Saturday, November 18, 2017

Module Suitability Review - East Africa Sourcebook

Taken from DrivethruRPG.com, IP is GDW/FFE
We're now reviewing the first of two PDF-only releases for Twilight: 2000. The first is something that was bandied about on the Twilight: 2000 forums. Africa got scant attention in the development life of the game, a throwaway line here, or there, but there were three attempts to bring what has become this book to life.

The first was Frank Frey's post about the "Lions of Twilight" which was a bare-bones writeup about the 173rd Airborne Brigade being sent to secure Mombassa in Kenya and the refinery therein to make sure the oil flowed to the RDF in Iran. Another work was by the poster "Raelleus" whose work formed some of the basis of the third attempt, by David Adams, whose work we see here. The East Africa Sourcebook is currently available for $2.99 at DrivethruRPG.com

So, the cool factors? One, the book has plenty of mayhem and chaos to game out. Most of Africa has collapsed under the weight of war, disease, famine, and the not-so-occasional nuclear attack. Kenya has only survived an invasion by most of her neighbors because of direct US intervention (organized under AFRICOM or African Command), not to mention the exhaustion of the other combatants.

Even though the book says "East Africa/Kenya" we get a write-up for South Africa (now Apartheid-free and expanding at the expense of her chaos ridden (and in some cases, nuked) neighbors.

So, who's Kenya fighting now that the conventional war with her neighbors is over? It's mainly a marauder/terrorist/guerilla threat, which in Twilight: 2000, can often be one in the same. In Kenya's case, it's a group known as PARA (Pan African Revolutionary Army) who is often raiding the Kenyan forces occupying what was once Tanzania. There's also the Lord's Revolutionary Army (LRA) in Uganda, who's taken over Uganda, and has received some French aid after they overthrew the previously US-backed government. There's also the Somali warlord threat to the north as well, and they aren't behaving much differently then they do in our timeline.

There are detailed write-ups for most of the local militaries, as well as AFRICOM and some other players (namely the French). It also has entries for all of the prominent local NPCs as well as campaign suggestions that may as well be fodder for all sorts of miniature game ideas..and yes. we'll be discussing this later in the article.

I also like a discussion of the terrain, climate and people of Kenya, all of it very useful for not just the role-playing side, but the wargaming as well. I especially like that there are a few paragraphs on mercenaries and even in World War III, the wings of the Wild Geese flap somewhere. I also like the idea of Operation Harverster. The idea of raiding and trading all over Africa for parts and munitions to keep aircraft flying is a very Twilight: 2000 thing to do, and it's great scenario fodder.

Another thing I like? The real grab bag of gear. Everything from US Army run-Skyraiders found boxed up in some warehouse in Mombassa, to a "Volunteer" Mech Infantry Battalion made of US ex-pats and reenactors, complete with period gear and P-47s! And that's just the Americans!

But, how does this do for wargaming fodder?


Skirmish Scenarios

For skirmish scenarios, this is some pretty great stuff. Modern Africa has seen a real growth as a sub-period of modern wargaming, and Twilight: 2000 and Modern African wargaming go together like cookies and cream for ice cream. What I love about the book is how the role playing scenario ideas in the back of the book are such great ideas for miniature games as well.

Some of those ideas include:

  • Any number of raids or anti-marauder sweeps by American, British, French, or Kenyan forces against PARA or any of the Somali Islamist groups.
  • A boarding action on a pirate vessel by either elements of the USMC, the French Navy, or a mercenary group hired by one or more of the non-governmental interests in this part of the world.
  • A covert raid to decapitate the head of an LRA brigade before a raid. This would have to be done covertly of course because of the French support for the Ugandans. This game would make perfect Skirmish Sangin (which I plan to review and add to the rules section) or Black Ops fodder. If you make this part of an "Operation Harverster" raid, all the better.
  • Another LRA focused operation is the destruction of a series of hydroelectric dams under LRA control. This would also make excellent Black Ops fodder.
  • The initial invasion of Northern Kenya in 1997 by Somali Islamist bands, the Kenyans are simply trying to slow them up and inflict casualties, the Somalis need to take the town. You can also game out the counterattack by US Army Special Forces and Ranger units that retake the area.  

Larger Battles

For larger games, there are more than a few ideas here. Most of them are set in the backstory of the book because, by 2001, the combatants are mostly engaged in operations that are more skirmish game in size.

