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"Is There Anything Actually Wrong WIth WRG 1925-1950" Topic

Wargames Rules for All-Arms Land Warfare from Platoon to Batallion Level 1925-1950 and 1950-2000

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Personal logo Whirlwind Supporting Member of TMP04 Feb 2014 8:39 a.m. PST

Is there anything you think was particularly wrong with this old ruleset compared to more modern offerings for the WW2 Company/Battlegroup-level game?


ubercommando04 Feb 2014 9:04 a.m. PST

Infantry are largely ineffectual in WRG. The ground scale is such that they practically have to be almost touching the enemy in order to knock them out. The rules were written by tankies and they have a definite bias towards armour and in 1/300 scale, although they claim the rules can handle any scale. Sometimes the armour penetration rules can be a bit all-or-nothing.

They're not irredeemable by any means. There's the basis of simple and effective rules system there. The points system for buying a force is good, the simple armour ratings do the job well, the procedure for movement, firing, neutralising and knocking out is straightforward but I think to make them work well you have to modify the theory book ranges of weapons, scale the knock-out effects with the large guns so it's not so all-or-nothing and give infantry a bit more effectiveness at range.

altfritz04 Feb 2014 9:21 a.m. PST

Didn't most encounters take place at fairly short ranges? Maybe playing with a denser table would suffice…

Martin Rapier04 Feb 2014 9:30 a.m. PST

The morale rules are ridiculously complex, I hate pages of modifiers. That was addressed in the 15mm 're-write' available on

I don't have any problem with the infantry lethality, suppression at a distance and close assault to destroy sounds fine to me.

Indirect fire requires you to know what you are doing in terms of organisation structures, chain of communication etc, some more modern approaches may be useful.

The mechanisms for dealing with rolls which require a target score of more than 6 are a bit clumsy.

They suffer from very short notional turns and microscopic dismounted infantry movement. Rules lawyers have fun with discovering that bazookas are extremely effective anti-personnel weapons when fired backwards:)

That apart, they are beautiful in every way, shoot then move in particular, as well as beaten zones for MGs. Just don't try to run an infantry battalion with them.

ScoutJock04 Feb 2014 10:36 a.m. PST

I've been playing WRG, both WWII & Modern, (well they were modern 25 years ago), for well, 25 years or so. The tactical modes introduced in the updated edition practically made them unplayable IMHO, but the basic rules still make for a good game if you like 1 model = 1 vehicle and 1 stand = 1 fire team or support weapon. I think part of the problem is that when you play at 1" = 100m per the author's recommendation for 6mm, the infantry just kind of sit there without moving. If you play with 1mm = 1m and keep it to a platoon or so of infantry per side with minimal armor on the table it works pretty well.

I would love to see updated weapons data to bring them into the 21st century.

Mobius04 Feb 2014 11:16 a.m. PST

1. The Morale rules are all but unplayable.
2. No hull or turret locations. Hull and turret always face the same way. So a hulldown tank with side facing enemy but turret facing enemy is still side on.
3. No track hits.

ubercommando04 Feb 2014 1:23 p.m. PST

When we talk about the morale rules, are we talking 1st or 2nd edition? First edition is simple: You roll to hit, if they're hit, they're neutralised until they can rally. At a certain point, you take a morale test which has all kinds of modifiers.

2nd edition, I can't figure them out. I can't remember what tactical modes let you do X and Y without going to the rulebook.

In some ways, 1st edition is a loose set of rules which you can play around with. Such as hull and turret facings: You can make up a rule on the spot. I've changed the ranges and knock-out values on some weapons so it's not all-or-nothing and done away with the complex way of rolling numbers above 6.

One thing I'm trying is taking the tactical modes from the TAC set of rules, and the sequence of play from that, and applying it to WRG. TAC's got good command, control and morale rules but isn't so great with combat IMO.

Mobius04 Feb 2014 2:36 p.m. PST

Plus the early rules it has some idiotic way of rolling numbers higher than a '6' namely 7,8 and 9 such that the odds of getting a 7 or better is the same as rolling a '6'. This was corrected the modern set to roll a '6' first then try to back it up by rolling 4 or better.

Etranger04 Feb 2014 7:53 p.m. PST

Not enough full page colour photos for modern sensibilities…..

John the OFM04 Feb 2014 7:56 p.m. PST

Phil Barker never came out with his own line of miniatures. grin

Hold that…
Ninifigs DID have a PB range, but they were for Ancients.

