IT HAS BEEN 10,000 YEARS!
Okay well actually more like four since I first heard (over several glasses of beer in the Fox at the Excel) someone saying the magic words for the first time.
“What if there were figures that came as both covert and overt versions so you can toggle between them during gameplay? It’s in the rules and it would be really cool.”
In the intervening time, I think I’ve heard that idea repeated several times a year be it on facebook or at conventions. That day has finally come. From talking to Steve at Spectre, this release mostly came about thanks to the switch to 3D sculpted models, making it much easier to create exact replicas when sculpting. It comprises of 7 different archetypes, with each coming in both civilian version (unarmed and blending into the crowd) and a version ready for action. None of them are particularly well equipped (it’s hard to hide a full-size AK in a jacket) but for covert games, an SMG is still an impressive bit of firepower to bring to bear.
From the jump off, there is a nice variation in the styles and equipment of each figure. None of them really feel like the Undercover Operators that Spectre already has nor the Division inspired Agents. Some fit a more varied environment than others, with clothing limiting their usefulness – the puffy coat of the Chinese agents might look a little odd if you’re playing in tropical locations. Otherwise, I can see plenty of use for both the civilian version and the armed operative both separately and together.
Okay, lets take a look at each of them.
Let’s start with my personal favourite. You may have already spotted her popping up on the blog as my scale model whenever I’m printing out other things to take a look at. I adore her design and posing, bringing a war correspondent looking figure to the board. She’ll definitely be pretty useful in overt games, especially in some of the rulesets where having a journalist around can affect a missions outcome – certain military groups may not want to be caught on camera.
Going active, she pulls out a SIG MPX and drops her oakleys into “Operator” mode. This pose is also pretty cool and I can really easily imagine her alongside the Task Force Operators.
Close behind the US Agent in terms of my favourite is the UK operator. He’s maybe a little less subtle that the US Agent (the dirty tshirt and baseball cap isn’t fooling anyone) but again, he’s a handy figure to have. He could be any 6ft white white guy on the local street but you don’t know he’s hot until the MP9 comes out. I quite like the MP9 as a SMG (thanks to my airsoft days) and one with the Eotech and laser (as well as the suppressor) is probably a really handy piece of kit for getting out of a jam.
Speaking of useful figures, the Russian operative is very likely to end up on the table. Between the slick backed hair and the golden watch, you just know this guy is probably on a no-fly list or two. He would probably be a perfect figure for a HVT the local agents are here to snatch and grab. Even though he’s only armed with a pistol, the capabilities of the Udav and it’s 9×21 pistol means you can add some AP rounds to it, a laser and red dot to counter the downside of close range rapid fire and suddenly you might be able to make even the most heavily armoured guys think twice.
The handgun is generic enough to be used for anyone, so if you find yourself needing additional agents for a drug bust or a bodyguard then this guy is great.
Perhaps the most surprising agent in the release, I was not expecting a Chinese operative to appear on the books. However, it makes a lot of sense, with China expanding soft power and more than likely to pop up in new places around the world. The puffy coat very strongly points to a winter location, although it might work for a European city or a Central Asian republic. Weapon wise, Chinese forces always bring interesting weapon systems and the Chang Feng CF05 is definitely one of them – 50 rounds of 9mm on tap is more than good enough to help you break contact.
The MENA agent is also among my favourite. The female civilian by herself would be cool enough, ideally suited to match some of the Eurkea and Empress figures I have. However, I love the fact that she is also an undercover figure. The PP-2000 she’s carrying is definitely not the sort of thing a civilian or insurgent might be able to get her hands on, so she would be ideal for some kind of local fixer working with the westerners. Alternatively, the Insurgent PMC acting undercover would be great backup.
Finally, we have the best fixer you could ever imagine. In his puffy ghillie, watching the street, ready to draw his MP5K when it all kicks off. This was another unexpected one – not quite as operator as expected but still potentially an exciting figure to have on the battlefield. The MP5K is another example of this guy maybe not being the most high speed operator, so would be ideal for your African militia forces as well.
So, that’s all the Covert Operators that Spectre has produced in the first wave. I think that this range definitely has some potential, and I think a lot of people have been asking for it and are now very happy with the result. There is definitely a rule of cool element to it, being able to swap out the same figure as opposed to flipping a token. And honestly, that’s the aim at the end isn’t it? Having cool games with cool figures on the board. There is also a nice bit of variation in the figures, meaning everyone can easily find a slot in their forces for them.
I would say however that it’s not without fault. Spectre has shown that each wave of releases is about 12 models (be that two 6-man squad packs or a squad pack + supports). Doing this style of release means you’re only getting half the “active” figures you might get otherwise. Additionally, if you’re buying these figures for the “surprise” reveal of the covert figure, then you might find them perhaps a little too obvious in the grand scheme with models all over the table.
Even with this points, I’m pretty happy with these figures. I’m already planning some smaller scale games to get some use out of them, so look forward to them on the tabletop soon!