Since the vehicle test went relatively well last week, I’ve been thinking about how to develop the armor and penetration numbers for the vehicles. Here’s my thinking:
Information on armor in various parts of a vehicle can be gathered on the internet and other sources. As this isn’t meant to be a published project, I will just do this for a handful of vehicles. Then anyone who wants to stat up another vehicle can do so, using the formulas. Sometimes what is reported is just the front hull. Other times what is reported is a range (e.g., the armor on the Panther varied between 10mm and 120mm), leaving the reader to guess that 10mm was the rear hull, the turret and side armor were in the middle somewhere (about 50 – 55mm), etc.
To compute the armor number in G.A.M.E.R., take mm or armor, round up to nearest 10, divide by 10, and add 4. As an example, the frontal armor on a M4E8 “Easy Eight” was about 178mm, making it one of the heaviest armored vehicle fronts of the war. A standard M4 (earliest model) was about 75mm. Different Sherman versions varied between these two extremes. Let’s start with the Easy Eight. The frontal hull armor would be 178 -> 180, 180 /10 = 18, 18 + 4 = 22. Using the same formula, the M4 would be 12.
Now that result is just a meaningless number until you look at penetration.
(Just for reference, rifles have a penetration of 1 and pistols 0.)
At short, medium, and long ranges, take the book value for penetration, round up to the nearest 10 and divide by 10. As an example, the 88mm KwK 36 L/56, depending on ammunition used, had a penetration of about 120mm at 500m. So 120 / 10 = 12. Another example: An ATR at short range had a penetration of about 35mm. That would be 35 -> 40 /10 = 4.
Putting it together:
An early Tiger with an 88mm KwK 36 L/56 gun hits the front of an M4 Sherman. The Tiger rolls d10 and adds the penetration of 12. Let’s say he rolls a 5, that is a result of 17. 17 is greater than the 12 armor on the front of the M4, so the hit penetrates. If he had rolled a 1, that would automatically be a “bounce.”
That same Tiger with the same roll of 5 would NOT penetrate the front of the Easy Eight. In fact, the 88mm KwK 36 L/56 would need to hit the side or turret to penetrate, as the front of the Easy Eight is just too thick.
The ATR fired at the Sherman would have a penetration of 43. If the player rolled an 8 for penetration, that would give a result of 12 compared to an armor of 12, which would indicate no penetration.
Yes, I know that not all armor is created equal, but it’s a good enough approximation for what is meant to be a fun skirmish game. Of course people could fiddle with the stats to handicap their favorite vehicle.
With these formulas, anyone using the rules can quickly create the stats for their vehicles and get playing. And I don’t have to spend the next two years doing it myself and then listening to people complain about the stats I gave their favorite vehicles. If it was known that a particular vehicle had a weak area, the results of the formulas can be modified to suit the players’ perceptions.
The next step is to build the formulas to determine the movement speed in the game based on the real tank’s quoted stats.
I’ve also added another attribute to vehicles. It is the maximum number of elevations that a vehicle can go UP in a single activation. I was reading somewhere recently that the Germans were constantly surprised at the climbing ability of the Sherman. (Of course it was a medium tank, not one of heavy tank like self-loathing American and Brits with axe to grind like to compare with the Sherman.) So the Sherman might have a max climb of 2, while most other tanks might be a 1. Or perhaps those numbers are 3 and 2. I’m still working on it, but if you think about this simple mechanic, I think you’ll see how elegant it is.