Sunday, 18 March 2018

Tigers at Caen Module Download

Tigers at Caen


This post introduces a new supplement for the hex based Tigers at Minsk tactical rules.


It covers the 1944 - ‘45 period on the western front and adds a few additional rules, equipment lists for Commonwealth, U.S. and German forces, some additional terrain types and a scenario based upon a German counter-attack against a Canadian held village.





The supplement, like the main rules, are provided as a free download for personal use only.


The rest of this post will discuss some of the design perspectives of the module / system and list the few amendments that have been made to the main TaM rules. The resource section will give links to the download files for Tigers at Caen and the March 2018 edition of Tigers at Minsk.  

Please use the 'read more' tab for the rest of this post.


For those who don’t know, the Tigers at Minsk rules were designed specifically to work with hexes in a small space. Most of the scenarios in the base rules are played on an 8 x 6 hex grid, which with 4” hexes, only needs a space of just under 2’ x 3’ and I manage to fit my tiles for these scenarios onto a large pinboard. My own collection is based around Kallistra 4” hexes and Pendraken 10mm figures.


The scenario provided in Tigers at Caen (TaC) is the largest ‘official’ scenario to date, being on a 10 x 9 grid and this fits fine on a kitchen table type space.


The system is solitaire friendly and scenarios should easily play through in a typical game session and even allow for the players to swap sides and run the game again.


If you have not come across the rules before, for the sake of brevity, I will just mention four of the design features that I like and that form the heart of the game;


The Game Clock - The game has a strict sequence of play, which of course by default generates turns. However, all the game features use a Game Clock that runs alongside the turn sequence. So a battle may start at 1000 hours and reinforcements may arrive at 1040 hours and the scenario might be scheduled to end at 1130 hours. At the end of each turn, the Game Clock is advanced a random number of minutes according to a dice roll.


In Command and being Out of Command - Units are either in or out of command. Being out of command stops the unit doing anything that turn. At the start of the turn a player chooses one hex and any two adjacent hexes to that and all units in those hexes are automatically in command. This shows the commander’s focus being on the most important part of the battlefield at that moment in time. Every other hex containing friendly troops test to see whether those troops are in command. Though this is a random application, its intent is to stop a gamey trait of units always having 100% situational awareness, that the player can then exploit by too easily allocating actions for perfect responses. It provides moments of chaos and releases the players grip on total control on all aspects of a game. Command is tested at the start of each player turn.


The Action Phase - Units in command can conduct one action per turn, whether that be fire, movement, attempting recovery from pin or removal of an opportunity fire marker. It reflects a single slice of time in which different units will have different tasks or needs to meet and provides a certain dynamic to play.



Morale - units start the game with a stated morale level and it drops by one per base lost through the rigours of combat. When a level reaches zero and for every loss there after, every friendly unit must test for fallback - if they fail, they must drop back one hex. This will prise defenders out of key positions as their situation becomes dire and it will stall failing attacks, in both cases, creating earned opportunities for the other side.


Tigers at Caen looks at the later stages of the war and so brings in some restrictions on German forces as the months progress. The rules assume some shortages in November / December as industry is hit and resources are husbanded for the Bulge Battles and then from January onwards increasing pressure is applied to the German side in terms of morale, command efficiency, fuel and airpower. This has the greatest effect on offensive / counter-attack capability, while having a more gentle effect on defensive capability.


The rules recognise that wargames in this scale can exist in a somewhat cartoon world, with powerful guns and vehicle engaged typically at just 300 - 700 metres apart, when realistically engagements would often be double that and the crews of vehicles such as the JagdPanther were trained to stand off and engage at around 1800+ metres. But wargamers do want to see these vehicles on their tables and so we can here. The special rules for this module in a similar vein are something of a caricature of the German situation in this late period of the war.


One of the problems I came across when doing this module concerned the penetrative capability of small bore, but long calibre guns Vs larger bore and shorter calibre guns and some of my results were not matching what was being reflected in official gun penetration figures. I managed a fix, but this has meant that a few gun types from the Tigers at Minsk (east front 1943) original lists need to be slightly downgraded (details below).



