Saturday, 3 June 2017

Constant Vigilance & Eternal Suspicion

No, the title has nothing to do with Bill at TMP obsessing over Frothers again. Nor does it refer to my wife's attitude towards unexpected parcels delivered to our door with Nottingham postmarks. Not this time.
You read that thread on Frothers, Didn't you!!  DIDN'T YOU!!!
We have long been thinking of ways to better replicate jungle warfare using Bolt Action rules. I had been wracking my overwrought & under-powered brain for ideas, reading various accounts trying to get a sense of what it was like, and what would matter in game terms.

Short of volunteering for guerilla fighting in the Philippines, one of the first "go to" places for information on jungle fighting is FM-72-20, the official US training manual.     

I had also come across this old WW2 USMC jungle warfare training film, which I found very interesting.  The mantra taught to US Marines about jungle fighting, Constant Vigilance & Eternal Suspicion, is where the post title came from.   

(NB- the video below probably won't work on Safari, but works for me on Firefox.  So if you just see a white box, just click on the link above instead if you don't want to switch browsers.)
The main thing that I get from various accounts of jungle warfare is the apparent difficulty in finding or seeing anything at all. It seemed that in terms of visibility, jungle fighting was very much like night fighting- albeit with humidity, snakes, exotic creepy-crawlies and a myriad of tropical diseases tossed into the pot as well. 

But this is a wargame after all; having units blundering around in jungle and never actually running into each other may be realistic, but it doesn't make for a very entertaining gaming experience for the players.  Striking the right balance is the key.

There are a number of ways to go to simulate the fun of fighting amid the joys of jungle rot and snake bites.  

One good option is to use Warlord Games' own Night Fighting rules designed specifically for Bolt Action.  These have their merits, are simple, and we do use them.  

But some time back we thought we would try our hand at something that would capture the more confusing- and claustrophobic- uncertainty that seems part and parcel of fighting in jungle.

So here is a draft of a set of rule mods specifically for jungle fighting.  

If anyone is interested, they can feel free to give them a try and modify/ delete/ shred to their heart's content!   

I'm sure there are loads of inconsistencies, and the ranges still need a lot of tweaking based on future game play- right now I'm wondering if they are too short.  These are very much early stages of a work in progress, but for those interested I think you will find some food for thought. 


This October will see our first Bolt Action tournament being organized here at Seiseki-Sakuragaoka in Tama-shi, Tokyo.  

I've never been much of a tournament player- this will be my first- but it will be a fun change of pace for a historical/ scenario-based gamer like me, and there are bound to be some very nicely painted armies on display.  

Rest assured there is zero chance of me fielding the dreaded Kurogane scout cars loaded to the gunwales with flame-thrower teams.  I have my pride.  I'm pretty sure that in tournament play, I'll get trounced.  Especially in anything other than dense and close terrain, which is where my Japanese do best.  

But I'm in the hobby for the good times, not necessarily the winning, and it will be great to chew the fat with other BA gamers.


Moving on, and tomorrow sees us playing another Napoleonics game at my place- a very scaled-down Battle of Wavre, 1815!