Crossfire House Rules (Balagan House Rules for Crossfire)

These are the Crossfire house rules I actually use. I’ve only listed those I’ve played and liked – look elsewhere for other Musings on Crossfire.

I’ve organised the tweaks by the relevant section from Crossfire (CF), including the Advanced Rules (AR), or Hit the Dirt (HTD). Rules that don’t really map to a particular section are labelled as New rules (New).

See also


A big thanks to my mate Ian Galley who sent me some photos to liven up my pages. Ian likes Russians so you’ll see a lot of Human Wave shots. By the way, Ian’s figures are based for Flames of War – the dominant WWII rule set in NZ at the moment. His figures are from Battle Front.

CF2.3 Commanders

CF2.3 Commanders (p.2)

According to the rules “When assisting a subordinate Squad in Close Combat, Rallying, or crossing Barbed Wire, a Commander must be within 1 stand width (1-1/4″ say) to his Squads; just ‘eyeball’ the distance”. It is not clear what happens when if the sub-ordinate stands are in a building sector; in this case the commander must be in the same building sector to provide assistance.

CF4.0 Movement/Command and Control

Not really a rule as such; more a set of labels for existing rules.

Troops are rated with a command and control of:

Poor: A squad needs line of sight to it’s Platoon Commander to move and must end its move within line of sight as well. Example: WWII Soviets. I used to call this “Dependent”.

OK: A squad needs line of sight to it’s Platoon Commander to move but may end its move out of line of sight. Example: WWII British and Commonwealth; WWII US. I used to call this “Independent”.

Good: Similar to WWII Germans these squads may operate independently. (The official Crossfire site has the added limitation they upon completion of a simple set task, e.g. taking a bridge, they revert to one of the other two ratings.) I used to call this “Adventurous”.

CF6.4: Fire Procedures – APCs in Group Fires

CF2.2.1 Heavy Machineguns HMGs/Attachment
CF6.4 Fire Procedures

APCs count as HMG for group firing, hence:

  • Can group fire with a platoon they are attached to.
  • Count toward the 3 attached HMG limit
  • Can group fire with company level assets if left at company level rather than attached to a platoon

CF6.7 Revealing hidden squads on a One [Scenario Specific Rule]

CF6.7 Recon by Fire [RBF]

An idea from Martin Rapier and Nikolas Lloyd. I use this as an optional scenario specific rule, but it is starting to appear so often I thought I’d move it to the House Rules.

There are three scenario specific variations on how troops are revealed:

  1. Hidden troops are automatically revealed when they fire (the standard Crossfire rule and used unless the scenario says something else).
  2. Hidden troops are only revealed if they throw a “1” on any dice when firing.
  3. Hidden troops are only revealed if they throw a “1” on any dice when firing; the terrain feature of hidden troops is revealed on rolling a “2” on any dice when firing (but the stand is not revealed).

CF8.1.1 Japanese and Russians – Reckless Troops

Human Wave

Another instance where I’ve just given a label to an existing rule.

Some troops are classified as Reckless – like Russians and Japanese in WWII, and Moroccan troops of the Spanish Civil War. These troops ignore Pin results from reactive fire prior to entering close combat, however, in those circumstance Suppression results become Killed.

CF8.2 Close Combat involvement

Close combat is restricted to phasing squads of the same platoon plus a commander who is in line of command for the platoon.

This restriction does not apply to the defender. A building sector can have defenders from different platoons.

CF8.4 Structures: Buildings and Hardpoints – “within 1 stand”

When measuring distance to friendly stands from a building sector, use the centre of the building sector. That means “within 1 stand” means within the same building sector. For example, Commanders must be within the same sector of the structure to count as “within 1 stand” of its squads in the sector; this applies to rally and close combat.

When measuring distance to enemy stands from a building sector, use the wall of the building sector. So, for example, enemy assaulting SMG defenders are shot at when 1/4″ from the walls of the building.

CF10.1 Minefields

There is some ambiguity in the Minefield rules. Have a look at my Minefield interpretations section for a full explanation. The rules I use are:

  • A player whose stand enters a minefield is immediately notified by his opponent and the minefield section is then placed on the table.
  • Minefield attacks are made during movement in a similar way to Reactive Fire.
  • Stands are attacked immediately they enter the minefield and sometimes subsequently when they move inside or when they leave the minefield.
  • Pins inflicted by minefields are ignored.
  • Normal rules for Suppression and Kills apply.
  • While a stand is stationary in a minefield it will not be attacked by the minefield.
  • A stand that was missed by a minefield or that ignored a Pin from the minefield, can immediately move out of the minefield without being attacked by the minefield again that initiative. On the other hand, if the stand elects to remain stationary within the minefield it will lose this benefit.
  • A stand that is stationary in a minefield for any reason, is not attacked by the minefield, but will be attacked by the minefield as soon as it moves again. This applies regardless of the reason for being stationary, e.g. player chooses not to immediately leave the minefield or because the stand was suppressed earlier.

