Home Forums WWII Highly recommended WWII Skirmish Rules.

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  • #18646
    Rod Robertson
    Participant

    To the wise and learned gamers here and abouts:

    I have skirmish gamed WWII for years and was never truly satisfied with a set of rules for such games. I met the designers of Battleground WWII years ago and played a few skirmish games with them at a couple of Historicons some twenty years ago. I loved their set of rules and have used them for years. That did not stop me from changing major things about their rules which I felt were weaknesses. I have played IABSM, TW&T and Chain of Command by the Too Fat Lardies and PBI by Peter Pig and while I like the command and control mechanisms for these games, I do not like the combat resolution systems. I have used the old Tabletop Firefly rules for larger games and liked those rules but they have their limitations too and are not really suited for skirmish games. What newer game systems are there out there which might satisfy someone who thinks the Battleground WWII was about the best rules system  for WWII? I am open to all suggestions but I like a game system which does not abstract too much from the mechanics of combat. Quick play and ease of play are not my greatest concerns but a sense of realism is.

    Thanks for your observations and offerings in advance.

    Cheers and good gaming.

    Rod Robertson.

    #18648
    War Panda
    Participant

    I’m interested what might be the recommendations too. I think I’ve tried all the rules you mentioned there but not much else so I won’t be much use I’m afraid.

    When I started out in the hobby some years ago I was obsessed with realism especially having a system that is representative of promoting historically effective tactics. But recently I’ve seemed to settle for quick playability. But I would be very interested in something similar.

    Have you heard much of or tried Final Combat? Always interested me but seemed a little too detailed.

    Good luck with the search

    “The great Gaels of Ireland are the men that God made mad,
    For all their wars are merry, and all their songs are sad.”

    #18654
    Rod Robertson
    Participant

    War Panda:

    What do you think of “Bolt Action” which you have been playing and reporting on? I have never tried “Final Conflict” but I will do some research and see what I can come up with. In addition to the games I listed above I have played “Nuts”, and “Five Men in Normandy” by Ivan. Nuts was fun but not very representative and FMinN was interesting but was really only able to handle small numbers of troops.

    Cheers and good gaming.

    Rod Robertson.

    #18659
    War Panda
    Participant

    “What do you think of “Bolt Action””

    I’ll try to go into a little more detail later but for now…

    I had read quite a few reports on how “unrealistic” it was …an ugly offspring of 40K blah blah blah…But to my surprise I’m really loving it.

    Although I do think there are certain elements that that for me (and I’m not for one moment saying that I know exactly where on how it need to be fixed) but there are area’s that could and should be addressed.

    But why would I bother you might ask? Just play something that’s not broken?

    Well I just happen to feel that at the very core of this set there is an extremely satisfying engine. I enjoy the friction of random activation. It is the morale system that I love. It’s simple and intuitive and feels like a unit for one moment to the next has the pressure and burden of battle mounting up. It doesn’t mean (as so many of systems employ) that the unit is this particular “status” (suppressed, pinned, broken.etc…) so it’s abilities and actions are restricted to A and C and for it to preform B it needs to lose this status ….Rather the unit’s performance becomes irritate and inconsistent and feels like I’m trying to drag my kids away from their toys to go to Church on Christmas morning. All of this is done without any serious book keeping and manages to simulate a non-absolute compliancey effortlessly. That’s key to me. I HATE to play a game that at its core seems to drag and sputter and I feel like I’m battling the designers mechanisms than the dug in Panzer Grenadiers in the next hedgerow.

    Is it perfect…not far off. At the core IMO I think it’s not far off. And this is vital to establishing why I value the system so highly. I believe the problems with the rules themselves can be replaced, modified or cut out without unbalancing the entire system…

    I have to run but now that you’ve started this in the immortal words of Arnie Schwhattheheckger “I’LL BE BACK”

    “The great Gaels of Ireland are the men that God made mad,
    For all their wars are merry, and all their songs are sad.”

    #18666
    Rod Robertson
    Participant

    War Panda:

    No rush WP, I hope this will be a long-term thread with an evolving discussion by all contributors.

    What I liked about Battleground WWII was:

    • The card drawn activation system and the uncertainty of when a unit would activate. We added in a joker which could mean a random event or a premature end to the turn based on a die roll.
    • The combat system allowed the players to use weapons in various ways – for example using machine guns for indirect fire or 2″ mortars for direct horizontal fire.
    • Malfunctions and foul-ups. These were handled well and made the game very interesting although at times if the dice were really non-cooperative the game could resemble a keystone-cops comedy of errors.
    • The philosophical position (which was also reflected in the rule system’s mechanics) that teams, squads, platoons and crews were not just units but amalgamations of individuals with their own strengths and weakness.
    • The Sniper Rules – good snipers are a real pain in the posterior in this system and can be wickedly effective at shutting down an attack or advance.
    • The treatment of gun crews and vehicle crews as a group of individuals working together and allowing flexibility for those crews in their actions.
    • Guts checks and skill checks for doing certain activities.
    • Hit locations for anti-vehicle direct fire and the different effects that come with penetration and non-penetration.

    What did not work well in Battleground WWII was:

    • The tendency of the rules to slow down the rate of play unless all the players were very familiar with the rules.
    • The acquisition system made spotting some things too easy at certain ranges and required a major overhaul.
    • The accuracy and lethality of infantry fire and perhaps machine-gun fire on troops which were dug in or in good cover. We fixed this by dropping down the base chance to hit for most weapons and by making terrain modifiers hit modifiers rather than damage modifiers.
    • The close combat system which was too dependent on luck and did not weigh the advantages and disadvantages of the combatants well.
    • The off-board and on-board indirect fire rules which were cumbersome.
    • The penetration and armour values of certain guns and armoured vehicles which were way off in the players’ estimations.
    • Direct fire with HE at soft targets which was too accurate and too devastating. Again by giving the attacker the option to apply the terrain modifiers to hit rolls (making devastating shots far rarer) or by allowing them to shoot at the area with no terrain modifiers but applying the terrain modifiers to the damage done.
    • A lack of good rules for auto-cannons which in my opinion seemed to be an after thought rather than well considered rules.
    • A lack of support for the vehicle data requirements which meant that players would have to go researching and justifying the stats for less common vehicles and guns.

    All of the problems except the first one and the last one were fixable and if you trained you players well by the second or third game played, things picked up and the pace was tolerable.

    Now onto “Bolt Action”. From what I have seen of your reviews, I like the friction and erosion of capability caused by pins on the troops. I like the random draw activation but I am uncertain if I like the idea that the player gets to activate the units which he wants to activate. Can units both move and fire after moving as seems to be the case in the videos you made? That is perhaps too much of an advantage for weapon systems in the 1930’s and 1940’s. Would a tank be able to trundle around a corner and blast an enemy anti-tank gun before the gun got to react? As I have said before the lack of spotting and acquisition rules seems odd but knowing little of these rules that may be more a function of my ignorance than the rules themselves. The combat mechanics seem fine but again highly abstracted. Do the rules make room for ambush or opportunity fire against enemy units? Can machine guns “fire blind” into preregistered zones? Can vehicles and infantry pop smoke to block or degrade visibility and enhance survival?

    I am asking all of these questions because I am thinking of investing in a copy of the rules but I am not sure sure yet of the utility of such a purchase.

    Cheers and good gaming.

    Rod Robertson.

    #18678
    Ivan Sorensen
    Participant

    So I am not joking at all, but have you considered looking into Advanced Squad Leader?
    I know it’s not a mini’s game but it seems like it might fit a lot of your criteria.

    Nordic Weasel Games
    https://www.wargamevault.com/browse/pub/5701/Nordic-Weasel-Games?src=browse5701

    #18680
    War Panda
    Participant

    “Now onto “Bolt Action”. From what I have seen of your reviews, I like the friction and erosion of capability caused by pins on the troops. I like the random draw activation but I am uncertain if I like the idea that the player gets to activate the units which he wants to activate.”

    Okay I was going to address a different area of the rules first but this is far more interesting 🙂

    “uncertain if I like the idea that the player gets to activate the units which he wants to activate.”

    Rod I’ve pondered this quite a bit recently myself. Mainly because there’s a situation in my present video game that’s presented itself and while it doesn’t exactly propose the problem it has indicated the potential with the activation rules as written.

    Lets say the game is similar to my own. We have US Airborne elite. We have 8 separate units so i.e. 8 US Command Dice. The Germans are with a depleted force of 4 units so 4 Command Dice. There’s two armoured vehicles aiming their cannons at each other at close range. Lets even say the US Sherman has a fairly green crew and the SS Tiger is commanded by Michael Wittmann.

    As in my game its the start of a new turn. First Command dice out means almost certain destruction to the opposition tank (well a very good chance at least) But the US regular tank has double the chance of reacting first because of the number of US units.

    Hard to accept this situation as properly reflecting the reaction chances of a veteran tank crew against a green one

    Now it should be noted that the new BA Tank Wars provides Tank crews with various skills that allows more talented crews to react to opponent attacks. My next video will include the Tank War rules.

    But this wouldn’t influence a German force with a mixture of Green Volkssturm and an Elite SS platoon.

    One obvious solution is to have different coloured dice to represent different troop quality. But say there’s 4 units of Volkssturm and only 1 unit of SS. Should the green troops have such an advantage merely due to more units?

