Home Forums Modern Help, I'm Doing it Wrong!!! A 6mm Modern Teaser

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    Avatar photoJust Jack


    I’ve been longing to get in a modern 6mm game, and on Wednesday I got my shot. But it didn’t ‘work.’ I was using some homegrown rules based on card-based activation tied to D6 rolls for activation points and very simple movement and combat mechanisms. I set up a standard ‘attack-defend’ scenario with about a 3 to 1 force ratio. It took me an hour and a half to get through most of 1 turn, and it just didn’t feel right.

    For the cerebral amongst you that have nothing but time on your hands, I beg you to take a look at the blog where I’ve got into much more detail. I welcome any insights into modern gaming, comments on my rules, comments on my force mix ideas, etc… The only thing I’m not interested in is “you should try XXX rules!” I already know that, if I can’t make these rules work, I’m heading to Cold War Commander.

    Here’s a few pics:

    The table, 4′ x 6′, attacker will enter the board at left, trying to force a crossing of the river at far right.

    The attacker’s tank battalion (the bottom two companies are T-80s I bought off TMP Marketplace from Mark, AKA “Grossman”).

    The defender’s Mech Company and some supporting assets (recon, arty, and air defense), OT-64s from Mark (and I have a lot more than this!).

    The game started with the attacker’s 1st Tank Company moving up and engaging one of the defender’s tank platoons defending a small village.

    Two of the attacker’s recce platoons shot up the center to engage another defender’s tank platoon in the ville at the crossroads.

    Well, if you’ve got the time and can help (it’s a long post with lots of rambling), please take a look at the blog:


    Avatar photokyoteblue

    We got the house today so soon I’ll be able to start making terrain again…that will work for 6mm and 10mm….cause Dude.

    Avatar photoJust Jack

    Hey, glad to hear you got the house Old Man.  Your time would be better spent playing games, my hills are fine.  You and Panda are such wargaming snobs! 


    Avatar photokyoteblue

    It’s all about the visuals Just Jack.  Oh and boy do I plan to play some games both in my new Man Cave and at GameHQ (Oh GameHQ moved over to Western and SW 89th. A mile east of the old location.) And try to get a new computer camera and printer.

    Avatar photoshelldrake

    You used the Company commander for your activations – why not try using the Platoon Commander for activations, with the Company commander following the rules for “Platoon NCO and higher level attachements” on page 27?

    That way each platoon can move regardless, you wont over stress your Company commander, and you get that little bit more chance of activation through your company commander.

    Avatar photoGuy Farrish


    Been thinking about this in between real life:

    you could try the platoon activation but I think I’d try keeping the company activation but allow some sort or reaction fire like NEIS – this would mean in your example that you would NOT activate as two platoons had no targets – therefore this would not build stress on your company commander –  but if your other platoon were about to be overrun in your opponents turn it would have a chance to defend itself in your opponents turn.  Perhaps you might need to build in some rule that this could only happen within a certain range or in response to enemy fire – I’ll leave the complicated but to you . If you’ve already mentioned this idea but I’ve missed it, apologies.


    Avatar photoRod Robertson

    Just Jack:

    Why not roll a D3 for each functional platoon in a company and an additional D3 or D6 for the company command element the first time a company command is activated. Then assign the dice to each platoon and have the die left to the company commander to be farmed out to the platoons as he sees fit. Subsequent activations only involve the command die being rolled, not the platoons, and are subject to your friction and exhaustion penalties. Allow platoons to bank their activation pips if they are on over-watch but charge them one banked pip per full turn if they are not used. Also make observation and reporting an additional action option so that defenders and recce units can acquire targets and pass on positions to other units to make it easier for those other units to acquire or suppress the enemy. Do not allow banked pips to be used for movement, only for observation/reporting and for firing. Popping smoke could also cost a banked action. Finding good hull down positions or good cover could cost an AP. You can represent banked AP’s with a die placed behind each platoon’s position or with chits. Likewise allow your artillery units to bank their AP’s and then rain hell-fire down on enemy positions when they have accumulated enough AP’s to drop a big barrage. Banked AP’s could be used for movement of helicopters making them very nimble at the moment of committment.


    Rod Robertson

    Avatar photoJust Jack


    Tim – Thanks for taking a look, the opinions of someone that actually did it are very welcome!  But we’re both victim of me not explaining everything fully; I’m planning on some very large games; everyone keeps saying, “man, you had a lot of stuff on the table for a test game.”  My reply is that, this was a small game!  For the ‘real’ games I intend on having three to five battalions (plus support) on the table, per side!