CF10.3 Entrenchments, Bunkers & Hardpoints

CF4.4.2 Hardpoints, Bunkers and other Structures
CF10.3 Entrenchments, Bunkers & Hardpoints

Hardpoints (i.e. pillboxes) and Bunkers (including strong buildings) have slightly different characteristics. Most of this is from standard Crossfire, but tweaked by some suggestions from Gordon of the Shed.

Characteristic Hardpoint / Pillbox Bunker (or strong building)
Number of open sides At least one side None
Number of protected sides At least one side All
Firing Slit can be located Any protected side Any protected side, except rear
Sides occupants can shoot from Firing slit or open side Firing slit only
Sides vulnerable to direct fire Firing slit (protective cover) or open side (no protective cover) Firing slit only
Protective Cover modifiers -1d6 -1d6 and -1 pip
Sides vulnerable to close assault Firing slit or open side Firing slit or rear
Sides stands can enter/exit Any open side Rear only

And the points of fortifications are:

Type Cost
Bunker (4 Squad capacity) 4.5
Bunker (3 Squad capacity) 3.5
Bunker (2 Squad capacity) 2.5
Bunker (1 Squad capacity) 1.5
Mines (4 Stand Section or 1 feature) 2.0
Wire (4 Stand Section) 0.5
Entrenchment Free

CF11.0: Vehicle, Guns and Bazookas

Massed T-34s attack

Vehicles are standard Crossfire’s weakest point. These are my house rules.

You can download the datasheets associated with these rule changes.

CF11.1: Vehicular actions

Vehicular actions is an idea from the official Crossfire site. I have adapted it a bit so vehicles behave more like other stands.

Like other stands vehicles can shoot at often as they like, with the main gun and/or with machine guns. If both the main gun and machine fire at the same target this counts as a fire group.

Vehicles get up to three move actions per phase, not just one. This is determined by the vehicles speed. Fast vehicles get up to 3 move actions; normal vehicles get up to 2; slow vehicles get at most 1 move action per initiative. Like other stands, vehicle move actions can be a pivot, a move straight ahead, or a pivot plus move straight ahead.

A normal move action has two elements, Pivot+MoveStraight, and this is true for vehicles without turrets. A move action of a turreted vehicle has three elements Pivot+MoveStraight+RotateTurret. As with standard CF all elements of a move action are optional.

(Optional: If you want, as a courtesy to your opponents, all move actions actions should be taken consecutively, i.e. without interspersing actions by other stands.)

Unlike other stands, vehicles (but not gun tows) can reverse move, i.e. the vehicle moves towards its rear, not its front. A reverse move action cannot include a pivot and replaces all other movement for the gun that initiative, i.e. in one initiative a vehicle cannot move both forwards and reverse, nor can it reverse more than once.

Vehicles are Normal speed by default. The chart below is based on a calculation suggested by Daniele Varelli; the Crossfire speed is calculated on the Off-Road speed (if known) otherwise the On-Road speed. If I found a range of speeds quoted for a vehicle, I always took the worst of those given.

Real Life Speed
Where Slow Normal Fast
Off-Road 1-15 Km/h 16-24 Km/h 25+ Km/h
On-Road 1-30 Km/h 31-49 Km/h 50+ Km/h
Crossfire Speed
Country Slow (1 Action) Normal (2 Actions) Fast (3 Actions)
All Improvised Armoured Trucks Armoured cars, Halftracks, Motorcycles *, Jeeps*, Scout Cars, Trucks *
Britain Churchill, Cruiser Tank Mk II, Matilda, Valentine Mk II Achilles, Archer, Challenger, Cruiser Tank Mk I, Cruiser Tank Mk IVA, Grant, Universal carrier Cromwell, Cruiser Tank Mk III, Light Tank Mk VII Tetrarch, Stuart Kangaroo
France FT17, Schneider M16
Germany Pz 1 F, Pz 38(t), Pz VI Tiger I, Brummbär, Elefant, Stu.Inf.Gesch 33 Pz I A, Pz I B, Pz II C, Pz II F, Pz 35(t), Pz III, Pz IV, Pz V Panther, Pz VI Tiger II, Grille, Hetzer, Hummel, Marder, Jagdpanther, Jagdpanzer IV, Pz IV/70, Panzerjäger, Panzerjäger 38(t), Nashorn/Hornisse, StuG III, StuG IV, Wespe Pz 1 C, Pz II L
Italy CV 3-35/L3-35 Tankette, Semovente
Japan Type 95 Kyugo
USA Lee, M10 Tank Destroyer, M40 Pershing, Sherman M18 Hellcat, M24 Chaffee, Stuart
USSR KV1**, KV2**, SU-152 BT-5, T-26, SU-76, SU-85M, SU-100, KV-85, IS-1, IS-2, IS-3, ISU-122, ISU-152 BT-7, T-34, SU-85, SU-122

* Depending on the scenario you might give soft skinned vehicles unlimited move actions – see the special rule for Soft Skinned Vehicles with HMG, or you might restrict them off road to Speed = Slow.