    Could Elite troops be given have a double amount of Command Dice (each unit can only activate once though) While Green units receive only half the number of Command Dice (and so only activate half their troops each turn.)

    I’ve also considered a rule that each unit needs to make a successful skill test to activate. The same as when reinforcements want to activate. This would mean that better trained and experienced units under the control of leaders (supported with their modifiers) would have a much better chance of activating.

    I have played IABSM using random card activation. Each card represents an individual unit. But I really didn’t like the rules dictating to me which actual unit would have to be activated first.  Also added more work with searching for the units card in the deck if it was destroyed etc..

    With each Troop Quality Type having its own dice (colour) and with each unit requiring an activation roll based on it quality this would mean less chance of activating exactly you want and when you want…

    Like IABSM could add an “End of Turn Dice” to the bag (or two…needing the second one to end)

    More to follow….. 😉

     

    “The great Gaels of Ireland are the men that God made mad,
    For all their wars are merry, and all their songs are sad.”

    #18681
    War Panda
    Participant

    ” Can units both move and fire after moving as seems to be the case in the videos you made?”

    Mmmmmm I’m not sure Rod…unless I’ve made some mistakes or I was cheating (cheating is so second nature I do it unconsciously)

    Do you remember a specific instant?

    Move and Shoot/Shoot and then move is allowed but with moving at half range and a negative modifier to shooting

    Of course a unit could potentially receive two orders in a row if it had the final activation of a Turn and then had the first activation of the next Turn but I don’t think that’s what you meant

    “The great Gaels of Ireland are the men that God made mad,
    For all their wars are merry, and all their songs are sad.”

    #18685
    Rod Robertson
    Participant

    Tim:

    You ask a very good question  I don’t think I can give you a definition which everyone would be happy with but when I think of skirmish I mean small level and local combat in a reasonably short time frame per turn. I also mean units are represented at a one to one ratio, that is one miniature represents one soldier or vehicle. To me a skirmish game could have up to a reinforced company on one side at most and would more likely involve one or two platoons per side at most.

    Ivan:

    I have played Squad Leader and Advanced Squad Leader for years and liked the game very much. In fact my wargaming buddies and I used to play “Blind Squad Leader” with a referee and two identical boards separated by a screen. Each player would move their units and the ref would only show the other player what could be seen by his own forces. It was a great way to play the game and made scouts, OP’s and pickets really important!

    The War Panda:

    I like your idea for activation checks when a die is drawn. Would such checks be based on the morale or training level of troops. I would think training would be a better determinator for initiative than élan. In the event of a failed activation would the die be returned to the drawing bag or would the die be discarded as used despite the lack of activation and action? I would say the die should be recycled to let all units on a side eventually move unless the two “joker” dice are drawn first.

    However I still do not think that die drawing and activation rolls should allow a tank to drive around a corner and blast a concealed or previously unseen anti-tank gun or infantry anti-tank weapon before the defender gets a shot off or an activation roll to try and get a shot off. So that would be my next question to you. How to handle over-watch or opportunity/ambush fire?

    Cheers and good gaming.

    Rod Robertson.

     

    #18691
    shelldrake
    Participant

    I am one of those that feels a skirmish game is where one figure represents one soldier, and you give individual orders to each figure/soldier during a game.

    Although Bolt Action and Chain of Command etc have one figure equals one soldier, you do not give individual orders to each figure.

     

    Iron Ivan’s rules “Disposable Heroes: Point Blank” is what I call a skirmish game: I like the rules, but still not exactly what I want in a skirmish game.

    Pulp Alley is also another game I have, and one that fits my thoughts on a skirmish game, and is easily adapted to non pulp games.

     

     

     

    #18697
    War Panda
    Participant

    “Would such checks be based on the morale or training level of troops.”

    Well they’re both the same thing in the rules…but I agree with you and that could be expanded also.

    I would say the die should be recycled to let all units on a side eventually move unless the two “joker” dice are drawn first.

    Well this was the way I was looking at it. As a dice is drawn and their Skill Activation Test (SAT) is failed they would have the choice of going on ambush/overwatch or going “down.” Down makes them harder to hit. Ambush and Down are two actions that can be extended into the next Turn if the player wishes.

    If the Turn ends on the Joker Dice (JD) maybe any unactivated units can choose to do the same. Go on ambush or down. Remember they won’t have a Command Dice (CD) in the bag in the next Turn.

    i.e.  the units are not completely useless but are quite passive acting outside of your control but still self-protective or defensive.

    My worry about recycling them would be the length of the Turn. It’s one thing my simple mind can cope with is: well this dice is out of the bag and it needs to be dealt with. I remember trying things like this with IABSM and in the end it became too complicated (but that might be me)

     

    “However I still do not think that die drawing and activation rolls should allow a tank to drive around a corner and blast a concealed or previously unseen anti-tank gun or infantry anti-tank weapon before the defender gets a shot off or an activation roll to try and get a shot off. So that would be my next question to you. How to handle over-watch or opportunity/ambush fire?”

     

    It’s funny as I was reading your message, there’s a North African WW2 documentary playing. A vet of the war, a Panzer III gunner is describing a battle situation where their Panzer comes up over a hill and 1000 metres away there’s two British Crusader’s. The Mark III takes out one and then the second. The British never responded. In a game situation they may same almost ridiculous…just giving some context for what’s coming next 🙂

    Anyway this is how I see it.

    In my own game when I was activating my Sherman before the Stug had made its move I was left with two main options: Attack a very vulnerable half-track full of Jerries and was basically screaming to be shot. But I knew the Stug was in the area. In the standard rules I knew he was coming around the corner soon. I just got reasonably lucky with my shoot destroying the 251 and vomiting its occupants out on the road ruining the Stug’s chances of retaliation.

    With our proposed changes however there’s no way we could be certain that it would get an opportunity it fully activate, due to JD ,  SAT etc….

    If it doesn’t it gets chance to go into ambush mode which effectively means its not attacking next turn. So instead it moves into LoS of the Sherman and hopes that it’s greater amount of Command Dice (CD) will give it an edge over the Sherman. We can say there’s two Sherman’s on the battlefield and are Regular so only has 2 CD (100% of the unit’s). There are 2 Stug’s and are Elite so will have 4 CD’s (double the number of  unit) to activate. So due to a CD’s alone the Stug will have double the chance of activating. Then of course each would have to pass a SAT. The Sherman will pass on a 9 or less (two d6’s) the Stug 10 or less (two d6’s)

    So in your scenario if your Anti-Tank Gun is expecting the enemy tank to come around the corner it better go on over watch. If it’s attention is drawn to another target then that mean’s he’s become distracted and has broken its attention from the impending threat.

    Okay on top of all that… 🙂 there are Tank Skills (applicable to Anti-Tank teams also I should think)

    There are 18 in all. 6 for a driver, 6 for the gunner, 6 for the commander…

    Lets just say we have the situation described.

    Against the odds the Sherman’s CD is drawn. It makes an Advance Order. It can move 9 inches pivot 90 degrees and declares its intention to open fire. The Stug is not on Ambush.

    However realizing his Stug’s Commander has the Eagle Eye Skill  “Eagle Eye: Play when this vehicle is nominated as a target of a ranged attack or assault. If this vehicle has LOS (line of sight) to the attacker, it may react by shooting at the attacker with any one weapon that has LOS to the attacker.”

    So the Stug makes a SAT (this test would not be required in the actual rules) It needs 10 or less on 2d6’s it gets a 10 and passes. It’s about to shoot when the shocked Sherman declares a gunner skill of it’s own: “Snap Shooter: Play after a target attempts to react. The target of the shot cannot react to being targeted, including abilities like recce.”

    The Sherman rolls its SAT and gets a 10 a failure. The Stug fires and hits.

    These skills are a part of the Tank War and are designed for Tank battles but if there are not too many tanks on the table I feel they won’t overcomplicate things. I’ve play tested them and have enjoyed the flavour they provide.

    So in other words there are two ways n which anti-tank reactive fire can take place. The Cannon is on Ambush/overwatch or if the gunner/commander has a relevant skill.

    BTW skills can only be used once per game.

     

     

    “The great Gaels of Ireland are the men that God made mad,
    For all their wars are merry, and all their songs are sad.”

    #18700
    Ivan Sorensen
    Participant

    This might be interjecting so please forgive me, but I’ve tossed around the idea occasionally for some sort of game based on the FiveCore turn sequence but with a more conventional firing mechanic for bigger games (platoon to company).

    Is that anything that’d have interest at all?

    Shelldrake -I agree with you. To me “skirmish” always meant each figure can act reasonably independently so Chain of COmmand being considered a skirmish game always confuses me 🙂

    Nordic Weasel Games
    https://www.wargamevault.com/browse/pub/5701/Nordic-Weasel-Games?src=browse5701

    #18702
    Rod Robertson
    Participant

    Shelldrake:

    i see your point about giving orders to individual soldiers and I agree that this could be a characteristic of skirmish games but I am not sure if it is a prerequisite for calling a game system a skirmish game. I’m going a little off topic, but I think of a game like Brother Against Brother (ACW Skirmish combat) where you move the leader in a measured move and then the rest of the squad can move any distance so long as they end up within the command radius of their leader. No individual orders are given to the squad members, they just follow the leader like a gaggle of goslings following their mum. They all have to shoot at the same target IIRC so there is no opportunity to give special orders there either. The game is definitely a skirmish game however.

