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""Breakthrough" and planning for Historicon" Topic


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©1994-2020 Bill Armintrout
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Ponder Supporting Member of TMP18 Mar 2019 12:40 p.m. PST

Howdy,

I played in a playtest of Test of Battle (Frank Chadwick & Glenn Kidd) Games' new rules, Breakthrough at Cold Wars. That playtest game looked at the encirclement of Nancy in 1944. I was intrigued. While the rules are being developed for WW2, looks like they will also be useful to examine at mobile actions in WW1, and that's what I aim to try. In Breakthrough game units are battalions with players controlling a division or corps on the table.

My initial effort will focus on the tip of the spear in the 1914 Ardennes campaign, a clash of the French and German Fourth Armies. First cut at the game OB has the French 11, 12, and 17 Corps versus the German 18th and 18th Reserve Corps. Historically, the battles of Maisson-Anloy and Bertrix resulted on August 22, 1914. It will be interesting to see if the game produces clashes near these locations.

I like to start any evaluation of a campaign with an evaluation of the terrain. For wargamers, this means the game board or map. Breakthrough has a ground scale of 1 inch = 500 yards. So, a 6 x 8 ft game table will cover an area of about 20 x 27 miles. With the Semoy River (i.e., French start line) near southern edge of the map, you have Bastonge just off the NE corner, and Sedan off the SW corner.

As usual these days I started looking at Google earth, but then went to the University of Texas' Online Map Library. They have old Army Map Service maps of the area in 1:50,000 and 1:100,000 scales. Putting together 1:50,000 sheets printed on 11x17 paper (fits my printer) looks like the way to go. Photo 1 shows the planned map area with 1-foot grid squares (on the game table) highlighted. This initial game will be focused on the western side of the table/map.

More to come, as I develop this scenario. I am aiming to put it on at Historicon in July.


Photo 1 First cut at evaluating the area of the game map

Ponder on,


JAS

22ndFoot18 Mar 2019 1:45 p.m. PST

Sounds interesting. How are the units represented? Counters?

Ponder Supporting Member of TMP18 Mar 2019 2:15 p.m. PST

Howdy,

A battalion stand is a 2 x 2 inch base. Miniatures on the base.

Ponder on,

JAS

22ndFoot18 Mar 2019 2:16 p.m. PST

Thanks. Sounds like a job for 3mm. Or PowerPoint.

PK Guy Brent18 Mar 2019 4:34 p.m. PST

I've never understood why gamers want higher level games to automatically require smaller figures. When you boil it down, its all about suspension of belief, and acceptance of the unit representation. It's probably just me, but I find a representative amount of larger scale figures more visually stimulating, and not limiting of a game, than small figures.

Horses for courses, I guess.

Ponder Supporting Member of TMP18 Mar 2019 5:04 p.m. PST

Howdy,

I'll be using 15mm figures. The Nancy game at Cold Wars had 15mm figures.

If comes right down to it, you could use counters for any miniature game. We don't because we like the appeal of miniature figures.

My brief exposure, it seems like a fun game, and that's why we play.

Ponder on,


JAS

PK Guy Brent18 Mar 2019 5:59 p.m. PST

Figure scale is far less important that the rules – as long as the rules capture the feel for the level of command being represented, it doesn't really matter if the figures are 6, 15, 28, or???mm. Looking forward to "Breakthrough".

skirmishcampaigns18 Mar 2019 6:21 p.m. PST

This really is a fun game. We're planning on using 6mm figures and they look great. We are going to use the medium FOW bases which have the same 2inch frontage

AICUSV19 Mar 2019 10:56 a.m. PST

Sounds like fun. Since the base size is the important factor and formations aren't a factor, I would be temped to use a scale like 15 or 20mm and make mini dioramas to represent the units.

catavar20 Mar 2019 9:04 a.m. PST

I'm interested in theses rules. What more can you say about them?

Ponder Supporting Member of TMP20 Mar 2019 10:18 a.m. PST

Howdy,

I need to play more to have a real opinion, at this time, as I said above, I'm intrigued and it seems like a fun game.

A unit is a battalion.
Ground scale: 1 inch = 500 yards
Time scale: 1 turn = 8 hrs, so three turns per day, one of which is a night turn. Alternating player turns in each game turn.

Commands (Regt/Bde) are given one of three orders:

(1) Attack
(2) Defend
(3) Reorganize

The primary difference between attack and defend seems to be when artillery can be used, and your ability to advance/move toward the enemy. If attacking, artillery is used in your turn, if defending, used in enemy turn. Artillery can barrage (attempt to hit an enemy directly) or support (increase the hit number of the supported unit).

