I recently re-painted and re-based some 10mm Pendraken troops, Canadians and German FJ, in order to give Arty Conliffe's "Crossfire" rules a go with my seven year-old son. My father and I had played quite a few games several years ago, but we couldn't quite get it going for us. I was screwing around surfing the internet and started to become intrigued, once again, but the rules. In particular, I spent quite a bit of time on "Steven's Balagan" blog, which has a tremendous amount of Crossfire-related info on it. This weekend my boy and I got to it. I set up a table, got some 10mm troops out, then spent about 30 minutes walking him through the rules. At the conclusion, he and I played a small test game.
So, this isn't a 'proper' battle report, but he and I did play a game and I did snap some photos, so I figured I'd share. More importantly, I'd absolutely love for some of you Crossfire veterans/gurus out there on the interwebs to have a look and share some of your insights. The boy grasped the rules fairly quickly, and there was hardly any referencing the rules (just the modifiers for close combat) once we got started. The game was going pretty well, moving right along, but I'd be lying if I said I didn't come out of it with any reservations. The boy moved very aggressively, demonstrating a solid understanding of what we're trying to do (with me giving some pointers, as necessary, along the way). He ended up on my side of the board, flanking me, pretty damn quickly (what I love about the rules), but he lost the initiative and I was able to shore things up, denying my flank, and there we sat, unable to break the deadlock. Eventually I finally got tired of it and recklessly dashed down from my hilltop position, into close combat, but I was repelled, and the stalemate ensued.
I'm really hoping that this was a function of me screwing something up, that I did something wrong, that my table was too small, that we didn't have enough troops on the table, that I had too little or too much cover on the table (I know, in Crossfire you can never have too much cover), and it's certainly possible. I think I had a goodly amount of cover, but we used identical forces (one rifle platoon, an MG, and an on table mortar) that were kind of small, and we played on a 3' x 2' table, and we played with everyone on the table, no hidden forces (but, to be honest, I'm hoping that's not the issue, as I don't want to play hidden forces with my 7-year old). I'm hoping it's one or more of those factors.
But I sure got a sinking feeling, same old problem I always seemed to have. Help!!! I really want this to work. Don't worry, we're not giving up, we'll be playing more, I just want to see if we can hammer out any problems as quick as possible.
We conducted an opposed die roll to see who would have initiative, and I actually won.
My MG team opened fire on the Canadian rifle squad in the middle (open), and mowed them down. I also moved my mortar team to safety (top left) and replaced them with a rifle squad (far left).
See, I've taught him well, you don't close assault an unpinned, unsuppressed enemy ;) But as I'm typing this, I just realized I kinda screwed him. That is, I had earlier explained to him that crew serves are -2 in close combat, but I didn't think to remind him of that at this juncture.
He understands perfectly now about using the PC for group moves into close combat, racking up the bonuses. I do have a question though: my MG team was suppressed, but won the melee. Are they still suppressed, or is that removed?
Forgive me, I don't have it in my notes, don't remember why he was moving his PC right.
In any case, that's where we left it. I talked to him about setting up another game, and he said he wanted to, but I could tell he was worn out (we'd already played a game, the last fight in the Philippines), so we called it quits.
I was really hoping to play company-sized actions on a 2' x 2' table, but even with just a platoon and support per side it was feeling a bit cramped on a 3' x 2'. Not literally cramped, but it felt like if we had a company each we'd be able to create a contiguous defensive line across the whole damn board. So, you guys with experience, what do you think about unit density from the pictures. Do you think we could do attacker four platoons and support vs defender two platoons and support on this 3' x 2'? How did my terrain density look? And what are your thoughts on the stalemate? Aside from my admitted mistakes, were we doing anything else wrong?
Please, I'm all ears for some feedback, anything and everything, nothing is off limits. Unless you're just gonna make fun of my carpet hills and fields ;)