Saturday, November 10, 2018

Getting familiar with Baroque (part I)

The term Renaissance as a period is one which has been responsible for a lot of ink - in both history circles, as well as by wargamers.  Going with the various articles published here at Gaming with Chuck over the years, I am going to (vaguely) take it to represent warfare (typically, but not exclusively) dealing with Western Europe (and the border regions of Western Europe - say with the growing powers in the south and the east).  As far as time periods go, I am going to limit myself with the 16th and 17th centuries (so, roughly, from 1500-1700AD).

There is a lot going on in other parts of the world, and the study of conflicts there is equally worthy of wargaming (in fact, I have even published a set of rules for the Samurai battles in Japan (From the Sky we Came) which covered the Sengoku period, up until the battle of Sekigahara in 1600 AD.  But, that is a different sort of warfare from what I am discussing here.

Here, I am focusing on warfare in Western Europe.  These are the conflicts of the Italian Wars, the wars of religion that grew out of the Reformation and Counter-Reformation.  The possible conflict between England and Spain.  The battles of the Spanish Netherlands.  The many conflicts making up both the Thirty Years War and the English Civil Wars (both in the 17th century), and so on.  These battles and wars are marked by several broad features - the presence of gunpowder, the reliance of infantry (in many cases) on pike, the presence of armor (especially, but not only, for mounted units) and the existence of interesting mixed-arms formations (starting with the tercio formations coming out of the Italian Wars, and then moving to the more streamlined pike and musket formations of the 17th century, which eventually gave way to pure musket formations by the end of this period).

I've reviewed, and reported various battles, using several sets of rules for this period.  I have read many, many more.  Lately I have looked into Baroque, from the Italian wargaming company of Dadi & Piombo.

These are an evolution of the Impetus rules for ancient and medieval warfare, published earlier by Dadi & Piombo.  As the cover states, these cover 1550 to 1700.  The earlier Impetus rules overlapped with this period, and the very nice wargame lists they produce on the website have armies up to and including 16th century (including some of the Central American armies - another focus of warfare in this period, but not what I am discussing here).

My recent (the past 2-3 years) renaissance wargaming was with a modified version of the Neil Thomas Renaissance rules, from his "Wargaming: An Introduction" (several convention games, and an Italian Wars scenario).  While they produce a small, and satisfying game, they are a bit limited in troop types, and also in allowable player actions.  While they are excellent for introductory games, and for small convention games (to introduce a period), they don't have the complexity or depth to keep more experienced wargames engaged for long.  On the other hand, these days, I am not a big fan of very complex rules.  While I admire the Field of Glory rules, and their Renaissance version, they are not the rules for me.  Also, while I am a huge fan of the George Gush rules (mentioned here on Gaming with Chuck with some of my other Renaissance rules reviews), they don't play well with a modern audience.  However, I think that Baroque might fill the sweet spot (at least until we try By Fire and Sword).

Unit Types
As mentioned, Baroque covers 1550-1700.  The unit types it features are perfect for representing battlefields in that period.  There are, roughly, two different types of units, plus artillery. 

