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"Company level games for evening play" Topic


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The Young Guard Inactive Member27 Jul 2018 5:55 a.m. PST

Hello all.

In your professional view what's a good quality company level game for an evening game?

I've played battlegroup but it strikes me that the platoon l level is best for evenings.

I've given IABSM a few tries and whilst I like a lot of the concepts, it seems it needs a longer time to play. Maybe should have another look.

Never tried FoW. It looks appealing and I think it would be popular with my chums but Ive read a lot of negative reviews!

Can anyone shed some light and why they like them but also rules that play within the set time limit.

Cheers

Fred Cartwright27 Jul 2018 6:05 a.m. PST

I play RFCM's Poor Bloody Infantry. It is designed for a 2 Hour game, so ideal for an evening. Played on a 4'x4' grid of 6" squares. Suitable mats are available from a number of vendors. Plays well and is a lot of fun. You can use figures based for FOW as long as you have some way of identifying LMG teams.

Allen5727 Jul 2018 7:20 a.m. PST

Always hard to know what is meant by Platoon level. Nuts by Two Hour Wargames is a skirmish game which allows you to play with a platoon on the table. At this upper end it can take more than two hours particularly if you add in armor.

Dynaman878927 Jul 2018 7:39 a.m. PST

The games of IABSM that I played lasted roughly 4 hours. Another game I like with a similar game time is Fireball Forward.

Personal logo Extra Crispy Sponsoring Member of TMP27 Jul 2018 7:49 a.m. PST

It sounds by Company Level you want a company per side on the table.

Flames of War is a solid rule set, at least 3rd edition is. Easy to play, fun, and you can play a reasonably sized game in an evening. Many of the complaints have NOTHING to do with the rules. It is a tournament oriented game designed to sell models. So they encourage loads of toys on the the table ("tank parking lot"). But that is a gamer/scenario problem. Frankly I see the same thing happen with many rule sets.

Nuts is best at a platoon a side with maybe a tank each, no more.

6mmACW27 Jul 2018 8:05 a.m. PST

I've played many of those mentioned so far in the thread and would suggest an old classic--Arty Conliffe's Crossfire. Despite being from the 1990s, many of the concepts are still quite innovative and it plays very fast for an evening game at the Company level.

DisasterWargamer Supporting Member of TMP27 Jul 2018 8:19 a.m. PST

Concur on Crossfire

wrgmr127 Jul 2018 8:32 a.m. PST

We played one half of Juno Beach last night using Rapid Fire. Game was 2.5 hours and we had a conclusion.

Andy ONeill27 Jul 2018 9:09 a.m. PST

How many hours would you consider an evening game to be?
I think the range could be 2 to 5.
When you say company.
Is this a company of infantry plus some tanks and guns or a company at most or… What?
The models.
What do they represent?
1 model tank to one tank and one model soldier per soldier or something else?

Daithi the Black27 Jul 2018 9:17 a.m. PST

FiveCore Company Commander from Nordic Wrasel Games.

The Young Guard Inactive Member27 Jul 2018 9:51 a.m. PST

We work like to command a company of infantry with support. I would also like one man to be one man. I have a maximum of 4 hours to play.

Cheers

saltflats192927 Jul 2018 11:23 a.m. PST

Five core gives a fast game. Rather than retype, you can read a summary of the rules and an AAR.
link

Joes Shop Supporting Member of TMP27 Jul 2018 11:35 a.m. PST

CrossFire.

Mark 127 Jul 2018 11:51 a.m. PST

We work like to command a company of infantry with support. I would also like one man to be one man. I have a maximum of 4 hours to play.

Does that mean a company per gamer? Or a company in total per side?

For my own gaming I like to run about a company plus attachments per player. But I also very much like gathering multiple players per side, leading to battalion-sized formations on the table. Still I am not always able to gather many gamers, and also run one-on-one games.

Would that be a company sized game? A battalion-sized game? When I go from a group game to a one-on-one game should I say the game scale has changed even though I am using the same rules and the same figure-basing?

I don't mean to sound argumentative. Just trying to clarify what you are seeking. I can't quite resolve it down yet.

