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""Rapid Fire V2" Rules - Pros & Cons?" Topic

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Comments or corrections?

coopman30 Dec 2015 12:44 p.m. PST

I'm looking for a fairly simple, easy to play WW2 rules set that isn't frequently revised/tweaked with each new supplement that is published. I am not a rivet counter type of person. I downloaded the two page play sheet and am encouraged by what I see. I would appreciate any input on these rules. Thanks.

parrskool30 Dec 2015 12:54 p.m. PST

These are the rules I turn to for choice…. they remind me of the "old days" when i was getting started in WW2 and rules sets were not as prolific as now. I find that with a bit of thought they can be adapted to any scale from platoon to battalion size. I have made a slight adjustment with the morale section, but they are easily "tweaked" if you wish.

ciaphas30 Dec 2015 1:03 p.m. PST

I play them regularly, like all rulesets, some like them some loathe them.

Pro's can be played to completion in a relatively short time frame.
Due to the level the game is pitched at OOBs are easily found.
Plenty of scenarios online.

Con's probably the most common complaint is the level of abstraction, ie. each infantry figure is 15 real men, each tank etc is a troop in British parlance or platoon in US.
The game can be played as a skirmish if the abstraction is bamboozling.

MajorB30 Dec 2015 1:10 p.m. PST

I have made a slight adjustment with the morale section,

Interesting! Care to elaborate?

Who asked this joker30 Dec 2015 1:27 p.m. PST

They are a simple "toy soldier" set of rules that don't take themselves too seriously. The scale is similar to the Lionel Tarr set.

Marc33594 Supporting Member of TMP30 Dec 2015 1:27 p.m. PST

Really a great set. No matter how many sets of rules I try out I keep returning to these. I find they are perfect for convention games since easy to teach newbies. By about turn 2 or 3 they have it down. Also rules are well supported by the official website. Clarifications and errata available. Scenarios available. And list of weapons updated regularly and free to download. In other words just buy the basic set and you do not need to buy anything else if you dont want to.

As to morale, not sure what change parrskool makes but many of us switch to morale by infantry company rather than by battalion.

lkmjbc330 Dec 2015 1:29 p.m. PST

They are hands down my favorite… they are very simple and designed to produce a decisive game…

They are very much a game… not a hard simulation. I find hard simulations to remarkably boring. Interestingly, they produce outcomes much better than many of the "simulations" I have played in the past.

Joe Collins

Dynaman878930 Dec 2015 1:57 p.m. PST

There are more realistic rules that are just as simple and fast playing. Nothing terrible bit nothing great

MajorB30 Dec 2015 2:04 p.m. PST

There are more realistic rules that are just as simple and fast playing.


GGouveia30 Dec 2015 3:21 p.m. PST

Suggestion? Rapid Fire plays just fine and is well supported with scenarios. Spearhead I didn't like at all.

lkmjbc330 Dec 2015 4:39 p.m. PST

Err Dynaman… like what?

I've played tons…
I haven't found one…

Joe Collins

Texas Jack30 Dec 2015 5:05 p.m. PST

I´m another fan. I love the way it handles tanks, and like others here, I do morale by company rather than battalion.

PzGeneral30 Dec 2015 5:25 p.m. PST

We use them for Spanish Civil War.

Dynaman878930 Dec 2015 5:25 p.m. PST

Fistful of Tows 3 and Spearhead.

You guys may not like them but they are a heck of a lot more realistic and no more complex.

Weasel30 Dec 2015 5:51 p.m. PST

Spearhead is very easy to play but writing orders is a dealbreaker for a lot of people, I find.

lkmjbc330 Dec 2015 6:14 p.m. PST

Spearhead is a different scale game. You need to fight Brigade sized battles…the real units are battalions… platoons are really just strength point markers.

I play tons of modern spearhead.

Fistful of Tows is more complicated. Again… I have played quite a bit of both FFT2 and FFT3… good game btw…

For WW2… go with Rapid Fire!

For Modern… I prefer Modern Spearhead… though FFT3 is good as well if you want a smaller level game (I also recommend the CD4 Modern playtest rules- Sorry, Ty.. their infantry combat is better than FFt3… of course… there is always FFT4 to fix this!).

Joe Collins

Joe Collins

Dynaman878930 Dec 2015 8:20 p.m. PST

I'll leave it at disagreeing, even fft3 infantry combat is more fun than rapid fire's.

