Tuesday, 16 August 2016

Game 45 - 5Core Brigade Commander

5 Core Brigade Commander is from Ivan Sorenson, and we have tried the 5Core stable before with skirmish rules. Ivan has a ton of good rulesets out there (try Wargames Vault).

Again the 'Scurry' and 'Firefight' rules mean that sometimes we can see full on fighting and lots of movement, interspersed with selective activation, punctuated by reactive fire...there, that was easy.

The nice thing about these rules is the ability to do larger scale cold war efforts - so there's an immediate advantage. There's a little bit of abstraction - but there needs to be, especially when we compare with the longer games of this ilk, such as Spearhead. We had a result in about 2 hours here, so the system really lends itself to campaign play.

Things we remember...

  • Attachments such as recon and AA work particularly well, and can be attached to companies - we used two 1/300 Spearhead sized stands to represent a company, but the game would look great in 2mm or 3mm (some examples on the net).
  • We forgot to use the displacement rule - though it means that a spotted unit might not be at the point you think it is - and the unit physically moves, and brings in some very subtle fog of war, where a displaced unit that contacts the enemy is 'ambushed'.
  • Reaction fire works well, though there was discussion over the attacker's advantage in assault.
  • Unit types that reflect WWII to modern can be discussed - the difference 'relatively' between units is what's important - so M1 rolls 2Kill1Shock vs T72's 1Kill1Shock dice.
  • Assets work like 'traits' in other games. Normally I hate these, but work nicely here. US gets additional activation, conversion of scurry/firefight to standard turns etc, while Soviets get 'Wave Attack'. The assets make sense.
  • There's a lot more we didn't explore, but these work well in conjunction with the smaller size sets for campaigns (done expertly by Jack on the BlackHawkNet blog).
  • We also used hexes as an experiment - 4/5 range, and 3-4 hexes for movement. It worked really well - and we used hex facings for direction.

So, to the action...

The US has some good support assets

 They're going to need them...

There's some cover, but perhaps not enough to stop the long range fire of the M1s (we gave them a bonus)

US could get cover bonus, and used some good positions, commanding the approaches.

ATGMs become an annoyance, but do prevent advances if used properly, effectively dulling the Soviet spearhead in the centre.

...with the help of an Apache.

Soviet push in the centre. We dropped artillery for this game, but US guns/MLRS would have made a mess here.

Aerial recon - I see a problem in the US centre...

'Warthogs bar the door'...(the 'no prize' for guessing where I took that from Steve)

 Oh..maybe not. Some SAMs make it a bad day for the US air.

On the US right flank, overwhelming numbers detached from centre and the Soviet flank thrust make a mess.

Infantry supporting the armour also made an assault on the town, and the US just ran out of numbers.

...and Red Air made an appearance.

...then just to add insult to injury, the US right collapsed. It wasn't going to end well at all.

There are some really nice systems at work, and to be honest, I liked the degree of abstraction. These work really well for campaign games. I remember in the 1980s using WRG for extended campaigns in church halls with 20 people over entire weekends - and to be honest, 2 or 3 two hour games with these rules would give the same results for 2 players. Definite food for thought here - and Ivan's smaller scale rules can be used for skirmishes in the wider campaign - which he also touches upon in the rules.


  1. Duc,

    Of course anything 5Core draws my attention, but then you go and mention me too!? I'm flattered! 5Core, in its various iterations, is definitely my 'go-to' set of rules for pretty much everything.

    I hope you had a good time and stick with them; after 100+ battles I count myself a bit of an expert, so if you have any questions or issues please let me know.

    The rules are eminently modifiable, seemingly impossible to break, and every different campaign I play has Liitle tweaks I've made to suit what I'm trying to do ("period flavor" I guess you'd call it).

    And it will get faster as you get more comfortable. I'd have played a game that size in about 45 minutes, hence, all my campaigns ;)

    Then there's little shortcuts to make it faster (you may be doing already): I use red dice for kill and black for shock, and roll them simultaneously. Also, for activation I roll read as the order dice and I roll a black die simultaneously; if the come up doubles I roll on the random event table.

    Anyway, it's always cool seeing other folks play some 5Core. And I loved your hex table, really great, as were the minis. The buildings are absolutely gorgeous!

    I look forward to more!


  2. Many thanks for comments Jack.
    Yes, I do like how hackable the rules are, and I know we did some things incorrectly - reaction fire and displacement etc.

    I do have questions on some areas and I know you have excellent experience (in fact you are mostly responsible for the development of these rules I think :) )...so yes I will send you an email or two if I may.

  3. Duc,

    No problem, love to help. My e-mail is big jack mac (AT) hot mail (DOT) (COM). And as much as I love the rules and have done crazy things with them, all the credit has to go to "Nordic Weasel," AKA Ivan Sorensen. He sure stumbled across something cool, in my humble opinion. But, again, I'll do whatever I can to help you out.


  4. Ah yes _ appreciate that Ivan is the author - I meant that you have done a lot of prompting on the 'Brigade Commander' version on forums I think, and much general gameplay. Will certainly send a mail :)

    1. Ahh, gotcha, sorry man! I do what I can; I'm still waiting on my royalty checks ;)


  5. Darren,
    "Warthogs Bar the Door" I may not get a prize for guessing the terrific book that comes from, but you get points for working it into your blog writeup.

    I am not sure if you noticed, but Ivan Sorenson has some "e-zines" you can purchase cheaply off Wargame Vault that have some scenarios for his various rules sets contained within them.

    He has some WW2 early war scenarios for 5Core Brigade Commander which I think would be fascinating to play and might just be the "operational" level set I'm looking for.

    That being said, I think this would be perfect for Modern Cold War and you really do it justice with the 2 stand companies!

    1. Now that sounds really good. Will certainly be looking into those publications. Thanks for that. I think you're right, there is certainly a nice larger scale game there.
      There are elements of companies being pushed back rather than destroyed in the assault so there is a different command emphasis, but it works. Will try again, but so far so good.

    2. I think they're called "Battle Pack" or something along those lines.

  6. Good to see you back to 'proper' wargaming even if this is a sort of fantasy setting :-)
    I have those rules but not tried yet (one amongst may)
    Love the hexes are they home made mdf types ?

    1. Yes Mdf hexes, with a bit of machining. Look ok.
      These are nice rules, we must try a bigger game - perhaps Arab Israeli or similar. I'm also seeing a lot of similarities in gameplay with field of battle, so it is right up our street.
      Where in some modern rules an assault either succeed or is an epic fail, there are more forced push backs here, which seems more realistic as forces gather themselves and attack again...especially with ATGMs.

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