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.
Summary: Great scenario. Lots of tactical decisions for both players. Nice to get a few tanks on table. Great game. We’d play it again. I won. Or perhaps Jamie did.
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 wanted a scenario to play test my emerging revision to the Crossfire armour rules. This scenario simulates the New Zealander and Greek attack on two small settlements – Monaldini farm and Monticelli – south-west of Rimini on 14 Sep 1944, during the Italian Campaign. Defending are Fallschirmjäger and “Turcomen” i.e. Soviet PoWs in German service. It is roughly a company a side in terms of infantry but the Kiwis have six, count them, six Shermans.
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
Jamie and I played a draft version of Cassinograd – A Crossfire Scenario based on Crossfiregrad. We played two games in a couple of hours. Jamie was the attacking Kiwis and I was the Fallshirmjaeger. This is the second game.
Summary: Great game. My larger regular force was much more resilient than the small veteran force I used in Game 2. Jamie captured the objective (the Post Office), but he literally did it as his clock counted down to zero. Very tense and exciting game.
Jamie and I played a draft version of Cassinograd – A Crossfire Scenario based on Crossfiregrad. We played two games in a couple of hours. Jamie was the attacking Kiwis and I was the Fallshirmjaeger. This is the first of our games, making the second Cassinograd game with Bruce Stewart’s being the first.
Summary: Okay game, but could have been better. I had a small veteran force. The smaller forced lacked resilience, despite the higher morale, and Jamie took the objective (Municipal Buildings) relatively easily.
Our recent experiments with ‘O’ Group have got me thinking about a similar set of rules that has been lurking on my shelves: Blitzkrieg Commander (BKC). I’ve got every edition of the rules (1 through 4), yet I have never played it because it was a bit too crunchy (concrete) for my tastes. But it is a credible alternative to ‘O’ Group, so I got it of the shelf and read through it.
I prefer scenarios over pick up battles so I’m trying to wrap my head around how to map official historical orders of battle to BKC OOBs. In this post I play around with a official Soviet historical order of battle for a infantry battalion and see what that looks like in both game scales of BKC. Not that I’m going to use an official OOB for an actual scenario, but this exercise will help me understand which bits of the historical OOB turn into BKC stands and which bits get ignored. And because BKC has two game scales – regimental where a base is a platoon and battalion scale where a base is a squad – I’m going to have to do this twice.
Gunnery Sargent Rock (Bruce Stewart) got me thinking about Cassinograd. This is an adaptation of Doctor Phalanx’s Crossfiregrad scenario, transferred from Stalingrad to the Italian Campaign with 2 New Zealand Division (Kiwis) attacking Fallchirmjaeger in Cassino town. Crossfire of course. Bruce’s version was pretty much standard Crossfiregrad, but I’ve made some more changes to add flavour.
Gunnery Sargent Rock (Bruce Stewart) played a couple of games of Crossfiregrad by Doctor Phalanx. However, he moved it from Stalingrad to the Italian Campaign with the Germans attacking 2 New Zealand Division (Kiwis) in Cassino town, I guess representing a local counter attack. Except where noted, all words and photos are by Bruce.
Adam and Chris had another go at the ‘O’ Group sample scenario transferred to the Eastern Front. As in our first play test and second play test, “Cristot” became “Kristov” and the Germans were attacking a Soviet defensive position. Adam was keen to have a go himself so took the role of the attacking Germans. Adam also provided rules knowledge, figures, most of the terrain, and narrative for the battle report. Chris was the defending Soviets. I took photos and add some extra thoughts at the end.
I’ve been looking at Mac’s Crossfire Missions and it occurred to me that the system would be good for a Three Round Campaign. I like campaigns that are short and lead to a clear result and a Three Round Campaign offers those benefits. I’ve used the missions and main force orders of battle from Mac’s Missions v3 to drive the campaign.