For the WWII rules I’ve been developing, I’ve been thinking about how to determine when a vehicle bogs down or throws track. I didn’t want to create a new system or add yet more symbols to the action cards. Duncan suggested that instead of this being the vehicle rolling to NOT throw track that perhaps rough terrain could “attack” the vehicle to try to throw track. It’s an interesting notion that I’ve thought about quite a bit over the last two weeks.
What are the key things that would determine whether a vehicle throws track? First would be rough terrain. Tanks generally throw track when traversing deep mud or going across hillsides and then trying to turn. Tanks don’t generally throw track when traveling across rolling terrain and making gentle turns. Second would be the training of the crew. Better crews would ensure that the track tension is inspected and maintained regularly. Of tertiary importance, I think is the characteristics of the vehicle itself. Most sets of rules start with this third factor, rarely tanking into account crew quality.
So the thinking was something like this: The terrain has an “accuracy,” like personnel, graded Elite, Regular, and Green. This is where the terrain would start on the action card in the top “bubble” area. Swamp, with its deep muck and hidden, subsurface obstacles, would be “elite,” but a low stone wall would be “green.” The vehicle would have a “defense” value associated with its innate reliability and whether it is tracked or wheeled. Wheeled vehicles don’t “throw track,” but until very, very recently, they were more likely to get stuck in rough terrain than were tracked vehicles. This defensive value would be a “column shift,” impacting the chance of the terrain getting a “hit.” I haven’t thought about how to incorporate the training of the crew, but I thought about making that a column shift as well: green crews shift one to the left and elite crews shift one to the right. In any event, if you got a bogging down “hit,” you wouldn’t flip the next card to determine the impact as you would with a rifle hit on a soldier. A “hit” would indicate that the vehicle is stuck, essentially a mobility kill.
I’ll need to look at the numbers a bit and make sure that it isn’t too easy to throw track or bog down, but for gaming purposes I’m likely to make the odds favor the terrain to discourage players from racing through swamps.