Robert66631 Dec 2015 5:40 p.m. PST

Great rules, and on line there is a WW1, Vietnam and modern version that can all be tweaked to your own preference. Simple, fun and great for campaign games.
Yes there are more 'realistic' rules, you pay your money and make your choice.

SgtGuinness Supporting Member of TMP01 Jan 2016 7:44 p.m. PST

I'm a big fan of RF2. I've played many rules systems since Angriff in 1975 and IMHO they are fast, simple, very playable, and yet still provide the feel of the combined unit operations of a battalion level WWII game.

ubercommando02 Jan 2016 4:38 p.m. PST

I can't stand them and every game I've played with those rules (I once was a member of a club that would only use RF and no other for WW2 games) were a disappointment.

I am biased; I'm not generally a fan of operational level WW2 games and the abstraction doesn't work for me. I also think it's over simplistic and combat usually became a case of if you see it, you hit it and if you hit it you kill it. Games were over very quickly, too quickly really and there wasn't a lot of nuance. I remember one person calling it "Vapid Fire" and that about sums up how I feel about the game as well.

However….it's stood the test of time and continues to have a fan base so it must be doing something right. I can't figure what that is, but fair play to the game and its fans. I personally wouldn't recommend it, but try before you buy.

Dexter Ward08 Jan 2016 3:55 a.m. PST

The problem with Rapid Fire is that it uses mechanisms from a skirmish set (tracking grenades), but pretends that elements are companies.
There's no attempt to model command and control.
So it's a perfectly fun set of rules, but it always feels like a big skirmish to me (a bit like Warhammer), rather than a battle.
Contrast with Spearhead, which is all about command and control, and severely restricts what you can do when you get into contact with the enemy.
Suddenly you need to make plans and have reserves.

sausagesca09 Jan 2016 1:21 p.m. PST

For years I played lots of other sets using 20mm models. I love Spearhead but the abstraction of that set simply did not work for larger scales. Crossfire is a marvel, but did not accommodate multi-player games and the larger battles we wanted to fight. Battlefront WWII is a wonderfully designed game but is surprisingly slow to play; too many suppressions etc and not enough decisive results. In a 2.5 hour game time it just didn't work for us. Then we tried RF….

I had the original typed rules, then edition 1 and then RF 2. I had all the support books. But for years the game didn't appeal to me in the abstract for two reasons: First, the mechanics looked easy but there were too many of them. It looked like a rule set that evolved without any design discipline. Second, coming from games like SH and BF WWII where the mechanics were streamlined and the designs were consistent to the the level of abstraction, it seemed that the odd mix of higher level action and skirmish type rules (e.g., separate mechanics for grenades etc.) that were a bit of a mess.

I was wrong. I do think RF2 could do with a rewrite in order to streamline the large variety of admittedly simple mechanics and rid the game of the old-fashioned casualty chart. However, the game is remarkably comprehensive in terms of what it covers and plays quickly. We get results in a fun game. I absolutely love that weird mix of operational level gaming and skirmish type mechanics. It works with 15/20mm models especially. I happily fool myself that I am simulating major actions (I am preparing the Omaha beach scenario and have done Juno already) but in the course of play roll for a Heroic action to break cover and fire a bazooka at a Panther. Artillery, landing craft, aircraft, engineering, land, air, sea combat, and, yes, throwing grenades, are all there. It is crazy but has supported my imagination for this period for years. Play it.

Finally, I have to say that I have played bad games with good rules and fantastic games with terrible rule designs. RF can produce poor games if the scenarios are poorly designed and prepared. Put in some pre-game thought and you will have fun.

Marc33594 Supporting Member of TMP10 Jan 2016 9:28 a.m. PST


Agree with you on the grenades, we simply dont use that rule. However there is a whole section on command and control in the advanced rules section of the RF2 rulebook.

UshCha14 Jan 2016 3:58 a.m. PST

Used at low level us Maneuover Group works and is simple. However the cost of a simulation is no points system as they don't work on real terrain. A Tiger in bocarge is almost worthless. I thing RF is a great game, so is ludo. It depends what you want out of your wargame. It's very clear that the discussion is polarised, Game vs simulation. MG is simple so is chess, chess is hard to play it needs thought and planning. Simulations like MG demand thought but not too many rules.

