Sunday, December 22, 2013

Insurgent Commander

Insurgent Commander

These are what I've been using for my French Foreign Legion vs. Islamist Insurgents battles,  four of them now in the books.  I've had a lot of fun, and I think it's because these are a good, flexible toolset that can easily be modified to do whatever you want them to do.  So, take what you want from them, that's how I do it anyway!

Please understand these are a quasi-offshoot of a set of published rules, I didn't see a need to explain every last aspect.  But, because these are a quasi-offshoot of some published rules, please keep in mind they are heavily modified, and so please don't ask why/point out that they are different than the published set; I know, and because I wanted to do something other than what they were doing, I changed it.  Having said that, I love to talk about rules, so if you have comments, suggestions, or wonder why I did something (i.e., you don't understand what I was trying to accomplish), please feel free to ask.

Command and Control

-Two types of elements, leader and maneuver (tank, truck, rifle team, MG team, etc...)
-One side goes, then the other side goes.
-Roll for activation.  Each element rolls for activation separately, or a leader can activate a group.
-Unlike regular "XXX Commander," each element rolls for activation, not only leaders.  Leaders are pretty much there to unpin units, though they can add their 1 Fire Power (FP) dice to combat.
-Each element that is not pinned gets a 'free' action.  All subsequent actions must be rolled for: French need 7+, Insurgent need 8+, goes up for each success.  Leader in base contact adds +1 to roll.  Double 6=2 actions, Double 1=blunder.
-During opponent's phase, unpinned elements may react one time to an enemy action.  Reactions
only occur by elements  that observe an enemy action, and they can only react to the enemy
that carried out the observed action (can't see one enemy element move, then react by shooting
at another enemy element).  The reaction occurs after the observed action and before the next enemy action (if the enemy is on a "move and shoot" action, you cannot react until the enemy has moved and shot).  The only exception to this is if an element is on Overwatch, in which case it will take its action at any point after it has observed an enemy action (if an enemy is on a move and shoot action, the Overwatch element may shoot as soon as it see the enemy move).
-The only caveat to this is if an element 'charges' into close combat with an unpinned element that has not used its reaction.  If this happens, the element closes but receives reaction fire prior to close combat occurring.
-As previously stated, pinned elements cannot react.  However, leaders in base contact may attempt to rally the pinned element.
-Once the first player has finished issuing orders, the second player issues orders, and the first player's unpinned elements may react as above.  Unless there is a very good tactical reason for doing otherwise, the better quality troops (French) should go first, and the lower quality troops (Insurgents) go second.  Surprise attacks and ambushes by Insurgents might dictate giving them the first phase.

-When you take a command roll and roll double 1s, roll a D6:
1 - A sniper takes out the closest friendly leader.
2 –An enemy mortar barrage comes down on the team, roll FP of 5D6, hit on 4+
3 –Unit gets confused, fires full FP on furthest friendly element in LOS.
4 –Unit gets confused, falls back two moves, pinned.
5 –Unit gets confused, takes two moves towards the nearest enemy unit (even, or especially if it takes them into close combat), pinned (if close combat, pinned after close combat, not before).
6 – Unit confused, stays in place pinned.
After any of the blunders are carried out, the element’s activation is over.  Leaders cannot influence the unit that turn except to try to unpin it.

-Move and Shoot/Shoot and Move (make 1 move any direction, fire to front 180, -1 to hit)
-Sprint (make two moves any direction)
-Shoot (fire to front 180)
-Load/Unload (get in/out of a vehicle; this is a full action, can't shoot and move into a
-Go on Overwatch (element can stay on Overwatch for multiple turns, until it uses its OW action, or until the player gives it another order).
-Rally (action carried out by leaders to unpin an element; there are no 'free' unpins, must make command roll (CR).  Pinned elements unpin themselves by declaring an order and passing a CR, i.e., they don't have to make a rally action to unpin, then they can roll for more actions.  They don't get a 'free' action, so if they pass their command roll they are unpinned.

