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Subject: Machine gun house rule rss

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Logan Smith
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Always bothered me that the machine gun felt more like a defensive weapon in tide of iron with its existing "rapid op fire" rule. Serving in the military myself machine guns are the backbone of any infantry formation and tactics. They are used to harass and pin the enemy or put a volume of fire into potential enemy positions. They are used to gain the upper hand in a firefight. After winning the firefight, troops would move to close with the enemy under support of fire from such weapons.
I can't remember many situations where MG teams would wait for the enemy to move or break cover before firing.
So a rule we play is machine guns teams have a special sustained fire order instead of rapid op fire.
A machine gun unit can now be placed in sustained fire mode and should be marked with a distinguishing token (we use critical hit tokens from x wing miniatures).
Once a machine unit is placed in sustained fire mode it is unable to move and only the MG itself can fire. In this mode the MG May fire and is not fatigued as long as one of your other units is fatigued during your turn after it's move.
This way a MG team can fire multiple times during a round, however to prevent a situation where MGs are firing and nothing else, at least one unit per turn must be fatigued, if no units can be fatigued then after firing the MG team must be fatigued. Also the rapid op fire rules are still in effect when a MG team is in sustained fire mode except only the MGs are allowed to fire.
By playing like this the machine gun becomes a much more offensive weapon yet retains it's role as a defensive mechanism. Players may now use machine guns to harass enemy positions in cover and also puts more pressure on players to make sure units are not in line of sight with MG teams and if they are to suppress them quickly before they get suppressed themselves, "hence winning the firefight"
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Ray
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Being able to Sustained Fire plus Rapid Op Fire... also a much more deadly weapon. Have you test played this with certain scenarios? Does it cause some balance issues? There are a few scenarios that this would be a game changer.
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Chris Hillery
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I like it conceptually, but I agree it makes the MG hugely more potent and should therefore probably only be used in scenarios specifically designed to work with it.

Also - I'm genuinely curious: You say that this is more like how you use MGs in military today, but do you have any idea whether they would have been used in this fashion in WWII? My admittedly limited understanding is that WWII-era MGs are considerably larger, more like an emplacement, and so it would make sense that their primary usage would be defensive where it makes sense to haul them in and set them up.
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clive holland
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I am a bit confused with the OP.

''So a rule we play is machine guns teams have a special sustained fire order instead of rapid op fire.''

Then you go on to say

''Also the rapid op fire rules are still in effect when a MG team is in sustained fire mode except only the MGs are allowed to fire''.

You are saying you can use the MG in sustained fire only and then with the OP fire rule. Is it one or both?

I agree with Ray that both options would make it too powerful if both options were allowed.

I do like the sound of the suppressive fire option. From what I have read on the subject it seems an MG team set up a fire base and fire to suppress the enemy as the infantry move in.

I think what you mean is it could be another option for MGs, you can put the MG team in Supressive mode or in OP mode, but not both together.

In suppressive mode do you first fire the MG and then use an action to move/fire with an infantry team or would the infantry team move first, be fatigued and then the MG can fire, (as a free action)?

I think the first option would obviously be the better option in order to suppress enemy units before the infantry move.
 
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Chris Hillery
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I'd suggest putting in this way:

Quote:
Sustained Fire: Whenever a friendly unit is activated in the LOS of a fresh MG squad, the MG squad may take an immediate attack action. Only the MG crew figure may fire. The MG squad is not fatigued after this action.

That limits it a bit, both by requiring the unit to be fresh (ie, not in Op Fire) and by only inserting the free attack action before activations of units in LOS (which seems to be in the spirit of "covering fire").
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Ismael Descolado
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Ceej wrote:
I'd suggest putting in this way:

Quote:
Sustained Fire: Whenever a friendly unit is activated in the LOS of a fresh MG squad, the MG squad may take an immediate attack action. Only the MG crew figure may fire. The MG squad is not fatigued after this action.