    I have long considered buying a copy of Disposable Heroes to see what the system is like and I may now do so on your implied recommendation of the rules. The Pulp Alley rules are unknown to me but I shall do some research. Thanks for bring them to my attention.

    The War Panda:

    The situation where a tank moved and then fired occurred on the bridge when IIRC in turn 2 the American Sherman rolled up the road after the mortar round hit it, crushed a car and fired its main gun, coaxial MG and Bow MG at various positions ahead of it. Could a Sherman half-move 9″ around a corner and blast a previously unseen target before the target itself could react and attack the Sherman? The M-8 Greyhound did something similar in turn 2 as well IIRC.

    Your point about the Pz III and the two British Cruiser tanks is well taken and one which I had anticipated and that is why I limited my examples to ATG’s and Infantry AT weapons. Situational awareness was challenging in WWII tanks so I agree it is quite possible for AFV’s to blunder around in a near blind state.

    The tank skills and anti-tank skills seem to address most of my concerns and the option to go on over watch/ambush is good too. If one goes on over watch/ambush mode does one have to pre-state what one is on ambush for? Your description made it sound like an ambush is target specific. If a StuG III and a SdKfz 251 could both potentially come into an ambush zone does the ambusher have to have preselected the target or can the ambusher blast any enemy which comes into his kill zone?

     

     

    • This reply was modified 6 years, 10 months ago by Rod Robertson.
    • This reply was modified 6 years, 10 months ago by Rod Robertson.
    #18704
    Rod Robertson
    Participant

    Something went wrong with my I-pad or with TWW because I could not finish my comments.  They continue below.

    Do you think “Bolt Action” would be suitable for 15 mm games. I think I shall buy the rules and read them so I don’t blunder about in the dark during this conversation.

    Cheers and good gaming.

    Rod Robertson.

    #18706
    Rod Robertson
    Participant

    Ivan:

    Jump in and feel free to give your two cents. No apologies needed, The more the merrier. Can you better explain the mechanism you mentioned above, remembering I am only partially familiar with your FMinN and NEIS rules.

    Rod Robertson

    #18707
    Rod Robertson
    Participant

    This might be useful for reference purposes:

    http://warlordgames.com/downloads/pdf/bolt_action_reference.pdf

    Cheers.

    Rod Robertson.

    #18709
    Ivan Sorensen
    Participant

    Rod – Thanks, I get self-conscious sometimes.

    Okay, so let’s say you had 8-9 squads on the table, a company’s worth.
    You roll for activation like in “Five men” with 1’s and 6’s having special effects and otherwise, the number of squads that activate are equal to the dice roll.

    Fire would be amalgamated by squad probably, rather than tracking individual shooters. It’d sit about at the level of something like IABSM but without the cards and with (a bit) more control over what you can do each turn.

    Nordic Weasel Games
    https://www.wargamevault.com/browse/pub/5701/Nordic-Weasel-Games?src=browse5701

    #18710
    Rod Robertson
    Participant

    Ivan:

    That sounds fine but what would activation allow a squad to do? Move, shoot, set-up or break-down heavy weapons and MG’s, prepare fox holes, recover morale, communicate enemy positions, etc.? The devil is in the details as they say.

    Could the company command, although not represented by a unit on the board necessarily, be used as a clearing house for activation pips. Sort of like in DBM and DBMM ancient rules. Could a regular or better trained company command roll three dice of the same colour, one for each of its platoons and then assign the dice to the platoons to activate fire-teams (half squads). Regular or Superior trained units could assign their dice while irregular/poorly trained units would have to get the die roll that their platoon rolled (use three to four different coloured dice for Irregulars/Green units.).

    Cheers and good gaming.

    Rod Robertson.

    #18719
    War Panda
    Participant

    Could a Sherman half-move 9″ around a corner and blast a previously unseen target before the target itself could react and attack the Sherman? The M-8 Greyhound did something similar in turn 2 as well IIRC.

     

    Yes they can 🙂   That was one Advance order for the Sherman! To make matters worse Rod 18′ is the normal move. 9′ is the move and shoot but then a vehicle can travel double on a road so the Sherman could have moved 18′ and still shot. I didn’t actually realize this in my first Sherman move of the game; I only moved it 18′ in a run order but vets of the game PMed me saying he could have moved 36′ !!!

    And this is one of my biggest criticisms of the game as written. I always liked Lardies philosophy about Tanks movement at this level of game. Even though a tank could move faster in reality they didn’t dare risk that speed in a battle where there’s potential enemies behind every piece of cover.

    I would prefer tanks maybe moving marginally faster than infantry but not much. And I think they should need to make a spotting test before firing at infantry in cover (even light?)

    Spotting test for tanks could be similar to the chances to kill. i.e. Green are seen on 3,4,5,6 Reg 4,5,6 Elite 5,6 with +1 Building +1 Small Unit (spotter, snipper) i.e. Elite Sniper in a Building  needs 7+ (6 followed by a 6)

    Your point about the Pz III and the two British Cruiser tanks is well taken and one which I had anticipated and that is why I limited my examples to ATG’s and Infantry AT weapons. Situational awareness was challenging in WWII tanks so I agree it is quite possible for AFV’s to blunder around in a near blind state.

    Good point. Perhaps all regular Anti Tank guns that have not activated that turn always have “Eagle Eye: Play when this vehicle is nominated as a target of a ranged attack or assault. If this vehicle has LOS (line of sight) to the attacker, it may react by shooting at the attacker with any one weapon that has LOS to the attacker.” ???

    But if they have activated already (and presumably not chosen ambush) then they are understood to be preoccupied with that?

    If one goes on over watch/ambush mode does one have to pre-state what one is on ambush for?

    No.. and it doesn’t have to react to enemy movement if it chooses to wait for a juicier target …any enemy will do

    How about the spotting rules? Do you have any idea’s how you’d like to handle them?

    Ivan, please I’ve us any ideas you night have…perhaps this might be the next big one!

    I’m still a little confused about the the rolls for activation in “Five men” with 1’s and 6’s having special effects…

    I know Jack loves the effect but I still can’t get my head around the loss of control in situations that may or may not be pressured. I think I may need to reexamine the rules. I think I need a refresher course 🙂 Especially in regards to what is been represented

     

    “The great Gaels of Ireland are the men that God made mad,
    For all their wars are merry, and all their songs are sad.”

    #18720
    Ivan Sorensen
    Participant

    Tanks firing at infantry in general:
    For our games, almost regardless of system, we usually only allow tanks to fire guns at infantry that are in some sort of cover.
    Machine guns, they can fire more freely.

    That helps reinforce a bit that the tanks would be there to crack open tough opposition, and probably reflects how ww2 HE shells really function a tiny bit better.

    Spotting:
    Opposed roll between the moving and stationary unit, modify as appropriate (if desired). Could be as simple as 1D6 each, stationary unit shoots first on a draw?

    War Panda:
    It’s because you are going at it backwards 🙂

    I don’t say that to be coy either. There’s two ways to approach the narrative in a game.
    One is to say “This is the situation and therefore this should happen”.
    We’ll call this the “Consequence” method.

    For example, I shot at your machine gun last turn, it got pinned down. So now, I can move my squad up to the wall without being shot to pieces.

    My being able to move to the wall is a consequence of something that happened on the table.

    The benefit here is that it’s all very direct. I do something, something happens, that now means something else can happen.
    The downside is that the only things that can happen, are things the rules say can happen. (I know that sounds really dumb, but hopefully you get where I am going)

    The other is to say “This happened, and here is the reason it did”.
    We’ll call that the “Results” method.

    In this example, I roll a Scurry which lets my men get to the wall without getting shot at.
    Why did your gun not shoot? Maybe my men found a ditch they could sneak through, maybe they did shoot and jammed up, maybe they just weren’t paying attention that moment, maybe they did get shot at but it all went wide or maybe the men were in that position all along.

    The upside here is that in the ongoing narrative, any number of things can be happening.
    The downside is that you do get disconnected a bit from the concrete blow-by-blow.

    Now, one of these is not better than the other. (though they may be better for a particular person). It’s just a different way of approaching it. I am always a big fan of “roll the dice, we’ll make up an explanation” and that carries into everything I’ve written.
    Others, like you, prefer that the explanation came from the mechanical effects that took place in the game. Incidentally, I’m a big ASL fan and that game functions entirely in that fashion.

    Does that help at all?

    Mechanics that might happen

    OKay, so nothing concrete yet, since I am working on two other projects but what if:
    You do something like the FiveCore activation roll but for a squad.
    Take turns activating a squad like a lot of games do.

    When I pick a squad, I roll and on a 1, they Scurry, on a 6, they shoot a lot. (as happens now in FiveCore/Five men)
    On another score, the roll is the number of soldiers who can act at their best (move boldly, fire aimed shots).
    The rest can sneak about a few inches in cover or take some suppressing pot shots.

    One thing I have been thinking about is the idea that out of a squad, at any given moment, only a few of the men are doing anything particularly effective.
    This isn’t getting into Marshall territory, it’s more the realization that some of them will be hugging the dirt, fumbling with weapons, confused, unable to see any enemies or they may be firing at nothing in particular.

    • This reply was modified 6 years, 10 months ago by Ivan Sorensen.