The first type are Mounted Troops, and include several classes of unit -
  • Gallopers - Shock cavalry trained to charge at a gallop, may use a pistol, but more likely to rely on the sword or lance.  
  • Trotters - Cavalry that charge at a trot.  These almost always will be pistol armed, and will discharge those during the slower charge, to follow up with contact by sword.
  • Reiters - These are pistol armed (and perhaps heavily armored) cavalry, the prefer to not close to contact - but instead will keep their distance, and employ pistol tactics, like the Caracole maneuver.
  • Sipahis - Eastern cavalry, usually armed with missile weapons.  Sometimes present in large units (treated as a 'Massed Unit').
  • Light Cavalry - These are fast, skirmish cavalry, often armed with missile weapons.  
  • Horse & Musket - In the later part of this period, some trotter units will have integrated foot musketeers, for greater strength on engaging the enemy in fire combat.  This is a mixed unit with mounted and foot soldiers in the same unit.
The second type are Foot Troops, which also include several classes of unit -
  • Pike & Musket - This is the mixed unit of pikemen and musketeers made popular with the advent of more, and more reliable, hand weapons that use gunpowder.  Because a portion of the unit is armed with pikes, this reduces firepower, but also provides a strong deterrent to cavalry, and the ability to hit other infantry in contact. 
  • Early Tercio - This is very, very deep unit, coming out of the 16th century, with some integrated shot troops.  Because of its extreme depth, and training in deployment, it is almost impossible to gain a flank advantage against this unit, but it is extremely vulnerable to artillery.
  • Later Tercio - Not as deep as the earlier tercio, and sometimes employing a higher ratio of shot troops, the Later Tercio is almost as flexible as the Pike & Musket unit, but still a bit more unwieldy.  It is not as well protected on the flanks and rear as the Early Tercio, but it has enough shot troops posted there that it can give fire out of those aspects of the formation.
  • Pikemen - Deep formations of only pikemen, without integrated shot troops.  These are popular in the earlier part of the period by those nations fielding pikemen, but not employing the Tercio.
  • Irregular Infantry - These are (sometimes) fierce hand to hand fighters.  Sometimes they are equipped with missile weapons.  Sometimes they appear in large units (treated as a 'Massed Unit').  But they are not the disciplined mixed units listed above.
  • Shooters - As with Pikemen units, these are from the earlier part of the period before the mixed units took over - these are units of purely missile armed soldiers.
  • Skirmishers - Light troops, sometimes armed with good quality firearms, designed to skirmish with the enemy.
  • Dragoons - These are mounted infantry, armed with missile weapons.  They combine the faster maneuverability of mounted troops, with the ability of infantry to provide good missile fire.
Other classes of tabletop units -
  • Artillery is available.  In this  period, as the science of artillery is being developed, there is a bewildering constellation of different types of guns, calibers, firing mechanisms, etc.  These are all simplified in the rules to light, medium or heavy batteries.  And further, they are classed as either Cannons (firing a relative flat trajectory), and Howitzers (firing a high arcing shot).
  • Commanders - The army will be divided up into a handful (usually 3 or 4) of commands (or brigades).  Each of these has a commander.  One of these commanders will be the General (or commander in chief).  A commander can be attached (if he wishes) to any non-artillery unit in his command.  the commander-in-chief can be attached (if he wishes) to any non-artillery unit in the entire army.
  • Baggage - All armies have immobile baggage.  The baggage may be Fortified or Not.
Measurements in the Game
Battlefield measurements in the game are measured (and listed on the charts) in terms of BU, or  'Baroque Units' - so named to distinguish them from the basic unit of measure from Impetus, which was the Unit, or U.  In Baroque, the BU is equal to half the frontage of a standard unit (which is always 12cm).  So, a BU is 6cm.  Speaking of unit frontage...

Unit basing
For 15mm, the standard unit frontage is 12cm.  Which is perfect for me, as my units are based on standard 4cm wide bases.  So three bases wide, makes a unit.  For Pike & Musket units that is perfect - a stand of pikes in the middle, flanked by two stands of muskets - looks great.

Using larger one piece bases would be nice, but I don't want to rebase my renaissance wargaming armies.

The depth of the units varies, with the deepest being the Early Tercio - it is 12cm deep.  Since I mount my pikes in two ranks on a 3cm deep (or sometimes 4cm deep) stand, it is easy for me to model an Early Tercio - 3 stands wide, and 3 or 4 stands deep(!) - but it is the biggest unit in the game (and was quite large in history too).  A more standard Pike and Musket unit is listed as 4-6cm deep - which means, for me, one or two stands deep for Pikemen in the middle, and two stands deep of Musketeers on the flanks.  Easy, and it looks good.  Cavalry is easier - one rank deep.  Massed Mounted units are two ranks deep.

I'll follow this article up with a discussion of the turn sequence, and basic game structure.

Friday, October 5, 2018

Saga - and the Dark Ages

Just a quick note - we (myself and the members of ODMS local to Hampton Roads, Virginia) have been playing a lot of SAGA lately (2nd edition).  One of our members has even started a very nice SAGA campaign.

In that campaign, I am playing an Anglo Saxon contingent, with Wulfric of Kent as the faction leader.

But, one of the things that is exciting, is the rekindling of interest in Dark Ages history, within the club.

It got me to thinking about some of the early dark ages articles I wrote last year.  I am thinking of creating SAGA boards for some of them - based on some that do exist (some in Aetius & Arthur), such as the Franks, Goths, Carolingians and others.

posting from GwC HQ, hidden in the Lake Maury Forest, with a view of the verge

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

The taxonomy of WW2 rules

In the field of information modeling and knowledge modeling, a taxonomy is a way to sort out a complex body of knowledge, by providing a structure of definitions and categories, to help you find your way quickly, and see which pieces of information belong together.

An easy example is the taxonomy of Carl Linnaeus, which was used to organize all the animals of the animal kingdom into like groups.  This gives us the concept of animal families, etc - mammals, canines, and so forth.

