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"Wanted: Stupid Simple WW2 Skirmish Rules" Topic

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World War Two on the Land

2,073 hits since 11 Mar 2018
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Nick Stern Supporting Member of TMP12 Mar 2018 10:51 a.m. PST

I just played my second game using Nuts!. I liked the results of the rules, but it felt like way too much work to achieve them. I don't think that a firefight that lasted 90 seconds in reality should take ten minutes to adjudicate. Granted half the six players were newbies to the rules, like myself, but an equal number knew the rules well. In addition, there was some confusion about using the 4th Ed. rules to players used to earlier editions. I would like to try a set of really simple rules that I can add complicity to. I am fairly new to WW2 gaming, but so far, all the games I have played remind me of the Monty Python sketch on "How Not to Be Seen". That is once a vehicle or unit becomes targeted, it's toast. So I take out one of your units, you take out one of my units, repeat until the game is over. It reminds me of a game of checkers. And yet it takes three hours!

daler240D Supporting Member of TMP Inactive Member12 Mar 2018 11:16 a.m. PST

5 Men at Kursk by nordic weasel might do you.

Personal logo SBminisguy Supporting Member of TMP12 Mar 2018 11:25 a.m. PST

LOL! I was gonna say NUTS, but I was in that game! We had 4 players pushing about x70 infantry and x10 vehicles. So we actually played what was close to a company level engagement with skirmish rules.That was a huge game for newbie players, though the set up was fantastic. I think newbie players got confused about the Reaction System and how you resolved weapons hits, pretty common. Plus the combat is designed to result in conclusion -- once a firefight or vehicle fight starts, you play it until one side breaks off or is wiped out. So you don't have combat linger from turn to turn, so that's different from other games.

I'll make an updated "how it works" flow chart and post it on the Two Hour Wargames forum, might be easier to follow than looking at chart print outs.

For that scale I would suggest that Iron Ivan's Disposable Heroes goes fast since its more a standard IGOUGO game, or try Bolt Action since it's a very simple game. I'll post pictures to the club site when I get a chance.

Striker12 Mar 2018 11:35 a.m. PST

With that many minis I'd also lean towards Disposable Heroes. To me, vehicles added a few rolls more per unit but nothing that brought the game to a crawl.

Jozis Tin Man12 Mar 2018 11:38 a.m. PST

Maybe try Squad Hammer by Nordic Weasel Games? On wargames vault, plays very fast.

Nick Stern Supporting Member of TMP12 Mar 2018 11:53 a.m. PST

SBminisguy, Thank God you were playing or we never would have made progress. I did not realize that the size of the game was pushing the rules to breaking point. Also, there were other factors, that I didn't mention, that slowed the game down. It does take a bit of time to understand the sequencing and the way you fight to a conclusion – very different from the IGOUGO games I am used to. I would definitely be up for another game using Nuts! but I think I will try out the other two rules sets you name, since I own them both. Thanks again for playing and, yes, please post those photos when you get a chance.

Rallynow Supporting Member of TMP12 Mar 2018 12:12 p.m. PST

Bolt Action since it's a very simple game..

Oh yeah, Bolt Action, real simple. Your and my definition of simple are miles apart. Bolt Action like most WWII games are complicated.

Most WWII players like lots of detail. I don't care what rules or scales, it is going to be complicated. One look at the BA rules and all it's other books you get to buy, tells you how complicated they are.

Personal logo SBminisguy Supporting Member of TMP12 Mar 2018 12:43 p.m. PST

Hi Nick, sure thing. And I'll get that flow chart done -- it's basically an "If this then that" kinda cheat sheet. In principle NUT works like this, and like any game once you get it down it moves pretty fast. Here's an example of game flow.

1. Are you moving? Yes/No
* Yes, my recon unit moves

2. If yes did you move someplace an enemy figure can see you? Yes/No
* Yes, there's a german unit in a ditch in front of me that can see me.

3. OK, roll In Sight. Use the Reputation levels of the Leaders on both side (REP = morale/training level) as the number of d6 you roll. E.g. a REP 5 leader will roll x5d6. Modify that dice pool based on circumstances (enemy concealed, you are moving, etc.) Each side rolls their dice pools, looking for scores of 1, 2 3 -- 4-6 is no good. The side with the most successes wins and acts first.

