Saturday, February 11, 2017

Friday Night Crossfire! Mac's Missions: Hold vrs Hold?

Dave and I got together Friday night to play more CROSSFIRE using the "Mac's Missions" pick up game rules, which are great fun and make for an exciting CROSSFIRE game with sets of mission-orders and OOBs for players to use that are pre-canned.  Perfect for a Friday night of mindless gaming after and exhausting week!

Dave drew the Germans (as he seems to always do) and of course I drew the Soviets (as I always seem to do).  Although this time, my Soviets enjoyed the honor of being "conscripts" which is absolutely heartbreaking but probably historically accurate while his smaller, more agile force are "veteran."

Some more surprises?  Vehicles!  Lots of them!  Well, in Crossfire speak, there was a platoon of AFV's on each side.  The Germans have a platoon of Marder IIIs and the Soviets have a platoon of T-34/76 as well.  We were using some of Steven Thomas' Armor modifications for Crossfire, including his updated Accuracy/Pen/Speed data, as well as allowing less restrictions on the AFVs and what they can do.
Soviet Defense Line
 The table had a "fair" amount of terrain on it, but not really dense or overly laden.  The location is west-central Russia, summer 1943 and the German Army Division "GrossDeutschland" is participating in Operation Zitadelle.

Okay so another kicker - Dave and I both rolled for our missions (there are 6 possible missions) and while neither of us knew it at the time, we ended up rolling "2"s so each of us drew the "HOLD" mission.  You basically have to have troops in your "forward area" and the more you have contributes heavily to your victory.  You could look at this like a "probing action" with both sides sending patrols out to gauge the other sides' strength.  Halfway through the game, Dave and I started to guess the other's missions.

The shooting starts off as it always does with the HMGs on both sides opening up.  We played with both forces fully visible and that gave the game a different feeling.  Dave placed both of his HMGs in the same terrain feature but covering the high-speed avenues of approach into his rear area.  Mine were also covering approaches to my rear area but I wanted to send a few platoons forward to keep Dave off balance so he couldn't guess my mission.

The damned FOW Dice!  Dave scores suppression after suppression in the first bouts of fire against everything he hits!  How about those casualty markers?  One is FOW and the other is home made.

T-34s on the move.

Soviet left flank.  More suppressions (the 2 round markers)
 The game ground down into a fight with both sides exchanging heavy fire.  One thing that I learned, a little late, is that smoke with the heavier caliber weapons is really worth it.  Dave and I both had heavy mortars (120mm) at our disposal and I used them to smoke Dave's Marder III on the hilltop, and then used it to try and cover my movement of a stricken, isolated platoon in the center of the board.

The smoke worked great, but unfortunately the platoon had 2 squads suppressed.  Big trouble for these awful conscripts.

Wife snapped a picture of the battle
Happiest when he's playing CROSSFIRE
Dave's Marders moving up to the front!

 Dave drives through the smoke on his initiative and I've no Anti Tank weapons in LOS to stop him.  Then he opens up on my squads who are trying to extricate themselves in the open!  Scheisse!

T-34s moving up to the front also.

All within LOS of the platoon commander
 We treated AFVs much more like infantry.  The Marders got 2 moves (Per Balagan's Data Sheets) and the T-34s, being "fast tanks" got 3.  We treated pivots as free and we used the turret turning as part of firing.  So per Crossfire, if you turn the turret 90 degrees (1/4 turn) it's allowed as part of shooting.  If you move it more than 90 degrees, that counts as a move action.

Dave has a -1 to-hit modifier, assuming because the Marder is turretless, so in cases in the open alone, he needs to roll a 5+ to hit!  It would also be preferable for him to roll a "6" on his penetration die.

Good Shooting Fritz!
 At this point, I'm starting to think about the victory conditions, so I want to flood the "forward area" with squads.  Dave has other ideas and a GD Rifle Platoon on the adjacent hill has a field day shooting my squads up on their way into the forward area.
How NOT to move a platoon
 I start getting cagey with my armor, swing a T-34 around and get a lucky shot or 2 on Dave's Marder supporting the hill and knock it out.  Wait until he gets a dose of my 120s!  Oh...wait...not a single hit!

Soviet Forward Observer stand
 I start to get impatient and send my T-34s in on a "group move" to over run the hill, which is causing me so much trouble in this game.  I forgot about Dave's "other" Marder, which hits me and KO's my T-34!  The second one is more lucky in this group move, but Dave would steal the initiative away from me.

 My T-34 charges headlong into a platoon of angry Germans.  They dispatch 1 squad, and then are knocked out by another.
 The initiative goes over to Dave, and the battle ends when the turn clock reaches "70"  That's a wrap!

