After a quick read through I found myself asking why they ever bothered writing a second edition? The rules are really good - simple, and fun to play - definitely a game rather than a simulation, but who cares?
One nice touch is the pdf is personalised with a neat little cross reference to Kubrick's Full Metal Jacket: 'this copy of AK47 belongs to John, there are many like it but this one is his'.
There are enough web accessible modifications for anyone who wants more complexity or chrome to add as they see fit, even extending the rules to other periods like the Russian and Spanish Civil Wars and World War II. There is even a Cold War Central Front variant that looks very intriguing.
Our game pitched the Cubans and SWAPO against the South African and Namibians in northern Namibia in the mid '80s. The background was a major SWAPO incursion had attracted a lot of attention from local forces and their South African backers and the Angolans and Cubans had got in involved in a fit of internationalist solidarity.
As a result of the political flowchart being played out in the pre-game sequence, the SADF/Namibian forces benefited from increased determination, resulting in their one militia graded unit being regraded to regular, . For their part the two big SWAPO militia graded guerrilla units acquired an HMG apiece. The flowcharts worked well, gave a few laughs and resulted in the SADF/Namibians being on the offensive. Much better than the clunky pre-game in second edition.
Above: the table after The Cuban/SWAPO deployment. Comrade Jeff was terribly unlucky and only started with one - three BTR 60s and six stands of infantry- of his five units on the table. This meant he could only secure one of three objectives. He elected to deploy on the reverse slope of the hill in the top right of the photo; leaving the road junction in the village unsecured and the hill in the top left corner exposed to the South African advance which would begin from the board edge on the left,
Uncharacteristically, SADF Colonel Chris was very cautious, advancing slowly down the centre with three armoured cars and even more slowly towards the village with three Buffels full of troopies.
In the photos above the South African armour is grinding its way across the board whilst a small unit of Special Forces walk up the hill top left, thereby securing the objective, and lie down in the grass to watch the fun. Comrade Jeff was frantically throwing dice to try and bring on his troops but the commander of those T55s must have failed his map reading course. We know that this part of the word is big and easy to get lost in but this was beyond a joke.
The South African Buffels finally make it to the village about the same time as a unit of friendly Land Rovers and a bunch of local forces infantry arrived from off table. The infantry were short of a truck and were presumably late because half their number (probably the native troops...) had to walk. I'm unsure what excuse the guys in the Land Rovers had...
About the same time a large group of SWAPO guerrillas chose to appear, took one look at the dust cloud heralding the advance of the SADF armoured cars, and promptly ran for the nearest area of thick bush to hide in. Three GaZ jeeps toting heavy machine guns drove on the table at high speed and promptly got stuck into the Land Rovers and the territorials. Clearly their commander had been schooled in the Che Guevara heroic style of leadership. Sadly he and his brave men came to the same sort of sticky end, despite inflicting some casualties on the enemy infantry, for once Chris found his mojo and started using the recoiless rifle on one of the Landies it was all over very quickly
By the time we'd totted up the victory points, even after penalising Chris for all sorts of trumped up transgressions (chief among which was him playing cautiously for once), the South Africans could claim a decisive victory. In fact, as the rules put it 'the victor will be writing the history book on this'.
I'm sure we'll be doing this again soon.