Tuesday 16 September 2014

"No End In Sight" Rules Overview/Review by Nathaniel Weber

By Nathaniel Weber
Available here: Wargame Vault for $14.99

Hey all—I played a game of the new modern combat rules "No End in Sight," with my 15mm forces. This was my first game of the system, so I went small, with a couple squads a side. This AAR is more review than game summary, though I have included pics (of course).

The game (by Nordic Weasel games, the same guy who do Five Men in Normandy and Five Parsecs from Home, plus the older Fast and Dirty) is intended for post-WWII/ultra modern/near future fire fights—perfect for my Kyushan War of Independence setting (a sci-fi setting that blends different aspects of Vietnam, GWOT, and other modern conflicts with sci-fi stuff). There is talk by the author of doing a sci-fi version soon. I'm not financially affiliated with the author.

The main emphasis in No End in Sight is the difficulty an infantry unit has functioning when in the face of the enemy. As long as you're moving in cover, out of enemy sight, things are fairly easy; but moving against the enemy becomes much more difficult.

Squad leaders roll for activation points each turn, getting a couple of attempts to fight their squad before burning out (squad leaders accrue "stress" and eventually become "exhausted," which prevents them from acting further in a turn). Other factors also accrue stress, such as taking casualties past a maximum allowance.

Movement out of sight of the enemy, or in cover, is done in small, regular increments. Movement in sight of the enemy and in the open can only be conducted in "rushes"—unpredictable bursts of movement by your troops, which may trigger enemy reaction fire and lead to your men getting pinned down. Reaction fire is done very simply—if there are any enemy in sight, the opposing player gets one free attack against you (two if there are tons of enemies around, or if any of them have a sustained fire weapon). This doesn't sound like much, but when combined with the unpredictable rushes (which leave you pinned down if they don't take you across the open terrain you were hoping to bound), reaction fire is more than capable to halting your forward momentum.

Fire combat is simple, with only a handful of D6s rolled per combat. Fire mostly inflicts pinning, with casualties much less likely. You can also get stuck in short-range firefights (assaults), which are more lethal but allow the enemy to shoot, too.

In my test game, the two opposing forces moved up into contact. Then, the battle broke down into two firefights, each over control of different avenues of approach up the middle of the board. The Kyushans had the initial upperhand, inflicting several casualties on the Feds, but the Federals were then able to mass and get a firepower advantage. However, a Kyushan counter-attack on one flank was successful, throwing back a Federal squad. A similar assault on the other side of the board brought the Federals forward, however. Throughout the game, enemy troops holding key pieces of terrain---overlooking alleys or streets---forced the other side to either take an alternate route or get stuck in. The game ended with too much stress built up for the opposing squad leaders—once too many permanent stress points build up (caused by excessive casualties), squad leaders are left without options. Tactically, it was a draw.

My initial thoughts about the game are very positive. It's one of the few games I've played, maybe the only one, where a key phenomenon of modern warfare was reproduced: a single soldier, with an automatic weapon, can control a stretch of open ground such that the enemy cannot move across it without risk. More impressively, the game manages to do this without mass tabletop slaughter—he's holding that stretch through suppressing fire and simple threat, not because he can kill 2 or 3 enemy figures every time he fires. The way that reaction fire and moving against the enemy work in the game are very cool.
I was bit miffed by the movement rates, however—3" for infantry out of sight of the enemy, D6" for the rushes. On the one hand, the author intended this to reflect the limited knowledge your troops have of the battlefield—they usually move cautiously, only charging in bursts to cross what they know to be dangerous areas.

Squad leaders rolling for activation points also caused a bit of frustration in the early phase of the game, as troops are moving into position before the battle starts. The rules suggest some options if that bothers you, which I think I might use next time.

The game has rules for vehicles, heavy weapons, and a thorough campaign section, but I haven't tried those out yet.

Overall, I really liked the game and love the "friction" element of reaction fire and crossing that "dangerous ground". (The game has some echoes of Crossfire, in that way.) I'll play more games and will definitely pick up the sci-fi version when it comes out.

(Figures are: Rebel Minis Sahadeen and Oddzial Osmy Nova Vistula Legion. Paper terrain by Black Ronin Games, with a few additional pieces by World Works Games, and some downloaded from free sites.)


  1. Thanks for sharing this. Just out of curiousity, does this share a similar engine to five men in normandy, or is it a very different/distinct system?

  2. Author here; It's an original system, written for platoon level combat.
    It has some similarities though (shock and kill dice, though they work differently, limits on what you can do each turn etc.)

  3. Hi,

    SOunds really interesting, both this one and the scifi version (I was searching for infos on the scifi game and found this blog post) : is the game include solo rules ?


    1. Cheers. There are some solo tools to help make decisions and carry out a game, but it's not a full featured system like in Nuts or 5150.

      That being said, the rules get a LOT of solo play so they can't be too bad.

      Hope that helps!