Fire Combat
-Two types, AP and AT, which each element is rated for.
-With play on a 4' x 4' table, all elements can range the entire table.
-Elements can engage any enemy element they have LOS to in their forward 180.  If target not in forward 180, element must move to face (usually a move and shoot action, -1 to hit).
-AP and AT combat rolls number of Firepower dice vs that category of target.  AP rolls saves with value below, AT targets roll against armor value.

-To Hit:                                                 AP Saves:            French                  Insurgent
Open:                                   4+           Open:                    6                              -
Obscured:                            5+            Lt Cover               5+                           6
Hvy Obscured:                     6              Hvy Cover            4+                           5
Flank/Rear:   +1 *Save values different because of French body armor
Close Range:  +1 (10cm AP, 20CM AT)
*Armor saves are -1 to flank and -2 to top/rear.  Aircraft saves are same regardless of aspect.

Type                      AP FP    AT FP     Strength              Armor   Notes
Leader                   1              -              1                       -            None.
French Rifle           5              3*            5                       -            *AT vs armor '6' only.
***Can fire one AT volley per game (AT-4/M72 LAW), AT: 6, make sure to track this***
Ins Rifle                 5              4              5                       -             Fire AT or AP per action, not both
MMG (7.62)         6              3*            3                       -             *AT vs armor '6' only.
SMAW/Gustav      5*            4*           3                        -             *AP -1 to save against hard target
                                                                                             (wall, bldg) only, AT vs 4-6 armor only.
ATGM                  3*             7             3                        -            *Against hard target (wall, bldg) only.
SAM                     1               6*           3                        -            *AT vs aircraft only.
Technical RR          5*            4             -                         6           *AP -1 to save
Technical HMG      4*            4*           -                         6           *AP -1 to save, AT vs 5-6 armor only.
Panhard                  5*            4             -                         4+         *AP -1 to save
Range Rover           -              -              -                         6            None.
RR Mk-19             4              4*            -                         6           *AT vs armor 5-6 only.
Scorpion                 4              3             -                          4+          None.
AAV                       4              4*           -                          5+          *AT vs 5-6 armor only.
HMMWV Mk19    4              4*           -                          5+           *AT vs 5-6 armor only.
HMMWV M2        4*            4*           -                          5+           *AP -1 to save, AT vs 5-6 arm only.
LAV                       4              3              -                         4+           None.
T-72                       5*           5               -                         3+           *AP -1 to save.
M-48                      5*           5               -                         3+           *AP -1 to save.
M-1                        5*           6               -                         2+           *AP -1 to save.
T-55                       5*           4               -                          3+           *AP -1 to save.
BMP-2                   4             3               -                          4+           None.
M113 M2               4             4*             -                          5+           *AP -1 to save, AT vs 5-6 arm only.
M113 TOW            3*           7               -                         5+           *Against hard target (wall, bldg) only.
M2/3 Bradley          4             7               -                         4+           None.  
Utility Helo               3             -               -                         6             None.
Attack Helo             5             6               -                         5+           None.
F-16 'style'               5             4               -                         6             None.
A-10 'style'              6              7               -                         4+           None.

**In AP combat, when infantry elements have lost all strenght points they are eliminated.  As infantry
elements lose SPs, they lose AP capability, i.e., Inf w/5 SP has 5 AP, 4 SP=4FP; MG w/3 SP has 6 AP FP 2 SP=4 FP, etc...
**In AP combat, infantry roll 1D6 per unsaved hit, needing a 4+.  If any fail, the element is pinned.
**In AT combat, roll to hit, all hits are re-rolled to save against the target's save value.  If there is one unsaved hit, roll 1D6 against the appropriate vehicle damage table.  If there are more than 1 unsaved
hit, add each unsaved hit after the first to the D6 total (if you had three unsaved hits, roll 1D6 and add '2' to the result, apply to the table).

