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.
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
- my fortification points
- my Revised points system for Crossfire armour (listed in my Crossfire data sheets)
- my rules for modifying costs based on deployment, mentioned in The 3Fs of Crossfire Scenario Design: Flavour, Fair, Fun
- my undocumented rules for the number of points for the size of the game
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
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).
|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|
|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||HMG||6.0||CF||Veteran, Regular or Green|
|Indirect Fire Weapons|
|All||1d6 Pre-planned Bombardment (PPB)||0.5||ST||Comparable to heavy artillery|
|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|
|German||FO for off-table 80 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|
||CF||Why does German 75 mm 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|
||CF||Why does German 15cm IG get 8 FM not 4?|
||CF||Why does USA Heavy Artillery get 5 FM not 4?|
|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|
|Armour and Anti-tank guns|
||CF||I never assign random vehicles|
||CF||I never assign random vehicles|
||CF||I never assign random ATG|
|France||FT17 with Cannon||6.0||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||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 234/2 Puma||8.5||ST|
|German||SdKfz 234/3 “Stummel”||4.0||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||SturmPz I, Brummbär||15.5||ST|
|German||SturmPz I, Brummbär||11.5||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||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|
|Japan||Type 95 Kyugo (HaGo)||4.5||ST|
|Japan||Type 97 ChiHa||7.5||ST|
|Soviet||KV-1A M1939, M1940||14.5||ST|
|Soviet||T-34/76 B M1941, C M1942, M1943||12.0||ST|
|Soviet||100mm BS-3 ATG||7.5||ST|
|Soviet||57mm ATG (57/73)||4.5||ST|
|Soviet||76.2mm Field Gun (76/41)||7.5||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 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||Sherman 105mm Howitzer||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|
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 Pre-planning Bombardment (PPB)
A point cost of 0.5 per pre-planned bombardment die gives rough comparability to heavy artillery. 2.5 points would buy 5 PPB dice or 1 FM of 5d6 heavy artillery. PPB actually has a greater chance to kill but you have to guess where the land it.
Points cost of Armour and Anti-tank guns
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.
|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.
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.
You can Download Crossfire Orbat v5.xls.