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Hot Blood & Cold Steel - WW1 Trench Raiding

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Anonymous
December 20, 2004 7:34:56 PM

Archived from groups: rec.games.miniatures.historical (More info?)

I'm in the process of developing a game for a convention to be held in
March. I've got a set of rules and have play-tested them and am fairly
happy with the results. The game played fairly quickly (we got a
conclusion in just over an hour including set up).

Given that some other people may be interested in the period I've posted
the rules on the web. Grateful for any comments anyone might have if
they ever play the rules (or even read them and find anything that can
be clarified or improved). My next playtest is scheduled for 9 January
at Chestnut Lodge Wargames Group (see http://www.clwg.org.uk/ for more
about CLWG).

http://www.cold-steel.org/

--
Jas

Hot Blood & Cold Steel - WW1 Skirmish in no mans land
http://www.cold-steel.org/ free rules download
Anonymous
December 21, 2004 12:51:25 AM

Archived from groups: rec.games.miniatures.historical (More info?)

J M Kemp <news@castlegreen.org> wrote in
news:o OcinnYw8vxBFwDX@jmkemp.demon.co.uk:

> I'm in the process of developing a game for a convention to
> be held in March.

A Consummation devoutly to be wished. ;-)

> Given that some other people may be interested in the period
> I've posted the rules on the web. Grateful for any comments
> anyone might have if they ever play the rules (or even read
> them and find anything that can be clarified or improved).
> My next playtest is scheduled for 9 January at Chestnut
> Lodge Wargames Group (see http://www.clwg.org.uk/ for more
> about CLWG).

Very interesting -- I've always felt that individual-level
infantry tactical games did night patrolling very badly. Having
a special set of rules to deal just with night work seems
therefore a good move. While these have a nice WW1 flavour, I
hardly think that the basic business of nocturnal raiding has
changed a great deal in the past century, and probably not much
since gunpowder was introduced. Add in mines and trip-flares to
bring it up to WW1, and night-sights and infra-red fences to
bring it right up to date.

But, back to WW1, and the rules -- based on a quick read through,
I have the following comments and questions:

1. The sequence of play -- in each turn, do players take it in
turn to go through all the steps before play passes to their
opponent? Or do both players perform a step before either
proceeds to the next step? I suspect it is the latter (otherwise
the order of firing rules would be rather pointless), in which
case, how does one decide which side does a step first?

2. The spotting chart -- it is not clear to me whether the
distance seen results from the target posture, spotter posture,
or illumination conditions.

3. Artillery and mortars get a mention at the start, but I can
see no rules for them. Presumably their relvance would be only
as DF tasks (which could include MGs firing on fixed lines, as
well).

4. What is the reasoning behind the different modifiers for
British and German Officers and NCOs? And as the French lost
more guys than we did in WW1, why don't they get a mention?

5. I couldn't find definitions of the following terms (which
don't matter where there's an umpire, but are necessary if anyone
at a remote location wants to try the rules):

On the individual morale table -- What does "taking morale" mean?
What is the definition of "visibly outnumbered"? And when
counting friendly and enemy casualties in sight, do you count
"just a scratch" wounds?

On the firing chart -- what defines an "aimed shot", "partial
cover", "non-tactical", and "disappearing target"?

On the bomb effects chart -- what targets are "armoured"?

Where are the beaten zone and "flight path" (which I take to mean
"dangerous area") of MGs defined? And what is the definition of
a "fire-swept zone"?

6. On the "effects of being hit" chart, modifiers seem to be
applicable to every weapon except the pistol. Would it not make
more sense to have the zero modifier apply to the most common
weapon (which I would imagine to be the grenade, sorry, bomb) and
adjust the final numbers needed accordingly? And under what
circumstances would an opponent be unarmed?

7. Since people with minor wounds are still capable of taking
actions, if not moving, can they stabilise themselves as an
action? Or must the roll a 2 like those with serious wounds?

8. I can't seem to find the rules for firing illuminants
(presumably Very flares in this era).

I notice there aren't any command control rules, but as it seems
to be intended as a multi-player game I'm guessing that the
players should be able to sow enough confusion unaided... ;-)

Since this is supposed to be a raiding game, have you considered
some mechanism to prevent the defending player from moving troops
about until a sentry sounds the alarm? Or is the game assumed to
start from the point the alarm is given?

