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Subject: Battalion Level Systems rss

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Chris Rudram
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I enjoy playing game like Tide of Iron / Memoir '44, but prefer a slightly larger scale. I've had many hours of fun with the Battalion level games like the Quadrigames Bulge and Arnhem scenarios, and for my own interest in World War 2 is the level I'd prefer to game at.

Has anyone released a system at this level akin to Tide of Iron / Combat Commander / ASL?

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Jason Roach
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Chris,

That is a pretty good question. I think for WWII, once you get into the battilons as the basic unit, you begin reach into what is called “Grand Tactical Scale.” For some reason or another, these are often done in Monster games or mini-monsters. In other games, such as Ardennes 44, you have mostly regiments, with select battalions and it covers the entire battle (well the main part at least). You do of course have platoon level games such as Panzer Grenadier and the new Panzer Leader II, which is due out this year. I am interested in what other gamers recommend.

-Jason
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Darrell Pavitt
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Jason Roach wrote:
Chris,

That is a pretty good question. I think for WWII, once you get into the battilons as the basic unit, you begin reach into what is called “Grand Tactical Scale.” For some reason or another, these are often done in Monster games or mini-monsters. In other games, such as Ardennes 44, you have mostly regiments, with select battalions and it covers the entire battle (well the main part at least). You do of course have platoon level games such as Panzer Grenadier and the new Panzer Leader II, which is due out this year. I am interested in what other gamers recommend.

-Jason


I have to say, I had never heard of "Grand tactical scale" before Devils Cauldron. Which is company level, anyway. I assume "Grand tactical" refers to games in which higher level units have direct fire ranges greater than adjacent. PanzerBlitz and it's descendants fit this category.

Many modern era games are battalion level, such as the Cenral front series, NATO Division Commander, Tac Air, Air & Armor. Most of the OCS series feature battalions, but tend to be brigade level. Some of Avalanche press's early games are battalion level (Avalanche: The Invasion of Italy, Red Parachutes: Soviet Airborne Assault Across the Dnepr). All these are operational level.
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Kent Reuber
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In the Panzer Grenadier system, each counter is a platoon rather than a squad. The basic rules are only 16 pages and there are games and scenarios for almost any WWII theatre.

War to Axis: Warfare in Normandy is a Euro/Wargame hybrid. Infantry units are 1 battalion and other units (e.g., armor) are companies. The rules are online, so you can check them out and see if they fit with what you want (http://giogames.it). The only bad part is that they haven't released any scenarios for other WWII theaters.

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Jason Roach
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nyhotep wrote:
Jason Roach wrote:
Chris,

That is a pretty good question. I think for WWII, once you get into the battilons as the basic unit, you begin reach into what is called “Grand Tactical Scale.” For some reason or another, these are often done in Monster games or mini-monsters. In other games, such as Ardennes 44, you have mostly regiments, with select battalions and it covers the entire battle (well the main part at least). You do of course have platoon level games such as Panzer Grenadier and the new Panzer Leader II, which is due out this year. I am interested in what other gamers recommend.

-Jason


I have to say, I had never heard of "Grand tactical scale" before Devils Cauldron. Which is company level, anyway. I assume "Grand tactical" refers to games in which higher level units have direct fire ranges greater than adjacent. PanzerBlitz and it's descendants fit this category.

Many modern era games are battalion level, such as the Cenral front series, NATO Division Commander, Tac Air, Air & Armor. Most of the OCS series feature battalions, but tend to be brigade level. Some of Avalanche press's early games are battalion level (Avalanche: The Invasion of Italy, Red Parachutes: Soviet Airborne Assault Across the Dnepr). All these are operational level.


Darrell,

It is funny you mentioned not hearing the term before because I don’t often hear it applied to WWII. In fact, I may have misapplied the term to modern era wargames. I am mostly a Napoleonic/Age Of Reason wargamer and it is a fairly common term applied to certain scales within those periods.

-Jason
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Darrell Pavitt
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Jason,
The first place I saw it was on the front of the Grand Tactical rules book for Ddevil's Cauldron. Now everyone seems to be mentioning it. Probably not the military, though. I agree that games like the La bataille series firt well.

Chris,
I am perhaps a bit confused as to whether you want a battalion scale battle (where most units are battalions) or a scale where you control parts of a single battalion (Panzer grenadier comes to mind, as do other company/ platoon level games).
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Chris Rudram
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nyhotep wrote:
Jason,
The first place I saw it was on the front of the Grand Tactical rules book for Ddevil's Cauldron. Now everyone seems to be mentioning it. Probably not the military, though. I agree that games like the La bataille series firt well.

Chris,
I am perhaps a bit confused as to whether you want a battalion scale battle (where most units are battalions) or a scale where you control parts of a single battalion (Panzer grenadier comes to mind, as do other company/ platoon level games).


Don't worry, I am probably using the wrong terminology.

I'm interested in games were most units/counters are battalion/company sized. The game I most have in mind as being the 'right' scale is, and level of involvement is :

Bastogne: The Desperate Defense, December 1944.

However, PanzerGrenadier is also interesting and will look further at that. I like the level of complexity (and I guess production values) that Tide of Iron is at, but I want to be storming villages and towns, not individual buildings.

