Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Back At It..."The Last Hundred Yards" Brainstorm Session

I go through creative phases when a particular battle, book, rules set or conversation really inspires me to get to writing my own rules set that will satisfy my own thoughts on tabletop combat.

One of my favorite scales, and one of the most mis-represented, is that of a unit being a squad (think Squad Leader).  I would like to play a game (5 Core Company Commander, BG PanzerGrenadier Deluxe, Squad Leader in Miniature are some examples of this scale BTW) where a unit is a squad and the player takes the approximate role of a Company or Battalion Commander.

So here is my initial brainstorming for a "Better" company level rules set where a unit is a single squad:

Command Control distance from PL or CC.
Units within that radius may act.  Units not in radius may conduct limited number of actions pending an activation test (acting on their own initiative).  Command distances are based on troop quality and force attributes.

Covering Fire (units shoot and don't move), Advance & Fire, Rush, Assault (enter close combat)

Experimental Moving Options
Infantry move 4” / Most Armor moves 12” / wheeled tactical movement is 8”

Squad Fires (how units shoot/hit):

Rifle Squad 8+ / 2D6
Rifle / MG Squad  7+ /2D6
MG or SMG Squad 6+ / 2D6

If a hit is secured, squad makes a morale check.  If fails, unit is neutralized (forced back into cover – no move or fire until rallies).

If passes morale check unit may continue on.  A unit hit while neutralized is eliminated.

Unit Morale Condition:

High: 6+  Good : 7+  Poor 8+ (use these for fire morale saves when infantry squads, or vehicles are hit and not killed)

Heavier weapons have more lethal Morale & Save Modifier.  Units hit by Heavy Weapons (MMG/HMG, AT Guns, Infantry GUns, Mortars, etc) receive save modifiers when making their morale save.  EG MG-42 HMG has a -2 Save Modifier for units it hits.

Crew Served Weapons / AT Weapons / AFV Rules 

Units use their "skill" when using crew served weapons, heavy weapons, or operating vehicle weapon systems..

Unit Skill Test (used for assaults, crew firing (Crew served weapons up through tank guns and AT guns) acquisition roll, spotting, Call For Fire, engineering)

Close Combat
Units closed into CC use their "To Hit" to score hits in CC.  Units squaring off in CC roll to hit.  If both score a hit, both sides roll 1D6 applying modifiers to see who won.  Loser of CC is knocked out.  (modifiers include proximity of leadership, support weapons or support squads nearby, defensive positions, and other modifiers).

Skill Test
Crack / Veteran: 5+         Regular / Trained: 6+      Hastily Assembled / Militia: 7+

AFVs must acquire targets before shooting.  Use Skill Test to acquire target and then again to shoot.  If hit secured, apply a "strike factor" to a 2D6 roll to beat armor.  If beats armor, vehicle is KO.  If not, vehicle must make a Morale Check or become "broken"
Game Steps
Orders Assign (Assault, Advance, Overwatch)
Check Command Radius
Alternate Movement
Conduct Overwatch Fires & Remove Casualties
Conduct Advance Fires & Remove Casualties  
Artillery (mortars included if indirect)
Rally units IN COMMAND

Trying out my new rules set "The Last Hundred Yards"  The red bead indicates a "broken" squad.

Germans preparing to assault the Soviet defense line!


  1. Your desire for squad level units and the player being a Coy/Bn CO is how I want to play my Vietnam games. I want the squad leaders to look after the minutia while I worry about what the Plt COs are doing and how they are executing my plan. Thats probably the result of playing too many Platoon level skirmish games over the past few years.

    I think the trick as you step up in scale is that C2 and morale become more important and details of weapons become less important. I think you start to get justified in saying that a particular unit has a AP and AA 'rating' rather than worrying about what kind of weapons it has - those being already factored into its 'rating'. Similarly, I know that the No 2 in the MG team will pick up the M60 if the primary gunner falls, or that the LAAW will get used regardless of who has it. I don't care anymore, as long as it gets employed.

    Similarly, our 6mm ECW project is for us to go up several levels again - we will be ARMY commanders, with units being Regiments. I will then worry about what my Brigade and supporting arms commanders are up to. I'm looking forward to the change of pace and a different way of thinking about the tactical problems.

    1. Thanks for commenting, Paul.
      For years, I'd wanted a good rules set that allowed me to manuever squads around the battlefield. There are many, many really good rules sets out there that unfortunately are all team-based.
      The level up from platoon-based you start to really see the interaction of all-arms on the battlefield and I love it. More tools in the tool-box.

      With my ranting, I was trying to incorporate the things that I think matter in a true company-level game where you are maneuvering squads (2 levels down.)

      In this snapshot I provided, the location and positioning of PL's is important as your squads move as directed. Squads that are out of his influence might not move as directed.

      GHQ's "micro squad" seem to me to be very similar to their platoon-based game with a small exceptions here and there. I may give them a go (worth the price! FREE!).

      Playing Fireball Forward has gotten me into this thinking again, by the way. They remind me how much I loved playing Classic Squad Leader, which to me is really one of the best infantry games out there.

    2. SL was great and I always regretted the shift to ASL.
      I still have a big box of all those goodies too - there must have 10s of thousands of counters in there!

    3. Paul,
      Due to my compulsive nature, I'm glad I got "out" of Squad Leader and started college when I did - otherwise I'd be looking at collecting the entire set of the Classic Squad Leader boxes!

  2. Now these look really interesting. I'd like to try these with some squad bases.

    Actually...getting me thinking about 'fire team' bases and the old West End Game...(I keep bringing that up don't I?).

    Seriously - I love the turn sequence and alternate moves and good use of morale roll. Must try these.

    1. Glad you like them so far, Darren. These are a rough brainstorming session I conducted recently and I wanted to get my thoughts down before I forgot everything.

      I am going to continue to develop these and see where they take me.