Thursday, July 9, 2015

Battlegroup: with Micro Armor!

So I set up a quick "pickup" game of Battlegroup (my modern Battlegroup home-brewed rules) using some modern Microarmor (a company of T-72s against 2 platoons of US M60A3s on the defense.

Ended up with the Soviets having 270 points and a breakpoint of 27 (for 9 T-72s) The Americans had 300 points and a breakpoint of 24 (for 8 M60A3s).

Not that it would matter much in the ensuing slaughter though...While I would not categorize this game as a "jailbreak" the Americans really had some nasty luck and the Soviets ended up breaking through in platoon strength.

Darren, this first picture is for you.  After our dialogue yesterday I played almost every infantry game I had this morning.  My basement looked like a scientist's apothecary when all was said and done...I will post those results soon.

NATO M60s lay in wait for the approaching Soviets.  No artillery, thankfully.  This is a hasty offense.
 The Soviets came on, charging through the gap and straight towards the Americans.  Each turn they lost a tank from the lead platoon and the company commander, Senior Lieutenant Ivanov thought it best to change tactics....

Churning their way towards the Rhine...

GUNNER!  SABOT!  TANKS!  RIGHT TANK!  "IDENTIFIED" was the gunner's reply "UP!" the loader yelled into the intercom.  "FIRE!" was quickly answered by "ON THE WAY!" and the L7 roared, spitting a "silver bullet" out at the Soviet tanks. 
 The Soviet company commander split the force against the nagging feeling in his gut that it was counter to doctrine, and sent one platoon around the base of the hill to his front.  Anything had to be better than running the gauntlet against these American tanks!

burning hulks!

Ivanov sends first platoon to flank the NATO tanks.

The gamble pays off.  This lessens the distance considerably and they hit those tanks much easier!  2 M60s burning.  

This tank would KO one Soviet tank, then get bogged down after he missed the tank track to get back to the assembly area!  

meanwhile on the soviet left, Ivanov organizes a counterattack with what's left of second and third platoon.

More casualties but they're hitting the American tanks, too!
 It's now that the American luck really starts to turn.  One of the M60s that shoot and scoots the previous turn hits a FASCAM or air dropped mine that may have been dropped by Soviet Artillery or SUs on day 1 of the war.  The rolling is solid and the mine tears through the tank just as it moves to join its sister platoon on the right flank.
mine strike.  of all the luck!!!

more bad rolling sees this US tank survive a direct hit, but fails the morale test!  Unbelievable!  This battle is over.  Only 2 tanks remain from the company.  And it's only day 3 of the war...

Ivanov's "company" seizes Hill 205 and halts.
The Battalion Commander radios him to return to HQs at once....for his court martial!  "Your breach of doctrine was inexcusable comrade lieutenant and a reckless breach of military protocol and safety. You have been found guilty by the court.  You face summary execution or you may attempt to redeem yourself in a penal battalion....your choice."

Thoughts:  A really enjoyable game and the entire game played in a little under an hour.  This really has me motivated to iron out the points and actually create some Battlegroup-Friendly OOBs to game with until Battlegroup: NORTHAG comes out!  Battlegroup is starting to feel more and more like my "go-to" game.

As I was saying to Darren the other day, it allows a generous amount of tactical flexibility - that is, the battle is mine to lose or win and the choices I make are just as important as the equipment I'm using within the framework of the rules.  That's important to me.  Many games make you feel like you're just "along for the ride" sure there's a roll here or there, but I feel like I'm fighting the system of rules and not the enemy.  That has never once been the case with Battlegroup and I continue to enjoy it as a game and as an experience of WW2 warfare.

Also, Ken and I played a small game of "Third Generation Warfare" recently and while we spent a little more time looking things up than playing, it was alot of fun and I would like to play it again.
  With all these microarmor and 1/100 troops I've got laying around, it would be silly in my opinion not to.  That and I believe the rules are complex enough that you will start to forget some key concepts if you don't play it every once in awhile.


  1. Excellent stuff Steven.

    The toys and action look great!

    1. Thanks, Paul - it was a fun little game. I need to get cracking and paint up more of my bigger stuff now!

  2. Excellent report Steven. Makes me want to get the 1/300 stuff out again. Where is Battlegroup NORTHAG in development? Is this an official book?

    I'm wondering if I shouldn't just get Battlegroup generic rules and use you Reforger variant :)

    1. Thank you sir! The only reason I used the microarmor is because I have the most amount of it painted and ready to go. I have recently started an entirely new repaint of almost all of my pact stuff - not to mention my board is only 6 x 4. With Microarmor I can get a battalion on the table if needs be!

      Check out The Guild:

      It is the official home of BG: NORTHAG right now while that rules system is in development.

      My version is the same game, however I borrowed all of the armor and penetration values from Team Yankee and developed my own penetration table, while I'm waiting for BG: N to come out! So if you're interested in using REFORGER, all you would need to buy would be the basic Battlegroup rules, which are significantly cheaper than the full Kursk rules set or any of the other supplements. You can use my MTOEs and REFORGER material for modern games then.

      I plan on putting together an unofficial REFORGER supplement to Battlegroup so I have a "one stop shop" for games until NORTHAG is officially released. Let me know! I am starting the REFORGER supplement this evening.

  3. I've managed to order the rule book (slimline version) - so would appreciate any reforger stuff you have. How do you find the rules compared to straight up 'Team Yankee'.

