Monday, 26 February 2018

Lock 'n Load Tactical

Last year I played my 1st game of Advanced Squad Leader for about 30 years and although I quite enjoyed it (we played a very simplified introduction game which didn't come with the dissertation level rule book) I found it less satisfying than some other WW2 boardgames such as Heroes of Normandie...probably still my favourite boardgame in this setting.

Last week I had the chance to try out an alternative to ASL...Lock 'n Load Tactical.  There are lots of games in this series (including confusingly a Heroes of Normandy set...but spelled with  a 'y' at the end rather than an 'ie'!). We played a scenario from the introductory game: this is a relatively cheap starter game which gives players a chance to try out the mechanics in a couple of scenarios before committing to investing the system which is quite a nice idea. As this can be picked up for less than a tenner it's pretty good value.   We played out the WW2 scenario but the game also includes a Vietnam scenario which would be good to try at some point.

The game set a squad of US paratroopers the task of defending a cluster of buildings against a larger German force who have a tight time limit to occupy key buildings.  The mechanics were quite ASL-ish to my untrained eye, but seemed a lot simpler.  Units take alternate turns to activate and can either move or fire (and in some cases 'move and fire') or engage in Hand to Hand.  Units can only be fired on if they have been spotted and this resets each turn so flushing out the enemy by sending out sacrificial squads to draw fire and identify the enemy became a key tactic.

The scenario was actually very nicely balanced with my Germans almost, but not quite, achieving their objective of seizing key buildings.  In the  end I'd driven the enemy out of all the buildings but could only occupy the last one with a Leader rather than a squad which didn't count for victory purposes but at least I could claim some kind of moral high ground!

Well worth checking out, especially at the cheap price.  There are lots of additional games in the Lock 'n Load series including assorted WW2 theatres, Vietnam, Modern etc...I'm not sure whether it retains the relative simplicity as it grows into the full version but worth having keeping an eye out for.

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