That said, I don't see how you can meet the three interests you have described (company of infantry plus support, one man to one man, 4 hours to play) at the same time with miniatures.

I may be wrong on this. Highly simplified rules might work. I don't play highly simplified rules. I prefer rules that have at least some level of detail … like different weapons with different capabilities, and different troop types. So rifles vs. MGs vs. Mortars etc. etc., and tanks that have different weapons with different capabilities, and different protection levels, and move at different speeds. Take all of that out, and you might be able to get all three things going. Otherwise, I think you will have to give up something from the 3.

The primary limiting factor is that a company of infantry is going to be about 120 men. If you want one figure per man, you are moving and shooting with 120 figures. That takes time -- a lot of time. Even if your set-up and put-away times are not included in your four hours, you are going to be stuffed with so many figures on a table. At least that is my experience.

I find that if you want a game to move reasonably quickly you need to limit the pieces per player to about 20-25, plus or minus. Maybe 30-35 if all the players are very familiar with the rules and everyone gets along well together (gaming style-wise -- doesn't matter if they eat pizza together, but if they don't see eye-to-eye on interpretations of the rules and mechanisms of the game, 30+ game pieces will be far too many).

In my experience, if you want individual infantry figures you should really be thinking maybe a platoon per player.

If you want a company per player you need to think about at least fire-team bases (3-5 men per stand). It will still be a lot of pieces per player, though.

If you want to do company per player and use combined arms combat (with tanks and artillery and even occasional aircraft) you should probably think about squad bases (7-12 men per stand). Otherwise tanks (10-17 models per company) will play at a far different speed than infantry (30-40 stands per company), and the games will tend either to migrate towards all tanks, or the games come to a screeching halt when the infantry gets into the fight.

At least that is my experience.

-Mark
(aka: Mk 1)

BorisTheSpider Supporting Member of TMP27 Jul 2018 12:10 p.m. PST

Fireball Forward

MajorB27 Jul 2018 12:28 p.m. PST

Crossfire

The Young Guard Inactive Member27 Jul 2018 12:35 p.m. PST

Good points Mark. When we did IABSM based the troops as half squads with about 4_5 figures a base. It made it slightly quicker but after 4 hours one tank had blown up and 2 men died. Now a pick part of that is that my opponent wasn't very aggressive as an attacker. He had a full company of 3 platoons, I had two.

We would like to command a company each.

MajorB27 Jul 2018 1:52 p.m. PST

We would like to command a company each.

Not a very realistic scenario. Usually the attacker will outnumber the defender by as much as 3:1.

deephorse27 Jul 2018 2:40 p.m. PST

We would like to command a company each.

Depends upon how victory is assesed, but it sounds like a surefire route to stalemate.

Sgt Steiner27 Jul 2018 3:03 p.m. PST

Panzer Grenadier Deluxe are nice alternative to those mentioned

mad monkey 127 Jul 2018 3:26 p.m. PST

Dust 1947.

TacticalPainter0127 Jul 2018 3:31 p.m. PST

Not a very realistic scenario. Usually the attacker will outnumber the defender by as much as 3:1.

Perhaps better to look at ‘elements of a company per side' although I'm far from sure you can say how ‘usual' it is to have 3:1 odds, surely that's the desired ratio at the point of decision, not necessarily the ratio of forces committed from both sides.

Much depends on scenario design. If the defender is asked to cover a wide front with a single company and the attacker can choose a number of possible avenues for attack and scenario victory then it's quite likely odds higher than 1:1 will be attained at the point of contact even though each side has one company each.

coopman27 Jul 2018 5:18 p.m. PST

Memoir '44. You could play several scenarios of that in an evening.

Mark 127 Jul 2018 5:35 p.m. PST

In my case I base my figures as squads. I resolved to that level of unit scale after more than 2 decades of playing at fire-team / half-squad basing.

But I game at a smaller physical scale (6mm), and come at rulesets from a slightly different direction than most around here.. My interest is strongly tilted towards combined arms action, but from the perspective of wanting to add infantry, guns etc. to a tank battle, rather than wanting to add tanks, guns, etc. to an infantry battle.

