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"Wolfhag, a question on your activation sequencing?" Topic

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Personal logo FlyXwire Supporting Member of TMP01 Aug 2023 6:29 a.m. PST

Hi Wolfhag,

I'm interested in how you're integrating combine-arms activation within your rules (as/if within a time[d] progression turn system)?

Nothing need be too detailed in your explanation (yet), just your general method of tracking task/movement completion… the tracking transpiring simultaneously, and then occurs on the tabletop when the combat element/unit reaches its activation threshold?

Thanks bud.

Wolfhag02 Aug 2023 4:25 p.m. PST

First I tell new players to forget everything in a war game they've ever learned. I then tell them in this game you will need to think and act like a real tank commander using the same tactics and issuing the same orders. Then if everyone has not left the table I start explaining the game. <grin>

It's a Time Competitive game meaning units execute their orders in sequence of who is the quickest (just like on a real battlefield). No other rules are needed. As soon as they execute an order they immediately issue their next order, how long it will take and places that units order marker on his turn track labeled 1-60 seconds. This is exactly what the OODA Decision Loop is and is the natural way anyone performs an action.

All units are active and able to react to enemy theats the second they are spotted, including changing their current order. There are no initiative, activation command points special opportunity fire rules. Eliminating them streamlines the game.

So if a unit shots at a game time of 2:37 and he wants to shoot again and his reload Action Timing is 7 seconds he places his order marker on 2:34 and hopes he is not knocked out before that time.

Data Card: Each unit has a customized data card and a QR code to bring up a short video on your cell phone for an explanation mid game. All of the actions, tactics, options and data players needs will be in their hand.

In real low level 1:1 tactical combat orders are executed in seconds, not minutes. Therefore, the game uses one second turns as a "timing mechanism" (NOT like a traditional turn) with a manually operated game clock keeping track of the the time and a player turn track to put his unit order on.

Game play progresses as the clock "ticks" second-to-second with the game time being announced out loud. Any unit that wants to react or is scheduled to execute their order (Act Time) puases the game (stops the clock) and does so and determines their next order, how long it will take and when it will execute.

If a game time is announced and no one pauses the game to react or execute and order the next game turn is immediately announced and all units are one second closer to executing their order.

There are five main concepts that replace traditional rules:

Game Clock: Just think of it as a turn track. As each turn/second is announced all units with an Act Time to execute an order or react "pause the clock" to execute orders. When everyone is finished the clock starts "ticking" again. If a turn is announced and no one stops the clock the next turn/second is announced.

Situational Awareness: handles reactions and spotting. Poor Situational Awareness can give your opponent an initiative advantage to act first.

Action Timing: uses historical performance of how long it takes to execute an order like target engagement (maneuver & turret trverse), firing a ranging shot, reloading, etc. We only consider the entire crew performance rating. We do not determine the performance or success for each crew member in carrying out their duties as that would be unplayable. Better crews are a few seconds quicker and poor crews a few seconds slower. So if it is going to take 10 seconds of game time to execute an order it is assumed during those 10 seconds the crew is executing their duties with no other player actions needed except to pause the clock at their Act Time.

Act Time: This is the game time when an order executes. A unt's Act Time = Action Timing + Game Time. At a game time of 2:32 if an order to shoot takes 11 seconds the player places his order marker on 2:43.

Virtual Movement: how the game simulates simultaneous movement and synchronizes movement and rate of fire on a second to second basis so no additional opportunity fire rules are needed. Moving units have a movement marker divided into 10 equal sections to show how far it will move in 10 seconds. As each game time is announced it "virtually" mmoves (the player does not touch it) to the next 1-10 segment matching the current game time.

My Designer Notes that gives a more detailed explanation: link

At first it looks intimidating to most people. However, once you understand the OODA Decisin Loop process and understand the data cards it's a very natural way to play. The system allows players to perform any real action. Unlike other games where actions are executed immediately it takes time. This puts the player in a time management situation rather than an IGYG or unit activation situation.


