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Ranger
$39.95      Ranger
3000 Omega Games Line Omega Games
Ranger
Face the challenge of planning and executing a Ranger patrol on the modern battlefield. Missions include squad reconnaissance or platoon ambush and raid patrols. Experience the actual decisions faced by today's U.S. Army Ranger. The first of these exciting solitaire games simulates operations in a jungle environment.
Ranger game: $39.95 Ranger
AO Sierra/AO Victor Expansion Kit     $29.95     Expansion Kit
SAVE -- Both Ranger and Expansion Kit     $59.95 Expansion Kit
Ranger Woodlands Terrain - coming soon...     $39.95 Expansion Kit
Map Description Patrol Log Reviews
Ranger was compared to Special Forces by Fire and Movement Magazine:

Ranger is billed as the game of modern patrolling. You would expect it to capture these operations well. Actually it does. The emphasis is getting to the target and getting home again. Most of the actions are handled with an abstract combat system.

Ranger is not a traditional board game. It is a solitaire game that is played on a laminated map. There is no hexgrid, or counters. Play starts by selecting a mission. Then you have to plan and organize the mission. Factors under the player's control are the size of patrol (squad or platoon), the weapons carried, the composition of the squad, the infiltration and exfiltration routes, what areas of the planned mission will be rehearsed, and so on. Just about everything is under the player's control except the mission, the method of insertion, and availability of certain support...

Once the mission is planned and rehearsed, it...is resolved using a paragraph system. Since the situations are more generic and abstract, the system leads to more variability with replays. Many paragraphs can only be played once, and then you know the contents of the paragraphs and any replay is not very interesting...

The actions at the target are abstracted so it is difficult to investigate various tactics for actually accomplishing a mission. This action is resolved by a die roll. So if you are trying to destroy some target, it is simply a die roll, modified by your preparations. In this regard, Ranger is not very exciting. It is also why the game works best as a solitaire system. If you want the excitement of stalking through a building looking for the hostages, then you need another game.

Ranger was similar to Ambush! in that it was paragraph driven; however the latter game included counters and did have the "excitement of stalking through a building looking for the hostages" (in fact, quite literally, since one of the missions in Move Out, an Ambush! add-on module, was to track down and rescue half the player's squad, who started the mission captured.) Ranger had a much more serious approach to the subject, and Rooker felt the game could even be considered a training aid for actual military patrolling due to its realism.


Ranger as reviewed by Gary Graber

Most wargames fall into easily recognizable categories. Ranger does not. It uses mapboards, but movement is neither by hex, area, nor point-to-point, but is plotted. It utilizes concepts from what one might call a "miniatures" perspective, is "paragraph driven", and has some role-play elements embedded in its mechanisms. Added to that, it doesn't have a sequence of play that one would normally associate with a wargame. So what exactly is it?

Ranger is, as its sub-title says, a solitaire simulation of modern patrolling operations. And it definitely is a board wargarme, albeit with mechanisms that set it apart from most designs. It enables tabletop warriors to experience for themselves the decisions facing modern Army Rangers, with an authentic "you are there" feel. It is a clever and enjoyable game that succeeds in its goal, providing players with a wealth of information about how Ranger teams operate on the battlefield.

The ninety-page Tactical Events Booklet is what drives the action. It contains literally hundreds of surprisingly detailed "paragraphs" or sections, which link together the unfolding operation to form a narrative of what's going on during your mission. Basically, after reading a paragraph, you must decide what to do next, and after (sometimes) performing a dice roll, you'll be directed to go to another specific paragraph. For instance, if in paragraph 55 you decide to "halt", you're told to go to paragraph 69; if you go on in Jungle terrain, you go to paragraph 59, and so on. What is impressive is the amount of detail given in these sections. You literally feel what's going on around you as the game unfolds.

In the role of the mission's leader, you must first determine your specific mission or patrol by selecting one of a number of Briefing Cards, and making a Mission Card draw. With this information in mind, you then plot your proposed movement and objectives (using the provided dry erase marker and one of the five plasticized maps). Next, you outfit your patrol, drawing from the 35 men provided, and assign them a variety of weapons and equipment (M4, M249, grenades, ammo, etc.). on the Record Log. (This is where the role-play element comes in, as each is named and has individual skills and characteristics.) So it's a matter of plan, execute, and react (as the enemy is not predictable), as you proceed through the action paragraphs towards your goal.

The rules claim to be less complex than most wargames. This may be true, but as the routines are (at least to me) unfamiliar, you should be prepared for a bit of a learning curve. But once you get started, things unfold clearly, as, beginning with para.l, you are guided through play.

The physical quality of Ranger is impressive (several maps, three rulebooks, various Reference Cards, a deck of Mission Cards, player aid cards, marker, dice, sturdy box), but its level of detail and authenticity is even more impressive. Replayability is high, since there are so many paragraphs, different missions, and enough decisions, random happenings, and permutations that play will not become stale easily. And, it's solitaire!

If modern tactical infantry operations is your cup of tea, or you simply want to learn the nuts and bolts about what a modern army leader is up against, Ranger is definitely a game that should be on your priority list.

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