My key observations and the battle's AAR are the subject of this post. Game started out with the Soviets winning the "tactical" roll on turn one which is worth noting because the Soviet tactical initiative bonus is +2 whereas the Germans are +4 on the D6. Soviets choose a "double move" order(so far the orders are the SAME as Epic:Armageddon until I change them) and move a T34 battalion double and attempt to engage the German infantry in the village. The Soviet To Hit AP value is "5+" and the Sovs make a double move so they get a -1 To Hit on their attack. Germans in cover get a -1 To Hit so Ivan can't hit them this turn!
|Starting dispositions. You cant see them but there's 9 T-34s representing 2 small tank battalion groupings in the lower right of the table. The Germans have small Company Kampfgruppen of Armor, AT guns, and infantry in the covered positions.|
|Soviets move more cautiously.|
|Dug in Panther platoon knocks out a T34 platoon with a "sustained fire" order|
|Turn 2 - more T34s would be knocked out by AT gun and tank fire. You can see the Panther platoon in hull-down on the left. The Germans dug-in in the village would eventually be pushed out.|
|They pass a "marshal" order and lose the suppression marker.|
|Game so far. Ivan stalled after this point and kept failing initiative rolls. The large tank grouping just sat there turn after turn, with me not wanting to move the infantry out of the village yet.|
|Finally passing an initiative test, the SU76s move out! Trucks are following close behind.|
|meanwhile, the remaining T34s of the other battalion charge down the road. They passed their morale test after losing 2 other platoons.|
|A sustained fire order from the Panzer IV and the PAK40 in the treeline make mincemeat of the SU's (defense value 10, whereas the Panzer IV and PAK 40 have a strike value of "7")|
|Tank battalion stalled by bad dice rolling!|
|Ivan advances across an open field in front of a Panzer IV platoon and a PAK 40 platoon! and the FO is in the woodline as well.|
|Meanwhile the Russian infantry emerges from teh village to assault the woods to their front. The PAK 40 platoon gets some hits, kills a unit forcing a morale check. They fail and the rest of the infantry battalion stalls out!|
|Battalion on the Soviet right finally moves out.|
|scratch 1 Stug III platoon on the last turn! The Soviets go for broke to win the game.|
|This cat lives to fight again. The blue bead is just so I know who's already been activated.|
|Soviet infantry isn't going anywhere this game!|
|leftover infantry from the last close assault. they are licking their wounds.|
|Gerry's had enough and pulling out!|
So far, so good. I am very happy playing my World War II version of EPIC (Combat Team). The anti armor values and strike values of the guns is solid and the system (the combat orders you give your troops) is a very, very neat addition. You have more flexibility than ever before in carrying out orders (moving, shooting, and assaulting) thanks to the Epic styled orders system. I will make a few tweaks but overall am very happy.
Still wrestling with the idea of giving units on "Sustained Fire" or "Overwatch" a Rate of Fire (how many shots they can make) of 2 but I wonder what that would do to the game itself. A tank company of 3 to 5 stands would have a tremendous amount of firepower and could hold up an entire brigade of tanks if they roll well enough. If that's the case, I could mitigate the shots with forcing Overwatch engagements to fire single die rolls at a time, rather than "buckets of dice" as I'm currently playing.
So here's how my own concept of how Suppression works in :Combat Team!". Your troops have a quality or training level that affords you certain casualties you can take before you must test to see if your troops will continue or will stall out. Once you take casualties equal to what your level says you can take (IE Conscripts lose roughly 30% of a formation, Regulars over 50%, and Crack test at 75% etc) you must pass a morale check. This check is based on your morale level. If you pass it, you can proceed with no modifiers or penalties. If you fail, your unit is, in a sense, neutralized and must remain in its place until it passes a "marshal" order (rallies). Units given a marshal order, may move but can only move OR fire, and roll to rally. If they fail the initiative roll, they stay in place.
Now, once they've taken casualties up to their morale level, all ADDITIONAL casualties affect their future initiative rolls. So a Regular German Combat Team that has 6 stands loses 3 (50%) and passes a MC. From now on, each additional casualty is a negative modifier on its future tactical initiative rolls. (each combat team must pass an initiative roll before it can carry out an order. if it fails, it stays in place but may shoot with a -1 modifier just like in Epic. Germans pass on a 2+ on a 1D6. The Russians pass on a 4+ etc). In the example, if the German combat team was to take an additional casualty, it would now receive a -1 to its tactical initiative roll, representing its troops' apprehension and fear in carrying out more orders due to casualties and fatigue.
So that's taken me some time to get that right but with some more testing I think it can work well. There are a few more items I'm considering adding.
One is giving infantry a range roll for integral mortars and support weapons (this is in addition to their firefight capabilities, infantry would have the ability to make AP (anti personnel) rolls out to ranges of maybe 20 or 25 cms).
Another is making the barrage points more generous for mortars and artillery.
Next up I need to finalize my morale, artillery, and TOE values for units. This should make future games even fast. (by the way, playing with about 9 T34 stands, 9 infantry stands, artillery and AT guns on each side plays super, super fast and I think that's due to the orders system and the ability to make double and triple moves).
If anyone is interested in play-testing or trying the rules out, let me know and I will send you the values. The values, or at least the strike values of the guns and defense values for the tanks, are based off of the math from Charles Grant's "Battle" values. i am continuing to tweak these values and make adjustments for playability's sake but so far this has turned out to be a real winner in my humble opinion. I am going to continue to play with these rules and refine them until I am satisfied that I can write up a version to post online for everyone.
Also - very interested in developing these in "moderns" as well, where there is no doubt in my mind of a Rate of Fire 2 for modern MBT platoons!