Alternative Cold War History 1994

Facebook | Twitter | Blog | Email us

The Scenarios so far

31 July, 2018 | General News

As of today (3 Aug 2018) 45 scenarios in the Fury series have been released to the Community Pack. With three more in the works, it’s probably a good time to summarize the status of the series so far.

As mentioned on the Grogheads podcast, a few of these scenarios germinated about 25 years ago with the original Harpoon, and about seven or eight were built for Harpoon Admirals Edition. It was COMANO however that made it possible to really dig into the detail that I’ve been trying to achieve. The scenarios describe a story, and from that story Joel and I are creating the books. It’s an iterative process and certainly one that is enjoyable to design.

A frequent question is: ‘_Why don’t you do the scenarios in sequence?_’ Well the response to that is threefold:

1) I build the scenarios for fun. I find it enjoyable and relaxing; when inspiration hits me I tend to strike when the iron is hot. At any one time I can have between 3 and 10 scenarios in various stages of building. If I was plodding through from one to the next, sticking to a schedule, it would become too much like work. I don’t want that.

2) The scenarios are a means to an end. The books are the ultimate goal, so if Joel and I need to work out a tricky bit in a scene, or do a couple ‘what if’ situations, that scenario goes to the top of my list.

3) Finally, the game or more correctly my own limitations regulate things a bit. Case in point is the ‘Cargo’ module in COMANO; I knew it was in the works, and several of the scenarios would certainly benefit from it. So I put those on hold for a while and moved on until the Cargo function became available. When it was, real life and some other stuff got in the way and I realized that it might be prudent to practice on a smaller situation first.  Northern Fury called for landing a Marine Expeditionary Force on a contested shore – somewhat complex - so ‘Indian Ocean Fury #4 – Gate of Tears’ became my testbed. Once I understood the mechanics better it was back to Northern Fury, so Northern Fury #25 – 'Jar Heads on Ice’ followed by #26 – 'Land of Fire & Ice’ coming out shortly will fill that gap.

I should also mention ‘Lua’.  That's the coding language used by COMANO, it’s very powerful and quite usable – but I am an old dog and this is a new trick. While I'm starting to get the hang of using it, there are still some conceptual bits that bounce off my forehead like tennis balls on Chobham armour! I really need to thank guys like michaelm75au, Kushan, Coiler12, Bostonmyk, CK, apache85, angster, and TyphoonFr, as well as many others for their patience and help.

The core of the story is the North Atlantic, the opening moves as well as several of the key foci of the Soviet plan take pace here. Therefore let’s put our Oilskins and Sou'westers on, and start there:

Northern Fury is, by far, the most advanced campaign with 39 scenarios completed as of this past week, and # 26 'Land of Fire & Ice’ almost ready for testing. So with 40 scenarios in the hopper, this campaign is quite immersive - and dauting.  The story is about to enter the end game, so I’m going to put this campaign on hold for a while until the rest can catch up. A full list of the scenarios can be found on the Northern Fury Website, to summarize so far:

• The first eight scenarios are real nail biters for NATO. In many ways the objective is to survive without losing too badly as opposed to gaining a tactical win. Operationally you’re gaining time. These are tough scenarios, but very interesting. When you play them, realize that you will get your butt kicked, but learn many valuable lessons on how the Soviets (in Northern Fury) will fight the war. The player’s resources grow over time and it’s much easier to do well in #8 than in #1 or #2. Joel has created some fantastic write ups on these and a few other scenarios on Grogheads, you can find links to them here.

• Scenario #9 – 'Hold the Line’ is one of my favorites, and one of the first produced for COMANO. The player has the USS Enterprise Battle Group and needs to blunt the Soviet thrust. Marking the ‘end of the beginning’, this one could go either way.

• The next phase is where NATO gathers its strength. Scenarios #10 and #11 put the player in command of significantly more combat power than they’ve had before, but the problems are much more diverse as well. Scenario #12 is a bit of a fun distraction, much less intense and with some interesting angles and insights.

• One week after the war begins and now is the time where NATO can start counterattacking. The next ten scenarios (13 to 22) show a wide gamut of situations all aimed at isolating the Soviet forces on Iceland. Small Special Forces oriented vignettes such as #13, #15 and #17 are counterpoise by large and complex situations such as those in #14, #18 and #20. A submarine based situation depicted in #16 – 'Sub Surge’ is probably the most difficult of the series and the amphibious focused #22 – 'Vagar Vengeance’ is probably the most fun.

• Retaking Iceland is the object of the next four scenarios (23 to 26). These are complex because of the cargo feature, and a smattering of operational decisions the player will need to make, but not overly difficult. Ample resources are available to the player plus the enemy is isolated and off balance. I’m still completing #26 but it should be out for testing shortly.

• Scenario #27 – 'Out on a Limb’ reminds the player that the Soviets still have some fight left in them. A good player with a judicious application of discretion should survive this one intact, otherwise bad things might happen.

• Now the player goes back to Norway. The next fourteen scenarios (28 to 39 and 42) that have been completed and are all about stopping the Soviets from seizing southern Norway, stabilizing the situation and beginning the counter-attack. Scenarios #40 and #41 have not been built yet but will also fit into this package. A wide range of situations are presented in this phase from small convoy actions (#28) to Special Forces insertions (#33) to massive multi-carrier thrusts (#35). Lots of fun to be had.

• Scenarios 43 to 49 will be all about the amphibious and airborne assault on northern Norway. The Soviets are certainly not toothless and they cannot be isolated as easily as they were in Iceland, so there’ll be some good old fashioned fighting here.

