Operational Design in Wargaming Part 6B, how do we fight the cold war gone hot?

Now that I have established my evaluation criteria for a new rule set, it is time to develop the core of the rules:  combat resolution.

Values assigned to Units
There are three general types of units in BCT: Command, Combat and Reconnaissance.  Each unit has specific statistics to reflect how it behaves on the table. I want to limit both the number of individual stats and the potential modifiers. The goal is to model the overall flow of the action without getting bogged down on charts and rolls. I threw in some example stats, but these are really place holders until I determine the final dice mechanism.


Command Units  (BDE and Battalion)
  • Command (BDE) -This value represents the Brigade’s ability to control its subordinate headquarters.  The command roll is required for a change of mission.
  • Cohesion (BN)- This is the ability of the battalion to maintain command, control and communications.  The cohesion roll is used as both a morale check and a means for reconstituting damaged or degraded units within the command.  
  • Air Defense (Both) - This value represents the ability of the unit to protect itself or its command from air attack.  It integrates both organic assets (Short Range) and higher level protection (Medium and High Altitude) overlapping from the rear area.  
  • Fires (both) - This represents the headquarters ability to call for supporting fires to include Field Artillery and Close Air Support.  
  • Mortars (Battalion) - This represents the presence of organic indirect fire capabilities that can be used to enhance the attack or defence value of subordinate units.  
  • Modifiers (Battalion)  - any enhancers like designating priority of fire, independent operations, or other effects.  

Example



Unit
C
AD
F
M
Special
MRBN
2
3
3
4
Priority of fires


Combat Platoons (Armor, Infantry, Anti-Tank, etc)
  • Speed - Baseline movement value in cm for the element.
  • Anti-tank (AT) - Reflects weapons primarily designed to defeat armor.
  • Anti-personnel (AP) -Reflects weapons primarily designed to engage personnel and light equipment.  
  • Range (R) - Maximum range of Primary AT and AP weapons systems.  This is based on the effective range on the amalgam of a platoon’s weapons systems
  • Defense (D) Includes not just raw armor, but also concepts like profile, size, mission and unit size.
  • Initiative (I) Represent the influence of advantages in target acquisition, range finders, stabilized guns, and weapon rate of fire (thus ATGM are very damaging, but units need to live long enough for them to travel to the target, giving a lower initiative)  .  

Example


Unit
S
AT/AP
R
D
I
Special
M60A2
4
3/4
35/20
3
3
ATGM, TI


Reconnaissance Platoons
These share the same statistics as the combat platoons, although they will normally have a higher defense value and lower attack values to reflect their mission.  They have the additional trait of Observation to reflect their overall ability of the unit to locate enemy units.  In time I may add another trait to reflect detection ranges to reflect electronic sensing capabilities in addition to direct observation
Example

Unit
S
AT/AP
R
D
I
O
Special
CRP
5
2/3
30/20
3
3
3
ATGM, TI


I may still opt to add or remove some stats after playtesting, but these meet the overall feel for the conflict I am trying to model.  Ideally, they should be relatively simple to understand, so I can print them out and add them to the unit bases for quick reference.

This leads to the critical point of the entire enterprise:  How will I actual resolve the conflict with dice?  I have been playing with several options and settled on two courses of action (COA). One uses a fist full of D6 and the other a single D10 roll.

COA #1  - Fist full of dice

This was inspired by the dice for Halo Ground Wars.  Each die has four possible results

Result
D6 Equivalent
Failure (-1)
1
No Effect
2-3
Hit
4-5
2 hits
6


In this case you roll a number of dice equal to your AT or AP value (depending on target) and add up the results.  The defender rolls a number of dice equal to the defensive value and subtracts that from the attacker's roll.  The remainder is applied to the stand:

Levels of Damage
  1. Disrupted (Suppressed): Subtract 1 die from Attack/Defense values.  
  2. Degraded (Neutralized): Subtract 2 dice from Attack/Defense values.  Model may not maneuver, will only move away to reach nearest improved cover.  
  3. Dispersed (Destroyed)  Model is removed from play.

Modifiers affect the number of dice rolled for each side.  For example the Battalion mortars could support one company and give either +1 attack (for attacking infantry) or +1 defense (smoke to obscure fire) to up to three stands.  Field artillery could then be used similarly or applied on its own providing a attacks against a specified beaten zone.  

