Hind Commander Quick Review

Before putting up some game reports and other Hind Command stuff, I’m going to give a bit of an introduction. Hind Commander is a pretty small game that most won’t have heard of from a small Polish publisher Assault Publishing. This will be a very short review, in the next couple of weeks I intend on adding some more in depth reviews of some aspects of the game.

The Hind (or Mi-24) is a Soviet helicopter gunship that entered service in the 70s. Unique, in that it was the only helicopter that it was a gunship that could also transport troops. Other helicopters, such as the UH-1 Huey, could be outfit for either, but as a gunship had insufficient weight to carry troops. The Hind is still in production and has been involved in numerous actions for a wide range of nationalities.

The Basics:

Hind Commander, named after this famous helicopter is a game that centres around attack helicopters. Players command a strike group of predominately helicopters, but AA, artillery, drones, aircraft, ground radar and even AWACS can all be fielded as well. Players will also have a number of ground vehicles and soldiers that form part of the forces that they will field. However, the helicopters are the stars of the show: the vehicles are mainly there to be shot at and the other assets play subsidiary roles to the helicopters.

An early note: Hind Commander is not a tournament game. A degree of honesty and integrity is required: commands are written down and units start as counters that represent what you get. There’s plenty of scope for cheesy lists and power gaming. If you’re in for a tournament game, walk away now. However, if you’re interested in an historically based wargame on a rarely gamed topic that you can pull out socially then read on as we might have something for you.

The Numbers:
Each miniature represents a single helicopter/aircraft/vehicle or a squad of infantry. Artillery, AWACs and radars are represented as off-board units. The ground scale is 1cm equals 100m (i.e. 1:10,000) and smaller engagements can be played in a 80cm x 120cm space; there is no strict miniature scale, but 3mm (1:600) miniatures feature throughout the rule book and Oddzial Osmy’s 3mm modern range has special Hind Commander bundles. Games are limited to 20 turns with the turns not representing any particular length of time. We tend to play half size games and these take anywhere from 2 to 4 hours. The game uses opposed d10 rolls (you roll a d10 and so does your opponent: highest wins, draws go for the defender) for most actions, and d6s for damage, a d12 for directions is also sometime used.

The Game:
First the terrain, a front line and a number of strategic objectives are setup on the table. The strategic objectives are often important in the various missions.
Next each player draws a random mission card that will have your mission (e.g. Kill 1/2 of the enemies helicopters) and acceptable losses (between 15-35%). Your job is to complete you mission under the acceptable losses, while your enemy attempts to do the same. Once you have your mission, ground vehicles and infantry will be placed (also, often important for missions).

Rather than have your miniatures start on the board you will have contact markers for each unit (ground and helicopter). You can’t shoot at contact markers, but they can shoot at you. The first step towards combat is to reveal or “track” the marker: a successful tracking roll places the miniature on the table and allows you to lock on. Locking on is how you shoot: lock-on markers can be used to launch missiles, fire rockets, cannons or AA. Placing a lock-one marker requires another successful roll and how many attempts you get is limited by your helicopter. Each attack uses your lock-on markers so you will use your sensors a lot. The game has only a few stats (4) that impact the sensor mechanics, and a couple of other modifiers. It’s not complex and you get the feel of things quickly, but you will be looking at a table of modifiers and adding.

Combat is also pretty simple: there is an opposed roll to see if you hit and, if successful, a damage roll. The level of success of the damage roll will determine how many d6 damage dice you roll. Each helicopter has 6 different components that can be damaged (weapons, sensors, engines, etc): the first hit reduces effectiveness and the second usually destroys the helicopter. Again there are a few statistics and special rules (for advanced helicopter equipment), but it’s all done with a few modifiers and only simple addition.

Wrap-Up:
Hopefully this gives some flavour for Hind Commander. There are quite a few other mechanics in the game: stratagems (which give you a little boost in a certain aspect), intelligence rolls, reconnaissance, transport, ground combat to name a few. Hind Commander isn’t a simple nor quick game, but it does give a really good little experience. The rulebook, as well as the book, gives you all the markers and cards you need to play. The rules are pretty cheap and with 3mm miniatures you can have a nice little 1/2 strike-force for about $30 (AUD or USD).

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