As part of the tidy up of the Tigers at Minsk rules, I have added extended examples concerning linear terrain features (hedges, walls, bocage, stands of poplar trees etc), which in this system are IN HEX features, while in most commercial games at this scale, they sit on actual hex sides / boundaries. I have also taken the opportunity to modify the line of sight rules concerning firing through friendly units.


Some new terrain types have been added and players may find the sea wall terrain useful for invasion scenarios. For battles set amongst the mountainous terrain of Italy, the crag terrain may help reflect natural strongpoints.





New scenario - The Counter-Attack at Buron scenario covers an action in which Canadian forces have just captured the village of Buron. German field tactics were to counter-attack immediately with a mixed armour and infantry force, supported by artillery and so the Canadians quickly take up defensive positions and bring up their 17 pdr armed M-10 Achilles in anticipation of the attack.


This scenario is played out on a bigger hex grid than usual (10 x 9) and is simply intended to show the system easily being able to cope with enlargement, while still keeping to the useful size of what we might call ‘kitchen table gaming’.


The March 2018 version of Tigers at Minsk and the new Tigers at Caen module are available at the links in the resource section below. These files are in my DropBox account (thank you DropBox) and when accessed, you may be invited to open a DropBox account - you don’t need to, you can just close that window and move on to the downloads.


These documents are free to download for personal use. I retain their copyright in case I want to go down a commercial route at some future point. The rules will not be to everyones taste, but please have regard for the amount of work that has gone into presenting them as a tight ruleset.


For those who wanted to try the rules, but only have a western based collection, I hope the new lists will open up some gaming opportunities. As always, thanks to those who follow this blog and take the time to comment, it does help maintain the enthusiasm in sharing what amounts to significant pieces of work.


Here are the changes to the previous edition of Tigers at Minsk rules;


Amend - Friendly units have always blocked Line of Sight (for fire purposes), but the rules now excludes those things that fire a shell type projectile (so firing tank, anti-tank guns and mortars) from this restriction.


Amend - Optional rule ‘Restrictive Command’. The rule reduced automatic command from a designated hex plus two adjacent hexes to just the designated hex. This is to deal with formations that had specific command / training problems, such as shattered formations, green units and tank formations without radios etc. This rule has now been loosened so that under Restrictive Command, automatic command is reduced to a designated hex plus ONE adjacent hex. Of course the scenario designer can always drive this down to a single hex if they feel the situation warrants it.


Amend - The rules dealing with linear features (hedge, wall, bocage and stands of poplar trees) have had their wording improved and a full page of related examples have been added to the examples section at the rear of the rules. Though these features sit out towards a hexside, they are still ‘in hex’ features, unlike many commercial games that have these actually sitting on the hexside.





Optional rule section - adds the Shoot and Scoot rule from the module for tank destroyers / Jagd types. This allows these ambush type vehicles to fire and then immediately as part of the same action, ‘attempt’ to pull back into one of their rear hexes.


Optional rule section - brings some engineering capability into the game. The rule is quite loose, it is for the scenario designer to decide what sort of task is required and how it is implemented. So for example the scenario special rules might designate two rifle sections as engineers and then require them (unpinned) to attempt to blow a bridge each turn, on say a die roll of 1-3, but adding a modifier of +1 in each subsequent turn if they fail etc. Or allow for the hasty laying of mines etc. Or breach bocage, as outlined in the new terrain rules.





Changes to the Tiger at Minsk equipment lists;
Soviet 57mm A/T gun, non-armour fire value now 1D6
Soviet 57mm A/T gun, anti-tank fire value drops from 7 to 6
Soviet BA64 armoured car, non-armour fire value now 1D6
German Sd. 251 half track, non-armour fire value now 1D6
German Pz III L anti-tank fire value drops from 5 to 4
German Puma armoured car anti-tank fire value drops from 5 to 4


Resources:

Commanders Website, this is my sister webspace that supports my rules and game playing and is a bit more snippet based than here. LINK

COMMANDERS

Tigers at Mink rules, free download.
LINK


Tigers at Caen module, free download.
LINK


18 comments:

  1. I continue to be intrigued by these rules. One day, I will give them a try..

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  2. Thanks Jonathan, I must admit to some fatigue as I pressed the upload button!

