Once Upon A Time in Chechnya

I hope everyone reading this had a good Christmas and a Happy New Year! Welcome back to the blog!

Over the Christmas break, we managed to squeeze in a few games. One of these was the play-test of Ninjasaurus Rex's 'Cross Fire of Irony', which he has been writing for about eight years... The rules are based loosely on Cross Fire and a Second World War 54mm skirmish game we played at Triples in Sheffield about twenty five years ago. Ninjasaurus' rules have gone through several revisions, but this latest version may be the definite (don't hold your breath though!).

The rules are intended to cover everything from 1950 through to near future and even sci-fi, but for this game we were covering a small scale skirmish in Chechnya in the 1990s. 

It also meant that we got to use some of Ninjasaurus' amazing scenery:

The game was a simple attack/defence scenario, the Russians were attacking with 2 BTR IFVs, carrying two sections of seven men (one LMG, one RPG and one sniper). These were faced off against seven Chechens, with one LMG, one RPG and a sniper, defending their village. These figures are organised into fire teams of two or individual figures in the case of the sniper.

The game uses a points system that dictates when the force breaks, casualties and morale results will reduce these points and they are based on the soldier's capabilities. So a force made up of poor troops will break quicker than one made up of veterans. The Russians began with 46 points (fourteen men and two vehicles), the Chechens with 33 (seven men), which gives you an idea of how good fighters the Chechens were compared to the Russian conscripts! When these points fall to zero, the force breaks and is forced to retreat off table as quickly as they can. This is an attempt to stop games turning into 'last man standing' results. A broken force will still fight, but has to fall back and can then continue taking casualties.

We began the first game with Ninjasaurus taking the Russian attackers and me taking the Chechen defenders. I placed my force across the table in cover and awaited the attack.

The best form of defence is attack and I opened fire with my LMG hiding behind a hedge at the Russians hanging onto the top of the lead BTR.

It caused no casualties, but it also meant that the BTR was within range of my RPG located in the cottage.

A direct hit brewed the BTR up instantly, plus practically wiped out the Soviet section hanging on top.

The two survivors dropped to the floor behind the vehicle and kept their heads down.

Meanwhile, I started moving my riflemen around the edge of the village and into the woods on Russian flank.

The rest of the Soviet section was wiped out by fire from my LMG and this led to the Russians reaching their breaking point.

The second section fell back along with the undamaged BTR, the first game was over and what a shock result! It ended a lot quicker than we thought but it was partly to do with the fact that my RPG caused such damage initially on the BTR.

As the first game only lasted an hour, we started a second game. Using the same forces, Ninjasaurus decided it would be better to send his men in on foot rather than on the hulls of the BTRs.

My LMG team on the edge of the field opened fire and pinned a Soviet soldier, however, their return fire was heavy and my men were quickly dispatched. Things were already different in this game.

He then began slowly nosing forward as the Soviet infantry moved into the woods on the side of the road.

I had hid my RPG in the cottage again, this was the best spot for it as I had a wide line of sight from this position.

Two times lucky and my RPG scored another deadly strike on the leading BTR. There were no Soviets on the hull this time though, so it wasn't such a big loss for his points.

RPG eye's view:

Soviet soldiers had crossed the hedge into the middle field and were attempting to cross the open ground only to come under fire from my hidden sniper. I killed the LMG team as they ran over the field, but missed his sniper.

The remaining Soviets were able to take cover behind the hedge but were in range of my RPG hiding in the cottage.

Losing off a shot from the RPG, the resulting explosion took down the Soviet RPG and pinned his comrades.

However, their return fire took out my RPG team in the cottage. I was now without any anti-tank defences!

That is when the second BTR rolled into range...

It faced down my sniper and there wasn't going to be any guesses as to who would win this one!

Sniper's eye view:

However, our heroic sniper managed to survive the first round of firing and went on to dispatch another Russian base, leaving them with only a sniper left from the first section.

Another burst of fire from the Soviet BTR and sniper took out my man. The Chechen defence had been whittled down to two rifle men, lurking in the woods.

However, it looked bad for me, but the Russians were teetering on the brink of collapse, I needed to destroy one more base to push them over the edge of defeat. With the Chechens being good at hand to hand combat the best way to do this was to attack the Soviet men in the burnt out cottage.

The Chechens got into the ruins, but were fired at by the BTR causing a suppression.

Pressing on, I recovered them and charged into the Soviets, looking to add more ears to my belt. It was a quick struggle and the Soviet conscripts posed no threat to the attacking Chechens. 

The Russian break point was reached, they had to begin falling back to their own lines and the game was mine!

Pride always comes before a fall and with the hubris of the previous turn, I charged into the remaining Russians in the woods. I thought I could do a hat-trick, but fate was against me and the Russian conscripts killed my remaining Chechens!

The game was still declared my victory as I had broken the Russians first, however, it felt a bit hollow and I should have allowed them to retreat.

That said, it was great fun, the game runs pretty well. There was a couple of changes made as we went along, largely to some smaller rules. When the rules are fully complete I will post them here for people to download, but that is something for the future!

Thanks for reading!


  1. Great looking table- the ruin especially so.

    The rules look interesting too, the Russians must have been really rated badly; are they available commercially?



    1. Thanks Pete, I cannot take any credit for the scenery. It all belongs to Mr Rex. But it is amazing!

      Yeah, the Russians were conscripts, so had a low morale, but a reasonable firing rating. They were also poor in hand to hand, as we thought they probably wouldn't stand their ground. The rules are still in a final draft state, but I'll post them up here when he finally finishes writing them!

  2. Phil, the Russians initially fared poorly in the first Chechen war. Their conscripts received only the minimum of training. In contrast, many Chechens were veterans who had fought in Afghanistan and were not afraid to get their hands dirty. During the war, the Russian forces adopted the tactic of standing off several hundred metres (if I recall correctly) to avoid putting their conscripts into close combat.


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