Set up for the Modern Portable Wargame.
I really enjoyed Bob's Memory of Modern Battle rules when I gave them a try last year as well as enjoying a number of games using various versions of the Portable Wargames. Looking at the newest Modern Portable Wargame, I realized that some of the changes Bob had made since the original didn't appeal to me and that the ranges and moves might look out of place with the situation and figures that I had set up but I decided to go ahead since I have been wrong before. about how rules play vs how they read and I didn't relish resetting a scenario. About ten turns and ten minutes later, the game was over. I think I was right about the mismatch between rules and scenario.
That said, there were a number of things that I liked better about MoMBat. I much prefer the attrition system and I absolutely don't like the saving throw approach to combat where a unit throws to survive even if it it what Morschauser originally used. Partly that is just my way of thinking, but it is also that the danger to a unit is totally dependent on what it is. For example a cavalry unit is in as much danger from attacking a wagon in the flank as it is from charging a machine gun frontally. It may be more likely to win the combat but the danger is the same. This is a valid design choice since over all the better combat troops will tend to survive and thus win but it's one that doesn't suit my tastes.
Another thing I had trouble with is the comparative deadliness of shooting vs close combat. For example an infantry unit that is in cover has a 1/6 risk of being hit in close combat but a 1/3rd risk if shot at by infantry (5,6 basic +1 because infantry is always halted when firing, -1 for cover). If the shooting unit has an adjacent commander, the odds of a hit go up to 50%, if the target infantry is adjacent to a commander it becomes invulnerable to frontal assault but there is no change to its vulnerability to shooting. Unfortunately for Red, Green figured this out, unfortunately for Green they only figured it out after taking heavy losses trying to creep around and hit red in the flank. The end was a draw with both sides at 50%.
So, it was time to reset and try a different rule set.
My first thought was to go back and try MoMBat but Memoir44 was also an option. Then I remembered that I had been working on something inspired by the Portable Wargame but heavily influenced by Hearts of Tin crossed with the ACW Hex rules I was working on. I buffed it up a bit (rough draft just posted as a blog entry), relaid the game, adjusting the terrain slightly and brought up reinforcements to make 3 man units and adding 2 platoon commanders fro Green, each with a single free order.
Essentially the game involved rolling for the number of "orders" with each allowing a unit to move, shoot, assault, rally or go into overwatch. Units being assaulted fight back without orders. Regular units can take 3 hits and if receiving more than one can convert the extras for retreats.
. The Second or Hats of Tin game: The carnage after the assault. The road is still blocked.
Green followed the same rough attack plan, fire support from gun and mortar combined with an infantry assault on the flank. Even though the gun could hit from most of the way across the table, the mortar and gun were too light to do more than keep their heads down (occasional hits followed by rallying instead of shooting). Having the mortar fire fire from cover aided by a spotter also tied down the spotter, should have used a commander. The infantry attack was caught in the open as it struggled across the wire and cut to pieces but a second wave made it through and took out the enemy redoubt. At this point the Greens had lost 2 platoon commanders and 3 sections while the Reds had lost 1 infantry section. Since the goal was to get a convoy down the road. Green was still at square one but without any advantage in numbers. The company commander recalled his men and fell back, swearing to concentrate his forces and focus on the objective next time. He might call for some heavier artillery too!
I'll try for a more explicit report on the next test game and then perhaps switch to the RCW using the full table.