4. Whoever won can act first, typically if you can fire you'd fire, otherwise you might duck back, etc.

5. Are you shooting? Cool. Look at the ROF of the weapons you're firing per figure. Then roll 1d6+REP level per shot, and check the shooting table against the right circumstances -- did you fast move, is the enemy in cover, etc., and a 10+ always hits, a =>7 always misses.

E.g. a figure with an SMG (ROF 3) and a REP 5 will roll x3d6, adding the REP score of 5 to reach roll. Say I roll a 4, 6, 1 -- that means my to hit rolls are 4+5=9, 6+5=11, and 1+5=6. In most cases that's probably two hits on the other side.

6. How many hits did you get? Allocate them on a 1 hit per figure in the group you're shooting at, and then the player who got hit makes a Shooting Damage roll for each figure based on REP. Below REP and the figure ducks for cover and can't fire back, REP or above and it's either dead or out of the fight (but can be saved by a medic).

e.g. Two figure get hit with SMG fire, a both REP 4 figures. I roll 1d6 per figure, scoring a 3, 4. The 3 means the figure ducks for cover, the 4= the figures REP so is injured and out of the fight for the rest of the game, or if you have a medic it can be helped and get back into the fight right away.

7. Once you're done the other guy shoots back with his remaining figures, follow the same process.

8. Once both sides have done stuff, any group that took casualties needs to make a morale check to see if they keep shooting or duck for cover.

9. Rinse and repeat until one side has ducked for cover or been wiped out.

creativeguy12 Mar 2018 12:43 p.m. PST

The Nordic Weasel games are real easy to get into—I recommend them. There is FUBAR (coming in at one page I believe)—I think it is more modern combat but I would thing it would work.

Personal logo SBminisguy Supporting Member of TMP12 Mar 2018 12:51 p.m. PST

Oh yeah, Bolt Action, real simple. Your and my definition of simple are miles apart. Bolt Action like most WWII games are complicated.

I guess so. The core BA rules are pretty simple, it's all the national traits and special weapons stuff that add complication.

andysyk12 Mar 2018 1:06 p.m. PST

I think it depends on what size of game you want to play? How many figures/vehicles.? Id have said BA its pretty simple as far as WW2 rules go. Then again many would argue their not even ww2 rules!
Rapid Fire? You can play big scraps with them.

Nick Stern Supporting Member of TMP12 Mar 2018 1:17 p.m. PST

andysyk, I'd like to be able to play the size game we played, which was around 80 Brits in 8 sections, plus a recon unit of four vehicles, plus three tanks and three halftracks. The Germans started the game hidden, but eventually showed five squads, a Pak 40, a panzer and an armored car. Maybe I need company scale rules and not squad sized?

Personal logo Bashytubits Supporting Member of TMP12 Mar 2018 1:25 p.m. PST

Try these, tested on young kids.


Nick Stern Supporting Member of TMP12 Mar 2018 2:04 p.m. PST

Bashytubits, Thanks for sharing those!

nnascati Supporting Member of TMP12 Mar 2018 2:24 p.m. PST

Flying Lead from Ganesha Games is pretty straightforward. Its based on the Song of Blades and Heroes mechanics. Designed for a squad per player.

Chris Palmer12 Mar 2018 2:41 p.m. PST

My favorite is Combat Patrol by Buck Surdu. Simple intuitive system that uses a deck of special cards to resolve actions. There's a bunch of demo videos up on their website: link

daler240D Supporting Member of TMP Inactive Member12 Mar 2018 2:48 p.m. PST

One Hour Wargames by Neil Thomas for the simplest. It's a great book in general too.

brucka12 Mar 2018 3:06 p.m. PST

I would agree with most of those suggestions; until you mentioned 130 figs-ish and 12 vehicles.
This is indeed company level. I think 'Arc of Fire' [already mentioned] covers that number nicely. What I do like about them is no need for parity as in some systems. Squad vs Platoon or Platoon vs Company works just as well as Squad vs Squad and Platoon vs Platoon. One of the guiding rules is if there is not at least a 10% chance of something happening, ignore it. Armor is very simplified and each section of the rules is about a page or two long at the most – still retains enough detail and is very cinematic in the retelling of what went on in the game.
Fireball Forward if you want to go Platoon/Company level but each base is a squad or team so not a skirmish focus though small actions nevertheless. 'Feels' very much like one of my first World War II games I played – Squad Leader – without the rules creep.
I think Nuts! is a bit more tailored to small unit actions (and a great game system) though I thought they had a telescoped version for company level? Would check that out too as the solo advantages of that are excellent.

coopman12 Mar 2018 3:23 p.m. PST

Well you could play "Memoir '44" with your choice of miniatures.

