Balagan Point System for Crossfire

Dick Bryant got in contact this week and said “I just spent an unproductive 1/2 hour looking for your write ups on using points to balance a scenario. Where did you put it?” It isn’t there. Sorry about that Dick. My points system was missing because it is based on the points at the back of the rules. However, on reflection, I think there are sufficient differences between what I do now and what the rules say, that I should share.


Why points

I use points because I want my games to have flavour, be fair and be fun. Points help with the “fair” bit. I’m looking for games where each player has an equal chance of winning. This isn’t about identical forces or sizes of forces. I think players will have more fun if they have a good chance to win. That, to me, is fair.

So I use points to design my scenarios. All other things being equal, having forces that are equal points give each player an equal chance of winning. But equal points does not mean identical. A force that is Veteran, with good Command & Control, and has excellent commanders (lots of +2 and the rest +1) is going to be very small – this describes the stereotypical Germans. Compare that to a Green force, with poor Command & Control, and mediocre commanders (e.g. rated as +1/0). The Green force, the Soviet stereotype, is going to be huge. Or imagine the Germans are Panzer Grenadiers, they might have all the above plus half tracks and tanks. The Soviets might go a completely different route and field a force representing a Machinegun-Artillery Battalion of a Fortified Region. Lots of HMG and anti-tank guns in fortifications. Deployed hidden. Equal points is not identical.

My points system is based on the “Bonus Selection” bit at the back of the Rules (CF14.0 p. 33-37), modified by

A bit messy, I admit. And not super easy for others to follow my lead. Particularly the “undocumented bits”. All that can now change


How many points do I get to spend?

You can pick any points total you want. However, as a starting point a small game is about 70 points, medium about 140 points, and large about 210 points. [CF defines game size in terms of number of companies. Then adjusts points based on the fact that the companies of different nations cost different points. I find easier just to start with a certain number of points.]

I use the standard Bonus Points modifiers. CF gives each side Bonus Points to spend depending on the size of the game (Small, Medium, Large), posture (Attacking/Defending), and the Command & Control (Good/Okay/Poor).

Game Size Base Points Posture Bonus Points for
Command & Control
Base + Bonus Points for
Command & Control
Good Okay Poor Good Okay Poor
Small Game 70 Attacking +10.0 +13.0 +17.0 80.0 83.0 87.0
Defending +6.0 +9.0 +12.0 76.0 79.0 82.0
Medium Game 140 Attacking +12.5 +16.5 +21.0 152.5 156.5 161.0
Defending +8.0 +11.5 +14.5 148.0 151.5 154.5
Large Game 210 Attacking +15.0 +20.0 +25.0 225.0 230.0 235.0
Defending +10.0 +13.0 +17.0 220.0 223.0 227.0

So, for example, an attacking German player in a medium sized game would get 152.5 points, 140 for the size of game and 12.5 bonus points for good Command & Control. Their Soviet opponent would get 154.5 points, the same 140 points for a medium sized game, and 14.5 bonus points for poor Command & Control.


What can I spend the points on?

Here is my complete points list. My starting point were the “Bonus Selections” from the back of the rules and many of these are unchanged. Where I ignore a point cost from the rules, I list it but use strikethrough to show I ignore it. In the “Who” Column I indicate whether the rule comes from the Crossfire rules (CF) or from me (ST).

These points are modified by how the troops are initially deployed (see below).