That limits it a bit, both by requiring the unit to be fresh (ie, not in Op Fire) and by only inserting the free attack action before activations of units in LOS (which seems to be in the spirit of "covering fire").


Hummm... very interesting!
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bill jaffe
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the standard machine guns, the mg34 and 42 , to 30cal and 50 cal, the vickers and the Russian 12.7 where primarily defensive but where used to support attacks by laying down fire on certain positions like buildings and trenches. heck the British had MG units that they would assign to various attacks.so what you suggested could be a possible optional rule but would need an awful lot of play testing as it will need to be balanced against every current scenario

bill
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Hss Hss
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The game is already slightly to easy for the attacker. That is, its hard to create a scenario where the attacker outnumber the defender 2 to 1 and still be balanced.

Your suggestion will most probably unbalance most of the scenarios where you have an attacker/defender style.

I like the MG as is.



You could create options for the MG but then as an OP card for special scenarios.
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Kandras 78
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Ceej wrote:
I'd suggest putting in this way:

Quote:
Sustained Fire: Whenever a friendly unit is activated in the LOS of a fresh MG squad, the MG squad may take an immediate attack action. Only the MG crew figure may fire. The MG squad is not fatigued after this action.

That limits it a bit, both by requiring the unit to be fresh (ie, not in Op Fire) and by only inserting the free attack action before activations of units in LOS (which seems to be in the spirit of "covering fire").


Excellent ideas.
If you do not want be the supposed Sustain Fire ability OP I would kindly suggest adding the following restrictions:

A fresh squad containing machine gun crew might be use Sustained Fire whenever a friendly unit is activated withinin LOS
-if an officer is also present in the same hex with the MG
-could only be used 3 times,after the third time the MG has to be fatigued as normal
-only the MG crew participates in the attack(s)
-such attacks must all be against different targets within LOS and range

That would make up an excellent entry in the planned optional advanced rules IMHO.
 
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Chris Hillery
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Kandras78 wrote:
-could only be used 3 times,after the third time the MG has to be fatigued as normal
-such attacks must all be against different targets within LOS and range

I think I see where you're coming from with these suggestions, but I think it would require too much bookkeeping. Tide of Iron has generally avoided any rules or abilities that cannot be easily kept track of on the board. It would be too convoluted to remember and identify which units had been targeted, especially when they might be in LOS of multiple enemy MGs.

If you wanted to put a limit on the amount of destruction an MG could wreak, perhaps the following:

Quote:
Sustained Fire: Whenever a friendly unit is activated in the LOS of a fresh MG squad, the MG squad may take an immediate attack action. Only the MG crew figure may fire. The attack must be a Suppressive attack. Additionally, this attack cannot cause the target to rout. The MG squad is not fatigued after this action.

Limiting it to Suppressive attacks seems to be consistent with the spirit of the scenario the OP described. And preventing targets from routing means you can't just wipe out the enemy with your MGs. Once you've gotten a target squad down to disrupted, you may as well choose a new target because any subsequent hits would be pointless.
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Kandras 78
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Ceej wrote:

I think I see where you're coming from with these suggestions, but I think it would require too much bookkeeping. Tide of Iron has generally avoided any rules or abilities that cannot be easily kept track of on the board. It would be too convoluted to remember and identify which units had been targeted, especially when they might be in LOS of multiple enemy MGs.

If you wanted to put a limit on the amount of destruction an MG could wreak, perhaps the following:

Quote:
Sustained Fire: Whenever a friendly unit is activated in the LOS of a fresh MG squad, the MG squad may take an immediate attack action. Only the MG crew figure may fire. The attack must be a Suppressive attack. Additionally, this attack cannot cause the target to rout. The MG squad is not fatigued after this action.

