The latest draft of my ‘Modern’ version of Joseph Morschauser’s FRONTIER wargames rules

Having play-tested the latest daft of my ‘Modern’ version of Joseph Morschauser’s ‘Frontier’ wargames rules during my recent mini-campaign, I am now in a position to share it with my regular blog readers.


UNIT TYPES

Click on the table to enlarge it.

Notes:

  • A unit is destroyed and removed from the battlefield when its Strength Value is reduced to 0.
  • No unit’s Combat Power may drop below 1 regardless of other rules.
  • Elite units may increase their Combat Power by 1.
  • Poor quality Infantry or Cavalry units (e.g. Militia) reduce their Combat Power by 1.

TURN SEQUENCE

  • Fire Phase takes place.
  • Both sides throw a D6 die. The side with the highest score (side A) moves first this turn.
  • Side A may activate each of its units that have not fired during the Fire Phase in turn. When a unit is activated it may either:
    • Move or
    • Move and initiate a combat with an enemy unit or
    • Remove barbed wire or
    • Work on the removal of a minefield
    • (An activated unit may not initiate a combat with an enemy unit and then move unless it is an Infantry, Engineer, Cavalry, Tank, or Assault Gun unit that is moving into an adjacent hex that was occupied by an enemy unit they have just destroyed or forced to retreat.)
  • Once side A has activated all the units it wishes to activate this turn, Side B may activate each of their its units that have not fired during the Fire Phase in turn..
  • Once both sides have activated all the units they wish to activate this turn, the turn has ended and the next turn begins.
  • Before the next turn can commence, both sides check to see if they have reached their Exhaustion Point. A side that has reached its Exhaustion Point may not undertake any aggressive actions during the next and subsequent turns. When both sides have reached their Exhaustion Point, the battle ends.

FIRE PHASE

  • Fire is simultaneous; therefore if firing unit is destroyed, it may still fire that turn before it is removed.
  • Assault Guns and Artillery fire within an arc-of-fire that is 120° forward of the direction in which it is facing (i.e. in an arc sweeping from one 60° diagonal line of hexes to the other).
  • Tanks and Armoured Cars have a 360° arc-of-fire.
  • Weapon ranges are measured orthogonally (i.e. through the edges of the hexes not the corners).
  • Units may only fire once each turn.
  • Units that fire may not move during the same turn.
  • If an entire enemy unit can be seen from a unit that is firing at it, the fire is direct fire.
  • If an entire enemy unit cannot be seen or it is in fortifications, a built-up area, or a wood, the fire is indirect fire.
  • Before it fires, each unit identifies the hex it is firing at. It then throws a D6 die to see where its fire will land:
    • Die score = 1: Fire lands in the hex beyond the target hex (i.e. at 12 o’clock relative to the target hex).
    • Die score = 2: Fire lands in the hex in front of the target hex (i.e. at 6 o’clock relative to the target hex).
    • Die score = 3, 4, 5, or 6: Fire lands on the target hex.
  • If the fire lands in a hex occupied by a friendly unit the opposing side’s commander throws a D6 die to determine the effectiveness of the fire upon that unit (see below).
  • If the fire lands in a hex occupied by an enemy unit a D6 die is thrown to determine the effectiveness of the fire upon that unit (see below).
    • Direct fire: D6 die score = 4, 5 or 6: The unit in the target hex has its Strength Value reduced by 1.
    • Indirect fire: D6 die score = 5 or 6: The unit in the target hex has its Strength Value reduced by 1.

MOVEMENT RULES

  • All movement is measured orthogonally (i.e. through the edges of the hexes not the corners).
  • A unit may only move once each turn. Any unit that has fired during the Fire Phase at the beginning of a turn may not move during that turn.
  • No more than one unit may occupy a hex at any time.
  • A unit may pass through – but not stop in – a hex that is already occupied by a friendly unit.
  • A unit may not move through a hex that is adjacent to a hex occupied by an enemy unit. The moving unit must stop as soon as it enters such a hex (thus ending its movement for that turn), face the enemy unit, and initiate combat with the enemy unit.
  • A unit that is facing or being faced by an enemy unit that is in an adjacent hex at start of its move may break contact with that enemy unit and move away provided that it does not come into contact with any other enemy unit this turn as it breaks contact or after it has broken contact.

