Crossfire artillery and mortars use Fire Missions (FM) and you have to keep track of how many you’ve still got left. This is pretty much the only book keeping in the game. Here are a few things I’ve tried for tracking the FM used/remaining.
Tally FM used
My starting point is keeping a tally of the FM used on a bit of paper. This is dead simple. But I hate book keeping not least because it means I have to scrabble around to find a pen and paper every time I play.
Cross off the box
For my recent Participation Game at SELWG I produced brochures with a more formal roster for FM. The page describing the each scenario had the full order of battle for both sides. Where the order of battle included an FO or on-table mortar I included some boxes for the FM. In this case Dick Bryant had included a special rule that 1/3 of the FM were smoke (S). If I ever do PDF versions of my scenarios I’d be tempted to do something like this again.
Rip off Shells
A novel idea I’ve seen was to print out silhouettes of shells onto paper. One shell per FM. And during the game just rip off the shells as the FM were used. Nice idea with aesthetic appeal. But a faff to print them out each time and, indeed, to rip off each shell.
I have tried plastic counters for FM. Initially I thought I’d use different sizes for different calibres of weapon. And different colours for the different weapons. For example the first 50mm mortar (ID = 50-1) might be the green 12mm diameter counter. The second 81mm mortar might be the blue 16mm diameter counter.
However I found the small counters were too fiddly. In fact the concept of different sizes combined with different colours was altogether too fiddly – at least when setting up a game. So I abandoned it and gave the counters to my daughter to play tiddlywinks with.
Martin Groat’s group uses Fun Buttons for Fire Missions. Fun Buttons are part of a kit to encourage small children to tie shoe laces. You also get a nice black lace for threading which is useful for dealing with LOS issues. Fun Buttons come in a pack of 60 with five colours. I prefer the Fun Buttons to the Plastic Counters as the buttons are chunkier and harder to lose. I’ve ordered three packs to try out.
Please drop me a line if you’ve got another way of recording FM used in Crossfire.
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