Limiting it to Suppressive attacks seems to be consistent with the spirit of the scenario the OP described. And preventing targets from routing means you can't just wipe out the enemy with your MGs. Once you've gotten a target squad down to disrupted, you may as well choose a new target because any subsequent hits would be pointless.


Ok, Ceej, you are right. Bookkeeping of targeted units in case of multiple MGs might really be an issue. Will think about it. Though a situation will hardly emerge when all those MGs in range have an officer present in their hex as well, which IMHO should be one of the satisfied criteria in order to use Sustained Fire.

Maybe the restriction of targeting simply has to be dropped. Though I think the Sustained Fire for MGs should work exactly like a reversed Op Fire (where the MG is reacting on friendly movement rather than the opponents's).
I also would not limit the MG to be able to fire suppresively only. Nor would I exclude causing a rout result. I'd rather halve the firepower and/or exclude long range attacks.

By the way a Sustained Fire ability might be implemented as a new Support Deck card as well. In that case bookkeeping of how many times MGs have used this ability would be easy placing activation counter(s) on the card itself. After a number of accumulated tokens (in my original example it would be 3) the card is discarded.

[edited spelling]
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Logan Smith
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Ceej wrote:
I'd suggest putting in this way:

Quote:
Sustained Fire: Whenever a friendly unit is activated in the LOS of a fresh MG squad, the MG squad may take an immediate attack action. Only the MG crew figure may fire. The MG squad is not fatigued after this action.

That limits it a bit, both by requiring the unit to be fresh (ie, not in Op Fire) and by only inserting the free attack action before activations of units in LOS (which seems to be in the spirit of "covering fire").


Really like the way you worded this, I alway struggle to convey my ideas effectively through media.

However I would suggest a change to the wording:

"Whenever a friendly unit is activated, the MG squad may take an immediate attack action. Only the machine gun crew figure May fire. The MG squad is not fatigued after this action, but it's attack action is considered to be one of your actions for your action turn"

Or something along those lines! What I am trying to achieve is to maintain a bit of game balance, otherwise there could be a situation where for instance 3 different units are activated during a players turn,where each has line of sight to say 3 different MG units, and so for that action phase the MGs in total between them would fire 9 times at the enemy!
That would be more like a mini-gun going off!

Really appreciate the feedback though guys thought I would get shot to pieces for suggesting such a variant!

And Chris your a top bloke for taking the time and trying to decipher what am trying to say, cheers mate!
 
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Chris Hillery
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Kandras78 wrote:
Maybe the restriction of targeting simply has to be dropped. Though I think the Sustained Fire for MGs should work exactly like a reversed Op Fire (where the MG is reacting on friendly movement rather than the opponents's).

Yeah, that's a good model, but unfortunately "it doesn't scale" as we say in the computer business. It is indeed the rule that a single unit may not be the target of more than one op-fire attack from a given MG during its activation, and that technically requires bookkeeping that isn't on the table. I guess the game's authors felt that since it was all during a single activation (that is, a short period of time), it was OK to require you to simply remember which MGs had already fired. However, turning it around to the proposed Sustained Fire, now you'd have to remember which units an MG had fired at for the duration of an entire round. That's no longer feasible.

Quote:
By the way a Sustained Fire ability might be implemented as a new Support Deck card as well. In that case bookkeeping of how many times MGs have used this ability would be easy placing activation counter(s) on the card itself. After a number of accumulated tokens (in my original example it would be 3) the card is discarded.

I like this idea. It adds one wrinkle to the game, which is having a card which is somehow "tied" to a specific unit on the board. It's not clear how you would mark that, especially if you had multiple MGs on the field - each would have to have their own card for tracking purposes. But it does neatly solve the problem of a single MG getting to fire a dozen times in a single round.

Perhaps there could be a series of specialization tokens with corresponding cards for bookkeeping? That's a bit similar to the way transport units get a uniquely-numbered disc to indicate which off-board squads they're transporting.
 
