Monday, March 11, 2013

Friday Night WWII Skirmish + Simple Rules

France, 1944: American troops assault a German-held farm house.

On Friday night, I found myself with a small amount of time to play a game and so opted to put my new and simple house (with a stone wall built just for the purpose) onto the new tabletop (well, painted MDF resting on my desk). 

The setup was Mission 1 from the Nuts! 2.0 rule-book,which is the same scenario that was provided in the free MG-42 rules from THW several years back.

I ran it first with Nuts! 2.0 rules and, as I still had some time when it was over, I decided to make up rules using USR  as the base (I was too lazy to dig out the polyhedral dice). Both games were German victories.

Simple Quickly-Generated WWII Skirmish Rules:

Individual Stats
HP: d6

Roll 2d6 for each figure. 
Figures activate in descending order.
Ties activate simultaneously (wait to apply results until all with same score have finished)For 2-man MG-42  team, use the higher of the two initiative results.

Determine difficulty level (from USR rules) for achieving that distance, roll 2d6, if score = or higher, then success. For avg  or short distances (in my case, I used 8" as the base-line) I just move the figures without a roll.

Opportunity fire: If an enemy figure moves into LOS, then determine difficulty level (from USR rules) for getting a shot off at the target. Roll 2d6, if score = or higher, then resolve combat per below.

Attack: d6 + weapon bonus + specialism bonus if applicable - penalty for shooter movement if applicable

Defense: d6 + cover bonus if applicable + bonus if target is running or crawling.

If Attack is higher than Defense, subtract Defense from Attack and difference is the damage applied to target's HP. If HP reduced to 0, target is dead.

Movement penalty (for shooter): -1 if walking, -2 if crawling/running
Running/Crawling bonus for target: +1
Bolt-action rifle: +0
Semi-auto rifle: +1
SMG: +2
LMG: + 3
Grenade: + 3
Forest: + 1
Behind Wall: +1
Inside building: +2


  1. I like the rules. The only thing I wonder about the activation. Do you make a bunch of activations all at once for both sides, or do you do one side first then the other? Depending on your answer, I have a follow up question.

    1. Hi Chris,

      I roll everybody's activation all at once for both sides. So with ten figures on the table, I roll ten activations. Personally, for me, that's about the limit, as I prefer to roll every turn for the unpredictability. Beyond 10 or so figures, I find it gets tedious.


  2. Is there any way in your game to "influence" when troops are activated? Maybe this is complicating things, but lets say you activate a Sergeant and he charges. That may prompt his troops to do the same. Just a thought.


    1. I don't see why not. I've done this with USR as written when I've used it for skirmishes and this is based on that.

      I'd assign leaders a "leadership" rating (essentially a USR specialism) from -1 or even -2 for terrible leaders up to maybe +3 or so for great leaders. There's two approaches I can think of after that:

      1) Roll d6+leadeship vs d6 for soldier to see if they follow the order/desired outcome/etc. This would have to be done for each soldier but it means that "Sarge" can push his grunts to act sooner than they might, or even, an additional move that turn.

      2) Or, roll the leader's d6+leadeship modifier against a difficulty rating (target number). A simple order to advance while out of sight of the enemy would be easy - probably an automatic pass, but to advance in the open against a known enemy MG position would be nearly impossible (only a good leader with a good roll of 2d6 could pull it off).

      I prefer the second method for its simplicity.

      The first method, to me, implies the leader can do quite a lot, even give suicidal orders, as any grunt might roll less than the leader - especially if the leader is getting some kind of bonus on the roll. So, I would probably temper this method by ruling that any failure means the whole order fails or some other penalty. You could also judge the order's soundness and add to or subtract from the grunt's die roll.


    2. some further thoughts:

      You could check initiative using only each side's leader and then, using one of the methods above, test to see if they can get their squad to follow their commands. To mix up the activation a bit, perhaps like the Song of systems or Crossfire, if an order fails for an individual grunt, initiative is turned over to the other side. Thus safe, simple orders mean less reward but less risk, bolder actions entail a greater risk of failure and undermining your momentum.


      You roll initiative for everyone but the leader can improve only those that have initiative scores less than or equal to theirs.


      as I was imagining it when i wrote my reply earlier, the leader can potentially give everyone of their squad member's one additional action each turn (assuming their within a command radius, whatever that might be)