All the best,

John.
Anonymous
December 21, 2004 1:59:40 AM

Archived from groups: rec.games.miniatures.historical (More info?)

In article <Xns95C5E0DC61C1CBaldHeadedJohn@195.149.20.147>, John D Salt
<jdsalt_AT_gotadsl.co.uk@?.?.invalid> writes
>J M Kemp <news@castlegreen.org> wrote in
>news:o OcinnYw8vxBFwDX@jmkemp.demon.co.uk:
>
>> I'm in the process of developing a game for a convention to
>> be held in March.
>
>A Consummation devoutly to be wished. ;-)
>
>> Given that some other people may be interested in the period
>> I've posted the rules on the web. Grateful for any comments
>> anyone might have if they ever play the rules (or even read
>> them and find anything that can be clarified or improved).
>> My next playtest is scheduled for 9 January at Chestnut
>> Lodge Wargames Group (see http://www.clwg.org.uk/ for more
>> about CLWG).
>
>Very interesting -- I've always felt that individual-level
>infantry tactical games did night patrolling very badly. Having
>a special set of rules to deal just with night work seems
>therefore a good move. While these have a nice WW1 flavour, I
>hardly think that the basic business of nocturnal raiding has
>changed a great deal in the past century, and probably not much
>since gunpowder was introduced. Add in mines and trip-flares to
>bring it up to WW1, and night-sights and infra-red fences to
>bring it right up to date.

I'd agree. It ought to be possible to use them for a wider range of
things than the game I'm planning, and that is my intention.

>But, back to WW1, and the rules -- based on a quick read through,
>I have the following comments and questions:
>
>1. The sequence of play -- in each turn, do players take it in
>turn to go through all the steps before play passes to their
>opponent? Or do both players perform a step before either
>proceeds to the next step? I suspect it is the latter (otherwise
>the order of firing rules would be rather pointless), in which
>case, how does one decide which side does a step first?

Both sides do things simultaneously. At the convention the Germans will
be umpire driven so I will decide what they are going to do before the
players move and then reveal it afterwards. In a two-sided game I'd try
and do it back to back (and in fact I've got two sets of identical
character figures to make up the patrols).

>2. The spotting chart -- it is not clear to me whether the
>distance seen results from the target posture, spotter posture,
>or illumination conditions.

Good point, I'll make it clearer. It is how far you can see when you are
in the posture mentioned. It does need to be clearer.

>3. Artillery and mortars get a mention at the start, but I can
>see no rules for them. Presumably their relvance would be only
>as DF tasks (which could include MGs firing on fixed lines, as
>well).

Yup. They're outside the scope of the players to call. However I ought
to write some rules to cover this so that other people know.
Artillery/mortars would only fire on pre-determined points which
couldn't be changed in the course of the game. For the purpose of the
convention game it will be entirely umpire driven.

>4. What is the reasoning behind the different modifiers for
>British and German Officers and NCOs? And as the French lost
>more guys than we did in WW1, why don't they get a mention?

I only did it for British & German because that's what I was using for
the scenario. A final version would have nationality specific rules for
all the nationalities present.

The rationale I saw was that the British tended to have officer heavy
patrols with NCOs out of proportion to private soldiers. The Germans by
contrast rarely let officers patrol, and if they did only one would be
out at a time. One of the stories I read was of three British 2Lts out
on patrol to cut wire, the author commented that if it had been a German
patrol the chance were that they would all have been privates. Probably
it ought not to differentiate between the nationalities and all NCOs and
officers should be the same regardless of nation.

>5. I couldn't find definitions of the following terms (which
>don't matter where there's an umpire, but are necessary if anyone
>at a remote location wants to try the rules):

I'll try and make it clearer in the rules.

>On the individual morale table -- What does "taking morale" mean?

Having to check their morale.

>What is the definition of "visibly outnumbered"?

When there are more enemies in sight than friendlies.

> And when
>counting friendly and enemy casualties in sight, do you count
>"just a scratch" wounds?

No. Only walking wounded and worse. Will make that clearer.