Carl Linnaeus' Taxonomy (example)
One of the things I would like to do, based on a series of games played in ODMS recently, is to come up with a taxonomy for WW2 micro armor rules.  So the first thing is to come up with some of the categories of concepts that apply to different rules.

Off hand, I can think of these:
  • Scale (i.e. how many vehicles does a tabletop model represent)
  • Turn Sequence
  • Friction/Fog of War
  • Command & Control/Morale
  • Hit mechanism
  • Kill mechanism
  • Acquisition/Spotting rules 
I will have to come up with ways to divide and recognize the features in each of these areas, and then come up with a reasonable (but finite) categorization system for the WW2 rules we have played recently.

Monday, August 20, 2018

On Serious Wargaming

The US Department of Defense, under Deputy Secretary of Defense Robert Work, realized that professional wargaming had lagged over the few decades of us fighting in Southwest Asia, and in short, since the "end" of the cold war in 1991.

He proposed a re-invigoration of the art, and suggested a few ways in which this could be done.

One of those was something called the Wargaming Initiative Fund, which is a way for the Department of Defense to fund new and interesting wargaming activities within the multiple parts of the service.

Here is a recent article by the current overseer of the effort - COL Heath.  This is very interesting to me as I have been funded as a research scientist working on projects related to this for the past few years, and I hope that continues.

The article is here.

Friday, August 3, 2018

General d'Armee - first thoughts

Recently, we played a couple of games of General d'Armee at our regular ODMS game meetings.  These have been run by Sean (read about his gaming stuff over at Mad Mac's Attic), although I suspect that they have struck a chord with the group, and that we'll be playing more.

The rules are available from Too Fat Lardies, who sell the Reisswitz Press rules (that is the imprint of David Brown's current batch of rules).  These (GdA) are on a step up from General d'Brigade (GdB), and one of the chief differences is that now battalions and regiments are treated as somewhat generic in size, only differentiating by gross categories (large, regular, small, etc).  This is very similar to Black Powder, etc. and different from the earlier rules (GdB) - which had you using specific numbers of miniatures for different units, based on historical OB.  There are a ton of useful resources at David Brown's blog.

The turn sequence runs (roughly) like this -

  1. Both sides dice for the number of Aides de Camp (ADC) available.
  2. The ADCs are applied to units.
  3. Each brigade is rolled for to see if it is Hesitant or not during that turn.
  4. Both sides then roll 2d6 for initiative, subtracting 1 for each Hesitant brigade.
  5. Winner chooses to go first or second.
  6. First player orders and resolves Charges.
  7. Second player orders and resolves Charges.
  8. First player resolves moves.
  9. Second player resolves moves.
  10. First player resolves firing.
  11. Second player resolves firing.
  12. Melees (resulting from charges, or carried over) are resolved.
In all this is a pretty good sequence.

Firing is done (by regular formations and artillery) by the toss of two dice, and then modifiers are introduced.  The final result is consulted on a chart to see what the impact is (casualties, discipline test, etc).

Firing by skirmishers is done by granting the skirming formation a number of Casualty dice - roll them, and they cause a hit on 4,5,6.

Charges are handled first as a test, to see what the charge results are.  This may, or may not result in a melee or a volley being fired, as well as charging home, retiring, etc.

Melee's are resolved by each side having a number of casualty dice (as with skirmish fire), these are rolled and hits counted.  Then the winner of the melee is determined by  comparing these scored hits.

In all this is a good set of rules, with a lot of thought going into how the different formations, etc interact with each other.  Looking forward to playing some more of these, I may run a game or two myself in the near future.  Sean has published a Player's Guide over at his blog.

Here are some pictures from our most recent game, which was the battle of Maida 1806.

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Cold War Commander - How To

This is a "how to" article I wrote for ODMS, giving the basics on how to play Cold War Commander.

Cold War Commander – How is it played?

1. Introduction

Cold War Commander, by Peter Andrew Jones, is a set of rules for modern conflict (1946 until today). It follows (and is very much similar to) Blitzkrieg Commander, which covers WW2. Both rulesets have a lot in common with Warmaster (by Rick Priestley), and Mr. Jones had Mr. Priestley’s blessing to write a set of tank and infantry rules. Other rules that are very similar, are the Warlord rules (Hail Caesar, Pike & Shotte, and Black Powder). All of these rules are currently very popular, in general, and here in ODMS.