Cpl Uhl14 Jan 2016 4:28 p.m. PST

I agree with Mr. Collins. It's a game!!! Easy to learn, has all of the aspects of the conflicts!! Fast play!! We played a game from the Bulge campaign book recently. A large game with 7 battalions from both sides. We played it to completion in ~4.5 hrs.

christot15 Jan 2016 11:19 a.m. PST

I really envy people who like RF.
I know a lot of people who play it, who really enjoy it, and they are all great people who I like playing with. They tend to play in my prefered scale (20mm) and their games look fabulous. I regularly get invited to RF games that have had a lot of effort put in to them, Occasionally I go along looking forwards to the game.
Then I play the game. It nearly has everything, great people, great figures, good scenarios, but the rules themselves? Absolutely bloody awful…could have been written by a 14 year old in his bedroom with his mate on a wet Sunday afternoon.

sausagesca15 Jan 2016 5:04 p.m. PST

Christot, you are correct about everything you said up to the critique. As I noted above I had lots of issues with the rules before I played them. I also recognize their limitations and their emphasis on game play, although even that could be improved with more current mechanics. However, RF fills a niche that no other game satisfies -- a comprehensive game system that allows bath-tubed operational games, using 20mm models with elements of skirmish gaming thrown into the narrative it builds. Is it accurate in its detail? No, or at least not in terms of minutia. But in a relativist way I think it offers an easy way to construct a narrative that uses WWII models of all types in a believable and playable manner. WWII gaming is the biggest stretch in terms of making an accurate simulation with models on the table. Other games do this better than RF but at the expense of having markers or maps.

So, I would ask for a little more substance regarding your negative comments. I thank you for the positives.

christot15 Jan 2016 11:12 p.m. PST

The problem rests with me, that I freely admit. Thats why I envy folk who enjoy these rules, it obviously works for them.
For me, its not a believable narrative.
Infantry under artillery fire are better off running about than not? The whole idea that infantry fire is remotely effective other than at close range (not unique to RF). How units can be super selective about what they choose to fire at. A very primitive spotting system…in fact thats it, for me, and it is just me talking here, its overall way too primitive. Its a set of rules I could have identified with when I was 15. Its as if the last 40 years of game design never happened. Which is fair enough, its nearly that old itself, and it shows.

Marc33594 Supporting Member of TMP16 Jan 2016 7:41 a.m. PST

I think christot it is best to understand the aim of Rapid Fire, fast play. Indeed one can add in all sorts of rules to cover a more comprehensive spotting system for example or more discrimination on various infantry weapons. But layering all that in means it no longer "Fast Play" as they state in the title of the rules.

The rules are designed to allow larger battles to be fought to a satisfactory conclusion in around 4 hours. I always felt rules should be judged on their goal and how well they accomplish it. Too criticize the lack of complexity in these rules, which would of necessity slow them down appreciably,is sort of like criticizing a divisional scale game because one prefers skirmish gaming :)

sausagesca16 Jan 2016 9:52 a.m. PST

Although I am a great advocate of RF, I actually agree with Christot about dated mechanics. I think RF could do with a new chartless shooting mechanic (we developed one that we now use and much prefer), a more integrated and streamlined morale chart, and general clean up of the many simple, but mechanically diverse rules. I have always said that it is obvious that RF evolved more than it was designed, and that actually affects the fast play promise.

Is it too deadly? Well, yes, unless you reinterpret kills as the various grades of combat effects that affect the combat worth of a unit. If RF gets to a morale break of a unit in 4 turns and a different set takes 8 turns and longer play time, the end result is the same and we get a result.

As I said before, there are far more modern and sophisticated game designs out there. But they are slower and do not handle all types of WWII operations played by any number of players in the way that RF does. I know that RF3 is in the works. I hope they recognize some of the comments made by players in their redesign. The Battlegroup rules started as RF and made the game more modern, but it lost the comprehensiveness and fun of RF in the process.

I enjoy this respectful and thoughtful discussion.

Marc33594 Supporting Member of TMP16 Jan 2016 11:40 a.m. PST

Indeed there are some mechanics which can be changed without altering or even breaking the system. And of course RF3 has long been rumored. The one thing I would most like to see in an update is expanding the present 6 gun values (1-6) and 6 armor values (A-F) and use 10 of each to allow for a wider range then is possible now between the various types. Some advocate keeping the same D6 rolls as now with the new values just that there would be more areas where there is no chance of a hit or damage. Others advocate moving to a D10 system. In any case there would be no change to the way combat is run now but merely the possibility of better distinctions between gun and armor classes.

They did a nice job moving from the original to RF2 including such player requested issues like better explanation of morale results. They have a nice run down of errata and clarifications on their website and that argues for a better set if included.