>On the firing chart -- what defines an "aimed shot",

Where a special action has been spent in the previous turn aiming.

>"partial
>cover",

Generally being on a firing step or a shell-hole and being able to fire.
I.e. the figure is in a place where they could claim full cover if they
weren't firing but have elected to fire back. I don't think this was
explained in the rules.

>"non-tactical",

Moving 3 or 4 squares standing up. It is in the movement bit but not in
the firing bit, either that or just in my head. Sorry.

>and "disappearing target"?

Where someone moves into cover. Stationary firers get an opportunity to
fire at them while they are still moving, but at a penalty.

>On the bomb effects chart -- what targets are "armoured"?

Those with armour? Actually I put it in just in case I wanted to use a
sniper or sentry in body armour. Those behind shields or similar would
also count as armoured. Probably best deleted though for the sake of
simplicity and speed.

>Where are the beaten zone and "flight path" (which I take to mean
>"dangerous area") of MGs defined?

The beaten zone is a relic of a previous draft. It should read 'target
square'. 'Flight path' is the line along which the bullets have to
travel. Basically take your favourite long straight thing and point it
from the MG to the target, any standing figure in the way has a chance
of being hit.

>And what is the definition of
>a "fire-swept zone"?

A bit loose, but anywhere that is being fired at and represents a
greater danger than where you are now. I don't think it was specifically
defined, so I ought to include it.

>6. On the "effects of being hit" chart, modifiers seem to be
>applicable to every weapon except the pistol. Would it not make
>more sense to have the zero modifier apply to the most common
>weapon (which I would imagine to be the grenade, sorry, bomb) and
>adjust the final numbers needed accordingly?

That makes sense. I reckon the bomb is indeed the most common. I'll try
re-arranging it all.

> And under what
>circumstances would an opponent be unarmed?

Possibly in melee, especially if the figure concerned was operating a
crew served weapon. Ideally you try to avoid being caught unarmed when
the enemy is about, so it ought to be rare.

>7. Since people with minor wounds are still capable of taking
>actions, if not moving, can they stabilise themselves as an
>action? Or must the roll a 2 like those with serious wounds?

Yes they can. Instead of doing cut and paste I just said "same as
walking wounded except they can't move". I'll make it clearer in the
next version.

>8. I can't seem to find the rules for firing illuminants
>(presumably Very flares in this era).

If you have a Very pistol then you just fire it where you like. It
counts as a pistol in the rules (although you don't need to roll to hit
if you are firing it skyward). I probably ought to write that bit of the
rules down though. I did allow trench defenders to fire one flare every
four turns at a nominated square. The flares lasted for three turns.

>I notice there aren't any command control rules, but as it seems
>to be intended as a multi-player game I'm guessing that the
>players should be able to sow enough confusion unaided... ;-)

Yup. Player task.

>Since this is supposed to be a raiding game, have you considered
>some mechanism to prevent the defending player from moving troops
>about until a sentry sounds the alarm? Or is the game assumed to
>start from the point the alarm is given?

I just don't bother about it until it seems sensible, but for a
two-sided game it would need to be thought about. To be honest I was
thinking about both sides just playing the patrols and the trench
sentries being NPCs with fixed positions.

Anyway thanks for your thoughts. Very useful to have someone remote read
the rules and comment on them.

--
Jas

Hot Blood & Cold Steel - WW1 Skirmish in no mans land
http://www.cold-steel.org/ free rules download
Related resources
Anonymous
December 21, 2004 6:49:54 PM

Archived from groups: rec.games.miniatures.historical (More info?)

J M Kemp <news@castlegreen.org> wrote in
news:EbX5Sxncl1xBFwHv@jmkemp.demon.co.uk:

[Snips]
> I'd agree. It ought to be possible to use them for a wider
> range of things than the game I'm planning, and that is my
> intention.

Excellent news. A good set of night combat rules is IMHO long
overdue. Once one gets into the close-range murk & shadows
stuff, I think fieldcraft (which remains much the same over
centuries) trumps technology every time, so I don't think adding
night-sights ought to cause very much alteration to the overall
game.

