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Questions about infantry combat


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#1 madman2

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Posted 04 April 2020 - 02:53 PM

I have seen the description of units and have an idea about armour combat but I would like to know how infantry is handled in the game. A link to combat example(s) would work but my main question is;

 

Could you have an entire game of just infantry combat and would the mechanics make for an interesting game? Let's face it infantry made up 95% of all combat. In my case I really enjoy armour but would prefer a game where infantry is the prime arm with armour and artillery acting as support. Thank you in advance.



#2 healey36

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Posted 05 April 2020 - 10:40 AM

I have played a number of MP sessions that were predominantly infantry actions and the mechanics work well. A couple of recommendations: first, make sure you include all of the supporting arms (i.e. HMGs, mortars, AT rifles, etc.), along with a reasonable arty component (typically off-board for us). Also, if it's a large game with a lot of units and a big table, start the game with everyone in reasonable proximity. Marching infantry across the table to come to grips with the enemy can take bloody forever.

 

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#3 madman2

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Posted 05 April 2020 - 12:01 PM

Could you give a quick overview of infantry vs infantry combat please?



#4 healey36

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Posted 06 April 2020 - 03:18 PM

Two that I hosted appear here:

 

https://www.odgw.com...t-horton-cross/

 

https://www.odgw.com...-lamb-and-lion/

 

Didn't go into a lot of detail regarding the mechanics, just tried to present a readable account of the action/results. These are not pure infantry actions, so they may not be what you are looking for.

 

There are others in the AAR section of the Lounge.

 

Healey



#5 madman2

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Posted 07 April 2020 - 06:49 PM

Read the older one. Very good and just what I was asking about wrt viability of infantry in the game. Of course some of that could be artistic licence as far as how the detail is interpreted into "theatrical" actions. I have a couple days on then when my mind is clear I want to go over the second scenario.

 

As an example of what I meant here are the general mechanics of two systems. They are both board games but cover the period and unit sizes and types.

 

Squad Leader has you add up all the attack factors of every unit attacking a hex. Then you add up all the defense factors of the units in the hex. Modify both for ranges, terrain, etc. Compare the odds and check a table. Roll the die, more modifiers, and consult the appropriate row on the table and apply. If a unit is partially damaged it is broken. I have not gone as far as reducing a unit to half squads. 

 

Conflict of Heroes is not too far different. Take the attack factor of the firing unit modify for range and add the roll of 2D6. If this is greater than the target's defense value, modified for terrain, the target takes a hit. Pull a chit and secretly apply the effects when the target next activates. The hit target takes another hit before it can rally it is eliminated. If the attack roll is 4 greater than the modified defense value the unit is eliminated instead of "hit". Groups of attackers take the highest attack factor attacking and add 1 for each additional unit attacking. If the target hex has more than one unit in it roll once for each unit in the target hex.

 

In a quick sketch there are the two basic mechanisms for combat for two different but similar games. Lots more details but...



#6 healey36

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Posted 08 April 2020 - 09:24 AM

I better understand the underlying point of your query now. Here are a few observations.

 

I have been a board-gamer far longer than a miniatures-gamer, having cut my teeth on Avalon Hill and SPI offerings from the late 1960s into the 1970s. Over the intervening years I have managed to accumulate somewhere north of a thousand board “wargames”. I am well familiar with Squad Leader in its original form (Avalon Hill, 1977) but have had no exposure to Conflict of Heroes. I played SL endlessly for a number of years, both against live opponents and solitaire. I lost interest in it before Advanced Squad Leader came along, together with its many imitators.

 

Playing at this on a table, whether using a board format or miniature figures, is all heavily abstracted. It has to be. There’s no way to precisely replicate the act of picking up your rifle and running into the woods to find and neutralize your opponent. There are too many intangibles that can and will intervene, things that can’t easily be numerically represented. That said, there are more similarities than differences in the rules-based mechanics of miniature and board games. Both provide substantial rule-sets aimed to allow, while regulating, various forms of action (movement, fire, entrenching, etc.) while attempting to present some of the intangibles (melee, disruption, panic, rally, etc.), all within a framework meant to simulate a chain-of-command.

 

The big difference for me, and ultimately the turn-off, was that tactical board games attempt to simulate/regulate the action in two dimensions. That works well at the strategic and operational levels, much less so, in my opinion, at the tactical. I grew to dislike the precision/control that came with the hex-grid. I hated determining LOS dot-to-dot, laying a straightedge over the map to determine intervening/blocking terrain. Those types of things, together with a penchant for model-building, brought me round to miniature gaming. I was willing to give up the precision of the gridded map for a three-dimensional view.

 

Gone were the hexes, replaced by a tape-measure, a laser-pointer, and a bunch of shell-burst templates. Buildings, streams, tree-lines, hills, etc., were presented in three dimensions. At eye-level, things began to come to life. One gets a much better sense visually of what’s involved in making the decision to move across 100 yards of open ground here. There are, I admit, sacrifices in precise game-mechanics. Many things become more subjective, especially in terms of movement and, to some extent, fire combat, but I came to realize that, in the big scheme of things, it didn’t really matter. Rolling-to-hit seemed a far better fit than summing attack/defense factors. Most importantly, it was fun.

