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Subject: KampfGruppe Commander III (KGCIII) in review rss

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Richard Wright
United States
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I have been playing WWII games for 48 years. Skirmish games are fun, but, for me, lacked what I wanted to re-create from the multitude of books that I have read. This rules set is a “platoon” game, ie a stand equals to a platoon equivalent of troops or vehicles with each “game turn” representing about 30 minutes of actual battle time. It is an INTERACTIVE game system, ie. One player will execute an action while the opposing player reacts. That proceeds till the first player has exhausted his actions (and the opposing player’s re-actions), then the second player begins his cycle of actions. It is PERFECT for what I want to represent on the game board.
I will first provide some information on the rule book physical features, then the organization of the rules, then the nuances of the “system”, and lastly some modifications that I have introduced to make them PERFECT for my game experience. As a side note, these rules are for fighting in Europe, Africa, & the Near East. If you need rules for fighting in the Far East, you will not find them here.

First the book physical quality is superb! I am not a fan of “I-pad” rules. I prefer a solid, paper book that I may make notations and highlights to insure that I don’t miss a particular important statement. Mine is a soft-backed, high quality glossy paper document. Print is large enough for these aging eyes and areas for charts and emphasis are suitably highlighted. Graphically, it is pleasing and easy to read. Personally, I prefer a 3-ring binder with sheet protectors for my rules, so printed them and put them in a binder.

Organization of the book is done with the idea introducing the game player to the multiple layers of the system’s complexity. This is NOT a “simple” game. It is for the player who wishes to re-create accurate simulations. Don’t buy these rules if you are looking for a “push lead, roll bones, and start another turn” type of play. While they are comprehensive, the author takes you through all the nuances nicely through the introduction of each new section. After finishing the last section, you will have everything to equip you to re-fight ANY engagement in WWII. Take each section one at a time to appreciate the nuances of what the author is giving you.
The first part is how to set-up the game. You probably will not get this perfect your first “go round”. But do not fret, the information supplied will be rewarding in the games that get more embroiled in the more complicated scenarios. It is most complete and thorough.
The second part is THE KEY part of this system => the Command & Leadership section. You must have this “down pat”. Explained here is the way your force will be able to initiate actions and how as the opposing player be able to react to your opponents actions. When you start playing, you will become confused…keep playing and system will become second nature. Getting this section thoroughly understoold will reward you with victories in your games. With this system, a good commander with a much smaller force may over-whelm a poor commander with a much larger foot print. For example, a good commander may move part of his force to pin the enemy to his front, then move another portion of his force to the enemy’s flank, then initiate combat with the pinning force to cause the enemy player to expose his flank. Just superb game mechanics!
The Third portion of the rules gets you into Moble Warfare. Most of the my “pick-up” games are armor against armor games. First, you have to “see” your target, then you need to get into “engagement” range. This is an important part of rules, since it emulates most of what I have read. Your equipment is important, sure, but your commander’s ability will far surpass your equipment frailties. Gun capabilities are compared to armor thickness numbers and resolution is made with one die roll. Then the opposing player rolls “saves” where appropriate. Clean and simple…fast. Both players shoot! Or the non-active player may pull back so the impact of your fire is minimized. Brilliant game mechanic! Once you have thoroughly digested this section, you will be able to play most games without going any deeper into the rules. But, oh, there is so much more to experience.
The next section introduces you to all that your need for Infantry Tactics. Artillery & mortars, Hand-to-hand combat, Assets concept, and scouting. The artillery rules have been enhanced by the KGC community & author. They are simple and straight forward. For me they capture the essence of artillery use without worrying about where every shell lands. Infantry need arty and mortar support…it is done elegantly without over complication. Ever wonder what to do with those supporting anti-tank platoons for infantry? Use them as an Asset! Anther brilliant game mechanic. Your deployment of various “bits & pieces” that are part of your regimental or divisional organization are handled through the use of Assets. Just superb method for simulating their use. Recon units are valuable game commodities that are often under utilized. This game system has a use for them and can reap terrific rewards if executed properly.
The last section of the rules is titled “The Combined Arms Battlefield”. This section is really an assembly of all the other things you want for your game table in WWII…Enhanced artillery options, pre-game set-up considerations, airpower and weather. Lots of different options are listed in this section that you may not have considered when putting on a game. Once you have the other sections mastered, the stuff in here is just pure candy….truely innovative ideas and game mechanics.

The nuances of the game system allows so much variability that it is mind boggling. You want to have a commander who is a brilliant tank commander but is a “dufuss” at coordinating things with the infantry? You need a commander who has a command staff that is exceptional at coordinating artillery and air strikes, but has a problem with tank combat? My Tiger platoons are usually depleted since they break down a good bit. No problem by making them very brittle while my Mark IVs are in fine shape with more “hits” to remove a stand. You may have “mixed” condition units thusly. The variation of parameters for commanders and for units allow game masters to set-up the most unusual scenarios that make this system boundless. Any situation that I wanted to create has been facilitated by these rules. Through the Action/Counter-Action play sequence, you are never quite sure how things will be resolved from one complete game turn to the next. Every player of a multi-player game stays in the action for they may just have an opportunity to “do something” that will throw a wrinkle in the opponent’s intentions.

Last pages of the rule book has army compositions, various unit cards, statistics and introductory scenarios. All the stuff you need to get things rollin!

My enhancements to the system revolve around game sheets for each player and logistics. While the game “aids” are graphically well done, I have found that the game moves smoother with having one player aid for the Active player and another card for the Non-Active player. The Active player knows what he can do and Non-Active player has his list options. In addition, before the game commences, the game master (usually me) makes out (via excel spreadsheet) what equipment a game player has and all the parameters needed for that game player make moves, fire, coordinate activities, and track logistics. This keeps the player OUT of the game book so that he has one page of information to refer to besides his game sequence player aid. Additionally, I usually play campaign scenarios, therefore I wished to have ammunition and fuel considered by the game player. This system allowed for those two parameters to be introduced rather seamlessly. It adds a different dimension to the games that are fun for me to emulate.

This is a most complete gaming system for WWII platoon level games. There is a lot of brilliant concepts and game mechanics in this rule set. It will take you a while to digest all the “meat” of the system, but I certainly believe it is well worth the investment.

What about support? Geez, the author, as well as those who have been using the system for some years now, are available usually within 24 hours of having a question asked. There is a whole community out there that you will find to be helpful via a yahoo group.

Need-less-to-say, I recommend this rules set for your gaming enjoyment. It has been for me.
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