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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
SATURDAY APRIL 4th 2009WHAT WAS IT? STATISTICS PLAYER REQUIREMENTS SCENARIO WHO WON? SOME PHOTOS LINKS
What it was
On World Crossfire Day people around the world took part in what we think is a world first – an entire campaign fought to a conclusion in one calendar day, organised over the internet.
I ran the central hub in Britain, from which people received details of the scenarios they were to play. The campaign started west of the International Date Line, with games in New Zealand. When players finished a game, they sent their results to me and I then gave each game a score, and then sent out messages to other players playing later games telling them how the results of the earlier games affected them. For example, in Game #1 in Auckland, the Germans managed to recover an abandoned broken down Tiger tank with their recovery vehicle. That Tiger then turned up in a game played in England some hours later. All the games also contributed to an overall campaign score.
The play continued around the world, with games in Malaysia, Hong Kong, Spain, England, the USA, and Canada. Since the day was one calendar day, rather than a twenty-four hour period, the campaign lasted about thirty-one hours. It started on Saturday April 4th at 10 a.m. in New Zealand, which was 10 p.m. on Friday in England, and finished in the evening in Canada, which was the early hours of Sunday for me at the hub, where I was exhausted after being awake for 34 hours straight.
I hope the wargaming press to take an interest in the project, and will be submitting an article about the campaign to wargaming magazines.
The campaign was not strictly historical. Instead it was set somewhere in Europe, probably France, and during a period of German retreat towards the Fatherland, so probably latish in 1944. The most common set of figures anyone has is late war Germans, and these are good because they could conceivably be fighting just about anyone else. It is feasible that late war Germans could be fighting British, South African, Canadian, American, Australian, New Zealanders, Gurkhas, Italians, Russians, Finns, Czechs, Hungarians... almost everyone had a pop at them at some point. So, the campaign was a combined allied operation against the Germans (and German allies, so at a pinch there could be some die-hard Italians or Cossacks or the like on the German side).
Some statistics and details
In all, nineteen games were played, all on schedule, and fifty-three people were involved, in seven countries.
Demonstrating that CF works happily in near enough any scale, three games were played using 10mm figures, six used 15mm figures, seven used 20mm/1/76th/1/72nd/HO figures, one used 28mm figures, and two used astonishingly impressive 1/35th scale figures. No one used 6mm figures, but CF is also sometimes played at that scale.
Some games were very quick (100 minutes) while others slower (one took 275 minutes), but typically games were completed between 150 and 160 minutes, showing that Crossfire is a system that can generally be relied upon to give decisive results quickly.
Thanks to its unusual initiative system, contrasting with the conventional fixed-length alternating turns of most wargame rule systems, Crossfire is well-suited to being played with a chess clock. Three games were played this way, with players thinking quickly while their clocks ticked down, and then hurriedly pressing their clock buttons when initiative swapped. In all three games, time became quite critical near the end, with both sides making very quick moves to avoid running out of time. This can greatly add to the excitement of a game.
Requirements from the players
Players had to commit to play a game of Crossfire on April 4th 2009. A reasonable familiarity with the rules was required, but there was time for rehearsal games before the big day, and in the event some Crossfire novices did take part, especially in the umpired games. They needed the time, a table, figures, dice, and the rules. All had some figures for Germans, and a couple of games used Russian figures for the allies, as substitutes for some western allied force. This was Crossfire, so everyone needed plenty of things to represent terrain.
The players sent me details of what figures and terrain they had, their table size, time slot available etc., and I wrote scenarios suited to these.
Players also needed access to the internet, either where they were to play their games or nearby, so that they could send in the results of their games as soon as they were over. A digital camera was a asset too, as it could help to make the reports of games prettier.
Most of all, the players needed a degree of commitment. The campaign was constructed with a chain of scenarios, each affecting the next to be played. This meant that one broken link would spoil things for other players. Crossfire is a decisive and fast system, however, so I felt pretty confident that even novice players should be able to finish off their games without too much trouble.
From the briefing given to all players:
"It is 1944 and the Germans are on the retreat. Allied forces are pressing forwards and hoping to encircle pockets of the enemy and force surrenders on a large scale. The Germans, though being forced back, are still resisting well, and have not collapsed. The nineteen games of the campaign are all part of this same operation. Every game of the campaign will have some knock-on consequence for later games. Both sides must conserve forces and resources, and yet both are pressed for time. The allies must advance quickly if they are to catch large numbers of Germans before they can retreat and regroup. The Germans must react to the changing situation rapidly to ensure that they are not encircled. Achieving objectives quickly can never hurt, and can make a great difference to your side's chances of success of later games. You will not be told in advance what the knock-on consequences of your game(s) will be. You will find out what good you did in after-action reports."
Despite a couple of notable Germans victories, most of the scenarios running up to the finale were won by the allies (12 allied victories, 6 Germans victories). Some victories were very high-scoring and decisive, while many were somewhat Pyrrhic (three allied 'victories' achieved their objectives, but after time penalties and casualties were taken into account, they had a negative points score). After the first sixteen games the scores stood at: Allies 831, Germans 314.
The concluding game had on-table forty-six German units all waiting to cross a bridge to safety, while allied bombers pounded them from the sky, and allied ground forces tried to round up prisoners, hampered by a few die-hard Germans. The speed of the advance was such that the allied ground forces had arrived in good time, with support, and even a flanking manoeuvre. Such was the allied overall score, that the number that needed to be rolled for a German unit to surrender if surrounded was not high. However, the Germans still had a working radar station (the French Resistance from Game 6 had not blown it up) and good AA cover (most of the AA guns from previous games had escaped), and so a high die roll was required to bring in effective bombing missions. The German ground forces fought very well, and managed to stop any German units from being surrounded and surrendering. However, they had problems with the bottle-neck on the bridge, and quite a few units perished during the retreat. The finale itself was a German victory, but the score was not quite high enough to turn the campaign around. It seems that this allied operation would indeed shorten the war slightly.
Final score including climactic game: Allies 831, Germans 684
Images from Game #7A. These were jaw-droppingly impressive 1/35th scale models, and so deserve a fair few shots. You'll see that John Lander puts four infantry figures on each base, because three wasn't enough work for him.
In this scenario, both sides were trying to preserve the bridge. The German column of armour arrived during the game, and tried to cross to safety, but suffered surprisingly high losses to air attacks and the bravery of one Cromwell, which placed itself astride the road and blasted away. Significant harm was done to German communications by the cutting of telegraph wires, and the taking of the telegraph office in the village across the river. This meant, for example, that the defending Germans in Game #10B had no idea that the allies were almost upon them, and so were caught not deployed for battle.
Here you see Tommies racing across the bridge, taking a useful amount of shrubbery and brickwork with them.