Tuesday, 12 August 2014

Is this my favourite game?

So, Monday afternoon Mrs T went off to visit a friend for a cup of tea and chat so I thought I'd squeeze in a game. I e-mailed Phil and suggested "AK47 Republic", partly because Peter Pig have just made it available as a pdf on their website. By pure chance he'd just found his copy of the 1997 classic version. It seemed as if fate had thrown us together.

I've got several versions of the original rules, including a 1997 v1 and the May 2006 v2. The latter includes all the suggestions made on the RFCM Yahoo Group and frankly has a load of stuff in it that it shouldn't as everyone's pet ideas got pushed for inclusion and Martin just seemed to lose all critical faculties. Looking back I understand why he dumped it and went off to do Reloaded.

Still, back to the story. I went for a classic game. 6' x 5' table, type three terrain and one of my earliest armies,- a Dictatorship with a two tank unit and a mortar battery. As the table was bigger than normal I also gave all my infantry trucks as well. No particular attempt to finesse the points system with that one.

Phil had his PANTO (PAN-african Treaty Organisation) Dictatorship as well. This has a helicopter and APCs with heavy weapons in it.

Phil attacked, I defended. I got some heavy weapons from the political chart. Phil played a blinder and got everything.

This is the table before we got the troops on. The ridges are gently undulating hills. The trees are scrub. For objectives Phil chose the hill in the centre left, the main central village and the aid station top left. I made him come on from bottom left.

I got three units on. My tanks, the mortars and a militia unit with my C-in-C. Phil got his attack helicopter (gulp) a regular unit with supporting vehicles and his C-in-C's APC with AA gun. Or something.

The helicopter immediately took on my tanks, who had hit one of Phil's support vehicles for his infantry unit (see red smoke). His infantry were meanwhile rushing my militia hidden in the scrub. My mortars were on the central hill, mostly out of range. His General is skulking behind the hill near the objective marker.

Never underestimate your opponent's militia units. My militia had a jeep with an HMG on it (when I bought my initial AK47 kit Martin hadn't produced the Toyota technical) drove up and blazed way at the General's APC and brewed it. Luckily for Phil the General escaped. In this turn I also hit the helicopter, but it made its saving roll for moving.

Next  move I hit the helicopter again, but due to rolling a "1" for movement it didn't get a saving roll. Phil took it really well. Honest.

 He also got some revenge by taking out one of my tanks with an airstrike.

In the scrub land the infantry were going at it tooth and nail. Lots of close assault and RPGs failing to fire. Both units now had a General in attendance which helped with morale. Unless you were Phil, rolling a series of 1s.

I was not doing very well in the exchanges. This shot shows me actually pinning an enemy infantry base. It's also the turn before....

...the two units' supporting weapons vehicles blew each other up. Terrific.

Phil by this point had some late arrivals on the table, and had occupied the aid station. This prompted a flood of refugees.

Phil's infantry in the scrub failed a third morale test and broke, allowing my General to take the high ground.

There was some more argy-bargy at the other end of the table, but I succeeded in seizing another objective just before the game ended.

I ended out winning by a good margin (50 points) but the game was much closer and I'd have been in real trouble if we'd gone on another couple of turns.

Whenever I go back to "AK47 Republic" I'm struck by how fresh and exciting it still is. Sure the rules are a bit of a mess in places, but it works, and works really well. The rules are simple enough but have clever nuances. It is a work of genius. I would be so proud of it if I had written it.

As a footnote I saw on TMP that "AK47 Republic" was listed as one of the games that a contributor wouldn't play for some moral reason (too close to today's news was the reason). In a hobby where people have SS units etc etc and will play games set elsewhere featuring modern armies I have never seen the problem. Without it I'd never have done the reading and research I did on modern Africa and my understanding of that part of the world would be so much worse.

Still, each to his own, I guess.

BTW - Just noticed this is post 500. Phew!


  1. Taking out a chopper is a coup for you!

    As for the moral argument for avoiding tabletop clashes, I am with you. I don't see the problem. We game many periods where the morals of the conflict are in question. I suppose if a person was actually involved in one of the modern African conflicts that might dissuade one from gaming it.

    1. I have become less sensitive in some areas as I grow older. I wouldn't do WW1 whilst my Grandfather was alive (a mistake) and I would respect the feelings of other people I'm near or play with if they make it plain. It's also tough gaming actions that are still going on, - at least I remember and understood a lot of the outcry about Falklands War games at the time. Odd that I don't get any such feeling from the general wargames community about Afghanistan.

      My view is often coloured by whether the person objecting has played any games with SS units in. If you have, then get off the moral high ground.

  2. It was indeed a good and closely contested game ... three 1s on morale tests will lose you a unit, however - and I did that too many times.

    AK47 in this classic version is a good example in how a relatively abstract wargame can be entertaining and educational without actually trivialising or propagandising the subject. That wasn't my view before I played the game, however (so I can respect the views of others who think differently, especially those who have not played the game*)

    OK, it is dice-happy, and swings of luck will win you a game .. fortunately there are enough swing in a game to ensure it finishes within a comfortable window - and enough swings to teach you not to be precious or complacent about anything (including helicopters ... which get a saving roll even if they succumb to a lucky hit ... err, providing they didn't just roll a 1 for movement and so not move very far ... ;) ... )

    * I understand why they think the way they do - just don't agree with them ;)

    1. Not as dice happy as some other games. You're only rolling a few dice for each shot, not buckets!

      And it just sort of works, doesn't it?

  3. AK47 (version one) - one of the all time classic wargame rules !

  4. It looks like it was a lot of fun. I think that people have to make up their own minds what is "too much" for themselves. I wouldn't say I'd never play this or that, but rather just try to stay away from things that make me uncomfortable. Are you just trying to play a game, or are you trying to glorify something horrible? I submit that the majority of us are just trying to have some fun and maybe learn something about history.

    1. I usually play a game because I'm interested in the subject. My emotional response to a subject often comes out in the need to design or play a game. Through that mechanism I find I understand more a clarify my own thoughts and views.A bit like when people write poetry

  5. Thanks for the AAR. I just bought the PDF too.

    LZBravo.com - Gaming Blog

    1. Good for you. Get stuck in with what ever you can lay your hands on. Existing WW2 figures i your collection can get you started.

  6. I've looked at the rules but never bought them. With the PDF release I was thinking I would have a buy and see what they were like. This AAR may have just tipped the scales in that direction. Thanks.

    1. Get stuck in. You won't regret it. Plus, they are the most adaptable modern rules ever.

  7. Looks like it was a fun game. Any triple ones for elite morale Graham?

    Regards, Chris

    1. Not exactly. Phil's regulars (who were the best unit on the board) rolled the obligatory three 1s whilst trying to evict my militia from the wood.