Some of the better ideas include:

  • Some of the battles from the initial invasion of Kenya by the Tanzanian-run coalition. The initial ambush 20km outside of Nairobi sounds interesting, as well as the fight for Mombassa.
  • US 173rd Airborne's attack with two battalions against the Tanzanian "volunteer" brigade that has cut the Mobassa-Nairobi railway. Considering the Americans have a company of M551s and the Tanzanians have Ferrets and PT-76s, it's actually a neat idea for a game.
  • A large scale raid on an isolated airfield in say, Zambia to seize parts and munitions to keep aircraft flying. This might make a better Rapid Fire or Battlegroup: NORTHAG (when it is released) game than something like Fistful of TOWs. 

This module is replete with ideas, and there's plenty of wargaming figure lines out there for it! Some of the ones off of the top of my head include:
Some rules I can also suggest to help give the local "flavor" include:
Post #60 is coming up! We'll be reviewing Rook's Gambit next, so stay tuned!


Monday, November 13, 2017

A Short Post - New Maps of the Caucasus on Drive Thru RPG!!

Hello everyone, November is going swimmingly, and I am getting back into the swim of things, but I heard about this neat new thing that's just come out on DriveThru RPG for $4.95 or as a PDF and Poster for $6.95.

Taken from DriveThru RPG

The map is very well done in the old 1st Ed Campaign Map from the boxed set, as well as the Northern Germany map from Going Home. The map is full color, with very clearly marked out locations and terrain on the map. It also has a hex overlay option in the PDF and JPEG options. In short, it's a wonderfully done map, and it also has marked out railways and airbases, two things the old campaign map did not have. 

In short, this thing is a roleplayer's godsend, or if you're doing a campaign map for a miniatures game (Hint, Hint!). It's got adventure potential galore, like that

In short, do not walk, run to get your copy of this. I am hoping Albatross Press does more maps of other areas of the world, as the air navigation maps that were often enclosed with 2nd Edition products were very difficult to use from a RPG standpoint.

Some ideas that come to me are:

  • A campaign by US Special Forces units based in Iran to stir up trouble in the Trans Caucauses against the Soviets? 
  • Recovery of a crashed US B-52 or B-1 with nuclear weapons aboard.
  • Move Satellite Down from Baja to the TransCauscasian region? With some modifications (Brupp becomes a suitable Russian name, and instead of a cult, he proves to be an ultra loyal party hack with some strange ideas on party loyalty?)
  • An OPFOR campaign of a small Soviet unit far from home, surrounded by tons of locals who do not like them...or each other.
So, next up will be the East African Sourcebook. I intend to get that writeup out soon, probably in the next week or two. 

Till next time!



Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Module Suitability Review - Survivors Guide to the United Kingdom

Picture taken from DrivethruRPG.com. IP is FFE/GDW


Hello all, it's on to the final GDW-published supplement for 1st Ed. Twilight: 2000, Survivors Guide to the United Kingdom, or SGUK for short, is a controversial book to say the least with UK fans of Twilight: 2000. Many of the UK fans state they got a lot more wrong than right in this book, being an American, I can't really argue one way or the other, so I will simply state that I am just going to review this book as is for miniatures scenario fodder, and let the UK/Commonwealth fans argue whether or not this book added anything to canon. 

I won't be reviewing 3W's effort, City of Angels, by the way. Honestly, I kinda consider it the worst Twilight: 2000 supplement ever written, and it suffers from a lack of basic research, so rather than spark a flame war about that one..we're just gonna skip it entirely. Everyone ok with that?

So, what does SGUK have going for you? Well, from the miniatures standpoint, quite a bit. The UK as posited, is broken up into a lot of little statelets (with HM Government being just one of them) after the country is nuked about the same time as the US, receiving a further wave of strikes again in 1998. Yeah, not fun to be British. This all leads to a patchwork of groups and warlords, with some of the more memorable entries being the Tartan Army (A marauder band that pays...and is run by committee?), the Red Devils (Man U's fanclub got REAL militant), and the Soviet Group of Forces England (SGFE) (Escaped EPWs who just want to go home.) And did we mention the private little war that's going on between the Republic of Ireland and the UDR over Northern Ireland?

But there are more groups out there than one can shake a stick at, and more that are just hinted at...not to mention, HM's Government in the southwestern third of the country wanting to reunify the whole thing (with MI-5 preparing to fight an assassin's war to do so). And the drought, like in America, getting ready to knock the entire thing into a cocked hat..but what about miniatures possibilities?