COMBAT RULES

  • Combat takes place when a unit ends its move facing an enemy unit that is in an adjacent hex.
  • The unit that has initiated the combat is regarded as being the attacker and the unit they are attacking is regarded as being the defender.
  • Units may only attack once each turn but may defend themselves as often as may be necessary.
  • When a unit moves into contact with the flank or rear of an enemy unit the latter is turned to face to the attacker at once.
  • To determine the outcome of a battle, each unit throws a D6 die and adds the result to their Combat Power:
    • If the resulting amended dice scores are equal, the battle is a draw.
    • If one unit has a higher amended dice score than the other it has won the battle and the losing unit must retreat one hex immediately or reduce its Strength Value by 1. Any unit that is unable to retreat reduces its Strength Value by 2.
    • If a unit throws a 6, the opposing unit’s Strength Value is reduced by 1 even if the opposing unit has won the overall combat.
  • If the unit that did not initiate the combat is destroyed or is forced to retreat and the unit that initiated the combat is an Infantry, Engineer, Cavalry, Tank, or Assault Gun unit, then that Infantry, Engineer, Cavalry, Tank, or Assault Gun unit may immediately move into the newly vacated hex. If as a result of that move into the newly vacated hex that Infantry, Engineer, Cavalry, Tank, or Assault Gun unit comes into contact with the enemy unit that they have just forced to retreat or another enemy unit, the Infantry, Engineer, Cavalry, Tank, or Assault Gun unit may not attack that enemy unit this turn.
  • No unit’s Combat Power may drop below 1.
  • A defending unit that is in cover (e.g. built-up areas or woods) increases its Combat Power by 1.
  • A defending unit that is in fortifications (e.g. trenches or a fortress) increases its Combat Power by 2.

SPECIAL GROUND COMBAT RULES

Barbed Wire:

  • With the exception of Tank, Armoured Car, and Assault Gun units, a unit must stop as soon as it enters a hex in which there is barbed wire.
  • The unit that has stopped may remove the barbed wire the next time it is activated and must remove it before it can move again.

Built-up areas:

  • A unit must stop as soon as it enters a built-up area.
  • A unit moving through a built-up area has a maximum movement rate of 1 hex per turn.
  • The range of all weapons fired within a built-up area is reduced to 1 hex.
  • A unit that is in a built-up area increases its Combat Power by 1.

Exhaustion Point:

  • Before the battle begins, both sides calculate their Exhaustion Point. This is one third of the side’s total initial Strength Values, rounded up.
  • When a side has lost that proportion of initial Strength Values, it has reached its Exhaustion Point.
  • A side that has reached its Exhaustion Point must immediately stop taking aggressive action (i.e. it will continue to fight to defend its existing position, but will not continue any movement towards the enemy).
  • When both sides have reached their Exhaustion Point, the battle ends.

Hills:

  • Infantry and dismounted Cavalry units may move up or down one or two hill contours per turn; all other units may only move up or down one hill contour per turn.
  • A unit that is in a combat an enemy unit that is one hill contour above it reduces its Combat Power by 1.
  • A unit that is in a combat an enemy unit that is two hill contours above it reduces its Combat Power by 2.
  • A unit that is in combat against an enemy unit that is one or two hill contours below it increases its Combat Power by 1.

Minefields:

  • A unit may pass through an uncleared minefield, but must throw a D6 die to determine the effect the minefield has upon that unit (see below).
    • D6 die score = 5 or 6: The unit passing through the minefield has its Strength Value reduced by 2.
    • D6 die score = 2, 3, or 4: The unit passing through the minefield has its Strength Value reduced by 1.
  • Each time a unit passes through an uncleared minefield, the D6 die score is reduced by 1.
  • A unit may remove a minefield by staying in an adjacent hex for five consecutive turns. During those five turns the unit may not fire, move, or initiate combat with an enemy unit; they may, however, defend themselves if attacked.
  • The number of turns required to remove a minefield is reduced by one every time:
    • A unit passes through the uncleared minefield or
    • The uncleared minefield is hit by artillery fire.

Rivers:

  • It costs two hexes of movement for a unit to cross a hex with a river in it other than via a bridge.
  • A unit that is in a hex with a river in it and is in combat an enemy unit reduces its Combat Power by 1.
  • Units from opposing sides that are in adjacent hexes with a river between them may be in contact with each other if the attacking side decides that they are.

Roads:

  • Each hex of movement made along an open road (i.e. one that does not pass through a built-up area or wood) by a unit uses up only half a hex of movement.
  • If a unit moves along a road and then off the road during the same turn (or vice versa), any unused half-hexes of movement are lost.

Woods:

  • A unit must stop as soon as it enters a wood.
  • A unit moving through a wood has a maximum movement rate of 1 hex per turn.
  • The range of all weapons fired within a wood is reduced to 1 hex.
  • A unit that is a wood increases its Combat Power by 1.
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2 Comments on “The latest draft of my ‘Modern’ version of Joseph Morschauser’s FRONTIER wargames rules”

  1. Duc de Gobin says:

    Oh, these do look very nice sir.

    Do you see them operating at a similar scale as 'Hexblitz', perhaps with some logistics rules tacked on?

    I ask, as I am quite keen to use Hexblitz for a Market Garden game soon, though I'm seeing some nice multi-player mechanisms with your amendments here.

  2. Duc du Gobin,

    I wish that I could claim the credit, but all I have done is to extrapolate from Joseph Morschauser's original rules and add a few minor tweaks of my own.

    When fighting battles with these rules I tend to think of the units on the tabletop as being regiment/battalion-sized units, which is similar to Hexblitz. I have ideas about adding a few bits of 'chrome' at some time in the future, and these may include some very simple logistics/supply rules.

    Good luck with your Market Garden wargame.

    All the best,

    Bob


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