Commanders
Nationality Type Cost Who Comment
All CC (+2) 6.0 CF Regular or Green
All CC (+1) 4.0 CF Regular or Green
All CC (0) 2.0 ST Regular or Green. I don’t think CF specifies the cost, but as this is a fighting stand I don’t think it is free
All Upgrade CC to Veteran +2.0 CF Veteran CCs are the only CC/PC that cost extra for morale
All PC (+2) 4.0 CF Veteran, Regular or Green
All PC (+1) 2.0 CF Veteran, Regular or Green
Soviet PC (+1 Close Combat; 0 Rally) 1.0 ST Veteran, Regular or Green. Effectively these are half way between +0 and +1 PCs so I cost them accordingly
All PC (0) 0.0 CF Veteran, Regular or Green
Infantrymen
Nationality Type Cost Who Comment
All Regular Rifle Squad 3.0 CF
All Regular SMG Squad 2.5 CF
All Downgrade Squad from Regular to Green -0.5 CF
All Upgrade Squad from Regular to Veteran +1.5 CF
All Upgrade Squad to Engineer +0.5 CF
All Upgrade Squad from Engineer to Assault Engineer +1.0 CF
All Upgrade Squad to have Anti-tank Rifle +0.5 CF
German Upgrade Squad to have Early Panzerfaust +2.0 CF
German Upgrade Squad to have Later Panzerfaust +2.5 CF
German Upgrade Squad to have Panzershrek +2.5 CF
Soviet Upgrade Squad to have Bazooka +3.0 CF
USA Upgrade Squad to have Bazooka +2.0 CF
British Upgrade Squad to have Piat +2.0 CF
All Sniper 1.0 CF
All HMG 6.0 CF Veteran, Regular or Green
Indirect Fire Weapons
Nationality Type Cost Who Comment
All FO for off-table 45-60mm Mortars (inc 2”) (12 FM) 4.0 CF 3 FM cost 1 point
All FO for off-table 61-84mm Mortars (inc 3″) and Guns (12 FM) 6.0 CF 2 FM cost 1 point
All FO for off-table 85-120mm Mortars; Guns 85-104mm (10 FM) 7.0 CF 3 FM costs 2 points
All FO for off-table Heavy Artillery 105mm+ (4 FM) 10.0 CF 1 FM costs 2.5 points
All on-table 50 mm Mortar (12 FM) 4.0 ST 3 FM cost 1 point
Great Britain on-table 2″ Mortar (12 FM) 4.0 ST 3 FM cost 1 point
USA on-table 60 mm Mortar (12 FM) 4.0 CF 3 FM cost 1 point
All FO for off-table 81 mm Mortar (12 FM) 6.0 CF 2 FM cost 1 point
Great Britain FO for off-table 3″ Mortar (12 FM) 6.0 CF 2 FM cost 1 point
Soviet FO for off-table 82 mm Mortar (12 FM) 6.0 CF 2 FM cost 1 point
All FO for off-table 75 mm Infantry Gun (12 FM) 6.0 CF 2 FM cost 1 point
German FO for off-table 75 mm Infantry Gun (12 FM)
10 CF Why does German 7.5cm IG cost 10 not 6?
Soviet FO for off-table 76 mm Infantry Gun (12 FM) 6 CF 2 FM cost 1 point
All FO for off-table 120 mm Mortar (10 FM) 7.0 CF 3 FM costs 2 points
All FO for off-table 120 mm Mortar (12 FM) 8.0 ST 3 FM costs 2 points
Great Britain FO for off-table 4.2″ Mortar (10 FM) 7.0 CF 3 FM costs 2 points