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  3. Hi Norm,

    Brilliant well done! Looking forward to reading these over a nice beer tonight.

    Cheers

    Jay

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  4. Thanks Jay, I shouldn't smile, but I do when I look back to the genesis of these rules (Into Battle - the square grid DTP boardgame), a Stanley knife and your thumb! ouch! I think having a beer is much more preferable way of looking at a system :-)

    Thank you for being a supporter and encourager for so long.

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    1. Hi Norm,

      I can confirm that no fingers have been injured with TaC, so far at least!

      I'm interested in some of your numbers (as you might expect!). I see the 6pdr is rated lower than the US 57mm. I'm sure you have a well thought out reason for this. I'm also interested in whether you might provide for improved ammunition such as sabot?

      By the way, I like your armour numbers for the Churchill VII. A much under rated vehicle. Who said British tanks were rubbish!

      I think this is a great expansion and can't wait to have a go.

      All the best

      Jay

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    2. Hi Jay, thanks for the good spot. This is a hang-over from the first set of values entered into the table, which takes into account the calibre, which was 43 for the British 6pdr and 50 for the U.S. variant.

      However, with basic AP, performance was in fact very similar and in any case a shed load of the U.S. version came into British use via Lend Lease, so in effect there was from a wargame perspective an equalisation of effect.

      So basically and to stay in line with the penetration performance of the likes of the 75/40, both the 6 pdr and the 57mmshould have a anti tank rating of 4. (i.e the U.S. 57mm should be marked down to 4).

      However ...the performance difference between the two guns did open up when the British developed special ammunition was used with the 6pdr. Accordingly the 6 pdr will have access to the optional special ammunition rule (giving +2 anti-tank value when firing that round). The 57mm will not get access to that.

      I had assumed that scenario writers would give the 6pdr a special ammunition allowance due to familiarity with kit (as you have), but I should not take that for granted, so have added a note to the 6 pdr, to encourage an allowance of special ammo - though this should be limited for game reasons. I would suggest just a load of two rounds for the typical scenario as this is what the system originally allowed when it did random event cards.

      Thanks again for taking the time to look through and highlight - cheers norm

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    3. Hi Norm,

      That sounds like a good call to me. I do like the idea of +2 for sabot. Makes the 6 pdr very handy.

      Cheers

      Jay

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  5. Looking good, Norm! Can't wait to play. Thanks so much for posting these!

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  6. Thanks Steve, it was your posts and comments that got this module back on track!

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  7. The design features of the game clock and the in/out of command seem really inspired. I also like the linear terrain are ‘in hex,’ that is different.

    I do think it’s pretty cool that you’ve written these rules and have put them out there. It’s admirable. 😀

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  8. Thanks Stew. In the early days the game worked to a scale of 1 hex to 50 - 70 metres, but when I tried to shrink the game to an 8 x 6 size, the scale had to be changed to a hex being 100 - 125 metres (bringing a SMG to adjacency) and so moving linear features to being 'in hex' became more intuitive and helped reinforce the scale.

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  9. Excellent article

    Take care

    Andy

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  10. Thanks Andy, hope it hits the mark and encourages people to have a look at the rules.

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  11. Sounds great Norm, no doubt!

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  12. Thanks Phil, it all seems to work on the table.

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  13. Hello Norm

    Great to see that you have expanded the rules to cover the Western front. It has been a interesting journey taken with you on the development of the rules. One day I do hope to try them but I still am playing around with my own rules..rules that are much less advanced and much less playtested than yours! Congratulations on your perseverance with the amount of time you have out into them - they do read and seem like they achieve everything you wanted from them.

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  14. Thanks Shaun, I am pleased that the base set these days needs such little tinkering with each update.

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