Monday, 25 January 2016

A 'Modern' version of Joseph Morschauser's FRONTIER wargames rules ... rediscovered!

Back in July 2013 I wrote a 'Modern' version of Joseph Morschauser's FRONTIER wargames rules ... but even though I wrote a blog entry about my desire to play-test them, I never actually got around to doing so.

The truth of the matter is that almost as soon as the draft rules were written, Sue and I went on a cruise to the Baltic, and by the time I came back I had forgotten all about both the rules and the promise to play-test them. It was my recent re-fight of 'The Attack on Morobad' that reignited my interest in producing a 'Modern' version of Joseph Morschauser's FRONTIER wargames rules ... and it was then that I rediscovered my 2013 draft.

The rules need a bit of tidying up (back in 2013 I got some very useful feedback that I want/need to act on) and once that is done, I will begin play-testing them. Thanks to having read FINLAND AT WAR: THE WINTER WAR 1939-40 by Vesa Nenye with Peter Munter and Toni Wirtanen whilst on our recent cruise, and having watched THE WINTER WAR: THE TRUE STORY OF A BATTLE AGAINST ALL ODDS (or to give it its Finnish title, TALVISOTA) since I got back, I have a mini-campaign in mind that will see hordes of Soviet-style troops attacking a series of border fortifications that are being manned by vastly outnumbered defenders.

A 'Modern' version of Joseph Morschauser's FRONTIER wargames rules
(as drafted in July 2013)

Turn Sequence:
  1. At the start of each turn a playing card tile is picked out of the bag and placed FACE DOWN next to each unit on the tabletop.
  2. The Artillery Fire Phase takes place.
  3. Any artillery units (including AFV units and anti-tank gun units) that fire in the Artillery Fire Phase of the Turn Sequence have their playing card tile removed.
  4. Once the Artillery Fire Phase is completed, the playing card tiles are turned over and units are activated in turn. The order of activation is in ascending numerical/face value and suit order precedence (i.e. Ace, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, Jack, Queen, and King being the numerical/face values, and Hearts, Clubs, Diamonds, and Spades the suit order precedence).
  5. When activated a unit can move or move and initiate a battle with an enemy unit. A unit may not initiate a battle with an enemy unit and then move unless it is an AFV, infantry, or cavalry unit that is advancing into a grid square that has been vacated by an enemy unit they have destroyed or forced to retreat.
  6. Once both sides have activated each of their units in turn – subject to any restrictions laid down in the rules – the turn is complete and the next turn can commence.
Artillery:
  • AFV guns: Range = 4 grid squares
  • Anti-tank guns: Range = 4 grid squares
  • Mortars: Range = 4 grid squares
  • Infantry guns: Range = 4 grid squares
  • Mountain artillery: Range = 6 grid squares
  • Light field artillery: Range = 6 grid squares
  • Field artillery: Range = 8 grid squares
  • Medium/Heavy artillery: Range = 12 grid squares
  • Artillery fire is simultaneous; therefore if an artillery unit (including an AFV unit or an anti-tank gun unit) is destroyed, it may still fire that turn before it is removed.
  • With the exception of units with turreted AFVs, artillery fires within an arc-of-fire that is 90 degrees forward of the direction in which it is facing (i.e. in an arc sweeping from one 45 degree diagonal line of grid squares to the other).
  • Units of turreted AFVs have an arc-of-fire of 360 degrees.
  • Artillery ranges are measured orthogonally (i.e. through the edges of the grid squares).
  • Artillery units may only fire once each turn.
  • If an entire unit can be seen from an artillery unit that is firing at it, the artillery fire is direct fire; if an entire unit cannot be seen or it is in fortifications, a built-up area, or a wood, the artillery fire is indirect fire. N.B. AFV units and anti-tank gun units may never fire at units they cannot see and therefore never fire indirectly, although enemy units that can be seen but are in fortifications, a built-up area, or a wood are treated as if they are being fired at indirectly for the purposes of determining the effectiveness of the AFV units or anti-tank gun fire upon that target unit.
  • Before it fires, each artillery unit identifies the grid square it is firing at. They then throw a D6 die to see where their artillery fire will land:
    • Die score = 5 or 6: Artillery fire lands on the target grid square.
    • Die score = 1: Artillery fire lands in the grid square to the left of the target grid square (i.e. at 9 o’clock relative to the target grid square).
    • Die score = 2: Artillery fire lands in the grid square beyond the target grid square (i.e. at 12 o’clock relative to the target grid square).
    • Die score = 3: Artillery fire lands in the grid square to the right of the target grid square (i.e. at 3 o’clock relative to the target grid square).
    • Die score = 4: Artillery fire lands in the grid square before the target grid square (i.e. at 6 o’clock relative to the target grid square).
    • N.B. If the firing unit is an AFV unit or anti-tank gun unit, D6 die scores of 1, 2, 3, or 4 are regarded as misses and are deemed not to have landed in a grid square.
  • If the artillery fire lands in a grid square occupied by a friendly unit, the opposing side’s commander throws the D6 die to determine the effectiveness of the artillery fire upon that unit (see below).
  • A D6 die is then rolled to determine the effectiveness of the artillery fire upon any unit that is in the grid square in which the artillery fire has landed.
    • Direct artillery fire: 5 or 6: Destroys a unit.
    • Indirect artillery fire: 6: Destroys a unit.
Movement:
  • Infantry: Move = 2 grid squares
  • Cavalry: Move = 2 grid squares
  • AFVs: Move = 2 grid squares
  • Machine guns: Move = 2 grid squares
  • Anti-tank guns: Move = 2 grid squares
  • Mortars: Move = 2 grid squares
  • Infantry guns: Move = 2 grid squares
  • Mountain artillery: Move = 2 grid squares
  • Light field artillery: Move = 2 grid squares
  • Field artillery: Move = 2 grid square
  • Medium/Heavy artillery: Move = 1 grid square
  • All movement is measured orthogonally.
  • A unit may only move once each turn. Any artillery unit (including AFV or anti-tank gun units) that has fired during the Artillery Fire Phase at the beginning of this turn may not move.
  • A unit may move through grid squares that are adjacent to the flank or rear of enemy unit providing that the front of its own unit does not face the enemy unit during the move past the enemy unit.
  • A unit may not move through grid squares that are adjacent to the front of an enemy unit. It must stop as soon as it enters a grid square that is adjacent to the front of an enemy unit, face the enemy unit, and end its movement for that turn. If it moves into a grid square that is adjacent to the front of several enemy units it may choose which of the enemy units it will face; it then does battle with that enemy unit.
  • A unit that is facing or being faced by an enemy unit that is in an adjacent grid square at start of its move may break contact with that enemy unit and move away providing that it does not come into contact with any other enemy unit this turn as it breaks contact or after it has broken contact.
  • Infantry and cavalry units may move forward to replace an enemy unit after it has been successfully attacked and destroyed or forced to retreat; other units may not move forward in these circumstances.
Battles:
  • Infantry: Battle Power = 5
  • Cavalry: Battle Power = 5
  • AFVs: Battle Power = 7
  • Machine guns: Battle Power = 6
  • Anti-tank guns: Battle Power = 1
  • Mortars: Battle Power = 1
  • Infantry guns: Battle Power = 1
  • Mountain artillery: Battle Power = 1
  • Light field artillery: Battle Power = 1
  • Field artillery: Battle Power = 1
  • Medium/Heavy artillery: Battle Power = 1
  • Battles are fought when a unit ends it move facing an enemy unit that is in an adjacent grid square.
  • Units may only attack once each turn but may defend themselves as often as may be necessary.
  • When a unit moves into contact with the flank or rear of an enemy unit the latter is turned to face to the attacker at once.
  • To determine the outcome of a battle, each unit throws a D6 die and adds the result to their Battle Power:
  • If the resulting amended dice scores are equal, the battle is a draw.
  • If one unit has a higher amended dice score than the other, it has won the battle. If the winner threw a 6, the losing unit is destroyed; if not, then the losing unit must retreat one grid square immediately. Any unit that is unable to retreat is destroyed.
  • If the unit that won the battle is an AFV, infantry, or cavalry unit it may move into the newly empty grid square. If this results in that AFV, infantry, or cavalry unit coming into contact with the enemy unit that they have just beaten or another enemy unit, the AFV, infantry, or cavalry may not attack the enemy unit this turn.
  • No unit’s Battle Power may drop below 1.
  • A unit that is in cover (built-up areas, woods) increases its Battle Power by 1.
  • A unit that is in fortifications (trenches, pillboxes) increases its Battle Power by 2.
  • Poor quality infantry or cavalry units (e.g. Militia) reduce their battle Power by 1.
Special Rules:
  • Hills:
    • Infantry units may move up or down one or two hill contours.
    • AFV, cavalry, machine gun, and field artillery units may only move up or down one hill contour.
    • A unit that is battling an enemy unit that is one hill contour above it reduces its Battle Power by 1.
    • A unit that is battling an enemy unit that is two hill contours above it reduces its Battle Power by 2.
    • A unit that is battling against an enemy unit that is one or two hill contours below it increases its Battle Power by 1.
  • Roads:
    • Each grid square of movement made along a road by a unit uses up only half a grid square of movement.
    • If a unit moves along a road and then off the road during the same turn (or vice versa), any unused half-grid squares of movement are lost.
    • Towns and built-up areas count as roads.
  • Rivers:
    • It costs two grid squares of movement for a unit to cross a grid square with a river in it.
    • A unit that is in a grid square with a river in it and is attacking an enemy unit reduces its Battle Power by 1.
    • Units from opposing sides that are in adjacent grid squares with a river between them may be in contact with each other if the attacking side decides that they are.

