am far more interested in 28mm historical Samurai anyway, so this stuff will be up for sale soon. Finally, I will be getting rid of the Wild West miniatures I started collecting, including the Old Glory buildings that I purchased.

In terms of painting priorities, I intend to focus on the following five areas for the 1st quarter:

1) 15mm Vietnam: I want to finish off the rest of the primered miniatures, get a few more buildings done, and add some helicopters and other vehicles.

2) 15mm Tomorrow’s War: As AAG will continue to support this game, it would be remiss of me not to support something in which I’m involved. Next up are some CMG heavy grav tanks, some GZG OUDF that my son Will painted (I need to finish the basing), and some GZG New Israeli troops. I also want to throw an alien race or two into the mix, including expanding my Felid forces from Khurasan.

3) 15mm World War 2: I want to continue building my Battlefront: WW2 units, especially for the Eastern front. I also intend to start painting and basing individual figures in 15mm for Force on Force games.

4) 3mm Picoarmor: I am continuing to write my homegrown mass combat rules and intend to use them with Picoarmor stuff for playtesting. I am focusing on two areas. First, Cold War stuff for 1980s. Second, WW2 Western Desert.

5) 28mm Miscellaneous: I am currently working on more 28mm Vikings, Saxons and Normans for Dark Age skirmish games (including my own home grown rules). I also promised Will that I would paint up some Warmachine stuff to fight his growing Khador/Menoth armies. I have pretty sizable Cygnar and Menoth forces myself, but I have started to collect and paint an Orboros army with an autumn theme to it.

If I stick to my guns, I should be able to increase the size of my painted collection, decrease the total number of miniatures I own, and clear up some space in the basement workshop. If. We’ll see how I do in 2012 🙂

This weekend is our annual Legends in the Fall convention at the Doubletree Hotel in Mundelein, IL. I will be there representing Ambush Alley Games; other vendors include Scale Creep Miniatures, Unique Gifts and Games, Legends-in-Time. I will be running Tomorrow’s War and Force on Force games at my booth…and rumor has it I may have some advance copies of Cold War Gone Hot, the latest Force on Force supplement, for sale. My sons Will and Steve will be running Starship Troopers/Tomorrow’s War and Post-Apocalyptic/Tomorrow’s War games. Additionally, Saturday night will see the inaugural “Legends of the Skies” Battle of Britain dogfight tournament, replete with Squadron Leader Skip Peterson and Fleigermeister Roots as your guides. Visit for more details. I hope to see you there!

I had decided awhile ago that I was going to do 15mm Vietnam, even before Shawn Carpenter told me that we’d be redoing Ambush Valley. I was intrigued by the Flashpoint releases, promising a full range of figures including civilians, free world forces and special forces. Then Battlefront released their own 15mm models based around the Ia Drang Valley in 1965, offering more options and vehicles. I purchased a lot of figures from both lines and they sat on my workbench for months. With the release of the new Ambush Valley, I’ve been inspired to pick up the paint brush and get to work, if for no other reason than to pay homage to the excellent work done by Piers and Joe in putting the book together.

My first project is getting Viet Cong painted. I want to run games involving smaller forces on “sweep and clear” type missions, so my NVA will have to wait for awhile. Since Battlefront has yet to release VC figures, my only option was Flashpoint, but the company offers Local and Main Force Viet Cong, as well as support weapons and civilians.

First efforts at painting Flashpoint VC

The models are on .75 inch bases (penny-sized) which I built up with Vallejo Dark Earth paste. The grass and flower tufts are from three different sets of Army Painter base tufts, including the new flower set. I wanted the VC to look like they were in the middle of cover, not standing on a golf course. For uniforms, I wanted a mix of the classic “black pajama” look with some mix of Main Force uniforms. The black uniforms are a thinned down Vallejo German Gray, highlighted with the same color mixed with Vallejo Ivory. The straw hats are Vallejo Beige, then washed with Vallejo Sepia Wash. Flesh is Vallejo Sunny Skintone washed with Flesh Wash. The Flashpoint figures have deep detail which lends itself to washes and stains.

A closer look

Some of the more "Main Force" uniforms

I also tacked a few civilian figures to mix into my village and rice paddy settings.

A close up of a Vietnamese civilian.

Another civilian model.

I’m quite pleased with how these are turning out. The figures have “personality,” allow for quick painting and fit the look I am trying to achieve. My only real complaint about the models is the percentage that have miscasts, forcing quite a bit of file and knife work to fix. Still, I recommend Flashpoint’s models, especially their civilians. Next time, I’ll show what I’m doing with some of the village buildings.

In preparation for the upcoming Legends in the Fall, I am running an Ambush Valley scenario of my own devising this Sunday. The scenario will feature two squads of US infantry attempting to sweep and clear a village that has been known to harbor both Local and Main Force Viet Cong elements. The US players will have to be careful not to alienate the local civilians while they search for weapon caches, tunnel entrances and signs of the elusive VC. Game time as always is 1 PM at Unique Gifts and Games in Grayslake, IL.

Both Ambush Valley and Tomorrow’s War have been released, and quite honestly, I need to run something other than Tomorrow’s War for a change of pace. You can purchase both through Ken at Unique Gifts and Games, or you can buy the PDF  directly from us at I have to say that Ambush Valley is about the most comprehensive sourcebook for Vietnam that I have ever seen. Piers and Joe have outdone themselves on this one.

I am hoping to have my 15mm Vietnam figures mostly painted by Sunday, but we’ll see. If not, I’ll borrow some of Skip’s 20mm FAA figures for the game. I am using a mix of Flames of War and Flashpoint figures, with buildings by TimeCast. For tunnel markers, I am using some of Khurasan’s mine shaft entrances (with some green stuff/modifications). Hope to see all of you on Sunday.

Mark your calendars for the weekend of November 19-20 for this year’s Legends in the Fall convention in Mundelein, IL. This is the first year that we are doing a two day event. We’re also offering two wonderful Saturday night dinner/tournament events. I will be attending as a vendor this year, representing Ambush Alley Games. I will be running games most of the weekend at the booth.

Games that I know of so far include Starship Troopers (with TW rules), Star Wars (TW), a “not” 40K game (with TW) and a Force on Force game (the Bala Baluk scenario from the OEF book). If I get enough stuff painted, we will also run a game or two of Ambush Valley (Vietnam) and the forthcoming Cold War Gone Hot book. There are also a ton on non-AAG games planned from some of Chicagoland’s top game masters.

Skip Peterson is the convention organizer and always puts on a world-class show. We’d love to see you at the event and get you into a game! For more information, check out