Thursday 3 March 2011

In The Pipe.....The Road To Baghdad from Osprey Publishing

Accompanying the forthcoming Osprey Publishing release of Force on Force from Ambush Alley Games is Road to Baghdad: Iraq 2003.

Now, let me set my stall out straight away. The recent middle eastern wars are not a big interest for me right now. I follow the operations in Afghanistan because it has echoes of the 'Police Actions' chart in classic Traveller: Book 4 Mercenary. And in 1979 I would probably have looked on the modern soldier as a Sci Fi warrior anyway. Hold that thought.

Road to Baghdad like Force on Force is a sumptuous publication. I have to say that both publications are the most impressive visually of Osprey's titles to date. Good photos of minis, real troops in action and seeded throughout with colour illustrations from current military Osprey stock.

So what do you get in the 104 pages? Well, theres a short background to the operations recreated in the book, 19 scenarios divided into 3 broad groupings and finally a selection of American and British sample unit organisations.

The first selection of scenarios are pulled together under the banner Marching Up Country with the USMC. 10 scenarios which take the USMC into the heart of Saddam's Reich. This is followed by 6 scenarios of The Armoured Spearhead following the US Army and finally 3 Special Forces Engagements. This works out at 79p a scenario.

All the scenarios follow the same pattern. Background, Historical Outcome, Scenario Information including  sketch map & suggested table size, Special Rules, individual force missions, victory points and and TOEs. Some scenarios also have the trademark Ambush Alley Reinforcement Table.

The games themselves offer a wide range of tactical situations. You are looking at squad to platoon sized affairs in the most part. Two foot by Two/Three foot tables. Most importantly, it's ALL do-able by average joe wargamer. This isn't one of those pretty 'Cosmo' lifestyle scenario books that requires you to give up your life savings and 10 years of your retirement to collect all the terrain and figures necessary. YOU can do this.

What would I would have liked to have seen added to Road to Baghdad? First is an at a glance round up of the figures and vehicles required for each scenario as per Too Fat Lardies' Vyazma or Bust. Perhaps Shaun can add this to the website. Second, less important, but maybe not, a page on painting suitable miniatures for Road to Baghdad by Piers.

So where does this sit with me as a Sci Fi gamer? Men are men. In a hundred years time, two hundred, who knows, men possibly cybernetically enhanced, are still going to have to patrol dusty hillsides, hunt down insurgents through the back streets of some dirtball colony and blast their way through Indian country to topple a tyrant or overlord or alien hve mind. Change your USMC to Felids, your Fedayheen to Spugs or Iraqi rabble militia to low grade combat androids and Road to Baghdad will deliver.

Available to Pre Order 
from Osprey Publishing



  1. I'm going to save my pennies for 'Tomorrow's War' but it's good to hear its an impressive, sumptuous publication because I hope that release gets similar treatment!

  2. Near Future and even Far Future science fiction ports over easily from a Modern setting, as long as you've got a good framework of rules to plug the units into, with stats and features that cover close combat and ranged fire.

    Having a powerhouse like Osprey putting out rules is a good thing. The miniatures world has been needing the equivalent of GURPS or other universal system for a long time. I know folks have tried it (I did, with the Hellion System. Went nowhere), but few have pulled it off.

    With some tweaking, the right rules system can be most things to most people, and handle scenarios from cavalry charges, war-mages and iron golems, house-to-house Falluja battles (with armored support), and powered armor vs. superheros. Hopefully the Osprey rules are up to it.


  3. Using the Ambush Alley rules for SF battles has worked well for me and is my preferred system at this time because of solo play, the SF add on Tomorrows War is great. Proxy figures are the way to go for Force on Force. I thought about playing the scenarios in the book but one scenario alone rapidly reached £100 just for the vehicles.

  4. Cheers for another honest comment on the forthcoming books! I do look forward to this supplement most as I currently put finishing touches on my US Army for the "Road To Baghdad".