For those not familiar with Warmaster, what that means is that the basic tempo of the game is this: players will take turns, and on their turn they will try to activate units.  Different command elements (HQ and CO) can make a dice roll vs. a target number (their command value) - if you pass the dice roll, you get to issue an order to some of your units (move, shoot, etc).  The strength of the system is that command structure and command level is a key part of the game, and you are never 100% sure of a plan (as in real life, friction and fog limit military operations).  The weakness of the system is that there are times when a player, or a side, will miss most or all of their command rolls - getting to do very little on their turn.  Very Frustrating!  Details are described below.

2. Types of Units

Cold War Commander (CWC) has several types of units. The biggest distinction is between combat units (infantry, vehicles, support weapons), artillery (which may be on or off board), aircraft, and command units. Let’s look at these in reverse order:

Command units consist of four types –
  • CO (Commanding Officer) - overall commander of a side in a game – 1 per side
  • HQ (Headquarters) - in charge of some part of a unit’s combat units – multiple per side
  • FAO (Forward Artillery Observer) – sights targets and requests unplanned artillery missions – 0 or more per side
  • FAC (Forward Aircraft Controller) – sights targets and requests close air support missions – 0 or more per side

Aircraft units are of two types –
  • Ground attack aircraft, which are requested by an FAC (or used in planned aircraft strike missions)
  • Transport helicopters, which are treated as regular units, to carry infantry and support weapons

Artillery units can be off board (in which case it can be used for planned missions, or in response to the FAO), or can be on board. In either case, they are used for indirect fire, and can fire Barrage missions, or Concentrated missions (see artillery rules in the rulebook).

Combat units are everything else (infantry, support weapons, transport vehicles, tanks, etc). All are rated with several pieces of information. These include:
  1. Move
  2. Attack (or number of dice to attack with)
  3. Hits (to be killed)
  4. Armor save (in some cases - usually armored vehicles)


 3. Turn Sequence

CWC is played in alternate turns. On a turn, you have four phases:

Scheduled Phase – Scheduled artillery and aircraft missions for this turn take place

Initiative Phase – Recon units attempt to communicate with a command unit; then any units within the Initiative Distance of the enemy get a free action.

Command Phase – Now, command units may, one at a time, attempt to issue orders. Pick a command unit, and then pick a unit to receive an order (or group of units), and declare what the order is (“That unit of tanks will move to the ridgeline.”). Then roll the dice (2d6) vs. the command unit’s command rating. If less than the target number, the unit performs the commanded action, and that command unit may roll again. Note that the subsequent order can be to the same unit. Subsequent rolls are/may be reduced depending on who is being ordered again.

If the roll is a failure, that command unit may issue no more orders this turn. Once the CO fails his roll, the side is finished with Command Phase for the turn (hint: use your CO last).

End Turn Phase – Check for victory conditions, and then remove all hits from any units on the table that were not destroyed. Additionally, remove suppression markers from the active player (only).


4. Recon Units

During the initiative phase, a Recon unit tries to communicate with the nearest command unit on that side. This is based on a dice roll (based on how close the nearest enemy unit is), and if successful, then the Recon unit can choose an action. Depending on what that command unit is (CO, HQ, FAO, FAC) then the Recon Unit can choose from the following:
  • Add 1 to the command value of the command unit (CO, HQ, FAO, FAC)
  • Issue orders to on-table mortars to fire at that closest enemy unit to the Recce unit (CO or HQ)
  • Request artillery support against the closest enemy unit to the Recce unit (FAO)
  • Request an air strike against the closest enemy unit to the Recce unit (FAC)
Note, that the second, third, and fourth item take place during the Command Phase, by the command unit the Recce unit communicated with – this just lets that command unit target the enemy unit that the Recce unit can see. (remember, that the Recce unit doesn’t have to be in line of sight to the command unit it communicates with, so this is a way of “extending the eyeballs” of that command unit).


5. Assets (planned Artillery and Aircraft strikes)

Not every side, or every scenario will have Assets available. These are the pre-planned aircraft and artillery missions. The player who has them available must write down where the target of the strike is (based on the map of the game), and on what turn they strike. Different armies have different types of missions available (HE, Smoke, etc).


 6. Orders to Combat Units

The orders that a command unit may issue to a combat unit are pretty simple. They are: move, deploy and fire. Note, these are the same orders (or actions) that a unit may do during the initiative phase.
  • Move is just that – a unit may move up to its movement value. See the rules about limits from terrain. If a tank unit has a Stabilized weapon, it may also fire, if it only moves half.
  • Deploy is used to set up certain support weapons (such as Mortars or towed guns), also it is the order used to load infantry onto transport units (they must be in contact). Deploy is also used to dismount from transport units. The infantry units (and/or support units) are placed in contact with the transport asset they just dismounted from. Finally, Deploy is used to pivot a set up towed weapon.
  • Fire is used so that the unit (or units) may shoot against an enemy within range, line of sight, and line of fire (all defined in the book).
When a unit moves in contact with the enemy, then that is a Close Assault.