German Field Guns

** Plagued by poor transmission the KV1 and KV2 rarely reached their theoretical maximum speeds (35 Km/h on-road and 16 Km/h off-road), so have been downgraded.

Check out the Russian Battlefield (for Soviet), Actung Panzer (for German), and On War (for everybody else) sites for on and off road speeds.

See datasheets for details of particular vehicles/gun.

CF11.1.1: Towed Weapons (and Man handling)

Standard Crossfire has guns being limbered and unlimbered, but ignores that fact that small guns used in the front line could be man handled (e.g. Pak35/36, Soviet 45mm ATG, Infantry Guns, etc).

“If a battery (or platoon) [of 76.2 mm field guns in anti-tank role] is being moved any distance up to about 500 yards, it is best to move the guns by hand, since to bring up the prime movers will take nearly as long. Often, in order to conceal movement of guns, it is better to move them forward several times a short distance by hand, rather than to use the prime movers to move them a considerable distance in a single bound. Moving the reserve battery by prime movers is practicable when the time is available, when the distance to be moved exceeds 600 yards and when the movement is lateral. (A diversion rearwards is desirable in the interests of concealment).” Tactics of Soviet Antitank Regiments

On-table guns can do only one of the following types of action during an initiative:

Type of Action Only possible if already Description
Fire Unlimbered A gun must be unlimbered to fire.
Man-handled move Unlimbered An unlimbered Gun can make one man handled move action per initiative.
Limber Unlimbered Place a towing status marker next to the gun.
Towed Move Limbered A limbered gun can make up to three consecutive move actions per initiative (see the Vehicle Actions rule).
Unlimber Limbered Remove the towing status marker.

All guns can direct fire, but only some can indirect fire, for example anti-tank guns cannot indirect fire. Like other stands, on-table guns can direct fire as often as they like during an initiative. Indirect fire requires an FO, and is only possible once per initiative, whether on-table or off-table.

All guns can be towed but only some can be man handled; only the lightest guns can be moved any significant distance by man handling. Ultra-light mortars move like normal Squads/HMG. Light guns can both pivot and move straight ahead as part of a single man handled move action. Medium guns can only pivot when man handled. Heavy guns must be towed, which makes them pretty static on the table. When limbered the towing vehicle is purely a status marker, and the gun is shot at or engaged in close combat normally; otherwise use Vehicular Actions when moving limbered. Bocage is impassable to guns, whether man-handled or towed. Buildings are impassable to guns if towed, but can be entered if man-handled.

Category Examples Towed move Man handled Pivot Man handled Straight ahead
Heavy Guns 105 mm plus Yes No No
Medium Guns up to 100 mm including British 2 pounder ATG. Mortars up to 120 mm including 4.2″ Yes Yes No
Light Infantry Guns up to 76.2 mm Anti-tank Guns up to 45 mm (but not British 2 pounders).
Mortars up to 82 mm including 3″
Yes Yes Yes
Ultra-light Mortars up to 60mm including 2″ Move like normal Squad/HMG

Man-handling Example:
Initiative 1. shoot
Initiative 2. max one move action “man handled”
Initiative 3. shoot or move again

Towing Example:
Initiative 1. shoot
Initiative 2. limber
Initiative 3. one to three move actions “towed”
Initiative 4. unlimber
Initiative 5. shoot

It should be obvious that if you just want to move up the road a few metres then don’t limber. but if you want to cross the board, then limbering is worth it.

CF11.2: Gun Arc of Fire and Turret Rotation

Standard CF limits turret rotation to 90 degrees in a friendly initiative, which is not counted as movement. This is too constrained.

Arc of fire for all vehicles is +/- 45 degrees. Vehicles without turrets fire straight ahead. Turreted vehicles fire in the direction of the turret.

Turret rotation occurs as part of movement. A vehicle without a turret gets normal move actions with two elements Pivot+MoveStraight whereas a turreted vehicle move action has three elements Pivot+MoveStraight+RotateTurret. Move the vehicle and when it has finished movement decide where the turret is pointing, in any direction. The vehicle can then shoot as often as it wants in that direction. If it wants to shoot in another direction it requires a new movement action. A turret rotation without any other element of movement is a move action and attracts reactive fire.

CF11.2.1: Anti-Vehicle Fire; Sub-section Accuracy (ACC)

James Doty originally suggested the following type of system, although I have modified it slightly. See all the related suggestions in my musings on armour.

