Quest for rules continues

A sick daughter and not much sleep have meant that I’ve not been that enthused about modelling or gaming lately but it hasn’t stopped my quest for more rules systems and figures…

I had a game of Crossfire last Friday night. It took me a while to get the hang of the two most important points. You can move as far as you like so long as you are not successfully shot at, so you can be very creative with movement – eg to cross a road that is covered by an enemy unit you might move back to the baseline, around a wood, through another wood, and over a hedge. Also close combat is deadly – a die 6 each plus modifiers and all of the loser’s units in the combat are killed. Careful terrain placement should make movement a little less strange and Michael (whose figures I was using) agreed that a house rule (from Overlord) where if you get too close to the sides of the board you get shot at (by imaginary enemy units on the next table over) would make sense. I should be a little better at the game next time but Crossfire isn’t the WWII rules set I’ve been looking for to use with my 1/72 tanks and figures.

For modern rules I like the look of Ambush Alley although it may have a flaw in the logic of its combat system. The attacker rolls a number of dice based on the number of firing figures and the defender gets to roll to beat those based on the number of figures being shot at. So firing at a large group of people is less likely to be successful than firing against a small group. Maybe that represents concentration of fire but it makes human wave attacks less costly than I imagine them to be. I was quite looking forward to 15mm as the recommended table size for Ambush Alley is a DBA sized 24 inch square, and the vehicles don’t need as much assembly! I was all ready to sell my 1/72 modern AFV kits to finance 15mm vehicles and figures, but I’m a little dismayed at the shortage of ‘insurgent’ figures. Rebel Minis sell packs of 20 insurgents but in only four poses and with no LMGs or leaders. There are other manufacturers but I was looking for a nice easy shopping experience. There’s a new edition of Ambush Alley out in 2011 so I will wait until then to do all that shopping.

For WWII I’m looking for a set of rules where one figure is one man (although I may base figures in half sections), one vehicle is one vehicle, the force size is up to a reinforced company, and there is plenty of Fog of War. The Ambush Alley designers’ notes sum up my thoughts on the need for Fog of War quite nicely:

“Urban battlefields [actually rural ones are too – SC] are a landscape of unrestrained chaos. What seems like a relatively simple operation can quickly become a nightmare due to Fog of War. An overpowering mechanized advantage might be lost due to one wrong turn and a sewage filled ditch.”

I Ain’t Been Shot Mum looks to be the only game out there that ticks all of the boxes. It’s very free-form so I can add house rules if I want to fill in the gaps. IABSM uses a card system for fog of war, as does Ambush Alley. I’m interested to see what Fog of War cards come with the new edition of Ambush Alley, to flesh out the IASBM ones, so I’ll wait until next year when it’s released. To tide me over in the meantime I bought the oddly named Disposable Heroes and Coffin for Seven Brothers (I often see it abbreviated to DHC7B) last week. That system only needs a platoon for each side and if I start with the Russian Front I won’t need much terrain either.

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7 responses to “Quest for rules continues

  1. Bag the Hun looks scary – I saw a website where a guy had spent the last six months painting something like 450 aircraft.

  2. nah you only need half a dozen planes a side.. 450 is just plain autistic and completist.. though forfend ANY wargamer would be autistic or completeist

    if you want to do larger raids or have more people then sure more.. but the formation movement makes even large games doable..

    I play large games in 1/600 and smaller or fighter only games in 1/300

  3. “For modern rules I like the look of Ambush Alley although it may have a flaw in the logic of its combat system. The attacker rolls a number of dice based on the number of firing figures and the defender gets to roll to beat those based on the number of figures being shot at. So firing at a large group of people is less likely to be successful than firing against a small group. Maybe that represents concentration of fire but it makes human wave attacks less costly than I imagine them to be.”

    That is how it works in the basic Ambush Alley game. We had some design logic behind it working that way, which I’ll happily discuss if anybody is interested – but that’s not the reason for my post here.

    I just wanted to drop by and let you know that the mechanic you describe is different in Force on Force – A unit’s Defense in FoF is equal to its basic defense or the Firepower of the attack against it, whichever is LESS. This increases the chances of causing casualties in larger groups while still reflecting concentration of fire.

    I’m not trying to hard sell you, I just thought you’d be interested in the difference between the mechanics in the two games.

    Also, Rebel Minis does some light MGs and RPGs in their 15mm Fedayeen Soldiers set (Item# RMF0001). Like you, I wish he did some more poses, though. I tend to mark leaders out by painting their headdresses differently than their followers.

    I REALLY need to play IABSM and Disposable Heroes one of these days – everyone I know who has played them has given them a thumbs up!

    Hopefully you find this helpful and not intrusive,

    Shawn.

    • Hi Shawn,

      The more comments the merrier.
      Good to know about the LMGs in the Fedayeen set.
      I suspect I’ll get most of my troops from Rebel Minis and look around for figures to add variety from other manufacturers.
      I look forward to seeing the new edition of your rules.

  4. I use AA and FoF for lots of vanilla games and I also use it for training real world military leaders with a few minor tweaks. It serves as a great tool and produces very realistic outcomes on the tabletop. One of the tweaks I use is I only throw die for those figures that can actually see an enemy target and I throw the counter die only for those targets. Gotta remember it is not bullet for bullet but a simulation of fire downrange at a target or target area and the randomness of that fire actually hitting on target effectively. I’ve seen some extraordinary results on the ground over the years that just defy belief and certainly could not be covered in a set of rules. At least AA consistently gives good outcomes. Probably why they are in use in Westpoint, The Spanish Military Academy and with me with the ADF in Australia.

    • Good to know that AA achieves realistic results, and you’re right, (from what I’ve read) battlefields are so chaotic that no set of rules can cover every possibility. I’ve just read Sebastian Junger’s book War and that’s full of great observations about what happens on the battlefield.

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