Scenario Design Tips and Site Troubleshooting
This first part of this page is a compilation of numerous e-mails that have been sent back and forth between the members of this crew relating to how one may navigate around certain issues when designing SB scenarios. It is by no means a complete “handbook” to scenarios creation, but it does cover a few things that current and potential SB designers seemed to get stumped on. It also offers alternatives to situations that may not be covered by the rules and has been posted here to assist all scenario designers out there who may find themselves staring at a brick wall when trying to figure out just how to make something happen.
To those few, this should help you cover a few gray areas with the Squad Battles games and these methods have all been used to full effect by the designers of this crew. We hope they will be of service to you as well.
Onward and Upwards.
The topic of ammo resupply is brought up rather frequently by current and potential SB designers who have a flair for larger squad battles scenarios. This issue seems problematic due to the fact that efficiency degrades to a point that full strength squads are unable to inflict damage upon the enemy due to low weapons status after a few turns of heavy combat. More so problematic is; although units do not run out of ammunition in SB, resupplying them does not happen either…until now.
The solution is simple. Add extra weapons to your OOB and bring them on as reinforcements. How you manage to get these weapons to your troops, rearming before you get waylaid and keeping them out of enemy hands is half the battle. As far as your old weapons are concerned…..toss them aside, I doubt the enemy will want to pick up MG42 LMG’s at 25% efficiency.
Making elite units as effective as they should be
Add more leaders.
I know the USMC intimately, so I’ll have to use the Corps for my example.The way to make elite units seem more elite with the existing rules is to add a wealth of leaders for very experienced units. It will not create a modifier for fire per say…but it will keep them at high levels of effectiveness by having them recover from states of disruption, being pinned and demoralized which in turn will do the same thing to an extent. Honestly, probably not as much as many would enjoy, but a bit none the less.
For instance a marine rifle platoon has at least 4 men capable of leading the platoon. The Plt. Commander (2nd or 1st Lt.), the Platoon Sgt. (SSgt.), the Platoon Guide (Most Senior Buck Sgt.) and then the first Squad Leader (Cpl.). This is why marines historically tended to stay effective while taking high casualties. What are these men doing if the Plt. Commander is not dead? Leading in other aspects.
Offering tactical alternatives
Many of the scenarios are set up so that there are few tactical choices to be made. There are not enough turns to maneuver very far, especially if there are any hills to be climbed. -Anonymous SB Designer
Adding more turns and slowly bringing on reinforcements will give that chance to feel out the enemy defenses. The only units that should be on the map (or in close proximity to the enemy) at the beginning of any maneuver type-meeting engagement battle should be recon units if it is your desire to allow multiple tactical approaches to victory. If you feel that you still do no have enough time to feel out the enemy defenses, bring your reinforcements on slower or add more turns, or both.
Making the map larger obviously allows more room for maneuver, slower movement to contact and also offers more tactical alternatives via terrain options. Also try to avoid putting recon units in prime positions at the beginning of a scenario. Let the player choose where he puts his recon. This is often the difference between victory and defeat.
Making the Germans an actual threat in Eagles Strike
Due to an advantage in firepower (M1 Garands vs. Karabiner 98k’s) and manpower (9 man squads vs. 12 man squads) the Germans have a hell of a time with the Yankees in Eagles Strike
as they also did historically. However, it seems a little more so in SB than it was in reality.
This can be remedied somewhat by delegating proper morale to American and German units.
I don’t hate the US Army, so don’t get that impression.
The Army is just huge and it has a lot of variation. Now add the facts that they drafted indiscriminately, most units that landed at Normandy had not yet seen action, entirely new divisions were formed that had no lineage or history to support a feeling of ‘elan and finally; boot camp was over by the time you got there.
The only US Army units in the ETO-WWII that should be given A morale are select companies from nostalgically tough airborne units like 2/501 PIR/101st Airborne Div, Rangers and a few others. Even these units should have a smattering of B’s and an occasional C (to simulate replacements).
The majority of US Paras
should be B (40%) C (50%) D (10%) morale.