7. Command Blunders

When a command unit is issuing a command and rolls double 6’s – then a blunder has occurred. Not only does the order not succeed but based on what type of order it is (Artillery strike, Aircraft strike, or Command order) there is a roll to see what the blunder causes. Usually bad (like friendly fire).


8. Attacks

When a unit executes a Fire order – and attacks another unit – that unit rolls the number of attack dice that they have available. The to-hit number is 4+ if the target is in the open; it is 5+ if the target is in soft cover; it is 6 if the target is in hard cover.

There are several types of weapons, based on the army listing – those followed by an asterisk * do not cause hits vs. any units with an armor save (i.e. tanks, APCs, IFVs, etc). Those followed by a hash mark # do not cause any hits vs. unit that do not have an armor save (i.e. soft transport, infantry, support weapons).

Line of sight is 180 degrees, forward of the unit. Line of fire, in a restricted visibility unit (marked in the army lists) is only 90 degrees, forward of the unit. Armored units can fire at other vehicles, over infantry and guns. Line of sight can pass over infantry and guns, but not over vehicles (friendly or enemy).

Command units do not block line of sight.


9. Hits

Any unit that takes hits, must make armor saves (if it can). If there are enough un-saved hits to exceed the HITS rating of the unit, it is destroyed. Keep track of the number of hits a unit has taken, even if they aren’t enough to kill it. Other units may attack the same target this turn (although all hits are removed from all targets at the end of each player’s turn).


 10. Suppression

For each hit that was not saved, the attacker rolls the dice again, with the same “to hit” number. If any of the dice score, then the target is suppressed (mark it with a suppression marker).

NOTE: You can purposefully try to suppress a unit that you cannot cause hits against (like using a weapon marked * against a tank) – in that case the to-hit number is automatically a 6+. Saves are allowed. Unsaved hits are then rolled for suppression (again, 6+).
Suppression markers are removed from a player’s units only at the end of his turn.


11. Fall Back 

A unit that is ALREADY suppressed (because it was attacked by another unit, which resulted in suppression), and which receives more hits, may fall back. Instead of rolling for suppression by additional unsaved hits (assuming that the additional hits are not enough to kill the target), the target unit rolls 1d6 for each extra unsaved hit, and falls back that many cm. If the unit has to fall back more than 10cm in a turn, it is destroyed (the crew/infantry abandon the field, hide, run away, etc).


 12. Close Assault

The rulebook has a series of restrictions on close assault, but in general when a unit contacts an enemy, there is a close assault. AFVs can only close assault in the open, unless they are carrying infantry or support riders. Transports that close assault automatically dismount their infantry, in contact with the enemy, when the assault starts (except IFVs which may keep them on board)

Friendly units within 10cm can support the close assault, if they can draw a line of sight to one of the assaulting units in contact with the enemy.

Responding units can also have 10cm of supporters to fire back.

Once hits are rolled for (all close assaults hit on 4+, to determine the number of dice rolled, consult the chart on p. 35), determine which unit (on each side) takes the hits. Roll for saves if possible. Then compare outcomes and follow the results (also on page 35).

Close assaults are deadly. And can be unpredictable.


 13. Infantry Support Weapons

Machine Guns and Infantry Anti-tank Weapons (RPG-7, Bazooka, etc) do not need a deploy order before they can be fired.

Mortars and Recoilless Rifles must have a Deploy between moving and firing (to set up), and also between firing and moving (to break down).

Infantry units that have Anti-tank Weapons added on to them, may use their regular attack values, and their IATW attack values. IATW can only be used once per turn by a unit. Armored units do not get a saving throw vs. IATW (unless noted in the army list).


14. Anti-Tank Guided Weapons

ATGW (i.e. Anti-Tank Missiles, such as Sagger, MAPATS, TOW) are extremely deadly, and long ranged.

There are firing restrictions (see the rulebook, p. 24), and they can only be fired once per turn. If a unit is targeted by an ATGW, there is a dice roll to see if it can evade. This is one dice, vs. the same to hit number required for the ATGW to hit the target. If this evade dice hits, then the target may not evade.

Roll the attack as normal. However, if the evade dice misses, then the target saw the missile coming in, and may evade. It can move up to 10cm in any direction, and the to hit number against it gets worse by one category (i.e. – if in the open, it is treated as in soft cover, etc). If the unit was already in full cover, or if the 10cm move can get it out of LOS, then it cannot be struck.


