Tuesday, October 6, 2009

A&A Miniatures Humber Scout Car

I'll be posting, on an occasional basis, musings about particular pieces in the Axis & Allies series of miniatures.

Base set Humber Scout Car

Authentically depicting tactical reconnaissance is one of the weakest aspects of tactical wargames. Whereas finding out what's over the "next hill" is a critical need on the battlefield and what might be over that hill almost completely unknown, the wargame player rarely operates very much in the dark at all. He knows the enemy order of battle from the scenario card or at least the point total of the enemy force and has an accurate and birds-eye view of the ground with a decent idea of where the enemy might be even of there's some sort of hidden or concealed unit rule.

Being a very basic level tactical wargame, A&A miniatures doesn't solve this common problem, so recon units basically turn into weaker, faster but cheaper tanks. The first one to appear in the game is the Humber Scout Car, classed as an armored car in game terms, but in actuality a "scout" car. Basically an armored car implicitly has some limited ability to fight for information and brush past light resistance, whereas a scout car's weapons are for self-defense.
The Humber appears in the Base Set (10/48) and again in the new larger scale and sporting desert colors in the 1939-1945 set (2/60).

1939-45 set Humber

Rarity: Uncommon
Speed: 5
Defense: 3/2
Cost: 8
Attacks vs troops at short-medium-long ranges: 9-8-7
Attacks vs vehicles at short-medium-long ranges: 2-2-2

Special abilities:

High Gear 2 -- If this unit makes its entire move along a road it gets +2 speed.

Strike and Fade 2 -- In your assault phase, this unit can move at speed 2 after attacking.

Historical text

AThe Humber saw action in North Africa, Burma, and Italy with the famed 7th Armored Brigade, the Desert Rats.

The unit in history: The Humber Scout Car was just one of a wide variety of similar vehicles in British service. Many of the vehicles were unarmed, but some had various machinegun mounts including remote-controlled setups, which is what the car depicted in the game seems to sport.

The unit in the game: Without any requirement for actual scouting in the game, the Humber is basically a highly mobile machine gun platform. The vehicle has minimal anti-vehicular firepower against unarmored targets, but a decent attack value against infantry. The High Gear 2 means it can really zip along the roads on the small maps generally used in standard AAM scenarios and the Strike and fade 2 power allows it to snipe at enemy units while ducking back under cover. Overall it's a useful harassing and delaying unit, so long as it's not facing serious enemy armor.

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