[Snips]
> Both sides do things simultaneously. At the convention the
> Germans will be umpire driven so I will decide what they are
> going to do before the players move and then reveal it
> afterwards. In a two-sided game I'd try and do it back to
> back (and in fact I've got two sets of identical character
> figures to make up the patrols).

Have you thought of using orders chits or some similar mechanism?
ISTM that there aren't all that many different actions a soldier
can take. If you've seen Buck Surdu's BAPS system (I've seen the
first two editions, but not yet the third) it might be worth
stealing the idea (for games where there are more figures than
players) of having a limited number of orders chits a player can
issue, and figures without a chit behave in a partly-randomised
way. Give leaders the right to issue some specified number of
chits and this might be a cleaner method of showing NCO/Officer
leadership than all the + and - modifiers, and the random element
of unordered figures may help produce some of the confusion of
night work. Somebody *always* loses contact with the back half
of their patrol.

>>2. The spotting chart -- it is not clear to me whether the
>>distance seen results from the target posture, spotter
>>posture, or illumination conditions.
>
> Good point, I'll make it clearer. It is how far you can see
> when you are in the posture mentioned. It does need to be
> clearer.

OK, if that's the case, then I think some of the numbers are the
wrong way round. When I did the "eyes & ears" course at CTC
Lympstone, it was made very clear that at night you get down low
in order to see targets further away -- you are more likely to be
able to pick them out against a light background. Standing up
not only makes you visible from further away, it also reduces
your own spotting ability.

>>3. Artillery and mortars get a mention at the start, but I
>>can see no rules for them. Presumably their relvance would
>>be only as DF tasks (which could include MGs firing on fixed
>>lines, as well).
>
> Yup. They're outside the scope of the players to call.
> However I ought to write some rules to cover this so that
> other people know. Artillery/mortars would only fire on
> pre-determined points which couldn't be changed in the
> course of the game. For the purpose of the convention game
> it will be entirely umpire driven.

The positioning of the DF tasks is obviously not something the
players will be able to change, but if might there not be a field
telephone present in a forward trench, or an agreed flare signal
from a listening post, capable of triggering a fixed dose of fire
on a DF task?

In the latter half of the war, too, a patrol might have a box
barrage fired to cover it in or out and isolate the portion of
the trench system it was raiding -- although at the scale of this
game, this is probably happening off-table, and accounts for the
lack of reinforcements for the defender.

[Snips]
>>On the individual morale table -- What does "taking morale"
>>mean?
>
> Having to check their morale.

I'd suggest leaving the words out, then -- when does a morale DRM
apply except when checkign morale? ;-)

>>What is the definition of "visibly outnumbered"?
>
> When there are more enemies in sight than friendlies.

More enemies in sight than friendlies *in sight*, or more enemies
in sight than friendlies you know to be present without
necessarily being able to see them? I've been in a night
triangular ambush (for exercise) ehere I could only see my no. 2
and a rifleman on each side of me, but I knew I was part of a
full-strength platoon all armed to the teeth.

> The beaten zone is a relic of a previous draft. It should
> read 'target square'. 'Flight path' is the line along which
> the bullets have to travel. Basically take your favourite
> long straight thing and point it from the MG to the target,
> any standing figure in the way has a chance of being hit.

Right -- the term was "dangerous area" when I was taught to fire
a GPMG. I think I'd quite like to see the beaten zone reinstated
-- again, few rules I've seen accurately reflect the way MG fire
really works.

>>And what is the definition of a "fire-swept zone"?
>
> A bit loose, but anywhere that is being fired at and
> represents a greater danger than where you are now. I don't
> think it was specifically defined, so I ought to include it.

I expect that, in the sort of rough-and-tumble I imagine
happening in this game, most shooting would be snap shooting. I
doubt there would be much in the way of continuous fire in the
way on might see during daytime fire & movement where the fire
group has to keep a certain weight of fire falling on the
objective while the assault group moves. Also, darkness in my
experience gives a curious illusion of protection, and so makes
people willing to move about exposed in ways they would not do in
daylight. I suggest, therefore, that the "fire-swept zone" be
defined as only referring to a beaten zone or dangerous area.

