Thursday, February 23, 2017

Combat Mission: Black Sea

This post is a bit of a divergence from the main topic of the blog, but hopefully people will see the linkages with 3mm gaming by the end of the post?!

Following on from my previous post on 1:1 gaming, I thought I'd share some of the inspiration.

A prolonged amount of time away from home has severely depleted my tabletop gaming time. So I have recently been doing a bit of computer gaming. I was put onto one excellent game by my mate, John. Produced by Battlefront (the computer game one, not the tabletop game one!), it's called Combat Mission: Black Sea. The game was released a couple of years ago and features a near-future conflict in Crimea in 2017 between NATO & Ukraine on one side, and Russia on the other. As it's now 2017, the game setting is very current and relevant!

Game play is very detailed and the simulation, AI, and data behind it is fantastic. It's very much a tactical level game, with battles at the platoon up to multi-battalion level. Real-world tactics are rewarded, in fact if you don't use them the game tends to be pretty punishing!! The game can be played either real-time or turn-based (each turn representing 1 minute of real time).  I prefer playing turn-based as its closer to what I'm used to with tabletop gaming. Real time is also fun; it goes quicker, but at the higher level of games there is a lot going on and you really need to prioritise your attention for orders (that's more realistic, but I prefer having more control!). There are even options for opposed online play, or play by email in turn-based mode. The latter I'd like to try at some stage down the track when I get more skilled at the game!

Some screen-shots are shown below. There are also some pretty good videos of game play on YouTube if you search for them - in some the players go through a whole game scenario so it's good for getting a feel for the game.

The view allows you to zoom right out for working out your high level maneuver plans and orders, and zoom right down to the lowest level to see the various troops moving and fighting. The screen-shots below show a mix of different levels of views, as well as various terrains and equipment. As I said, the level of detail is great!!

A nice rural wooded terrain

And again, zoomed out a bit

More open terrain, with village and river

Very open! Tanks forming up for assault.

The road into town...

M1A2 SEPs form up behind a wood before dashing across the fields.

Some nice fields and treelines. M2A2s in the treeline.

An urban terrain

More urban terrain. Plenty of carnage already going on here!

Another town.

Zoomed out aerial view of the same.

US armour bringing freedom to Ukraine.

Russian tank in reverse slope.

Ukrainian artillery spotter in MTLB.

Russian BMP-3s advance.

US tanks suppress a position.

Ukrainians dismount their BMPs.

So this is the link with 3mm gaming. The fantastic detail and gameplay of the computer game has provided me inspiration for some 1:1 gaming in this conflict. I'm thinking of bringing the scenarios and forces to the tabletop myself as I'm enjoying the challenge of the scenarios so much! I want to make up some forces, with which to play some of the CM:BS scenarios on the tabletop with 3mm minis at 1:1 level. Probably in either true 1:600 ground scale or (more likely) 1:1000 ground scale. I think it'll be awesome, and a very interesting (and current) topic.

The good news is pretty much all of the stuff needed to do CM:BS on the tabletop is available in the PicoArmor/O8 range, including: M1A2 SEP, M2A3, Stryker (all variants), M109A7, T-80, T-72 (various), BTR-80, -'80A, -82, BMP-2 (various), BMP-3, MTLB (various), Ukrainian BTR-4, T-64B and T-64BM Bulat. Various helicopters and other aircraft on both sides are also available. The only model I can think of that is currently missing in the O8 range is the T-84 Oplot, so I'm crossing my fingers that Marcin from O8 may see this and will do one of those soon!


  1. Hm, looks nice :-) Ill give it a try. If you like turn based PC games, maybe check out winSPMBT, quite old and hard to learn but addicting once you get into it. AI in generated battles is pretty stupid but scenarios and play by email are really worth it. Im playing it since 1998 for a reason :-P

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  2. Have to agree about Combat Mission Bish. I have the Beyond Normandy version and is hands down my favourite PC game. Completely immersive and brilliantly executed.
    I did use to play WinSPMBT, good game with tonnes of kit to choose from.

  3. Well done bish :-) downloaded the demo, got addicted, bought it yesterday. Awesome game. Ill challenge you once i got into it :-)

  4. Outstanding! Off to check this out now as its right up my alley!

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