Possibly the Cold War at it’s coldest… in 1962 two men parachuted into an abandoned Russian base floating on ice in the Arctic to steal it’s secrets.
I was familiar with the background to the mission from a couple of good aviation books I read a few years ago: ‘By Any Means Necessary’ and ‘Twilight Warriors’ both are highly recommended. For those who are not the Wikipedia entry is a good as start as any other: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Project_COLDFEET. That said I hadn’t considered making a game of it until I read Nugget 245 from Wargames Developments: http://www.wargamedevelopments.org/nugget.htm . Mr. John Basset did a great job of turning it to a Roleplay-cum-free kreigspiel. Inspired by that I decided to do my own version as a roleplay-cum- table top game.
I had the chance on Monday to run my version for Chris, Brian and Evan. I split the game into 2 parts: a quick planning part where the players sorted out their characters, got their brief and then came up with a plan. The a 4 foot square table was set out representing the Arctic drift station. Once the game had progressed beyond the planning part we used Twilight 2000 mechanics to resolve the rest of what happened.
The characters were taken from the original game; Brian took on Capt. Cadwalader, Evan was Maj. Smith and Chris played Lt. LeShack.
The planning phases went very quickly. Aircraft were dispatched northwards into the Arctic to look for the drift station. A lucky roll meant that the station was found on day 2. Planning was quickly wrapped up as all 3 PCs decided to parachute down with as much equipment as they could manage to fit in the B17.
The landing site selected was a bit further out from the base on its ice floe. The idea being they would trek in. Here Brian really rolled badly on his parachute jump in. He probably should have died to that would be too easy so I gave him a compound leg fracture. Evan went on a head whilst Chris stabilized the casualty and had to call in the medic.
Evan reached the base and started the work of exploring the abandoned structures for intelligence. I mapped out the base with a few cardboard cut outs.
Once the medic had arrived and stabilized Brian, he was moved up by toboggan to the drift station proper. It was here that a polar bear chose to investigate, Chris managed to dispatch the bear before it could do too much damage- Brian in a toboggan would have been the arctic equivalent on meals on sledges….
Chris/ LeShack defending against the polar bear.
The exploration of the base went smoothly until Evan/ Smith found out that their was a booby trap in one of the labs. It was spotted in time but not defused. Given that their were now 4 people on the ice it wasn’t possibly to recover anything heavier than the notebooks and manuals already found.
The team huddle in one of the huts to check over the intel. Figures by Elhiem.
The next day the pick up was requested. Brian/ Cadwalader went up first and was safely taken on board by the Fulton Skyhook equipped B17. However a problem with the system and low fuel meant that the B17 turned back around to Alaska and left the remaining 3 with another 24 hours on the ice. With the base explored all they could do was wait and hope no more Polar Bears appeared. An early morning overflight by a Soviet MIG21 provided some consternation for the survivors. The next day the B17 picked up the 2 player characters succesfully but a rigging error meant that Dr. Daniel Walker the medic fell to his death on the ice…. Ultimately the players got the intel and papers they were after but did not, due to the casualty, recover any hard ware. That and they’d better hope that the Soviets don’t follow up the MIG 21 flight and find the medic’s body… it might heat the Cold War a bit more.