Monday, 27 July 2015

Game 30 - 5 Core...Contracting Trouble

A small interlude between holiday weekends allowed for a quick game.

We'd recently found Ivan Sorenson's '5 Core' rules, so we thought we'd give them a quick go, as time was limited.

The scenario? A couple of contractor teams trying to get back to their 4x4. (Of course the OPFOR didn't even consider sabotaging the engine...)

It was a nice introduction to the rules, which are simple yet subtle, and for me, throw the accepted conventions of skirmish (and otherwise) wargaming away...and start from scratch.

A full review would probably give most of the rules away...suffice to say that there are some key factors which underpin the design.

  • Turns can happen in one of three ways: there will be standard fire and movement or vice versa - but only for a third of your force, OR a 'scurry' move where effectives advance for advantageous position OR a cinematic style 'firefight', where everyone engages.
  • These different types of turn emerge randomly during play, so inevitably, a plan's chance of surviving contact are, as expected, somewhat diminished.
  • Reaction fire can happen (as Force on Force and most other games at this scale), though we probably fluffed a few of the rules. (I could definitely feel shadows of FUBAR and FoF around gameplay, but these rules made it more fluid than those systems - more cinematic perhaps, but to be honest, we were making decisions which echoed what we read in PMC accounts.)
  • Firers roll 'kill' and 'shock' dice, with chances of each putting figures down, or similary making them think twice about advancing.
  • There are some nice RPG style skill systems which allow for 'characters' in the game to develop along a campaign arc (Ivan does this with all his games).
A great game, but what's really exciting is that Ivan has expanded the core concept into Normandy skirmish (really looking forward to this with my 54mm stuff - I think actually, '5 Men in Normandy' came first), Company level skirmish (for 'Fire Team' style scenarios), and even Brigade level modern command. These DO look interesting

See them here:

Rough view of the battlefield. Note that the teams will have dangerously open flanks combined with a ratnest of buildings and 'sniper corners'.

Moving teams to the right, and into cover...before Alpha was almost overwhelmed.

Nice mechanics in the game system here - an overall accurate simulation of firing from cover, combined with reaction fire and a turn sequence which meant that it was difficult to plan for all eventualities. As the OPFOR opened up during a firefight, it almost rendered Alpha immobile for two turns.

Dashing from cover can work with better trained units - in this case the gamble worked as the OPFOR couldn't bring enough men to bear on the developing situation. Had they rolled a 'scurry' action, the weight of numbers would have been telling.

A sniper fires from the buildings during the last minutes.

One element pinned down. One of the strengths here, which we didn't use on the day, would be cause and effect relationship between having to cater for casualties. There's a nice 'plug in' nature to these rules, where adding detail is seamless.

 Most of Bravo get to the vehicle and move toward Alpha. Successful for the teams, but at some cost.

Nice game, nice rules, great potential.

More later...


  1. Excellent account of 5 Core. I bought the 5 Core Company Commander rules and liked them immensely - just have not played a proper game yet. Still too much to do but they're on my list for the summer.

    I used to be a big Epic Space Marine player and I wondered if the Sci Fi COmpany Commander variant would work for a game of Epic.

    Hey your write up reminded me of one of those Nat-Geo documentaries on mercenaries in Iraq. They were always interviewing the British guys - former Paras, Royal Marine Commandos and the like.

    Thank you for reviewing these Darren. I will move 5 Core up on my priority list.

    PS: I may have the ULTIMATE "Muskets & Mayhem WW2" rules in progress right now. It's the perfect marriage of the M&M sequence of play, and Charles Grant's BATTLE all wrapped up in the perfect game. It just needs a name - any thoughts?

    1. Yep - COmpany Commander variant would work with Space Marine. Ivan also has a sci fi variant - with rules for Mecha as well - it's simple, but to be honest, very subtle, and you'll get a better game without book flipping.

      The key to the company set is that there are no platoon commanders (or even structure). It's where the Company Commander's focus is that counts, and to be honest, this saves a lot of effort. I'm looking at these myself soon.

    2. I had already steeled myself to play 5Core Company Commander but your blog makes me want to try the skirmish rules first. (they are the flagship set for the series anyway?)

      I was thinking of taking a squad or 2 of 15mm troops and putting them on the board and seeing how it goes with 5Core. Maybe 10 or 12 troops per side.

  2. Thanks Steven.

    Looking forward to these WWII rules. I'm thinking they'll be the new 'Squad Leader in Miniature'.
    a name...hmm

    Well, with an emphasis on leadership...'Follow Me!' (after Lt. Winters)
    From Belgium to Berlin
    Ambush and Armor
    Advance to Contact
    (I'll keep thinking)

    1. I typed RIFLES & RACKET in before I read your blog post - I like Ambush and Armor! take a look at my blog and let me know what you think.

  3. Interesting sounding rules.
    I of course have them but not read/tried as yet


    1. Yes - they're definitely different.

      We should get a game with them now I am officially back from hols - potentially the Company Commander variant.

    2. Working this weekend sadly :-(