Martin Rapier’s OHW WW2 variant
As Martin explained in his Escape from Tula after action report, the latest version uses a six hit / 1-3 dice combat system. They also lack hexes because “the rules just seem to work better free format than with a grid”. Martin has upped the scale of the game so the manoeuvre units are battalions rather than platoons. But Martin continues with the standard 3’x3′ OHW table and 5″ x 3″ sabot bases (which are within the recommended OHW base width of 4-6 inches).
Martin adds a lot to the basic OHW WW2 set. A summary of the differences are:
|Neil Thomas WW2 OHW||Martin Rapier WW2 OHW|
|Infantry represent are 40 men (platoon)||Units are battalions, including weakened regiments and brigades|
|Anti-tank Guns and Mortars are three tubes and their crew (section)|
|Tanks are unspecified and might be 1:1|
|Infantry||Split into (Leg) Infantry, Heavy Infantry, Motorised, Cavalry|
|Mortars||Replaced by Light Artillery, Field Guns, Heavy Guns|
|Tanks||Split into Tanks, Heavy Tanks, Recce, Heavy Recce|
|Anti-tank guns||Replaced by AT Attribute of Infantry|
|6″ Infantry, Mortars||Unchanged: 6″ Infantry, Artillery;|
|12″ Tanks||9″ Tanks, Motorised, Cavalry;
12″ Recce, Fast Tanks
|3″ Road Bonus||+3″ tracked on road and +6″ wheeled on road|
|Towns, Hills, River, Marsh, Lakes, Roads||Unchanged: Towns, Hills, River, Marsh, Lakes, Roads|
|Woods||Split into Dense Woods, Open Woods|
|Ranges 6″ Observation; 48″ Mortars||6″ Spotting; 18″ Light Artillery; 36″ Field Guns; 54″ Heavy Guns|
|Roll 1d6 plus mods for hits||1-3 dice combat system with chance of hit/miss on each|
|Modifiers for Cover, Hilltop (i.e. Hulldown Tanks)||Modifiers for Hull Down Tanks, Cover, Dug in|
|15 Hits||5, 6 or 7 hits with 6 as normal|
So a lot of changes.
The original game is very small scale. Infantry units are platoons, anti-tank guns and mortars are sections. There is no declared scale for tanks but there is a good chance these are one model is one tank.
Martin has moved up two levels in the military hierarchy. Units are battalions. In some cases, e.g. Escape from Tula (December 1941) Scenario, units are regiments and brigades, but these have been so weakened by combat that they are effectively battalions. I like this change.
Martin has change the troops types quite a lot. Infantry has been split into (Leg) Infantry, Heavy Infantry, Motorised, and Cavalry. Mortars are replaced by Light Artillery, Field Guns, and Heavy Guns. Mortars themselves disappear into the infantry units. Tanks are split into Tanks, Heavy Tanks, Recce, and Heavy Recce. And finally, anti-tank guns are replaced by an AT Attribute of Infantry.
Again I like this change. I think the greater number of troop types reflects combat in WW2 more accurately, without undue complexity. They will also bring more interesting games.
Movement is fairly unchanged. Slower tanks move slower is the big change, but even that is a tweak really.
Fairly unchanged here too. But woods have been split into Dense Woods and Open Woods. Only infantry can enter Dense Woods.
The big change for combat is in the number of hits. Standard OHW uses 15 hits for every unit. We tried that, but found our previous play tests (448 AD, 454 AD, WW2) rather drawn out and not very enjoyable. 15 Hits is also rather a pain to track although people do have creative ways to track hits in One-Hour Wargames. One of those creative ideas is from Kaptain Kobold. He only uses five hits for OHW. That makes the tracking of hits much easier. The Kaptain uses small stones but 1d6 will do the trick. Martin clearly agrees there is a problem with 15 hits and has gone for 5, 6 or 7 hits in his variant.
The change to the hits has a knock on effect on the rolls to hit. The original game roll 1d6 plus mods for hits. So a typical unit will inflict 1-6 hits. Martin has replaced that entirely. He gives each unit 1-3 dice combat system with a chance of hit/miss on each. So a typical unit might only inflict 1 hit, i.e. much less.
It probably all balances out. The original game has lots of hits inflicted but lots of hit points to absorb it. Martin’s units have about one third the hit points, and also only dish out about one third of the hits. But at least with Martin’s system a 1d6 will work to track hits for most units.
I think this is a great piece of work. Martin has made a lot of changes and I’d argue there are so many changes this is a completely different game. But Martin clearly sees this as a variant of One Hour Wargame rather than a new game. That is his choice of course. I believe the changes will add flavour to the games. However, Martin still manages to keep the rules short: 2 pages with a third for army lists. I’m keen to give it a go.
Rapier, M. (various). The Games We Play
- One Hour Hex WW2 Rules
- One Hour WW2 (6 hit) V2
- Arras (May 1940) Scenario and After Action Report
- Road to Minsk (Summer 1941) Scenario and After Action Report 1 and 2
- Escape from Tula (December 1941) Scenario and After Action Report
- Hill 241 (July 1943) Scenario and After Action Report
- Twin Villages (1944) and After Action Report
Thomas, N. (2014). One-Hour Wargames: Practical Tabletop Battles for those with Limited Time and Space. Pen & Sword Military.