Vehicle Damage Charts

Civilian Vehicle (or equivalent, i.e., Land Rover/Technical)
1 - Pinned
2, 3 - Immobilized
4, 5 - Vehicle Destroyed, passengers take one hit per SP and roll for saves.
6+ - Vehicle Destroyed, all KIA.

Armored Vehicles (save value of 5+)
1 - Pinned
2 - Optics destroyed, -1 'to hit' for rest of fight
3 - Engine damage, move half speed for rest of fight
4 - Immobilized
5-6 Main armament KO'ed (can continue to happen until all weapons are KO'ed).
7 - Vehicle Destroyed, passengers take one hit per SP and roll for saves.
8+ - Vehicle Destroyed, all KIA.

1 - Pinned
2 - Optics destroyed, -1 'to hit' for rest of fight
3 - Main armament KO'ed (can continue to happen until all weapons are KO'ed).
4, 5 - Forced to land, passengers take one hit per SP and roll for saves.
6+ - Destroyed, no survivors.

**Every time a vehicle is hit and the result is greater than 1 but less than destroyed, roll the D6= to number of unsaved hits, need 4+ each.  If any fail, vehicle is pinned.
**If a vehicle has previously received damage, then receives the same damage again, add another damage marker, the point of which is to show that for the remainder of the game the vehicle's CR is -1 (can accumulate more than one).
**For immobilized/main gun KO vehicles, roll 1D6, need 4+ or crew bails.

Close Combat
-Close combat occurs when opposing elements come into base contact with each other.  You can end up with multiple elements taking part in close combat, even though close combat is carried out as soon as it occurs, i.e., as soon as two opposing elements come into contact.
-I don’t mess around with supports or really any modifiers, unless something just stand out as so different that it absolutely has to be accounted for.  For example, I don’t give defenders in an open-topped, sandbagged emplacement any bonus; I figure the attacker has gotten close enough to negate that advantage, the point of which was to protect them from fire so they could keep the enemy at length with their own weapons.  Having said that, I’d probably give defenders in an enclosed, concrete bunker some sort of bonus, because the attacker is not inside, he’s sticking muzzles through vision slits, etc…  Having said that, you could say neither say gets a bonus, as the defender can’t really get at the attacker either, so there we are.
-The only modifier I solidly support is one for pinned elements.  If an element is pinned, it’s -2 ‘to hit,’ i.e., it doesn’t hit on 2+, it hits on 4+.
-Whether it’s one element vs one element, or five vs three, etc…, if it’s one big fight, calculate the whole FP for the both sides, roll the dice, count up the hits, and split them as evenly as possible between all the elements of the same side.  Don’t forget to roll for pins.
-For infantry, use their FP factor (to include the idea of losing FPs as you lose SPs).  Roll the FP, hit on 2+ (yes, very bloody), no saves, allocate the hits and roll for pins.
-If one side is eliminated, the close combat is finished.  If not, close combat will be rolled up again every single time one of the involved elements uses an action (free or CR). 
-This goes on until someone is eliminated, there’s no backing out.
-Good guys can’t shoot into close combat, bad guys can if they want, though hits will be evenly split between the two sides.
-Nobody shoots out of close combat, or does anything else but close combat, until one side is eliminated.
-In accordance with normal rules for activation, you can have as many elements join the close combat as you like.
-I don’t really run into it often, but if you want to go close combat between infantry and a vehicle, have at it.  Use the infantry’s value as above, use the vehicle’s AP value (if it doesn’t have one, use ‘1’).  Roll against the infantry as above,  for vehicles roll saves as follows:
Civilian-style vehicles, jeeps: 6
APCs, open-topped AFVs: 5
Tanks: 4
Take care of unsaved hits on the vehicle in accordance with the AT procedures (roll on the vehicle damage chart).
-There is no vehicle vs. vehicle close combat.
-For that matter, there’s no air to air combat rules, either (though this should probably be someplace else).