In truth it isn't that hard to run a tank-vs-tank battle with a company per side in 4 hours if you have a reasonable set of rules. But I find that entirely unsatisfying. Add in some infantry and it gets a LOT harder to role a game to anywhere near a conclusion within 4 hours.

In all cases, though, I have found the key to limiting the time of the battle, if I'm going to game at anything like a level of detail that satisfies my cravings, is to limit the number of gaming pieces per player.

And BTW that isn't necessarily an easy thing to do. No matter how hard I resolve myself to limiting the number of game pieces, it seems that an extra battery of guns, or some recon vehicles, or a platoon of tank destroyers, or a battery of arty always manages to sneak into my OOB before the dice start falling!

It was the issue of limiting the number of game pieces that drove me to squad-based infantry. 40+ fire-teams for a Russian rifle company, vs. 10 tanks for a Russian medium tank company (and perhaps only 7 for a heavy tank company) created environments where no one wanted to put infantry on the table.

My preferred ruleset now is Mein Panzer, from Old Dominion Game Works (odgw.com). It gives me everything I want, except enough time to play and enough gamers to play with.

-Mark
(aka: Mk 1)

Personal logo sillypoint Supporting Member of TMP27 Jul 2018 6:02 p.m. PST

Crossfire.
Both sides are involved every turn.
Every turn presents choices and opportunities.
Holes in the rules you can drive a truck through, but also opportunities for you to build in. My group plays 3 a side, at least nine tanks, sometimes a air support fly over.
Roll high, no charts, range and movement can be problematic (had to limit PIAT range), break up the table with lots of rough ground rubble and terrain.
About 9 stands of infantry, 3 round bases: Platoon commanders (round base- commanding 3 stands), 1round base: company commander, 1 round base: FO, 2-3 stands HMG, per side will get you started.
Use your terrain, watch your flanks, tanks are vulnerable at this scale.

Lion in the Stars27 Jul 2018 6:46 p.m. PST

Don't let all the ranting about Flames of War stop you. A lot of it is players, not game. And some of it is simply the ratio between model scale and ground scale. Pistol range in FoW (call it 25m) is 4". So a pair of tanks side by side in game are actually about 10-12m apart.

Either v3 or v4 isn't bad. I think v4 is easier to play because of the unit cards, though you can make the unit cards for v3 with a bit of work in Powerpoint or Excel. There are some simplifications I don't like in v4 (mostly in terms of models available).


I could play Flames v2 or v3 with a short battalion per side (~6 infantry platoons, plus all the battalion weapons platoons and a couple tank platoons) to a conclusion in 3 hours. v4 should play a little faster.

deephorse27 Jul 2018 11:12 p.m. PST

Panzer Grenadier Deluxe are nice alternative to those mentioned

I'd second that. Up to 5 elements per platoon, IIRC, 3 platoons, plus a HQ, plus maybe some support = a nice sized force each for an evening's game.

Martin Rapier27 Jul 2018 11:40 p.m. PST

If you want a full company on the table, you need something element based. So,

PBI, Flames of War, Crossfire, WRG 1925 to 50, Iron Cross, Fireball Forward and Five core Company Commander all fit the bill.

Andy ONeill28 Jul 2018 5:22 a.m. PST

Wrg is a great set of rules.
We used to play games bigger than described in less than 4 hours.
Mostly i used micro tanks and cardboard rectangles for infantry.

If you've done iabsm then i guess your figures are 15mm or 20mm though.

In games i play and run they're mostly attack defence and the defenders have way less than the attackers.
Encounter scenarios with equal sides are less interesting. Usually.
Our games tend to have a lot of chatting mixed in. I tend to be more into the social aspects nowadays. Even really focussed i think 4 hours would be pushing it.

With what i'm guessing you're likely to have.
Your obvious choices are simpler games with stands or the more detailed…. But with less stuff.
Or change another parameter.

Maybe Lion has a point with flames. It's a popular game so learning it also means you could probably find other opponents easier.

One of the things i like about wargaming is designing rulesets. Maybe that's something else to consider.

