24 November 2015

Rollin' The Bones - A Two For One AAR Deal!

I've been taking Thanksgiving week off for years now and it has become my favorite week of the year. In the last few days I've gotten in a ton of gaming and couldn't be happier. There's a lot to be said for waking up, taking the kids to school and setting up a game on the kitchen table, being done by lunch.

I'm getting ahead of myself.... Sunday afternoon, Junior and I pulled out X-Wing and had a 100-point swirl.

He used the Decimator, a Shuttle and an Interceptor. I went super-weak, with two A-Wings and a B-Wing. His big ships had a ton of hull points and shields whereas mine were about speed/agility and big guns.

It wasn't long before my B-Wing had been sorted out.

Then, pinched between the Interceptor and Shuttle, one of my A's gets whacked.

Some fancy driving ensued while I kept my last A-Wing alive with his single remaining hull point. I did manage to take out the Shuttle before the Decimator got me. 

Good job, kiddo.You've been on a bad luck streak with X-Wing, it's good to see you get a "W."

So, Monday morning I had nothing better to do than (finally) test out Crusader's Rate of Fire WW2 skirmish rules. I bought them months ago while looking for a set of rules that would fit with my Skirmish Campaigns Kursk scenarios. Chain of Command is awesome but it has some peculiarities that didn't mesh well with the scenarios. ROF is more traditional than COC and worked very well for my test game.

I set up the first scenario, Prelude, on a 24" X 48" table top.

The map in the book is 3 feet wide so I shaved 6 inches off each side. The tan bit is a dry ravine, effectively a big trench.

The Germans deploy almost entirely in that ravine. Two squads plus a command squad. An 8cm mortar is on the hill to their left.

 Thin Soviet defenders. One rifle squad in the woods, an AT rifle team in the woods to the rear and left. Barbed wire covers the gap between the woods and building.
The building is hardened against mortar fire. it holds a Maxim MMG and an artillery observer team.

After two turns, the Germans are making good headway up the ravine. One of the squads is setting up behind the smoke to provide covering fire for the lead elements. Their two MGs will be useful for taking out some defenders early.

The smoke is lobbed further down-field to screen the Grenadiers from whatever nastiness is in that building.

A lucky bullet from the tree-line takes out a German rifleman as the two groups exchange shots through the gap between smoke screens.

The Grenadiers in the ravine reveal themselves and begin prep-firing into the woods. The mortar team switches from smoke to HE and is called in on the tree-line to lend its weight to the impending brawl.

An amazing first shot lands right on target. (80mm mortars use a 3-inch template which is exactly how big a mini-CD is. Nice.)

Even more astounding - three KIA results! The defenders in the tree-line are shaken!

The machinegun in the building lets loose with another long burst. Another Grenadier in the fire-support squad is hit.

The German squad by the woods fires again at the Soviet defenders.

It's a blood-bath!

The Grenadiers assault into the woods. Another Soviet solder falls.
But so does a Grenadier and the squad is suppressed! The squad cannot continue its assault.

A turn later, the Soviets win initiative and force the Germans to move first. They surround the two remaining Soldats but the slippery Soviets slink away during their move, cheating death another turn!

Turn 8. The Germans win initiative and continue their advance, preparing to assault the two stragglers once more. The other squad has finally caught up.

They are overcome. Their sacrifice will not be forgotten!

The German Lieutenant is furious - they're supposed to be assaulting that building, not chasing after infantry! prepare to assault that position now! Unfortunately for the Grenadiers, the mortar's smoke ran out a few turns back. This is going to be one ballsy assault.

Turn 10 - the command section makes a mad dash at the building - two of the men have satchel charges and could blast it to bits. The machine gun, rifles and supporting fire from the AT section in the woods gun down four of the seven men. Miraculously, the two with satchel charges are still standing!

But a failed morale test means they're suppressed and cannot continue the assault. The battle was over.

1) Read the damn mission. I thought the Germans were just supposed to exit troops off the far end. Flipping back through the scenario halfway through the game I realized my mistake. Destroy / Capture the building. Bonus points for exiting troops.

2) ROF is a good set of platoon-scale rules. I'd prefer if it were d10-based instead of d6, but it is perfectly fine. It's not much more complex than dumb-old 40K, but all of GW's inherent problems are fixed with ROF. Both sides move, both sides fire. Casualties are simultaneous (except that stationary troops shoot before those who have moved).

3) I rolled to see when the mortar would run out of smoke and it didn't last long - that smoke would have been very useful late in the battle for the German run towards the building. Next time.

All in all, a satisfying game and a set of rules I'm quite happy with. I imagine they'll be getting more play as I try to work my way through some of the scenarios in the Skirmish Campaigns book. I may post the BatRep from today's game tomorrow, but I may not have time while trying to get ready to go out of time. If I don't post, Happy Thanksgiving!


  1. Very glad to see Rate of Fire in use in a game. I own Rate of Fire but have not played it yet. After reading your post I will give it a try! Rank and File is a great game which I enjoy playing very much so ROF must be similar in game play.

    The supplemental vehicle rules seem very, very confusing however!

    1. Well sir, there's a lot to be said for the purity of a simple infantry skirmish. This little scenario hit the nail on the head and sold me on the rules. For such a small number of troops there was plenty of "stuff" to do. That said, next time I'll have to throw the ol' T-34 on the table to try out those AFV rules. I've looked over them this evening and they don't seem too bad. With only a few vehicles in a battle, they seem like they'll be manageable. I'll just need to make info cards with all of the vehicle's data in one place (armor, gun, movement).

    2. Thanks for the insight, Ski. After your post I was reading over the AFV rules last night. You're right - I was originally a little put off by tracking the casualties, but overall it doesn't seem that bad. ROF it is then! And soon!