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"WW2 Platoon Hex Rules" Topic

15 Posts

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doctorphalanx22 May 2013 1:50 a.m. PST

I'm planning to develop some WW2 platoon rules for use on hexes. I have no qualifications and no previous experience. Apart from the toys and the playing area, I'm starting with a blank sheet. I will be cataloguing the process on my blog. Feedback will be welcome.


MajorB22 May 2013 2:12 a.m. PST

You should take a look at "Fire and Movement", one of the games described in Phil Sabin's "Simulating War".

Possibly also "Red Flags and Iton Crosses" here:

doctorphalanx22 May 2013 2:25 a.m. PST

Thanks for the suggestions. I grew up on WRG rules but I'm now strongly influenced by and attracted to rules associated with Wargames Developments.

(Phil Dutre)22 May 2013 2:34 a.m. PST

If you want to use hexes, you'll have tod ecide on the following:

- Use the hexes for movement purposes?
- Use the distance in hexes for ranged fire?
- Use hexes for determining line-of-sight (e.g. centre to centre)
- Use hexes for orientation of units?

Not all of these need to be implemented using hexes. E.g. in skirmish games, it might make sense to consider LOS and orientation as a continuous spectrum rather than a discretized hex-spectrum.

doctorphalanx22 May 2013 2:56 a.m. PST


Some very interesting points. I've become very pro-hex/grid recently (link) but don't have a huge experience of hex games, although I once co-designed a computer hex-based game.

I think I would probably use the hexes for determining all four of the aspects you mention as clarity in those areas seems to be the main reason for using hexes.

I have wondered about orientation, though, as being attacked in the flank, for example, could be less specifically covered by the concept of being attacked from more than one direction. I guess that's the way boardgames do it.

Martin Rapier22 May 2013 3:20 a.m. PST

I have written a fair few games which use Kallistra hexes.

One of the fundamental decisions is ground scale as this informs ranges, combat resolution and stacking limits. For 1 base = 1 platoon you could go with anything from 1 hex = 50m up to 1 hex = 300m or more. The latter implies you could stack up to a company in a hex, the former that the chaps are hideously bunched up (but it corresponds with CD platoon base sizes). You also need to have a think about what level of player command you are aiming at as this informs the granularity of the basic mechanisms.

Other than that is a case of borrowing your favourite activation, combat, movement and morale systems from whatever rules you like and off you go:)

I am a big fan of area effects for twentieth century weaponry, small arms as well as artillery etc. Hexes make this sort of thing easy and discourage bunching up.

doctorphalanx22 May 2013 4:01 a.m. PST


I was provisionally thinking of a ground scale of 250m per hex and a stacking limit of 3 bases/platoons per hex. The bases/platoons/units would probably be organised into battalion, or in some cases, company, sized formations for activation/morale purposes.

Yes, there are plenty of design models to borrow from, and I would also expect to borrow comparative factors (e.g. speed, armour) from a consensus of other rule sets.

My main personal input would, hopefully, be getting the right balance between 'accuracy' and playability, and things like economy of words and clarity of expression.

I do have some possibly novel ideas about sequence of play, but at the moment these are more like feelings than solutions.

cwbuff22 May 2013 4:36 a.m. PST

Squad Leader works for miniatures on a hex-based board.

doctorphalanx22 May 2013 5:13 a.m. PST


I owned and played a few games of the basic Squad Leader many years ago. From what I remember it was at a lower level. I do remember the more advanced rules being too complicated for my tastes.

I've more recently looked at Panzer Grenadier (Avalanche Press) which is at the right scale and has a very interesting command/activation system but I thought the hidden tank command rules were too fiddly besides which I'd like to try out some mechanisms of my own.

Martin Rapier22 May 2013 5:41 a.m. PST

"I was provisionally thinking of a ground scale of 250m per hex and a stacking limit of 3 bases/platoons per hex. The bases/platoons/units would probably be organised into battalion, or in some cases, company, sized formations for activation/morale purposes."

Sounds good to me. 250m is also not an unreasonable frontage for single ww2 platoon to hold, it is also the hex size used in Panerblitz:)

I've been vaguely thing of a more complex version of Phil Sabins 'Fire & Movement', but his 150m hexes are bit small for me as I'm looking at eastern front more so I'm leaning towards 200m possibly more. Torn between 200 and 300.

One physical limitation is how many bases you can get in a hex without it looking silly. We've managed to get six 30x30 bases into one Kallistra hex but it does look a bit daft. One company per hex sounds fine for 250m hexes, although may want to accommodate company organisations which include weapons platoons (so maybe allow a full company of three rifle and one weapons platoon).

For the 1 base = 1 platoon game you need to decide if you are aiming at brigade level (in which case battalions are a nice activation unit) or reinforced battalions (go for companies).

A reinforced battalion is a nice force for a player to run, and the sort of level CD is pitched at. I find the Spearhead approach where battalions are the activation unit can sort of die under the weight of lead, but it depends how much time you have to play of course.

doctorphalanx22 May 2013 8:01 a.m. PST

A stacking limit for infantry of 4 to allow for 3 rifle and one heavy weapons platoons makes sense, but I would need to limit AFVs to 3 or they won't fit in the hex!

Part of the driver for this is finally to use the forces I already have which means getting as much lead/resin on the table as possible, so I will probably aim for brigade level (and above) rather than reinforced battalion level. I will have to keep things simple to compensate for the numbers.

I imagine that the company level would be left out. Leaving out a level seems common in wargame rules.

Martin Rapier22 May 2013 8:45 a.m. PST

You could consider having a lower stacking limit for vehicles. The safe minimum of 50m between vehicles doesn't leave a huge amount of space to jams loads into a 250m hex.

If you have 30x60 vehicles bases why not go with two vehicles per hex (or four infantry/heavy weapons). So one vehicle is the equivalent of two inf/wpns. Nice and symmetrical then.

doctorphalanx22 May 2013 8:53 a.m. PST

Yes, and a little less 'shoulder to shoulder' in appearance.

On a different note, a friend of mine has strong objections to the way in which rules like Spearhead represent tank *platoons* rather than tank *numbers* because of the differing national strengths of tank platoons. He prefers to divide the total number of tanks in a battalion by a given number, say 5, and represent a battalion with that number of models.

I prefer a battalion to have its historical allocation of platoons and, if necessary, to factor in any platoon-strength differences. Having said that, my Sherman Fireflies are separately represented as bases/platoons rather than lost in other platoons, and (following Spearhead) this goes for other equipment which would not otherwise put in a separate appearance.

Martin Rapier23 May 2013 3:19 a.m. PST

The numnbes vs organisational units thing is always tough, especially for five troop British tank squadrons.

At a tactical level I suspect the number of manouvre units is more significant than platoon sizes (big platoons just give you more ability to sustain casualties), but at a grand tactical/operational level it is overall numbers which are more significant. Big platoons often broke down into sections though.

I tend to go with numbers per company though (one model per 5-6 vehicles), partly as I'm a cheapskate:) I also run the Fireflies as seperate bases as they look nice!

normsmith25 May 2013 10:45 p.m. PST

?Two boardgames that cover the subject an may give you some ideas are;

White Star Rising from Lock 'n Load


Panzer Grenadier from Avalanche Press

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