British Cromwell hunts Whittman!

British Cromwell hunts Whittman!
A pic from a Fireball game at Fall In 2010

Thursday, March 4, 2010

New armor combat rules

Before I talk about our experience with the new armor rules I would suggest that you read CB's comments about close in armor fighitng on the previous post. He makes a good point. In my research the Germans talk about how the Panther was not suited for hedgerow fighting for exactly the reasons CB has outlined. To address this we changed one small rule which appears after one playtest to have dealt with this problem. Shermans which had a quicker turret traverse can rotate their turrets 180 degrees instead of the usual 90 degrees. This means that up close they can manuver to were the German tanks will have trouble positioning their guns. This keeps with our philosophy of simple rules that have profound tactical implications.

On tuesday we tried out Jonathan Miller's new take on the armor v. armor combat rules. As with most first attempts there were some good elements and some not so good. But overall it ended up as a positive experience. The rules used to go: each tank rolls a number of d6s based on range, gun type, armor of target, cover and moving penalties. Each 6 rolled caused a morale check. This seems to work fine but it was not deadly enough a very close range. Tanks could blaze away at each other at 6-inches and miss for multiple turns. Jonathan's idea was to fix this problem (basing the hit probabilities on Cross of Iron) and eliminate or greatly reduce the need to measure shots. He achieved this by incorporating a 'range die.' You roll this die along with your normal shooting dice. Any shooting dice that are equal to or less than the range die are potential hits. You then multiply the range die by the gun's range value (modified for movement) and if the target is in that range then the hits apply.

The beauty of this is that is is obvious if the target is in range or not, so no measuring is needed. For example a MkIV has a range value of 16. If you roll a 2 anything within 32-inches is in range. That will almost always be the case in the hedgerows. If you are firing from a moving tank you subtract 3 from the range die meaning you need a 4 or better just to have a possibility of hitting. It seems pretty good. The Fireball playtesters in Charlottle, NC tried it out yesterday and they seemed to like it.

What didn't work out on our playtest was how you accounted for armor. It required more die rolling after the fact and this just seemed to go against the game's philosophy...we want less complexity and less die rolling in favor of tactical thinking. Jonathan agreed and has since revamped how armor works and it seems much more stream-lined.

The jury is still out but it looks pretty good so far. I will be running a few games at Cold Wars with the new armor rules so stop in and check them out.


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