(this is the third part of a mini mini- series)
Activating a Unit:
I like wargames where it's not a given that your force will do exactly what you want when you want it. It also seemed to me that knowing how much, or even whether, a unit can do anything should be less of a function of who's turn it is, and more of a function of the unit's leader.
When i first started down this path, i was thinking of something like Donald Featherstone's 10 figure companies, where the company HQ and platoon HQs are abstractly part of the group.
In my case, I was imagining 9 figure platoons - 3 figures per section, without any specific representation of the HQ. But that didn't really jive with my design goal, which was to achieve a game where leadership plays an important role.
And so, the platoon and company HQs found their way onto the table, with the same 3 cliches as the squads.
After several test games, I found myself bouncing back and forth between two methods of activation: one is a variant of the "pips=commands" approach using successes instead of pips (call this Method 1), and the other is what I describe as top-down-distributed-success (Method 2).
In Method 1, only a portion of a side's units will even get a chance to act in any given turn, barring some fantastic dice rolling. In Method 2, every unit rolls its leadership dice, so although they may not all get to take any action, the odds are higher that any given unit will do something. It does, however, take more dice rolling to determine who will do what.
Either way, at the start of a turn, both sides roll for all of their company HQs. The side with the most total successes goes first. Keep track of the successes rolled by each company HQ as they need them for activation.
A company HQ can use the successes for its own actions (see below or it can activate one platoon HQ or one squad in line of sight, per success. A platoon HQ may be assigned more than one activation. It is possible some or all platoons will not be activated.
For each activated platoon HQ, roll the platoon HQ's leadership cliche and count successes. They may use the successes for their own actions, or activate as many squads under their command as successes. If there are more successes than squads, more than one activation may be given to a squad. It is possible some or all squads will not be activated.
At the squad level, roll the squad's leadership dice and the number of successes dictate how many actions the unit can take. It's possible that an activated squad still doesn't do anything.
Any unit that receives more than one activation, completes the 2nd activation only after both sides have finished the 1st activation for all units which were activated. Those with 3 actions, wait to complete the 3rd action only after both sides have completed all 2nd activation, and so on.
When all activation are completed the turn ends.
A company HQ can use the successes for its own actions or distribute the success to any friendly unit under its command.
Each platoon HQ rolls their leadership cliche and counts the successes, including any it received from the company HQ, and can use the successes for its own actions or distribute the successes to any squad under its command.
At the squad level, roll their leadership cliche and count the successes, including any it received from the company HQ and/or the platoon HQ. The successes are used for the squads actions and cannot be distributed further.
When all units have completed their activation, the turn ends.
Actions and their Cost:
Actions include: Move, Shoot, Rally, Close Assault, Spot (for artillery). More can obviously be added.
Each turn, the first action of a given type, e.g. Move, costs 1 success.
Successes not used are lost. There is no saving of actions for later.
My US MMG section with the By the Book NCO, rolls their 3 leadership cliche and gets 3 successes. They opt to move, and then fire at an enemy unit. The 3rd action is unused.
Each additional attempt of the same action during a single activation requires 2 successes be spent, not one.
My US MMG section with the By the Book NCO, rolls their 3 leadership cliche and gets 3 successes. They opt to fire 2x and have used up all three successes (1 for the first shoot action, and then 2 for the second shoot action)