Ed the Two Hour Wargames guy12 Mar 2018 4:33 p.m. PST

Spoke with John about the game, yep too many figures for new players. It's actually quite easy and very fast. This should help


If you really want bigger battles check out NUTS Big Battles. One stand is one Squad.

BuckeyeBob12 Mar 2018 6:07 p.m. PST

Try Arc of Fire. Handles that level of figures and players pretty well.

79thPA Supporting Member of TMP12 Mar 2018 6:19 p.m. PST

Bash up some stats and use 10 man units with The Sword and the Flame, if you like those rules.

Nick Stern Supporting Member of TMP12 Mar 2018 8:02 p.m. PST

At least the game looked good.








Ed the Two Hour Wargames guy12 Mar 2018 8:39 p.m. PST

Table looks great.

Here are some details about NUTS Big Battles – real step by step explanations.


Personal logo sillypoint Supporting Member of TMP12 Mar 2018 10:22 p.m. PST

Nice table. I'd be telling the boys to spread out a bit. 😜

Personal logo Herkybird Supporting Member of TMP13 Mar 2018 7:53 a.m. PST

Mine may fit the bill, and they are free! link

English Thegn13 Mar 2018 8:05 a.m. PST

Hi Nick,

As I've said elsewhere your WW2 game looks fantastic! Personally I would second the use of One Hour Wargames for such a big game, or perhaps the Portable Wargame.

Best wishes

Thomas Thomas13 Mar 2018 8:59 a.m. PST

It is the WWII gamer curse to attempt to scale up micro detail skirmish games to a combined arms level. We think we want to worry about every grunt's status (has he got a grenade left?) but also want combined arms with armor/mech Inf/artillery maybe a bit of air power etc.

Combined arms is a battalion level concept with mixed companies of armor and infantry. Best played with platoons as your atomic unit. Lots of maneuver and weapon interaction.

Skirmish is a fracas over a house or city block. One player gets a squad of 8-10 figures, another a tank, artillery is pretty random. Depending on how much simulation you want in your game you should spend lots of time pinned down and trying to get your orders heard and understood (depends on length of turn).

Trying to stretch a complex game to the next level of command rarely ends well.

Thomas J. Thomas
Fame and Glory Games

Ed the Two Hour Wargames guy13 Mar 2018 10:09 a.m. PST

Thomas Thomas – Yep, so true. Gamers tend to try to play one or two levels up for the intended rules. It took me a while to get over doing that myself.

Personal logo SBminisguy Supporting Member of TMP13 Mar 2018 1:31 p.m. PST

LOL! That' why I'm trying to downsize my 28mm WW2. I mean, do I really need a *battalion* of T-34/76 tanks to play a skirmish game like NUTS?!?

daler240D Supporting Member of TMP Inactive Member13 Mar 2018 1:49 p.m. PST

That's not skirmish with that many figures. No wonder it took you forever to play. Sheesh!

andysyk14 Mar 2018 1:21 p.m. PST

You don't want a skirmish set that's for sure. Youre talking Coy size games and youre wanting simplicity. Honestly try Rapid Fire. It isn't strictly 1:1 ratio but you can play it so and you can use just about anything you want. Or BA you can get away with the basic rulebook for most stuff. And it breaks up the ugo/igo.
However I dont like either of them they are to simple for my taste.
But the more simple you want the more its going to seem like chequers.
Arc of Fire is an excellent system but can slow down once you use a lot of vehicle's and I think you would find it way to complicated. It was not popular at my club with some players. You have to select each units mode etc.

