In the last weeks I have been busy, painting some good old HO/00 Airfix (8th Army & Japanese) and making some jungle terrain features. I was starting to write down a simple set of skirmish rules for these, but then I found an excellent one-page ruleset called FUBAR for WW2/Modern/Sci-Fi skirmish, that can be downloaded here
- The old 1/72 Airfix Japanese are still nice figures, but they have only one LMG and lack the famous 50mm "knee" mortars. I converted two prone riflemen just adding a bipod made from wire, one ammo box from card and painting gun metal overall. The mortar men are conversions from Airfix WW1 US soldiers with grenade launcher, heads from the Airfix Japanese wounded figures. -
I tried the FUBAR rules in a first solo battle and the result was a fun, quick and simple game. To represent jungle warfare, I considered the table (120x80 cm) completely "soft cover", inside and out the palms and trees terrain feature. This meant that visibility and ranges were very short (6") and target always difficult to hit, unless with aimed fire or with SMG, LMG and grenades. I also did not allow "Run" (= 12") actions - the faster movements being Duck&Weave (=8") and Assault (=8").
For this first game I picked up my whole Japanese force (1 command squad, with one officer, 4 rifle and 2 x 50mm knee mortars; 3 squads with 11 rifle + 1 LMG), opposed by a weak British platoon (1 command squad made up of one officer and 3 x SMG, and two squads each of 1 SMG, 1 LMG and 8 rifles).
The two forces deployed on the opposite short sides of the table and moved through the jungle, with the British arranging a defensive line and the Japanese attacking it... the most basic form of scenario.
FUBAR activation system is good and works well for solo game. For example, one of the Japanese squad failed to activate for two or three turns and was left back, with the Japanese HQ being compelled to spearhead the attack. This kind of things make more interesting and challenging games, solo or with one opponent.
Another thing that I liked is the Suppression system. Basically a number of figures in each squad (1-4 depending on status) when hit are Suppressed (lean on one side) instead of become casualties. They can't fire and subtract a -1 to the next activation roll of that unit. I experimented that one unit with 2 suppressed figures become very difficult to activate (you need a "6").
For this first game, I found a bit difficult to make use of Grenades. Single figures should have a limited number of these, but how can you keep track of the number of Grenades for each one, avoiding dozens of counters or a roster sheet? I think one solutions is avoiding one or two "Throw Grenades" action for each squad during the game, as alternative to firing.
A more major issue aroused with close combat. Rules says that combat continues at the beginning of each subsequent turns; units involved automatically activate; and cannot subsequently activate in that turn. I did not understood how long the combat goes on (until one unit reaches 50% casualties? but it is not written); if a unit can withdraw from close combat (seems not possible since cannot activate during that turn); if suppressed figures have some penalty. Maybe it is just me (I am not native speaking English) but it looks the less clear section, of one otherwise clear and concise set of rules.
The game was a British defeat, with the whole command squad slaughtered in close combat, one squad fleeing away, reduced to only 3 men, and another squad near to 50% casualties. But the Japanese casualties were also heavy... I will do other FUBAR games and expand my terrain scenics with field fortifications, road etc, to make other scenarios.