This past weekend we played two games using my under-development G.A.M.E.R. system. Those games gave me a chance to try out some ideas I’ve been kicking around regarding moving fire. As the game is currently written, figures may either move or fire when they activate, but there is no moving fire. I have been struggling with the best way to represent the increased firepower afforded to US squads by the M-1 Garand vs. every other army’s bolt-action rifles.
When I was a cadet at West Point, one of the history instructors showed us a film he made as part of his master’s thesis. It involved him dressing up a full US and German squad with their organic weapons (including BARs and MG-42). He then took them onto a known distance range and had them engage targets for a fixed period of time. As I recall he even used the same guys for both squads to control for the possibility of better marksmen in one group or the other. The result of this experiment was that a US squad had significantly more firepower than a German squad. Since the BAR is not really comparable to the MG-42, you have to assign the credit to the M-1 Garand. That has stuck with me for many years.
In Bolt Action, soldiers with Garands are allowed to conduct moving fire, but not soldiers with bolt action rifles. I have tried to account for the differences in firepower in GAMER by enabling some weapons to fire more than one shot during an activation. For instance, a submachine gun can fire 3 times at close range, twice at medium range, and just once at long range. This reflects both the rate of fire and the poor likelihood of hitting multiple times with a submachine gun at long range.
This mechanism of multiple shots still didn’t address the moving fire issue. While I like the shoot OR move mechanism for cleanness, simplicity, and speed, I understand why players of modern periods want moving fire. The experiment at JJ CON was only partially successful, because I took away multiple shots from the Garand but allowed moving fire with a full move.
After that experiment, here is what I think I am going to do. First, I realized that the penalty for moving fire (one column shift) was not punitive enough. I have been thinking about making it a two-column shift for some time as a result of vehicle play tests. A figure with a weapon that can fire more than once at the range to the target may instead conduct moving fire. The number of shots will be reduced by one. Movement distance will be reduced by two inches. Moving fire is always conducted as move, then fire at the end point of the move. Moving fire can be interrupted during the movement, not the firing, by a reaction roll. I think this will give the right feel.