PanzerBlitz : Hill of Death, upcoming from MMP will probably get pre-ordered tonight anyways.

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Mark Luta
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FYI, Grand Tactical was a term coined for the Napoleonic wargames, which probably fits with any linear warfare era game. It denotes the scale between a battle and a campaign, where units still had to march and deploy for a battle, which seems best suited to the linear warfare era. By the 20th century, ranges of weapons are such that this scale essentially is tactical.

Also, battalion level tends to be more suited to linear warfare because in that era, the battalion was pretty much the smallest formation employed (a squadron of cavalry in that era also meant a battalion, not the modern meaning). There were skirmishers sent ahead, of course, and smaller detachments might be left to guard a bridge, but overall troops fought in battle then in company mass, and the companies were maneuvered on the orders of a battalion commander. Again, by the 20th century the commonplace presence of repeating weapons of extremely long ranges allows much smaller units to have incredible firepower, giving much more flexibility to deployment. Hence in modern warfare, the location of a battalion HQ might be nowhere near where some elements of the battalion are deployed.
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p55carroll
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Since this thread has slipped into the oft-debated question of names for wargaming scales, here's what a Wikipedia article has to say, FWIW:

Quote:
Unit or map scale

Grand strategy — military strategy at the level of movement and use of an entire nation state or empire's resources. focus is on a war or series of wars, often over a long period of time. Individual units, even armies, may not be represented; instead, attention is given to theaters of operation. All of the resources of the nations involved may be mobilized as part of a long-term struggle. The simulation typically involves political and economic as well as military conflict. At the most extreme end of this is the branch of strategy games in which the player assumes the role of the government of an entire nation-state and in which not conducting war is a possibility. Axis and Allies, Risk (game) and Empires in Arms are examples of this type of wargame.

Strategic — military units are typically division, corps, or army-sized, and they are rated based upon raw strength. At this scale, economic production and diplomacy are significant. The simulation typically involves all branches, and often the entire forces of the nations involved, and covers entire wars or long campaigns

Operational — units are typically battalion to divisional size, and are rated based on their average overall strengths and weaknesses. Weather and logistics are significant. The simulation typically focuses on one branch of the military forces, with others somewhat abstracted, and usually covers a single campaign.

Tactical — units range from individual vehicles and squads to platoons or companies, and are rated based on types and ranges of individual weaponry. The simulation almost always focuses on a single branch, occasionally with others abstracted, and usually covers a single battle or part of a large battle.

Skirmish — units represent individual soldiers, with possible tracking of wounds and ammunition. The simulation usually covers a small firefight. Also known as "man-to-man" scale, the first such games in the modern era of board wargames include Patrol and Sniper!. Early role-playing games were derived from skirmish wargames, and many are still played as such.


(from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wargame)


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Jason Roach
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markluta wrote:
FYI, Grand Tactical was a term coined for the Napoleonic wargames, which probably fits with any linear warfare era game. It denotes the scale between a battle and a campaign, where units still had to march and deploy for a battle, which seems best suited to the linear warfare era. By the 20th century, ranges of weapons are such that this scale essentially is tactical.

Also, battalion level tends to be more suited to linear warfare because in that era, the battalion was pretty much the smallest formation employed (a squadron of cavalry in that era also meant a battalion, not the modern meaning). There were skirmishers sent ahead, of course, and smaller detachments might be left to guard a bridge, but overall troops fought in battle then in company mass, and the companies were maneuvered on the orders of a battalion commander. Again, by the 20th century the commonplace presence of repeating weapons of extremely long ranges allows much smaller units to have incredible firepower, giving much more flexibility to deployment. Hence in modern warfare, the location of a battalion HQ might be nowhere near where some elements of the battalion are deployed.


Yes, I agree. Well said.

-Jason
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Chris Rudram
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Patrick Carroll wrote:
Since this thread has slipped into the oft-debated question of names for wargaming scales, here's what a Wikipedia article has to say, FWIW:

Quote:
Unit or map scale
Operational — units are typically battalion to divisional size, and are rated based on their average overall strengths and weaknesses. Weather and logistics are significant. The simulation typically focuses on one branch of the military forces, with others somewhat abstracted, and usually covers a single campaign.

Tactical — units range from individual vehicles and squads to platoons or companies, and are rated based on types and ranges of individual weaponry. The simulation almost always focuses on a single branch, occasionally with others abstracted, and usually covers a single battle or part of a large battle.






I guess I'm looking for something that's 'system' based at the Large Tactical/Small Operational level. I'm guessing nothing really exists as a pure wargame or psuedo-wargame right now?
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p55carroll
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markluta wrote:
Hence in modern warfare, the location of a battalion HQ might be nowhere near where some elements of the battalion are deployed.


While it's true that troops spread out more these days (due mainly to electronic communication and automatic weapons), I believe the battalion was still the basic operational maneuver unit of WWII. Regiments had become almost superfluous and were more administrative than practical.


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Odinsday wrote:

I guess I'm looking for something that's 'system' based at the Large Tactical/Small Operational level. I'm guessing nothing really exists as a pure wargame or psuedo-wargame right now?


