These past few days I’ve been having a blast trying out Ganesha Games’ Flying Lead. I’ve created profiles for troops and weapons, made some new sci-fi scenery and put on the table figures that have not seen any action till now.

The first couple of games were played using Topo Solitario’s urban mat, which you can download freely from his site. I’ve also built the ISO containers from his site, and I’m putting together another set right now but this time I’ll beat them up a bit. For the rest of the scenery, the low walls and big plastic container are from AT-43, while the rest of the stuff (ruins, barricades) are GW’s.

I’ve found the vehicle rules a bit heavy to begin, so the squads we’re only infantry. My Snow Guard on one side and some U.N.A. troops on the other. During the games we added a few figures to make things interesting. The profiles I’ve created for the troops and their weapons are listed below. They were straight skirmishes, to the death. But let me tell you this game plays different every time, interesting no matter the scenario (or lack of).

Snow Guard

Sgt Athos – Personality
Points 92
Quality 3+ Combat 3
Laspistol, Leader

Crazy Argos
Points 63
Quality 4+ Combat 2
CQB Specialist, Fanatic, Laser Rifle

Breather Nikolas – Personality
Points 53
Quality 4+ Combat 2
Crack Shot/Marksman, Laser Rifle

Loud Petros
Points 54
Quality 4+ Combat 2
Eager, Laser Rifle

Scout Alexandros
Points 53
Quality 4+ Combat 2
Laser Rifle, Sprinter

Snow Guard weapons

Laser Rifle
Points:22 Combat +3, Range: Long

Points:16 Combat +2, Move & Shoot, Range: Short

U.N.A. Scouts

U.N.A. Leader – Personality
Points 98
Quality 3+ Combat 2
Laser Carbine, Leader

U.N.A. Steel Trooper
Points 62
Quality 4+ Combat 2
Fragmentation Grenades, Laser Carbine

U.N.A. Steel Trooper
Points 77
Quality 4+ Combat 2
Missile Launcher

U.N.A. Steel Trooper – Personality
Points 56
Quality 4+ Combat 2
Crack Shot/Marksman, Laser Carbine

U.N.A. weapons

Missile Launcher
Anti-Tank 7, Combat +2, Priming Needed, Range: Long

Laser Carbine
Auto Fire, Combat +2, Move & Shoot, Range: Medium

The warbands were made somewhat balanced. In the case of the U.N.A. there were several of the regular troopers (the ones with the grenades). The board was clear ground, the low walls were reinforced cover and everything else was hard cover. The first couple of games were played solo while the others were against my girlfriend (you can see the different colored dice and the D3 in one of the pics below, and the rules for solitaire SBH/FL can be found here).

I taught the game in a little while. It’s not the simplest game to teach, mainly because of the activation roll and all it implies. It’s something that can be only seen on the table. In fact, a lot of the subtleties of Flying Lead cannot be noted from reading the rules alone. It is not hard to teach, just a bit weirder than most. After the first few long distance turkey shots you will find yourself running for cover like a madman.

I played the Snow Guard and in the last few games I was outnumbered. The few times I split my leader from the group it was just a little while before he was running fast towards his troops. The activation bonus and the group orders are essential for any plan to work. Hide, give orders, and let the grunts do the work.

The first game was quite incredible. I activated and moved forward. My girlfriend failed and pretty much stayed still in her deployment zone. After that I activated Scout Alexandros, with his Sprinter rule that allows him to move twice the distance with one of his movement actions. He ran, took an aimed shot at the U.N.A. leader, gory death on a 6, triples the score, and the morale tests near the edge of the table took care of the rest of the U.N.A. troops. It was over in just 2 turns.

That’s when I noticed the Sprinter and the Eager. I really added those rules to the figures to add a bit of variety and character. Now if you check the profiles, the Sprinter guy costs the same points as the Marksman, and the Eager dude is actually more expensive! It was amazing how useful those rules were. Alexandros moving around like a madman, using cover the best possible way, while keeping Loud Petros near the Leader meant activating him on a 2+, almost always getting 3 actions to do as he pleased.

Cover is everything, even a low wall can save your ass, making the enemy’s shot harder and also keeping you alive (tieing any score by 1 or 2 points depending on the type of cover). On the last game, only the U.N.A. leader was still active and well protected, but had an Out of Action guy nearby. I took a run around the cover the guy was laying behind and took an awful aimed shot at the OOA guy on the floor. The roll was a 6, any hits are Lethal, and the leader had to roll Morale with a -3 because of being the last man standing. He came to his senses and rapidly abandoned the battlefield.

It’s one of those games that works perfect for the scale. You don’t need to play with just 3 figures a side because of a ton of special rules or record keeping, and you can probably play with 20 figs a side if you’ve got time and the rules well learned. But playing with 5-10 guys a side (and maybe a vehicle/walker) just hits the perfect spot. Some guys will do more, some will do less, your opponent will always be engaged. It’s not the same to see that enemy coming along in a game where he can move and shoot, than in FL where he can roll one, two, or three actions, which means completely different things. Moving around cover is vital, morale rolls due to seeing your friend blow up in pieces can win the game, and all fire can be used for suppression purposes if you order your guys around, not only the Overwatch or Speculative fire rules.

Overall an amazingly fun game, a lot more subtle and deep than it seems at first read, and with the basic mechanisms of SBH which means my girl won’t have to learn yet another system to play some fantasy and historical skirmishes.

A+ for Mr. Jones and Mr. Sfiligoi. Now go get this game (and no, they did not endorse this report)