Month: April 2013

Brink of Battle IV: Call Out The Guard—Send In The Marines!

In the last post on Brink of Battle, I said that I would develop an American Battleforce to counter the German Invaders. Well in this case, you all will get two for the price of one as it were. We’re going to create two different battleforces to illustrate to other types of troop organization.
We’ll start with The Horde. Once again we will have 525 points to use as we are using a theme which gives us a 25 SP bonus to our base 500. In this case, the theme is a US National Guard Unit that has been called out to stop the Germans. As a side note, the Army National Guard was established in 1903 by absorbing the various State Volunteer units so it fits with our overall theme of “Invasion: 1905”.
The Horde has a minimum of 7 figures up to a maximum of 20. There is 1 commander, 0-1 veteran, and 6+ troopers. The Commander is built using up to 25% of the available points. If a Veteran is included then they get up to 20% and the Troopers take the 55+% of the remaining points.
This squad is built with the concept of the old Veteran commander and everyone else is a fairly green Trooper. It looks like this
National Guard (507 SP’s)
Corporal Edson Wainwright Commander 87 SP’s
Ratings: Combat 4, Command: 5, Constitution 4
Traits: Command, Old Soldier, Marksman +1
Gear: Rifle, Bayonet, Rucksack, Tactical Harness

PVTS Anderson, Bowman, Carriger, Dennis, Fritzlar, Funston, Heldern, Jones, Langford, Muncie
Ratings Combat 2, Command 4, Constitution 3
Traits: None
Gear Same as Corporal Wainwright
There are a total of 11 men in this force which is a standard full strength squad for this time period. They are led by a veteran NCO. The Troopers are green (CMBT 2) but they are motivated because they’re defending their homes and are in reasonable physical shape.
The next American Battleforce we’ll create is a small unit of United States Marines. We’ll use the Elite Force Organization for them. Once again we’ll start with 525 Supply Points.
The Elite Force get 1 Commander who can be built with up to 30% of the Supply Points, 2 or more Veterans who get up to at least 50% of the available point and 0-3 Troopers who can be built with 20% of the points. The unit has a minimum of 3 figures up to a maximum of 10.
United States Marines (516 SP’s)
Sergeant James Grant( Commander) (148 SP’s)
Ratings: Combat 6, Command 7, Constitution 6
Traits: Command, Belay Order, Marksman +3
Gear: Rifle, Bayonet, Rucksack, Tactical Harness, Extra Ammo (+3)

Private John Benson (Veteran) (127 SP’s)
Ratings: Combat 6, Command 6, Constitution 6
Traits: Command, Marksman +3
Gear: Same as Sergeant Grant

Private Charles Evans (Veteran) (120 SP’s)
Ratings: Combat 6, Command 5, Constitution 5
Traits: Marksman +3, Sharpshooter
Gear: Same as Sergeant Grant

Private Edward Richards (Veteran) (126 SP’s)
Ratings: Combat 6, Command 5, Constitution 6
Traits: Marksman +3, Burly
Gear: Same as Sergeant Grant
These are some tough hombres. They’ve seen action in China (1900), the Phillipines and the Spanish American War. What they lack in numbers they make up for in proficiency. As an added historical touch,the names of the Marines are taken from the roster of the USS Baltimore’s Marine Detachment at the Battle of Manila Bay.
Overall, this is the most labor intensive if you will part of the game. Once you get the hang of genning up a Battleforce the easier it becomes. I found it to be fun and challenging.
With the forces drawn up, all that is left now is to send them into the heat of battle. Probably start with the Brandenburgers taking on the National Guard. Until then…
Play Games and Have Fun

Standing On the “Brink of Battle” Part II :Building the Battleforce/The Germans

In the last entry, I gave an overview of Bob Faust’s “Brink of Battle” Skirmish rules. In this entry I’ll go through the steps of building two battle forces. In Part III, I’ll send these forces into battle.
As I mentioned earlier, the first thing is to pick a time period. In this case, I’m going with early 20th Century (Period 3). Next is the theme/specific year. Since I’ve always been a fan of Alternate History, I pick “Invasion America: 1905”. This features Imperial Germany invading the US. It was a favorite subject of popular literature back then. The next step is to decide the amount of Supply Points (SP’s) available to both sides.
There are three levels of SP’s depending on how large a game you wish to have. The first, 500 SP’s, will give you a small quick game that could be finished in under an hour. The next level, 750 SP’s, will give a larger game that will take more time while the final level, 1000 SP’s will give a large game that could take up to four hours to finish. For our example, we’ll use 500 points. Another interesting rule is that if you paint and name your figures to go along with the Theme as well as properly base them then you can get an extra 25 SP’s to build with. So now, each side will have 525 SP’s with which to build the battle force.
The Imperial German Force is from the 73rd Infantry Regiment (the Hannoverian Fusiliers). We’ll build them as a Standard Unit. A Standard Unit has 1 x Commander who be built with up to 20% of the available points (105). We can have up to 3 Veterans who will share a maximum of 30% of the SP’s between them (157) and 4 or more Troopers who are built with at least 50% of the SP’s (262). We need to have a minimum of 5 soldiers and can have up to a maximum of 15.
We’ll start by creating the Commander. Since a standard German infantry squad consisted of 8 Pvts led by a Lance Corporal, this is a good character to start with.
LCPL (Obergefreiter) Rupprecht Faust (87 SP’s) Commander
Ratings:Combat : 4/ Command: 6/Constiturion 5
Traits: Command, Tactician, Marksman +1 (Note that the Command trait is free)
Gear: Mauser Gew. 98 (Rifle), Bayonet, Helmet, Rucksack, Tactical Harness, Extra Ammo +3
LCPL Faust is a tough, competent, young NCO. I gave him the Extra Ammo Gear at +3. Since it helps with clearing weapon malfunctions this represents skill in weapons handling as mush as any extra ammo carried.