-A single move for infantry is 10cm. (Truth be told, I use popsicle sticks, just lay it down and that's a single move)
-A single move for vehicles is 20cm. (Two popsicle sticks)
-Wheeled vehicles get another single move if they start and end on a road.
-Aircraft can move from off-board to anywhere on the board in one move action.  Helos can stay there, fixed wing must move off the table next move. This creates quite a tactical dilemma: Your A-10 starts off-table, and just like every  other element, it gets a free action and has to roll for additional actions.  So, the question is, do you use a "move and shoot" action, with its -1 to hit modifier, or do you use the free action to move to the target, then try to roll for a shoot action?  If you fail, next turn your only allowable action is to leave the table.  I'll say it again: fixed wing A/C on the table must use their 'free' action to leave. 
-Fixed wing A/C may not react, but helos can.
-Helos taking off spend one action to get into the air, then another to move.  Helos landing move to where they want to land, then spend an action to sit down.  I will say that quite often I will let troops fast-rope/rappel out of helos, but this often times leaves your helo very vulnerable to AA fire.
-With regard to passengers (both helo and ground vehicle), I go back and forth about who can give the order to unload; I really don't have a problem with the vehicle giving the order, but I would say that, if it fails, the infantry can't use their actions to unload, meaning their trapped.  Again, it's a tactical dilemma (to me the point of rules is to force you to make decisions): your helo uses its free action to move on table, and it goes to the LZ.  Now you can make one CR to fast-rope the troops down.  If you succeed, you can have the helo make another CR to leave the table (and dodge AA fire), while the troops are now on the ground and can use their 'free' action to do whatever they like, and make CRs after that.  But, if the helo fails, the troops are stuck in the bird.  Next turn (or even as a reaction) the helo can fast-rope the troops down, then make a CR to leave the table.  The benefit to landing is, if you land in dead
ground, there aren't a bunch of insurgents with RPGs slobbering about knocking off one of your helos.

-I don't do too much with terrain regarding effects on movement.  Basically I have three categories:
1. Open, no problems
2. Impassable, can't go there (can be different for infantry and vehicles)
3. Difficult: an element moves to the terrain and must stop there, can pass with another action.  For example:
With a shallow canal, I will let infantry move to it and halt, next action puts them on the other side, next
action lets them move away, vehicles can't cross.
A river ford, infantry and vehicles move to it and stop, next move lets them cross and move away.
A wall, infantry move to it and stop, next move lets them cross and move away, wheeled vehicles can't traverse, tracked vehicles handle as infantry, but remove a section of the wall.
-With regards to fire combat, I kinda handle like this:
*Open is open, 4+ to hit and no save (not counting body armor)
*There are things that obscure, there are things that provide cover, and there are things that provide both. 
I'm real flexible like these, and don't use hard and fast rules, I try to look at the situation (Lardie's style).
-So, infantry firing small arms at enemy in a small, thick building might look like '6' to hit (hvy obscure),
4+ to save (hvy cover).  But a tank firing at that same target with a 105mm gun might look like 4+ to hit (all he's got to do is hit the building), and 5+ to save (it's hvy cover, but if that 105mm round hits the bldg there's gonna be trouble.  A crop field might give a 6 (hvy obscure) to hit, but treated as 'open' for save (corn doesn't stop many bullets). 
-With trees I go through the same calculus; some clumps can be so thick it blocks LOS, a little less gives a hvy obscure, all the way to an orchard with evenly spaced trees and the enemy looking straight down an aisle might be treated as in the open for 'to hit' and save.
-Don't forget to think of vehicles in terms of being obscured or not as well, for the 'to hit' portion.  That's the point of going hull-down (heavy obscure, hit on 6).  However, you will still use the vehicle's armor value for the save.

Solo: I play most of my games solo, and sometimes, for the sake of speed, I make what I believe is the most logical decision. But there are plenty of times when it's not clear, or I want to make sure I'm not unduly influencing, or I want to give an opportunity for something unexpected to happen, so I use a 'decision matrix."  I use a D10 thusly:
1-3 = Most dangerous course of action.
3-9 = Most likely course of action.
10 = Goofiest, craziest, dumbest, most different course of action.