Soviet FO for off-table 120 mm Mortar (12 FM) 7.0 CF 3 FM costs 2 points
All FO for off-table Heavy Artillery (4 FM) 10 CF 1 FM costs 2.5 points
German FO for off-table 150 mm Infantry Gun (8 FM) 10 CF Why does German 15cm IG get 8 FM not 4?
USA FO for off-table Heavy Artillery (5 FM) 10 CF Why does USA Heavy Artillery get 5 FM not 4?
Fortifications
Nationality Type Cost Who Comment
All Fortification Package: 1 Bunker (2 Squad capacity); 3 Wire; 1 Mine 6.0 CF
All Bunker (4 Squad capacity) 4.5 ST
All Bunker (3 Squad capacity) 3.5 ST
All Bunker (2 Squad capacity) 2.5 ST
All Bunker (1 Squad capacity) 1.5 ST
All Mines (4 Stand Section or 1 feature) 2.0 ST
All Wire (4 Stand Section) 0.5 ST
All Entrenchment Free ST
Armour and Anti-tank guns
Nationality Type Cost Who Comment
All Random Tank 9.0 CF I never assign random vehicles
All Random APC 8.0 CF I never assign random vehicles
All Random ATG 3.0 CF I never assign random ATG
France CharB 10.0 ST
France FT17 with Cannon 6.0 ST
France Hotchkiss 35/39 6.0 ST
France Renault 35/40 6.0 ST
France Somua S-35 9.5 ST
France AMR Halftrack 8.0 ST
France 25/71 ATG 0.0 ST
France 47/53 ATG 2.5 ST
France 75mm IG 7.0 ST
German 15cm sIG 33 Howitzer, Stu.Inf.Gesch 33 5.0 ST
German 2cm Flak on SdKfz 10/5 Half Track 4.0 ST
German Marder II 4.0 ST
German Marder III 10.5 ST
German Panzerjager IV Nashorn 7.0 ST
German Panzerjager Tiger (P) Elefant 18.5 ST
German Panzerjager Tiger (P) Ferdinand 15.5 ST
German Pz 38(t) A-D 6.0 ST
German Pz 38(t) E-F, S 7.5 ST
German Pz II C 4.5 ST
German Pz II F 5.5 ST
German Pz II L (Lachs) 6.0 ST
German Pz III E-F 8.0 ST
German Pz III G 9.0 ST
German Pz III H-M 11.0 ST
German Pz III N 12.5 ST
German Pz IV D-E 11.5 ST
German Pz IV F (F1) 12.5 ST
German Pz IV G-H 14.0 ST
German Pz V Panther 17.0 ST
German Pz VI B, Tiger II, King Tiger 20.5 ST
German Pz VI, Tiger I 16.0 ST
German SdKfz 165 Hummel 4.5 ST
German SdKfz 231 (8-RAD) 6.5 ST
German SdKfz 232 (8-RAD) 6.5 ST
German SdKfz 233 (8-RAD) “Stummel” 4.5 ST
German SdKfz 234/1 6.0 ST
German SdKfz 234/2 Puma 8.5 ST
German SdKfz 234/3 “Stummel” 4.0 ST
German SdKfz 234/4 5.5 ST
German SdKfz 251/22 75mm L/48 PaK 40 9.0 ST
German StuG III D-E 6.5 ST
German StuG III F-G 13.0 ST
German StuG III G 42H; StuH 42 9.0 ST
German StuG IV 13.0 ST
German SturmPz I, Brummbär 15.5 ST
German SturmPz I, Brummbär 11.5 ST
German Wespe 10.5 ST
German Pz I A-B 6.5 ST
German Pz I C 8.0 ST
German Pz I F 9.5 ST
German SdKfz 250/1 HalfTrack 8.0 ST
German 10.5 cm leFH 18 field howitzer 9.0 ST
German 15.0 cm IG 9.0 ST
