I don’t remember how I first found out about micro armour and what prompted me to get into it. I would guess I was sitting around in my underwear at three in the morning google image searching obscure Soviet tanks again, when I stumbled upon a picture of a 6mm tank and impulse bought some. We’ll never know for sure.
In any case, what quickly struck me when I started looking for a game system to play is that you can’t throw a die cast T-72B two meters without hitting five sets of miniature wargame rules. In this post I want to give my two cents on some of the game systems I’ve come across.
When digging around for rules, what I’m generally after is fast playing rules that if possible focus on the late cold war. I’m also not very interested in the operational/abstracted level, so all of these are 1:1 (one tank is one tank, not a representation of a platoon etc). If you’re a long time wargamer, you most certainly know of these games since before. I’m writing from the perspective of someone who’s quite new to the scene.
Force on Force
This is what I’ve mainly been playing so far. The best thing with Force on Force is the troop quality connected with variable die types. So instead of using + and – modifiers on a D6, you always try to roll 4 or better, and better than your opponent. The variation in troop training is instead represented by different troops rolling different dice. So an untrained conscript might roll a D6, while a top tier Spetsnaz might roll a D12. They’re both trying to beat 4 and their opponent, but have very different chances. And then you just add and subtract dice for different situations, like cover and different weapons. I find it very elegant and intuitive.
They also abstract away all different weapons, reasoning that troop quality is the most important variable. So you don’t have to look up stats for different rifles and so on. Strangely however, they’ve decided to be very detailed when it comes to vehicle stats, so you do have to look up individual vehicles in a table for their armour values and so on.
I’ve been playing with a stripped down ruleset though, partly since I play in 6mm scale. The game makes a pretty big deal out of casualty management, CASEVAC and so on, but I’ve decided to just abstract all that into a generic saving throw.I’ve also decided to just ignore the Confidence variable for troops, but that’s probably just laziness.
There’s also a random event system in the game, where any 1 rolled on a reaction test has you draw a “Fog of War” card. The cards can mean anything from a tank joining your forces, to a friendly fire incident where one of your units is hit with an air strike. I think the idea of Fog of War cards is brilliant, but they are a bit too extreme in their effects. Some of them also feel really out of place depending on scenario.
All in all, I really like Force on Force, and I find it easy to play it in a modular fashion where you abstract away some of the busywork.
Fireteam is created by fellow WordPress person Rory Crabb. I haven’t play tested it yet, but I’m optimistic. The rules feel well thought out and not too complex. The indirect fire rules are nice, where you have to account for support availability, as well as artillery getting more accurate as it hones in on a target. The vehicle rules are just abstracted enough as well, feeling meaningful but still fast played. You don’t have to constantly search a tome to find the rear armour value of a specific Czechoslovak BRDM-1 version from the late spring of 1972.
There are some small clever details as well, like a dual effect of cover. Light cover like vegetation detract firepower but offer no protection, while more solid cover starts giving protective bonuses. An elegant solution to the situation where you want a shrub to count for something, while it shouldn’t stop a bullet.
3rd Generation Warfare
I really wanted to like this. The pitch sounds so very much like Extremely My Shit. It’s a platoon to batallion level game with a slant toward the late cold war. Each command unit generates order dice that you use to activate units, which really forces the players into some interesting choices, especially when the HQs start getting blown up. It also does reconnaissance as well as taking a stab at modelling electronic warfare.
However, what really killed it for me was the actual combat rules. It’s a mess of matrices and cross referenced tables, and I could never really wrap my head around infantry vs vehicle combat. I felt it’s all very inelegant.
The stated intention of this ruleset sounds really good, but I’m not sure about the result. Maybe someone with a higher attention span and tolerance for tables and modifiers will enjoy it.
When you call something “1 page wargame rules” you’ve got my short attention (get it? it’s short, hence my interest in 1 page rulesets). FUBAR is a free ruleset contained in a one (albeit fully packed) page PDF. It’s quite impressive how much it manages to cover in this space, and it also does some clever stuff. For example, unit’s different training levels affects the likelyhood of them being activated each turn. And then suppression is handled by making units more and more unlikely to be activated the more incoming fire they take. Elegant approach!
I don’t actually own the Bolt Action rulebook, but reading about it I decided I just love the concept of having an order pool. It’s a smart solution to have an actual physical pool of order dice that you place next to your units as you activate them, to keep track of which units have been activated and what they’re up to. There’s also a homebrew modern modification of the rules floating around.
Obeying all the rules is cool
Well, hopefully you got something out of this. I might come back and update this post if I try some more systems.
Thank you for your time!