Shoot: A Bad Day at Market 

Welcome back!

The following is an account of a homebrew scenario we whipped up for an afternoon-long game using Ambush Alley Games’ Force on Force system and stats. We took inspiration largely from the roles played by USMC forces in recent Middle East actions, and perhaps a bit from Battlefield 3. 

The Setup

In a large urban center (of unspecified location) a section of US Marines has been stationed in a fortified firebase to conduct public relations and recon for local insurgency. Recently, insurgent activity in the area has spiked to alarming levels, and intel indicates that it may be due to an international terrorist cell operating in the region.

At 1000hrs, as the base’s few Humvees are occupied elsewhere, a patrol of Marines is sent on foot into one of city’s danger zones (centered around a marketplace and nearby mosque) to provide a necessary show of authority for the locals and check three major intersections (A, B, C) for IEDs and insurgent activity. The catch: a meeting between insurgent and terrorist groups has just recently taken place in the area and, counting on the patrol’s routine timing, oppositional forces are staged for an ambush.

US Marine Corps
Mission Details:
Intel indicates this area is riddled with insurgent activity, and though the Humvees are elsewhere we can’t risk leaving it unattended. While on foot patrol, you must:

  • Secure the market and the three nearby intersections.
  • Scout intersections for possible IED threats and insurgent activity
  • Link with the Humvee patrol teams, which will be en route through the area by turn 7.
  • Exit west with Humvee escourt, by Avenue India, heading back to base.

Opposition Forces
Mission Details:
The exchange of payment for weapons has already taken place, but you wish to show the Terrorist leader your zeal against the infidels by demonstrating a successful ambush of an American patrol. You must:

  • Engage with Marine foot patrol long enough to draw the Humvee patrol into combat.
  • Using an IED or other methods, destroy one or both of the Humvees and kill all surviving Marines.

The Action

Just as planned, the Marines — three fireteams and a search dog team — enter the area on foot by Avenue Oscar, headed for the marketplace.

Meanwhile, some distance away in the first clusters of shanty-town structures, two six-man insurgent teams (fresh from their meeting with international terrorists) are stirring with word of Americans near.

As the Marines round the first corner…

… the insurgent teams begin crossing Intersection B.


Beginning a new turn, things start to heat up as third insurgent team appears on a side road south of Avenue India.

Seeking a secure entry into the crowded marketplace, the dog team and a fireteam split off, approaching from the north, while the other two teams continue down the connecting street.

The shanty-town insurgents move into some shops just east of the market, lying in wait to strike…

… and despite being almost in view of the Marines, the third team approaches the market with weapons drawn.

A new turn,  and though no shots have been fired, the Marines are already close to outnumbered, with a fourth insurgent team entering on the east side of Avenue Oscar.

The first team of Marines cautiously attempt to enter the marketplace, eying the locals silently. The locals return the favor, and don’t seem pleased.

Suddenly, two shots! An insurgent sniper opens fire on the lead Marine team.

One of the Marines goes down, status unknown. The rest — adrenaline pumping now — immediately scan the windows and rooftops, but are unable to find the source.

At once, the dog team takes charge, quickly dispersing the locals.

But just then, the third insurgent team reaches the market, and opens fire on the lead team. Two more Marines fall.

Worse, a team of hardened terrorist guards emerges from a nearby compound building, headed towards the now haulted Marines. Still, the Marines refuse to fall back.

The fourth insurgent team, northwest of the shooting, dashes down Avenue Oscar towards the Marines.

Resistance is springing up fast. The other two Marine teams huddle in the cover of two small houses and attempt to establish a perimeter…

…but to no avail! First one, and then two shanty-town insurgent teams emerge from the shops to the east and open fire. The dog team puts up a strong fight, but is the first to go down.

Like moths to fire, two more insurgent teams enter on Avenue Oscar and rush toward the shooting.

Casualties mounting for the Marines, the insurgent team south of the market rushes in — but the lead Marine team (now one man down, one seriously wounded) escapes to a nearby garage just in time.

But the terrorist team watches as the Marines drag their wounded across the street, and stealthily approach the garage.

A firefight continues north of the marketplace between the insurgents and the two Marine teams, with nowhere to escape to. The dog team is kept down under a hailstorm of bullets.

Meanwhile on the connecting street, the rear team of Marines catch sight of the approaching terrorists, but are too late to stop their advance on the crippled forward team.

Another insurgent team, running full speed down Avenue Oscar, bursts into the north market firefight, with more insurgents just behind.

Just as the Marines recoil with their wounded into the alleyway, the insurgent team to the south rounds the corner and opens fire at point-blank range.

An entire squad of Marines is decimated, leaving the insurgents face to face with the last remaining Marine team, the fallen in between.

The terrorists to the south evade sporadic fire from the now-distracted Marines further down the street, and advance upon the crippled team. Despite a furious last stand, the team falls, and the terrorists position themselves at the garage doors to contine the attack.

An insurgent team on Avenue Oscar attempts to surround the final standing Marine team. The Marines, however, see them coming, and unleash full fury for the deaths of their brothers, putting four insurgents down hard. Unfortunately, other insurgents are closing in fast, and the alley insurgents are still at full strength.

As the skies darken… Cue the heavy metal! The two long awaited Humvees arrive with fresh squads, opening fire on every insurgent unit in sight. All targets take casualties.


The Wrap-Up

Aaaaauuugh! A cliff-hanger!

Actually no, not really. At this point, we had played well into the night, and collectively decided that the scenario already summed up as a catastrophic loss on the part of the Marines, and a successful, rapid ambush for the insurgent and terrorist forces. At the game’s conclusion, though the Humvee and reinforcement teams had arrived, the original foot patrol remained below half strength (down to five men) and almost entirely surrounded by insurgents, with little cover. At that, even with the extra reinforcements, the Marines as a whole were still outnumbered by the insurgents, and despite now having mobile heavy weapons and troop transports, would have faced a number of RPG attacks as they attempted to escape, not to mention the IED waiting near their exit route. The insurgents, with three quarters still combat effective (and more reinforcements to go) would be fully prepared to prevent the Marines from even the bottom-line goal of escaping to base, while standing a good chance of completing their own objective and destroying a Humvee or two. SO, at the end of it all, we decided to conclude early, with the knowledge that the Marines had put up one Devil-Dog of a fight, but had simply come upon the worst possible odds, and would be unable to withstand.

Stay tuned for the next shoot report! And, to see more of the miniatures and terrain used, check out these posts: CiviliansInsurgents, and Marines. (More links will eventually be posted below, but comment a request if you’d like us to highlight anything in particular.) Thanks for reading!

All photos by Joseph Klingman.


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