PVT Klaus Wehmeyer ( 86 SP’s) Veteran
Ratings: Combat: 4, Command: 5, Constitution: 5
Traits: Command, Marksman +1 (In this case, the Command Trait has been purchased)
Gear: Same as LCPL Faust
PVT Wehmeyer is capable of taking over command of the squad should anything happen to LCPL Faust.

PVTS, Gruenwald, Wernicke, Aderholdt, Lippmann, Bockdorf (68 SP’s each) (Troopers)
Ratings: Combat: 3, Command:4, Constitution: 5
Traits: Marksman +1
Gear: Same as Faust and Wehmeyer .

This Battle Force reflects a professional army. Most of the troops are trained (Combat 3) but probably haven’t seen any real action. Their Morale (Command:4) is good and they’re in very good shape (Constitution: 5)
The total cost of the Battle Force is 513 SP’s which is also its’ valor rating for campaign purposes. Next time, we’ll create the opposition…a detachment of United States Marines. They’ll also be built as a Standard Force but with a different emphasis.
Until then Play Games and Have Fun

Standing on the “Brink of Battle” Part I

This is the first of a series of reviews of wargames rules. The emphasis will be on skirmish level gaming although there will be the occasional sidetrip into others as well.
“Brink of Battle” (hereafter referred as BoB) is designed by Bob Faust and was published last year by his Strategic Elite Publishing company.
Basically, the game is about one to one small level combat. According to the rules, the maximum number of figures per side is 20 while the minimum is five. You can use a number of different scales up to and including 54mm. The recommended table size is 4′ x 4′ although I use a 4’x6′.
The rules define three different periods of play. Period 1 is Ancient/Medieval covering the period from 3000 BC to 1450 AD. Period 2 is Early Modern that covers the period from 1450 to 1880 AD and Period 3 covers 1880 to Present Day. As you can see, this is quite a time span but BoB handles all of it very well. There is a Sci-Fi addition that covers various future settings but these are still in the playtest stage as are the rules and setting for Fantasy.
Once you’ve selected a period, the next step is to decide from what year within that period you wish to build your force. For example, I wish to create a Period 1 force. Since I have a number of Viking/Saxon figures available, I choose the year 1000. It is quite possible to have two units meet on the battlefield that are centuries apart. For instance, the aforementioned Vikings going up against Late Republican Roman Legionaries. The rules are written in such a way as to make this not only possible but playable as well.
So how do you create a unit? Well, first off, let me say this. There are no pre-genned units in the game so you will spend some time doing this. It’s a point buying system that is easy to learn mechanically. The challenge comes in the actual designing of your forces. In this aspect, BoB is similar to a number of RPG’s that are currently on the market.
You begin with 500 Supply Points (SP’s) that you can spend on Ratings, Traits, and Equipment. If you a follow a theme i.e. a Viking Warband or a Union Army Patrol complete with appropriate names, you get an extra 25 points…on yea…don’t forget to flock the bases either.
There are three different types of Battleforce Organizations; Horde, Standard, and Elite. Each type has it’s own unique makeup. There are also three types of soldiers, Commanders (only 1 per force), Veterans, and Troopers. The type of force determines the maximum percentage of points that can be spent on each type of figure. There is also a minimum and maximum number of troops of each type allowed. The highest total being the Horde at a maximum of 20 figures and the lowest being the Elite Battleforce at 3. In practical experience, given the standard 500+25 SP build, I cane up with about half of the maximum figures allowed.
There are three ratings for each figure. Combat (CBT), Command, (CMD), and Constitution (CON). Combat is how well the individual figure can fight in either Close or Ranged Combat. Command is how well their morale holds up on the battlefield while Constitution measures the physical ability of the individual. Each type of figure has a maximum level that it can have.
Commanders have 7, Veterans 6 and Troopers 5.
The next step is to select Traits. These are various individual characteristics that can add to the individuals Ratings to make them more effective in battle. Commanders get thee Traits (actually two as the Commander Trait while free does count against the total.) Veterans get two and troopers get one. All of which is paid for out of the Supply Points allotment. These should be chosen carefully so as to reflect the character of the individual soldier. I personally found it fun and challenging to create a force this way.
Finally, each figure has equipment purchased for it out of the Supply Points. Although the rules make it plain that WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) i.e. the figure can only have what it is cast with. I tend to ignore this rule simply because I have a whole lot of figures that I’ve painted and mounted long before I got my hands on BoB. I figure as long as I have paid the points and make sure that my opponent knows that Einar has a spear as well as that big ass axe that he’s wielding then no problem.
Another step that I take is to make up “Standard Kits”. I put these on a 3″ x 5″ index card. They include wpns, armor, and shield with the SP costs already figured out. It’s a great help and I highly recommend it.
All in all, while it may take a bit of prep time, the payoff is IMO well worth it.

Next Up: In Part 2, I’ll go through the design process in more detail using the Invasion America 1905 as a background.