    So you had some really great points, but a lot of it (in my mind at least) had to do with lower-echelon (or scale) granularity.  I’m activating as companies/company teams, with platoons as the ‘stand,’ because I’m going to be playing such large games, so activating at that level is simply a game mechanism to represent the player being a brigade/division commander.  Don’t worry, I’m not gonna quit.  I can’t, I have this dream of massive tank battles!

    On a side note, I just looked at your blog, and the hilarious part is that I’d looked at your blog numerous times in the past, but didn’t realize it was YOUR blog.  Truly fantastic!

    Shelldrake – Because the games are so big, I don’t want to have higher-level, non-aligned (i.e., not part of one of the maneuver units) leaders, it’s just too much for me to work out in my solo game.  What I am going to do is limit activations to one per company/company team per turn, add overwatch as an action, and allow cross-attachment.  I.e., I had the tank company spread all over the map, and I had the mech company all over the map, but you could pretty much match up a tank platoon with each mech platoon.  So, instead of activating as tank co and mech co, combine a tank plt and mech plt together to form company teams geographically co-located.  This should solve most of my problems (I think).

    Guy – Instead of a complicated reaction fire or opportunity fire, I’m going to go with a very simple ‘overwatch’ action to tackle that issue.

    Rod – I need to keep it simple, but I think limited companies/company teams to one activation per turn will limit the wild swings in initiative, and the activation via cross attachments (as appropriate) and use of overwatch will straighten out the activation issues (of having to activate one platoon whilst the other two are unengaged).

    I wrote up a bunch more (if you’re interested) on the blog:

    More games coming this weekend, the Legion in Estonia is already set up for its next fight!


    Avatar photokyoteblue

    Sounds good Just Jack. Look forward to the FFL in Estonia. We are moving into the house tomorrow so my internet will be limited for a while.  So post lots of AAR’s for me.

    Avatar photoJohn D Salt

    This is all jolly interesting stuff, bringing up questions of how to model modern tactical C2 on the tabletop that are always worth thinking about.

    I was going to suggest permitting companies to activate as many times as the owing player likes in a turn, but imposing stress points only on those platoons that take actions. On the supererogatory embranglement side, this means the additional recod-keeping burden of recordng stress points for each platoon, rather than each company. However I think it should offer the compensatory advanatges of solving your “platoons spread all over the map” problem, and also giving a way of keeping a reserve at company level.

    The idea of operating in company-sized sub-units is a good one, although I wouldn’t insist on their consisting of exactly three elements; whereas Western armies task organize by cross-attachment (an infantry company swaps one of its platoons for a troop from an armoured squadron, for example), Warpac armies always used to do so by augmentation (for example break up a tank company and attach a platoon of tanks to each infantry company of a battalion).

    You mention the problem of support-arm and recce elements, and it is true that it makes more tactical sense for these to be able to act independently in platoon-sized elements than it does for maneouvre arms. One method would be to activate them along with the company team they are attached to, which makes sense for sappers, anti-tank, air defence and artillery tactical parties. It does not make much sense for recce, though, who by the nature of their job ought to be operating well in advance of the main forces, and maybe in even smaller than platoon elements. I have watched a brigade-level exsercise where the brigadier tracked the position of his battle groups by four-figure grids, one for the BG centre of gravity, and another for the location of the BG recce — and for the British army, the BG recce platoon/troop would be just 8 cars, operating in pairs. One possibility would be to allow recce to magically self-activate. Another woud be to represent higher levels of command as pseudo-company-teams, and activate elements reporting directly to that level of command as a company group. For a British orbat, that would mean activating the recce platoon/troop as a BG-level asset. This method would fit quite well with the Warsaw Pact habit of giving commanders at every level above battalion some kind of recce element under their direct control.

    I know you want to avoid representing higher HQs, and indeed I think it would be quite possible to drive yourself potty trying to account for all the HQs present n a modern brigade, where each unit might have a main, a tactical and a step-up HQ. However I’m thinking that it might be possible to represent some aspects of electronic warfare by permitting EW elements to apply stress points directly to HQs, without them having the benefit of an activation.

    All the best,


    Avatar photoIvan Sorensen

    How about this:

    The higher command levels are abstracted. Give each side a few tokens to represent the overall effectiveness of command. They can cash in one token to get an activation or salvage a failed roll. One-use.


    You could keep it simple: (NATO pro’s get 4 per battalion, Warpac first line get 3, NATO conscript 2, Warpac minors 1, USMC 0 🙂 ) or tie it to certain conditions.


