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.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

C4ISR

C4ISR is the modern US military acronym for Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (and is actually C4ISR, but I am too lazy to superscript the '4' each and every time) and is an appropriate name for a science fiction variant of the Command and Colors family of games as it hints at the command and control aspect of those rules, in a modern setting.

I played my first test game today – if it really can be called that, as it was basically an all infantry fight – just to see what sort of kinks I needed to get out of the system, and areas that I needed to think about. Although I am strongly looking at the Memoir '44 style of dice symbols1 for combat, I like the Command and Colors denotation of Red, Blue, and Green for Heavy, Medium, and Light. These designations seem to fit well with armored protection and hitting power, and I think these aspects of science fiction combat will come through.

I am considering using six combat ratings for each unit (yes six): speed, ranged firepower against soft (anti-personnel or AP) targets, assault power against soft targets, ranged firepower against hard (anti-tank or AT) targets, assault power against  hard targets, and ranged firepower against aerial (anti-aircraft or AA) targets. These will be reflected as a series of colored dots on the back of the unit's stand. The values would be:

RatingWhiteYellowGreenBlueRed
SpeedNo movement allowed.Move 1 or battle.Move 2 and battle.Move 1 and battle or move 2.Move 1 and battle.
Ranged APNo ranged fire allowed.1 die2 dice3 dice4 dice
Assault APNot allowed to initiate assault. 1 die otherwise.1 die2 dice3 dice4 dice
Ranged ATNo ranged fire allowed.1 die2 dice3 dice4 dice
Assault ATNot allowed to initiate assault. 1 die otherwise.1 die2 dice3 dice4 dice
Ranged AANo ranged fire allowed.1 die2 dice3 dice4 dice

Here are the initial values that I used for the Legion (not-Tyranid) troops.

UnitSpeedRanged APAssault APRanged ATAssault ATRanged AA
Flying BugsGreenGreenGreenGreenBlueGreen
ProwlersGreenWhiteBlueWhiteGreenWhite
Overseers with SwordsGreenWhiteRedWhiteGreenWhite
Overseers with GunsBlueRedBlueGreenBlueGreen
Mantis Beast2BlueWhiteRedWhiteBlueWhite

I am using four hits for each infantry unit (with the Mantis Beast being an exception with having a single hit) and three hits for each armor unit. Infantry fire at a range of three (too short for the scale, in hindsight), but with no diminution in dice with range. (Note, however, that the Grenade symbol only hits when in Assault (adjacent).

Here are the stats for the Kraytonian soldiers.

UnitSpeedRanged APAssault APRanged ATAssault ATRanged AA
Light MonitorsGreenGreenGreenWhiteGreenYellow
Medium MonitorsBlueBlueBlueGreenGreenYellow
Heavy MonitorsRedRedBlueBlueRedYellow

Please note that all of these are preliminary values. They need playtesting.


1 Memoir '44 uses two Infantry symbols, one Armor symbol, one Grenade symbol, one Flag symbol, and one Star symbol for its six faces.

2 The Mantis Beast is like a Tiger tank in Memoir '44 or a Creature in BattleLore in that it has a single hit, but requires that all hits scored against it be confirmed by rolling a Grenade/Sword on Shield symbol in order for the hit to take effect. Any other result on the confirming roll results in no hit being scored.



Playtest Game

Okay, the pictures are pretty ugly (as the miniatures are not painted), but it shows the concept as well as any Command and Colors game, and gives an idea of what it would look like with 6mm miniatures. Of course, you can always go for a game mat with larger hexes and figures and better terrain.

I flipped through the numerous Memoir '44 scenarios that I have, looking for an interesting terrain setup. Ironically I picked The Battle of Villers-Bocage just from the terrain before I recognized what the scenario was about. Villers-Bocage was an ambush by German Tiger tanks, led by the famous Tiger Ace SS-Obersturmf├╝hrer Michael Wittmann against a British armored column. (I have a few books that are tactical studies of WW II battles, and The Battle of Villers-Bocage is one of those few.)

I thought that this would be a good scenario to convert to science fiction only I did not want to jump into armored combat yet, and I wanted to use the Legion figures ("the Bugs") from Onslaught Miniatures. So, the Bugs became the Tigers and the Kraytonian infantry (from Dark Realm Miniatures) became the hapless British.

In the original Memoir '44 scenario there were two less German units, but as they were Tigers, they were pretty powerful. I gave the Bugs two extra units. I substituted ½ of the British armored forces for Heavy Infantry and the remaining ½ for Medium Infantry. The British infantry forces became Light Infantry.

