Crossfire For Novices – A Scenario to Introduce Newbies

If you’re completely new to the Arty Conliffe’s Crossfire then Nikolas Lloyd has a good Description and Review and some Advice on Play, and also check out Rob Wolsky Tactical Advice.

HayWire Crossfire Novice
HayWire Crossfire Novice

I can offer this scenario, a Crossfire scenario expressing designed to introduce Novices to the rules. Certain features were included in the scenario to make it appropriate for novices. In particular the scenario:

  • Is for only two players, one per side.
  • Is attack-defence.
  • Has a strong attacker relative to the defender.
  • Puts the more experienced player in defence. This allows them to explain what they’re doing and why.
  • Is small. This is especially good if you can make it clear that the players can get to play it a few times, rather than have one short game. If they make mistakes, they know they will get another go.
  • Includes only Infantry.
  • Two or three platoons per side. This is good because it:
    • Is cheap. You need less than 60 figures to play.
    • Enables the players to learn how to handle a small number of troops before trying something more ambitious.
    • Makes it difficult to lose all your troops with one mistake. One platoon, being four playing pieces, isn’t very much and a single burst of unexpected HMG fire could mow down the whole lot in one fire action.
  • Uses a 4′ x 4′ table, as that is all you need for the number of troops.
  • Uses a simple Terrain objective, e.g. “capture the hill (that’s being used as an OP).”
  • Has both sides deployed visible as the idea is to instruct and teach by example.

All of the above is intended to give the novice a good chance of winning. Unless they are very experienced wargamers, players that get skunked in their first game tend to turn off a set of rules – something we want to avoid.


The map is a good example of a Crossfire table. It is only 4′ x 4′ as there is only a company a side. We’ve got all sorts of terrain here: woods, orchards, a depression, crests, hedges, walls, buildings, rough ground, fields, crests and a hill (contour line with rough ground).

Table - Crossfire For Novices
Table – Crossfire For Novices

Key features are:

  • The German defenders deploy to the east of the line A-A.
  • The Allied attackers deploy west of the line A-A.
  • The hill marked X is the terrain objective; it starts in German control.
  • Fields and Orchards are in-season.
  • Remember that any stands on the hill can see over fields, crests, walls and hedges.
  • Notice the northern approach to the hill has marginally more blocking terrain, which suggests it might be easier to attack from this direction.
  • But which ever way they come, the attackers are going to have to cross relatively open ground.

Pre-game preparation

  1. Players agree whether attacker will use Soviet, British/Commonwealth or US troops.
  2. Players agree the strength of the defending force based on relative experience of the players and the level of advice the defender will provide.
  3. German player deploys and explains why they have done what they’ve done.
  4. Allied player deploys.

German Player (Defending)


Defend the hill marked X by holding the hill itself and inflicting high casualties on the Allies.

Forces Available

The defending player in this scenario should always be the person with more Crossfire experience. The strength of the defending force depends on a three factors:

  • Relative Crossfire experience of the two players.
  • General wargaming experience of the attacking player (i.e. the novice).
  • How much advice the defender will give the attacking player (i.e. the novice).

The more experience the novice Crossfire player has, the stronger the defending force should be. The more advice the defending player is expecting to give, the stronger the defending force should be (contrast “Oh, are you really sure you want to run your platoon across open ground in front of my unsuppressed HMG?” with “OK, you’ve run across open ground so my HMG now opens up … <rolls dice> … you’re all dead!”).

Novice Order of Battle - German Defender - Strong
Novice Order of Battle – German Defender – Strong
Novice Order of Battle - German Defender - Average
Novice Order of Battle – German Defender – Average
Novice Order of Battle - German Defender - Weak
Novice Order of Battle – German Defender – Weak


Deploys first, visible, east of the line A-A.

(If you do use hidden deployment, then remember that hidden troops in defence are worth about one and a half times their number, so give the defenders less troops. Possibly go from Strong to Average Defending Force, or from Average to Weak Defending Force.)



Allied Player (Attacking)


Capture the hill marked X without suffering excessive casualties.

Forces Available

Beginners find attacking very tricky, so it is a good idea to give the attackers:

  • Veteran troops. Let’s him see that trying to rally is like with good troops; in a later game, he can curse over the uselessness of trying to rally suppressed green Soviets.
  • Between 2:1 and 3:1 numeric odds. (Experienced wargamers new to Crossfire don’t need such a big advantage; 3:2 should be more than enough to get them winning.)
  • A decent amount of smoke capability; one 3″ per company is about right.
  • Preferably US/UK/Commonwealth command and control, even if using another nationality. This gives him an idea of how the command and control work (i.e. squad in LOS of PC at beginning of move action) without being too easy (German) or restrictive (Soviet).
  • Some good commanders.

Irrespective of the nationality of the Allied attacker (US, British, Soviet), they have this force: :

Novice Order of Battle - Allied Attacker
Novice Order of Battle – Allied Attacker

Note: For this scenario all commanders are +1 for close combat and +1 for rallying, like British commanders. Normally US Company Commanders (CC) add neither to close combat nor rallying, US Platoon Commanders (PC) add to rallying but not close combat, and Soviet PCs normally add for close combat but not for rallying.


Deploys second, visible, west of the line A-A. Begins scenario with initiative.



Victory Conditions

Terrain and Casualty (D) objectives

The game ends when the Allies achieve their victory conditions or after the Allies lose six or more fighting stands (CC, Rifle Squad, HMG, but not PC, FO or on-table mortar).

The Allied player wins if they can hold the hill marked X for five consecutive friendly initiatives. The hill must be uncontested during this entire time, i.e. no German stands on it.

Scenario Special Rules

  • Crests and Orchards are from Hit the Dirt.
  • The hill is a Hit the Dirt style contour line with rough ground on top, although you could use a Crossfire hill instead.
  • As per Hit the Dirt, Fields and Orchards are in-season, hence block LOS.
  • Any stands on the hill can see over fields, crests, walls and hedges.


  • Things to leave until you have more experience:
    • Hidden deployment. Much trickier, much scarier.
    • Tanks as the standard Crossfire rules are controversial.
    • Multiplayer.
    • Meeting Engagement. But when you do try a meeting engagement read Rob Wolsky’s scenario generator in the rules first; a lot of experienced wargamers are turned off Crossfire because try a meeting engagement first, and don’t use Rob’s suggestions.

Other Introductory Scenarios

Several other keen Crossfire players have published introductory scenarios:

8 thoughts on “Crossfire For Novices – A Scenario to Introduce Newbies”

  1. Thank you for putting this up.
    As a novice player I have tried this scenario in Tabletop Simulator.
    Works well to get a better understanding of the game’s mechanics.
    Question: you mention the stands on the hill can (only for this scenario) look over terrain features. I assume this only counts for the first feature in LOS, not anything after that?

    • You could play that as a house rule, but normally I let stands on a hill see beyond the first terrain feature. That is a massive advantage. But enemy stands can also see the soldiers on the hill.

  2. Thanks ! Giving Crossfire a try. Question : Does the 2 in on table mortar use the same FO as the off-board mortar?

    • Yes indeed. I do that for two reasons: (1) small mortars fired direct without an FO and (2) it is the simplest way to have on table mortars in Crossfire is to treat exactly them like an FO.


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