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Subject: Squad Level Block Game? rss

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Aaron Cinzori
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Is there a squad level game in the same vein as Squad Leader or Tide of Iron that uses blocks and hexes like Pacific Victory or Rommel in the Desert? After a brief search, I couldn't find one.

This seems like a natural setting to exploit the fog of war that blocks bring. In the midst of a fight, squads shouldn't have much information about the state of an enemy, but the way these games are usually played, opponents have perfect information about each other. If each side played with several blank blocks to complement their real forces, it seems like this would be a very good game setting. In fact, blocks along with a chit pull activation system like in A Victory Lost would also eliminate the complete control problem that squad level games also tend to have.

So is this game out there? If not, does it sound interesting? Are there problems that I can't see? Should I write Columbia or GMT with my brilliant insight or just go back to fantasizing about the arrival of Tide of Iron?

-Aaron
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Forest Cole
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This sounds like it'd be a great idea, but I don't know of any out yet.
 
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George Haberberger
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I don't know, I'm picturing a teetering stack of 7 blocks (two squads, a leader, two lmgs, a panzer faust and a morale marker), I know I had enough trouble with my last SL outing with stacks of counters.

Most of the squad and platoon level games I play end up with some hefty counter stacks.
 
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Advanced Squad leader has fog of war.
 
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M King
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This sounds like a great idea, though with Tide of Iron and CC:E out recently, and LnL and ASL etc. the market seems a bit crowded right now. Of course, by the time the game was designed and playtested, folks might be ready for the next game on the topic.

I don't think the stacking issue is a deal-breaker. Large hexes would allow multiple blocks per hex. If Memoir 44 can allow multiple tanks and infantry in a hex, why not a few blocks.

I wonder at what scale this would work best. One block=One squad? One block=One man?
 
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Jim Cote
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oneoldgamer wrote:
I don't think the stacking issue is a deal-breaker. Large hexes would allow multiple blocks per hex. If Memoir 44 can allow multiple tanks and infantry in a hex, why not a few blocks.


Wizard Kings allows many blocks per hex as well.
 
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Jeff Paul
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I think this game by Columbia Games

http://www.boardgamegeek.com/game/9134

May come close

I thought there was another one on Blackhawk Down, but cannot seem to find it
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Jay Richardson
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Aaron Cinzori wrote:
This seems like a natural setting to exploit the fog of war that blocks bring. In the midst of a fight, squads shouldn't have much information about the state of an enemy, but the way these games are usually played, opponents have perfect information about each other. If each side played with several blank blocks to complement their real forces, it seems like this would be a very good game setting. In fact, blocks along with a chit pull activation system like in A Victory Lost would also eliminate the complete control problem that squad level games also tend to have.

Check out the old game Platoon:


Squad Level? Check! (one man per counter)

Fog of War? Check! (counters are placed upright in plastic stands... you can see your guys, but you can't see the enemy guys... and there are decoy [fake] units as well)

Chit Pull Activation? Check!

Platoon is a rather simple game – it was a movie tie-in, so they weren't aiming at the regular wargaming market with it – but it is a lot of fun to play. As an ASL player I found it not too realistic... but watching my opponent throw five grenades at a decoy was priceless!


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Kent Reuber
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You may want to look at Counter Sleds from Rdoxx. They allow you to take a hex and counter game and turn it into a block-style game. http://www.rdoxx.us/index.html

 
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Niko Ruf
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TnT! wrote:
I think this game by Columbia Games

http://www.boardgamegeek.com/game/9134

May come close


Unfortunately, it's in preorder limbo since 2003 or so. Not yet available, maybe never.

Columbia also has some plans for a squad level WWII game (according to the interview with Grant Dalgliesh on the Point-to-Point podcast), but given their current speed of releases, I wouldn't hold my breath.

As for block density, you can easiley fit 4 blocks into a hex in most of their games. That should be adequate to represent small infantry formations, e.g. a leader, base squad, and one or two specialist blocks. Or you might break the standard format for wargames and make leadership and heavy weapons a property of certain squads.

