Some New Thinking on the WWII Skirmish Rules


We had a chance to play G.A.M.E.R. this weekend.  All the way home from Charlotte I was thinking about the tweaks I want to make.  Today I spent a little time on the computer making those changes.  I wanted to improve the way hand-to-hand combat worked.  I wanted to make a few small changes to the action deck.  I also wanted to put the effects of non-penetrating vehicle hits on the cards.  Finally I wanted to make a better unit roster.

Changes to action deck cards:

You can see three of the four changes to the action deck cards above.  The first is that I labelled the large, medium, and small bursts  to make it easier for players to distinguish them quickly, especially in their first game.  Second, added one more modifier, or column shift, for firing.  That shift is a shift to the right if the leader is not present.  This might be applied if the leader is stunned, is firing his weapon, is dead, or for whatever reason is not directing the fire of his squad.  The third change was to change the labels on the “table” of bubbles on the top of the card.  They had been labelled E, V, and T for expert, veteran, and trained, respectively.  Since units’ and soldiers’ Guts attributes were labelled Elite, Regular, and Green, this created confusion.  Now Guts, Accuracy, and Melee use the same semantic labels:  Elite, Green, and Regular.

Vehicle combat:

I have codified the process for shooting at vehicles:

  1. Flip a card to see if you hit the target vehicle, just like normal small arms fire.
  2. If you hit, flip the NEXT card to determine the location on the vehicle.
  3. Consult the vehicle record sheet to determine the protection value for that part of the target vehicle.
  4. Roll a d10 (or flip a card and look at the d10 toward the top left) and add the attacking weapon’s penetration value.
  5. If this sum is greater than the vehicle’s protection, the hit penetrates.
  6. Flip the NEXT card.  If you see a large explosion, the vehicle is destroyed, the crew is killed, and the other players rejoice.  If you do not see a large explosion, bad things happen (to be defined).  In addition, roll TWO crew casualty dice.  For each hit indicated on the crew casualty die, flip another card, ignoring cover, to determine which crewman was hit and how badly he was hit.
  7. If the hit does not penetrate, apply the results from the hit location card draw to the vehicle as non-penetrating hit damage.  In addition, roll ONE crew casualty die.  or each hit indicated on the crew casualty die, flip another card, ignoring cover, to determine which crewman was hit and how badly he was hit.  This may result in too many crew casualties for non-penetrating hits, so I need to test it out.  The math seems about right, but still want to see how it works on the table.

A crew casualty die looks like this:  0, 1, 1, 1, 2, 2.

Hand to Hand Combat:

Note on the card above that there are the five little bubbles under the cartoony-looking tank.  This is used to determine which target person was hit.  I plan to also use this for hand to hand combat.  Here’s how I think it will work.  Each player flips a card.  The position of the bubble indicates your initial hand to hand value.  In the card above, that would be 5.  Modify this result as follows:

  • -1 if you are suppressed or stunned
  • -1 if you are wounded
  • +1 (for each additional figure, to a max of 3:1) for each extra figure you have fighting a single enemy figure
  • +1 if you are defending some sort of cover
  • + the hand to hand rating of the figure’s weapon.  A pistol or SMG have a positive modifier to hand to hand combat.  A crew served weapon has a negative modifier.

The winner draws a card to determine what type of wound he inflicted.  In addition, the loser is pushed back an inch and the victor has the option of advancing.  In this way, the victor can push his way over a wall, through a door, etc.  If the result is a tie, all figures are pushed back an inch.

I’ve also been considering some sort of roll to close, but instead, I think I’ll let the defenders make a reaction check.  If they pass, they may fire at the oncoming enemy, but they will be stunned in the upcoming melee.

Improvements (hopefully) to the Unit Record:

GAMER is meant to be played at three levels of complexity.  The first two are represented on two unit records shown below.

In the most complex case, each figure has its own attributes, so the card is quite a bit larger.

I actually have a version of this card with the top half upside down so you can print it, cut it out, and fold it in half.  All three cards are 3″x5″ when cut out.  A player would normally command a squad, perhaps more, so he would need two of these little cards.

Chart Card?

Along those same lines, I’ve been see how much information needs to be placed on a chart card.  So far, it’s not much, and it fits on a 3×5 card too.

Extra Dice:

JJ suggested something this weekend, that worked pretty well.  He felt like the attacker didn’t have any advantage.  He suggested that the attacker rolls two activation dice for each of his units.  When a card is drawn that matches either of the numbers, the player gets to decide to use that die and discard the other or discard that die and keep the other.  The decision must be made right then.  This helps ensure that the attacker doesn’t bog down just because of bad luck with the activation deck.  It seemed to work pretty well, and I’m anxious to try it again.  This might be something that applies for the entire game, the first x turns, or until some trigger event occurs during the game.  Still thinking on this one.

Reaction and Opportunity Fire:

I really dislike opportunity fire in games.  It is nearly always abused.  My plan with GAMER was that the player could attempt to interrupt the movement of another unit.  First, the moving unit must move at least half of its allowable move that turn.  Then the reacting player announces that he wishes to conduct reaction fire.  For each figure attempting to react, the player rolls 1d6.  If the result is less than the figure’s reaction number, the figure may fire, but them marks himself as stunned.  This is so that when the figure next activates, he would remove the stun instead of acting, since he essentially took is action early.  Of course figures that are already stunned cannot do this.  The players seemed to think that there needed to be some sort of “wait” or “overwatch” action that a unit could take that would let it fire automatically and essentially pay for the reaction fire in advance rather than in arrears.  This is exactly the kind of thing that gets gamey and annoying that I was trying to avoid, but I’ll ponder it before making a final decision.  I thought what we did worked just fine.

So those are my thoughts for now.  Come by my table at Cold Wars on Sunday morning to see how it plays.

from Buck’s Blog

Author: hawksgameclub

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