I must say I'm looking forward to seeing how these rules develop.
They seem to focus on the important factors in night-fighting
without bogging down in either irrelevant detail or over-
ingenious games mechanisms. And I can easily see how they could
be applied with only minor adjustments to "jitter-parties" in
Burma, fending off the Chinese on Pork Chop Hill, bushwhacking
the Indons in Sarawak or setting night ambushes in the jungles of
the Mekong Delta...

All the best,

John.
Anonymous
December 22, 2004 5:02:20 PM

Archived from groups: rec.games.miniatures.historical (More info?)

In article <Xns95C6A392C820ABaldHeadedJohn@195.149.20.147>, John D Salt
<jdsalt_AT_gotadsl.co.uk@?.?.invalid> writes
>J M Kemp <news@castlegreen.org> wrote in
>news:EbX5Sxncl1xBFwHv@jmkemp.demon.co.uk:
>
>Excellent news. A good set of night combat rules is IMHO long
>overdue. Once one gets into the close-range murk & shadows
>stuff, I think fieldcraft (which remains much the same over
>centuries) trumps technology every time, so I don't think adding
>night-sights ought to cause very much alteration to the overall
>game.

My experience of night sights wasn't really that impressive. My night
vision was about as good on cloudless nights and much better when it was
raining or foggy. Also when you are focussing on the night sight you
tend to lose some of the other non-visual cues and peripheral vision. It
also buggers up your night vision when you stop using it. Not to mention
the low whining noise that it made. Admittedly I was using them in 1990
or thereabouts, so possibly the current generation are a whole lot
better and worth using, or perhaps not.

>[Snips]
>> Both sides do things simultaneously.

>
>Have you thought of using orders chits or some similar mechanism?
>ISTM that there aren't all that many different actions a soldier
>can take. If you've seen Buck Surdu's BAPS system (I've seen the
>first two editions, but not yet the third) it might be worth
>stealing the idea (for games where there are more figures than
>players) of having a limited number of orders chits a player can
>issue, and figures without a chit behave in a partly-randomised
>way. Give leaders the right to issue some specified number of
>chits and this might be a cleaner method of showing NCO/Officer
>leadership than all the + and - modifiers, and the random element
>of unordered figures may help produce some of the confusion of
>night work.

I was thinking about people marking things on a card, the essentially
hex based nature of the game should make it easier to write what your
intentions are. However this probably wouldn't work if you were playing
with more than one or two figures per player. In those cases chits or
similar would be necessary for speed.

Overall I like the ideas you've mentioned. A deterministic system for
moving the non-player figures would be good. I like something along the
lines of all the figures in direct line of sight of the player figure
(i.e. an officer or NCO) do what the player wants except when in a
contact. In contact how they behave depends on a die roll and the type
of patrol they are on. E.g. a fighting patrol is likely to get down and
fire back, possibly even directly assaulting the enemy. A recce patrol
is likely to leg it to the nearest cover and then crawl away from the
enemy to an RV.

This needs more thought and is an essential part to the wider game when
I'm done with the convention game.

> Somebody *always* loses contact with the back half
>of their patrol.

Tell me about it! I've been left behind on exercise a couple of times
when we went to ground in long grass. Nothing like the feeling of being
all alone at night knowing that other people armed to the teeth are
looking for you and will give you a good kicking if they catch you
(except possibly the same situation in a live combat environment where
it isn't a kicking you need to worry about).


>OK, if that's the case, then I think some of the numbers are the
>wrong way round. When I did the "eyes & ears" course at CTC
>Lympstone, it was made very clear that at night you get down low
>in order to see targets further away -- you are more likely to be
>able to pick them out against a light background. Standing up
>not only makes you visible from further away, it also reduces
>your own spotting ability.

Now I think about it you're right. I've reversed the numbers and also
made it so that standing people are spotted one square further and lying
one square less.

I've been stood on at night when a patrol walked over me. Similarly I've
been in situations where sentries have missed people that crawled up to
their positions.


>The positioning of the DF tasks is obviously not something the
>players will be able to change, but if might there not be a field
>telephone present in a forward trench, or an agreed flare signal
>from a listening post, capable of triggering a fixed dose of fire
>on a DF task?