YogiBearMinis Supporting Member of TMP28 Jul 2018 5:47 a.m. PST

Flames of War has DBx problems—the rules have their issues, but the big problem is the way the game is often seen played, not necessarily the rules themselves. Just as DBx for ancients/medieval gaming is used often for ahistorical matchups that annoy people, FoW often is played with lines of tanks bumper-to-bumper along with ridiculous amounts of supporting trinkets.

There is nothing inherently BAD about these tendencies, but it does often obscure a balanced opinion of the ruleset as people are turned off by particular methods of gameplay.

uglyfatbloke28 Jul 2018 6:10 a.m. PST

We do your size of game all the time with Bolt Action – or company in attack v. platoon -ish in defence. Rate all your lieutenants so they can give platoon orders and dump the 'massive damage' rule so you don't need to constantly look at who's got what weapons, just assume that if the LMG gunner is killed someone else picks it up and if the squad/section leader is popped someone else takes over. Unless you are playing in a dense forest or town you will want a table bigger than 6 x 4. We tend to use a start line along the 'central half' of our 12 x 6 so there is room for out-flanking. Also, in dense forest or urban areas where there is very little LoS we often dispense with range considerations other than everything is '+1' at over 12 inches, PIATS and P'fausts have 12" range and Bazookas/P'schreks 24"…we also totally ignore pistols and assume that platoon commanders are smart enough to pick up a SMG.

Lee49428 Jul 2018 7:43 a.m. PST

My rules Combat Action Command use men mounted as fire teams like FoW. A company sized game can be played in an evening esp once you learn to use the Data Cards. Since everything is on the card there aren't a ton of special rules and exceptions you need to memorize or look up to play. The play sequence includes an "interrupt" feature that can produce very fluid firefights. And yes things will die. Quickly if you make mistakes. Players have told me the rules reward realistic WWII tactics. I wouldn't know. I'm a lousy gamer that's why I write rules lol. Cheers! Lee

Richard Baber28 Jul 2018 7:51 a.m. PST

Charles Grant`s Battle

stephen m28 Jul 2018 7:18 p.m. PST

Mark 1

What is the method to activate units in Mein Panzer? Do all your units activate, a limited number (your choice) or random units activate?

uglyfatbloke29 Jul 2018 2:35 a.m. PST

PS Young Guard…we also usually limit the number of activation dice to 12 to make players prioritise, but we use an extra 'ambush only' marker so that units left in ambush do not cost you an order.

The Young Guard Inactive Member30 Jul 2018 8:06 a.m. PST

Cheers all. A lot to think about here!

Mark 130 Jul 2018 11:08 a.m. PST

What is the method to activate units in Mein Panzer?

In MP each turn is divided into a number of activations. Activation is by "unit", with all "elements" in the "unit" activating at the same time. Generally, "units" are platoons. Sometimes a "unit" can be something else, like a separate HQ. With low-skill armies there is an optional rule to make full companies activate as a single "unit", to reflect poor independence-of-command capability.

Actions within the activations are adjudicated as happening simultaneously, but activations are adjudicated in sequence within the turn. In other words, if I activate my 1st platoon and you activate your 1st platoon in the same activation, any fire effect they may have on each other is simultaneous. If you cause damage to my 1st platoon, they still get their full strength shot in that activation. However, if you damage my 2nd platoon, which has not yet activated, then they will be at reduced strength when they do activate later in the turn.

Players get to choose which units they activate when. Each unit activates once, and only once, per turn. The number of activations per turn is determined by the number of units in the smallest force on the table. If you have 4 units, and I have 5 units, then there will be 4 activations per turn, and I will activate TWO units in the first activation, and one in each subsequent activation.

The affects of this activation mechanism are several. First, as others have suggested about other rulesets, it keeps everyone playing all the time. Different from WRG, you don't sit around waiting for your opponent(s) to move and shoot with 20 – 30 pieces. Every activation, every player is playing one of his units. So gaming is active and feels fast.

Second, it makes you think in terms of your organization, not in terms of individuals. I really like that. You see your force (your company) as a set of units (platoons). You have to think in terms of how the platoons behave, even though you get to move and shoot individual squads, guns, and vehicles.

