So if you can avoid casualties by voluntarily becoming suppressed then the reverse must also apply. You can avoid being suppressed by taking casualties. But should that decision be available to the player? What role is the player taking in the battle? If that of a section/platoon commander then possibly yes. But if you are a battalion or higher commander how do you get your entire command to be willing to die for the objective?
I’m thinking of this mechanism in terms of a game with single-soldier elements, and no more than a platton under a player’s command (because I have always wanted a game that feels a bit like doing section and platoon attacks on TA weekends, ‘cos they were fun).
How do you get your entire command to be willing to die for the objective? By brilliant leadership, of course. In minor infantry tactics, I see this mainly as shouting “Follow me!”, so I don’t think a player should be entitled to have men conduct any higher-risk activity than a leader figure does. Leader figures should be fairly scarce, their loss should inflict a substantial blow to morale, and one of them should represent the player himself.
Now that I’ve downloaded FUBAR and taken a gander at it — thanks for the suggestion, Mike — it’s an interesting mechanism, and not too far away from what I was thinking of, except that I would have players take the decision to suppress or take the risk *before* rolling the dice. I would want there to be the tension of the gamble, rather than a more-or-less cold-blooded decision to sacrifice Pte Sniffkins because we really need to get this oil-drum across this river (or whatever the vital military task is).
One of the things FUBAR seems to show which I think is correct is that it is green troops who are harder to suppress than veterans (something I have seen in few other rules other than Jim Wallman’s “Stonk!”). This is quite a well-attested historical observation. I wish I could recall where I read an account of Italian infantry — not normally placed in the highest troop quality bracket in anyone’s rules — continuing to advance in the attack with great swathes being cut through their ranks by defensive fire.
Another aspect I like about making suppression dependent on a player decision is that it means that the probability of suppression is not a simple function of fire density, for reasons of player psychology. Light harrassing fire might require a choice between cracking on and accepting a small risk of casualty, or, with suppression, none at all. The ability to certainly avoid anything nasty happening would, I think, be very tempting. On the other hand, if the fire was so intense that the choice was between a very high risk and a still-high one, it might seem a better deal to resignedly accept the (proportionately only slightly greater) risk in order to be able to do at least something before your inevitable demise. Here I am thinking particularly of ambush drills, when the immediate action on being ambushed is to attack immediately into the ambush, in the hope of getting some of them before they get all of you (or at least it was for some of time I was playing soldiers — anti-ambush drills seemed to be one of those things strongly subject to fashion, which changed every few years).
All the best,
- This reply was modified 7 years, 1 month ago by John D Salt.