Crossfire 2 Foot Participation Games at SELWG

Last year Dick Bryant published Six Small 2’x2′ Crossfire Scenarios. I’ve played four of them and really like them. Each offers a good tactical challenge but is fast to play taking no more than one hour. Dick intended them as a way to introduce novices to Crossfire. I think they work well for this and hence they are a good option for taking to a show as a participation game(s). So at SELWG 2013 I’m going to give it a go.


Little training games

I have organised larger participation games but found that I had to run impromptu training sessions every now and then for complete newbies to Crossfire. I think Dick’s small scenarios offer a more structured way of doing that.

My offering will be in parallel with Martin Groat’s larger participation games. If somebody wanders up in the middle of one of Martin’s games then I can run a short game for the new comer to fill in time and to give them a practice run with the rules. Give a complete novice a taste for how Crossfire is different. And it is different.


Setting

I like a setting for my games. Preferably one I’m kind of attached to for some reason or another. It didn’t take me long to think of a historical situation that matched the small scenarios in Dick’s collection.

Here is the extract from my Timeline of the Blue Division:

30 – 31 May

After a delay due to heavy rains the German I and XXXVIII Army Corps began a determined effort to close the neck of the Volkhov Pocket (Glantz, 2001). I Army Corps cut route Erika at 0130 hours on 31 May. By 1200 hours the two corps had a continuous front facing east and their westward facing front was established later in the day.

End May 1942

The front line in the sector of the Northwestern Front stabilized along the Lovat River (Glantz, 2001).

4 Jun 1942

The now trapped 2nd Shock Army made desperate attempts to break out eastward (Glantz, 2001). German reports described the attacking soldiers as “drunk”.

5 Jun 1942

Other Russian forces attacked the German cordon from the east, but 2nd Shock Army remained trapped (Glantz, 2001).

8 Jun 1942

The Stavka reestablished the Volkhov Front, separate from the Leningrad Front (Glantz, 2001).

Mid Jun 1942

The Russian made several failed attempts to free 2nd Shock Army (Glantz, 2001).

21 Jun 1942

The much reduced Volkhov pocket was attacked from north, west and south (Scurr, 1980). At dawn on 21 Jun a battle group under the German Colonel Burke attacked the southern flank through thickly wooded and marshy terrain. Burke’s group comprised:

  • The Valentine Battalion (German) – northwest of Dolgovo
  • III/262 Battalion, 250th (Blue) Division – on eastern bank of River Keresti
  • A Flemish Battalion – west of Ossiya
  • 250 Reconnaissance Group, 250th (Blue) Division – north and west of Bolshoye Samoshie.

III/262 Battalion thrust forward 3.5 km, but the Valentine and Flemish Battalions advanced more slowly leaving the flank of the III/262 Battalion exposed (Scurr, 1980). In the absence of their allies, III/262 Battalion was halted by Russian machine gun fire. After bringing up anti-tank guns the III/262 Battalion pushed forward again, despite fierce opposition. By 1600 hours the battalion had lost 80 men, but had reached the River Ossianka to the west of Maloye Samoshie, far ahead of its flanking units. Meanwhile the 250 Reconnaissance Group had run into strong Russian defences and was ordered to withdraw.

22 Jun 1942

In danger of being cut off the III/262 Battalion was ordered back to its start line (Scurr, 1980). Mines and Russian harassment causes nine more deaths and 67 wounded. Meanwhile 1st and 2nd Squadrons of the 250 Reconnaissance Group suffered 50% casualties in unsuccessful attacks against Russian positions near Maloye Samoshie.

23 Jun 1942

Burke’s group went in again, although this time the Germans and Flemings were given orders to push ahead at any cost, and not leave the Spanish to fight alone (Scurr, 1980). South of Maloye Samoshie German Stukas pounded the zone ahead of the advancing 250 Reconnaissance Group. Supported by four Tigers of the Heavy Panzer Battalion 502, the Reconnaissance Group forced the Russians out of their outer defensive line. To the south-west, the III/262 battalion took hundreds of prisoners in several encounters with the Russians. Three companies (9th, 10th, 12th) of III/262 battalion flushed out scattered Russian units on the east bank of the River Keresti, while the 11th Company pushed northward to link up with the 266th Norwegian Battalion advancing from the north-west.

25 Jun 1942

At midday the III/262 Battalion and 250 Reconnaissance Group put the final, and successful, assault on Maloye Samoshie (Scurr, 1980).

This incident appealed to me for a number of reasons:

  • Spanish Blue Division
  • Summer and all my kit is for summer. Normally I don’t care but for a participation game I thought I should
  • Spanish are attacking through a mix of terrain. Woods, rivers, and a town are all in there – just like in Dick’s scenarios

I haven’t tried to match the historical events exactly. But by following the history roughly there does seem to be a logical sequence for Dick’s scenarios:

  1. The Woods
  2. The Hill
  3. The Farm
  4. The River
  5. The Crossroads
  6. The Town

I’ve also got vague ideas about a linked scenario mini-campaign and this sequence would be useful for that.


Download

Download the set of brochures as a PDF or DOCX (14 pages).

Player brochures

I have reformatted Dick’s scenarios so I can issue each one as a brochure. The brochures are designed to fold into three parts. Not sure whether I’ll do that but we’ll see. I guess I half hope people will just pick them up an wander off with them – they are not just for the players.