    Nordic Weasel Games
    https://www.wargamevault.com/browse/pub/5701/Nordic-Weasel-Games?src=browse5701

    #18722
    Rod Robertson
    Participant

    Ivan:

    i see where you are coming from in using your “results” approach and I think it is valid. My problem is that you are focusing on squads. Squads did not fight as a homogeneous unit where everyone did the same thing at the same time. Squads were often subdivided into manoeuvre/assault teams and fire teams. It seems to me if one wants to simulate the tactics used in WWII one must concede that the most basic tactical unit will have to be the team and not the squad. So at a company level attack you should be activating teams and not squads. This will also avoid the problem of different organisations for squads. For example a British rifle squad had 8-10 men per squad while an Italian squad had up to 21 men in a squad. The British squad was divided up into a fire team (with a Bren gunner, loader and a team leader) and an assault team of between 5-7 riflemen and submachine-gunners. The Italians divided their infantry squads into two fire teams with LMG’s and rifles and one very large assault team of 11 riflemen and SMG’s. To my mind it makes more sense to activate teams than squads in order to better reflect the separate jobs going on within the squad and to avoid distortion in force capability due to doctrinal differences in squad size and composition.

    An average activation role for a platoon attack would allow 3-4 teams to activate and put in an attack either by fire or manoeuvre.  Consequently rolling one activation die per platoon would seem to be more sensible as this would allow between 9 and 12 teams to activate in the first round of action. In the second round 6-9 could be activated and if there are mor actions the erosion and leader exhaustion would eventually  shut down the company and the attack would peter out.

    Cheers and good gaming.

    Rod Robertson.

    #18723
    Ivan Sorensen
    Participant

    Yeah, as you explain it, doing it by team makes a ton of sense.
    Though wouldn’t that fit better at a platoon level game?

    Conventional wisdom is “two steps down”. From a platoon, two steps down is the fire team, while from a company, two steps down is the squad.

    Of course, conventional wisdom is often wrong 🙂

    • This reply was modified 6 years, 10 months ago by Ivan Sorensen.

    Nordic Weasel Games
    https://www.wargamevault.com/browse/pub/5701/Nordic-Weasel-Games?src=browse5701

    #18725
    Rod Robertson
    Participant

    The War Panda:

    Since most non-gyrostabilised AFV tended to fight using the short-halt fire method perhaps forcing a vehicle to fire before it moves is one solution. Another is to penalise the effects of speculative fire somehow. This would allow AFV’s to conduct recce-by-fire actions and suppress potential foes without outright destroying them straight off the bat. The suppression could pin the target without actually killing it. This would degrade the suppressed unit’s combat effectiveness and improve the survival chances for the AFV without removing the threat of the unseen defender entirely. Now, I don’t know the mechanics of the “Bolt Action” rules well enough to suggest how this could be done using the game’s mechanisms but it seems to me that this must be possible.

    As to Spotting and Target Acquisition, again the mechanics of the game are unclear to me now. You could either laminate onto the rules a foreign acquisition system or try and tinker with the mechanics of the game. I suspect, but do not know, that the best way to do this is through the activation rolls and using modifiers to see if the target is acquired is probably the way to go. As to the speed of AFV’s you could make the road bonus only available to unbuttoned tanks with an exposed commander. This would make the AFV vulnerable to small arms and automatic weapons fire in ambush and would punish players who like to shove their tanks forward without support.

    Cheers.

    Rod Robertson.

    • This reply was modified 6 years, 10 months ago by Rod Robertson.
    #18762
    Just Jack
    Participant

    Dammit, sorry fellas, I’m late to the party again.

    First, I’m with Shelldrake regarding the skirmish definition: 1 is 1 (person and vehicle), and individual soldiers activate (NUTS!, 5MIN, Point Blank).  Then we have platoon-level games like Chain of Command, Force on Force, Disposable Heroes, and NEIS,  and company-level games like IABSM/CDS, Crossfire (though this could just as easily be a battalion-level game), FOW, and 5Core Company Command.  And I’m with Ivan: conventional wisdom is too levels down (though you could just as easily play 5Core Company Command, keeping squads as elements, split each squad element into two teams that must stay within a certain distance of each other, give them.  If a squad fires with 1K 1S, give the gun team 1K and the rifle team 1S, rifle team is +1 in CC, gun team is -1.).

    “Of course, conventional wisdom is often wrong.”
    No it’s not, that’s why it’s called conventional wisdom, i.e., the stuff that humans collectively know from thousands of years of experience on this earth, even if they don’t remember how they know it.  What you’re referring to are myths that are taken up and treated as if everyone should know them and agree with them 😉

    This is an important distinction to me in this topic, and here’s why.  As Rod states, squads fought in teams, with just about every country involved in WWII have a doctrine and published tactics that were trained on how to fight a squad in two or more supporting teams.  But there are folks that will tell you this didn’t actually happen (if you don’t believe me you can search TMP for the 8000-post long argument where I argued with several folks on this exact topic) because of some anecdotal evidence of what one man saw, or because someone wrote in a book  that casualties were so high in certain campaigns that ‘x’ forces operated in squads because of a lack of leadership (and I’d submit, probably a lack of bodies too, meaning it’s one thing to talk about a squad of ten men broken into five-man teams, but if your squad is down to six men, well, that’s really just one team, not a unit refusing to use fire and maneuver on a doctrinal basis.

    Panda – if you recall my “All Americans” campaign, I was using card-based activation in a very similar means to Bolt Action (which is probably where I got the idea).  Early on I was doing what you were talking about: I was having each team take an activation test (based off Angel Barracks’ KR-16 rules).  I think it works for what you’re trying to do, but it slowed things down too much for me, so ended up only having them test if they had taken fire (like the pins in Bolt Action).

    “There’s two armoured vehicles aiming their cannons at each other at close range. Lets even say the US Sherman has a fairly green crew and the SS Tiger is commanded by Michael Wittmann.  As in my game its the start of a new turn. First Command dice out means almost certain destruction to the opposition tank (well a very good chance at least) But the US regular tank has double the chance of reacting first because of the number of US units.”
    See, to me scenario is way overblown, and I don’t mean because it doesn’t happen, it happens to me all the time.  What I mean is, it didn’t happen in a vacuum: there was a tank sitting there, and another tank pops around the corner.  First, if the sitting tank has activated, and you didn’t put him on ‘overwatch,’ then you as the player made the decision to engage with something else, thereby distracting your tank, or (in the case of, ‘my tank  wasn’t just sitting there behind the corner, I just moved it there this turn’) then you as the player made a tactical error in placing them in a bad, exposed position (knowing an enemy tank could pop around the corner and light them up).  We can argue about the fact each side maybe shouldn’t have known what was around the corner, to which my reply is: use a blinds system so that player’s don’t know who’s who until they’ve been spotted/fired.

    So, you’re tank is sitting there, having just moved up behind the corner, or was already sitting at the corner and fired on something else, instead of sitting and going on overwatch to pop my tank as it came around the corner; that’s your bad.  Now I roll my tank around the corner and fire on your tank, but miss.  Now we’re down to pure luck to see who will fire first next turn, with one side (mine in this case) having a better chance  because of more units, not because of crew quality.  I get it, but I can live with it because we got to where we are based on our tactical decisions, and not the dice/luck.  If my tank gets to shoot first, it gets to shoot first because yours was stuck traversing the turret whilst mine was already laid, or because they had to unload HE and reload with AP, or because my last round had shaken them up, etc…  If your tank fires first, it’s because my crew freaked out and missed with their first round, then wet their pants, or because the loader got his hand stuck in the breach, or dropped the round, or because the gunner got some powder in his eye, or because the TC thought they’d actually hit and knocked out the enemy tank.  I think it works.

    Now, I will say I’ve taken some further steps along these lines, but mine was just to make things more violent.  First, I am now playing this: if your tank fires on mine and has no effect (possible effects are 1. KO, 2. Immob and test for bail, 3. pin – can shoot but can’t move until rallied, and 4. fall back – can’t move or shoot until rallied; no effect is not rolling any of these results), my tank gets to return fire for ‘free.’  So, I’ve had sequences like this: my tank moves up into a field and fires at enemy infantry.  An enemy tank rolls into LOS and fires at my tank, no effect.  My tank returns fire (due to no effect), gets a pin on the the enemy tank (he can’t move, but can still shoot).  That’s the end of the turn, now my tank activates and fires on the pinned enemy tank, no effect.  The enemy tank returns fire, and KO’s my damn tank!  Then he gets to activate and go after some more of my troops.

    I’ve also been thinking about this, though I haven’t tried it yet: as I’ve mentioned, I’ve been reading Panzer Aces (finished the first one, about halfway through the third one, need to find the second one).  Constantly they are talking about the need to keep moving, that if you sit still you die, and they seem to have proved that, even against T-34s dug in up to their turrets.  So I’ve been messing with the idea of making it easier to hit stationary tanks, and harder to hit moving tanks, while not punishing the firing tank for moving (my reasoning being they weren’t firing on the move, they were making their firing halts).  I’m thinking of giving the moving, firing tank 2K 1S, the stationary tank 1K.  I can explain the loss of 1S by the stationary tank: he’s firing at a moving tank, and the moving tank is either going to get hit or keep going, not really worried about the rounds flying past that aren’t hitting him.  I’m having a harder time explaining why the moving tank is more effective, so I’ll probably just leave his shot at 1K 1S (this is not including any modifiers for overgunned, etc…).  This does not apply to ATGs and infantry anti-tank weapons, they will retain their shock dice regardless of whether the tank was moving or stationary.  This is based on all the times I read about tanks being driven off by hidden infantry/ATGs, where the tanks just lost their nerve and fell back.