The Gun Accuracy modifiers (ACC) in Crossfire are replaced by this scheme:

ACC Weapons
+1 Anti-tank gun, field gun, etc
0 Vehicle with 3 gun crew1
-1 Vehicle with small gun crew2
All Infantry Anti-tank Weapons

(1) Vehicles has a specialist in the three main roles of a vehicle gun crew are: Commander, Loader, Gunner.
(2) Vehicle has 1 or 2 crew who struggle with multiple roles of a vehicle gun crew. If a particular crew member plays multiple roles then the gun crew will be smaller and the vehicle less efficient.

Other ACC Modifiers:

  • -1 Target is in protective cover (including hull down).
  • -2 Target is dug in.

I am also toying with the following modifiers, not yet; see how it goes.

  • +1 for open topped vehicles because of added visibility
  • +1/-1 Veteran/Green; trials indicate unbalances game unduly.

See datasheets for details of particular vehicles/gun.


CF11.2.2: Anti-Personnel Fire – Direct Fire HE against structures

Typically if the infantry were having a hard time against enemy entrenched in buildings they’d bring up an assault gun or some such to blast their opponents out. Unfortunately, this isn’t sensible with standard Crossfire, as the HE factors are too low – at best being comparable to a HMG but with the disadvantage that HE weapons can’t group fire. So …

Targets in structures (Buildings, Building Complexes, Bunkers/Hard Points) or in Entrenchments or Prone do not get the -1d6 Protective Cover Bonus from Direct Fire HE weapons. Bunkers still get the -1 pip though.

Panzer IVs prowl

CF11.4 Hull-down Positions “HD”

Crossfire has a fairly generous rule for being Hull Down (i.e. AFV is capable of it, and is on a hill). Discussion on the Crossfire Discussion Forum suggested this wasn’t too realistic.

Hull Down capable vehicles get protective cover when behind a Crest; other vehicles do not. This is on the assumption that the HTD rules are in use, i.e. there are no hill features. Note: Contours Lines just provide long distance visibility so there is no HD benefit to being on them, whereas Crests are the ridge lines. Dug in Vehicles get -2 for protective cover, irrespective of their HD capability.

See datasheets for details of particular vehicles/gun.

CF11.5: Vehicular Close Combat

SU76 column

CF8.3 Close Combat Procedures
CF11.5 Vehicular Close Combat

Tanks can initiate close combat with infantry in entrenchments and with gun stands, but not other stands. APCs cannot initiate close combat.

Only one infantry squad can close assault a vehicle at a time; a commander can accompany the assaulting squad. Squads armed with Infantry Anti-tank weapons get a +1 against vehicles in close combat. The +1 for SMG in close combat does not apply against vehicles. All other modifiers apply.

Vehicle close combat modifiers depend of whether the vehicle has a turret and whether it has a closed/open top:

Turreted Turretless
Close Topped +3 +2
Open Topped1 +2 +1

(1) Open topped vehicles include most half-tracks, the SU-76, Marder I, II and III, Hornisse/Nashorn, Wespe, and Archer. The M10 Tank Destroyer has a turret but is also is open topped.

See datasheets for details of particular vehicles/gun.

AR2: Guns and machine guns on Vehicles

Relates to these sections.
CF 6.2.1 Reactive Fire
CF11.1 Vehicular Actions
CF11.2 Gun Fire
Advanced Rule 2: Guns and HMGs on Vehicles

This replaces the Crossfire advanced rule:

  • Vehicles can fire as much as they like during an initiative, just like other stands.
  • Like other stands, a vehicle can only target one enemy at a time.
  • Vehicles can be armed with a main gun and/or a machine gun (MG). .
  • MG ratings for a vehicle are:
    • 4 = 2+ hull/turret mounted MG;
    • 3 = 1 hull/turret mounted MG;
    • 0 = LMG carried inside fighting compartment;
    • – = none.
    • Specialist AA machine guns are not included in this total.
  • A vehicle fires its main gun (if any) at other vehicles.
  • A vehicle fires its main gun and/or MG at infantry targets.
  • If the main gun and machine gun fire at the same target, they are treated as a fire group.

See datasheets for details of particular vehicles/gun.

New: Vehicles and Buildings

Standard Crossfire allows Vehicles to enter buildings, which seems a little odd to me. Odder still, AFV’s get their + modifier in close combat inside buildings. So …

  • If the scenario allows vehicles to be deployed hidden, they can deploy in buildings. (This includes the possibility that the vehicle is hidden behind or near the building.)
  • Vehicles cannot move into buildings during the game. If a vehicle initially deployed in a building, but moves out during the game, the vehicle cannot re-enter the building.
  • AFVs do not get the +1, +2, or +3 close combat modifier when in buildings.

15.0 Tank/ATG Generation Tables

I don’t use the Tank/ATG Generation tables, as I’ve revised the points system to give individual guns and vehicles a point value that reflects their table-top abilities. (Although if you’re looking for a more realistic Tank Generation Table for the Germans – check out our my Random Tanks section.

