Power Armor

Power Armor
Khurasan power armor infantry with conversions

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Eastern front tank action---A Sergeant's War playtest

I ran another playtest of A Sergeant’s War, my WWII rules-in-development.  Today’s game was a test of the armor/vehicle rules.  We played 2 games in about 90 minutes, each one with about 16 vehicles in total, Germans vs. Soviets, in 6mm scale.

In the first game, a company of T-34s advanced on 3 Pz IV-Hs and a single Tiger.  The Germans gave one half of the company a shellacking—knocking out 4 of 6 tanks—but on the other flank, the T-34s got in close and made mincemeat of the Germans at close range.  The Germans withdrew, with one Pz IV knocked out, one abandoned, the Tiger damaged and abandoned, and the remaining Pz IV retreating.

In the second game, we used hidden unit markers to add a degree of limited intelligence.  In that game, the Soviets lost a platoon of T-70s when they moved up against what they thought were several dummy counters, but was actually the main German effort.  A swirling fight commenced, which saw 7 T-34s, 2 Pz IVs, and 1 StuG knocked out or abandoned.  The Soviets broke and ran.

Each side had 4 real counters and 4 dummies.

Pz IV vs. T-34.  The Pz IV-H has an edge in armor penetration, and the T-34's 2-man turret inhibits targeting.

In A Sergeant’s War, the “battle space” represents an area maybe 500 meters across—firefight range for infantry, and knife-fighting range for armor.  At those ranges, even heavy tanks are vulnerable to medium tanks and guns.  Thus, there isn’t as much granularity between armor and gun types, as I just don’t think there was at really close ranges.

The turn sequence is simple stuff: Side A fires, moves, engages in infantry fire fights, and then another fire phase, during which any units that haven’t fired or moved yet may fire.  Enemy units may use defensive fire against your movement.  There’s a number of rules restricting this for infantry, but for vehicles, it’s simple—enemy movement in your LOS, you get a shot.

Shooting is done by comparing unit qualities—hitting a target of better training/experience than yourself is harder than hitting a target of inferior ability.  The to-hit roll is further modified by movement, cover, and a few special weapon modifiers.  All rolls are done with a D6.

Once hit, the target rolls a D6 “Damage Test”, modifying the roll by your armor and the attacker’s anti-tank rating.  This yields a range of effects, from Morale Test, to Damage, to Destroyed.

Damage is handled a bit differently than in other games—your vehicle is out of action until “recovered,” meaning that the crew have gotten their wits together and have the vehicle back in fighting shape.  Failing to recover your vehicle twice means that the crew abandons it.  Multiple damage results destroy a vehicle.  Damage thus represents a wide range of effects—crew casualties, minor or major damage to the vehicle, or the crew being concussed or confused.

Once your vehicle force has taken too many casualties, vehicles may start to bug out and retreat from the board.

Vehicle-only games play very fast, and involve a lot of movement and relatively few dice rolls. 

Thanks for looking and reading! 


  1. This sounds like it will be great for the Western Desert.

    1. I am going to update the rules soon with early war stats--Crusaders, Lees, Pz IIIs of many flavors, etc. :)

    2. Please include the very early British and Italian machine for Beda Fomm, etc.

    3. I have stats for the "A" series of cruiser tanks (pre-Crusader) and the Vickers MG tanks, as well as the Italian various L33 tankettes. John Salt, who did the vehicle stats for me, sent me a ton of info, especially useful for early war as I'm don't know the early stuff as well as later war.

  2. Just updated the rules with a bunch of early-war stats, Steven.