Saturday, 5 October 2013

The Balkan Wars: A set of wargames rules for the First and Second Balkan Wars

The following rules were written in 1993 and were developed so that players could fight the battles that arose from playing my BALKAN WARS MATRIX GAME. I must admit that if I was writing these rules now they would probably be substantially different ... but they do serve to show how much my wargames designs have developed over the past twenty years.


THE BALKAN WARS
A SET OF WARGAMES RULES FOR THE FIRST AND SECOND BALKAN WARS

INTRODUCTION

These rules were written in response to requests to provide a simple, fast-play set of wargames rules to fight the table-top battles that arose in the BALKAN LEAGUE MATRIX GAME. The rules are intended to be used with 15mm model miniatures (although they can easily be adapted for use with other scales) and owe much to the work done by Phil Barker and Richard Bodley-Scott in DE BELLIS ANTIQUITATIS, Chris Kemp in NOT QUITE MECHANISED, and Tom Mouat in SIMPLE COMBAT RESOLUTION USING dice (S.C.R.U.D.).


GENERAL RULES AND INFORMATION

Common Sense in Wargames
  • Nothing may be done contrary to what could or would be done in actual war.
Dice
  • D6 dice (marked 1 -6) are used throughout these rules. It is recommended that each side provide itself with at least half a dozen D6 dice in at least three different colours as this will make the game easier to play.
Scales
  • Ground Scale:
    • 1mm = 5m
    • 1cm = 50m
    • 1m = 5km (i.e. 1:5000)
  • Time Scale:
    • The sides take alternate bounds or turns; 
    • 1 bound or turn = ½ hour
    • A pair of bounds or turns = 1 hour
  • Figure and Vehicle Scale:
    • 1 model figure = 250 real soldiers (approximately)
    • 1 model vehicle or artillery piece = 24 real vehicles or artillery pieces
    • 1 stand = 1 battalion-sized unit (approximately)
Armies
  • Each division-sized "army" consists of approximately twelve troop stands (of which no more than one may be a Machine Gun stand), a General, and at least one Transport stand. The Transport stand is important in that it signifies that the "army" has access to supplies. If the Transport stand is lost this may have consequences in the Matrix Game as Supply Lines is one of the basic components of the Matrix.
Troop Types
  • Infantry: Infantry may be Veteran. Trained, or Green.
  • Machine Guns: Machine Guns may be Veteran or Trained.
  • Cavalry: Cavalry may be Veteran, Trained. or Green.
  • Artillery: Artillery may be Veteran or Trained.
Troop Type Definitions
  • Veteran: Veteran Troops are experienced, well-trained long-service soldiers (e.g. Guards units). 
  • Trained: Trained Troops are recently trained conscript soldiers (e.g. they form the bulk of the front-line army and the first-line reserves).
  • Green: Green Troops are untrained or partially trained conscript soldiers or militia (e.g. they form the bulk of the second-line reserves)
Generals
  • All Generals are allocated a Generalship Classification, and may be classified as being Excellent, Good, Average, or Poor. Each General present on the battlefield must be represented by a General figure.
Generalship Qualities
  • Excellent: Command Area: 5km (100cm); Move Dice Modifier: +2
  • Good: Command Area: 4km (80cm); Move Dice Modifier: +1
  • Average: Command Area: 3km (60cm); Move Dice Modifier: nil
  • Poor: Command Area: 2km (40cm); Move Dice Modifier: -1
Generalship Definitions
  • Excellent: Excellent Generals are capable of motivating and commanding troops over a very large part of the battlefield.
  • Good: Good Generals are capable of motivating and commanding troops over a large part of the battlefield.
  • Average: Average Generals are capable of motivating and commanding troops over a reasonably large part of the battlefield.
  • Poor: Poor Generals are capable of motivating and commanding troops over a limited part of the battlefield.
Stands and Stand Sizes
  • Infantry & Dismounted Cavalry: 4 Figures (40 mm x 30 mm)
  • Machine Guns: 1 Machine Gun + 2 Figures (40mm x 30mm)
  • Cavalry: 4 Figures (40mm x 35mm)
  • Mountain & Field Artillery: 1 Gun + 3 Figures (40 mm x 40 mm)
  • Medium & Heavy Artillery: 1 Gun + 3 Figures (40mm x 50mm)
  • Transport: 1 Vehicle or 2 Pack Animals (40 mm x 75 mm)
  • General: 1 Figure (25 mm x 25 mm)
Terrain
  • Roads: Roads allow the rapid movement of troops and will increase the speed at which troops move as long as they do not move off the road and they remain out of contact with the enemy.
  • Normal Terrain: This is fairly flat terrain that is unencumbered by serious obstacles (e.g. grasslands, open fields).
  • Difficult Terrain: This is any terrain that does not fit into any of the other categories (e.g. enclosed fields, hills, woods, built-up areas. bridges, fords). Difficult Terrain imposes penalties upon the movement of all troops, and some troop types may find it impossible to cross.
  • Rivers: Rivers may only be crossed at bridges and fords, and this imposes penalties upon the movement of all troops.
  • Impassable Terrain: This is terrain that no troops can cross (e.g. marshes, cliffs, lakes).
Casualty Markers
  • A set of Casualty Markers is required to mark those figures on a stand that have become casualties as a result of gunfire or a Close Assault.