Skirmish Games

There's a ton of fodder here. Just about anything you could conceive of for a Post-Apoc skirmish could be done with a British guise, just make sure the combatants have a British feel with less ironmongery, more SLRs and shotguns, and perhaps an armed traffic warden or two....A really good online source that you could adapt for ideas is Winter of '79. Some great figure lines in 20mm are Ehliem and Liberation, the latter's a bit hard to come by outside the UK, but their Urban Meltdown range is perfect for this stuff. It's got a lot going for it in terms of ideas and with a bit of adaptation...it could work for Twilight: 2000. But since you also expect some ideas from yours truly:

  • A raid by one statelet on another for food, arms, or just about anything would make a good skirmish game. It's pretty straightforward, and would be pretty much the cause of most armed combat in Twilight: 2000 Britain. Most skirmish rules can handle this pretty well. 
  • Another game that could be fun is the two patrols from rival factions run into each other and both decide the other isn't going to report back. Again, most skirmish rules can handle this pretty well. 
  • Finally, in a bit of fun, you could do a Black Ops game where MI-5 gets the go-ahead to start assassinating warlords. a small team of 4 MI-5 agents sneaking into a warlord's compound, and doing him in in the middle of the night would make for a tense game.
There's a whole host of other ideas one can pull from this book on the Skirmish end.

Larger Games

The trouble with larger games here is the shortage of food and fuel to support the larger games some of the 1:5 rules thrive on. When your army is based around a single, and I mean single AFV with not much ammo, it's difficult to do a good Fistful of TOWs game. That's not to say it's impossible. One game that comes to mind for a medium-sized game, perhaps with a bit of fast play rules like Rapid Fire, or perhaps Battlegroup: NORTHAG (once it is released), would be HM's Government deciding to apply direct military force against a nearby warlord, and using it's hoarded supplies of North Sea oil to do it. It would make for an interesting, if tough game for the defender.

Well, that's it here. Next on the review queue is the East Africa/Kenya Sourcebook, where we look and see how all that African wargaming material that's come out in recent years can be adapted to Twilight: 2000. 

Monday, October 30, 2017

I am Back!!!


Like Arnold here..I am back. So, the wedding went very well and was a enjoyable time had by all, including yours truly. Ceremony was nice, and the reception was a hoot, but I might be a bit biased..I am the husband, after all.

So, now that the wedding is out of the way, we have much to discuss!

First, Podcast at Ground Zero has done a new episode. This is always good news as we here at "500 Miles.." enjoy their work immensely. This is especially true when they've had Frank Frey on. But, much of their podcasts have been very good idea fodder for both the RPG and miniature gaming side.

Second, Butler Printed Models has released more vehicles to it's rapidly growing stable of 3-D printed kits. I like what they have, as it's very easy to put together, holds paint well and it's relatively cheap.  Among the new releases is a HMMWV with a Mk -19 AGL. Gee, when does that ever appear in a a Twilight: 2000 game?

Image taken from Butler's Printed Models

I do promise to get to a module review or two soon, as I am a busy man, what with a lot to catch up on both personal and professional. But that said, expect more time rolls on!

For right now, it's just good to be back.

ADDENDUM: I got some more pics from MacGal of the Guild forum. He has done some very nice inspirational work for Twilight: 2000 and I asked him if I could share it here. All the items are in 1/72 scale, as evidenced by the figures in the pictures shown for scale. MacGal was very gracious to allow me to share these here, so here they are for your enjoyment.

A guntruck done by MacGal, picture by him, taken from the Guild. Note the rustwork and the figure on the HMG up top. This is a conversion from a toy garbage truck. A little bit of plasticard and some planning can go a long, long way. 
The second of three guntrucks, work done by MacGal, picture from the Guild. Note the rustwork, the figure with HMG, and the body work. This is a converted ICM kit. 

The final guntruck done by MacGal, pictures by him and taken from the Guild. Note that he made the model so you can use it as either a guntruck, or a regular truck. Versatility in models. The original kit was by ICM, a Russian manufacturer. I'll be adding them to the plastic kit review page soon.

Still by MacGal, taken from the Guild Forum. He states that it was done in three hours from various parts from his bits box. It's a great example of what can be done with a decent bits box and some patience. I am going to do a future article on the importance of a good bitsbox for Twilight: 2000 miniature gaming.






Friday, October 13, 2017

Yet Another Short Post

It seems PSC has remained quite busy, as their usual Friday surprises have a big one for us all!

Picture by PSC, taken from PSC Facebook Page

There aren't any other details right now, but they look pretty good for 3d masters, assuming that is what they are, and with a little modification and some details from aftermarket manufacturers like Legend or Black Dog or S & S Models for stowage, they would fit right into the Twilight: 2000 milieu.

In other news, Shaun of S & S Models had to switch websites, as there was unspecified issues with the old one. The link provided above does work as it has been tested by yours truly.

