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Here are presented various aspects of Lloyd's work on Crossfire. Click and be comparatively happy.Watch my Crossfire videos on YouTube Advice on play Basing and modelling tips Crossfire at 1:1 scale Description and review of the rules Die roll probability calculations "Hit the Dirt" (scenario book) description and errata Organisations - Orders of Battle Reinforcement rules Scouting rules Suggestions for alternative/extra rules World Crossfire Day 2009 Scenarios
CROSSFIRE: Advice for new players
SETTING UP A SCENARIO
You will need a large table and lots of terrain. The rules suggest covering a third of the table with terrain. I find that half is better and two thirds not too much. You need the large table to give room for manoeuvre.
You should put a few layers of terrain between starting positions and objectives, so that there is not too much open ground to cross. If you don't do this, then the player starting with the initiative has it too easy advancing to objectives, while retaking objectives will be too hard, since it will be so easy to place defending troops in the right place to ward off an attack. You need lots of small pieces of terrain. Actually, I'd say that the amount of the table covered by terrain is less important than the number of terrain pieces, because big bits of terrain (you should have a few, though) are little more useful than small. The number of pieces of terrain between one place and another makes more difference than the amount of the table covered between one place and another. With lots of bits of terrain, defenders can not sweep large areas of open terrain with their fire, are more easily frustrated by smoke, and can less easily predict the direction of the attack.
Bear in mind that hidden deployment is a big advantage for the defender, so alter the sizes of the forces or the difficulty of the objectives accordingly.
Don't get discouraged if the attacker gets hammered in the first game. Good play will make attack possible. The first game I played involved any attempt at forwards movement's becoming doomed. This was partly because I didn't have enough terrain on the board, but also because I was not a very good Crossfire player. Advancing in the open, across ground swept by machine guns, is a good way to lose lots of troops. It can seem impossible to advance at times, but, though you may lose many troops trying, you can get to grips with the enemy eventually.
Give each side some 3" mortars (81mm). Mortars help break deadlocks, but these mortars are not so huge that they take over the game.
Crossfire can get bogged down in a slogging match between two forces unwilling to move. One way to avoid this is to make the defender ignorant of the exact objective of the attacker. One might too even make the attacker ignorant of the defender's objectives. This way, you don't get a game where the defender clusters his forces around the attacker's objective, and then just sits there, or one where the attacker just wanders around the board, knowing he is safe to do so, looking for a way in.
Parachutists are good for scenario design, as they give you an excuse for allowing troops to arrive from odd directions.
I don't find the victory conditions which involve numbers of initiatives to be very satisfying. If, for instance, one side has so many initiatives to achieve a goal, then these can whiz by very quickly, representing very little battle time, largely because of bad luck, with little happening on the table. If one side has to, say, hold something for five initiatives, then this encourages the other player, after four initiatives towards this count, to fling everything he's got at the objective in a suicidal and unrealistic manner. This, and/or the defender of the objective "wins" holding the objective with one stand, having lost all other stands, and being surrounded by overwhelming forces. To combat this, requires just a bit of good scenario design. You might say that one player has to take an objective without sustaining more than a certain number of casualties.
Crossfire is so very simple that pretty soon you'll feel able to stage ambitious scenarios. Some people insist that you must never use many vehicles. Personally, I think that vehicles are fun and look good, and they do not take over a game of Crossfire, since they are so vulnerable if set upon by lots of troops, and troops are tricky things to shoot at when they have the power to move unlimited distances in one initiative, behind all that terrain.
TACTICAL TIPS ON HOW TO ATTACK
- Accept casualties. You must take risks. Every time you put troops where they can be shot at, you risk losing the initiative, but at the same time, the enemy risks becoming No Fire. Once he is No Fire, get stuck in with the bayonet.
- Get into cover. If you are caught in the open, you may be tempted to stay there, to avoid reactive fire. Don't. Get into cover and accept the casualties. This is a time when group moves help a lot, because some of your troops should make it to cover. Some will be shot. That's life/death/gaming.
- If there's something (AT gun, FOO etc) you don't want shot, but you want forward, make sure you have some other troops further forward. They will attract the fire (target priority rules). If you can attach, then attach the vulnerable and valuable thing behind a platoon of troops and group move the whole lot forwards. The platoon will attract the reactive fire during the move, then after the move, will be a target priority in the opponent's initiative, which should keep your FOO safe.
- Advance behind tanks. Advance behind smoke.
- Drop smoke on pillboxes and the like, blind them, them rush past them. If you can by-pass defences such as these, do so. Once you have a breach, reinforce the success - pour troops through. Force the defender to counter-attack.
- If something has an arc of fire (MMG, Pillbox etc.), then attack it from outside that arc. Use the width of the table.
- Remember the very useful "retreat move". If an attack falters, pull it back and try somewhere else (defenders too should make good use of this rule - shoot and scoot).
- Get MMGs to where they make the enemy nervous to move. Prevent him from moving laterally this way, then concentrate on some part of the front.
- Beware the counter-attack. Smoke isolates your troops too, remember, even if it is your smoke. A good defender will rush out, close assault troops who got suppressed during a failed attack, and then rush back to cover.
- Remember that troops cannot fire through friendly troops. A line of troops is therefore vulnerable on the flank, where only one section can shoot in defensive reactive fire, so often a V formation works better (quite historical).
- Open your initiative with indirect fire. If it fails, you still have the initiative. Your next decision is "what is most urgent?". Sometimes, this is rallying troops, but this is always a risk. Usually, it is better to leave troops unrallied, and try to push forwards with other troops. Later, when the enemy is out of sight, you can rally the stragglers (+1 to rally when enemy out of sight).
- Remember that close assault is likely to end large engagements of troops, rather than fire. Once you have isolated and/or suppressed some enemy units, get stuck in with the bayonet.