Monday, May 21, 2012

First thoughts on USEME WWII

This is not a review of USEME WWII ( available from properly speaking - for one I've only played the game once. Second, and more importantly, this game took place around 2:30 am Sunday morning and to be fair, my brain may not have been working properly. I think the fact that I set up a game at 2:30 am is reasonable evidence of this.

I pitted two units of German infantry and a Panzer IV on a ridge against three units of Soviet infantry and a T-34/76 tasked with getting the Germans out of there. All were rated Elan 3.

Since I felt like using the 1/32 figures, I tripled the distances and ranges (I probably could have gone up to 4x but 3x worked fine). Infantry Movement =  12", Tanks = 18".

One other note, for grins, the game was played on the living room carpet using large throw pillows and the coffee table to simulate the ridge and other large green  sofa cushions to act as woods. It was very much a "toy game".

No pictures were taken but here is an artist's rendition of the setup (force images provided by

Grey areas are impassable and block LOS. The tan-ish trapezoids in front of the German units are sandbags.

The Soviets advance using the woods as cover. The tanks exchange ineffective fire.  The German infantry, unable to use their rifles any time soon, hunker down, and will do so every turn until the Soviets start heading up the slope to their position.

I watched several war documentaries this weekend. Hence the arrows.

The T-34's crew dialed in the Panzer - hitting it once on turn 3 and again on turn 4, destroying it. The crew would then set their sites on the hunkered down infantry on the hill and score no more hits the rest of the game - hitting hunkered down infantry in cover from long range is not easy.

A battle of attrition ensued as infantry fired on each other from cover. It was slow going at first, but once the winged and then struck markers started piling up, every shot seemed to take another figure out for one side or the other.

Overwhelmed by superior numbers, on turn 8, the German commander seeing his forces down to 40% of its starting strength (not counting the loss of the Panzer), opted to leave the field to the Soviet force which still had 75% of its strength left.

As I said, this isn't a review properly speaking, just my first impressions. And they are:

If you've already played USEME001 Science Fiction rules, then the basic rules for USEME003 won't throw you any surprises. If you've downloaded some the free additional material you can get for USEME001 (like civilians and firing for suppression for instance), you'll notice that these seem to come directly from USEME003 WWII's Advanced Rules section.

The solo section is a little skimpier than the one in the Sci Fi rules, but the game doesn't suffer for it.

So is it worth $5 for the PDF if you already have the Sci Fi rules?

If you're a rivet counter, you'll want to go elsewhere. These rules aren't targeted at you. That said, I'm not a rivet counter - I lean heavily towards the "game" side of the hobby, in spite of the reading and research I do to the contrary. I believe it is safe to say that the USEME rules are game oriented but they don't totally neglect history.

Personally, I think there's enough period flavor in these rules  - on table ground attack aircraft, anti-tank and anti-aircraft rules, sniper rules, flame throwers and even partisans - to capture the WWII vibe. I suspect this is especially true if WWII is just a side interest and not your obsession (or if you're like me with a large number of interests scattered here and there such that you have no one obsession).

USEME WWII provides stats for a wide variety of infantry and armor types  for all the major powers - Japan and the USMC aren't left out as they so often are in other rules I've looked at. This is key for me as I finish up my PTO island invasion forces.

And while you might disagree with the stats given, they aren't official. There is no tournament standard to adhere to. They are just suggestions so you can spend more time playing and less time mucking about with force creation. If the later is your thing though, the rules support it.

After only one game it's hard to say if  USEME003 will become a favorite rules set, but they did give me a fun game in the wee hours of Sunday morning, and so at the very least, I think it was $5 well spent.


  1. Hi,
    Where can the rules be found?

  2. Hi Steve,

    I can't believe I forgot to mention that!

    They're available from in PDF or printed form.

    I'll update the post with that info.