Personal logo FlyXwire Supporting Member of TMP03 Aug 2023 3:42 a.m. PST

Wolfhag, this sounds wild, and full of tension – and to keeping players engaged.

Do your players ever feel exhausted after a scenario?

As an old Bleeped text, it sounds like Bingo on steroids (joshin' – and I don't play Bingo – but I'm always leaving my options open). ;)

Thank you for the in-depth explanation. I've got a friend going to Nashcon, and might recommend he check your game out, if possible!

Wolfhag03 Aug 2023 6:55 a.m. PST


Bingo on steroids – I like that. It's definitely a different approach.

There is some suspense created because as each one-second turn is announced no one is sure who will fire next. I think that recreates an interesting Fog of War. In almost every game a vehicle is knocked out one second before it was able to get the shot off. Whether or not to use a Snap Shot is a big decision too I've seen players agonizing over.

Player-generated delay: A penalty I must enforce is that if a player was scheduled to shoot at a game time of 2:37 and he didn't pause the game at that time and then realizes it when the game has advanced to 2:41 he can shoot at 2:41 if he is still alive. If not – too bad. You snooze you lose. A player's real Situational Awareness will be tested as will some multi-tasking and record keeping, just like a real crew. I realize that for some people that's a deal killer and they find it somewhat intimidating or not to their liking. No problem, you can't please everyone.

I do run friendly games letting players know what is happening and letting them know when a new Line of Sight is created they have the option to react to.

While the maneuvers and options are available on the data card I'll show players how to execute a Halt Fire, Shoot & Scoot, Snap Shot, Reverse Slope Defense, Moving Fire, etc. They catch on pretty quickly because it's all common sense.

With new players, I've found they can handle 4-6 vehicles. I did a playtest with a 14-year-old with a slight learning disability with no AFV game experience and he ran 10 T-34/76's.

As older and experienced players we've come to expect that more detail means less playability and a pain in the butt. I think that's because more detail means more rule additions, abstractions, and exceptions telling you what you can and cannot do and when.

IGYG games interrupt the natural OODA Decision Loop flow of a player's intended action and force him to arbitrarily "wait" to perform his next move or shoot action. However, I think you need this if you are going to have a fair and balanced game. My system is not arbitrarily fair and balanced. That means you need to use your strengths against your opponent's weaknesses, historic tactics, maneuvers, and combined arms tactics. There are no gimmicks to rely on.

The "virtual movement" system I use closely simulates simultaneous movement with no effort from the players and portrays how real opportunity fire works without additional rules. Every 10th turn is a Movement Segment when all players physically move their model to the end of the marker and place it in front of the model to show the direction of movement.

Below is how opportunity fire would play out:

Action Timing to shoot:

Above is the Action Timing to shoot part of the data card for a Sherman M4A4 with a 76mm gun. For a Ranging shot (always the first shot at a new target) the shooting player rolls a D6 with a result of from 4-7 seconds which simulates the gunner's actions to estimate the range, aim, and fire. An Ace crew is 2 seconds quicker and a poor crew is 4 seconds slower.

The player rolls a D6 and adds the result to the current game time and places his unit order marker at that time on his record sheet. That's about as difficult as it gets.

A player can use a Snap Shot to trade decreased accuracy (accuracy penalty) for increased speed to shoot first for each second he shoots sooner. If he shoots again at the same target he rolls a D6 for his reload Action Timing for the loader to load in a new round with a result of 6-8 seconds with Ace and poor crew modifiers but no Snap Shots for reloading. During the game, these will be the main actions players will be performing other than gunfire and movement.

All of the distances are in meters so the game can be played in any scale. For micro and 10mm I use 1" = 25m which gives 1800m on a 6-foot table. For 12-15mm I suggest 1" = 10-15m. Using 28mm infantry we use 1" = 2-4m depending on the size of the table.

It can be a miniatures or board game too.

Gunnery System: I have a fairly detailed one but you can actually use one of your own designs or from another game to determine hit/miss, hit location, penetration, armor, damage, etc. You still need to use the Action Timing to determine how long it takes to shoot.

