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.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Company-level WW II (2)

To start, I decided to simply focus on an infantry versus infantry conflict, and work from there. I am liberally lifting concept from everywhere1 in order to make something that suits me, my temperament, and my capacity for memorization.

Infantry Combat

Rifle Team41No moving fire, except US where ROF is unaffected.
Rifle/MG Team42ROF 1 when moving.
MG Team43ROF 1 when moving.
Carbine Team21ROF 1 when moving, except US where ROF is unaffected.
SMG Team13ROF unaffected by moving.
Assault Rifle Team22ROF unaffected by moving.
Bazooka Team21No moving fire.
Tank Hunter Team21No moving fire.
Panzerschreck Team22No moving fire.

For infantry combat there are two sets of dice: firing dice and saving dice. The firer using the firing dice and the target uses the saving dice. Each squad/section totals the ROF of the firing stands; roll the number of firing dice equal to the total ROF. Target is an enemy squad/section2. The dice look as follows:

  • Infantry - three faces have an infantry hit, making it a base 50% chance of a hit for each ROF.
  • Grenade - one face has a grenade hit, which is an infantry hit only in assault. This increases the chance of hitting infantry in assault by 16%.
  • Blank - two faces are blank, meaning there is a base 33% chance to miss infantry. Note that when armor is introduced, these will likely be Armor icons, but for now they are simply reserved for future use.
For each hit the target receives, it rolls a saving die to see if cover, concealment, or Veteran status allows it to cancel the hit. (Note that if the target is not in cover, concealed, or a Veteran, you have no chance to save3, and thus there is no reason to roll the dice.) The dice look as follows:

  • Cover - three faces provide a save for those in cover. This may change if I go for the concept of cover and bulletproof cover.
  • Concealed - one face provides a save for those that are in concealment. (Note that almost all cover also provides concealment.)  Conscript infantry cannot ever count the Concealed face as a save.
  • Veteran - one face provides a save for Veteran units.
I may combine one of the Cover faces with the Veteran face, so that either cover or Veteran status provides the save, and using that extra face to provide a generic save to all infantry. Again this will depend upon how quickly non-Veteran infantry gets eliminated.

Overloaded Squares

Each square can contain more than one infantry stand. However, when a target is in a square with more than one infantry stand (an "overloaded" square) , one die is added to the firing dice total of the firing squad/section for each overloaded square the target is in. For example, a US squad consisting of three stands is spread across two squares, with both squares containing two stands (one of those stands is from another squad). When the German squad fires at it (two Rifle/MG stands) it would roll 2 [stands] * 2 [ROF] + 2 [overloaded squares] = 6 dice.

One note: Conscript infantry will have command and control problems, essentially forcing them into overloading squares.


Just to have something to start, I think a squad/section will be pinned if they receive one hit per stand. I might have to make it two hits per stand, if everyone starts getting pinned everywhere. I also prefer Conscript to be pinned more easily than Trained, and Train more easily than Veteran. In Flames of War this occurs naturally because lower skilled troops get hit more frequently, and therefore has an increased chance of being pinned. In these rules the skill level is embedded in the save, not the hit, so it might be better to use multiples, such as 1 hit per stand for Conscripts, 1.5 hits per stand (round up) for Trained, and 2 hits per stand for Veterans. Something to mull over.

The effects of pinning should be no movement, not just no forward movement, even if caught in the open. I think units that start their turn pinned should automatically unpin at the end of the turn (i.e. every unit is pinned  for one, and only one turn, unless the enemy maintains pressure and continues to pin them with fire turn after turn).


So, that is the basic mechanic. Total dice from the firing stands and count the hits. For each hit roll a saving die. If the hit is not saved, the stand is lost. Hit allocation is as with Flames of War, but done at the squad/section level rather than the platoon level. The battles are still expected to be with reinforced company commands.

1 Some say that there are no more unique game mechanics, only combinations of existing ones.
2 This is my attempt at reducing some of the "gamey-ness" of casualty allocation, albeit at the expense of slowing down firing resolution.
3 I realize that this is vastly different from Flames of War, which gives all infantry a basic 67% chance of saving, even if caught out in the open. As this version is a strawman, just to have something to test with, this may need to be altered radically if you find it burns through infantry too quickly.

Wednesday, September 05, 2012

Company-level WW II

As I have to start somewhere I think the easiest place would be a basic infantry-on-infantry fight. If you cannot get that right (and interesting) then you should scrap the ideas you have and start over.


For now, I am going to assume a 4" square grid1 and use FOW as the basis for a number of basic stats. The first problem is that distances in FOW tend to be in 4" increments, except for most notably infantry movement! That is okay, because I have never been keen on infantry moving the same distance over open ground as through cover, so the basic infantry move will be 2 squares in the open and 1 through difficult terrain. The basic infantry combat range will be 4 squares.


One abstract concept where M44 and FOW differ is in the decrease of combat power over range. With infantry in FOW your combat power is the same throughout your single range band, unless you have a heavy weapon, like a mortar or an HMG. For now I am simply going to use a single range band with a single combat power for it. As there seems to be no reason to not use the FOW numbers, infantry small arms range will be four squares.

Another FOW concept that I like is the use of ROF to indicate the number of dice to be thrown. Again, at this point there is no reason to not use the same values as in FOW. Thus, rifles will have one die, rifles and one MG will have two dice, and rifles with two MGs or SMGs will have three dice. As with FOW I like the concept of more experienced troops being harder to hit, but like TOI I prefer the defender actually roll dice for their defense. The basic TOI combat mechanism is for the attacker to roll their dice looking for hits, and for the defender to roll their dice looking for saves. Saves subtracts from hits and any excess hits go towards damaging the defender. As I do not like the TOI mechanism of either hitting to kill or to suppress, but rather prefer the FOW mechanism of pinning if enough hits are achieved, the combat results have to reflect this increased chance to save against kills.

The question then becomes what is the basic chance to hit an infantry stand? In FOW the chance to hit conscripts are 2+, trained on 3+, and veterans on 4+. Of course, this is often modified by concealment and going to ground, both of which typically require markers on the table for infantry2. This will require a bit of pondering. My desire is to have both sides roll dice, either in an opposed roll fashion, or as hits and saves. I don't really want to reduce it down to a single die roll.

1 I could use an offset square grid, which allows you to simulate a hex grid, but will keep it as a simple square grid as is easier to show in the table.

2 I try to eliminate markers from my designs. I do not usually succeed, but by starting with the idea of not using markers it usually puts you in the proper mindset so you end up reducing the number of them.

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Huachuca City, Arizona, United States
I am 58 yrs old now. I bought a house in Huachuca City, AZ working for a software company for the last three years. 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").