    Since you solo game, I’d be inclined to give Warpac forces a bonus when following the plan and a penalty when deviating from it f.x.

    Avatar photoJust Jack


    Thanks for weighing in, I appreciate it!

    “I was going to suggest permitting companies to activate as many times as the owing player likes in a turn, but imposing stress points only on those platoons that take actions.”  I’m just worried that that will simply make it a “activation by platoon game,” vice an “activation by company game.”  Nothing wrong with that, it’s just that I’m focusing on company activation as I want to have several battalions per side.

    Regarding cross attachment/company activation, I think you’ve got a great point of view, and with that I’ve decided to be more ‘flexible,’ i.e., not require three platoons per company, certainly not if it doesn’t make sense, but also as a means to simulate better or worse quality battalions.  I’m thinking, a better unit might have two platoons, while worse units might have four platoons (the first making it more likely the two platoons will get more done per turn, and four platoons less).  Does that make sense?

    I also want to keep companies to one activation per turn for ‘personal’ reasons as well.  Obviously it makes the game and data tracking more simple, but it’s also a ‘frame of mind’ issue for me.  With that much stuff on the table, I like the feeling of moving the ball forward, i.e., “there, I just finished another turn.”  With multiple activations, sure you end up with fewer overall turns, but that first turn might take 2 hours!  Like I said, it’s certainly ‘6 of 1, half a dozen the other,’ but I like the feeling of accomplishment 😉

    I’m pretty sure I’ve got supporting arms figured out (with regards to activation), but I’m still not set on how to handle recon.  Nothing seems to make sense.  The best I’ve come up with is ‘temporary cross-attachment ,’ i.e., activating via the nearest ‘line’ company, with the fact that activation relationship may change during the course of the game.  But then that penalizes the line company in its activation, so maybe give the line company activating a recon platoon a +1 to its roll?  I dunno, that part still needs work…

    Regarding the EW issue, I don’t think I need command units represented on the table for that.  I think the same thing can be accomplished simply by targeting specific units (maybe a battalion, or battalion’s worth of companies in a specific geographic area) and giving them a negative modifier to their activation roll.  As you see, I’m not terribly worried about/tied to various militaries’ doctrines; that’s the beauty of Imagi-Nations, I get to do what I want 😉


    I like your idea regarding the tokens.  However:
    “…NATO pro’s get 4 per battalion, Warpac first line get 3, NATO conscript 2, Warpac minors 1, USMC 0…”
    Someday I’m going to have to come visit you; Oregon, right? 😉

    And you’re killing me:
    “…I’d be inclined to give Warpac forces a bonus when following the plan and a penalty when deviating from it…”

    There is no NATO and Warsaw Pact, it’s an Imagi-Nation.  If I was sticking with it doctrinally, it would be Warsaw Pact vs Warsaw Pact,  but I’m not sticking with it doctrinally, I’m going to do whatever I want!


    Avatar photoIvan Sorensen

    All is fair in love, war and miniatures 🙂

    I was thinking more in terms of “Flexible” vs “Inflexible” doctrines but using those as examples of ways you could tinker with such a set up. Actually, now that I think about it, it’d be an easy way to fit in a superior local commander. Just toss in an extra token, maybe ear-marked for a special unit.

    On recon types how about:

    A lot of games handle recon elements as essentially just crappy troops. This seems to defeat the purpose of them really. Maybe some radical thinking is required.

    Maybe a formation can deploy its recon elements as an action. Place the recon element (this could be a marker for all it matters) somewhere within a certain distance from the parent unit.

    If the recon element is placed within a certain range of enemy troops, they provide some sort of bonus (bonus activation, tokens as above, something else), then disperse to the wind (or die a horrible fate. Most recon types I’ve talked to have been pretty fatalistic).


    That’s maybe less satisfying than moving about a little armoured car but it might be a bit more fitting of how these things actually go.

    Avatar photoJust Jack


    “A lot of games handle recon elements as essentially just crappy troops. This seems to defeat the purpose of them really. Maybe some radical thinking is required.”
    Now that’s what I’m talking about, you’re finally making yourself useful around here!  I think I’m digging this.

    “That’s maybe less satisfying than moving about a little armoured car but it might be a bit more fitting of how these things actually go.”
    I don’t see why; why not just use a Recon armored car model as the marker?

    I want to give more thought to this, but it’s past time to hit the rack.  Oh, and I was making fun of you on TMP (in my batrep post that you so kindly responded to).


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