Third, using fire-and-movement tends to work well. If you haven't spotted enemies yet at the beginning of a turn, you can hold base-of-fire units in position for later activation while you move your maneuver unit(s) . If your maneuver unit(s) take fire, you can fire to support them in later activations. Or, if you do see enemies at the beginning of the turn you can activate some of your base-of-fire units first, to suppress the known enemies before you activate your maneuver unit(s).

Finally, you feel the pain when you lose units. Having fewer units means as a commander you have less flexibility. It gets harder to make the game go according to your plan, your cadence. If two forces take equal total casualties, but one force suffers more concentrated losses (loosing one or more units from their total count), they will be more easily suppressed and/or out-maneuvered later in the game. So you try really hard to keep units alive, pulling them back into shelter as they get weakened.

In the end it plays about as fast as WRG -- if you field a full company per player maybe a bit faster due to the squad-based infantry. The games flow well, and combined arms combat seems to work particularly well due to the balance between infantry and armor that the rules achieve. If you add hidden unit rules (I have my own home-baked additions on that point), then the games are quite satisfying, at least to me, to the feel and experience I am looking for.

Your mileage may vary.

-Mark
(aka: Mk 1)

Fred Cartwright30 Jul 2018 12:29 p.m. PST

Interesting Mark. How does it handle a small, high quality force vs a larger, but low quality one? From your description it would appear the larger force has an advantage.

Thomas Thomas30 Jul 2018 2:07 p.m. PST

Game level remains a vague concept. But I'm guessing posters wants to play a company per side. If taken literally that's a meeting engagement. Though if we go company per player, odd numbers of players could provide attack/defense force imbalance. Or you can have infantry oriented commands as defenders while more armor heavy become attackers (the system we use in Combat Command).

Combined arms at the organization level generally starts at battalion level (it was typical in a US armored division for instance to swap one armored infantry company for a tank company creating balanced "Task Forces" controled by a single battalion commander. At company level a player will generally just command a company of the same type.

Its why many games (including Combat Command) for WWII are pitched at the battalion level. To keep such games within a 3-4 hour time frame a single stand generally represents a platoon (a battalion commander would command companies but at least have a general idea where the next lower command level – ie platoon was). This level also allows you to fight out "named" battles such as Hannut, Christmas Day Attack, Arracourt, Noville etc. in a reasonable period of time (the entire purpose of Combat Command).

Thomas J. Thomas
Fame & Glory Games

Lion in the Stars30 Jul 2018 2:36 p.m. PST

If you want to have each player in charge of a company for multi-player games, you will need a larger table.

I'd want a 6x8 table for 4-6 players.

You will probably also want a slightly lower-level set of rules, so each player has more than 3-4 things to do per turn. Have you taken a look at the Battlegroup Kursk/Normandy/etc rules?

In the case of a battalion attack, I'd probably give each company a support platoon, unless you had ~5-6 players. If you have 5-6 players, I'd make 3 line company commanders, one support company commander, and then give one guy the defenders. Maybe an umpire.

Keith Talent30 Jul 2018 3:34 p.m. PST

If you have 4 to 6 players, big CoC will work.. 1 platoon a player. 4 hours. Easy.

Mark 130 Jul 2018 3:37 p.m. PST

How does it handle a small, high quality force vs a larger, but low quality one?

In Mein Panzer almost every throw of the dice starts with a Troop Quality (TQ) rating. This can then be modified by a variety of factors, depending on the specifics of what you are throwing for.

So for example, when you shoot, your "to hit" number starts with your TQ rating. That gets modified by the specifics of the gun you are shooting, and the specifics of your shot (the range, if you are moving, if the target is moving, if the target is in cover, etc. etc.). The modifiers are nothing new, but starting with the TROOPS, as opposed to the GUN, is something that is new to me.

And depending on what kind (and quantity) of weapon(s) an element has, it may get more than one shot.

And particularly high TQ ratings get an additional shot, on top of however many shots they get based on their weapon(s).

Better quality troops do almost everything better.