Select Armored Inf. Bn’s the same as Regular Paras (51st AIB, 4th Armd. Div for example)
The average “Citizen Soldier”
should have D
morale with a smattering of E’s.
Units that had been transferred from Italy,
should have around C-D with their “creme de la creme” at B.
This is due to the fact that many US units were virgin to combat and units that established a reputation as reliable were used time and time again. Meanwhile other units may have seen a only a few weeks of action by wars end. Also one must consider how much action their German counter parts had seen in comparison to be called the same and how they would balance in confrontation with each other.
Speaking of I would rate Germans combating Americans as the following:
Select Fallschrimjager, fanatical Waffen SS (LSSAH, DR, HJ) and Elite Heer – A.
Other Waffen SS and Veteran Heer at B.
Regular FJ, experienced Luftwaffe Field Div and veteran Volksgrenadier at C.
Regular Volksgrenadier and the remainder at D.
Volkssturm should be E – F.
This may get Yankees pounding their chests saying “no way buddy-boy” but this is pretty much along the lines of reality if you take the red, white and blue tint from the picture and it also makes the game a bit more playable. Also to maintain playability there should not be as much variation as with German units as US forces in morale (reflecting German discipline) and the Wehrmacht should have at least
2 leaders per platoon.
Korea and Vietnam – Bogies and Friendlies
These people were fanatics. They should have A-B morale on average. Green units at C and no lower than that. Forget training lowering their morale..these people didn’t need it…they had something better…sheer determination and an extreme disregard for personal safety.
Sorry people, but Charlie (Viet Cong) was not the bush slithering superman Hollywood has portrayed him as being. Sure he knew the land and could be effective, but when the crap got thick, Victor Charles got the hell out of Dodge and headed back to his hooch. VC should stay at C-D.
US Army in Korea
Again, I don’t have issues with the US Army, but the US 8th Army in the opening days of Korea was not one of the brighter moments in US Military History. The Army continued to perform average at absolute best until 1951 when it miraculously did a 180 degree turn. I would give regular US Army a morale rating of D for the average in 1950. After 1951, I would give them the standard C-B. Rangers and select Para’s should remain at A-B-C for the duration of the war.
US Marines in Korea
The 1st Marine Division is traditionally the most experienced and most decorated unit in the USMC. It is also one of the most decorated units in the American Armed Forces. This was the only Marine Division in the entirety of the Korean War. This is probably due to the fact that over 50% of all NCO’s and Officers were combat veterans from WWII. The Chosin Campaign during the winter of 50′ says it all. A (50%) B (40%) C (10%).
Eastern Front Armor Issues
Making Russian Armor fight the way it did historically vs. German armor can be a challenge. Decrease the effectiveness of Russian Armor to around 70% from the start and give them C morale at the absolute highest. This reflects below average accuracy and poor tactical doctrine. It also allows you to put a gaggle of Red tanks in a scenario vs. German armor crews with high morale.
Alternate Scoring Conditions
This method does away with the traditional points method. Set up a series of objectives that are obtainable and assign them a point value of 1. Next, decide which objectives should be taken to obtain certain levels of victory. For example I make a scenario with the Waffen SS as the first side and the RKKA hold 3 Objectives. Next I decide that the following should dictate victory instead of the traditional points method.
Waffen SS takes 3 Objectives = Major Victory
Waffen SS takes 2 Objectives = Minor Victory
Waffen SS takes 1 Objective = Draw
Waffen SS takes 0 Objectives = Minor Defeat
Waffen SS takes 0 Objectives and suffers over 100 points in losses = Major Defeat
This method takes into consideration point loss only to an extent and only if the Waffen SS suffers a defeat. It truly makes no sense with units such as the WfSS that were fanatical in their approach and traditionally took high casualties to obtain all or the majority of their tactical objectives and still suffer a defeat due to casualties.
This method also does away with 10 extra playtests to tweak the points to their proper levels.
This should help you cover a few gray areas with the Squad Battles games and these methods have all been used to full effect by the designers of this crew.
We all hope they will be of service to you.