Walking in the shadows of giants like Jim Dunnigan and Frank Chadwick can't be complete without venturing down the dark path that led many of us here.....GW's awesome EPIC. Epic launched many of our wargaming "careers" and the next inevitable step was microarmour, with most of us asking "hey, why can't I use these rules for world war 2 games with shermans and panthers?"
It turns out you CAN do that and some rules designers even put in their notes that their work was helped along by inspirations from Epic:Space Marine.
So in addition to my "Squad Leader in Miniature Project" and my "Team Yankee Project," I started thinking about using the model from Epic: Armageddon as a guide for playing out large battles. (micro armour would be the ideal miniature for this but any other scale works just as well IMHO).
The three phases of Epic:Armageddon Strategy, Action, and End Phase would be more or less the same with somewhat similar things (and some new things) happening in them and aptly renamed "Planning, Operations, and Administrative" Phases respectively.
Planning Phase applies an Army's "tactical prowess" to a die roll with the winner seizing the right to go first or second. Players would attempt fire support in this phase and arrange for artillery and aircraft if available.
Operations Phase is just that. Players conduct operations with their units. Units are broken into Companies and Battalions where a stand = a platoon so a typical German Company is 4 or 5 platoons with a typical Soviet Battalion made up of about 6 to 8 fighting platoons.
Orders are similar to Epic:Armageddon with some additions or subtractions.
Units have similar values with some additions to Epic, namely units now have a "Strike Value," and a defensive armor value much like Charles Grant's Battle - with those strike values based on the performance of the gun at optimum range for the period and the defensive value based on the armored skin of the vehicle. They have an Anti-Tank "To Hit" rating, as well as an Anti-Personnel "To Hit" rating. Those ratings are used to secure a hit. The strike value for vehicles is then added to a 2D6 die roll to equal or exceed the armor value. If this "To Kill" roll equals or exceeds the armor value, the platoon is knocked out of the fight.
Since Charles Grant's list was incomplete, I had to do some additional research for more strike values and defensive values to round out a more complete list of values. That took me the better part of yesterday to do.
Infantry combat and the combat system is pure GOLD here, with Infantry being devastating to armor in close combat, but also very vulnerable in the open and when not in cover. Good tactics - that is making good use of cover and concealment - will save your infantry from direct fire murder (as happened during playtesting).
The firefight value concept I kept from Epic as it is genius. Units around close combat lend support to their Kamaraden in the direct fight. Troops in the defense in cover get saves, while the attacker gets none and just this morning I watched a 4 platoon German halftrack-mounted infantry company dismount and get chewed up by dug-in Soviet infantry. The result from 1 round of combat? Company wiped out with the Russians losing 1 platoon. So for all the German technical prowess and great weapons, the battle still comes down to well armed troops fighting out in close combat.
An important lesson learned is to cause as many casualties as possible prior to "going in." By that I mean use firefight values and use vehicle support weapons in firefight to secure a hit rather than just rushing into the fray.
Anyways, more on AAR and rules tweaks later. What I'm most interested in are people's thoughts and opinions on this concept. If you've played any of the Epic games you know how much fun they can be. This game has an entirely different vehicle direct fire engagement system than Epic Armageddon, different indirect fire rules, morale rules and many other changes. I cant say much more in this post (more later) except that this game has a great "feel" to it that is hard to describe except that it feels like it works so far. In subsequent posts I'll write about some more details and problems of this new system and about plans for the future.
Playtesters wanted! I call the rules "Combat Team."