My NashCon game is Saturday night starting at 8pm.

If you are interested in participating in Zoom meetings to discuss the game contact me.


Personal logo FlyXwire Supporting Member of TMP03 Aug 2023 9:51 a.m. PST

Thanks for the detailing!

So if playing with 28mm scaling, then an inch per second ranges into that 4m per increment (max. X-country rate around 15kmph)? That sounds like plenty of visual-looking model mobility, that can jive well with meaningful-looking map terrain (and as we can reference here, with that woods schematic/LOS graphic above as an illustration).

Are you doing a lot of the "virtually" moving scenarios – meaning players are cooperating on one side, vs. the GM-run OPFOR?

Wolfhag05 Aug 2023 11:21 a.m. PST

Are you doing a lot of the "virtually" moving scenarios meaning players are cooperating on one side, vs. the GM-run OPFOR?

Just to be clear, "virtual movement" is not just done when out of sight of the enemy. An alternative way to move would be more traditional by putting a speed marker next to a moving unit and then moving it every 10th turn as far as it would go at the speed designated.

Below is a picture during mid-game showing several moving units. The virtual movement markers let players know the rate of movement to predict where it may move to in a certain amount of time, just like on a real battlefield. It also shows the second s mutual LOS is created too.

No, but it would not be a problem. I do have a platoon-sized game designed for the Marines at the Basic School in Quantico for their mid-east village combat town. I got a satellite photo of the place and had 3D-printed buildings. A player/student attempts to get his platoon or squad to clear the buildings in the village. The GM/instructor can throw different problems, situations, and attacks at the player/student to see how he reacts and uses tactics he's been taught.

The Basic School is 6 months of training for 2LTs that have completed OCS to be an Infantry Platoon Leader even if you are going into pilot training, logistics, admin, etc. I was part of the Aggressor Unit (bad guys OPFOR) that played against them out in the field every day. It was great fun.


Personal logo FlyXwire Supporting Member of TMP06 Aug 2023 2:45 a.m. PST

Flipping arrows, that are color-differentiated on their two sides (to keep all players 'up to speed' so to speak).


Wolfhag07 Aug 2023 7:24 a.m. PST


What I like about the system is that the action slowly unfolds second-to-second and units move at their real rate of speed as each game turn (clock time) is called out. Players can pause the game at any time to execute an order and issue their next one or to react to a new LOS from movement or an enemy unit attempting to engage them and it does it with a minimum of rules and die rolls.

Artillery basically works the same way. The scenario states how far away the battery is based on the rounds time of flight. A 60-second time of flight means a target might move 200-300m in that amount of time making it very hard to target moving units unless you lay down a barrage they need to move through. Mortar's time of flight is 15-30 seconds.

Below is an example of what I'm modeling the artillery after:

What I've found in playtesting is that a teenager that has never played a traditional miniatures war game before but has played tank video games/simulators is better prepared to play the game and use real tactics than an old-timer miniatures player. It seems as though they are able to think in "real-time" rather than IGYG and know what to expect. Many old timers are used to waiting to be told what they can do and when. Former tank crewmen catch on quickly.

There are very few rules to memorize because the customized unit data cards are set up to guide the player through his orders and keep quick reference charts to a minimum. However, it can take some time to get used to the layout of the data cards.

Some sections of the data cards will have a qr code to bring up a short video rather than looking through the rule book.


Blackhorse MP20 Aug 2023 9:18 p.m. PST


So does TREADHEADS exist as a finished product? I watched a video where you said it would be on Wargame Vault, but I checked and had no luck. Is it available elsewhere?

It definitely looks interesting and I'd like to pick up a copy if it's available.

Wolfhag25 Aug 2023 8:15 a.m. PST

Blackhorse MP,
We had to do more testing and development of the play aids before doing the final videos. We're getting close. Send me an email to:

treadheadgames AT

and I'll get you the latest info. If you participate in the Zoom calls and give feedback you'll get a free print & play version that will be going up on the Wargamevault.


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