Big small wars


A hundred square feet of heaven is far more precious than a million square feet of hell


Khang Kijarro Nguyen

While living in COVID land I have been pondering playing FOW (or team yankee) a new way.  While I do enjoy big battles, there is something equally appealing about a small platoon level game.  Now, of course, there are other game systems dedicated to this level of play. However, I am convinced that, with some small tweaks. the FOW rules are versatile enough to adapt.

First off you could just play a very small game using all the normal rules, however this does raise up issues with morale and balance.  Instead, I am proposing some small tweaks to enable the game to cope with smaller scale engagements.  I will stress this is for fun narrative play I am not attempting to hugely balance this.

General

These are initial rules which I am looking for feedback on.  Unless started use the same rules as the FOW rule book.  

Game size

Game size should be no more than 25 pts. I suggest no more than two infantry platoons and a single tank.   20pts is a good starting point.  You can play on a 4×4 however a 6×4 allows far more movement and tactics.  Top tip, this style works great for village battles.

The game is designed for infantry forces.  Any transports must be left out of the game.

You do not field a formation HQ in a Skirmish game, its to small to see this level of command present.  You may also select any units from your core formation choices.  You may add a single team from any HMG platoon (or similar) to one of your platoons.  This represents company assets being split up for a platoon attack.  To get the points, divide the minimum selection by the number teams (rounded up – i.e. a single US M1917 would be 1pt as four guns, the minimum selection of 4 guns is 3pts).  It becomes part of the platoon it is attached to.  Please note Brit HMGs lose their bombardment.

You may also take up to two tubes of mortars (outside of integrated mortars e.g. US ARP) in your formation.

Your single tank team can be selected from any available support or formation support choice.  Divide the minimum number of tanks you can take in the unit by the number of teams rounded up to find the cost.  Eg a Tiger would be 12 points.  You may not take self propelled artillery.

Set-up

Rather than the traditional scenarios, I suggest rolling off and the player who rolls highest is the attack and places an objective with in 4 inches of the center line.  The defender does the same.

The attacker deploys a unit first and then players alternate.  Once forces are deployed players roll off and the highest score goes first.

Movement

As a skirmish battle, the rules for command don’t apply;  you can’t be out of command.  Your platoon may spread its teams out as they wish.  Platoon commanders may still issue a single order each turn, affecting all teams within 6 inches.

Teams dig in individually.

Morale

Use the FOW main rules with the following exceptions.

  • Unit morale works the same as in FOW for last stands (just take total number of teams in a platoon as there is no in or out of command).
  • Pinning is now by team not by unit.  A team is pinned by two hits in a single shooting or assault phase.
  • Your skirmish force breaks when its final unit is reduced to poor spirits.
  • A platoon commander confers the same bonuses to their own platoons teams within 6 inches as a formation commander would in a normal game.  Eg re-roll to unpin and counter attack. 
  • Platoon Commanders are very valuable.  If a platoon commander is killed roll a dice.  On a 4+ you may move them to another team of the same type within 6 inches.  Otherwise they are dead.

Shooting

Shooting follows the same general rules as the main FOW rules with the following exceptions.

  •  A team with ROF 3 or more may split fire to another team within 4 inches.  Eg a MG may fire 2 shots at one team and then 1 at another team within 4 inches.
  • Mortars will always re-roll hits as you can’t have more than two tubes.  Remember, as individual teams they unpin separately.  A two tube battery still only fires one combined bombardment per turn.
  • A team is pinned down by two direct hits or a single hit from artillery.
  • Shots are made against a team, there is no mistaken target or spill over of shots to other teams near by,

Assault

Assault uses the same rules as the main rule book with the following exceptions.

  • In an assault defensive fire range is reduced to 6 inches and teams may only shoot over each other if both are dug in (represents raised and prepared fields of fire).
  • An assault may be made of one or more teams from a single platoon but all must be able to make contact with the enemy.
  • Assaulting teams are pinned down individually (2 hits) therefore target selection is key.  This means in an assault with 3 assaulting teams, you may pin 2 and the 3rd still makes it into an assault.
  • Teams with a ROF above 3 may still split fire, however  suffers a plus 1 to hit if it chooses to (the window of opportunity to switch target is less when someone is charging you).

A cheeky game of hunt the tiger 

Where now

As I say this is work in progress, I would love people to try it out and provide feedback.  I think the range for defensive fire may need tweaking for the defensive fire distances.  I shall be be posting up a Batrep of my Brit Paras vs some grenadiers fighting through a town in the next couple of weeks.  Once testing is done and feedback gathered I hope to get this into a PDF so it be shared more widely.

Category: Flames of WarRambling

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4 comments

  1. Just had a thought about panzer Faust, should probably be assigned to an actual team (maybe transferred on a 4+ if the team is destroyed?) and able to jump around as normal

  2. Thanks Lucas. Fausts are an interesting idea. Although perhaps another way is to say they are single shot per base. A pltn would have had quite a few depending on theatre/lateness of the war.

  3. Interesting way of playing. I’m thinking of an activation system like the one in BoltAction, where you put dices in a sack and you draw out wich ever platoon activates. Really interesting and I’m thinking of giving it a try out.

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Article by: Mark Goddard