AARsday! Sergeants Miniatures Game at Origins 2014

frontier wars 728x90 KS

Game Master extraordinaire Vance Strickland gives us a quick dash thru one of the games he supervised at the GrogHeads Wargaming Central Command at Origins.

Vance Strickland, 10 July 2014

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The last organized game of Sergeants Miniatures Game (SMG) of the con was to be a team game. We had three people show up, along with one guy’s wife who he convinced to be his team mate. She was obviously a gamer but said she was not a wargamer.

So with four people, two playing the US paratroopers and two playing the German light infantry, Rob Belli from Lost Battalion Games set about explaining the rules. While this was going on the husband kept asking me about the tactics of the game, how certain terrain worked, what was the best way to use a firebase and a maneuver group etc… which was all good, but this wasn’t Advanced Squad Leader.  SMG is a light skirmish-level game that’s meant to be fun and fairly quick to play. His wife was listening intently to Rob’s explanations as were the two German players.

In my head I gave each of the players name tags. Cpt. Ernest and Plucky Wife were the US players. The German players were a gentleman in his early 60’s and young man in his 20’s. Both German players were wargamers and recognized SMG for what it was. The German players became Junior German and Senior German to me.

Each team player was given a section consisting of five troops, including a mix of rifle and sub-machine gun armed men, an NCO leader, and a machine gunner. The NCO leader gives you more action cards to draw each turn, which gives you more options for what you can do in a turn. It’s best to protect these guys but you can’t leave them too far behind because they are also the ones that can rally your pinned troopers.


Rob Belli explains the rules to the teams

Rob Belli explains the rules to the teams


The objective for this game was the Land Mark tile called L10B. It’s a tile containing a few farm buildings. To win a player needs to be the only one occupying the objective tile.

Turn 1 starts with both teams off the map, so you need move actions to get your men on the map and into position. Everyone draws their action hands and the turn sequence story cards are laid out. To do any action you need to match action cards in your hand with each story card in each of the three phases in a turn. All the players start making their hidden card selections when Cpt. Ernest calls me over. He doesn’t have an action card to match the move action in phase 2 of this turn. This can happen and represents an orders SNAFU or some kind of confusion in your troops. The result is he won’t be able to enter any troops this turn!

The turn begins with Junior German rushing his men on and even getting one into the objective square. The Plucky Wife is next and she knows that there is a large dense forest tile that is hard to spot and shoot into and is near the objective.  She runs most of her men in to the forest and sets up to cover the objective. Senior German moves his men on more cautiously but tries to keep in line with Junior German’s troops. Cpt. Ernest’s troopers are stuck somewhere off the map.


End of turn 1 maneuvers

End of turn 1 maneuvers


Turn 2 begins with a “Look” action which lets players attempt to spot the enemy. The only one that is successful at spotting is Plucky Wife as her troopers spot several of Junior German’s men.

The next phase of turn 2 is Move.  Junior German immediately moves his spotted troops back, including leaving the objective tile, and into more cover.  Senior German moves ahead cautiously again covering the other half of the board.  Cpt. Ernest’s men enter the board and rush up the opposite side of the map from his wife.  He tells me that his section will be the maneuver element and his wife is his firebase. Looks like a good plan so far.

The last phase of this turn is a shoot action. Since Junior German’s troops are the only ones that are spotted both of the US players get to shoot at them!  I should explain now that there is an initiative element to the game. It’s determined by who has the most action cards, and then by who has the soldier with the highest victory points .

So right now initiative order is Junior German, Senior German, Cpt. Ernest and then Plucky Wife. Since none of the US troops are spotted, neither of the Germans can shoot. Cpt. Ernest’s troops are still too far away to shoot so it’s then Plucky Wife’s action.  Three of her men shoot at Junior German’s men and she manages to pin one. This will halve all of his stats until he can rally. It can actually be worse than being wounded. Since her men have fired they now become spotted. Since they were spotted after the German’s actions they cannot now fire at them. Sometimes having first initiative is not the best.


End of Turn 2 combat

End of Turn 2 combat


Turn 3 is where things start to go horribly wrong for the US team. The first phase action is Shoot.  Junior German has the initiative and shoots at the now spotted troops of Plucky Wife. His first shot with a rifleman kills her NCO at extreme long range! Senior German also fires at Plucky Wife’s troops and pins a second one down. Cpt. Ernest is still too far away and Plucky Wife’s return fire is ineffective.

Second phase is Move and the only one moving is Cpt. Ernest.  His troops rush forward to get into good shooting position.  Junior German manages to rally his pinned trooper.

Third phase is more shooting.  The Germans open up and manage to wound two different troops belonging to Plucky Wife. All fire from the US team is ineffective.


Cpt. Ernest’s troops close on Senior German’s troops

Cpt. Ernest’s troops close on Senior German’s troops


Turn 4 opens with a Shoot phase. The Germans manage some incredible shooting and kill the two wounded soldiers of Plucky Wife, leaving her with one pinned soldier and effectively out of the game. Cpt. Ernest returns fires but it’s all ineffective, again.  At this point the US team throws in the towel.

Everyone said they had a good time, even though things did not go well for the US team… sometimes SMG can be unforgiving like this. To me it just adds to the atmosphere of this low skirmish level type of combat.

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One Response to AARsday! Sergeants Miniatures Game at Origins 2014

  1. Mark D. says:

    Nice AAR guys. Looking forward to the sequel “Plucky Wife’s Revenge”…

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