Play Test of WWII Skirmish Rules

Last night at the HAWKs meeting there were two games.  One was a Union So Tested American Civil War fight.  From what I could tell it was quite a good scenario.  The second game was another (only the second) play test of the WWII skirmish rules I’ve been developing.  Noah, Duncan, Chris, and Don were my guinea pigs.

The scenario was a simple meeting engagement in which both sides were fighting for control of the road intersection in the center of the table.  It perhaps wasn’t an interesting, but I wanted to get the players engaging each other quickly.

The game confirmed that the firing mechanics worked well.  (See previous posts about the card-based combat resolution mechanisms I’ve been developing.)  I may double the weapons ranges.  Right now an M-1 rifle shoots about 36 inches.  In Beer and Pretzels Skirmish I used shooting ranges that were closer to figure scale, but players didn’t seem to like the idea they could shoot across the whole board. Food for thought.

I knew something wasn’t working for activation.  I’ve been using a mechanic similar to the Look, Sarge series, except with many more cards, because I wanted elite and regular units to, in general, activate more frequently than green units.  The down sides were that turns are significantly longer, players don’t get the sense of passage of time, it’s almost impossible to recover from being pinned, and other drawbacks.  For the next test, I’m going to go closer to Look, Sarge, with cards numbered 1 to 6 in red and also in black.  I’ll add an “elite” card.  When that card is drawn, elite units with the same number as the last number called will activate.  So SOME elite units will get two activations in a row.  This is both simpler and addresses some of the issues noted.

Movement worked fine.

I had recently revamped the morale rules, but it didn’t seem that players every failed morale.  In fact most players didn’t even fear the morale checks.  I think what I forgot to take into account is number of figures lost more heavily.  When a figure is wounded or killed, the unit picks up a morale pip.  To pass you subtract the number of morale pips from your “Guts number.”  This difference has to be greater than the target number on the card.  I think I want to make the following change.  In stead of accruing one morale pip for each wound or incapacitate result, you will accrue one per wound and three for each incapacitate.  This should result in more morale failures, which will enable me to test the morale failure mechanics better.

Finally, I’m not sure that I’m happy with the unit record sheets.  On them you track wounds on your figures, but it’s hard to remember to look at the card when shooting, because wounded figures have a negative columns shift.  I won’t make any changes to that just yet, but it’s on my list to revisit later.

Don tried to test rifle grenades, but he “rolled” poorly each time and scattered in a bad direction, so we never got to see how the new mechanics worked.

In general, I’m happy with the way the rules are shaping up.