    1. Basically the game plays exactly like Battlegroup (because it IS battlegroup!) but when calculating penetration information for tanks, ATGM, etc, and firepower, use the values from Team Yankee (Attack, and Defense values). I have started collating the information and have put it on vehicle cards but I'm not nearly finished.

      For side armor on AFVs, subtract 1 from the frontal armor. Team Yankee assumes all AFV flanks are "1" but that is way too lethal IMHO so for the flank armor I do frontal armor - 1.

      Most main guns are HE 4.

      Other than that, the game plays exactly like Battlegroup.

      Some differences are in REFORGER, tank shells hit a little easier and there is no movement penalty for firing tanks with stab.

      Communications are a little easier and the artillery process is streamlined for FOs. Or at least that was an idea I was working on.

      Check your email :)

      Also the HE chart is more generous to allow for greater firepower among infantry teams and squads.

      I am going to work on a supplement book tonight.

  4. Fantastic. Thanks for that Steve.

    Also got my copy of Charles Grant's 'Battle' today. I love the angle of shot protractor for armour. Now there's something I haven't tried ;)

    1. The rules for Battle are first-class! My opinion - you won't find a better tank to tank combat system anywhere. Period. The strike values are perfect - I only wish we could come up with a newer infantry combat system for squads/platoons. I get the 1D6 for 1:1 but Id like a stand to represent a squad. That calls for a different system I think.

      Let me know if you have any questions with REFORGER.

    2. Your Reforger work is excellent - and I intend to try the Battlegroup rules with them, with a few old @fire Team' scenarios.

      ALso - loving the 'Battle' armour rules too and the 'angle of shot' - something that is missing from all rules now. I think there is mileage in the turn sequence from 'Lightning War' or at least a version on ' you move first, you fire last'. The squad 'breakdown' rules you developed for FUBAR would wourk well here - i.e. modern US might take more 'disruptions' vs modern Soviet etc.

    3. Thanks Darren! I would not have put so much work into modifying the existing BG rules if I didn't think there was real merit to them. They're excellent IMHO and they're really growing on me as I've said.

      Actually there are quite a few people who will be using Fireteam for scenario material as it's the perfect scale for BG.

      I will re-read Lightning War again. There were some very novel concepts in it. I like the idea of using the suppression points in SNAFU for squads. maybe multiple dice for modern fireteams as well? That's alot of firepower if you consider the SAW or LMG and I just don't like rolling 1D6 for shooting.

      I still owe you the SNAFU supplement. Last evening I worked on some OOB stuff for REFORGER and have the points and TOE up for a West German Marder 1A2 infantry platoon and squad, Leopard IA3 and Leo II tank platoon and individual vehicles as well as a Soviet BTR-70 motor rifle platoon.and T-72A Company, Platoon, and individual vehicles.

      I had NO idea how much work that really was until I started putting it all together and trying to find everything. By the way, it's not easy finding good MTOEs for West German Heer. The Soviet stuff is really easy but some of the NATO stuff - not so much!

      Tonight I'll be working on more and this time I'll bring the booklets from "Stopping the Red Tide" blog which is 1:1 WW3 Flames of War gaming. His MTOE are pretty good IMHO. I need to start the Americans and Soviet Guards (T-80s) this evening.

  5. Having re-read the excellent novel "Red Army" in the last week, your report is beautifully timed, worded and presented! Looking forward to seeing what Iron Fist do with the ;official' modern BG, but I don't think you are too far away from where they will go

    1. One of the best WWIII books out there Paul!

      I have told everyone as soon as NORTHAG comes out, I'll be the first one in line to pick up a copy. That said, I've been known to come up with my own material in absence of the official supplement, at least until they come out with theirs. My only intent was to have a supplement to BG, not a replacement. A friend of mine has played it once and he kept me honest as far as not going too far away from the BG rules (trying to use as much as I could from BG and not changing things considerably)

      Truthfully, I am looking forward to NORTHAG because the BG penetration tables are probably more lenient than mine, which are based off ratios of attacker strength to defender strength that are presented in Team Yankee from GDW. It seems like I always need to roll an "8" or higher to get a kill...

      By the way, there is a ton of good gaming material in Red Army - my favorite being those Soviet air assault troops sent to draw away the British armor reserves andeven they don't know the'yre part of a "maskirovka." I think that's Hameln? Anyway, the best part is, if you look at Google Maps at the bridge there, it's next to the large hospital where the Soviets set up their HQs that is perfectly described in the book. Simply brilliant!

    2. Good memory! That assault absolutely is into Hameln, defended by some BAOR rear area troops and German Territorialheer in older M48 tanks. Sounds like a couple of neat linked scenarios could replay the action wonderfully!

    3. Definitely! High quality, highly motivated Soviet VDV against decently armed reserve troops with M113s and M48s sounds like an awesome game, especially in an urban setting. I have all the NATO stuff in 1/100 already, but all my VDV are yet unpainted. Gotta get to work. Oh and the terrain too! Hameln is a good sized town.

    4. A modern "Bridge too Far" but without the inconveniently positioned SS Panzer Division...

      PS Did you see this?

    5. I did see this!!! I will certainly be picking up a copy of this when it's available. I'm also glad I still have time to redo all my North Africa stuff. This is great news! I really hope they get cracking on NORTHAG.

      That being said, if I'm honest, it was a ton of work gathering all this information for 1 measly platoon.