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Chris Hillery
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crazylog357 wrote:
Really like the way you worded this, I alway struggle to convey my ideas effectively through media.

I'm a computer programmer. I've got a lot of experience expressing rules in a pedantically precise manner.
Quote:
"...but it's attack action is considered to be one of your actions for your action turn"

Or something along those lines! What I am trying to achieve is to maintain a bit of game balance, otherwise there could be a situation where for instance 3 different units are activated during a players turn,where each has line of sight to say 3 different MG units, and so for that action phase the MGs in total between them would fire 9 times at the enemy!
That would be more like a mini-gun going off!

Yes, indeed. Good point! I thought that the key feature of Sustained Fire was that it was somehow "part of" another unit's activation, but your approach is probably cleaner and less overpowering.

In fact, if you combine this with Kandras78's Support Card idea, you can get something really simple. I would actually implement this as a set of (say) four Operations cards, and a matching set of four Specialization Tokens. The cards could read:

Quote:
Sustained Fire (1)

As an action, place an Activation Token on this card to activate Machine Gun squad (1) for a Concentrated Fire action. Only MG Crew figures may participate in the attack. The squad is not fatigued by this action.

No more than two Activation Tokens may be placed on this card. During the Status Phase, remove all tokens from this card.

Basically this just lets the MG fire three times during the round (the third time with its "normal" activation, after which it would be fatigued). It doesn't place any other limits on when the activations may take place, or what kind of attack it can perform. And by making it Operations Cards, you can easily add them to scenarios without having to change the base rules and worrying about balance in existing scenarios.

Quote:
Really appreciate the feedback though guys thought I would get shot to pieces for suggesting such a variant!

For some reason, Tide of Iron seems to inspire this kind of "roll your own game" approach. I've certainly seen wilder suggestions for variants! And I like that you based this idea on your own real-world experience of how MGs are used.

Quote:
And Chris your a top bloke for taking the time and trying to decipher what am trying to say, cheers mate!

No problem! It's fun to think about.
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bill jaffe
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Chris doing cards and tokens would be fairly easy just have to fit that in with everything else we want to do

bill
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Willem Boersma
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skinsfan wrote:
Chris doing cards and tokens would be fairly easy just have to fit that in with everything else we want to do

bill


What's currently not yet in the game is LIGHT machine guns. These would be more portable and e.g. should be allowed to take fire and move actions. I guess they could be assigned the "sustained fire" ability or something along those lines.

But indeed, op cards, tokens and decks are fairly easy to make I believe and wouldn't unbalance existing scenarios because they would be specifically designed for new scenarios.
 
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Nigel Heather
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I might have a slight problem with this.

What the OP describes is correct, but the reaction of the defender is to keep his head down which means that he can't fire on the other troops moving up or flanking.

The problem with ToI is that it doesn't model the defenders keeping their heads down but instead they will stand there and take casulaties from the machine gun.

Cheers,

Nigel
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Chris Hillery
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Yeah, that's partly why I suggested limiting this ability to suppressive fire. That still may make sense. If they can make normal attacks, perhaps it should be at reduced firepower.
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Craig Robertson
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boersma8 wrote:
skinsfan wrote:
Chris doing cards and tokens would be fairly easy just have to fit that in with everything else we want to do

bill


What's currently not yet in the game is LIGHT machine guns. These would be more portable and e.g. should be allowed to take fire and move actions. I guess they could be assigned the "sustained fire" ability or something along those lines.


Even if armies in WWII did have true light machine guns, many of them (particularly in the early years of the war) didn't have the DOCTRINE to use them effectively on the offense. Remember that the machine gun in WWI was primarily a static defensive weapon.

Rapid Op Fire in TOI does a very good job of simulating fire lanes: the practice of siting an MG in a position with a long field of fire and denying an area to the enemy. The contribution of the MG to an offensive base of fire is usually demonstrated in the huge combined fire attacks that you drop on a defender just before you go in with an assault.
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