15.1 Vehicle/ATG Data Sheets

My Balagan Data Sheets for Crossfire have many more vehicles than those in standard Crossfire data sheets. I have, however, revised the rules for ACC and tank machine guns, and my data sheets reflect this. I have also revised the points system for armour and guns.

AR1: Multi-Player Games

These options replace Advanced Rule 1 on p. 44. My favourite at the moment is Planned Operational Zones. Also see my Multi-player page for other ideas.



The simplest multi-player option is to have each team working as a committee. Simple, but a bit artificial. This option is useful if you have an unequal number of players on each side.


The next best is to run the game with zones of control or sub-tables. Each zone is fought as a separate game. If troops move between zones, they change owners, i.e. the friendly player in the new zone takes over their control. Once again, a bit artificial, but workable.

The way stands move between sub-tables is scenario specific but is likely to be a variation on:

  • Move off the base edge of the origin sub-table and come on to the destination sub-table like a reinforcement (e.g. 5+ on 1d6 at the start of any friendly initiative). The original and destination sub-tables do not have to be adjacent.
  • Throw 5+ on 1d6 to move directly from sub-table to sub-table (they must be adjacent). Failure may or may not lose initiative for the player. .

Planned Operational Zones

The Planned Operational Zones approach is based on Anarchic Multi-player approach but avoiding the pitfalls. It seems to be the natural way people play multi-player on the table until they start thinking about how to exploit the rules (e.g. Initiative Blitz).

In attack “the company commander supports attacks by the neighboring company with fire; however, in doing so he must always keep in mind that the best support for his neighbors is his own determined advance.” (Sharp, C. S. (1998). Soviet Infantry Tactics in WWII: Red Army Infantry Tactics from Squad to Rifle Company from the Combat Regulations. George Nafziger. p. 66).

The Planned Operational Zones approach means the team decides were the Operational Zones of each player begin and end – they are not restricted to arbitrary boundaries between sub-tables.. There is one Operational Zone per player, and these cannot overlap. All points on the table must be within one of the player’s Operational Zones.

The example map is from when I ran my Ponyri Scenario for two teams each of four players, on a 15′ x 5′ table:

Ponyri with Operational Zones

You might also have a look at the 92nd Naval: Sea Devils scenario and associated Battle Report for how operational zones work in practice.

There are specific rules for: Number of Players, Force composition, Defining Operational Zones, Player Sequence, Activation roll, Shift Boundaries Action, Reinforcements, Transfer Assets Action.

Number of players

There must be equal number of players on each team. You’ll need to use the Committee approach to balance up the teams if you do have an odd number of players.

Force composition (CF2.0)

All on-table stands must be assigned to one of the players at all times. The players attach these assets to platoons and companies as per the standard rules

Defining Operational Zones

Each team plans their Operational Zones before the game. There is one Operational Zone per player, and these cannot overlap. All points on the table must be within one of the player’s Operational Zones.

Operational Zones can be either declared or secret: Declaring Operational Zones to the enemy is artificial, but simple, and may be appropriate for casual games. If declared the boundaries between Operational Zones can be drawn on a map or marked on table using flags or some such; if they follow linear features (roads, rivers, hedges, or contour lines) then a map and/or markings may not be necessary. Keeping the Operational Zones secret is more realistic, but a map is mandatory and you need a referee to enforce the Operational Zones during the game. If no referee is available but you still want to keep the Operational Zones secret, then map them out and at the end of the game show your map to the opposing team to verify that you followed the plan.

Player sequence

When a team gets the initiative all phasing players take actions simultaneously. Players lose the initiative in the normal way. The initiative shifts to the other team when all players have lost initiative or passed;

Ideally all players on a team go for it simultaneously. If, however, a non-phasing player is “facing” more than one phasing enemy player, and the non-phasing player wishes, the phasing players facing him must take their actions one at a time. This is a courtesy and not intended to be realistic. “Facing” means the stands of the enemy player are:

  • Attacking a stand of a non-phasing player (direct fire, indirect fire, close assault).
  • Moving within line of sight of any of the non-phasing player’s stands even of non-phasing stands that are currently No Fire, Pinned, or Suppressed.

NO FIRE (CF6.2.1) markers are removed when team initiative shifts.

Activation Roll = Effects of Operational Zones

In general it is better for stands to stay within their own player’s Operational Zone. Any boundary between Operational Zones is considered to be in both zones, i.e. a stand can safely overlap the boundary. Stands pay attention to the Operational Zones of their own team, never those of the enemy.

Phasing fire (CF6.0, CF7.0) and Reactive fire (CF6.2.1) can target stands in any Operational Zone. A stand outside its operational zone must be activated before it can take an action. The player must roll a 3+ on 1d6 for any action involving stands outside their operational zone; success means the action can occur, failure loses the initiative for that Player. This activation roll is necessary for all actions including but not limited to moving, group move, direct fire, reactive fire, group fire, rallying, etc. For example, a Red stand belonging to player R2 can freely act within Operational Zone R2. If Player R2 moves the stand into Operational Zone R3 then for subsequent actions they must roll 3+ before they can take the action, and risk losing the initiative if they fail this roll.