 15. Artillery, Aircraft, Engineering, Tactical Doctrine, Opportunity Fire, etc

There is a lot more to this ruleset, but the above presents the basic ideas required to play. Some things are often forgotten (like Initiative Moves, Recon communication, and how to do Close Assaults).

These are a reminder for those items. In all cases, consult the rules. These aren’t hard rules, and players will get the hang of things in a turn or two.

Sunday, July 22, 2018

Jagdpanzer - a rules review

This is another review in the Once and Future Rules series, of wargame rules that are out of print, but that got a lot of play at one time (at least, in the clubs and groups I played in since the early 1980s).

Once upon a time, in Campaign Headquarters (in Newport News), there were some gamers called Alfred, Jason and Gary.  They played Jagdpanzer.

Once upon a time, in Campaign Headquarters, there were some gamers called Wayne and Oscar.  They played Jagdpanzer.

Once up on a time, in Campaign Headquarters, there was a gamer named Danny.  He played Jagdpanzer.

Most of the folks I played with in those years (mid to late 80s) were playing Overwatch.  Some were playing Angriff!  But not a small sampling were playing a set of rules called Jagdpanzer, published by Greenfield Hobbies, and authored by Kevin Cabai (a former armor Captain in the US Army).  This was when I tried the rules, and I liked them.

One of the strengths that I will applaud, right away, about Jagdpanzer, is that it is very inclusive.  It covers many different weapon systems (armor, infantry, artillery, airpower), all in rule subsystems that are very clean and workable.  The overall effect is a game that gives depth to all sorts of scenarios, but is not difficult to play.  Also, it avoids (by using a dice mechanism for penetration and kill, although informed by real life vehicle and weapon characteristics) the old problem that some rulesets have (I'm looking at you, Overwatch) of comparing mm of penetration, vs mm of armor, to determine a kill.  As an engineering professor, I realize it is not that simple, and that the number of variables present in any single shot to target situation are far to numerous (and perhaps unknowable) in order to present a way of modeling them all.  So why not use a dice mechanism to add in the fuzziness?  Mr. Cabai does just that in Jagdpanzer, and it works very well.

Another think I like very much about the game is that while it lists a ground scale (1 inch equals 25m), it gives all movement and weapon ranges in inches.  Nice.

Here is an overview of the rules, so you can see what I'm talking about, and I'll return with an assessment at the end.

Turn Sequence

Basic concept - On each turn, for each of your units (the basic unit is the platoon, which is usually 3-5 individual vehicle models), you decide if that unit is going to do one of the following three options:
1. Move and Fire
2. Move double (no fire)
3. Stationary (double fire)

A full turn consists of two movement and direct fire phases (see below).  For each of them, a vehicle decides if it is going to do one of the above options.  So in the first move phase of a turn, a unit could Double Move, and then couldn't fire during the first fire phase.  But then in the second move phase it could Normal Move (and fire in the second fire phase).

If a unit Moves and Fires, it is assuming that the unit is moving tactically, taking advantage of available cover, and is loaded and ready to engage if a target is found.

A unit that double Moves, is assumed to be moving at top available speed (cross country or road), and doesn't conform necessarily to available cover (so may be easier to hit).

A unit that double Fires is assumed to be stationary, and focused merely on firing and reloading as quickly as possible.

Based on that - here is the turn sequence, with some notes:

A. Determine Initiative - Roll 1d6 to determine who gets the choice of being Side A or Side B.
B. Command & Control (optional rules - a dice roll based on nationality to see if a unit activates or not).
C. Movement Phase
   1. Side A
   2. Side B
D. Direct Fire Phase
   1. Stationary Shooters fire Simultaneously
   2. Moving Shooters fire Simultaneously
   3. Stationary Shooters fire Simultaneously (a second time)
   4. Close Assaults
   5. Overrun Attacks
   6. Remove/Emplace Vehicle Smoke
E. Aircraft (optional)
   1. Movement
   2. Combat
F. Morale
G. Movement Phase
   1. Side B
   2. Side A
H. Direct Fire Combat (same as D.1 through D.6 from above)
I. Artillery
   1. Fire missions striking this turn will Impact
   2. Plot new fire missions
   3. Remove/Emplace Artillery Smoke
J. Morale

Movement - In phases C and G, movement takes place.  The two sides alternate who is the first mover, based on the Initiative dice at the beginning of the turn.  The first mover has 2 minutes (only) to move his Command Vehicles (the command vehicle for each unit).  Then his other vehicles in those units move to follow the command vehicle route.  Once the first player is done, then the second player only has 30 Seconds (!) to move his command vehicles.  Any command vehicles that do not move, mean that the other vehicles in their units will also not move that phase.
Movement rates are given for Road, Cross Country, and Rough Ground (wood, hills, mud, deep snow).  Recall that a Double Mover getst double the listed rate.  Rates are listed in inches on the vehicle detail sheets.

