Wednesday, May 11, 2022

Prelude to battle

The beginning

I've been into a lot of different modelling hobbies for a while, but tabletop wargaming was not one of them, until quite recently. Actually it was my very good, and late friend Morten who first gave me the idea and gave it a spark. Unfortunately we didn't get to game together...

Knowing about nothing about this hobby, I turned to the internet in my search for information and wargaming-rules. I was actually put off a little when I saw the complexity, thick books and price on some of the games and miniatures, but I also found some easier ones which could be downloaded and printed for free and played with ordinary affordable army men. 

Since I was new to this and didn't know if this was something for me, I didn't want to spend a lot of money or time reading thick rule-books. Therefore I decided to test-play some of the free rules I found on the internet, to see if I liked it, and what kind of rules I preferred. Fast, very simple, D6-mechanics, 1:1, skirmish, playable and fun rules seemed to be the thing for me. The very first game I ever played was Pete Kautz' '1 Brain Cell Wargame', just using what I had to hand in the household, nothing fancy:

This is where it all started with my very first game; unpainted army men, Momin's house from my kids' old toys, folding ruler, tape-measure, books and magazines making up the terrain and scenery

Where to find them

After I while I found many different free rules on the internet that I could play with easily available and cheap Army men. My favorite sources for free wargame rules are:

Actually I found more rules on these pages that I'll have ever time to play them all. While trying to obtain even more information and others experience with some of these rules, I was searching the internet again for some battle-reports, AARs, playthroughs and feedbacks on them, but didn't actually find so many. Does anyone play them at all, or is it just seldom that wargamers post AARs on such rules??  Please share your experience in the comments. 

Therefore I plan to play some of  those free, fast, simple, skirmish, playable and fun rules I find most apealing and post a short AAR on them here in this blog, and perhaps someone might find it helpful. To easier to compare the different rulesets with each other, I think it's fair to play them with the same scenario.

The scenario

Unlike the free wargame rules, I did not find as many free and ready skirmish wargame scenarios to base my coming games upon. Some of the rulesets them selves often contain some very easy 'scenarioes' and winning-conditions, but they're just too basic. Therefore I got inspired by one of  The United Nations largest mission in both scale and operational scope during the Congo Crisis 1960-65 (United Nations Operation in the Congo (ONUC)) ,when UN troops 'peacekeeping' was more offensive 'peace enforcement' with use of force and had several clashes with the breakaway state of Katanga.

This skirmish is finding place in fictional place of Lumbaya in the early January of 1963, when the UN during operation 'Grand Slam' are turning their attention to the remaining Katangese strongholds in Southern Katanga after after securing the Katangese capitol of √Člisabethville.

Lumbaya is a very small village located 80km south west of √Člisabethville, and is made into a stronghold by a small and imrovised platoon of Katangese Gendarmes. The village is one of several strongholds in the area trying to hold the UN off while trying to keep the self-proclaimed president Tshombe by power of the self-proclaimed Katanga state.

The road to the fictional village of Lumbaya

  • Katangese:
    • 2 rifle-squads each of 10 soldiers, a LMG and and a bazooka/flame thrower. Each squad can operate as 2 fireteams independently. 
    • 1 HMG-detachment of 3 soldiers
    • 1 sniper
    • HQ-section with platoon-leader and 2 medics
    • TheKatangese Gerdarmerie

    • After turn 12 if the rules include vehicles or skilled troops: A QRF consisting of 1 truck with a HMG and a section of 10 'veterans' with assault guns, a LMG and a bazooka arrives from the next village. Only if Lumbaya is still held by Katangese forces though.
    • The QRF
  • UN:
    • 1 Platoon of 3 rifle-squads each of 8 soldiers and a LMG. The squads can operate independently.
    • 1 Light mortar-detachment of  2 soldiers and an observer
    • 1 bazooka-detachment of 3 soldiers
    • HQ-section with platoon-leader
    • 1 Jeep with HMG and 2 soldiers. If rules do not include vehicles, the Jeep must stay stationary with the HMG at the deployment-zone. 


  • Katangese: To hold the strongpoint of Lumbaya. Can request QRF-support as mentioned in the force-section from turn 12 if still holding whole or part of the strongpoint.
  • UN: To take and hold the strongpoint of Lumbya, preferably within 12 turns, and take control on as many Katangese gendarms located there as possible.

Let the Game(s) begin!

In Memoriam Morten Melsnes


  1. Some other forces on the Kantanganese side would be white mercenaries and Belgian settlers,
    I played a Congo game a little later than this battle with the Simba revolt when I painted Red Indians and 8th Army conversions as the Maoist tribal rebels against mercs in jeeps and Belgian paratroopers, the aim being to rescue the civilian hostages before they get massacred.

    1. I think Airfix Australians will look good for mercenaries in this conflict, but they are not easy to be found here in Norway. I had to take what I had to hand. Maybe for later games if I can find any.
      There are so many games to be played....

      When I start publish my AARs from the different games, I will post photosof them in action as well.


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