Black Ops on the tabletop

Black Ops is a skirmish wargame of tactical espionage combat that recreates the tension and excitement of modern action-thrillers such as the Bond and Bourne films.

The fast-play rules keep all the players in the thick of the action, while the mission generator provides a wide range of options for scenarios – from stealthy extraction or surveillance missions to more overt raids and assaults. Stealth, combat, and technical expertise all have a role to play, and players may recruit a number of different operative types – spies, mercenaries, criminals, hackers, special forces, and many more – to recruit the best possible team for the job. Players may also choose to join a faction – powerful organizations, intelligence agencies, criminal syndicates, militaries, or rebel groups, each with a stake in international affairs. By doing so, their team may receive certain benefits, but may also find itself limited at a crucial time. With the variety offered by the characters, factions, and scenarios, no two games of Black Ops should ever be the same!

Black Ops is a card driven game for two or more players and to start out you are probably going to be looking at four to eight models a side, personally I think I might goi for some Spectre miniatures.

As you can see they are a very nice special forces miniatures and there ‘opposition’ range is just as good.

One thing that really stood out for me in the rule book isnt the card driven activation system or the d6 combat sytem but the Stealth Missions, these are where the money is in this ruleset, imagine if you will a small special operation force trying to get into a heavily guarded enemy compound to steal a hard drive that has all of the most wanted terrorists plans and ideas on. You know the plot line there are more books and films about this kind of thing than you can shake a loaded MP5 at, well thats what Stleath Missions will let you do. Here is a quick run through of how it works, the defender sets up some of his forces that are allowed to start on the table, the attacker then sets up and tries to carry out his mission ‘undisturbed’

The enemy forces are controlled by rolling a dice and carrying out the instructions as defined for that dice roll, the attackers ‘generate; noise tokens during the turn which could force the alarm to be raised, I wont go into detail on the noise tokens but needless to say running around shooting guards is going to generate a lot more than sneaking around.

Once the alarm has been triggered all the enemy forces come totally under the controll of the player and it becomes a normal game where the players play against each other like normal.

Some games try to build in these A.I. enemies and some fail really badly, just recently there have been some really good versions of an intelligent AI to play tabletop games against, this method although not entirely brilliant is very solid attemp, it is made easier by the fact that the miniatures being controled by the Dice driven AI are only patroling around a compound. It would be interesting to see if Osprey try and take this further in either another game or a generic rule set.

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