Shift Boundaries Action = Changing Operational Zones

Operational Zones may be redefined during the course of the game using the following process:

  1. When a team has initiative they may declare an order change to the enemy team.
  2. The phasing team redraws their map showing the Operational Zones. Note: some players may change their Operational Zones and others may keep their existing ones.
  3. Following this the team may attempt a Shift Boundaries action. Each player whose boundaries will change must be involved, that means they must be a phasing player and have not alreadyfailed their initiative. In the Shift Boundaries action each player must roll 4+ to succeed; all players must succeed for the action to succeed, If any fail the roll then all participating players pass the initiative. Failing players can try again when they recapture the initiative.
  4. When the new Operational Zones come into effect, any stands that find themselves completely outside their player’s new Operational Zone suffer the normal penalty.


Reinforcements are defined by specific scenario but by default assume that any particular unit of reinforcements can be assigned to any player when it comes on-table. Reinforcements likely to arrive on a die roll (e.g. 5+ on 1d6 at the start of any friendly initiative) possibly after a certain amount of game time (e.g. using Moving Clock of Hit the Dirt).

Transfer Assets Action = Transferring on-table troops between players

Company and lower level assets can not be transferred to another player during the game, however, battalion (and higher) assets may be transferred to a different player during the course of play.

Battalion assets include the BC himself, any bodyguard element (typically a SMG squad), stands from the heavy weapons company (typically FO and/or HMG), attached tanks, etc. If a Battalion level asset is grouped under a PC then the whole unit transfers when the commander is transferred (you don’t have to transfer each stand separately).

A Transfer Assets action can happen at any time, and the stand in question can be anywhere on table. The transfer requires a separate roll (4+) to succeed, and failure causes loss of initiative to the transferring player but not the receiving player. A successful Transfer Assets action means the stands are now attached to the receiving player, and hence are restricted to that players Operational Zone as above. The location of the stand will affect whether they need to make an activation roll to perform subsequent actions (see above). A Transfer Assets action is not a move action, so is not subject to reactive fire.

HTD1-6: Special Rules 1 – 7 from Hit the Dirt

I use the special rules 1-7 from Hit the Dirt, the supplement to Crossfire:

  1. Night Fighting
  2. Crests
  3. Cliffs
  4. The Moving Clock (variants)
  5. Bogging Down
  6. Direct Fire Mortars / On-table Mortars (variant)
  7. Indirect Fire on Vehicles

Plus the various terrain suggestions they make. See my summary of terrain features for the effect of these.

HTD4: The Moving Clock (variants)

HTD Special Rule 4 The Moving Clock

Hit the Dirt introduced the concept of the Moving Clock. I also use some variations on this concept. Also see my musings on Clocks.

Moving Clock example:

Special Rule: The Moving Clock is in use. The game begins at 0600 hours and ends at 1800 hours. The Clock advances 30 min on 5+ at the end of each initiative of the Defender. The attacker get reinforcements at 1200 hours and 1300 hours.

Turns example:

Special Rule: Turns are in use. The Clock advances one Turn on 5+ at the end of each initiative of the Defender. The game ends after 24 Turns. The attacker get reinforcements on Turns 12 and 13. Each Turn is nominally 30 min.

Clock Ticks example:

Special Rule: Clock ticks are in use. The Clock advances 1d6 clock ticks at the end of each initiative of the Defender. The game ends when the Clock gets to 240 ticks. The attacker gets reinforcements after 120 clock ticks and again after 130 clock ticks. Each clock tick is nominally 3 minutes of game time.

HTD6: Direct Fire Mortars / On-table Mortars (variant)

Replaces: HTD Special Rule 6 Direct Fire Mortars

Mortars were often fired over open sights at the enemy not relying on an observer to spot the fall of shot. Smaller mortars especially fell into this role.

I have a simple and complicated rules for on-table direct fire mortars. I use the simple rule all the time. The complicated rule is only worth considering for specific scenarios involving bigger mortars.

Simple Direct Fire Mortars

The simplest rule is to treat an on-table mortar exactly like the FO for that type of mortar. This is particularly suitable for small mortars (up to 60mm) which were always fired direct.

Complicated Direct Fire Mortars [Scenario Specific Rule]

Use these rules, which are based on but not identical to the rule in HTD, when you want to simulate on-table mortars as crew served heavy weapons. This is particularly appropriate if you have big mortars on table.

Even when firing over open sights on-table mortars use indirect fire mechanisms. They expend Fire Missions (FM) normally, fire once per initiative phase, and may not perform reactive fire, and do not lose initiative if they fail to hit.