BATTLE RULES

Moves
  • The sides take alternate bounds or turns
Move Sequence
  • During every bound or turn each side progresses through the following Move Sequence:
  1. Throw one D6 dice for each General (and add any appropriate Modifiers) to determine how many stands can move this bound or turn.
  2. Those stands that are being moved may move if they are within their commanding General's Command Area at the beginning of the bound or turn.
  3. Both sides may fire at enemy stands that are within range, the moving side being regarded as the ‘attacker’ and the non-moving side being regarded as the "defender'.
  4. Casualties caused by gunfire are removed or marked, and any effects arc adjudicated.
  5. Any stands that have won a firefight and are entering into a Close Assault may do so at no additional cost to the commanding General's modified D6 dice score.
  6. Casualties caused by Close Assault are removed or marked, and any effects are adjudicated.
Generals and Orders
  • A General may move single stands or group of stands for every digit of their modified D6 dice score, subject to any other rules that pertain to the movement of stands.
  • A superior General may "pass down" all or part of their modified D6 dice score to one or more of their subordinate Generals at a cost of two digits of score for every one digit "passed down" if the subordinate General or Generals are within the Command Area of the superior General (i.e. A Divisional General can "pass down" digits to their Brigade Commanders).
  • Generals may not "pass down" digits of score to other Generals except in the case outlined above.
  • Subordinate Generals may not "pass up" digits of score to superior Generals.
Movement Rates
  • Troop Type: Roads / Normal Terrain / Difficult Terrain
  • Infantry & Dismounted Cavalry: 2km (40cm) / 1km (20cm) / 0 5km (10cm)
  • Machine Guns: 2km (40cm) / 1km (20cm) / 0 5km (10cm)
  • Cavalry: 3km (60cm) / 2km (40cm) / 1km (20cm)
  • Mountain Artillery: 2km (40cm) / 1km (20cm) / 0 5km (10cm)
  • Field Artillery: 2km (40cm) / 1km (20cm) / 0.25km (5cm)
  • Medium & Heavy Artillery: 1km (20cm) / 0 5km (10cm) / 0 125km (2.5cm)
  • Transport: 2km (40cm) / 1km (20cm) / 0 5km (10cm)
  • General: 3km (60cm) / 2km (40cm) / 2km (40cm)
Movement Rules
  • A General may move single stands or groups of stands for every digit of their modified D6 dice score, subject to any other rules that pertain to the movement of stands.
  • No General may move more single stands or groups of stands than their total modified D6 dice score unless additional digits have been "passed down" to them by their superior General.
  • One digit of modified D6 dice score is expended to move:
    • a stand or
    • a group of stands moving together.
  • In the latter case, the group of stands moving together must remain together for the whole move and may not change formation unless a further digit of modified D6 dice score is expended.
  • One digit of modified D6 dice score is expended to change the formation of a group of stands.
  • No stand or group of stands moving together may move closer than 0.125km (2.5cm) to an enemy stand or group of stands unless it has won a firefight with that enemy stand or group of stands during this bound or turn.
  • Infantry, Machine Guns, Cavalry, Mountain Artillery, Pack Transport, and Generals may cross Rivers by bridge or recognised ford. They may not cross Rivers at any other place.
  • Field Artillery, Medium Artillery, Heavy Artillery, and Transport (except pack horses and mules) may only cross Rivers by bridge. They may not cross Rivers at any other place.
  • Cavalry is assumed to mount or dismount as is appropriate.
  • Artillery is assumed to limber and unlimber as is appropriate.
  • A General may add 0.25km (5cm) for every unused digit of their modified D6 dice score.
Weapon Ranges
  • Weapon Type: Effective Range / Maximum Range
  • Rifles & Carbines: 0.25km (5cm) / 1km (20cm)
  • Machine Guns: 0.5km (10cm) / 2km (40cm)
  • Weapon Type: Short Range / Maximum Range
  • Mountain Artillery: 1km (20cm) / 5km (100cm)
  • Field Artillery: 1km (30cm) / 7.5km (150cm)
  • Medium Artillery: 2km (40cm) / 10km (200cm)
  • Heavy Artillery: 2.5km (50cm) / 12.5km (250cm)
Firing Rules
  • Stands can only fire straight ahead or one stand width sideways and ahead.
