Nordic Weasel Games

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History Dad. How building armies work

Post number 2:

Today I am gonna chat a bit about building an army works. 

The historical option

First and foremost you can of course just pick some units that fits your scenario, We have also included 4 historical overviews of what late-war infantry platoons looked like and those are usable basically straight out of the gate. 

The standard game size is the "reinforced platoon" which usually means 3 sections or squads of infantry and a few items in support like a tank, an armoured car or a couple of heavy weapons. Tabletop gamers like to get a few toys on the table after all.

This is also a pretty good size of game to collect and paint for. A force of say 35 infantry, a machine gun team, a tank and an armoured car is not gonna set you back a fortune to buy and you can get them done over a weekend (in 15mm anyways). 

Another advantage here is that if you already have troops done up for games like Arc of Fire, Rate of Fire, Bolt Action or Chain of Command you can just use your armies right as they are. 

(Some folks may have armies based on team bases with 2-4 figures per base. I will add something to the book to address that, but for now you will have to improvise a bit here). 

General army building

If you want some guidelines for building a generic force, we include a sort of "catch all platoon build" system. 

This is pretty simple and is intended for pick-up games and for cases where you may not have accurate platoon information available but would still like to get a game going. Basically you build a platoon of 3 or 4 combat units, then take up to 2 units of support. For example if you agree to play a tank heavy game, your platoon might be 3 tanks and then you bring along 2 squads of infantry in support. 

For large games, 3 or 4 platoons of the same type (infantry or tank) count as a company allowing 1 additional support unit per platoon.

Once again, this sort of approach is really intended more for quick games or when you just are coming up short on what a Hungarian reserve infantry division should be organised like. 

The points system

Whenever you discuss points systems, people tend to get funny about it. However including it means people can use it or not, whereas leaving it out means I am making that choice for you. Part of my approach with History Dad was exactly to let you make the decision. 

The points system is pretty straight forward: Pick the quality and morale rating for a unit, add any special conditions like engineers or a forward observer, add the cost of any weapons that are not just pistols or bolt action rifles and voila, you are done. A standard soldier with a rifle comes out to 10 points. The absolute worst soldier possible (Green quality, Morale 6+) is a pretty paltry 3 points while the most hardened (Veteran, 2+ Morale) sits at 18 points. 

Vehicles use a simple formula to determine their points cost. The vehicle profiles in the book all have their costs pre-calculated for you but I wanted to give people the formula so you can modify the provided vehicles or make your own. 

The pre-built British platoon comes to 433 points. If I add in a Sherman I'd be at 643 points. 

Two light off-map guns (3" mortars f.x.) is another 160 points bringing us to 803 points. A good aiming point to start will be somewhere between 500 and 1000 points. This of course does depend on what style of game you want. You might agree to use only infantry and armoured cars for example or you may flip things around and mostly play as a tank game. 

Rolling dice

If all of this is not your cup of tea, I also included options to roll up both random platoons and random support units. These tools are provided for you to do with what you want. If you play solo, you might build your own platoon but randomly generate the opposition. Or you may take a random support unit with you each mission.

In a pick up game, you may start with an infantry platoon each and randomly decide on the support or you might even roll up your own forces at the start of a campaign. Of course random units are not likely to be even. Its entirely possible you get heavy tanks and I don't get any such thing. Use this as a springboard to make an interesting scenario. You can always start with the random force and then give a small number of points or unit slots to "tidy things up".