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Combat Infantry by Columbia Games Home Made Scenario  The Combat Infantry game from Columbia Games is meant...

Combat Infantry by Columbia Games Home Made Scenario Combat Infantry by Columbia Games Home Made Scenario

For your Wargamer, Toy soldier collector, MiniFig collector, military history nut. Reviews, interviews, Model Making, AARs and books!

Combat Infantry


Home Made Scenario

 The Combat Infantry game from Columbia Games is meant to allow two players to play a battalion, and its assets against another enemy battalion. The game right now only features American and German troops. Further iterations are planned that will add other armies as well. The units you play with are based on rifle squads of 9-12 men, or machine gun or mortar teams of two to three men. The scale of the game is each hex is 100 meters. The time scale for each turn is roughly ten to thirty minutes per turn. Single tanks, air strikes, bunkers, and snipers etc. are also available at times to the player. I did a review of the game earlier that you can find here:

 This is going to be a walk through to making your own historical or imagined scenario for the game. The rules came with the ability for the player to make his own scenarios. It came with a Unit Value Chart that equates each side's weapons to each other. These help the player determine what forces each side will posses for his scenario. I have chosen to have a large American force attack a small thrown together German force during the battle of the Falaise Gap. The German force is desperately trying to stave off the Americans and give other units a chance to retreat. They are pretty much a forlorn hope. The German rearguard does still pack a punch, so the Americans can not afford to be rash. Slow and steady wins the race.

 The game takes a leap compared to other tactical games because it is missing the following: opportunity fire, suppression, facing, and hard and soft targets. However, the designer's arguments for them being missing are very well thought out. It also makes the game quick playing, but still be deep. The game has rules about stacking, hex control, river crossings, foxholes, and mines etc. Command in the game is as important as it was in real life. A big thing to remember is that the unit values when choosing your troops are per step and not per unit. The game does have rules regarding weather and night scenarios. The rule book is only 12 pages long. So remembering them is not difficult after a few play through. 

 In my scenario I did not choose to have either side to have any off- map artillery support. The Germans are trying to retreat theirs, and the Americans are pushing forward too quickly. So going back to the Unit Value chart, my German force is going to have a lot of already damaged units. The Americans are also going to have some beat up units due to breakdowns and previous contact. They will, however, have limited air support. The American player should win my scenario nine times out of ten due to the force discrepancy. However, I am going to skew the odds of winning by forcing the American player to get a victory quickly or not at all.

 These are the forces that the Americans have:
Platoon A
  Three Rifle Squads
  60 Mortar Attached
Platoon C
  Three Rifle Squads
  MG 30 Attached
Company Headquarters
  M4 -1 Sherman - One
  M4 -3 Sherman - Two 
  M10 - Wolverine - One
  P47 - Thunderbolt - One (Can only be used two times in the scenario)

These are the German forces:
Company Headquarters
  Rifle Squad - Two
  MG 34  - One
  Sniper  - One
  80 Mortar  - One
  PZ IVH  -  One
  Stug IIIB  - One
  Two foxholes

 For my scenario I am adjusting the rules so that instead of drawing Battalion assets they are already assigned to each side. 

 I am going to use a six-sided die to randomly pick how many steps each unit has. On a three step unit 1-2 is one step, 3-4 is two steps, and 4-6 is three steps. The Germans in the scenario are only getting one headquarters and that is a Company one. This is to represent the breakdown in their command during the Falaise Gap Operations. The American four step units can only be setup up as one to three steps. This is to represent losses, but also their supply situation.

 This is just a hypothetical situation, so I did not create it with certain hexes or map areas in mind (except of course not using beach hexes). I would suggest that you give the German player as much of a terrain advantage as possible. I would also play the German side in solitaire. When playing with two people I would give the Americans to the lesser player, if there is one. I designed the scenario to have only four turns. This was to help offset the preponderance of troops on the American side. I added the die rolls for steps at the last minute after I played through the scenario a few times (I adjusted each side's steps a few times). I find that it now adds the chance for the Germans to be much stronger and the Americans to be weaker to add a good amount of fog of war to the scenario.

 I have played a little fast and loose with a few game rules. However, I have not changed anything in the actual game mechanics. It is too good a game to fiddle with those. As a preamble I am not talking about this game, but games in general. With board games you own them and can play and fiddle to your hearts content. If you find a rule that you feels skews the game or actually hurts game play, change it. The internet is also crawling with tons of house rules for almost any game. Of course, if you are always playing against people, make sure both of you agree to the change. You can sometimes turn a head turning rule into one that makes much more sense. I will step off the soapbox now. Thank you Columbia Games for the chance to review Combat Infantry, and to do this little walk through. I will be reviewing their games Julius Caesar and Pacific Victory in the near future.

 For all of you budding scenario designers, there is a contest right now that Columbia Games is holding for Combat Infantry Scenarios. The prizes are pretty large. While you are there, check out some of their other products. This is the link:

Combat Infantry by Columbia Games  Tactical games, much more than operational or strategic ones, have been left ...

