Thursday, February 9, 2012

The appeal of simplicity

I have been thinking a bit more about WWII games, and more specifically about the old WRG rules that I played for many years with many scales of figure.   Not sophisticated by today's standards, but good fun and representative enough to make an acceptably realistic game.

Points I like:

  • The fire/neutralize/kill model is intuitive;no explaining to players why all these accumulated and removed hits somehow represents the dynamics of a platoon
  • Simple command and control - write orders, stay in command distance.  All good.  More predictable than real life, but less frustrating.
  • Free; OK I do have a paper copy, but it can also be downloaded from the WRG website at the History of WRG tab.
Potential problems:

  • Calls for separate LMG and ATR stands.
  • Very small infantry stands compared to what I am currently using.
  • Uses 1:1 TOE; my lads all already organized into battalions.
All of these can be mitigated.

  • I can develop a new set of infantry fire tables based on my stand systems
  • which makes the size issue less important as well
  • I can "Bathtub" the game to use a stand=platoon or so TO while still having it "act" like a 1:1 rules set.
I am also inclined to produce something closer to a set of "Frankenrules" using:
  • some elements of the reasonably elegant D10 based Command Decision hit/kill roll system 
  • introducing experience-based to-hit modifiers
  • adding and explicit close-assault component
The backbone I will keep from WRG: fire-then-move and write orders.


  1. Hi Les,
    I concur, the old WRG rules gave a good, if kind of slow-moving, game. I also have a problem with fielding enough LMGs and ATRs to make it practicable for a "real" TO&E -- since I game with plastic 1/72nd troops (since 1972), I neither want to pay exorbitant amounts for metal 20mm special weapons, nor buy inordinate numbers of boxes of plastics to garnish the few such weapons that they provide. Odd that after all these years, there is still very little effort to produce a box that represents a platoon's worth of troops.
    Wes Rogers has some rules variants at that speed up movement and simplify morale, but I haven't tried them yet.

    Personally I prefer a stand = a squad (UK section) and allocate the capabilites for unmodelled weapons, but there aren't many rule sets like that.
    Norman Smith had a pretty good set called Warriors, but he took them off his site quite a while ago, claiming he was going to publish, which hasn't happened. I have an electronic copy if you would be interested.

    I would definitely be interested in seeing any variants you come up with.


  2. I'm good with platoon stands and Company HQ's. If the rules flow well enough one can put a reinforced battalion on the table in defence or for a small game or a brigade (British) sized battle group in the attack for a big game.

    One of my beefs with the old WRG chart, (which they fixed for the modern version) was that it was hard to hit infantry but easy to kill them if you did. The Modern rules reversed that, easy to suppress but hard to kill. If I were writing a new set at this level, I think I would plump for a forced back combat result rather than separate morale checks. So perhaps one die to hit followed by a severity check with results ranging from supprssed/pinned, forced back or destroyed.

    1. Force-backs are interesting in conjunction with reasonably tight command distances, since you have to choose between keeping your attack organized or going on with what you have and re-ordering later.

  3. WRG also clunks out by going to 2D6 for hit numbers over 6. Using a D10 with a new chart would mitigate that.