And I second Chris' last comment, makes for an enjoyable discussion!


sausagesca16 Jan 2016 9:48 p.m. PST

These are the alternative small arms and HE rules we use for RF:

Firing Mechanics
Use the existing ‘point values' and range bands for small arms, MGs/Auto-cannons, and HE but do not use the RF Casualty Chart. In lieu of this, roll a specified allotment of dice and read the firing effects directly from them.

Points and Dice:
The RF fire points are used to determine the number of dice thrown for fire effects.
Each eligible rifleman in a fire group (usually a company) counts as 1 fire point. Always round down.
Exception: A battalion may have one fire group of one figure equalling 1 die per turn.
Each crew served MMG/HMG and auto-cannon count fire points as per RF tables. Always round down.

Basic dice allotment:
+1 die per 2 fire points

Bonus dice:
+1 die per 5 fire points for Elite troops or weapon crews
+1 die per 5 fire points for Post-1941 German LMG bonus
+1 die per 5 fire points for SMGs and Assault Rifles at Short range
-1 die per 5 fire points for Poor troops or weapon crews
-2 die per 5 fire points for Pinned troops

Small Arms and HMG etc.
Roll dice allotment looking for kills based on range and cover:
Small Arms *(MGs/Autocannons): Short: 0-6" Medium: 6-14" Long: 14-24" (*14-30")
(target is moving)

Soft Cover/Troops stationary or moving less than 3" in Open
Hard Cover

6 (re-roll hits – 4-6 kills)

An elite German infantry company (8 figures) is firing at a British MMG crew stationary in the open at medium range (1944). The German player throws 6 fire dice (4 dice for basic fire points and 1 bonus die for Elite and 1 bonus die for 1944 – LMGs) and is looking for kills on a 5-6 (medium range/soft cover because the crew/weapon are stationary)

High Explosive (IDF and Direct HE)
Call-in and Hit the target using normal RF rules for IDF or with direct HE.
Each Artillery model firing IDF or any gun firing HE count points as per RF tables: Roll 1 Die per 2 points (round down)
½ dice if target is in Hard Cover

For those guns listed as Table 4:
Each 5-6 is a Kill

For those guns listed as Table 5:
Each 4-6 result is a Kill

Note that the above mechanics must be applied to air and naval firepower when appropriate.

UshCha18 Jan 2016 1:26 p.m. PST

That's why MG went to D20. Good enough but not excessive like percentiles.

Thomas Thomas19 Jan 2016 10:34 a.m. PST

I've got a long history with Rapid Fire. I had been playing Command Decision for years but found CD3 way to complex to handle my convention games. So I took a look at RF. Liked the scale (20mm) level (atomic unit platoon, manuver unit company/bat) and simplicity. Did not like the lack of command control (even with V2 clumsy optional rule) and lack flanks for vehicles, clumsy shooting system etc.

But I wanted the fast flow so combined the game with the Command Decision order chits/command control system added real armor rules etc and got Rapid Decision which I used for many years.

Eventually I designed Combat Command for the same purpose: fast play, WWII simulation at battalion level which has now replaced Rapid Decision.

As several have pointed out the game should use D10 and needs fewer quirks. But still it works, has player base (so you can find opponents) and uses inexpensive but highly detailed 20mm miniatures.

It did not satisfy me (I wanted a bit more "WWII" in my game) but I can certainly see why people enjoy the game. I have most of the scenrio books as they can be converted into Combat Command games with very little effort. In fact part of my Christmas Day attack game I just ran was drawn from the Champs game in the RF BB book.


Prince Lupus30 Mar 2016 2:00 p.m. PST

These have been a club favourite for years. We changed the morale/firing mechanism by adding another column to the fire charts for "pinning". We throw two dice when firing, one calculates casualties as usual and the other whether the target is pinned. More fire points means more chance of being pinned. Thus a target may receive no casualties but become pinned. The morale part of the turn needs to add a rally section. This adds a lot to the game without being too onerous.

French Wargame Holidays09 May 2016 5:53 a.m. PST

I love writing scenarios for the rules and have a few published around the web in various locations, I like the rules but for a few items in second edition.
#the artillery I prefer the old rules mechanism of the scattered rounds, rather than a hit or miss, plus morale because you are fired upon.
#Suppression of a btn is too easy imo, so we test for the target coy when hit by artillery.
grenades are too powerful
We also have no max distance for high caliber at guns, so 88mm and above can hit if they see you

Lots of good examples on my blog


French Wargame Holidays09 May 2016 6:17 a.m. PST

club scenarios


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