• Scenarios 50 to 57 (or maybe 58) represent the end game. A massive NATO force facing a potent and cornered foe. Should be fun.

Caribbean Fury is a much smaller, only one scenario of an eventual five are complete. Caribbean Fury #1 – 'Hot Tamales’ is quite busy with some tense moments. The remainder, except for one, should be much more sedate and interesting, focused on planning and use of limited resources to achieve the mission.

Mediterranean Fury is not fully fleshed out yet. One scenario is built, Mediterranean Fury #3 – 'Casaba Crunch’ which I used as a placeholder to work out time and space. The Med, in addition to being full of nasty close courters fighting, turns into a bit of a transit zone, mostly for US and NATO aircraft carriers but also for logistics ships. In total there are ten scenarios planned for this theater, initially a Soviet push on the Bosporus followed by the defeat in succession of Lybia/Algeria, Syria and finally a bit of work in the Balkans.

Baltic Fury is also in its infancy. Baltic Fury #1 – 'Storm the Gates’ will be released for testing shortly and should be quite intense. The remainder, probably a total of five, will examine various specific situations in the region, and is fundamentally linked to the campaign in Norway.

Indian Ocean Fury is a theater which will have about eight or nine scenarios. The first five are complete; actually the fifth is still undergoing its last round of testing. These scenarios were both very interesting and quite fun to build and play. The Middle East is an area that we’ve dedicated quite a bit of time and attention to since the Gulf War in 91, but the Northern Fury situation truly shows how much of a military backwater it is, and will become during a global war. Economy of effort is the watchword for both sides – gain and maintain freedom of navigation with the minimal force necessary. Of course there is always the potential of a secondary war erupting between India and Pakistan, not to mention African interests and instability.

The linked video is more modern than the 1994 Fury series but does a good job explaining the situation.

Pacific Fury will be big. Probably 20+ scenarios and none of them built yet. Forces structures, overall strategy of both protagonists and many of the smaller players is worked out, as is a rough scenario breakdown – but that’s about it. I am looking forward to building these but I anticipate that the Med, Caribbean and Baltic will be largely complete before work will start.

So there you have it. In total there are between 106 and 109 planned scenarios so I’m just under half way through. While not committing to a schedule, I think there are at least four or five years of scenarios to come yet since I try and average one a month. Lots to look forward to.

Players Guide: Many have expressed concern that the scenarios are too complex for beginner and even some intermediate players, and I can certainly sympathize. Throughout my scenarios I’m trying to build a resourceful, resilient and capable foe; realistic but daunting. But not all of the scenarios are difficult, and not all of the scenarios are created equal. First, you don’t need to play them all in sequence – that’s what the books will do for you, and Joel’s reviews will help explain the early situation. The key is to have fun, and learn both the game and the tactics used. I’ve been playing in this genre for 30 years and this game since it came out in 2013 – and I still learn stuff every single time I play.

For the novice its probably best to tackle the scenarios in this order:

1. Scenario #4 ‘A Cold and Lonely Place’: This is not the easiest one to win, but playing as NATO you only have a handful of units and you’re immersed into the story. Play again as the Soviet and your resources go up substantially. This is one of the few two sided situations I’ve built and its good fun on both sides.

2. Scenario #12 ‘Command at Sea’: Again, only a handful of units but an interesting situation. Winning is very do-able but there are a few surprises.

3. Scenario #13 ‘Cutting the Tether’: One of several Special Forces based situations (#15, #17 & #33 as well but the later is quite complex), will get you into coordinating dissimilar capabilities. Good fun and quick.

4. Now you have a choice. If you want to stay in the North Atlantic, try Scenario #8 ‘Plug the Gap’, it can be tricky but does introduce you to coordinating carrier (HMS Invincible) and land base forces as well as submarines. For a more diverse situation you may wish to take a cruise with ‘Vince’s’ sister ship, HMS Ark Royal in Indian Ocean Fury #2 ‘Mozambique Madness’ the name says it all.

5. To get involved with US Aircraft Carrier action, the best one to start with is probably #10 ‘Eisenhower moves North’. It’s not a simple scenario, but you’re unlikely to be mauled.

6. From this point you can probably move to any of the harder situations. If you want to carry on with CVNs you should probably go to #9 ‘Hold the Line’ followed by #11 ‘Changing of the Guard’ but be warned that this one has three carriers and an enemy hunting for blood.

7. For submarine based scenarios, go with #32 ‘Sneak & Peek’ first. I’d stay away from #2 ‘X-Ray Station’ and #16 ‘Sub Surge’ until you are a master with the Silent Service DLC.

8. For a manageable campaign, the first five Indian Ocean Fury games are good fun. Another option is #1 ‘H-Hour’ followed by #5 ‘Bardufoss Blues’ and #6 ‘Trondheim Express’. You’ll be hammered in #1 but don’t despair, help is on the way.

9. Scenarios to stay away from until you are quite confident are the two submarine base situations already mentioned, #18 ‘Ant Eaters Revenge’ until you really know your SEAD business, and #27 ‘Out on a Limb’ until you fully understand using the electronic spectrum.

I hope that helps you get over the new player jitters – although I cannot be the judge, many have told me that these are good and immersive scenarios. Well worth playing I think.

Please note that if you find any issues or something is not working properly in the scenarios, let me know and it'll go on the 'Fix List'.  From time to time, I'll go back and tidy things up.

I truly hope you enjoy playing them as much as I enjoy building them.