This will definitely be my last post before my wedding on the 21st, and I want to let everyone know, I will be back sometime in Early November. I won't be making Fall-In after all as money and time will simply not allow it. But, that said, I intend to get a good chunk of modeling and painting in once the wedding is done so there will be more to post as the year rolls on as well as into the new one.

Cheers everyone!

Friday, September 29, 2017

Module Suitability Review: White Eagle

Image taken from Twilight: 2000 Wiki, IP from GDW/FFE
So, we're coming up on the end of the Version 1 modules. I will be reviewing the two new releases we've seen of late, Rook's Gambit, and the East African Sourcebook, but probably after I review Survivor's Guide to the United Kingdom, the last of the Version 1 modules.

As for what is the basic plot of White Eagle? Well, the long-hinted at struggle for the future of post -apocalyptic Poland has begun, all three factions, the WL, Krakow, and Silesia are now posturing and getting ready for the fight to come. All of the factions have something to offer, some more than others, but your Player Characters might have a bit of a past here, seeing as how they have interacted with a lot of these people before in earlier adventures (at times, negatively).

The adventure is very open-ended, and the buildup to the major fight can be quite a campaign in it's own right, but a lot of things feel...recycled. Moreover, I've mentioned dissatisfaction with one aspect of the adventure before.

But, how does this stack up as miniature games fodder?

Skirmish Games

White Eagle has a lot going for it in the combat arena, a lot. And, it can be the basis of a skirmish campaign, especially from the WL perspective, as you raise a guerilla army from basically nothing, train it, and send it out to wreak havoc on the enemy. This could be quite a rewarding campaign if done right, and the various Force on Force or No End in Sight campaign mechanisms would work very well here.

Other ideas include:
  • Ambushing a small supply convoy belonging to one of the enemy factions and looting it for all it's worth, this works well for all sides.
  • Playing out the ambush of a small diplomatic mission to one of the other factions. This could have some roleplaying elements as everyone plays "Let's make a deal".
  • Launching a raid against one of the other factions to stir up a rebellion in said faction?
  • A raid to capture/kill the leaders of an enemy faction. (There's a good map of Raciborz Castle if you want to make the Markgraf of Silesia the subject of said raid.)
In short, there's a lot of skirmish ideas here, and it's fertile ground if you look hard enough. Helpfully, there is a scenario for Last Battle in the back, and it can easily be converted to the aforementioned rules sets. 

Larger Games

White Eagle is pretty much leading up to some larger battles that are best played out via Spearhead, Command Decision, or Fistful of TOWs. (To be honest, these will mostly be smaller games anyhow, as the numbers involved will be smallish). That said, the shame about White Eagle is that there are no notes on the current states of the three combatants, where there was plenty of information in the previous modules that contributed to White Eagle. So, anyone trying to do a potential game out of this is going to have to improvise. 

Well, that's it for White Eagle. The next module on the list is Survivor's Guide to the United Kingdom. Not 100% sure when that will be, as I am getting married on the 21st of October, and time is going to be at a premium. But, rest assured, when my schedule allows, I will be back at it! 

Till then, happy gaming all!


Friday, September 22, 2017

I Am Getting Very Jealous of the 15mm Crowd!

Man, you guys are getting a lot of nice stuff lately. First, there is the Post-Apocalyptic boat line coming from The Scene in the UK. This stuff is perfect for a Pirates of the Vistula-inspired game. They look great painted up, to be frank, and if anyone's put them together (they don't look too difficult to do so), please chime in.

Perfect for a Vistula river cruise. Sadly, there is no luxury to be found at all, and accommodations are best described as "rustic", but after the nukes fall, you take what you can get. Photo taken from the The Scene

Another small development is more images from Plastic Soldier Company about the 15mm Soviet Cold War figures. They have announced a "Willstarter" with a target of 200 like the 1/72 T-55 project that has been discussed at length here.

The photos are well, stunning in quality for PSC, which is their usual standard, but I really must say, I like the sculpts I see coming out of this project.
I love the group shot here, the poses are dynamic, and the RPG Gunner looks great. Hope they do this in 20mm. Photo taken from PSC

Bit dated for Twilight:2000, but this could work for a Category III or Mobilization Only unit? Plus, it does work well for late 70's and early 80s. Photo taken from PSC.


As I said, the uniforms are a bit dated for Twilight: 2000 but for older formations, this works very well indeed. Not to mention, clothing stocks by 2000 are going to be...sparse. In short, these are great figures for this project and if you game in 15mm, this would be a good project to back.

I do want to apologize for my less active posting of late here. As I mentioned, I am getting married next month, to be exact, the 21st of October, to this lovely lady. I love you sweetheart, you make all things, including this blog, possible. And I look forward to more to come.


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