I find the mechanism very interesting. This ruleset does a better job than any other set I've used, of letting me see on the gameboard how high quality troops in Pz IIIs can beat under-trained conscripts in T-34s.

Since I was 14 I objected to the Panzerblitz approach, where all of the factors that gave the Germans the ability to out-fight the Russians were hidden from view in the attributes of the tanks themselves, leaving me to figure out on my own why T-34 tanks I had read so much about were presented as junk compared to the early and mid-war Panzers.

Suppression is also a very interesting mechanic. When you activate an element they typically get to do two things -- the get an "action", and they get a "bonus move". You can use the "action" to do any action that unit type can do. So you can shoot, or spot for targets, or communicate, or do some engineering task (if you're capable), etc.. Or you can move (when combined with your "bonus move" this means you can double your movement, but you can't do anything else while you are moving that fast). Or … you can try to recover from suppression.

When you are suppressed you lose your bonus move.

If you are suppressed, you can choose to stay where you are and shoot, but you will do so at reduced effectiveness. So the firepower advantage shifts to favor the side that's doing the suppressing. Or you can use your "action" to try to recover from the suppression, but then you aren't doing anything to contribute to the fight, and a smart opponent will use later activations to re-suppress any elements that succeed in recovering before they ever get a shot off, and as more of your units try to recover from suppression the enemy's firepower advantage and his freedom to maneuver against you grows, until his troops get in close enough to either start killing by direct fire or to make the final move in for some hand-to-hand combat.

Or you can use your "action" to move.

With this mechanism you don't need a die role to tell you (the gamer) that you have to pull your troops back. You don't get to blame your withdrawal on the results on some table. You (the gamer) will feel the pressure to pull back, to try to get your troops out of the line of fire, so you can spend a turn or two recovering without the risk of being re-suppressed or overrun. I've never played a ruleset that made me feel that pressure before.

Just some of my experiences with the rules. Your mileage may vary.

-Mark
(aka: Mk 1)

Mark 131 Jul 2018 6:30 p.m. PST

Hmmm. Seems I mis-remembered my own favorite rules in my post above.

Suppression is also a very interesting mechanic. …

When you are suppressed you lose your bonus move.

If you are suppressed, you can choose to stay where you are and shoot, but you will do so at reduced effectiveness.


Nope. Got it wrong.

When you are suppressed you can't do anything except try to remove the suppression. That's the only action permitted to you.

IF you succeed in removing the suppression, then you also get to use your "bonus move" during that activation. If you don't succeed in removing your suppression, you don't get to move. You are just hunkered down.

The result is still largely the same. There is an enormous pressure on you to move your units back, to pull them out of the line of fire. In fact, that's ALL you can do with them.

Once your opponent starts winning the contest of suppression, your ability to suppress him goes down, while his ability to continue suppressing you, and to maneuver against you while he's doing it, goes up. So once your units are being suppressed, you feel a tremendous pressure to pull back with the ones that you succeed in un-suppressing.

It's interesting to see on the game table. You have troops in position, and they engage in a firefight with the enemy. By whatever means, the enemy does a little better at suppressing your units than you do in suppressing his. Now he has more squads shooting than you do. You are suppressing fewer of his units, so his firepower does not go down. Some of your units recover, but not as many as he has shooting. He re-suppresses your recovered units, and even a few more. The balance tilts more and more to his favor. Pretty soon almost all of your guys are suppress. OK, but casualties are pretty minimal so far, and you're still holding your positions, so what's the problem, right?

Then he starts advancing, and it dawns on you -- he's going to get right up to your defenses, and shoot your guys to pieces, and there's nothing you can do to stop him, because every time one or two of your elements DO recover from suppression, he focuses his fire on those units and re-suppresses them before they activate again to take a shot and try to suppress him. And he's getting closer and closer. So the next time one of your elements succeeds in recovering from suppression, you pull them back. And your defenses melt away before your eyes as your force pulls back one squad at a time.

It's rather memorable as a gaming experience. Which is why the memory of the pressure to pull back is stronger in my recollection than the mechanisms that made it work.

-Mark
(aka: Mk 1)

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