Minefield Lethality and Interpretations in Crossfire

Some musing on Minefield Lethality and Interpretations in Crossfire.

CF10.1 Minefields

It seems to me that Minefields were nasty, but not crippling. Russian, British and US practice (and perhaps others) was to attack through minefields on the assumption that less casualties would occur in the minefields than if the attack stalled in front of them. The rules should encourage this attitude.

Crossfire, however, is a little unclear what to do with Minefields. Actually they’re very clear, but they support two mutually contradictory interpretations.

German Minefield

German Minefield

In-through-out interpretation

I had assumed that a squad trying to move across a minefield would be attacked 3 times, i.e. when “it moves into, or through, or exits”. This makes minefields very tough as the chances of getting a Suppress or Kill on three successive 4d6 rolls is pretty good.

But somebody pointed out the bit in the rules where it says “If the Minefield does not at least Suppress the Squad, the moving player retains the Initiative and moves across the minefield.”

It also seems to me that the in-thru-out interpretation makes for nastier minefields. No way anybody will rush these suckers. I’ve been using this rule and any time anybody encounters a minefield the poor Squadie that enters it is left to its fate and nobody else goes in.

Once-per-instance interpretation

Chuck Parrott explained this quite well:

We play only once per instance. To me the rule is written (albeit poorly) to cover any eventuality.

A. Sqd moves into minefield. Roll attack. No hits scored. Sqd moves out in next action. No further attacks. This covers minefields in terrain that would complete a sqds move action.

B. Sqd moves into minefield. Roll attack. No hits scored. Sqd continues to move. No further attacks. This covers minefields placed in open terrain that doesn’t complete a move action. Same mechanic as reactive fire.

C. Sqd moves into minefield. Roll attack. Suppressed. Sqd stops in minefield. Any attempt to leave minefield after removing suppress triggers another minefield attack.

To me cases A and B are the situations where you push through a minefield and never contact it. C is you contact the mines and have to work your way out. The rule as written implies exclusivity. “attacked each time that it moves into, *OR* through, *OR* exits, a Minefield section” – my emphasis.

In case anyone is wondering, why doesn’t case A trigger another attack as the sqd exits? Because of the unique movement in CF. Stands moving into terrain are allowed to be positioned anywhere in the terrain, which I believe allows moving through the minefield that fails an attack roll.

However, since minefields are stands, it can lead to an interesting tactic that is used in real life, covering minefields with fire. Once a minefield has rolled it’s attack, good sense would be to reactive fire on a stand as the point where it occupies the minefield. If you pin or suppress the stand with this fire, it would cause the stand in the minefield to have to undergo additional minefield attacks as it tries to leave the minefield later.

Conclusion

Chuck’s once-per-instance interpretation will make people consider rushing the minefields, but not necessarily doing it because there is still a risk. Plus Chuck’s point about covering the minefields with fire makes sense with this interpretation too; with nastier minefields there is little need to back them up with fire zones. All sounds good to me.

So I would rewrite the relevant part of CF10.1 Minefields to say:

  • A player whose stand enters a Minefield is immediately notified by his opponent and the Minefield section is then placed on the table.
  • Minefield attacks are made during movement in a similar way to Reactive Fire.
  • Pins inflicted by Minefields are ignored.
  • Normal rules for Suppression and Kill apply.
  • Minefields attack occupying stands in two instances:
    • Immediately a stand enters the Minefield.
    • When a stand that has been stationary in the Minefield for any reason, but then moves again. This applies regardless of the reason for being stationary, e.g. player chooses not to immediately leave the Minefield or because the stand was suppressed earlier.
  • Minefields do not attack occupying stands in the following situations:
    • While a stand is stationary in the Minefield. (The stand can Ground Hug safely).
    • If the Minefield missed the stand (or got a Pin result which was ignored). In this case can immediately move out of the Minefield without being attacked by the Minefield again. This is optional, but if the stand remains stationary then it will be attacked again if it moves later.

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