My blog about my wargaming activities. I collect a lot of 15mm miniatures for the American War of Independence and so collect a lot of rules for this period. I started miniatures with Napoleonics, so I have a number of armies in 6mm and 15mm figures for skirmishing. I have15mm WW II figures that I use for Flames of War, Memoir '44, and someday, Poor Bloody Infantry. Finally there is my on-again, off-again relationship with paper soldiers that I sometimes write about.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Infantry Aces

Well, last Saturday Don and I started in the Infantry Aces campaign being run through the Tucson Flames of War group on Facebook. He played 3rd Infantry Division from Devils and Dogs and I played Reichsgrenadiers from Cassino. I was really hoping  to play Confident Trained US Rifles, but that just did not happen due to a mix-up. Oh well. I can always start over, I suppose. Only the loss of a single game (which I will report on later).

The basic campaign mechanism is simple: there are three rounds (called 'turns' by Battlefront, for some reason). During each round you can play as many games as you can squeeze in, making your infantry ace better (generally it will take only two or three games to get your medal) and accruing victories for your side (Axis or Allies). In this campaign each round is defined as a month, so all games played in July count as Turn 1, all in August as Turn 2, and all in September as Turn 3.

Turn 1 games have the limitation of being 500 point lists, with no Support selections allowed (with the exception of fortifications, if allowed in your list), nor any Tank or Transport teams. These games are also played on a 4' x 3' table.

Turn 2 uses 700 point lists, allows Support selections, but still does not allow vehicles in the list. Games go back up to using a 6' x 4' table. A big gotcha' is that only Combat and Weapons platoons can take objectives.

Turn 3 uses a 900 point list and finally allows a single platoon of up to five vehicles. Still, only Combat and Weapons platoons can take objectives.

The player can switch up his units within the list between every game, but cannot switch the list being used (e.g. if you use the "US Rifle Company" list from Festung Europa, you must stick with that list for the entire campaign; only the composition of the list changes). This is good because it provides continuity between games, even if all losses are automatically replaced each time.

The rules for playing a game are pretty easy. Pick someone to game with, see if you can agree as to which route (Mountain, Valley, or City) the battle occurs in (roll off if not), roll the mission (largely determined by the route where the battle occurs), play the mission with the special campaign rules (again, largely determined by the route where the battle occurs), and record the result.

So, how does the game change using the Infantry Aces rules? For starters, with no Support selections and no vehicles, most infantry will start moving much more freely in the open, given that you have no fear of vehicles coming along, machine-gunning and assaulting you. Assaults will win the day, as before, but with no vehicles, HMG teams and Snipers suddenly look a lot more viable to play.

The What Would Patton Do guys postulated that Infantry Aces is actually not aimed at the newcomers, but rather at injecting some fresh play into the games of the old hands, primarily because of the emphasis on assault, which is not something you want to throw at a beginner with few games under his belt. I definitely agree with that thought. Infantry Aces games will be much more nuanced than your larger games and will probably go slower than you expect, primarily because if you blow it when you only have three or four platoons, you probably cannot recover unless your opponent has also lost an equivalent amount.

So, bone up on your assault rules, start reading about how to use independent teams to draw other units into assault, and start blowing the dust off of those HMG and Sniper teams!

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Huachuca City, Arizona, United States
I am 50 yrs old now. I bought a house in Huachuca City, AZ (although I have a townhouse in Houston, TX and a small home in Tucson, AZ) working on a contract for "the next two years" that is going on five years now. To while away the hours I like to wargame -- with wooden, lead, and sometimes paper miniatures -- usually solo. Although I am a 'rules junkie', I almost always use rules of my own (I like to build upon others' ideas, but it seems like there is always something "missing" or "wrong").