UshCha04 Feb 2014 10:05 p.m. PST

I even have a signed copy from Phil as I had some, very minor changes incoporated. To me its a set that is old now but very advanced when it came out. His use of Combat Modes was ground breaking and as I look back I realise our rules (MG) reflect some of the ideas in his set.
The worst bit is command and control. You have to have maps and actual unit boundaries marked on. Its correct but a pain. It was noted to work at 1:300, its rules on terrain are for 1/72. Its description notes a platoon of infantry supported by tanks at which it woks best. It, like many sets of rules is rediculosly range obsessed and so fails to get weapons to behave properly. Spoting like many games is still too easy. Again tanks can kill infantry infantry too easily and because he has not allowed for model scale you can find a PIAT won't even shoot across a road.

Its obvious there are problems as tanks have to be told to be afraid of infantry in cover by a morale test as actually on the board infantry are no threat. As with most rules the need for tanks to be open topped to see much is not well reflected.

To my mind for smaller games a version of Stargunt II would be better. SGII and the conversions are free.

Obviously I am biased but MG is better for larger games.

Colour Photos DON'T GET ME STARTED ;-). £200,000.00 GBP+ software manuals, no need for photos, so why oh why do publishers waste our money on them? Photos are pointless and a waste of money, they do not contribute to the understanding of the rules.

Lion in the Stars04 Feb 2014 11:12 p.m. PST

Photos are pointless and a waste of money, they do not contribute to the understanding of the rules.
You're doing photos wrong, then.

Sure, SOME photos can be pure eyecandy, and good eyecandy helps make sales if your product is not shrinkwrapped and available in game stores.

But when some games are posting YouTube how-to-play events with CG enhancements, Photos and/or movies sure CAN contribute to understanding the rules!

mysteron Supporting Member of TMP05 Feb 2014 4:10 a.m. PST

I agree about Photos. Piers Brand did some step by step artillery demonstration for Battlegroup at the Guild . They were superb and cleared some misunderstandings/interpretations up far better than just reading the rules .I printed them off and placed them in my rulesbook for reference. Just wish he would do some more :).

Good Diagrams are also quite effective IMO.

Martin Rapier05 Feb 2014 5:07 a.m. PST

I learned how to play WRG 1925-50 without requiring either photos or access to the internet. It did have a few quaint line drawings of tanks on the cover.

wrt 'complex morale', I meant the long lists of modifiers which all too often resulted in 'carry on', as John mentions for WRg Ancients too in another thread.

Turret/track this didn't bother me, Charles Grants 'Battle' didn't have those either. The lethal nature of tank combat meant that you had to be very cautious and make good use of terrain.

Oh how I laughed that one time when the Germans took the bait and opened up on the one Sherman I'd parked in the open and I proceeded to blow the lot away from covered positions.

Sparker05 Feb 2014 10:53 p.m. PST

Well I hate to be a contrarian, but I'm afraid I disagree with these critiques, (Version 2 June 1988). I think the infantry effectiveness is about right trained infantry in any sort of cover are actually pretty hard to kill until you get to grenade range and I haven't found the morale rules difficult at all.

I certainly think the first volley being more effective, against a foot target in the 'open', than the second one, once the target has automatically goes down to HOLD mode, is sheer genius, and again modelled what happened on the battlefields really well.

I will admit the Modes took a bit of getting used to, but for some scenarios, say Op BAGRATION with the Sovs attacking a German defense, it does become fairly easy to operate the Sovs in ATTACK mode and the Germans in SKIRMISH or HOLD mode.

Not had a problem with morale, I think HOLD, neutralised and pinned all takes care of 90% of it automatically!

Whilst I'm happy with FOW for a 'fast food' 15mm solution with lots of opponents, I have been casting about for a more filling set of rules for 20mm games with a more discerning and knowledgeable set of opponents, and, so far, I'm not convinced that the modern sets have improved on WRG that much…

Just my 2 cents!

Mark 105 Feb 2014 11:58 p.m. PST

I used the original rules from about 1974 until the re-write came out.

I think the rules lost too much "feel" to achieve reasonable fast-play. The first presumption is that any penetration means destruction of a target, and non-penetration means no harm. That's just too simple. This is amplified by the simple range-banding -- the idea that some particular gun might have no chance of doing any harm beyond 750 meters, then a 50% chance of destroying a given armor type from 250-750m, then always destroys the target below 250m is just too simplified.

Then there is the whole question of fire-team based infantry. The games play reasonably with several companies, a battalion or more of vehicles per side. But one or two platoons of infantry are about all an average game can handle. To wit – with the WRG rules a typical Russian infantry squad is 3 stands (2 rifle stands and an LMG stand). So a Russian rifle company is about 43 stands, while a Russian tank company is 10 vehicles. Pity the poor gamer who wants a balanced force! The result is rules that might be used for all-armor games, or all-infantry games, but are almost unplayable for combined arms games.