  • No stands may fire more than once during the firing section of the Move Sequence.
  • No stand or group of stands may fire at a target at a range of less than 0.125km (2.5cm).
  • With the exception of Artillery stands firing at Effective Range or less, both the ‘attacker’ and the ‘defender’ throw one D6 dice for each stand that is firing at the same target (and add any appropriate Modifiers, subject to the rules that no modified D6 dice score may exceed six or be less that one in total).
  • In the case of Artillery stands that are firing at Short Range or less, both the ‘attacker’ and the ‘defender’ throw two D6 dice for each stand that is firing at the same target (and add any appropriate Modifiers, subject to the rules that no modified D6 dice score may exceed six or be less that one in total).
  • Total the modified D6 dice scores for both the ‘attacker’ and ‘defender’ and compare them. The side with the highest modified D6 dice score is deemed to have won the firefight.
  • Divided the difference between the scores by six, and round any fractions down. This determines the number of casualties suffered by the firefight ‘loser’.
  • In addition, any modified D6 dice score of six will cause a casualty on the opposing side, even though they may have won the firefight.
  • A stand is destroyed when all the figures on that stand are casualties.
Firing Modifiers
  • If the target is in field fortifications (i.e. trenches) or a built-up area: -1 to the relevant dice scores (subject to limits set elsewhere in the rules).
  • If the target is in hardened fortifications: -2 to the relevant dice scores (subject to limits set elsewhere in the rules).
  • Veteran troops: +1 to all the stand’s dice scores (subject to limits set elsewhere in the rules).
  • Green troops: -1 to all the stand’s dice scores (subject to limits set elsewhere in the rules).
  • Rifle, Carbine, or Machine Gun stands firing at greater than Effective Range and less than Maximum Range: -1 to all relevant dice scores (subject to limits set elsewhere in the rules).
  • Artillery stands firing at a target that is not in line-of-sight: -2 to all relevant dice scores (subject to limits set elsewhere in the rules).
  • Artillery stands firing at Short Range or less throw two D6 dice per stand.
Close Assault Rules
  • An ‘attacker’ may only make a Close Assault upon a ‘defender’ if they have defeated them in a firefight during this bound or turn.
  • No stand may take part in more than one Close Assault during the firing section of the Move Sequence.
  • Both the ‘attacker’ and ‘defender’ throw one D6 dice for each stand that is involved in the Close Assault (and add any appropriate Modifiers, subject to the rules that no modified D6 dice score may exceed six or be less that one in total).
  • Total the modified D6 dice scores for both the ‘attacker’ and ‘defender’ and compare them. The side with the highest modified D6 dice score is deemed to have won the Close Assault.
  • Divided the difference between the scores by six, and round any fractions down. This determines the number of casualties suffered by the ‘loser’ of the Close Assault.
  • In addition, any modified D6 dice score of six will cause a casualty on the opposing side, even though they may have won the Close Assault.
  • A stand is destroyed when all the figures on that stand are casualties
  • The loser of the Close Assault must retire a full Road March distance at once. If the full Road March move takes the retiring stand or stands off the battlefield, it may not return.
Close Assault Modifiers
  • If the 'defender’ is in field fortification (i.e. trenches) or a built-up area: -1 to the relevant dice scores (subject to limits set elsewhere in the rules).
  • If the ‘defender' is in hardened fortifications: -2 to the relevant dice scores (subject to limits set elsewhere in the rules).
  • Veteran troops: +1 to all the stand's dice scores (subject to limits set elsewhere in the rules).
  • Green troops: -1 to all the stand's dice scores (subject to limits set elsewhere in the rules).
Winning a Battle
  • An "army" is deemed to have lost a battle when more than 25% of its pre-battle strength in stands (including Transport and General stands) has been destroyed or forced to leave the battlefield.

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