German 2cm 30/38 Quad Flak 4.5 ST
German 3.7cm PaK 35/36 ATG 1.0 ST
German 3.7cm PaK 35/36 ATG using Steilgranate 41 6.0 ST
German 5.0cm PaK 38 ATG 3.0 ST
German 7.5cm le IG 6.0 ST
German 7.5cm PaK 40 Aufgw 39H(F) ATG 6.0 ST
German 8.8cm Flak 18, 36 10.5 ST
German 8.8cm PaK 43 ATG 8.5 ST
Italy Carro Armato L6/40 7.0 ST
Italy Carro Armato M11 7.0 ST
Italy Carro Armato M13/40 M14/41 7.5 ST
Italy Carro Armato M15/42 9.0 ST
Italy Semovente M41 (DA 90/53) 6.0 ST
Italy Semovente M41-42 (DA 75/18, DA 75/32) 8.5 ST
Italy Semovente M43 (DA 105/25) 12.0 ST
Italy L3-35 Tankette 5.5 ST
Italy 37mm ATG 1.0 ST
Italy 47mm ATG 2.5 ST
Italy 65mm IG 6.0 ST
Japan Type 89 8.0 ST
Japan Type 95 Kyugo (HaGo) 4.5 ST
Japan Type 97 ChiHa 7.5 ST
Japan 47mm ATG 2.5 ST
Japan 57mm ATG 2.5 ST
Japan 75mm IG 7.0 ST
Soviet BT 7 8.0 ST
Soviet IS II 18.0 ST
Soviet ISU-122 16.5 ST
Soviet ISU-152 16.5 ST
Soviet KV-1 M1939 14.0 ST
Soviet KV-1A M1939, M1940 14.5 ST
Soviet KV-1C M1941 15.5 ST
Soviet KV-1E M1940 15.5 ST
Soviet KV-2 M1940 15.5 ST
Soviet SU-100 11.5 ST
Soviet SU-122 9.5 ST
Soviet SU-152 11.0 ST
Soviet SU-76 5.0 ST
Soviet SU-76i 7.5 ST
Soviet SU-76M 8.0 ST
Soviet SU-85 10.0 ST
Soviet T-26 7.5 ST
Soviet T-34/76 B M1941, C M1942, M1943 12.0 ST
Soviet T-34/76A M1940 10.5 ST
Soviet T-34/85 16.0 ST
Soviet T-60 5.5 ST
Soviet T-70 8.0 ST
Soviet 100mm BS-3 ATG 7.5 ST
Soviet 45mm ATG 3.0 ST
Soviet 57mm ATG (57/73) 4.5 ST
Soviet 76.2mm Field Gun (76/41) 7.5 ST
Soviet 76.2mm IG 6.0 ST
Soviet 85mm M1939 AA Gun 7.5 ST
Great Britain Churchill I 12.0 ST
Great Britain Churchill IV 12.0 ST
Great Britain Churchill V 13.0 ST
Great Britain Churchill VII 15.5 ST
Great Britain Churchill VIII 15.5 ST
Great Britain Cromwell I 12.0 ST
Great Britain Cromwell IV 13.0 ST
Great Britain Cromwell VCS 14.0 ST
Great Britain Cromwell VII 14.0 ST
Great Britain Cromwell VIIICS 14.0 ST
Great Britain Matilda 11.0 ST
Great Britain Matilda CS 12.0 ST
Great Britain Sherman Firefly (17 Pdr) 14.5 ST
Great Britain Valentine (2pdr) 11.0 ST
Great Britain Valentine (6pdr) 11.5 ST
Great Britain Bren Carrier 7.5 ST
Great Britain 17 Pdr ATG 6.0 ST
Great Britain 2 Pdr ATG 1.5 ST
Great Britain 6 Pdr ATG 3.0 ST
USA M10 TD 12.0 ST
USA M24 Chaffee 11.5 ST
USA M3 Lee/Grant 10.5 ST
USA M3 Stuart/Honey 7.5 ST
USA M36 TD 13.0 ST
USA M26 Pershing 16.5 ST
USA M7 Priest 9.5 ST
USA Sherman 105mm Howitzer 14.0 ST
USA Sherman 75mm 13.5 ST
USA Sherman 76mm 14.0 ST
USA Sherman Jumbo 75mm 16.5 ST
USA Sherman Jumbo 76mm 17.0 ST
USA T30/M3 GMC Halftrack 8.0 ST
USA M3/5 Half track 8.0 ST
USA 57mm ATG 3.0 ST
USA 76mm ATG 6.0 ST