 

So, back to the topic at hand. Infantry combat is really the bread-and-butter of war. Sure, you can dump a hundred tanks on the table and go at it, and I suspect that’s what most folks want to do. Big swirling armor battles are fun, but how many have there been? Not many. Ground is taken and held by the infantry, so if you want to learn something, this is where you go. Infantry action moves slowly in a set-piece fashion. My recommendation is that when you build your scenario, make the OB as robust as possible. Include a good sampling of supporting arms (mortars, MGs of various weights, AT guns, etc.). Off-table artillery, somewhat randomized in availability, adds a huge dimension. A few assault guns can be fun, but can seriously tip balance if unopposed. Battalion-level is probably doable with two players and a substantial availability of time, but more than that and you better think about bringing in additional players. If possible, have an umpire or game-master to (1) arbitrate some of the generalities that will come up, and (2) keep the game moving.

 

Hope this has been somewhat helpful, not just a commiseration on my part.

 

I've been reading Featherstone lately, refreshing my memory of his simulation of airborne operations. He used a yard-stick and slips of paper held horizontally at set heights above the game table to simulate “sticks” of paratroops…tip the yardstick and the slips of paper fluttering down simulate their descent and landing position. Vary the height of the yardstick to simulate altitude. The higher the altitude the better to escape ground fire, but then the scatter increases. How cool is that?



#7 Mark 1

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Posted 14 April 2020 - 05:36 PM

Here is another AAR for a game dominated by infantry:  https://www.odgw.com...e-tunisia-1940/

 

Again, more a recounting of a story of the (imagined) battle than a treatise on how the rules worked, but I did put some commentary in at the end about game mechanics.  I might expand on that a bit here.

 

If you review the MP rules you'll find that there are separate ratings of "Firepower" for infantry, vs. the "OM1, OM2, OM3" (the to-hit numbers) and "AP OV" (the anti-armor Offensive Value) for armored vehicles.  With infantry combat you don't roll to hit, then roll to see what damage you did, you go straight to the question of damage.  Anti-infantry firepower is assumed to be many shots, so you are assumed to be hitting, the question is how well, how hard, how often.  So you have one table to match up the incoming Firepower vs. your adjusted die role, and you get a result.

 

The most common result of a good shot, unless you have a LOT of firepower, is suppression. If you really bring a lot of firepower, whether because you are close or because you have a lot of shooters, you may get a kill. But most infantry squads have a size of 2 -- meaning if you get one kill, they go down one step in strength rather than disappearing from the game.  Infantry is hard to kill. But it can be suppressed. What does that mean?  It means two things: first, you lose your bonus move. Second, the only action you can take is to try to un-suppress. If you succeed, you get your bonus move back. If you don't, you just sit there waiting to be shot at again. This is where I find the rules to be nearly brilliant.

 

The result of this mechanic of combat is that if one side starts losing the fight for firepower superiority, the pressure starts mounting to pull back. It's fascinating to experience.  Consider the viewpoint ... your infantry and my infantry are in a firefight. I manage to suppress one or two more of your units than you suppress of mine.  As we continue to go back and forth on activations, I start having more shooters than you do. So I am likely to suppress even more of yours, and the ratio of shooters tilts even further to my advantage. Eventually I start not only shooting, but moving in to closer range, where my firepower numbers grow. As I get closer, I'm going to start getting not just suppressions, but kills. Your problem is you can't shoot back when you're suppressed. All you can do with your units when they activate is to try to remove the suppression. If you succeed, and you don't your bonus move, if you just sit there, well on my next activation I'm likely to focus on your recently un-suppressed units, and you just get suppressed again.  So you feel the pressure, real and tangible pressure, to take that bonus move and bug out, pull back out of the line of fire, so that you can get all or most of your units under cover and un-suppressed, ready to re-engage as I advance into sight again.

 

Add to that the suppressive firepower of AFVs and artillery and mortars and MGs from outside of effective small arms range. It becomes a fascinating swirl of firepower that takes time to mount up into an advantage, but once that advantage starts to make it's presence visible, it grows, and it accelerates, and pretty soon you thought you could sit and suck it up but now casualties are mounting and you can see you won't be able to hold out much longer.

 

Really interesting stuff. And I've never even tried the Morale drop-in. I've never had my troops pull back because a table told me that was the result of my die roll. I've always pulled them back because I was feeling too much pressure. And even though I was the one who decided to pull them back I often felt that it wasn't really my choice -- it was just what I had to do.   Just the basic game mechanics are enough to give that to me.

 

I'm not sure about battalion sized forces, but I suppose you could manage if you are very fluent with the rules.  I've found that about 20 - 25 elements per gamer seems to work best.  Maybe 30 when I am feeling confident in the rules. But I don't think I'd go for more.  The game does scale up nicely to multiple players, though. So two or three guys per side easily makes for battalion-sized games.

 

Just my $0.02 worth. Your tankage may vary.

 

-Mark

(aka: Mk 1)


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#8 healey36

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Posted 17 April 2020 - 08:17 AM

An excellent, succinct description of the mechanics, Mark, probably the best I've seen. Thanks for that.

 

In my earlier comments, I didn't mean to imply that everything in MP is in a roll-to-hit format, although the sensibilities of the mechanics are oriented in that direction (rather than an odds-based summing/comparison of abstract attack factors vs. abstract defense factors, as in SL). Largely gone is the concept of throwing in that one last bit to the stack to get to 3-1 odds.

 

  






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