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Aaron Cinzori
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Thanks for all the replies. I wasn't aware of Platoon or Send in the Marines; I'll check them out.

What are the experiences of those of you who have used counter sleds to play games that were not designed with fog of war in mind?

I was aware that ASL could do fog of war, but I'm not interested in committing to ASL.
 
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Richard Irving
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I think the obvious problem with Squad Level block games that seems to be missed is rather obvious:

Ranged Fire

I can't think of any block games with ranged fire.

Since at these scales units will be able to fire over multiple spaces, units will be constantly during combat resolution (both to check firer's attack strength and defender's morale (or whatever terms are used)

Once revealed, units simply don't regain that anonimity (You pay attention to where the enemy tanks/machine guns/etc. are located!) If I SL (which I haven't played in years) "?" markers were used mostly at start to hide initial set up but once a units was fire/fired upon usually were difficult to regain.

For those who like Fog of War and tactical WW2 game, try Up Front or Comabt Commander. At this scale Fog of War doesn't represent anonimity of units, but whether those units or your own are able to act or react at a given time.
 
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Niko Ruf
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rri1 wrote:
Ranged Fire

I can't think of any block games with ranged fire.


Columbia's Gettysburg game has ranged artillery fire. The rules for Send in the Marines have not been publicized, but I'm pretty sure the game has ranged fire at the advertised scale.

Quote:
Since at these scales units will be able to fire over multiple spaces, units will be constantly during combat resolution (both to check firer's attack strength and defender's morale (or whatever terms are used)


Attacking units need to be revealed, that's true but also not unrealistic. But depending on how you handle defense, targets might not have to be revealed (provided they have cover). The defending player can apply step losses without showing what exactly he has.

Quote:
Once revealed, units simply don't regain that anonimity (You pay attention to where the enemy tanks/machine guns/etc. are located!) If I SL (which I haven't played in years) "?" markers were used mostly at start to hide initial set up but once a units was fire/fired upon usually were difficult to regain.


You can get add to uncertainty if you allow dummy blocks. I.e., as soon as a unit moves out of enemy LOS, the block is hidden again. At the beginning of each turn, both players can add dummy blocks to some of their hidden units. Dummies can be moved like units but are removed if spotted. I think that would work.

Quote:
For those who like Fog of War and tactical WW2 game, try Up Front or Comabt Commander. At this scale Fog of War doesn't represent anonimity of units, but whether those units or your own are able to act or react at a given time.


I do think anonymity plays a factor in a heavily obstructed environment (urban, jungle, etc.). And blocks could add this element to a game more easily than counters.
 
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Christopher Brandon
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I've been working on a game like this!! Kind of a blend of SERGEANTS! system played on my memoir 44 board.

Benefits-

Quick playing, blind troop movememnt (except vehicles they are always played face up)and custom mission boards.

So far it's been a hoot to play. Grognards I do not believe would enjoy it-but hell they have ASL already right?

 
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J. Green
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My group plays a WWII miniatures ruleset called "Crossfire!: WWII Miniatures Rules" where there is no measurement (everything on the board is considered in-range) or regular turns (players alternate what amounts to initiative pulses based on success or failure of actions).

What we do to simulate fog of war is to have one side go into another room, then have the other side set up their units, then get up on a chair and take a picture of the board with a digital camera. The image can be zoomed in to see specific areas of the board. You could use an actual camera or any phone with a digital camera. Then the player (usually the defending player) removes units from the board, and the other player comes back in, sets up their units, and starts playing.

In crossfire, you move as far as you want until you get shot at for crossing a line of sight. This amounts to placing a unit on the board whenever an enemy unit moves across the hidden unit's line of sight, then placing the unit and checking LOS with a long, thin dowel rod you can get from any hardware or craft store. A couple of these are great in any wargame that uses LOS, btw.

I was thinking you could do this with Tide of Iron, except it uses fixed turns and measured ranges. But you might be able to use the same principle for some scenarios.
 
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