    I still find myself confounded by these (and I mean it in terms of ‘if you have questions, please ask as I’d love to explain so as to hopefully allay your concerns; it’s purely selfish, as I’d like to see more people playing these rules so there are more folks to chat with them about):

    “I am open to all suggestions but I like a game system which does not abstract too much from the mechanics of combat. Quick play and ease of play are not my greatest concerns but a sense of realism is.”

    and

    “I’m still a little confused about the the rolls for activation in “Five men” with 1’s and 6’s having special effects…  I know Jack loves the effect but I still can’t get my head around the loss of control in situations that may or may not be pressured. I think I may need to reexamine the rules.”

    First, let me say that I know everyone will not like a set of rules just because I like them, but I really like the rules because I think they are giving an accurate representation of what I understand combat to be/look like, WWII to present (yes, I will soon be using 5Core Company Command for modern gaming too).  If there are things you think are unrealistic, please allow me (and Ivan I suppose, but I wouldn’t listen to him, he’s a commie) to try to explain.  The only thing I can think of off the top of my head is the amount of close combat that occurs in my games, for which I have several answers:

    1) I’m simulating the old adage regarding fire and maneuver of ‘pin’em and out’em (via close combat),’ which leads us to point number two:

    2) ‘Close combat’ does not mean a bayonet charge, nor does it mean going at it with fisticuffs (though I may insinuate otherwise in my batreps, purely for dramatic reasons), it means getting close enough to eliminate the enemy with devastating firepower, where hand grenades and submachine guns are very effective.  So, think of it as a squad getting to within 20 or 30 yards of the enemy and putting them out with close range fire.

    3) If that still doesn’t fix my close combats for you, please realize it’s a function of how I play the game, rather than the rules.  That is, I like quick, dramatic games which are decisive, so moving into close combat accomplishes that: either my guys are going to be heroes that whoop a bunch of ass, or they’re going to go down in heroic fashion.  The rules do a good job of supporting this in my opinion, by having mechanics that work to pin and/or force back enemy units by fire, then finish those pinned/suppressed units via close combat, but you don’t have to go galavanting about; I simply choose to do that.  As a side note, this is also a function of my playing on a small playing surface; if you play on a larger table the troops will have to cross more ground under more fire, meaning my playing style wouldn’t work, and you’d want to focus more on supporting arms (which is certainly realistic, but I personally don’t want to play a game, at least with KG Klink, though this will probably change with my modern USMC campaign; anyone know where I can get a 10mm/1:144 scale AH-1 Cobra?).

    4) If you’re concerned with troops close assaulting tanks, I’d say 1) troops actually did this (or fell back) when confronted by tanks, it’s why things like Gammon Grenades and Hefthollagongs (or whatever the hell those things are called) and Molotov Cocktails and Tank Killer Badges were invented.  I’ll also say that you will probably not see this in my modern games (though I did do it once, just for one, in one of my recent FFL games, didn’t I?  But that was playing NEIS; see, it’s me, not the rules!), there will be plenty of anti-tank weapons, and even air support, around.

    To Panda’s point, what is it I can help you with?  I think Ivan gave an excellent description above, and I can say, to me it’s no different than playing a card activated game and adding a turn-end mechanism (whereas you don’t get to do everything you want).  I have never felt like I was ‘cheated’ playing the 5Core activation mechanism, or that it was unrealistic.  Hell, to me it’s made them more realistic.  Look at my batrep #16; I’ve played a fair few sets of WWII and modern rules, and I’ve never seen anything like that happen.  I’ve had some pretty good strings of rolls in BKC (both for and against me), and yes, it felt a bit cheesy, but I still never had anything happen like what happened in #16.

    I’m rambling so you’re probably missing my point: we’ve all read about things in real life happening like in #16 (a force overwhelming a seemingly equal and prepared opponent, like the German FJ attack on Fort Eban Emauel, or various Israeli actions in ’56, ’67, or ’73, for instance), but we either have rules where it can’t happen, or they go the other way and it’s too easy to happen (this was one in sixteen).

    Long story short, they do give swings, and I suppose either you can live with that or you can’t (no judgement there, simply stating different guys expect different things in their rules, we all have different ideas of what combat looks like/what we want it to look like on our tables), but to me it’s realistic (we’ve all read about the lull in the action that allowed ‘x’ to happen, or the furious firefight that broke out on the left flank, etc…), AND it aids gameplay.  Again, for me, back to the idea of friction, not being able to do everything you want (within limits), and no matter how good or dire things look, you’re only one great activation roll (great being defined as what you think you need, i.e., I could really use a ‘scurry,’ or a ‘firefight,’ right here) from being right back in it.  I like this, others may not, though to me that doesn’t make a lot of sense as all you’re rally saying is ‘my dominant force should easily crush that weak force,’ or vice versa, when, to me, anything is possible once the rounds start flying (and history backs this up).

    In any case, I humbly apologize as I don’t think I’m answering Mr. Robertson’s question in a satisfactory manner, but I love talking about rules, so I beg your pardons and hope you can forgive me 😉

    Oh, and quit screwing around (the both of you, Rod and Panda) and spring the $10 for Company Command, play it, then talk about what you don’t like and we can talk about how to modify it to give you exactly what you’re looking for 😉

    V/R,
    Jack

     

     

    #18787
    War Panda
    Participant

    My word…where to start?!?!? 🙂

    Ivan your analysis of the two system philosophies is very helpful to me. It always helps to define exactly what’s being represented

    Ivan said:

    For example, I shot at your machine gun last turn, it got pinned down. So now, I can move my squad up to the wall without being shot to pieces.

    My being able to move to the wall is a consequence of something that happened on the table

    The next being:

    I roll a Scurry which lets my men get to the wall without getting shot at.  Why did your gun not shoot? Maybe my men found a ditch they could sneak through, maybe they did shoot and jammed up, maybe they just weren’t paying attention that moment, maybe they did get shot at but it all went wide or maybe the men were in that position all along.

    “This happened, and here is the reason it did”.

    We’ll call that the “Results” method.

    I think my problem with the Results method as described id this: What I value in “gaming war” is the creation of a narrative that at its centre is a “unit”  (which is of course probably consists in a group of units but all working together in a unified effort towards a singular goal) in which my decisions (made by Me) effect its “make believe” environment. The environment itself of course through various causes effect the unit in which I’m endeavouring to direct.  The elements of this environment that the unit needs to overcome are “the enemy unit” “internal psychological constraints i.e. effects of morale…poor die roll concerning a SAT roll”  “Joker Dice” means a non movement turn representing a moment of reluctancy to move from one cover position to another etc etc Various random events…Random activation…All of these “environment effects (including the units interior mental condition)

    I need the control of the unit.

    but to me it’s realistic (we’ve all read about the lull in the action that allowed ‘x’ to happen, or the furious firefight that broke out on the left flank, etc…), AND it aids gameplay.  Again, for me, back to the idea of friction, not being able to do everything you want (within limits), and no matter how good or dire things look, you’re only one great activation roll (great being defined as what you think you need, i.e., I could really use a ‘scurry,’ or a ‘firefight,’ right here) from being right back in it.  I like this, others may not, though to me that doesn’t make a lot of sense as all you’re rally saying is ‘my dominant force should easily crush that weak force,’ or vice versa, when, to me, anything is possible once the rounds start flying (and history backs this up).

    And please hear me out here because this is where either the rules need to be “fixed” or I do 🙂

    The issue for me seems to be what I am willing to accept as what I can justly constitute as challenging environmental challenges that oppose my direction of the unit.

    An analogy might be the captaincy of a Man of War sailing ship. The direction and plan of the captain can find opposition in the direction of the wind, the experience, health and strength of the crew, the activity of the enemy. AS Master and commander of the ship I expect the changes of rigging and sails to best suit the wind and inadequacies and strengths of my crew. I might have a immensely strong militia on board but a woefully poor sailing crew which might influence my overall plan. An opposite condition in crew would demand an opposite plan of attack perhaps.

    All of these uncontrollable elements are the challenges of the commander. But if I feel my militia are not adequate for a boarding of the enemy vessel do I feel satisfied if a random die roll means my intended orders are dismissed and the crew insist on directing the sails and vessel in an altogether different direction. Is this realistic…Possibly..if perhaps the crew were feeling mutinous or maybe even suicidal.

    But is it a satisfying game dynamic>? Well not for me. And that’s how I’m feeling about the Results Philosophy. It doesn’t just attempt to challenge my leadership of the unit; Private Jack  and his rifle section blatantly takes over and charges across the street towards the distressed she-goat while I sit behind the wall ripping up my plans :0

    Okay I might be wrong about all this…perhaps I would feel different once I have a few games under my belt but…I don’t think so…a 1 or a 6 on a die roll on each activation seems way too regular occurrence to constitute a mere “random” event…it just seems n matter what orders I shout to the Sailing Master he’s going to make his own decision…

    In regards to friction I usually drove my pals crazy back inIreland when we played IABSM. I had a huge random deck and loved unexpected events challenging and changing your original plans.

    In my Napoleonic days I enjoyed the odd unit lapsing in its operation of orders…this was to be expected in this time period and in this level of command. If I absolutely needed an order carried out I’d prioritize the job with an appropriate Aide de Campe or Marshal etc… The problem I have here is the level of command and there’s no contingencies in which the chances of these random effects can be controlled.