Then in the revised rules the whole modes thing … well, it is rather complicated and takes a few games to get the hand of it, but it is actually an interesting idea, IF you want an infantry-focused game.

But then you have the rather comical, desperately overwhelming UK worldview. British Yeomany gets a different rating from Highlanders, while Indian infantry differ from Gurkhas, and South Africans differ from Canadians or Anzacs, who are also distinguished from Maoris. But all US Army infantry are green. Period. Really? Oh give me a break!

I'd say they were a good effort, and provided a sort of adolescence to micro-armor rules. Almost but still not quite mature.

(aka: Mk 1)

UshCha06 Feb 2014 12:16 a.m. PST

Objection your honour! We at Maneouver Group have been workinh to make a more discening game for quite a long time. It does make games more demanding as the rules are simple but allow more options so it is possible to get more esily inside you opponents decision loop if he as not planned (but no written plans needed). Barkers work is definitely ahead of may existing games like Rapid Fire and FOW 'Fast Food' (I like that term can I borrow it?).
We originally wrote MG so you just use real TOE's and unlike WRG you can write your own vewhicle stats from actual data. However we now have some WWII specs out. It wok#rks at defender at company level but the game will be complex tactically. You will need to put the Mortar Fire Controller in the right place and give him a list of FDFs. Thre is no points system as real ground is not ammenable to a ponts system.

ubercommando06 Feb 2014 5:16 a.m. PST

Mark 1 has pretty much nailed it on the head. I disagree with Sparkler with infantry: Using 20mm figures and the ground scale the game has, you have to be within 2.5 centimetres to score a knock against infantry in cover. So a grenade has a range of 2.5cm in 20mm scale? This is why I fiddled with the ranges. Also, machineguns in WRG aren't much cop either. Sure, you can shoot them at a longer range than a rifle team but the knock out results are worse. There's no optimum range for them: Either they hit but only neutralise or they have a very dim chance of a knock out at 2.5cm. The designers can only see MGs as a suppression weapon and nothing else. Sure, that's an important part of what they do but other rules see that they can kill as well.

Mobius06 Feb 2014 6:26 a.m. PST

I didn't play much WWII using WRG but played WRG moderns. As Mark1 says playing with team scale infantry really bogs the game down. Plus when a BMP or M113 unloads it is like a clown car. 8-9 men comming out of a BMP is 2 AK teams, a LMG team and a RPG team. Now you have a 10 BMPs in a company you have 40 more things you have to fire or move. (Then there's the dismounted Saggar controller.) One reason I went to the squad level for my rules.

Mark 106 Feb 2014 1:45 p.m. PST

ubercommando mentions something that I had forgotten -- the useless MG!

Take 3 SFMGs … Vickers, or Maxims, or whatever you like. Put them on defense with clear fields of fire over 500m of open ground.

Now charge across that field with a platoon of infantry.

In WRG you have a sure victory for the attackers. Those MGs stand no chance at all. Best case they will supress 3 out of 12 stands of attacking infantry per bound. So maybe the infantry will get onto the MGs only 3 or 4 teams at a time, and it will take an extra turn or two to swamp the MGs and ensure their destruction.


And Mobius' reference to the clown cars effect is quite appropriate. But missing from his articulation is the result on game-play. You move your vehicles, you shoot your vehicle weapons, and when your infantry de-busses from their transports the game ends, because no one wants to play the 90 minute turns that are now required to manage the number of units on the table.

This is why I say the rules simply don't work for combined arms actions. OK for 3 companies of tanks, or 2 platoons of infantry. Maybe even 2 platoons of infantry with a tank or two in support. But a company of tanks and a company of infantry? Forget it!

Mobius' rules are a great example of how more mature game mechanisms can add value to the gaming experience. You get a ton more detail in the tank-on-tank combat, great complete stats that are very rewarding to the tank enthusiast -- and yet they still play well (SO much better than the older high-detail rules like Tractics or Tank Charts!). And you can even have some infantry in your battles too, and they don't kill the gameflow!

For fast-play rules for larger actions (more than a company per player) I find the Jagdpanzer rules are also very rewarding, for their probability-based kill mechanism. When your penetration value is greater than the armor value of your target (at a particular range), then your chances of getting a kill go up. It is still possible to damage or kill when you can't penetrate, it's just unlikely. And its still possible that the target survives your shot when you can penetrate, unless you really dramatically over-match the armor. Infantry is squad-based and does not bog down the game.

I also like Mein Panzer for larger actions. These rules integrate platoon vs company vs battalion level into the game-play mechanism seamlessly, so as a gamer you actually SEE your unit organization as you play. Yet they are as fast-play as Jagdpanzer or Armor and Infantry, and you will find that your games are BETTER with combined arms formations, not worse!