Each unit rolls 3d6 in combat. Modifiers add or reduce the number of dice rolled. Hits force a cohesion check, (roll d10) for the parent formation. Cohesion typically starts at a value of 6, 7, or 8. Failing lowers cohesion for next check. A single hit with a failed cohesion roll, disrupts a unit. A disrupted unit with another hit and failed cohesion roll, dies. Disruptions can only be removed at night. Disintegration of a unit tends to snowball, once things go bad.

For the WW2 game most formations are infantry, and the "relative" lack of armor on the table is noticeable. But accurate for a historical order of battle.

Overall, seems like a really neat idea and game. I want to play more, hence my post here. With my brief experience, I may not have gotten all that right.

Frank Chadwick and Glenn Kidd were promoting the rules at Cold Wars (4 games and 2 seminars). They promise a kickstarter "soon," with "soon" as yet unspecified.

Ponder on,


JAS

Ponder Supporting Member of TMP20 Mar 2019 11:23 a.m. PST

Howdy,

The four games at Cold Wars, included:

(1) an Eastern Front, 1941 game – Borodino,
(2) a Western Desert, 1941 game – Sidi Rezeha, and
(3) two, Western Front, 1944 – Encirclement of Nancy games.


JAS

jefritrout21 Mar 2019 9:57 a.m. PST

Certainly sounds intriguing. What day at Historicon are you planning on running this game?

Ponder Supporting Member of TMP21 Mar 2019 4:44 p.m. PST

Howdy,

Not sure yet, about when. Try to figure that out next week.

Meanwhile, here is the first cut at the map for the game table. Bouillon is larger town at the left, Florenville, the larger town at the bottom center, and Neufchateau is the larger town near the center of the map.

Figure 1 - Ardennes 1914 Map

More to come …


JAS

Ponder Supporting Member of TMP22 Mar 2019 10:57 a.m. PST

Howdy,

Submitted for Friday at 7pm, 4 hrs game.

More to come …

Ponder on,


JAS

mgk416722 Mar 2019 12:23 p.m. PST

Excellent Jess. You can use exactly the same map for 1st Panzer Division's attack on the French 5th Light Cavalry Division, 11 May 1940

catavar22 Mar 2019 3:12 p.m. PST

I appreciate your posts. They seem like rules I'd like to try.

Ponder Supporting Member of TMP22 Mar 2019 4:42 p.m. PST

Howdy,

Thank you. Be sure to support the "kickstarter" when it becomes available.

I think I've got the final map now:

Ponder on,


JAS

Ponder Supporting Member of TMP28 Mar 2019 12:23 p.m. PST

Howdy,

Photo 1 - Map's done!


Order of Battle for Ardennes 1914 at Historicon
Maissin-Anloy-Bertrix

French OB Left wing elements of 4th Army

Army Troops

4th DC Cavalry
3 Bde
9th DC Cavalry
3 Bde


11th Corps

Corps Troops
Res Bde w/ 293 RI & 337 RI
4x Arty (75mm)

21st DI Infantry
41 Bde w/ 64 RI & 65 RI
42 Bde w/ 93 RI & 137 RI
Arty (75mm)

22nd DI Infantry
43 Bde w/ 62 RI & 116 RI
44 Bde w/ 19 RI & 118 RI
Arty (75mm)


12th Corps

Corps Troops
Res Bde w/ 300 RI & 326 RI
4x Arty (75mm)

23rd DI Infantry
45 Bde w/ 63 RI & 78 RI
46 Bde w/ 107 RI & 138 RI
Arty (75mm)

24th DI Infantry
47 Bde w/ 50 RI & 108 RI
48 Bde w/ 100 RI & 126 RI
Arty (75mm)


17th Corps

Corps Troops
Res Bde w/ xx RI & xx RI
4x Arty (75mm)

33rd DI Infantry
65 Bde w/ 7 RI & 9 RI
66 Bde w/ 11 RI & 20 RI
Arty (75 mm)

34th DI Infantry
67 Bde w/ 14 RI & 83 RI
68 Bde w/ 59 RI & 88 RI
Arty (75 mm)


German OB elements of 4th Army

Army Troops

Composite Cavalry
2 Bde 1 Cav stand per Corps

18th Corps

Corps Troops
2x Arty (150mm)

21st ID Infantry
41 Bde 87 IR & 88 IR
42 Bde 80 IR & 81 IR
Arty (77mm)
Arty (105mm)

25th ID Infantry
49 Bde 115 Life Gd IR & 116 IR
50 Bde 117 Life Gd IR & 118 IR
Arty (77mm)
Arty (105mm)


18th Reserve Corps

Corps Troops
Arty (150mm)

21st RID Infantry
41 Res Bde 80 RIR & 87 RIR
42 Res Bde 81 RIR & 88 RIR
2x Arty (77mm)
(RIR = Reserve Infantry Regt)

25th RID Infantry
49 Res Bde 116 RIR & 118 RIR
50 Res Bde 168 IR & 83 RIR
2x Arty (77mm)

Photo 2 - Draft stand labels for French 11th CA (blue) and German 18 AC (red)

More to come … next task painting stands for the troops.