If memory serves, three old wargames come to mind:
Guadalcanal
Air Assault On Crete/Invasion of Malta: 1942
The Longest Day

The last one definitely has battalion-size units for the most part. I think the others do too (but I could be remembering wrong).

I'm sure there must be other wargames around where most infantry units are battalion-size.


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Chris Rudram
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Patrick Carroll wrote:
Odinsday wrote:

I guess I'm looking for something that's 'system' based at the Large Tactical/Small Operational level. I'm guessing nothing really exists as a pure wargame or psuedo-wargame right now?


If memory serves, three old wargames come to mind:
Guadalcanal
Air Assault On Crete/Invasion of Malta: 1942
The Longest Day

The last one definitely has battalion-size units for the most part. I think the others do too (but I could be remembering wrong).

I'm sure there must be other wargames around where most infantry units are battalion-size.


If I had the time and the friends and the space, The Longest day would be wonderful, but none of the above really fall in as a 'system' along the lines of ASL/Tide of Iron/Memoir '44/Combat Commander, etc.
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Darrell Pavitt
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There is always "The operational art of war" from Matrix games.
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しんぶん赤旗
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Have you seen St-Lô?

It is a brilliant battalion level game. Innovative rules for morale and artillery and plays well solo.
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Chris Rudram
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nyhotep wrote:
There is always "The operational art of war" from Matrix games.


Thanks, though computer games, these look like a possibility.
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Arrigo Velicogna
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you will discover than cookie cutter and generic approach to operational wargames is not the best. Even OPART III is more a tool than a system. Each game plays differently, with different real maps and a lot of different special rules. Even tactical gfames beenfit form real maps opposed to generic geomorphic things.
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Hans Kishel
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Also watch for another Gamers series game, Battalion Combat Series (BCS)

This new series with battalions as the main unit, is in design by Dean Essig.

Watch for updates........

I will try to post some pictures of my playtests of the first game slated for release.
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Joseph Youst
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There is also the Wacht am Rhein II (WaR2) system which is definitely at the operational scale. Units are mostly bn level with company breakdowns available. Each turn represents about a third of a day. More games are going to be coming out using this system. I'm the designer and I am currently in the process of re-editing the original rulebook to streamline the system somewhat and improve upon the clarity of the rules for the second game in the system: Hurtgen Forest. WaR2 is a multi-map game (4) with almost 2500 playing pieces and almost 16 scenarios ranging from Dec16 1944 to the US counterattacks beginning in Jan of 1945.
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Chuck Dye
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I think some of the area/impulse games are Battalion level. Monty's Gamble: Market Garden is.
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Ernest Schubert
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I can't think of anything like this at all...

I take it you mean a system that has:
- a basic rule set...
- modules that cover different stages and theatres of WWII...
- maps that may or may not be geo-morphic...
- each module uses a fairly generic counter set...
- more than one scenario per module using generic counters...

Nothing like this at all...not at the battalion level...

As has been said, most operational games are at the division/regiment/brigade level... when you find games that drop down to the regiment/battalion/company level, you usually have a game that's specific to a particular battle, and attempts to model that battle at more detailed level than your typical operational game... so you get the monster game.


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Hans Kishel
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kazadvorn wrote:
I can't think of anything like this at all...
I take it you mean a system that has:
- a basic rule set...
- modules that cover different stages and theatres of WWII...
- maps that may or may not be geo-morphic...
- each module uses a fairly generic counter set...
- more than one scenario per module using generic counters...


BCS is going to take a run at this very idea.

The rule set will be like all Gamers series rules in that you will have one basic set of rules that will work with all the games.

The games in the series could cover any stage and theater of the war.

The maps will not be geo-morphic.

Each game will have specific counters for that game, however all the counters will be consistent with the system.

I would imagine that all the games in the series will have multiple scenarios just like most of the Gamers games.
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Chris Rudram
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hkishel wrote:
I can't think of anything like this at all...
I take it you mean a system that has:
- a basic rule set...

Yes
Quote:

- modules that cover different stages and theatres of WWII...

Yes.
Quote:

- maps that may or may not be geo-morphic...

Yes. Either/or works
Quote:

- each module uses a fairly generic counter set...

Yes... much like ASL does. Don't mind a few specials for a special battle.
Quote:

- more than one scenario per module using generic counters...

Yes.

PLUS I'm also looking for something that doesn't blow up into a monster game that takes all year to play.

Again, for reference, look at the WestWall Quad.

Quote:

BCS is going to take a run at this very idea.

The rule set will be like all Gamers series rules in that you will have one basic set of rules that will work with all the games.

The games in the series could cover any stage and theater of the war.

The maps will not be geo-morphic.

Each game will have specific counters for that game, however all the counters will be consistent with the system.

I would imagine that all the games in the series will have multiple scenarios just like most of the Gamers games.


Awesome, will keep an eye out.
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Chris Rudram
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Follow up on my own post, it occurs to me that Paul Koenig's D-Day and market Garden might fit the bill and nice I am looking for. The scale is company/regiment which is about the level I'm looking for.

Any feedback if these are good games?
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