FO survives a run-in with a German sniper, and a fusilade of fire from the Germans.
So that's it.  With both of us having "HOLD" missions, neither of us ventured too far out into the other's forward area, instead trying to conserve our forces in our own objective area.  I realized Dave was on a more defensive footing, with the majority of his heavy hitting stuff up front and figured he was on HOLD as well.  He did a good job of keeping my combat power locked down!

Some thoughts on our second "Mac's Missions" game:

Mission Orders:
Going to create Mission Cards with the 6 Mac's Missions on them.  This ensures no one gets the same mission.  (Although you'll know the mission the other guy "doesn't" have.).  Love the pick up game style here.  Not much thought has to go into the game, which is great for night time gaming at the end of the week.

Can't say enough about it.  Use it!  (this will seem obvious and self evident to many of you, but for us who are picking up the game after a 10 year hiatus,we're still learning)

Using a platoon of vehicles on a side was lots of fun.  Giving them the same basic capabilities as infantry, but levying restrictions on them was very successful.  This ensures vehicles are used, but are not too powerful.  My hat's off to Steven Thomas for his revised armor rules and all of the research he did to produce them.

Dave and I felt that a platoon worth of vehicles was perfect.  I'm keen to try a few more on the table but the span is not difficult to control with at least a platoon.

Artillery and Vehicles:
Here's a tough one.  In Crossfire can Artillery kill tanks?  In our game it can, but it's not easy.  We decided on a house rule where you had to score a suppression result in your roll against the vehicle, then you could make an HE attack (like from a bazooka) against the AFV.  Not easy to kill with artillery, but not impossible either.

Anyways I'm working on basing up a dedicated Russian / Soviet company for just Crossfire and Dave and I will likely play next weekend as well, although Dave wants to try North Africa!  Stay tuned!

Today I'm off to finish our EPIC Shako II game at Ken's house, and also try out Et Sans Resultats!  Which I've been wanted to take a look at for months.

I hope everyone has a great weekend and your dice roll true.


  1. Superb game. Crossfire is really starting to look fascinating. I have read but not played, and the missions and mods for armour on (other) Steven's site look excellent.

    I need to get this sorted and played, as I have a few hacks for modern versions too. More please :)

    1. Thanks Darren,
      Yes it was loads of fun, despite the 2 identical mission orders. Crossfire is an interesting game that is loaded with choices and decisions. The game itself is not necessarily about killing the enemy as much as it is about retaining the initiative to carry out your plan.
      Do you risk reactive fire and failing (garnering a NO FIRE for the rest of the initiative), do you risk firing with a single rifle squad at a target in cover? Should you advance your force through a linear danger area in full view of the enemy's HMG and rifle squads?

      I love it! And I will definitely be playing and posting more CROSSFIRE!

  2. I very much enjoyed that - thank you

  3. Its amazing how few players use smoke. fWhen I'm playing my Paras (i.e. elite and very expensive Infantry force), my mortar and Light Howitzer rarely fire HE. Its quite fun to frustrate the heck out of an opponent when their big expensive killer units are neutralised by being smothered in cheap smoke!

    Mac's Missions look really intriguing - I like not knowing the enemy's mission and there isn't any reason why you cant both have most of the same missions. What if you built a deck with two ADVANCE- BREAKTHROUGH and PROBE but only one HOLD - DIG IN and WITHDRAW missions (i.e. an 9 card deck?)

    1. PS Good to see some pics with you in them too!

    2. Paul,
      It's not something you automatically think of. Most wargamers' first inclination is to destroy, neutralize or suppress the enemy when it comes to indirect fire, but I feel like in Crossfire, smoke is so much more useful as it covers my advance.

      The Mac's Missions really breathe new life into the 2 scenarios in the back of the Crossfire book. I've been getting LOTS of inspiration off Steven Thomas' "Steven's Balagan" blog as there are a ton of useful Crossfire and terrain ideas on there.

      I have to admit both of us having "HOLD" missions made it easy to figure out what Dave's mission was, but I really like your idea of limiting the defensive missions. That's a great idea Paul! Going to do that this week.

  4. Steven, great battle report and table. Good to see somebody trying out Mac's Missions. I think the cards are a good idea to avoid both players having exactly the same mission. Cheers Steven

    1. Thanks for commenting, Steven. Your blog continues to be a great inspiration for Crossfire players world-wide. Please keep up the great work, and we'll do our best to keep up.

      I plan on making those cards this weekend for our Friday night Crossfire game this week. Watch this space!