Armored Vehicles

Direct Fire (Tank and Anti-Tank) - Roll 1d20 per shooter, and see if they roll below the "To Hit" number.  The basic number to hit is an 11 (or less).  Modifiers to that basic number are here:

Situation . . .
+3 Consecutive Fire (same target)
+3 Automatic Weapons (small AA weapons, autocannons)
+2 Targetting a Building
+1 Range Finder (PzV-f, Nashorn, PaK36, PaK43, FlaK 18)

Target Is . . .
-6 Hull Down
-6 Entrenched
-5 In Dense Woods
-3 In Light Woods
-4 In Town
-4 Infantry
-1 Towed Gun
-3 Moving

Shooter Is . . .
+2 Short Range
+0 Medium Range
-4 Long Range
-2 Moving (without gun stabilizer)
-1 Moving (with gun stabilizer)
-2 2nd Shot, Same fire Phase, at a new target


Take the Penetration Value of the weapon firing, based on range (short, medium, long), and subtract the armor value of the facing of the vehicle hit (Front, Side, Rear, or Top).  This gives you a number, which can be indexed on a Penetration Chart, to give the Number to roll, or less, on 1d20 to score a kill.  Otherwise the shot has no effect.  Rather than using the chart, you can calculate it easy enough - just add 5 to the penetration value, before subtracting the armor value.  The resulting number is your target to roll, or less, to score a kill.

Example: A T34, at Medium Range, is firing it's 76L41 gun at the front armor of a PzIVH.  Looking at the weapon chart for the Soviet Gun, we see that at Medium Range, it penetrates 11.  Looking at the PzIVH, we see that the front armor is rated a 7.  So, adding 5 to the gun's penetration value (11+5=16), and then subtracting the armor of the target vehicle (16-7=9) means that we have a chance of a 9 or less on 1d20 to score a kill, if a hit is registered.  In practice, very simple - lookup the range and penetration, and the armor value of the target.

Machine Guns - Vehicle machine guns do not affect armored vehicles in the game.  Larger calibre automatic weapons are listed on the regular vehicle charts.  Normal MGs however, do affect soft targets.  They roll with a strength of '5' on the soft target (i.e. Infantry) table - see below.

Catastrophic Kill
If the number to score a penetration is half or less than the number needed, then it is a catastrophic kill (for instance, in the example above the number needed was a 9 or less, so rolling a 4 or less would be a catastrophic kill).  This means that all crew, passengers, and equipment are also destroyed with the vehicle.  Also, place a burning marker on the vehicle, it now blocks line of sight.

Crew/Passenger Bailout
If a vehicle is killed, but not a catastrophic kill, then there is a chance for bailout by crew and passengers.  Roll 1d6, on a 1 or 2 all personnel are killed, otherwise they bail out.

Vehicle Smoke
Vehicles can (very limited basis) fire smoke rounds.  Pick a target and roll 1d6 for scatter based on range - Short (1,2), Medium (1,2,3), Long (1,2,3,4,5).  If it scatters, the smoke round hits 1 inch away in a randon direction.  It produces a line of sight blocking puffball.
Some vehicles have smoke dischargers - these produce a puffball 1 inch from the model of the vehicle, in the direction the tank is facing.

Spotting (optional)
Spotting rules give a ditance away that a target can be spotted.  It is based on whether the unit being spotted is stationary, in a prepared position (trench or pit), or moving - and also what type of target it is (vehicle, gun, infantry).  This ranges from unlimited range in the open to see a moving vehicle, to only 3 inches to see infantry in the woods or hills in a prepared position.  This is an optional rule, but tends to encourage more play with the terrain and maneuver.  Under these rules, you can spot through smoke, but only up to 4 inches on the other side of the smoke.


Infantry vs. Soft Targets
(that is, other infantry units, and vehicles with a side armor of 2 or less) is handled by looking up the basic strength of the infantry unit firing.  This is for a single counter (the game recommends counters for infantry), representing a single infantry squad (usually 3 squads per platoon).  These squads are rated for the following types:
  • Infantry
  • Armored Infantry
  • Airborne Infantry
  • Armored Cav/Recon
  • Cavalry
  • Heavy Weapons
  • HQ Section
  • Crew

Each type has a strength value for the year and nationalities that employ those types (for instance, in 1941 a Soviet infantry squad has a strength of 4, but in 1943, a Soviet infantry squad has a strength of 6, representing better weapons/training/leadership).