However, unlike normal indirect fire, mortars can act as their own FO and are subject to the direct fire target proximity and target priority rules. They also have a minimum range; mortars may not fire at targets closer to themselves than the width, in squad stands, of their smoke pattern.

Large (>60mm) on-table mortars move like IG and ATG however small (45-60mm) mortars can move around like a squad/HMG. See the rules above on Gun Movement.

On-table mortars are crew served heavy weapons for close combat and arc of fire.

Unlike an FO, an on-table mortar counts as a “fighting stand” for scenario specific victory conditions.

(See also my bits and bobs section for musings on Direct Fire Mortars.)

HTDV: Contour Lines

CF4.4 Feature Capacity / Protective Cover; Hills Sub-section
HTD Special Rule 2 – Crests
HTD Contour Lines (p. V)

Standard crossfire doesn’t give any advantage to being higher – not from hills or multi-story buildings. Hit the Dirt, however, has rules for contour lines and crests (these should not be used in conjunction with standard Hills). If using the Hit the Dirt rules:

  • A stand at a higher level can see over hedges and crests at lower levels
  • Hedges still provide cover to stands adjacent to the hedge
  • Crests do not
  • Contour lines only block line of sight if the line of sight crosses both an upward slope and then a downward (in that order), i.e. there is a high bit between
  • Fields (and other terrain) act as normal when considering contours

We’ve extended this so that stands on Hills can also see over fields (both in/out season), but not other features (e.g. Structures and woods block and presumably lower hills).

Human Wave

HTD42: Human Wave Tactics [Scenario Specific Rule]

Described in Hit the Dirt (p. 42). The rule is optional but is applicable to Soviets in WWII and ill-armed Militia in the Spanish Civil War.

A player can replace an infantry company during the initiative phase.

1. This is the only action that player may take during his initiative phase.

2. First, the phasing player removes all the stands of the company (but not attached vehicles, guns, etc) from the table, fully reconstituting the company in the deployment zone.

3. Second, the phasing player declares the path each platoon will trace from the deployment zone to a terrain feature.

4. The enemy player may declare a LOS to the moving platoon, stopping its movement.

5. If the LOS is declared to a terrain feature, the moving platoon will stop movement in the open just short of the terrain feature, otherwise, the moving platoon stops movement where it is.

6. This continues until the phasing player has redeployed his entire company.

New: Recon troops [Scenario Specific Rule]

This is the rule as used at the Shed. Personally I’d drop the “protective cover” thing – far too generous.

Relates to a bunch of Crossfire sections:

CF4.0 Movement/Command Control
CF4.4. Feature Capacity/Protective Cover
CF6.7 Recon by Fire (RBF)
CF14.0 Bonus Selections

Designated Reconnaissance Troops:

  • Succeed in Recon by Fire (RBF) on a 5+ not just a 6
  • Have German command and control even if not German
  • Cost +1 point (if using the points from the Bonus Selection section)
  • German Recon vehicles can retreat move, and can reverse at full speed
  • Recon vehicles can retreat move (whereas other vehicles can not)

Note: many will be Veteran as well.


  • German reconnaissance troops
  • Russian Scouts
  • American Rangers
  • British Divisional Cavalry Regiments

and some clarifications and reminders …

CF3.1 Actions, p. 3

Close combat, Recon by Fire, Removing Mines/Wire, Replacing killed PCs are all actions

CF6.6 Direct Fire Prohibitions/Blocked Fire, p.12

Commanders and FO do block friendly fire like other stands.

CF5.2 Line of Sight “LOS”, p.7
CF6.6 Direct Fire Prohibitions/Blocked Fire, p.12

Live Vehicles block LOS and LOF as per rules. Killed vehicles are retained for aesthetic reasons, but are ignored for game purposes.

(The Shed plays that tanks block LOS and LOF whether alive or dead. This is a bt silly given a tank model is actually about 80 m long given the Crossfire ground scale.)

CF11.2.1 Anti-Vehicle Fire, sub-section Flank/Rear shots, p. 19

Flank shots use the rear of the vehicle as per Standard Crossfire

See also Crossfire Clarifications by Arty Confliffe from 2001 (previously on Tim Marshall’s site).

Human Wave

23 thoughts on “Crossfire House Rules (Balagan House Rules for Crossfire)”

  1. Looking for any suggestion for using the BAR and STG44 in Crossfire. What is a recommendation on how to utilize for a squad? I’m playing a late war Muti-player scenario very soon and need to use these figs. thanks

    • James, the BAR is factored into normal CF squads from the USA. I have mused on assault rifles in Crossfire and suggest that squads solely armed with Stg44 shoot with 4d6 at point blank range against attackers close assaulting them (like a SMG squad) but otherwise with 3d6 like a Rifle. They do not get the SMG’s +1 for close combat.

  2. Thanks Steven. Also, I’m looking for some clarifications on No Fire for both the Phasing player and Reactive Fire. How are the rules different for the two? If a reactive fire player doesn’t at least get a pin, is he always no fire (even if part of a firegroup/crossfire)?