Yes, there needs to be something agreed at the start of the game (as you
would when planning a patrol) for calling in fire using signals. I see
this as something that the players have to decide for themselves and it
might be fun if both sides chose the same flare signal for different DF
tasks. Both sets of artillery open up at once!

>In the latter half of the war, too, a patrol might have a box
>barrage fired to cover it in or out and isolate the portion of
>the trench system it was raiding -- although at the scale of this
>game, this is probably happening off-table, and accounts for the
>lack of reinforcements for the defender.

Yes. This could have a game effect in covering a fair amount of noise.
It could also wake up the defenders of a part of trench.


>>>What is the definition of "visibly outnumbered"?
>>
>> When there are more enemies in sight than friendlies.
>
>More enemies in sight than friendlies *in sight*, or more enemies
>in sight than friendlies you know to be present without
>necessarily being able to see them? I've been in a night
>triangular ambush (for exercise) ehere I could only see my no. 2
>and a rifleman on each side of me, but I knew I was part of a
>full-strength platoon all armed to the teeth.

If you are ready in advance of the enemy being present and sure that
no-one has been lost or moved then this is a reasonable assumption. On
the other hand when in contact and you don't know what has happened to
the people out of sight then you might be worried if you can see more
enemy than friendlies. I'd intended only to count those actually in
sight, not known to be there, because after a short period there would
be an element of doubt.

However I would agree that in some circumstances knowing that you have
friends close by even when you can't see them is a comfort. Although I
would have thought the GPMG would probably be more of a comfort than
being able to see the other half a dozen riflemen in your section!

I guess it is down to the umpire, or both players, to agree whether
certain figures would be counted in the circumstances where an ambush
has been set up (obviously once the ambush is sprung you would know that
your friends were there).

>Right -- the term was "dangerous area" when I was taught to fire
>a GPMG. I think I'd quite like to see the beaten zone reinstated
>-- again, few rules I've seen accurately reflect the way MG fire
>really works.

I've put it back in. I only changed it to make it clearer to
non-military types. Better just to explain what beaten zone and
dangerous area are.

>>>And what is the definition of a "fire-swept zone"?
>>
>> A bit loose, but anywhere that is being fired at and
>> represents a greater danger than where you are now. I don't
>> think it was specifically defined, so I ought to include it.
>
>I expect that, in the sort of rough-and-tumble I imagine
>happening in this game, most shooting would be snap shooting. I
>doubt there would be much in the way of continuous fire in the
>way on might see during daytime fire & movement where the fire
>group has to keep a certain weight of fire falling on the
>objective while the assault group moves.

I assumed that nearly all shooting was snap shooting. Continuous fire is
unlikely apart from crewed MGs. However the danger of being shot is the
key thing, not the weight of fire.


> Also, darkness in my
>experience gives a curious illusion of protection, and so makes
>people willing to move about exposed in ways they would not do in
>daylight.

True. I've watched people walk along trench parapets which were
essentially in the open when in daylight they carefully crawled out of
the trench and stayed low moving to another. I also observed people
doing this while the position was under attack at night (I was playing
the part of the enemy).

Although it can also do the opposite and make inexperienced troops very
jittery. I've been in situations (on exercise) where a platoon has fired
occasional shots and flares for several minutes in response to a single
blank shot from outside their perimeter.

>I suggest, therefore, that the "fire-swept zone" be
>defined as only referring to a beaten zone or dangerous area.

I've done that in the draft and added indirect fire as well.

>I must say I'm looking forward to seeing how these rules develop.
>They seem to focus on the important factors in night-fighting
>without bogging down in either irrelevant detail or over-
>ingenious games mechanisms.

I'm trying to get the flavour of the (exercise) patrols I did in my
youth. Sneaking about in the dark while armed to the teeth was the most
fun thing I think I've ever done.

>And I can easily see how they could
>be applied with only minor adjustments to "jitter-parties" in
>Burma, fending off the Chinese on Pork Chop Hill, bushwhacking
>the Indons in Sarawak or setting night ambushes in the jungles of
>the Mekong Delta...

I think so too. The basis of night actions hasn't really changed in many
years. Some of the weapons are different, but that's about it.

--
Jas

Hot Blood & Cold Steel - WW1 Skirmish in no mans land
http://www.cold-steel.org/ free rules download
!