Originally the scenario called for a six-card German Command hand and a three-card British Command hand. I increased the Kraytonian Command hand to four and left the Bug hand at six. Also, the Germans needed to achieve only five Victory Points while the British only three, but I changed this to both sides requiring five Victory Points for this game. The Bugs would move first, just as the Germans do in this scenario.

One other key point of this scenario that is unusual is that all woods and building terrain are considered impassable. Where the Bugs start in woods, they can move out, but once out they cannot move back in.

One final note: I did not treat the Mantis Beast as indicated in the rules above for this scenario. I simply treated them as a four hit infantry unit.


The picture above shows the initial deployments. The Kraytonians (blue) are strung out along the road across the entire board. There is no left flank security whatsoever. The Bugs (red) are attacking from the top-left corner.


Turn 1: The Bugs start off with a great card, able to move all of their units on the left side of the board (their right flank). They quickly engage the Kraytonians on the road, sending one unit fleeing, leaving another crippled.


Turn 2: The Bugs continue to press on the left, getting their Overseers with Swords in amongst the rear of the column. The cripples Kraytonian Medium Infantry is eliminated, making the score 1-0 for the Bugs.


Turn 3: The Bugs attack starts to peter out under the massed fire of the Kraytonians. The Mantis Beast is felled under a hail of slugs from the Heavy and Medium Infantry in the center. The Light Infantry in the center is badly crippled forcing a second Light Infantry unit to jump into the fray with the Overseers with Guns in order to cover their retreat. The score is now tied at 1-1.


Turn 4: The Overseers with Guns back off and blast the Kraytonian Light Infantry while on the other flank the Overseers with Swords fall under a hail of slugs from massed Kraytonian fire. The score is now tied at 2-2.


Turn 5: A massive push (using the Infantry Assault card) by the Kraytonians brings a huge amount of firepower to bear, eliminating another Bug unit (the Overseers with Guns) and pushing a Prowler unit to the baseline. This ambush is not quite going the way expected… The Kraytonians lead 3-2.


Turn 6: As the out-numbered Bugs try to regroup, the Kraytonians continue to hammer the Bug units. Of the four units, one has three hits, one two, and one has one hit. On the other side, four Kraytonian units have three hits, but as the Bugs just cannot move through the wall of slugs coming at them, they cannot eliminate any of the weakened enemy units.


Turn 7: The Bugs continue to struggle and make no headway. Ironically, the Kraytonians make a heroic effort (they play the card Their Finest Hour, allowing them an extra die in combat) and eliminate the two weakest Bug units, winning 5-2.

Analysis

Until I put bigger Bugs on the board, I will probably use the Mantis Beast like a Memoir '44 Tiger unit or a BattleLore Creature. In BattleLore terms, the Mantis Beast should be something like the Giant Spider: fast, great in the woods, but not very hard hitting (relatively speaking).

The problem with the Bugs, of course, is their lack of ranged weapons. Part of that is my collection. Time to send an order to Onslaught Miniatures and get the rest of their line, which happen to be the ones that have ranged weapons. I need to find or make a Bugs leader and base up the huge Skyth so I can use them as artillery pieces and add a new component to the game.

I like Command and Colors, of course, so as a game it felt a bit better than Memoir '44, which is probably the simplest of the rules (we are speaking of the simplicity of the core mechanics; Memoir '44 has added a lot of rules in all of their expansion), but still very simple. That was largely because I was using all infantry, and a small attacking force at that. Further, using the cover of terrain was not allowed.

I don't want to change too much based on this one play. After all, it played all right, although I have to re-think the ranges. Of course, extending the ranges will make it even deadlier for the Bugs, so I may need to up the speed of the Bugs or just understand that I will need a lot more of them on their side.

3 comments:

  1. Interesting battle. I guess I'm getting slightly confused by which rule set you are basing these off of. So the rules are from C&C and the board, dice and scenario from M'44.

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  2. I am using the C4ISR rule set, which is a mishmash of all of the Command and Colors rules. I am using the Memoir '44 Command and Combat decks, as I am not ready to make my own cards yet.

    The scenario was pulled from M44 simply because I wanted to use the terrain setup from something and not simply plop down terrain randomly. Once I pulled out a scenario I liked the look, I realized it was Villers-Bocage, so I decided to take the scenario back story and make a science fiction equivalent out of it.

    I am actually typing a full set of rules, but am only about halfway through. And it all needs play testing. The more elements I choose to use from existing games, the more I can test without doing a lot of extra work and the more others might be able to use the C4ISR rules too. (Not everyone likes to make card decks. It is one of the reasons I am not so fond of Too Fat Lardies rules, as strange as that may sound.)

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  3. I'm really looking forward to seeing your rules once you have them down. In the mean time, I may use your matrix to create some of my own units just to get them on the board for some solitaire games.

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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").