Four House Rules to Limit Close Combat Rampages in Crossfire

Many games of Crossfire end with a close combat rampage as the (almost) winner cleans up enough of the enemy to take the game. I’m okay with this but some people object to it. So I thought I’d share some musing on ways to slow or prevent these rampages.

Close Combat Rampage

When it gets close to the end of a game one of the players thinks they have a chance to win. In the advanced stages of a game most troops will be on table and a fair number will be pinned or suppressed. All the hopeful winner has to do is form a strong assault force and launch them off to rampage across the table killing everything in their path. There is a good chance the hopeful can use the same troops again and again in a sequence of close combats to pick off any troops that are exposed.
Personally I like the possibility that a sudden rush from an unchecked platoon can sweep away a lot of opposition. The danger of this eventuality keeps the game interesting. Similarly Nikolas Lloyd is a fan and (on the Crossfire Forum) said:

I don’t see that as necessarily a bad thing. I like that CF can be quick and decisive, and I see the round-table mopping up operation that sometimes ends a game as non-literal – representing instead perhaps the platoon moving around and discovering that, since it is free to do so, the enemy has actually withdrawn.

But if these rampages bug you then consider the following options (in my order of preference):

  1. Pin one successful stand
  2. Pin all successful stands
  3. “No Assault” status
  4. “No Action” status

Pin one successful stand

A simple solution, that doesn’t involve a radical new rule, is to mark one of the winners of the close combat as pinned. Perhaps a commander, if present. If the phasing player wants to continue their rampage, with the full assault contingent, they have to rally the pinned stand first. That usually comes with some risk.

Pin all successful stands

A harsher version of the “Pin” solution is to mark all of the winning stands of the close combat as pinned. This means they all have to be rallied to continue the rampage. The implication is that if there are many winners, and they are of poor quality, continuing the rampage would be very unlikely.

On the Crossfire Discussion forum sibootnek had this to say about this option:

I remember the thread, a couple (few?) years ago. My house rule is that winning squads are pinned after CC. This at least means they have to spend some time re-organising before rolling up the next position, giving the loser a potential respite. Ultimately it doesn’t often affect the outcome of the game, but provides a better narrative to my mind.

“No Assault” Status

Another option is to prevent the surviving stands of a close combat taking another close combat action in the current initiative. Of course you then have to remember which units have done what and it is probably easier to mark them accordingly.

Effectively this is a “No Assault” status, similar to a “No Fire” status. On a successful close combat action place the “No Assault” marker on each of the phasing stands involved. These stands can take any action – direct fire, move, rally, etc – however they cannot resolve another close combat. At the end of the player initiative remove all “No Assault” markers on the table.

Michael Stringer, on the Crossfire forum, commented that this house rule “did slow the sequence of close combat, but not totally.”

“No Action” Status

If you want the penalty for winning a close combat to be even more onerous you can prevent stands that win a close combat to take any further action. The phasing player still has the initiative, but has to do something else. On a successful close combat action place the “No Action” marker on each of the phasing stands involved. These stands cannot take any action for the remainder of the initiative. At the end of the player initiative remove all “No Action” markers on the table.

4 thoughts on “Four House Rules to Limit Close Combat Rampages in Crossfire”

  1. WoW! I have been playing and running CF games ever since the first demo of the rules at Historicon and have NEVER come across this situation. I must be doing something wrong.

    • Have you ever played the Ponyri Station scenario from Hit the Dirt? Guaranteed to end this way.

  2. I nver played Ponri as I have only US, Germans, Japanese, N. Koreans and Chinese ( the later two for Korean War). When I decided to try it using different nationality troops – I found that I did not have enough buildings by half!


Leave a Reply