Review: Classified

Rating: 4 stars

Classified is the eighth scenario supplement for the Force on Force rules for modern warfare, which were published in 2011. It is once again published by Osprey Publishing.

In many ways, this supplement takes Force-on-Force back to its original Ambush Alley roots, as it covers Special Operations Missions. It also covers a much wider scope than any of the previous books, as it deals with historical (both real and imagined) operations between 1940 and 2010.

The book is divided into 6 main parts. Firstly, there is an introduction to the book, and then there is a breakdown of special rules that are required for the scenarios. The scenarios are presented in 3 main sections, and then there is a discussion on a selection of current Special Operations Forces. In other books, this section would be a number of force lists. In this particular tome, however, much of the subject matter is still shrouded in secrecy, and so we are left only with the author’s deductions and best guesses.

The book is rounded off with a glossary and bibliography, along with a very useful guide to where you can purchase miniatures to play the games in the book.

As with the previous Cold War Gone Hot supplement, Classified has its 23 scenarios split across three different subject areas.

The first nine are based on historical actions, and are taken from operations in the Pacific Islands in World War 2, Vietnam, the East Bank of Sinai, Oman, Grenada, Panama, Syria and Afghanistan.

The second 11 scenarios are what are called ‘Generic’ scenarios – the sort of actions Special Forces usually undertake. These include missions such a Combat Search and Rescue, hostage rescue, raiding a terrorist training cams, a raid on an oil platform and two mini-campaigns: the first about the attempts to prevent a weapon ’package’ from falling into the wrong hands, the second is about gaining intelligence in Iran about a possible nuclear program.

The final 4 scenarios are inspired by Hollywood, and are based (if I’ve guessed correctly!) on the films ‘Guns of Navarrone’, ‘Predator’, ‘Act of Valour’ and ‘Clear and Present Danger’.

The book is presented in the now familiar format, with scenarios giving details of forces and the table layout presented as a map drawn on scraps of paper – I’m afraid I do not like this approach any better than when I first saw it.

The book is illustrated throughout with a mix of Osprey artwork, Department of Defense photographs or pictures of models. The vast majority of model pictures are from the Elheim Range, which since they are the ‘official’ Force-on-Force range is fair enough I suppose. The supplement does talk about a number of manufacturers from which you can purchase figures suitable to play the scenarios in this game, but perhaps it would have been nice to see more variety throughout the book.

For me, the biggest plus of this book is the size of the scenarios – considering that most of the games involve a relatively small number of figures, table sizes range from 2’ x 2’ to 4’ x 4’ (based on 15mm figures) – none of the large 6’ x 8’ + table sizes of some of the scenarios in the books on Afghanistan etc. so, as I said earlier, this really is a very welcome return to the smaller scenarios that were the norm when Ambush Alley first started – you can also play most of these scenarios without access to a huge model collection.

I’ve been looking forward to this particular scenario book ever since Osprey announced it last year – I’m pleased to report that I have not been disappointed.

 

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