Each basic type has an associated range, within which it can engage other Infantry.  For instance, basic Infantry has a range of 12 inches, but Cavalry only has a range of 8 inches.

Infantry vs. Infantry fighting - when an Infantry squad attacks another, there is a target number based on the terrain the target is in (the only modifier to this number, is if the target is moving, this number is increased by 1):
  • Open - 10 or less
  • Soft Cover - 8 or less
  • Hard Cover - 7 or less
  • Supressed - 6 or less
  • Entrenched - 5 or less

There is an infantry chart, so your actual number you roll is cross indexed with your squad's strength, to see if you either Supress or Kill the enemy.  In practice, it works very simple.

Melee Combat - Infantry ending in contact with enemy counters will fight melee.  Fights are determined by finding all the attacking (moving) counters that are touching a single defender counter.  Roll 1d6 per counter involved.  Any attacker that is less than a defender's number is destroyed.  Any defender that is less than an attacker is destroyed.  Ties are resolved as both destroyed.  So if multiple attackers go against one defender, the defender can beat all of them by rolling the highest number, otherwise as above.

Melee modifiers (to the d6 rolled) are these:
+1 Charging
+1 Cavalry
+1 Airborne
+1 SS
+1 Marines
-1 Crew
-1 HQ Section
-1 Entrenched
-1 Routing

Infantry Anti-Tank Weapons - A variety of anti-tank weapons can be employed by Infantry squads.  These include Recoil-less Rifles, Handheld Anti-Tank Rockets (Bazooka, PIAT, etc), Anti-Tank Rifles, and the experimental German X-7 Wire-guided Missile (was it ever really used?).  Each of these weapons has range (short/medium/long) and vehicle penetration rules.

Infantry Close Assault - Infantry attacking vehicles use the Close Assault rules.  An infantry squad that closes to contact with an enemy vehicle must pass a Morale test.  If it passes, it rolls 2d6 on the close assault table.  The variables on the table are whether or not the vehicle is closed top, and the terrain (open, wooded, urban).  A range on the 2d6 roll determines if the vehicle is killed.  That is the only result.

Other Rules

Rules are given for artillery pieces on the table to engage in Direct Fire against armor units (ranges and penetration are given for different size guns).  Indirect fire rules are given - how long it takes for an artillery mission to arrive, what types of missions you can call (Point, Rolling Barrage, Creeping Barrage, Final Protective Fire), and what type of pattern it falls in (point/tight, or area/loose).  Rules for scatter of shot from the aiming point are given.    Finally, rules for HE rounds vs. infantry and soft targets (those with a side armor of 2 or less) are given.  Infantry are subjected to a chart much like small arms fire.  Vehicles are two, but hard vehicle targets (with a side armor over 2) are only affected very rarely (roll of a 10 exactly, on a 20 sided dice, and only for certain types of artillery).  In the case of artillery (HE rounds) there are column shifts to the left for being in certain terrain (entrenched infantry, woods, town, suppressed target, woods, etc).

Combat Engineers
Rules are given for combat engineers (placing and dealing with obstacles, such as abati, barbed wire, craters, dragon's teeth, tank ditches, and mine fields).  A discussion of, and rules on, different types of mines is present.

Rules are given for aircraft, with a view towards permitting supporting air actions that present ground support.  Detailed dog fighting rules are not present.

And that's it for the rules.  More on the Vehicle and Weapon statistics, in the next article.

So, what do I think of Jagdpanzer?  It is a game of it's time, but I do like how it abstracts some vehicle info (penetration and armor), and also how it keeps armor values to a minimum (averaging turret and hull, so that an armored vehicles has four armor values - front, side, rear, and top).  It plays fast.  The morale rules are playable, and give good results.

My only regret - and this is largely from memory (I will have to check the rulebook again) is that there is no mechanism for recovering from Suppression (that I recall). It might have been a preferred house rule, but I seem to remember that we would use either a Command Control roll or a Morale Test to recover from Suppression (I can't find where in the rulebook it discusses this...

Update! After talking with the author, I confirmed that it is a Morale Test that removes a Suppression result.

Overall, and in light of how well the many different branches of WW2 combined arms land warfare is - these are really great rules.  A nice high resolution (low aggregation) wargame simulating WW2 ground combat, and it covers everything in elegant ways, that is still fun and easy to play.