Boring Fire Fights in Crossfire

It is fairly common to find yourself in an ineffectual fire fight in Crossfire. I’ve captured some musing on these “Boring Fire Fights” by people with opposing perspectives. Nikolas Lloyd believes ineffectual fire fights are a flaw in the rules. I think they are realistic and points to poor tactics.

Thoughts of Steven Thomas

It is fairly common to find yourself in an ineffectual fire fight with both sides hoping for a suppress on 2d6. You’ve several options to break the deadlock:

  • Attack somewhere else.
  • Maneuver around the enemy instead of going through them.
  • Use Close Combat rather than Direct Fire. Close Combat is never slow.
  • Use a combination of Indirect Fire (Barrage) and Direct Fire to increase the chance of suppression.
  • Use smoke to mask enemy you don’t want shooting at your troops or that you don’t want to shoot at.
  • Bring up the heavy guns, e.g. tanks, air strikes, or just a bigger platoon (more rifles or one with HMG).
  • Just keep rolling the dice and rely on luck to see you through.

Thoughts of Nikolas Lloyd

Excerpt from Nikolas Lloyd published in the Crossfire-WWII discussion forum.

I don’t play that suppressed stands are compulsory target priority. This one tweak makes a HUGE difference to the game, and in my arrogant opinion, improves it no end.

In my playtest, I defended rather well against my pre-programmed attack, and placed my defenders squarely across all routes to the objectives. My attackers had to reduce the defence by fire, and the game had a long section (that I remember from my early CF days) that was dull as ditchwater. It went like this:

You have three stands in a firegroup/crossfire. I bring up a full platoon to engage it. You react. I rally anyone who is suppressed, and fire back. I fail to suppress, your go. You fire and fail to suppress as well. My go: I fire and suppress. I fire again and fail to get a second suppress. Your go. You try to rally and fail. My go: I fire and get nothing but pins. Your go, you rally. We are back where we started. The only way to fore at the next-nearest enemy is to kill the nearest. the only way to kill the nearest is to get two suppresions on the trot before he can rally. This can take AGES, and is a boring slogging match.

Conversely, if suppressed stands are not compulsory target priorities, then I fire and suppress one of you, and then start work on the next. If I can suppress two out of three of you, I have a decent chance of getting in and finishing this. All three, and I’m in. Once I have suppressed one or two of you, your ability to suppress me degrades, and I start to win the firefight. Fire, suppress the people who are shooting at you, then move, either to a new location, or to kill with the bayonet. That makes CF a fast and fun game. Fire rally fire rally fire rally fire rally fire rally is a boring game.

Last night’s playtest was very successful in convincing me that CF can be dull if the only way to kill a platoon is to kill two stands by fire, suppress the third and THEN get in to an easy close combat. If I put the scenario on my website, then I’ll state that players are VERY strongly recommended to allow firing at stands further away than suppressed stands.

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