    Having said all of that I have bought the rules and will play them and I might be wrong about how I feel about them.

    BTW Jack I loved your thoughts on tanks fire and how their movement effects situations. Having read a little on the subject I wholeheartedly agree. That deserves a whole new thread on its own. I’m serious. I think it needs addressing and may be buried here under all the crap I’ve probably started.

    And to Ivan: Maybe a better forum for some of this discussion is private messages. I really like your rules and I do intend to play them soon. It should be noted that Jack has played these rules more than anybody probably and loves them. My assessment is based primarily on my own contrariness 🙂

    Rod Said:

    Another is to penalise the effects of speculative fire somehow. This would allow AFV’s to conduct recce-by-fire actions and suppress potential foes without outright destroying them straight off the bat. The suppression could pin the target without actually killing it.

    I like this Rod. I would prefer it to the taking out the Fire at the end of the move. This could be easily employed in the game. Just place modifiers negative modifiers on the chances of killing.

    Jack also mentioned something that I think has a lot of value in regards to the proposed SAT:

    Panda – if you recall my “All Americans” campaign, I was using card-based activation in a very similar means to Bolt Action (which is probably where I got the idea).  Early on I was doing what you were talking about: I was having each team take an activation test (based off Angel Barracks’ KR-16 rules).  I think it works for what you’re trying to do, but it slowed things down too much for me, so ended up only having them test if they had taken fire (like the pins in Bolt Action).

    I did slightly worry about the risks of this slowing things down too much…the one thing I’m really enjoying right now is the “flow and ease” of play. I’d hate to disrupt this. At the same time I do like the idea of certain static troops risking becoming unresponsive. I know you’re not really familiar with the rules but an easy way to insert this into the rules would be to place a single pin marker on a unit that doesn’t activate “on the joker” (BTW successfully activating a unit in BA removes one pin)

    As to Spotting and Target Acquisition, again the mechanics of the game are unclear to me now. You could either laminate onto the rules a foreign acquisition system or try and tinker with the mechanics of the game. I suspect, but do not know, that the best way to do this is through the activation rolls and using modifiers to see if the target is acquired is probably the way to go.

    Yeah to keep it simple the Acquisition of a target could just be inserted into the chances of hitting.

    As to the speed of AFV’s you could make the road bonus only available to unbuttoned tanks with an exposed commander.

    I always had problems with keeping track of buttoned/unbuttoned status…I went to the trouble of making little markers and in the end I just felt it was over-complicating things 🙂 “Laziness have I ever offended thee” 🙂

    “The great Gaels of Ireland are the men that God made mad,
    For all their wars are merry, and all their songs are sad.”

    #18788
    Rod Robertson
    Participant

    Ivan;

    Great things come from bucking the conventional wisdom! You are saying that a company level game should follow the conventional wisdom of a two level step-down. You ask whether activating squads rather than teams would be a more appropriate approach. I would say that a “company level” game can really be redefined as a multi-platoon level game and that the company level command’s job is to support and direct those platoon level actions. Thus a company attack is really a multi-platoon attack and therefore teams would be the appropriate level of activation. When companies attacked in WWII it was rare (except perhaps in Soviet Human-wave attacks) for the whole company to attack at once. Usually one or two platoons were held in reserve and the fighting was done by the remaining two to three platoons in the company. So in my mind at least I see company attacks as multi-platoon attacks and I see the company level role as directing and supporting those attacks (in essence what the player is doing as he makes the decisions which drive the attack).

    The War Panda:

    While reading over the rules summary for “Bolt Action”, I noticed that pivots and perhaps sharp turns are not allowed for tanks moving at “run” speed, so from now on your tanks will have to crawl about at 9″ per turn if they wish to play peak-a-boo with the enemy.

    If you don’t like keeping track of whether a tank is crew exposed (CE) or buttoned up (BU), why not build two tanks with one CE and the other BU. If that is too expensive a simple chit saying CE or BU laid on the back deck of the tank would suffice. If markers ruin the look of the game make markers of deck kit (boxes, tarpaulins, oil drums etc.) to represent CE.

    For acquisition of previously unseen or unreported targets perhaps a +1 or +2 penalty to fire for, “Target not in sight at the start of turn.” Also a penalty for firing a snap-shot on the move should be assessed unless the attacking tank ends it’s movement immediately upon “spotting” and  engaging the target. This would stop vehicle from going on wild rides where they shoot up an anti-tank gun with the main gun and the coaxial MG and then move on to use their bow MG to cut down a “hidden” panzerfaust team which happened to move into position out of enemy sight several turns ago but did not start the game positioned there.

    I also strongly agree that a separate and parallel thread should be created for discussion of Tank to Tank encounters and gun duels.

    Just Jack:

    Wow, that was a lot to take in. You have machine-gunned us with very good ideas and arguments but I, at least, am still doing the “Spandau Ballet” in response to your data dump and will no doubt miss some important points until I can fully digest what you said.

    On what constitutes a “skirmish game” I in part disagree with your analysis. I agree with the 1 to 1 figure ratio but not the individual man activation. Why? 1) Not all skirmish games have an activation mechanism, and, 2) activation can happen at higher levels as long as the player has choice of action for each figure in that unit. Skirmish games for me are 1 to 1 figure representations, local combats, done in turns which represent a short period of time.  The mechanics may vary but the scales determine the skirmish-nature of the game.

    Conventional wisdom is often conventional misunderstanding. If conventional wisdom prevailed we would be living in a world where the Earth is the centre of the universe and angels move crystalline spheres to make the planets and stars move around. It is only by questioning and challenging the conventional wisdom that humanity has broken the chains of intellectual complacency and has learned to better understand, analyze and model the world in which we live and die. So it must be with wargames, if those games are to evolve and better model our perception of what real war is like to some degree of accuracy. This is why I respect Ivan’s adoption of the “Results” based narrative for his rules. I have not played enough of them to make an educated evaluation of whether they are a successful mechanism for describing and analyzing combat but I very much respect his willingness to go outside of the box and see the process of combat from a new perspective.

    Having said that, I still think I am mired in the old “consequence: based narrative mode of thinking. In a wargame I want rules that allow you to make choices and then reasonably demonstrate the consequences of those choices in a way that approaches reality. This is because I view wargames as a teaching and learning tool and not just a form of entertainment. Being a teacher I tend to think this way about everything so feel free to boo and hiss at me for my old-fashioned ways and limited imagination. I am perhaps to stuck in a cause and effect chain process but the alternative is a quantum based gaming system which would be truly disturbing. Back off Dr. Heisenberg, I want my linear reasoning. I do not want to roll the dice and have them come up snake-eyes because I dared to look at them! But I digress.

    I agree that when it comes down to vehicle vs. vehicle combat there are many variables which no game system can model without becoming absurdly detailed and unworkable. But I also think that all of those variables could be factored into the hit possibilities of the vehicles involved long before the game is ever played. Many people and game designers seem to put WWII hit chances at far higher levels than they likely were in combat. This applies to just about all levels and types of  direct fire and melee combat. Goo old inaccurate artillery was the true killer in WWII and was the king of the battlefield. The infantry were the queen because like in chess they were more flexible in their employment and not because they were deadlier. Unless very well trained/experienced and highly motivated, most tank crews were not the well-oiled machines that we see today. Allied the casualties and the vehicle changes meant that crews were often unfamiliar with at least some of the crew members and they were probably not fully familiar with the quirks of what ever tank they were operating on any given day. The Germans probably suffered less from this until late 1942 when things started to go very badly on all fronts and crew shortages began to mount up. So I think games could do with some dumbing-down of the capabilities of all but the most elite of the troops represented.

    However, when an anti-tank gun which is bore-sighted down a road with the specific intent to destroy any enemy AFV appearing before it cannot at least attempt to destroy a tank which has appeared on that road that is very odd to me. To claim after the fact this was because they were all out taking a pee or had been distracted by listening to Marlene Dietrich singing ‘Lily Marlene’ while cleaning their glasses is a bit odd. Their job is to shoot first so they should. They may have a poor chance to hit due to the movement of the target or the conditions of the battlefield but they should get the first shot if not suppressed by enemy fire from other sources. Bolt Action does not allow this unless the unit goes on an ambush mode – a mode which penalizes the ability to react to the very threat they are supposed to deal with. That too seems odd to me.

    I like your idea of gun duels between tanks if the rules are designed in such a way that one roll of the dice represents one shot. It is a good mechanism to stop the regular mechanics of the whole game temporarily and resolve some fast paced action before moving on to the next activation, phase or turn as the case may be. I would consider expanding such a policy to other weapons such as ATG’s and auto cannons. Come to think about it Battleground WWII had rules for MG duels as well!

    I don’t think you are rambling at least not until the last two paragraphs where you “advised” Panda and I to buy the rules and try them. I will eventually have a closer look at these rules but alas they are not (by your own definition) skirmish rules and are therefore outside the scope of this discussion! Hee-hee-hee!

    Thanks to all for an excellent discussion to date. I have learned a lot and will have to think a lot about what you said. Ivan, I will try to break out of my consequence based mind set but that may take time! Until then know that I am grateful for your  willingness to challenge my conventional wisdom and prod me forward to a higher enlightenment (IF THAT IS POSSIBLE!).

    Cheers and good gaming.