Ponder on,


JAS

Ponder Supporting Member of TMP22 Jun 2019 12:59 p.m. PST

Howdy,

Conducted a playtest of a portion of the game today.

Three photo follow:

Photo 1 - Terrain overview


Photo 2 - German 18th Corps


Photo 3 - French 11th Corps

The artillery bases are empty at present, but plan to add the guns over July 4th weekend.

I will do it again next week, and see if the fixes work.

Good fun.

Ponder on,


JAS

Ponder Supporting Member of TMP30 Jun 2019 1:20 p.m. PST

Howdy,

Ran a 2nd playtest of my Ardennes 1914, planned for Historicon today down at the Eagle & Empire in Alexandria, VA on Sunday afternoon (6/30). We did an excerpt from the game, the German 25th ID is attacked by the French 11th Corps at Maissin.

Notice the guns are now mounted on their bases (they were not in last weeks pictures).

A few photos follow:

Photo 1 - German set-up for the 25th Infantry Division, north of Maissin.


Photo 2 - French road column crossing the Semoy River at Bouillon.


Photo 3 - The German 25ID begins to dig in along the ridge from Maissin to Ochamps, while the French deploy for their attack.


Things seem to be working out well for the game. The true test of course at full scale with half-a-dozen players.

Ponder on,


JAS

Ponder Supporting Member of TMP01 Jul 2019 2:39 p.m. PST

Howdy,

An opps from my post yesterday, left out an in-play picture. Enjoy!


Photo 4 - Somehow missed this one yesterday – editing post to add this in-play photo, the French move up; photo taken just before their big push. When they pushed, the Germans held all along the line --- the German fieldworks made the difference.

Ponder on,


JAS

Ponder Supporting Member of TMP01 Jul 2019 2:54 p.m. PST

Howdy,

One of the issues from the game: How best to deal with hills?


Option 1: No crest lines, if you are on the hill, you can see off and be seen. The reverse slope is being behind and off the hill, rather than being on the hill itself.

Option 2: Add crestlines on the hill. Line of sight from below does not cross a crest line. Line of sight between stands on the hill, is as on the plain.


Some background info: Without blocking terrain (woods and villages/towns) LOS on the plain is limited to 6-inches. LOS hill to the plain and converse is 12-inches. Infantry moves 9-inches.

I think adding crestlines makes a certain amount of intuitive sense, but adds slightly more complication to play.

I'd be interested in getting some feedback here. I can draw on crestlines with a dry erase marker, if I decide to use.

Thoughts, comments, please.

Ponder on,


JAS

holien18 Jul 2019 6:29 a.m. PST

Thanks for running this at Hcon and the map and unit basing were superb. Enjoyed seeing the rules in action.

Ponder Supporting Member of TMP19 Jul 2019 6:03 a.m. PST

:-) smiles – JAS

pfmodel22 Aug 2019 9:14 p.m. PST

As a boardgamer I think the playing area looks good, but from a figure gaming point of view this does have more of a boardgaming feel than figure gaming feel. I am looking forward to the rules coming out as I want to see if I can create a playing area more in line with figure gaming which is as universal as possible. I see you have the bases marked with writing, do you think this is essential or can you have an off-playing area chart which provided the details contained on the bases?

Bill Owen29 Aug 2019 4:54 p.m. PST

Like pfmodel says, I'm interested in the feasibility of doing traditional miniature game terrain rather than a enlarged vinyl board. More like the previous topic/post about Mortain or Assault.

Contours are a snap if done as styrofoam under felt. Forests are dooable. The challenge might be roads and rivers. At this scale there are a lot of them. So this is what I assume for 6mm or 3mm:
1/4 or 1/2" masking tape roads (or model railroad ballast sprinkled)
blue glitter sprinkled rivers*

For the stands, I'd prefer to avoid little dies, disks, counters and other giant (compared to the figures) markers. Until I see the rules it's hard to anticipate what is required but I'm hoping that one can use a combination of rhe following to mean something or stand for key quantified combat factors:
unit position not just minis plopped on the stand
type of stands or quantity
naturalistic decor, like bushes & their position
if not crucial to see easily but difficult to represent with terrain bits, like parent unit ID then text very small tan on olive

On my wargamecampaign wordpress blog I will see if I can provide a regularized decoder chart for the system.

*Yes, I know some freak out when they hear sprinklng glitter but I have found that I can vacuum it up with a dustbuster and reuse most of it.

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