British Cromwell hunts Whittman!

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

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Early War Soviets...

Recently, we have begun to play some early war Russian Front scenarios. (Converting scenarios from the Skirmish Campaigns Ukraine book.) The big reason we have jumped into this was to test out the new armor rules with early war tanks. We are tinkering with the 'low end' guns, ie. 37mm AT guns vs. heavy tanks like the Char-B and the T-34. But it has turned out that we actually found this to be a great opportunity to work on modeling the command and control structure of the early Red Army. The German Army and Red Army were quite different and we found that by just changing the 'morale' values of the the forces that that alone did not give players the feel of the two opponents. The Germans were more tactically flexible and had better command...which made up for the fact that some of their weapons, like the 37mm or 50mm, had a hard time dealing with the Soviet heavy tanks. The Soviets on the other hand were rigid in their operations and often found their tactical choices dictated by incompetent Political Commissars.

We thought about this and decided to try two simple changes for 1941-42 Soviets. First: Their activation cards are assigned to particular units before play starts. Those units can only activate when their card is pulled. The Germans activate as normal; meaning any German unit can activate on any back card that is pulled. This severly hampers the Soviet flexibility while comparatively giving the Germans better flexibility. It forces the Soviet players to be more straight forward in their offensive actions.

Second: The Soviets in 1941-42 do not get initiative chips. Instead the can get a Commissar. He is a leader who can attach to a unit and try to motivate it. He does this by rolling on a Commissar Table (created by Jerry Frazee and Tom Poston from Fireball South in Charlotte, NC...thanks!) The table tells you what happens...everything form the troops mutiny (don't roll snake-eyes!) - to forcing the troops to assault - to overwhelming inspiration where the sons of Mother Russia surge forward. Everyone has really loved this Commissar rules as it adds great chrome and a real feel for early Soviets.

Overall we are really happy with these rules. They are simple and don't add any new die roll modifiers are overly complex rules...but really give the feel of early Soviets. The rules also make Germans feel that much better in comparison...and we did not have to add one extra rule about the Germans to achieve that!

For Fall In I am going to be running a Sicily scenario from CB Stevens 'Combat Jump Sicily' Skirmish Campaigns Scenario book. It has I will be thinking how to model the Italian army!


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