Monday, 1 June 2015

Rules for WW2 platoon level battles

It has been some time since I last played any WW2, which is a pity. Last time Kelvin and I tried out Point Blank by Iron Ivan Games, which is really more of an individual soldier rather than squad based game. It might work nicely for a bigger, multi-player game, where each player controlled a squad or 1-2 vehicles, but frankly I think Savage Worlds would work even better for this.

Hence, the time has come to play test some other offerings. I'm likely not going to run these as 'live' games as scheduled gaming time is limited and currently occupied by other things, of which more later. They will be more like walk throughs of the rules to try to get a feel for them and whether this is something I'd like to play more of. Followers on the blog are welcome to comment re the tactics being employed as I progress.

Firstly, a quick summary of the rules I'll be testing:

Bolt Action: These are a joint venture between Osprey Publishing and Warlord Games and seem to have become the most popular set of rules for WW2 platoon level gaming, certainly if the recent massive turn out for the BA tournament at Adepticon in the US is anything to go by. In terms of sheer popularity, this is the current market leader, and the mechanics form the basis for the upcoming Beyond the Gates of Antares science fiction variant, also from Warlord.

Chain of Command: Published by Too Fat Lardies, these have not been as widely adapted by gamers, but are raved about frequently by more traditional wargames - i.e. those who already play military themed games. I suspect that BA has poached many, many players from the Warhammer 40,000 fraternity, while CoC is catering more for those more concerned with historical tactics. I could be wrong, but am hopeful this experiment will shed more light on the matter, one way of the other.

Arc of Fire: About 15 years ago, I was researching platoon level WW2 rules, and on many of the forums that then existed, Battleground WW2 from Easy Eight Enterprises was claimed as the foremost set of miniatures rules in this category. Since then EEE has folded, and BGWW2 has gone out of print, but many commentators see Arc of Fire as the heir to BGWW2's mantle, and indeed a superior product to its ancestor.

The plan, then, is to run three WW2 games, using largely the same group of soldiers but in slightly different tactical situations. I will avoid making the game too big, or including too much hardware, but reserve the right to be a little flexible on this. The ostensible historical situation is the Soviet invasion of East Prussia in early 1945.

The table being used has been created by my kids, and represents a small German village, a little cluttered, but then plenty of terrain seems to help with WW2 games. This is very much a built up area, and if there is one thing I've learned from playing Disposable Heroes, it is that winkling troops out of buildings can be a nightmare.

Something else worth noting: this marks the debut of my first Cigar Box battle mat. I've been using either some tatty faux grass mats or a large piece of astro turf for earlier battles. This time I've gone a little bit more up market. These mats are washable, easier to store, and certainly look the business. The one I'm using for these battles is the original European rural one. I believe North Star Figures in the UK is still acting as their sales rep on this side of the pond.

1 comment:

  1. The images after the first seem to be missing! May be my phone.

    Sounds good though!