One of the more ambitious terrain tables we’ve built is a 4-foot-by-4-foot sea port in an Arabic setting. Featured at Historicon 2012, the table features 17 buildings, a 2-foot-long tramp steamer, and some very detailed terrain pieces.
A scenario that offers some realistic but tough play involves a raid by Navy Seals on Al-Qaeda terrorists, who intend to use the steamship to transport a “dirty bomb” to a U.S. port. The goal of the game is to grab two terrorist leaders, sink the boat (so the port isn’t contaminated), and get out without losing a man.
In most games, one fire team attempts to board the tramp steamer, grab on of the terrorist leaders, and then plant charges to sink the boat in the harbor. (Not exactly environmentally friendly, but it will immobilize the waste until arrangements can be made for a quiet removal operation.)
A second fire team storms a nearby building that serves as Al-Qaeda headquarters, grab another key terrorist operative, and grab whatever Intel is available.
In the top photo, you can see several Seals approaching the tramp steamer (they’re hiding behind the cargo on the sidewalk). The terrorists on the steamer cannot see the Seals because it’s night, and someone conveniently has cut the power to the streetlights.
As we ran our most recent game, the terrorists followed a random patrol pattern, unless the Seals fired or somehow gave their position away. Even then, the GM tried to play the terrorists in a “realistic” manner. Unless the terrorists could see something, they could not react to it. This game gave the Seals a real advantage at first, but one they needed because there were more terrorists than Intel suggested.
Some highlights of the game included several ship guards having their throats cut without giving an alarm, and once the shooting began, one terrorist leader ran to the roof and tried to leap across rooftops to make his escape. That led to an exciting rooftop chase that, alas, two terrorists failed to survive as they plunged to their deaths.
All of this action attracted the city’s militia, but a Seal MG crew on a rooftop quickly discouraged their advance. The Seals managed to capture both terrorist leaders alive and blow up the ship, but as they made their escape, the militia gave chase. But the Seals had found a truck filled with fertilizer–obviously being loaded onto the ship as an explosive fuel–and the Seals blew it up with a remote-control detonator they had conveniently placed in the truck.
With a 12″ blase radius, the explosion wiped out most of the militia and discouraged the rest–a turn of events that proved quite satisfying to the players, as they cheered enthusiastically at their “great victory.”