Time for the heart of the matter … revising Crossfire’s anti-tank rules and make them more like infantry combat. I want to do this as a bit of journey, from Crossfire’s ACC and PEN, through my mods for that, touching on earlier Gun versus Arm matrix thinking, before landing where I want to today.
I think tanks should be scary so my latest attempt at revising Crossfire’s tank rules does that … makes tanks grunty. You will see I’ve made tanks, much, much more punchy compared to the standard rules and other Gun vs ARM matrix house rules. While I’m about it I’d also like to fix up a few other weaknesses. For a start I would strengthen lighter guns – I’m very conscious that the Soviets continued to use the 45mm anti-tank gun through out the war and where other weapon systems were abandoned or improved, these stayed in use. Aside from the fact the Soviet had a lot of them, I can only assume the Soviets also saw these as having continued utility. As far as I can see the light anti-tank guns flipped to being used as anti-personnel weapons, something which standard Crossfire makes them unsuitable for. So far this is all terribly speculative and I’m just playing around with possibilities. But I do think it is good enough worth a try.
People often talk in calibre bands to rate guns and mortars e.g. light, medium, and heavy artillery. Heavy mortars, that kind of thing. Rules writers quite often follow suit and include calibre bands in their games. Although Crossfire doesn’t make a big song and dance about calibre bands, there is a hint of bands in there. So I thought I’d play around with calibre bands to see if I can find a useful pattern for my emerging revision to the anti-tank rules.
I thought I’d share an early view of what some tanks and guns will look like using my new scheme. Just so you can get an idea of what the end result will look like. Each vehicle has three ratings: Armour, Anti-Tank fire, Anti-personnel fire. Some are also superior ATG. My thinking isn’t finished, so these stats are going to change before the end of this little game design journey. This just shows, roughly, what I’ve got in mind.
Paul Ward’s video Introduction to Crossfire 5: Indirect Fire and Tanks got me thinking about a Gun versus Arm Matrix in Crossfire again. Lots of people have done this before as it offers a way to align the armour rules with infantry rules. In my earlier Gun versus Arm Matrix in Crossfire there are suggestions from Robert Tesfro, Si Booknek, Steve Phenow, and of course Paul Ward and myself. Plus I know that John Moher has dabbled here as well. I’m sure others have.
The trouble with all these suggestions is they make tanks impotent compared to HMG. I want to address that problem and a few other things at the same time. That is a big job and warrants a few blog posts. So here is part 1 – the design goals
I’ve been thinking about player balance in Mac’s Crossfire Missions. If the two players are mis-matched in terms of experience or ability you might find the stronger player consistently wins every game. This is probably not very much fun for either player. I think a handicap system gives a way to cope with these situations. Handicapping gives the weaker player an advantage, to make it possible for them to win whilst maintaining fairness. This is Crossfire, of course.
I’ve been reading about Soviet cavalry operations on the Eastern Front. And that, of course, has got me interested in expanding my Soviet cavalry collection. But before I invest further, I want to be really, really sure my cavalry basing is correct. The cavalry figures I already have are based on 30x30mm squares, like my infantry. But that is cramped. What to do?
One of the things I would like to do in Crossfire is entrench my men in a wood and get some game benefit. In the standard rules being in a wood, being entrenched, and ground hugging all provide the same level of cover. Usually that is fine, but I’m looking at doing Burma and I expect the associated jungle fighting will require more nuance. So I’ve been musing on how to simulate combinations of cover, entrenchments and ground hugging. I think Lloydian Aspects: Crossfire Probabilities offers a way to distinguish ground hugging from other types of cover, and allows entrenching in the open to be different to entrenching in cover, all without a lot of faff.
Crossfire is not a board game. But it could be. This is a bit of a thought experiment on what Crossfire might look like as a board game. It all came about one Saturday morning when I was having a WhatsApp conversation with my wargaming crew on “Crossfire as a board game”. I got all keen and made some counters. So here is how I see it …
I recently blogged about Assaulting Bunkers in Crossfire – Possible House Rules. But I don’t think I was sufficiently clear on my final recommendation. So I’m having another go at explaining it. Short story is I want to make bunkers (and hard points) much tougher to assault. I’m intending to add this to my Balagan House Rules for Crossfire.
I’m not happy with bunkers in Crossfire. In normal Crossfire you just have to wait for the garrison to No Fire and then close assault. I think they should be harder to assault. Historically flame throwers, demolition charges and big guns were used to deal with bunkers. I’m inclined to introduce house rules to encourage this. So here is a possibility for bunker busting.
My recent interest in Solo Crossfire got me thinking about the probabilities inherent in the Crossfire rules mechanisms. That means infantry direct fire / barrage / minefields, anti-tank direct fire, smoke, close combat, and rallying. Only read this post if you care about statistics of gaming mechanisms.
I wrote this about five years ago because a couple of my projects, i.e. Albuera in the Peninsular and Sipe Sipe in South America, had stalled because I didn’t like any of the available horse and musket rules. Inspired by Roland’s WW1 experiment I wondered if I could make a horse and musket variant for Crossfire. These rules have now remained raw and unplayed for some time. I stopped work on them because I decided I had bent the rules so far that it is no longer Crossfire. But rather than having it lurk on my hard drive any longer, and because Jamie asked about it, I thought I’d share. What do you think?