    Rod Robertson

     

    • This reply was modified 6 years, 10 months ago by Rod Robertson.
    #18791
    Ivan Sorensen
    Participant

    WOw, this is why I love this forum.
    We’re having like 3 great conversations all in the course of one thread 🙂

    I do want to assure everybody that I am not at all hurt that the mechanics don’t work for everybody 🙂 Anytime you write a “Unusual” mechanic you will have some people who really like it and some people for whom it never works.
    No harm, no foul. (though I’ll note that while doing so would be bourgeois decadence of the highest order, you could totally drop the turn die and keep the combat rules or swap the die to a D12).

    I’m a huge fan of Crossfire (as in, I consider it one of the best games I’ve played) and it drives some gamers crazy because of its mentality that I succeed unless you can do something to prevent me from doing so.

    I feel we’re touching on a lot of things here that maybe need more fleshing out: That anti-tank gun crew in Bolt Action who didn’t fire:

    Are we rolling for every shot?
    Are we rolling for only the shots that might hit (when hte unit is on overwatch or whatever the rules call it)?
    If they didn’t shoot as the tank moved into sight are they preparing to shoot but were too slow?

    Advanced Squad Leader had a rule for Gunnery Duels, where there’s a chance of the attacker getting off the first shot, though usually AT guns would always fire first.
    of course, ASL has a rule for /everything/ so go figure.

    I always thought the way Face of Battle (for all its faults) handled it was keen: Each player draws a card from their own deck and those two units act at the same time. You get “reaction” fire if the unit you draw happens to be in sight of the unit your enemy is trying to move.

    Nordic Weasel Games
    https://www.wargamevault.com/browse/pub/5701/Nordic-Weasel-Games?src=browse5701

    #18825
    Rod Robertson
    Participant

    So if I might take the liberty to summarise what has been discussed so far:

    Skirmish wargames can be defined as requiring a one figure equals one man/ machine ratio, in a local ground scale, with turns representing short periods of time and rules mechanics which allow the players to make decisions about the actions of individual figures.

    • Skirmish wargames can be “consequence” based games where cause and effect chains proceed from cause to effect or they can be “result” based games where effect is of primary concern and cause is left for the player to deduce as part of the narrative of the game.
    • Some sort of activation mechanism which limits the players’ ability to fully control the figures in the forces is desirable. Such mechanisms may be based on card drawing, dice drawing or dice rolling. The choice of which units/figures to activate may be at the player’s choice or random determined but player’s choice was felt to be more desirable.
    • Good skirmish wargame design needs to take into account the dynamic and rapidly changing nature of the local battlefield and provide mechanisms to smoothly control the interaction between figures and units on the battlefield. Rules such as fire and movement for AFV’s or opportunity/ambush/over watch fire or speculative suppressive fire are examples of such.
    • Rules must have some sort of mechanism that differentiates what the units on the table know from what the players know and so spotting and acquisition mechanisms are important. This can be done through a stand alone acquisition system, opposed die rolls, or be rolled into the activation mechanism or be done through the use of blinds, but care should be taken to make sure that such mechanisms do not slow the pace of the game and become cumbersome.
    • Activation by whatever means should effect units at a command level no more than two command echelons below the scale of the game.
    • Rules should reflect the effects of training, experience and morale on the actions of figures in the game.
    • Ease of execution and a fast pace of play are desirable qualities in a game and game design should always keep this in mind when trying to model simulated combat. KISS (keep it simple, stupid) should always be  foremost in designers’ minds while creating rules if possible. There will always be a tension between realism and playability but the key to a good skirmish wargame is striking the right balance between these two principles -a very subjective thing that.
    • Combat should do physical damage and also organisational damage to units through mechanisms like command friction, leader fatigue and pinning, making it harder for units to function as they are exposed to more combat.
    • Uncertainty and the “fog of war” are desirable in skirmish wargames but they should not strip players of a sense of having substantial control while playing the game.
    • Rules should allow and possibly even reward players for using the tactics which were employed historically by military forces of the time, assuming those tactics were sound and the best that historical commanders could come up with given the limitations of their troops and their resources.

    That is what I have taken away from this discussion to date. I am sure I have omitted or missed some things which others feel as important so feel free to add to or amend this summary.

    Cheers.

    Rod Robertson

    • This reply was modified 6 years, 10 months ago by Rod Robertson.
    #18838
    Ivan Sorensen
    Participant

    I feel like we are approaching some sort of dissertation about the nature of wargaming 🙂

    If I may add something, I’d say that there is a need to have an identified time and ground scale, even if that identification is “it depends” and “approximately”,

    If we don’t know how long things take and how far things are, a lot of things become really hard to answer.

    Nordic Weasel Games
    https://www.wargamevault.com/browse/pub/5701/Nordic-Weasel-Games?src=browse5701

    #18850
    Ivan Sorensen
    Participant

    What exactly is “grand tactical” supposed to be anyways?

    Nordic Weasel Games
    https://www.wargamevault.com/browse/pub/5701/Nordic-Weasel-Games?src=browse5701

    #18868
    Rod Robertson
    Participant

    Ivan:

    “What exactly is “grand tactical” supposed to be anyways?”

    I associate the term with Napoleonic warfare more than more modern warfare. It means something between ‘operational’ and ‘strategic’ levels of control and planning in armies. It is concerned with shaping the battle by manoeuvre before combat begins, executing the battle plan and the decisions made immediately after the battle is concluded. It falls just short of planning and commanding the whole campaign. That is my interpretation at least.

    Cheers and good gaming.

    Rod Robertson.

    #18869
    Ivan Sorensen
    Participant

    That makes sense. I mostly play ww2, moderns and scifi so maybe that’s why I haven’t seen it much.
    Would something like Spearhead fit?

    Nordic Weasel Games
    https://www.wargamevault.com/browse/pub/5701/Nordic-Weasel-Games?src=browse5701

    #18875
    Rod Robertson
    Participant

    Tim:

    Please, don’t be too upset with us. Skirmish is just a label to identify the type of small scale battles which we are talking about. The definition of the term is really secondary to the understanding that we are all talking about approximately the same type of combat.

    As to the snow, you can thank Mr. Smallwood for dragging you lot into the confederation and forcing vile Canadian weather upon you all. Sorry about that but we’re proud to have you in the family! Buck up little camper, May is only 60 days away. Stay home and game in the meantime.

    Cheers and good gaming.

    Rod Robertson

    #18876
    shelldrake
    Participant

    You can go too far when it comes to a skirmish game – does anyone know of or remember the ‘phoenix command’ game from Leading edge games?

     

    In order to shoot someone you needed to know hundreds of pieces of information, like how tall someone was, their weight, the wind speed, how many hairs or pimples were on the shooter’s back side etc.  It was crazy over the top with way too much detail.  Firing one round could take ten to fifteen minutes to work out the results… provided you knew what you were doing.

    I couldn’t care less if the target had garlic on his breath – I just want my hero to be able to make the shot and plug him.

     

    disclaimer – I might have exaggerated very slightly on the rules mentioned… I can’t remember pimples being mentioned in the game.

     

    #18878
    shelldrake
    Participant

    Tim: Please, don’t be too upset with us. 

    He didn’t seem upset to me   but then he did like my definition

     

    #18882
    Rod Robertson
    Participant

    Ivan wrote:

    “If I may add something, I’d say that there is a need to have an identified time and ground scale, even if that identification is “it depends” and “approximately”. If we don’t know how long things take and how far things are, a lot of things become really hard to answer.”

    i agree completely. For my purposes I skirmish game at one off two scales. These are 1cm = 2M (1 inch = 5 M) or for bigger games 1 cm = 4M (1 inch = 10M). Time scale is a little more vague but come in around 1 turn is about 10 seconds at least. When we reach lulls in the action turns can elongate to 30 seconds or one minute upon the agreement of the players.

    Cheers.

    Rod Robertson.

    #18883
    Rod Robertson
    Participant

    Shelldrake:

    The presence or absence of pimples could effect the susceptibility of wounds going septic so leaving that very important information out of the game was a major design gaff in my opinion.

    Cheers.

    Rod Robertson.

    #18884
    Ivan Sorensen
    Participant

    1 cm = 2 m would be pretty close to a “real” ground scale if you played in 10mm. I like that.

    Nordic Weasel Games
    https://www.wargamevault.com/browse/pub/5701/Nordic-Weasel-Games?src=browse5701

    #18943
    Just Jack
    Participant

    “1 cm = 2 m would be pretty close to a “real” ground scale if you played in 10mm. I like that.”
    Me too, that’s why I play in 10mm.  But then I screw it up and don’t use my full table (at least haven’t since I was playing “Hell on Wheels” and Chain of Command.

    Anyway, Good Lord, don’t any of you have jobs!?  I don’t have a lot of time, it’s been busy at work and I need to get to bed, and I know there’s another thread or two out there as well, so I may be mixing stuff up here.

