After my Musing on Crossfire as a board game, I got talking to Markus Bruckhardt about using blocks for Crossfire. Blocks are Markus’s thing, as you can tell from his blog: Wargamer’s Block. So I thought I’d follow his lead and experiment with 3cm blocks.
Making Crossfire units with Blocks
Amazon is full of blocks in different sizes. I got both of these
- Kurtzy Small Wooden Cubes (60 Pack) – 3 x 3 x 3cm (1.18 x 1.18 x 1.18 inch) Wood Cubes – Natural Unfinished Pine Wood Blocks – Educational Craft Cubes for DIY, Stamps, Art & Crafts, Puzzles, Numbers
- Aylifu 1cm Wooden Cubes, 200pcs Natural Square Wooden Blocks Unfinished Craft Wooden Squares for Math, Puzzle Making, Crafts & DIY Projects
For this experiment I used the 3cm blocks.
I spray painted a bunch red and a bunch blue. These were for the actual fighting stands. I also make smoke (grey), minefield (black), and terrain objectives (black with red and blue faces)
I also made a bunch of labels using powerpoint. The labels are all black with white writing. A combination I use for my normal Crossfire labels. The block colour shows which side the block is for. Because I’m not going to make lots of these, I only have company and platoon numbers on the labels. For example, A-2 is the 2nd Platoon of “A” Company.
Blocks for mini-scenarios
My 60 blocks was enough for a couple of companies a side, plus supporting elements. I made up the labels for all of that, and more, but only labeled up the blocks I need for the Crossfire Freebie 1: Mini-Scenarios.
I went for Red and Blue to align with the defender and attacker colour in the Mini-Scenarios. Of course, these colours are also appropriate because I use these scenarios for Soviet and the Spanish Blue Division (in German Service).
The attacking Blue Division has two platoons plus supports.
The defending Soviets have a platoon plus supports.
As with standard Crossfire, each platoon has a Platoon Commander (PC) plus three rifle squads. Actually, for the Soviets I did a fourth squad for early war, but that isn’t used for the Mini-Scenarios. All my blocks are the same size so PCs went on the same 3cm cube as the squads. The label shows that it is a commander, not the base size.
Similarly the support arms – HMG, mortar, FO – use the same 3cm blocks, but with different labels.
Using blocks for status
The point of using blocks is to have the different statuses built into the block for the unit. There are five possible states: Ready, PIN, SUPPRESS, GROUND HUG, NO FIRE. Just rotate the cube to show the status you want.
In standard Crossfire, combinations are allowed e.g. it is possible to be PINNED, GROUND HUGGING and NO FIRE all at the same time. With the blocks this isn’t possible so we need a a house rule / tweak from standard crossfire: a PINNED or SUPPRESSED squad is also assumed to be GROUND HUGGING. That still doesn’t deal with a squad that is also NO FIRE, but I’m hoping memory will allow me to cope with this.
I painted a whole bunch of blocks grey, for smoke. I didn’t glue them together as it is easy to pull out the required number (2, 3, 4, 6) and just nudge them together.
I glued four blocks together to make a minefield. I painted it black only because I had the paint and it was a different colour to the other blocks.
Lastly I made some terrain objective markers, again with blocks. These are painted black, with one face in blue and the opposite face in red.