Just my $ 0.02 worth …

(aka: Mk 1)

UshCha07 Feb 2014 12:24 a.m. PST

Mark 1,
Not sure all your comments are correct. WRG was enlitened enough to allow a susstained fire MG to use area fire. This menat that in a target rich enviroment you had a good chance of hitting a lot of elements. Three MG's in a proper cross fire would disable a lot of elements. In some ways it still suffees from a range obsession, but there are,like I said some ground breaking inovations. The fact that wargamers (and indeed some rules) frown on flaning fire WRG encourages proper deployments. particularly MG's on flanks covering the whole frontage of a platoon. May not be to everybodies taste as a lot more thought has to go into deployment.

Dexter Ward07 Feb 2014 3:33 a.m. PST

As others have said, these rules bog down badly with lots of infantry.
For games with 1 stand = 1 squad we've found Battlefront:WW2 to be good with up to a battalion a side. For larger games Spearhead is good, but then a stand is a platoon.

Andy ONeill07 Feb 2014 5:01 a.m. PST

I played 1925-50 1st edition a lot.
We were tank orientated so didn't really care much that infantry were a bit secondary.
The two things I recall are morale and smoke.
The smoke was way too simplistic.
I played a tournament game where my opponent covered the entire table in cotton wool.

Mobius07 Feb 2014 6:28 a.m. PST

Mark 1,
The way around the MG problem is to Direct Area Fire with it. These have a beaten zone 10m wide x 75m deep. You can neutralize a moving troop on a '5' and lying troop on a '6' all units in the beaten zone. Then to kill a neutralized moving troop it is a '5' and stationary is a '6'.

Another quirky thing with the math of the game. Basically it is just as easy to kill an enemy troop over 250m with direct fire as direct area fire. So every unit firing is now going to be rolling for many targets. More rolls, more time… there is never enough time.

(In fact with Direct Fire there are die modifiers so it could be harder to hit moving targets. While there are no modifiers for Area fire.)

Mark 108 Feb 2014 11:09 p.m. PST

UshCha, Mobius:

I am aware of the area fire capability of MGs in WRG. The problem is that if the infantry is not arrayed in depth, it gets you nothing. And even if there is some depth it gets you very little. If the infantry advance in 2 waves you would still only get 2 stands in your beaten zone per MG. And with a 5 to hit, that means 3 MGs firing with 2 targets in each beaten zone will, on average, suppress a total of 2 stands per turn (1 in 3 chance on each of 6 targets). After 2 or 3 turns of this you might even kill one. Or not.

As I say, even a single platoon of infantry can march across a 500m open field to swarm upon 3 MGs. They'll be a bit ragged in their arrival times on top of the MGs, but you will not stop them.

Try it. I did … 3 or 4 times IIRC (admittedly 30 years ago!). Found it to be so absurd that MGs could not stop infantry advancing across an open field, that we did a "house mod" to provide for 2 shots per bound for bipod-mounted, and 3 shots per bound for tripod mounted MGs. Otherwise, MGs were just like less-effective riflemen.

(And yes, I do know about flanking fire. "Encouraging" proper deployment of MGs is one thing, but also encouraging human wave marches across open fields is another thing all together.)

-Mark 1

John D Salt09 Feb 2014 4:21 a.m. PST

AONeill wrote:

The smoke was way too simplistic.
I played a tournament game where my opponent covered the entire table in cotton wool.

Haha! I recall our first try-out with the first edition WRG modern rules (the first rules ever to attempt the modern period). Nothing much happened, but the table resembled a very low formation of fairly dense cumulo-nimbus.

I umpired for the student nationals in, oooh, 1979 or so, I suppose. "A scandal of crouching concealment", to quote Wells, for almost the whole game. The last-minute dash to the objective under dense smoke by infantry mounted in softskins was less successful than it would otherwise have been, given the other side's wise investment in multiple 20mm cannon, and the rules for direct area fire, which the umpire ruled could quite reasonably be directed against a smoke screen moving progressively towards the objective.

All the best,


Buck21505 Apr 2014 8:12 p.m. PST

I still have my copy after buying them 36 years ago when I was a kid playing with Avalon Hill board games. The WRG rules were drier than the Christmas turkey from National Lampoon's movie "Christmas Vacation", and would have benefited enormously from "eye candy" or at least some photos to illustrate what the Hell they were trying to explain, especially to a young kid who was excited to buy them. For example, they wanted the infantry mounted on 'bases". Really? What material is the base to be made of? How big should the base be? What shape? Instead, those stuffy English Limey twit rules authors snobbishly assumed a reader would know what they meant, so photos of what they were talking about we're not included, I believe. The armor rules were okay…

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