Hiding Troops in the Open in Crossfire

Crossfire allows troops to start the game hidden in features. Troops are not allowed to start the game hiding outside a feature, i.e. in the open. If we expand the concept of “hidden” from “hiding behind a tree” to “hidden from enemy sight” then hiding in the open should be allowed. What to do?

Hiding troops in the open

Bob Davison spotted this gap and suggested, on the Yahoo Forum, the obvious solution – using line of sight to reveal:

The rules don’t cover ‘hidden’ troops in the open, usually AT and vehicles. We play that they are revealed when any enemy would have line of sight to them.

This is, of course, dependent on having a mechanism for recording where the the troops are hidden that doesn’t allow the attacker to guess where they are. For example, recording hidden troops on a map gives the appropriate level of obscurity. But placing a Hidden Deployment Marker in the open would be a bit of a give away.

Hiding trenches in the open

This is exactly what I’ve done when using entrenchments. Entrenchments, more or less, only provide an combat advantage when used outside a feature. But if they start visible because they are in the open then defender is at a severe disadvantage. So I let the defender deploy entrenchments hidden, even if in the open.

Crossfire Entrenchment

Crossfire Entrenchment

Hiding bunkers in the open

You’ll notice from my Crossfire Scenarios I don’t normally given bunkers this advantage. If they are deployed in the open they’re visible. Not sure why. I guess i’m assuming they are more easy to spot (scouts or recon planes) than slit trenches. But I suspect I’m doing those camouflaged log bunkers of the eastern front a bit of a disservice. They should start hidden if it makes sense to the scenario.

Crossfire 2 SQ Bunker

Crossfire 2 SQ Bunker

Hiding wire in the open

Wire is another item I deploy visible if it is the open. But again that could be a scenario specific rule.

Crossfire Wire Section

Crossfire Wire Section

3 comments to Hiding Troops in the Open in Crossfire

  • Chris Montgomery

    Hi! I almost think a better way to do it is to have *all* the “enemy assets” deploy hidden, revealed by LOS. To make it more interesting . . . give the *hidden unit player* some “enemy activity” markers to scatter across the game table that may or may not be hidden enemy units (maybe one marker for every company in the game). When the non-hidden player approaches, they can choose to “call the bluff” of the hidden player and advance without using care, or they can approach it as if it is an enemy unit.

    The obvious answer is “yeah, but why would I ever place my markers on actual hidden units”? The answer is the same as many historical commanders would give you: because your opponent doesn’t expect it.

    The rule would have to be that a stand has actual line of the sight to the marker itself . . . so that by clever placement, you can make it hard for those markers to get picked up off the table.

    This type of rule might work best in a time-restricted game using the optional time advancement rule so that there is a sense of urgency on the part of the non-hidden player to “clear the board”. Without a time limit, the non-hidden player would take his time approaching every “enemy activity” marker.

    Anyway . . . just thoughts. The terrain pics look beautiful.

  • Steven Thomas

    Chris, in response to a couple of your suggestions:

    1. “*all* the “enemy assets” deploy hidden, revealed by LOS”. The current rules are much more stringent than this and hence give the defender a great advantage when hidden. Reducing a reveal to mere LOS would greatly reduce this. The consequence would be that, to give a balanced game, the defenders would need a lot more troops. Not a good thing in my book.

    2. “‘enemy activity’ markers”. I’m not clear what these would add to the game. The hidden deployment rules from the book mean that every single feature is a potential spot of enemy activity and the attacker already has the options you mean: call the bluff or advance. That is one of the fantastic features of Crossfire and adds enormously to the tension. But it doesn’t need a new rule.

  • Chris Montgomery

    Hi, Steven! Sorry I didn’t check back here.

    1. My post was speaking specifically to units deploying in the open, and unless I misunderstand the rules, any units deployed in the open are revealed at set up. And so my statement was meant to mean that for those units deployed in the open at game start, they instead are not revealed, but remain hidden until the enemy units have LOS to the token.

    2. Again, my post was specifically speaking to hidden units deploying in the open. What is gained by enemy activity markers is that instead of revealing units in the open at game start, the defender could place these tokens across open areas of the board representing reports of enemy activity. Instead of the opponent knowing what units are deployed in the open where, the opponent must now gain LOS to the tokens at which point the units would be placed on the table. Or if it was a dummy token, the marker would simply be removed.

    So my post was predicated on the assumption that under the rules as written, troops/units/vehicles in the open start revealed . . . and my suggestions were ways to partially conceal or “hide” such troops.

    And if I had it wrong, my apologies! No need to continue to spill digital ink over it. I just thought perhaps my point was misunderstood. I was speaking only to your “hiding troops in the open” comments.

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