Thursday, February 11, 2010

First Foray with Flying Lead

Ganesha Games' latest product, Flying Lead
"Flying Lead (written by Rich Jones and Andrea Sfiligoi, $8 pdf, 48 pages with two variant covers) can be used to play tabletop actions in a wide range of genres. From gang warfare to pulp action, from military operations to black-clad assassins, Flying Lead supplies furious fun at bullet speed! Lead a gang of mobsters, play cops vs crooks, or enter the brutal world of covert special operations and espionage. But will you have the guts to lead your force to glory in world where a street punk or an armed fanatic can blow you away as effectively as a trained soldier? Pick your force, roll those dice and find out!" -from the Ganesha Games website
We've had a blast playing Song of Blades and Heroes, admittedly though, we've only got three games under our belts, it's still one of those games that's fun to play and easy to grasp. Also, there is that sweet spot where you can use whatever the heck figs you want to. There's some good SBH reports to peruse here if you haven't already.

So now the same company comes out with Flying Lead, in the same vein as the Song of Blades, but applied to a gun-toting, modern genre. Many of the same mechanics apply, like quality of troops compared to what you need to roll on a d6 for actions. Hero activation and the like are also very similar. Instead of having a rune-axe toting Dwarf, you've got a 1920's mobster, or the like. With our first couple of games we went modern military.

The fictional desert town of Falujahstan

You know, I've actually got mixed feelings about doing modern military. I can't exactly pin it down, and I'm not adverse to it, but there's still a scratching at the back of my mind about it. Never thought about it before, but then again, I've never gamed "true modern military" before either. Maybe that's why I'm kinda adverse to Flames of War?

Anyway, we used Andy's collection of 20mm US troops and 'middle eastern' insurgents. The rule book has stats for Army Rangers, which is what we used here, and I'm not sure what the opposing force was statted out with. The figs looked great, the scale is a good mix between 'tiny' and 'heroic' and, as always, Andy has slapped good paint on 'em.

The "parking lot"

Insurgent forces

Chrispy and I played one another in the first game while Andy adjudicated the rules. After a couple of turns though, it all came back to me just from what exposure I had with SBH. There's some obvious big changes, namely the heavy reliance on ranged weaponry, but you can still use the range counters used in SBH. It was a disaster for my side. Bad rolls will spell your doom any day of the week on the tabletop, but using them as an excuse is equally bad. For whatever reason though, I had my left flank decimated. I couldn't pass any activation rolls, I couldn't hit the broadside of a barn with full-auto rifles, it was sad.

The town center

Corporal McIntyre

We may have been testing the rules, but I was done and conceded the game, I guess about halfway through. Andy jumped out of his seat, bravado to the brim, accused me of being "outplayed" and valiantly took over. I say this all in jest of course, but he did take over. And accuse me of being outplayed. He fared better than I, consolidating troops and not taking as many risks with activation rolls. US troops had rolled up one flank already and were getting dug in for the long haul to hold the center of the table.

Opening fire at close range

Insurgents advance around an oil tower

In the second game I took Andy head on, he stuck with the insurgents and I commanded the US troops. I tried to move up the middle quickly and get some nice lanes of fire laid out while sticking to cover. One unit was able to storm a building and set up overwatch from a rooftop. The other unit though got chewed up pretty badly while taking cover behind the plaza's fountain. I learned from mistakes in the first game, but honestly, having better quality troops went a long way, it felt I was able to "do more stuff".

US troops hunker down on a rooftop

Troops advance down excellent hills from

The rules were fast and fun, I'll play them again. Having played SBH helped out a lot more than I thought it would, but it's not necessary, I think you'll pick it up in one game or less regardless. For a mere eight bucks you get the PDF and it's money well spent. We played squad-based military ops, but you can do pretty much anything that involves guns. There's rules for World War II, mobsters, pulp, near-future, and everything in between. There's even stats for Stargate type operations, cleverly titled "Star Portal". I tell you, there's something very appealing about running a modern A-Team type scenario...

"Get through that window trooper, pronto!"


  1. How did this compare to the other games out there?

  2. It was very accessible, easy-to-grasp, and easy to get right down to grips with. It adds a nice tension element in that it doesn't guarantee your whole army will go when you want it to.

    They gave us a solid enough engine where we can have good enough rules transparency fair quickly, giving us more time to work on other things like scenarios, factions, special occasions, and the like.

  3. Thanks for the report. With little time for gaming, I'm quite fond of Song of Blades and Heroes. It works really well for solo play too. I'm interested in Flying Lead for WWII. Does it include rules for tanks, jeeps (cars), mortars, etc? Or is it all small arms? I bought a copy of NUTS! a while back, but haven't played it yet. Have you? If so, how do the two skirmish games compare?

  4. I've played enough Chain Reaction/5150/2 Hour Wargames to comment I think on NUTS!.

    I know Flying Lead better written (just more clear), faster to learn, and after just one game of them, I feel just as comfortable as I do (maybe moreso) with countless games of 5150.

    There are vehicle rules in it, can't remember specifics, but I know it *specifically* has WWII trooper stats in it.

    For just $8 bucks, it's at least worth checking out and comparing the two.

  5. Great review. I just ordered it today, and sent it over to Kinkos for printing. Can't wait to get home and crack it open!

    -Ray 'Doc Simian'