12 comments:

  1. What would be the size of the table or even the armies involved?

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  2. Looking good! Will you be making up a Hex version for use on your hex terrain?

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  3. Excellent news. Will you be changing them to include the feedback you had in the near future, or are you happy to leave them as they are?

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  4. That is marvellous Bob, reads very well and should be no problem adapting to a hex grid, although I am starting to prefer the look and simplicity if a square grid. Offset or not though ? Great piece of work though, thanks

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  5. Stephen Briddon,

    Using Morschauser's original 'Frontier' rules as a guide, the grid would be 12 x 12, with a dozen or so units per side.

    All the best,

    Bob

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  6. Dick Bryant,

    I am planning to use the as-yet-to-be-drafted rules with my Hexon II hexed terrain.

    All the best,

    Bob

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  7. Nobby,

    I intend to modify these rules along the lines suggested in the original feedback. Hopefully they will be somewhat simpler and easy to understand.

    All the best,

    Bob

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  8. Chris Platt,

    Cheers! I find that squared grids work better with historical periods when armies adopted linear formations, whereas hexes work better with more modern periods.

    I've tried offset squares, but prefer hexes and 'normal' squared grids.

    All the best,

    Bob

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  9. Goody. I have something to try with my new 1/32 toys I just bought and painted.

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  10. Stephen Briddon,

    I would be interested to find out how the rules work with your new toys!

    All the best,

    Bob

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  11. I presume we can look forward to seeing these in Finland before too long?

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  12. Conrad Kinch,

    It might not be called Finland ... but it will be somewhat akin to it!

    All the best,

    Bob

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