Aidmar Inactive Member15 Mar 2018 11:18 a.m. PST
Nick Stern Supporting Member of TMP15 Mar 2018 11:26 a.m. PST

Thanks for all the feedback and alternate rule suggestions. It looks like I do want to play at company level or higher. But, since I'm using 54mm figures, I'd prefer to keep my figures individually based, especially for house fighting, which I always think looks odd with a stand of multiple figures never quite fitting inside the house. I am looking at Neil Thomas's WW2 rules in his Wargaming An Introduction. I eventually want to present a convention game with the British Paras defending the north end of Arnhem Bridge, complete with bridge.

I hope I don't come off as defensive, but myself and the co-designer of the scenario were basing the number of units we put on the table on the blurb on the Nuts! website: link

What: Wargame/RPG rules for World War II.
Scale: Man to man combat. 1 figure equals 1 man; 1 model equals 1 vehicle.
Your Role: Players can command from one squad to a platoon of infantry or from one platoon to a company of tanks.
Playability: Designed for solo, same side and head to head play.

NUTS can be played in a variety of ways:

You can play as a Squad Leader with a full squad.
You can play as a Squad Leader with less than a full squad.
You can play as a Fighting Vehicle Platoon Leader with three to five vehicles.
You can play with only one Fighting Vehicle.
You can play large games with multiple squads and vehicles.

In our game no one was commanding more than a platoon of infantry or tanks. Perhaps that last line needs to be edited to avoid confusion.

Ed the Two Hour Wargames guy16 Mar 2018 1:36 p.m. PST

Just like real life there's a learning curve.

Once you get the game mechanics down and can play a squad with ease, playing a platoon of infantry is easy.

It's possible to lose a squad in one turn; a matter of minutes. I've seen it done multiple times at conventions.

Learning any game is like learning to ride a bicycle. After doing it a few times , the training wheels can come off and you can do jumps and such.

Also when playing with many people on the same game you have to wait for the last guy to finish to go to the next turn.

Juhan Voolaid23 Mar 2018 1:31 p.m. PST

Iron Cross is quite simple.

Nick Stern Supporting Member of TMP10 May 2018 3:42 p.m. PST

There's a new, very simple set of rules out there called: Scream, Aim, Fire. You can check them out online on Facebook. I bought them on Amazon but have not tried them yet. Squads are six figures and six squads or AFVs per player are recommended for a good game. Not for rivet counters by any means!

uglyfatbloke Inactive Member11 May 2018 3:12 a.m. PST

We use BA with 54mm figures a lot and company actions are our 'go to' level of game. The trick (for us; YMMV)is to ignore national traits and the 'exceptional damage' rule.

Achtung Minen11 May 2018 3:48 a.m. PST

I am fairly new to WW2 gaming, but so far, all the games I have played remind me of the Monty Python sketch on "How Not to Be Seen". That is once a vehicle or unit becomes targeted, it's toast. So I take out one of your units, you take out one of my units, repeat until the game is over. It reminds me of a game of checkers. And yet it takes three hours!

I'm a bit confused by this part…. is that how you WANT games to play?

It seems to me that there are three options:

1) Rules where everything dies quickly and the game is faster
2) Rules where it is hard to kill things and the game is slower
3) Rules where suppression and morale, not killing, are the main results of combat and the game is both more complicated and slower

Given than you want a simpler game, I am guessing you want the first option, no?

If so, you might as well play the fanmade WW2 conversion for Warhammer 40k ( ) or just make your own game. For example, everyone moves 6" per turn and can shoot 24" (a kill is on a 3+, -1 for cover, -1 for longer than 12" range). Machineguns roll 3 attacks per turn. Tanks can only be killed by bazooka troops and other tanks and can roll 3 attacks vs infantry per turn. Done.

uglyfatbloke Inactive Member11 May 2018 10:31 a.m. PST

Achtung Minen….do you have a downloadable/ printable QRF for that?

Achtung Minen11 May 2018 11:22 a.m. PST

Yes, just hit control + print to get the QRF.

VVV reply Inactive Member12 May 2018 7:05 a.m. PST

Here have a copy of my rules Action all Fronts for free
PDF link
Its a playtest version but quite close to the finished game.
Just pick the size of game you want to play. Its not what I would call a skirmish game (no throwing of grenades or man-to-man fights). Win the game by destroying half the enemy squads (27.2) or the scenario specific victory conditions

Nick Stern Supporting Member of TMP21 May 2018 7:58 a.m. PST

VVV reply, very nice rules. Thanks for sharing them! I especially appreciate the action phase example.

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