    • James, NO FIRE is only relevant to Reactive Fire, never Phasing Fire. As you say, stands go NO FIRE if they fail to get a PIN, SUPPRESS, or KILL. In firegroup/crossfire one stand might go NO FIRE and others not; this situation means some of them can fire again in the Reactive Fire but the NO FIRE stands cannot.

      • Steven where in the rules does it say that if a squad goes no fire that it cannot fire once its side gets back the initiative? Are you interpreting initiative to mean both sides getting the chance to perform an action? Thanks

        • Not quite sure what you are asking. The player with initiative is the phasing player. The phasing player can never do reactive fire and direct fire can never result in NO FIRE. The non-phasing player can only do reactive fire. At most one reactive fire is allowed per move action by the phasing player. A reactive fire could be by more than one stand if a group fire applies and each stand reactive firing could shoot more than once if a group move is happening. Stands go NO FIRE if they fail to get a PIN, SUPPRESS, or KILL. All NO FIRE markers are removed when initiative shifts i.e. when the other player becomes the phasing player. I hope that answers your question.

          • I was a little confused with your prior comment. Just wanted to confirm that “no fire” squads have the no fire removed at the end of the phasing players turn. Sounds like the answer is yes therefore they can then shoot in their own phasing turn.

  3. I noticed that Tim Marshall’s site is no longer available. Any ideas on where to get rules clarifications from?

  4. James, Correct. initiative shifts at the end of the phasing player’s turn. And NO FIRE markers are removed then.

  5. Hi Steven! Why have you made the British 2pdr. QF AT gun so difficult to man-handle? It is really small, and the wheels have to be removed when unlimbering. Can you refer me to a historical source?

    Cheers 🙂

    • Anders, I didn’t make the British 2pdr QF AT Gun difficult to man-handle, I made it possible. In standard CF this is impossible. My house rule allows any small ATG to be man-handled. Happy to hear your thoughts on whether
      1. The British 2pdr QF AT Gun is more or less manoeuvrable than the equivalent in other nations. I don’t know anything about the British weapons but Soviet 45mm and German 37mm were pretty much the same in terms of manoeuvrability.
      2. The man-handling house rules should be even more generous. I can understand the temptation but, in play testing, haven’t seen the need.

      • Hi Steven. I don’t know that much about the gun either, so it is an estimate based on the looks of the gun, and a comparison with guns of similar size. I have only seen a PAK 36 37mm, which I too consider comparable to the 2pdr, being moved around by its crew in Band of Brothers episode “Carentan”. It looks like a weapon that could be quickly moved to a new firing position a few meters away in preparation for a new threat quickly, but doing this in one initiative would be too much compared to an AFV. So I have given light AT-guns 3 moves (limber-move-pivot), which makes it possible to displace and prepare for fireing in 2 initiative. Thus it may still defend against enemies coming from several directions, but can be outflanked in open terrain. I have not had the opportunity to man handle AT-guns very often. Their strength lies in the ambush. A gun crew so desparate to displace without the aid of a tractor, is often being outflanked, and few outflanked crews have lived to tell the tale. They may as well stay put and prepare for close combat, unless one has a “disable gun and run”-house rule.

  6. Hi Steven.
    We’re getting ready to play your Eye of the Tiger and I realized I don’t know the rules for preplanned bombardment. I’m sure they’re in here somewhere but I haven’t located them.
    Thanks in advance, – chuck

    • Chuck

      These are standard CF rules. Or maybe HTD. Quickly, off the top of my head …

      Each PBM mission gets one die. The shooter can target any feature. With as many PPM they want.

      Choose a feature and roll the dice. A 5 is a pin and a 6 is suppress. Two 6’s kill (as normal).

      Only the defender knows whether any stands were affected. We put Pin or Suppress markers on the feature until it becomes clear to the attacker what happened.

      • Thanks, Steven.
        If I could ask one more question?
        The scenario lists the German artillery as: 1 off board 81mm (12 FM), 1 off board 75mm (10FM) and 2 FM from the Prnz Eugen. It also says the German gets 6 Preplanned Bombardment missions.
        So are these 6 preplanned missions to be drawn from the listed off board FMs or are they 6 “additional” missions.
        Hope I’m not being a nuisance. Thanks, – Chuck

  7. I’m planning on running a huge Stalingrad themed battle in September. A big part of the game will be to represent sewers. I’m looking for rules suggestions to cover moving, and assaulting in sewers. Are there any established house rules to cover sewer fighting? Thanks

    • James, I’m not aware of any “established house rules to cover sewer fighting”. I’ve had some ideas about sewers in Crossfire but never used them. Although acknowledging sewers were important in particular battles (e.g. Warsaw and Budapest), I guess I’ve never come up with a scenario that needs them.


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