Combat Infantry by Columbia Games Combat Infantry by Columbia Games

For your Wargamer, Toy soldier collector, MiniFig collector, military history nut. Reviews, interviews, Model Making, AARs and books!

Combat Infantry


 Tactical games, much more than operational or strategic ones, have been left in a quandary. The problem is how to represent movement, fire, and elapsed time in a coherent and logical manner, without the rules approaching the size of 'War and Peace'. Some of the most heated discussions online and off are about tactical games, and how each game does or doesn't fulfill the above in the gamer's eye. 

 Combat Infantry portrays the Normandy landings, and the fighting in the Bocage right after them. It is strictly a U.S. infantry and their supports against the Germans. More add-ons are planned to include other armies and terrain. 

 Columbia Games states "The game delivers a high level of tactical realism, yet is very playable". If you were going to sum up this game in one sentence, I do not think you could do better.

 The rule book is only twelve pages long. The game is a block game and uses that format to simulate the 'fog of war'. One innovative rule is that once a tank moves or fires, its block is shown face up for both sides to see. The designer states that infantry could locate and distinguish between tanks by their engine sounds. Listening to the different cars around my neighborhood in the morning, I believe he is correct. 

 The game focuses heavily on the command part of small unit tactics. You have both PHQs (platoon headquarters), and CHQs (company headquarters) to order your units with. The command/leadership rules really require the player to maintain unit integrity. As in real life, mixing up units from different commands is not a successful tactic. The game does not use cards. In another innovative way, the game also has no combat results table. I know, heresy, simply heresy. As I said, the rules are not long and are well written. It will not take long at all to start playing.

 It was meant to be a two player game, but the solitaire gamer has not been forgotten. You can play it just playing both sides, and there is an optional rule for a chit pull system for the enemy activation.

 The game's two maps are 16.5" X 22", and they represent the beaches and some territory further in. They are hard cardboard maps. The scale of the hexes is 100 meters per hex. The blocks are standard and there are 66 for each side (green and black). There are also 22 yellow markers to show smoke etc. The only problem with the rules and maps are in relation to the Bocage hedgerows. The rules are written as if the hedgerows were actually represented on the hex sides, where they are actually portrayed in the hex itself. It is really not that big of a deal, and once you understand the gist of the rules it becomes a non-issue. The line of sight rules are also easy to understand. The game comes with all of the rules and markers needed for tactical gaming ie. counters for foxholes, mines and barbed wire etc. Their are also rules for airstrikes. The game rules can be downloaded here:

 Here is a link to the games FAQ:

 This is the sequence of play:

1.0 The active player on the first turn is specified by the scenario. In each successive turn it is determined by a high roll on one ten die.

1.1  The active player activates any one HQ per company. When commanding multiple companies, the player will have multiple HQ activations, each resolved one by one.

1.2  Units in command (or have passed a no-command roll) can do one of the following actions: Rally, Fire, Special Action, Move. HQ actions take place after all other commands.

1.3 Assaults, units that have moved into an enemy occupied hex now trigger up to three rounds of combat per assault. 

 After all activations are resolved, the enemy player now conducts his player turn. Player turns alternate until both players complete four player turns. This then ends one game turn.

 This is just a synopsis.

 Deciding victory in the game is standard and straight forward. In each scenario certain hexes are victory hexes, and each eliminated enemy unit adds to your score.

 The rule book contains a 'what's not in this game' section, with an explanation of why. Some of these are:

"Opportunity Fire:
Opportunity fire, always a difficult game routine, was not that common in reality. World War II infantry and vehicles simply did not move through open terrain without clinging to every tiny bit of cover available, nor without fire support to keep the enemy heads down. The standard 'fire and move' tactics, where one or two platoons gave fire support, allowing the third platoon to move, was specifically intended to eliminate enemy opportunity fire".

"Status Markers:
Status Markers should not be missed. Cluttering maps and units with markers such as 'used', suppressed', or 'final fire' is not necessary. Units are upright, face-up,  or face-down depending on their action"

 Units have their blocks revealed by tilting them face-up when firing. One hit is scored for each die roll that equals or is less than the firing unit's (modified) firepower. So there is no need to cross reference a table. The unit either hits or misses. If it is a hit, the target unit's strength has one step deducted, and the block is flipped to its appropriate side. 

 You can use a headquarters unit to rally any unit under it, as long as it is in command range. If the rally attempt succeeds, the unit gains one step back to its strength. The unit is then flipped down on its face, and can do nothing else that turn.

 So, the question becomes does the game system work, and the answer is a resounding yes. One thing to keep in mind is that movement points are expended crossing hexsides, and not entering the hex. There are some innovations and changes from the usual in tactical games. So gamers should approach the game with an open mind, and not automatically look askance at it. Columbia Games has succeeded in making a highly realistic, but fun and fast wargame to play. As mentioned, different armies and theaters are to be added, and I am looking forward to them.