    First, let me say Rod and Panda are insane 😉  But, just because that’s not my idea of a game doesn’t mean you’re doing it wrong, so whatever turns your prop(s), fellas, and I’ll do my best to make constructive comments.  However, I want to make one teeny, tiny, little point to Rod: you mentioned you don’t play ‘just’ for entertainment, but to learn about what’s going on/what happened.  I just want to say that, if you’re playing a game with a company on the table, and you’re trying to learn/experience from a company commander’s perspective, this isn’t the answer.  The company commander isn’t concerned  with whether one of his tanks has an HE or AP round in the breech, or where individual teams are.  The ‘two-levels down’ thing is even a little bit misleading as he’s not concerned with where individual squads or weapons are or what they’re doing, that’s the purview of the platoon commanders.  Company commanders deal with units (in this case platoons, just as battalion commanders deal with companies) and capabilities (attachments and organic weapons, i.e., attached AAVs, tanks, EOD, TOW/Javelins, or MG squads and the “Skipper’s Arty,” AKA, company-level mortars).  Each of those affect a course of action (in the case of attachments) or a capability (i.e., the ability to hit dead ground with mortars or deny an avenue of approach with MGs).  Again, you can play with your toys however you like, I’m just saying the game as “…a teaching and learning tool…”  needs to make sure it’s defining exactly what it’s trying to teach/learn, because you stated a company level game is nothing more than a series of platoon level games, and that’s not anything like what’s happening in real life.

    To come at it from a different angle, you were talking about splitting squads up into teams in a company level game.  In a ‘real’ company-level game (and I wouldn’t play it because it would be pretty boring), if we’ve got a rifle company of three rifle platoons, a weapons platoon, a Combined Anti-Armor Team (CAAT, two HMMWVs, one with .50 cal and one with TOW/Javelin), and two tanks in support, here’s what you need on the table:
    -Three big stands, one for each rifle platoon (95% of the time at least; every now and again a rifle squad will be stripped off a platoon to go support another rifle platoon)
    -One medium stand for the mortars
    -Three small stands, one for each two MG section.
    -Three small stands, one for each SMAW team.
    -One medium stand for the CAAT (they don’t get split up, they operate as a pair).
    -You could conceivably split the tanks, but most commanders wouldn’t, they’d keep them together and attach them to a rifle platoon (either the assault element or the reserve).  So, let’s call it one medium stand for the two tanks.

    You’re plan is going to look like this:
    -1st Plt is the assault element, attachments: medium stand of tanks, one small SMAW stand, and one small MG stand.
    -2nd Plt is in support, attachments: two small stands of MGs and one small SMAW stand.
    -3rd Plt is in reserve, attachments: one small SMAW stand.
    -medium CAAT stand is screening left (open) flank.
    -medium mortar stand is next to CP, firing on objective until 1st Plt reaches the objective (signaled by a green flare/Execution Checklist ‘Bucs’), when it switches fire to behind the objective to isolate it (keep bad guys on the objective from escaping, and keep bad guys off the objective from getting to it).

    Put your guys on the map and have them carry out the plan, understanding you will not be directing the movement of the rifle squads (much less the fireteams), the tanks, the fire of the MGs/mortars, nothing, that’s left to your subordinates.  As the company commander you have two choices at this point:

    1) Sit in your CP, bother your subordinates, who are fighting, for constant sitreps, and decide when and where to maneuver 3rd Plt (the reserve), and, if all hell breaks loose, the CAAT as well (this presumes we’re not getting any further support; if you want to you can also start screaming for air or arty if things get bad).
    *In wargames terms, as the player you would just sit there as the umpire moved your forces for you, conducted combat, and let you know how things were going.  Then you would tell him you want to commit 3rd Plt (and possibly the CAAT), then wait as he moves your stuff around and lets you know how things go.

    OR

    2) You can leave your CP and actually partake in some combat leadership, which is not maneuvering units (on your decision), it’s helping the other combat leaders to get/keep their men moving under fire, and to direct their fire.  You also have to maintain enough situational awareness to be able to decide when and where to maneuver 3rd Plt (the reserve), and, if all hell breaks loose, the CAAT as well (this presumes we’re not getting any further support; if you want to you can also start screaming for air or arty if things get bad).
    *In wargames terms, you move your company command stand up to the platoon you want to influence, and that gives them, let’s say, a +1 to movement, morale tests, and firing.  If the umpire starts moving that platoon, and that platoon only, too fast, too slow, too far to the right, or to far to the left, then you can tell the umpire to move the platoon in reaction to that, and you have an 85% chance of that happening.  You still get to tell him you want to commit 3rd Plt (and possibly the CAAT), then wait as he moves your stuff around and lets you know how things go, but you only have about a 60% chance they get the order, and if they do it will probably be delayed or misunderstood, so when the umpire starts moving 3rd Plt too slowly or too far right, you may need to slowly (ever so slowly) move your company command stand back to them, and give them your +1.

    There’s real for ya 😉

    Also, again I should have been more specific.  I wasn’t looking to get into a philosophical debate about life or the world; my comments on conventional wisdom are for the people that think the military spends endless time, blood, sweat, and tears training to certain standards for tactics and doctrine, then immediately casts those away once the shooting starts as those were just for show.

    In any case, I think a way to tackle some of your tank vs tank issues is to use Force on Force-style opposed skill tests, based on crew quality.  I think that gives you exactly what you’re looking for in terms of differentiating between Wittman’s crew and some ‘green’ Sherman crew.  Though I don’t understand why you guys are talking about knowing what type of round was in the chamber but you’re still treating a crew as a crew; I think if you’re going all out you need to have ratings for the TC (regarding target acquisition time, maybe ‘aggressiveness’ that can have you move faster or slower), gunner (not only aiming, but time to slew turret onto target, pick up new targets, determine if last target was knocked out), loader (can get your more or less shots per turn), driver (affects bogging, losing a track, getting into positions of cover, the ability to keep frontal armor facing the enemy), and radio operator (a good one gives better overall situational awareness, i.e., the ability to move up and quickly engage a target it hadn’t seen itself (until it rounded the corner), but had been seen by another friendly unit.

    I agree with the positive ‘to hit’ modifier for a stationary tank you already hit.  In Panzer Aces this is so effective that Pz IIIs, which otherwise couldn’t take out a KV1 or KV2, are knocking them out by putting repeated rounds INTO THE BARREL of the monster tanks, perforating them.  So, in my mind, you get a positive modifier if you’re shooting at a stationary target, even if you moved (but then you have to define stationary; i.e., if the target moved last turn, but hasn’t had a chance to move this turn, is he stationary just because he hasn’t gotten to move yet?).  If you remain stationary, you get the same modifier as the moving tank for firing on a stationary target.  But if you hit a tank and it’s not moving, then you don’t move and shoot again, the modifier should go through the roof.  Of course, you could be signing your only death warrant by sitting still to hit him again…

    Sorry, there’s so much more to say, but I gotta hit the rack.  I know you guys aren’t waiting for me, and I wouldn’t ask you to (I’ve got work then have to get the boy to baseball practice tomorrow), but hopefully I’ve said something at least slightly interesting/entertaining, and I’ll try to catch up  more tomorrow night.

    V/R,
    Jack

    #18945
    War Panda
    Participant

    That’s not my idea of a game doesn’t mean you’re doing it wrong, so whatever turns your prop(s), fellas, and I’ll do my best to make constructive comments.

    Jack I never thought of you as being particularly humorous but that thinly veiled opening broadside made me chuckle 😀

    First, let me say Rod and Panda are insane ;)

    There can’t be even one single casual visitor of this site that could possibly argue with that 🙂

    Though I don’t understand why you guys are talking about knowing what type of round was in the chamber but you’re still treating a crew as a crew; I think if you’re going all out

    Differentiating between AP and HE is hardly going all out Jack

    ratings for the TC (regarding target acquisition time, maybe ‘aggressiveness’ that can have you move faster or slower), gunner (not only aiming, but time to slew turret onto target, pick up new targets, determine if last target was knocked out), loader (can get your more or less shots per turn), driver (affects bogging, losing a track, getting into positions of cover, the ability to keep frontal armor facing the enemy), and radio operator (a good one gives better overall situational awareness, i.e., the ability to move up and quickly engage a target it hadn’t seen itself (until it rounded the corner), but had been seen by another friendly unit.

    I can’t speak for Rod but I certainly felt that the TC, Gunner, and driver under a general umbrella differentiated by appropriate  skills is enough detail to give personality and flavour without slamming on the metaphorical breaks and reducing the whole experience to an assault on my poor brain. I’m not familiar with Force on Force but along with the tank I’m determined not to get bogged down. At the moment there isn’t much logistics involved. I’d really hope to keep record keeping and what I’d regard as superfluous detail at an absolute minimum.The present proposals seem like a descent compromise of detail and economy of time.

    radio operator (a good one gives better overall situational awareness, i.e., the ability to move up and quickly engage a target it hadn’t seen itself (until it rounded the corner), but had been seen by another friendly unit.

    What an excellent insight!!..(I think secretly you’re jumping on board with this…good on you Jack)

    There are certain times that I see your talents are utterly wasted on carpet origami 🙂

    I’d be in favour of adding to the list of available skills. That radio operator ability you’ve described could result in the negative modifier removed under the suggested Targeted First Sighted This Turn -1 Rule.

    I took a little extra time today as I’m heading to Europe for a month…Spain, Portugal and yes the most beautiful country in the world…the Emerald Isle…. I wouldn’t be back till April so I’m trying to get as much Gaming chat as I can. Not sure the wife will want me on the Gaming Blogs too much 🙂

    I hope that Jack doesn’t see this as an opportunity to corrupt the rest here with his outlandish talk of possessing anything close to a clear idea of reality 😉

    • This reply was modified 6 years, 10 months ago by War Panda.

    “The great Gaels of Ireland are the men that God made mad,
    For all their wars are merry, and all their songs are sad.”

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