Points cost of Commanders

The cost of commanders depends on their type, Platoon Command (PC) or Company Commander (CC) and command ability (0, +1 or +2). PCs cost the same regardless of morale (Green, Regular, Veteran). Green and Regular CCs cost the same. Veteran CC’s cost more. BCs, although not in the table above, cost the same as CCs.

For example, a Regular CC (+2) costs 6 points. Upgrading the CC to Veteran adds 2 points to 8 total. You can buy a Platoon of SMG Squads for less than that.

Points cost of Infantrymen

Snipers have a fixed cost (1 point).

HMG have a fixed cost regardless of the morale (Green, Regular, Veteran) (6 points).

The cost of Squads depends on their weapon (Rifle or SMG) and upgrades. More upgrades equals more expensive. A Regular Rifle Squad (3 points), upgraded to Veteran (+1.5 points), upgraded to Engineer (+0.5 points) and then Assault Engineer (+1.0 points), and upgraded to have a Panzershrek (+2.5 points) is going to be expensive. 8.5 points for this super trooper compared to a mere 3 points for a plain Rifle Squad.

SMG Squads are 0.5 points cheaper than their rifle armed equivalent. So 2.5 points for a Regular SMG Squad.

Points cost of Indirect Fire Weapons

The points cost of Indirect Fire Weapons depends on the size of the weapon and the number of Fire Missions (FM). Crossfire gives a standard number of FM per type of weapon but you are not bound by this. You can increase and decrease the number of FM. I’ve provided the cost to do this in the comments column in the table.

For example, 10 points buys 4 FM of Heavy Artillery. But 12.5 points buy 5 FM. If you only want 2 FM of Heavy Artillery then you only need to pay 5 points.

Points cost of Armour and Anti-tank guns

Check out my Crossfire data sheets if you want to know what the points for a particular vehicle gives you. The calculations behind this are described in myRevised points system for Crossfire armour.


Deployment modifiers on points cost

I vary the point costs above based on how the troops are deployed. I don’t change the points cost of visible troops, but hidden troops cost more. Off table reinforcements, because they might not turn up at all, cost less.

Deployment Percentage modifier
Visible 0%
Hidden +50%
Hidden Reveal on 1 +100%
Off table reinforcement -50%

For example, a Regular Rifle Squad costs 3 points if deployed visible, 4.5 points if hidden, 6 points if hidden and reveal on a 1, but only 1.5 points if it starts off table as a reinforcement.


Multi-player modifiers on points cost

Martin Groat’s Three Player Crossfire gives the defender one initiative and gives the two attacking players an initiative each. Two initiatives to one. This can seriously unbalance a game so would penalise attacking players in points to give them a smaller force than they would have with only a single initiative.

Balance of Players Percentage modifier
Evenly balanced e.g. 1:1 or 2:2 or 3:3 etc 0%
2:1 i.e. two attacking initiatives to one defending +50% to Attacker points costs
or award the force only 67% of the points they would normally get

For example: The defending Soviets in a medium sized game get 154.5 points. Normally, with a single attacking German player, the Germans would normally get 152.5 points in a medium sized game. If there are two German players, each with a separate initiative, then either:

  • Make every single German stand +50% to points cost. So the attackers will have less troops.
  • Or, perhaps more simply, give the Germans 67% of the points they would normally get, i.e. 102 points. So the attackers will have less troops.

+50% (or x67%) is a big penalty. But the advantages of multiple initiatives is a big benefit.

Warning: I have not play tested this. It is just based on Martin Groat’s play testing / recommendations.


Then tweak

As I said in my post The 3Fs of Crossfire Scenario Design: Flavour, Fair, Fun, you will have to tweak the points to achieve balance.

After doing all that maths you need to adjust for any scenario specific weirdness. And scenarios can be quite weird.

Some of my scenarios do not look at all balanced – at least in relative force compositions. Here are four notable examples:

  • Krasny Bor Crossfire campaign: Four Soviet divisions attacking the equivalent of four Spanish battalions. Nominally odds of 10 to 1 but in reality each defender battalion is facing three attacking battalions.
  • Village P: Two German companies and three StuGs attacking into a battalion of Soviets. The Soviets are constrained on where they can deploy offsetting their apparent advantage.
  • Papa Eicke Scenario: Two German platoons (yes platoon) and eight armoured vehicles attack into a battalion of Soviets. Although the forces are staggeringly unbalanced, the Soviets arrive in dribs and drabs and the Germans do not have to hold territory, just get what they need and leave.
  • Race Through Normandy: Two US or Canadian battalions (more or less) attack a German battalion. This includes the possibility that each German platoon only has two squads so the allies can have odds of 3 to 1. But the victory conditions do not necessarily encourage total conquest so light defenders can still threaten massed attackers.

Isn’t this rather complicated?

Not really. I have a spreadsheet to make generating an order of battle, and calculating the points, a rather simple process. Effectively box ticking. The spreadsheet even gives me the HTML to use for the order of battle in a new scenario to post on this site. So, the calculations at least, are simple.

The tweaking is where art comes into scenario design. Equal points is a good start, but game balance is not, unfortunately, just a matter of counting points.

6 comments to Balagan Point System for Crossfire

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