Example: An enemy rifle team is sitting dug-in, with two of my rifle teams not far from it, and one of my tanks behind them.

I would probably set it up like this:
Most likely is, the enemy team stays in its hole and fires its weapons at my rifle teams.
Most dangerous is, the enemy moves from its holes (hvy cover) to its right, behind lt cover, but then takes an AT shot at the flank of my tank.  This assumes my rifle teams can't just gun them down as soon as they move.  And for folks thinking this should be 'most likely,' I disagree, must guys don't want to move with enemy nearby, unless it's backwards.
Goofiest/craziest/etc... could be, they get heroic and decide to leave the cover of their holes and charge into close combat with my rifle teams; or, they're in a decent position, but get a little flustered and decide to bug out, that is, leave the holes by falling back out of LOS to my units. The key is to figure out your three options before you roll, and stick to it!

Casualties: A feature of modern warfare is that Western armies are quite concerned with the proper, immediate treatment of their casualties.  So, what I like to do is, when an element is eliminated, I place a casualty marker in its place.  That casualty then has to be retrieved and evacuated, either by getting it onto a helo and off-table or getting it into a ground vehicle and off-table, though I suppose the CASEVAC point could be a secure spot on table as well.  The whole point is that you can't just pretend like the elimination of one of your rifle teams, or the conversion of one of your tanks into a heap of smoldering metal, doesn't mean anything and can be ignored, as we so often do in our games.

I'm not doing to be macabre or make light of 'real-life' casualties, I'm just trying to present another tactical challenge for the player.  And, if you're playing solo, it's a challenge for the player, because the insurgents have no such requirement! I haven't really gone down the path of "how many turns can you let them sit there," or "what happens if the player just leaves them there?"  Ummm, I dunno, I hadn't thought that far ahead.  As with the rest of these, if you don't like this particular rule, don't use it.  If you do like it, then use it!  I'll also point out that your SAM team doesn't have a lot to do, not a lot of insurgent aircraft flying around, so I like to designate them as the CASEVAC guys.

Civvies: Again, not trying to get anyone riled up, just saying that they are a feature of many modern battlefields, and generally this is a tactical challenge for Western armies and not so much for insurgents.
So, I play that if the French have civvies in their line of fire to insurgents, it’s treated as blocking LOS (it’s not a lot of fun having to leave cover in order to clear your lane of fire). 

Furthermore, sometimes you have to roll to see if you hit them even if they’re not in your lane of fire.  If a friendly element fires at an enemy element, it scores no hits ( you can play it no hits on the ‘to hit,’ which will happen occasionally, or no hits after saves, which will bump up the likelihood of occurrence a bit), and there are civvies 10cm to either side of your lane of fire, or still in your lane of fire past the enemy element, roll your FP again, on a 5 or 6 (how generous do you want to be with yourself?) you whack a civilian.  Again, I don’t have any rules worked out for “how does this effect who wins?” etc…, I just know it’s not good, and if it doesn’t raise its ugly head in my game, it certainly will in my campaign.

I can tell you I’ve played a couple scenarios focused on civvies that’s been a lot of fun!

Well, I hope that’s everything, and I hope you like them.




  1. Very cool. I just moved to Dallas about four months ago and it looks like solo BKC will have to do for now.
    On similar topic, I've played cooperative games with fellow gamers and those were often more enjoyable than opposed gaming. I'm thinking that any solo game rules would be suitable for co op scenarios because the none player side is better represented when the co op players address grey areas in the NP side decisions.

  2. Well, welcome aboard Uncle Greasy! I've had quite a bit of fun with these, it's what I used for all the French Foreign Legion battle reports. I rarely get to play with other actual humans, so pretty much everything is solo, though I agree that co-op sounds pretty cool (never done it).

    Where are you in Dallas? I'm over in North Richland Hills. I imagine you've found Texas Toy Soldier by now?