Sunday, 30 April 2017

Modifications to Point Blank rules

At some point this summer, I'd like to run a game of Point Blank. I've been casting around looking for a game which can support WW2 skirmish battles, using multiple players per side. The ideal rules would let a player use 1-2 squads as part of a bigger, platoon level operation. I'm hoping to organise a game with a couple of players per side, and see how this goes.

Regular readers of this blog will recall we have had an attempt at Point Blank before. Thus far it is the best simulation I've found for modern small unit combat, where the player is styled in the role of the squad leader. I did have some reservations about the game we played, which you can learn about by reading my battle report. Hence, I've added some changes to the game below, to make it more easy to use in a multi-player environment, and perhaps make it a little more fun too!

In this version, the game uses a stack of playing cards. Each squad / player has a different suit. The cards activate units under the command of the squad leader. Each squad will activate on a draw of between two and 10. The Aces are kept for special events, which I will go into in a future post.

Veteran squads will also be able to use the Jack in their suit, which will allow them to activate TWO soldiers. Elite squads can use the Jack AND the Queen. In each case, court cards allow the player to activate two soldiers, or support weapons, or vehicles.

Conscripts REMOVE one card from their suit; Poor troops remove two, thus a Poor squad will only have seven cards in the deck.

The Joker brings the turn to its end, rather than players using up all their activation counters.

Aces are used to generate special events. I will go into more detail on these later, but basically they can be good or bad, depending on a roll of a d10. Aces can also be used to trigger scenario-specific events as well, should the umpire require them.

Typical examples include the onset of poor visibility (e.g. a snow storm), the unit running low on ammo, a wounded soldier shaking off his injury, the sudden discovery that one of your men is a pacifist, etc.

Kings are kept as special purpose cards for other events, as determined by the GM.

Hidden Movement

I'm also a fan of hidden movement in wargames, but really these systems need to be workable ones that will not slow a game down to a crawl. On pages 85-86 of Point Blank, there is a good hidden movement system, but I'd propose modifying it in the following ways.

  1. Unspotted soldiers are represented by counters. Some of these are dummy counters. The number of these can either be linked to the level of training of the unit, or the conditions prevailing during a given scenario (e.g. at night). I'd suggest no more than three dummy counters per squad.
  2. Counters are activated and moved like normal soldiers, regardless of their status. They only become flipped once a successful spot check is made against them, as per the rules on page 85.
  3. Spending three action points (i.e. moving more than 6") will automatically cause that counter to be revealed.
  4. Only counters that are actually soldiers may fire; once they do, while they remain hidden - i.e. no model is placed on the table - they do pick up a muzzle flash counter, which provides a +1 spotting bonus to the enemy.
  5. Once a soldier is spotted, he stays spotted unless an event roll allows him to hide again.
  6. Vehicles are never hidden under these rules, unless beginning a scenario in stationary concealment. Troops de-busing from a moving vehicle cannot go hidden.
In a future post, I'll look at my proposed random events table, which is triggered with the draw of an Ace card.


  1. The last game -- five years ago!?! -- was good fun so I'm up for giving this a try.

  2. Yeah, five years ago - can't believe it! August 2012.

  3. I'm pondering whether to have each side deploy a Trained and a Veteran squad, to assess the rules I've dreamed up.

    1. I think that would be a good idea. If you have the rules, test them!

  4. I should also have mentioned that a soldier KIA means you lose a card from your suit at the next Joker.