Nordic Weasel Games

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History Dad. Core mechanics examples

It is a little too early for any battle reports to exist yet, so I wanted to give people a quick walkthrough of the core mechanics of how the turn sequence works, how units work, how to shoot at infantry and how to shoot at tanks.

A future post will talk about armies and how they are built.

This is just an overview, think of it like the crash course you might get before playing the game at a convention.

Turn sequence:

The turn sequence is how each game turn is organised. Basically it tells us who goes when. In a normal game you roll a die: 1-3 the Axis player goes first, 4-6 the Allied player goes first. The player selected by the roll picks a leader to activate. If it is a squad leader or tank leader, they activate their unit. So their squad or vehicle can take actions normally. 

If it is an officer, they can activate two units within 8" and line of sight. Senior NCO's can activate a single unit within 4". 

So for example when it is my turn to go, I may pick my platoon leader and then two of the infantry squads in the platoon. Once each of those units have moved and fired, the other player goes. When they have gone, play reverts to me and I might pick a tank on the other side of the table and so forth.

Having leaders in place and near their troops means more flexibility in activating, representing the officer or senior sergeant shouting at the grunts to get moving. Each unit goes once per turn. 

What can a unit do?

When a unit is selected to act, it can move OR fire if it is Green quality (the lowest grade). These units are not really capable of "fire and move" tactics so it is one or the other. If you have a lot of Green units try to have some squads provide covering fire while other squads advance. 

Experienced quality units can move and then fire, while Veterans can move before or after firing. 

There are a bunch of other options like trying to find concealed enemies, engineering etc. but we are keeping it basic here.

Shooting at the other guys

Being a wargame we will usually want to shoot at the opposing army. 

Veteran infantry can split their fire over two targets, Experienced and Green troops must pick a single target (and remember Greens don't shoot if they moved). 

Combat is intentionally pretty straight forward. Each weapon grants a number of firepower dice. These are added up with the hit roll depending on the position of the target. You need 4+ to hit in the open and 6's in cover. Infantry are a bit better at attacking targets in cover if they are within 6" (where they hit on a 5+) to account for grenades and so forth. 

The key "clever bit" is that hit resolution is delayed. Let's say I score 6 hits when I fire on some Germans. I mark 6 hits on the German squad. Once the Germans are activated next, we then roll 6 dice to see how many of those hits were casualties (fifty/fifty odds here) and remove the number of figures who got hit. This means neither of us know what is exactly happening right then. If I have a great turn of shooting and put 10 hits on you, I can probably worry less about that unit now since on average they will have taken 5 losses. But they may have only lost 1 or 2 or the entire squad may be gone. I can keep pouring fire into them or I can switch targets and hope it doesn't come back to haunt me. 

Morale is in the form of suppression checks: If you shoot at a unit and score any hits, they may be suppressed. They get a D6 roll against their morale score to avoid this, otherwise when they activate next they receive half the firepower dice and are limited in their ability to move freely. Suppression lasts until they have activated next, so if you are advancing on a position, you have to keep hitting them with fire. Units with very good morale scores are difficult to suppress, so keep hitting them. 

Officers can assist units nearby in recovering. It can be quite helpful to station a senior NCO next to a machine gun team for example to keep them firing. 

Shooting at tanks

Alright that was the crunchies, what about tanks?

Tanks receive a number of shots based on the crew in the turret. A proper 3 person turret (gunner, loader, commander) can fire twice per turn when halted and once on the move (firing from a short halt really) while a 2 person turret (where the commander has to load) you only get one shot and must be halted. This really stings when playing for example early T34. 

Assuming we hit the target, I roll two dice at the same time. One is for Luck and is either unlucky (on a 1) or lucky (on a 6). Unlucky shots always bounce off and lucky ones get 1.5 times the penetration. The second is a hit location roll. We just use a single table for ease here with hits assigned to the hull, turret or tracks. 

There is not a separate penetration roll (though an option is included if you prefer this). By default we compare the gun rating to the armour value which tells you if the hit was minor, major or massive and then you roll on the appropriate damage table for the effect.

Lets say my Sherman scored a hit on a Panzer IV hull. The gun rating of 10 exceeds the hull armour of 8, so I get a major penetration. A D6 roll on the damage table results in a 4: Silent.

The tank is seemingly dead, but on their next activation, they have a fifty/fifty chance of returning to action or actually being dead. As with infantry neither of us will know just yet. 

Other results can include immobilisation, burning or a catastrophic ammunition explosion. 

That's mostly it!

I hope that gives you a feel for the basics of combat. I have intentionally kept the infantry combat quite simple to make it easy to memorise, as well as being pretty tangible (making it easy to convert scenarios or real life information into the game). 

Tank combat is a little more detailed because tank fans would be disappointed if you didn't have chances of knocking out the tracks or scoring a lucky hit. Having slightly more detailed tank rules means that the game can also be "flipped" so the core of your force is a tank platoon with some infantry in support.