A sample QRF chart would read like


Attack
Defense
Moving**
-1
Hasty Defense
+1
Long Range
-1
Deliberate Defense
+2
Point blank
+2
Flanking Fire
-1
Mortar Support
+1
Mortar Support
+1
Large PLT***
+1
Large PLT
+1
*all units get at least 1 attack roll
** Ignore for stabilized guns
***all US platoons would rate as large with 4 or 5 vehicles each.  Advantage is lost when degraded.


This would give unit stats like

Unit
S
AT/AP
R
D
I
Special
M1
6
3/3
30/20
3
5
Stab, TI
M1A1
6
4/2
35/10
3
5
Stab, TI
M2
5
2/3
35/25
1
3
Stab, TI
US INF (dismounts)
2
1/3
10/15
1
3
NVG
M3
5
3/2
35/25
2
4
Stab, TI
T-64
5
3/3
30/20
2
3
Stab, ATGM
BMP-2
5
2/3
30/25
1
3
ATGM
BMP-1
4
1/2
20/20
1
2
ATGM
USSR INF (dismounts)
2
1/3
15/15
1
3


An example engagement would look like this

Three soviet Tank platoons (T-64) engage two US platoons (M1) defending a hill, the US tanks are initiative 5, so they fire first.  1 first tank rolls 4 dice (large platoon): (no effect, no effect, 1 hit, 2 hit) for a total of 3 hits.  The T-64 rolls two dice scoring no effect and 1 hit.  This cancels one hit and the unit is now degraded.   The other tank rolls 4 dice: (1 hit, failure, failure, no effect) for a total of 0 hits.  

The Soviet player takes his opportunity: he has three stands to fire and chooses to use both full strength platoons against the M1 on the left.  The US player has one die of Mortar support and declares it is supporting that platoon with smoke.  That gives the Soviet  player 6 dice to attack versus the US players 5 (3 +1 for defense, +1 for Smoke)  The Soviet player gets a total of five hits, and the US player manages to negate 4.  The platoon is now disrupted.  The degraded Soviet tank fires but does not harm the other other vehicle.

I know, exciting. Also a good reflection on why you would not want to take 9 tanks head to head with 8 tanks in a good  defensive position.

This die system would also apply to the end command phase.  The cohesion value for the BN headquarters would reflect the number of hit dice to roll for his battalion at the end of the turn.  The total number of hits rolled would equal the total damage he could remove from his disrupted/degraded platoons.

Advantages:  
Simple system
Flexible
Both players influence events
Multiple dice smooth out the probability curve

Disadvantages:
More time required for rolls
Specialty Dice
Liable for extreme results

COA #2 - Unleash the D10!

This is a more traditional method with each platoon rolling a single D10 for the target.  Essentially you take the Attack Value - Defense Value , apply modifiers and then roll a D10.  

Result
Effect
<5
None
5-7
Disrupted
8-9
Degraded
10+
Dispersed



Attacker
Defender
Moving**
-1
Hasty Defense
+1
Long Range
-1
Deliberate Defense
+2
Point blank
+2
Flanking Fire
-1
Mortar Support
+1
Mortar Support
+1
Large PLT***
+1
Large PLT
+1


Example:
Using the same scenario as above.  The first M1 has a total attack value of  4 (3 +1 for large platoon) and the T-64 has a defensive value of 2 (no modifier)  for a total modifier of +2.  The player rolls a 6 for a total of 8.  The T-64 is degraded.  The other M1 rolls a 4 for a total of 6, disrupting the other target.  The fresh T-64 fires back with an attack value of 3 versus a defense value of 6 (large platoon, smoke, hasty defense.) for a total of -3.  The player rolls a 7 for a total of 4 (no effect)  the disrupted T-64 fires on the same target for a total of -4 (disrupted).  He rolls a 9 disrupting the target.  The degraded T-64 attempts to fire (-5) but needs a 10 to affect the target.  He rolls a 1….

Advantage
Single Die Roll for each event
Easier to add/subtract modifiers with a simple probability curve

Disadvantage
Cannot combine fires
Liable to extremes on the probability curve
More calculation before each die roll.



Enough pontificating for one evening.  I need to actually get the West Germans done, so I can try these out!



Comments

  1. I am not a fan of the buckets of dice approach, especially with saving throws added to it. Leaving aside any other issues, it is amazing how much guys can dither about with rolling even 1 die, not to mention a handful!

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