On one side of the brochure there is a blurb on the setting I’ve chosen, a plug for Crossfire, and a plug for my website.

2x2 Scenario brochure page 1

2×2 Scenario brochure page 1

On the other is a briefing for the specific scenario complete with map, orders of battle and victory conditions. Because there are six scenarios, and two pages per scenario, there are 12 pages in the pack. I’ll print the pack double sided and multiple copies.

2x2 Scenario brochure page 2 The Woods

2×2 Scenario brochure page 2 The Woods

You can download the set of brochures including general instructions as a PDF or DOCX (14 pages) (14 pages).


Morale

One of the things I left off the brochure was morale. This was deliberate.

Dick made the attackers regular and the defenders veteran. Our play testing found this favoured the defenders too much. We recommend, for a balanced game, that both sides be regular.

Novices don’t appreciate a thrashing from more experienced players, so when introducing novices I try to give them an advantage of some kind. In my Crossfire Scenario For Novices I vary the size of each force depending on the relative experience of the players.

For these small scenarios I’ll use morale instead and leave the order of battle unchanged.

Relative experience Stronger player Weaker player
Significant difference Green defenders Veteran attackers
Slight difference Regular defenders Veteran attackers
Balanced Regular; toss for attacker/defender

It is up to you what you define as “balanced”, “slight difference”, and “significant difference” in terms of experience. But if I was playing a complete novice I’d say that is “significant”. On the other hand if I play Chris we’re pretty “balanced”.


Other changes

I made a few minor changes to Dick’s scenarios:

  • Dick has the attackers hidden when deployed in buildings in all scenarios and regardless in The Woods scenario. I don’t let them deploy hidden at all. This is to retain game balance. Hidden, for me, is worth 50% in points.
  • The Spanish get a 7.5cm infantry gun not a 120mm mortar. Wrong period for Axis forces to get a big mortar. And I give it 12FM.
  • I left out any mention of being “dug in”.
  • I’ve drawn the deploy area for the attacker with a red line. This is mainly because we didn’t read that carefully and gave them the full 12 inches of those sectors.
  • I’ve added numbers to the features the defender can deploy in. They just have to jot the number in the table next to the stand
Filled in Deployment Sheet

Filled in Deployment Sheet

17 comments to Crossfire 2 Foot Participation Games at SELWG

  • Stephen,
    I love the way you expanded on the 2′ x 2′ scenarios. I can’t wait to see how it all goes. We have had a lot of fun running them over and over – since there are 6 of us we play 3 scenarios on the table (8′ 5′) and then move down and change sides, the best overall result being the overall winner.
    Dick Bryant
    “No scenario survives first contact with a wargamer!”

    • Steven Thomas

      We only played four of the six. Although each one got played at least twice. I think four is about right for a show. and we can only run two at a time because Chris and I have to watch one each – pretty intense given we’re talking about novice players.

      • Dick Bryant

        I am glad these were such a success! I have only used them in club play to introduce new players or to refresh the old ones. You inspire me to try them in other venues and I will use them in one of the local Mini-Cons that pop up everywhere here in the spring.

        Dick
        “Charge! There are no lead widows!”

  • It was great fun to play to play one of the mini games and also Martin’s larger bocage scenario at SELWG so many thanks to Martin, Steven, Chris and the others. I played ‘The Hill’ game as both Germans and Russians. The Germans won both times but I did see one success for the Russians in another game. Dick Bryant’s scenarios are an excellent intro/refresher.

    • Steven Thomas

      Richard, it was good to meet you in the flesh. I think you took the record for number of games played. I agree about Dick’s games – great tasters.

  • DaveyJJ

    Steve,

    Are those Player Brochures you made available anywhere for download? I think this would be a great way to introduce some of the hex-and-counter wargamers in my area to Arty’s masterpiece Crossfire. Thanks.

  • Aidan Duggan

    Hi,

    I used these at Leprecon 35 to demo both my first play of the game, and others. They were very useful and I would like to thank you for putting them up.

    Aidan

  • Mark J

    Thanks for posting these I hope to run one at the Oxford Wargames club this Monday night. Also can I post the PDF on the Yahoo Scenario folder for others to find at a later date? Cheers MJ

  • Ian Francis

    Hi Steven,
    Is there any chance of getting your pdf in Word format, so others might tailor it for their own scenarios?

    • Steven Thomas

      I’ll see what I can do.

    • Steven Thomas

      I have uploaded the DOCX (after resurrecting my FTP client and battling with secure which always seems to baffle me). Link above.

      • Ian Francis

        Thanks for this Steve. I will only use it for my own wargames club, but I will ensure that I keep any links/references to your pages and acknowledge that you created the original.

  • Mark Ferguson

    G’day Steve,
    As a complete novice to war gaming I love the sound of the introduction skirmish scenarios. I’ve been really interested in Crossfire since I watched Lloyds introduction videos at the start of the year. I even bought the rule book although that about as far it’s gone. I don’t suppose you’ll be at Warfare in Reading next month? I reckon something like what you did back in 2013 would go down a storm.

    • Steven Thomas

      Hi Mark. Unfortunately I won’t be at Warfare in Reading. But give Dick’s scenarios a go by yourself. They are great vehicles for learning the rules.

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