Sunday, 3 September 2017

6x6 small grid game WWII

Another ‘wargaming in small spaces’ scenario for our 6x6 grid games. It is July 1944 and we are playing out a Soviet attack on a small hamlet with a reinforced company. 

With the position under pressure, the German commander releases a reserve platoon with armour support, to ensure that the position is not lost.

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Admin - I will be using my Into Battle - WWII Tactical rules (free download) and 4” Kallistra hex tiles.

The game starts at 0930 hours and will conclude immediately after 1110 hours has passed on the game clock. The German reinforcements will arrive on their own baseline at 1010 hours and they will all be treated as being in automatically in command on their turn of arrival.

The Soviet is player one. At the start of play, they have two artillery observers on the high ground at hex A4 on their baseline, these must be used to bring down two artillery fire missions (under the normal rules) on the first turn (i.e. At 0930 hours) as the first thing that the Soviets do. 

Once the artillery strike is resolved, the Soviet forces will immediately enter the table along their baseline. All Soviet forces will be in command on the turn of entry and any forces not brought on the game board before 0945 hours will be considered delayed and then not able to arrive until after 1010 hours.

Fields have crops and non-vehicles can claim cover as per the terrain charts in the rules.

Victory. The hamlet consists of just two building hexes. To win, the Soviets must hold both by the end of the game, anything less is a German win.

Orders of Battle.

German at Start, set-up anywhere on the board except in row A.
Infantry Sections x 4
HMG x 1
50mm mortars x 1
Pak 40 Anti-tank gun x 1

Panzerfaust Level 3
Morale 4

German Reinforcement (arriving 1010 hours onwards)
Infantry Sections x 3
StuG IIIg x 2
Morale - add 2 to the current German morale level the moment that they arrive.

Soviet at start forces - 2 artillery observers on the high ground at hex A4 and 2 Fire Missions. These must be used as the first action on the opening turn.

Infantry rifle sections x 8
HMG Maxim x 1
T-34/85 tanks x 3

Morale - 6

After Action Report.

At start - the Soviet artillery observers on the high ground call fire down onto the hamlet, but it only partly hits and is disappointingly ineffective.

Above - view from the German position. They have infantry in the hamlet, the field and the small woods on the right. The Pak 40 is on the forward slope on the hill on the centre right. The Soviets come on with the T-34 platoon in the centre and infantry on both flanks.

As Soviet infantry enter the table, the German HMG opens fire. HMG’s and anti-tank guns, due to the nature of their roles (ambush and suppressive fire), also roll an additional dice, which may allow them to retain their fire, so that they can fire repeatedly (perhaps!) in the same turn. Everything else gets to fire once only.

The PaK 40 on the hill looks like it is in the open, but anti-tank guns can always claim cover, due to their low profile and typical deployment into ambush positions. It fires on the T34/85’s as the enter the table. The base ‘to hit’ is 6 on a D10. Add the attackers A/T value (6 in this case) and deduct the defenders armour (8 in this case), there are no other modifiers such as firing outside the arc of fire etc, so the German player needs to roll 4 or less on a D10 to get to the Penetration Table. They roll 6 and fail. They also fail their die roll to retain fire, so are marked with an Opportunity Fire marker and will not be able to fire again until that marker is removed.

Above - The German 50mm mortar team spent most of the game Out of Command.

Early game - The T-34’s take position in the centre of the line, with the intent of shelling the hamlet while their infantry envelop it. On the Soviet right , the infantry take heavy casualties,  though one section does get into the fields. On their left flank, the infantry get into the small woods but are pinned there.

To their peril, the T34’s split their attention between the PaK 40 and the hamlet and perhaps as a result of their lack of focus on the main threat, a T34 is lost to the PaK 40. The Soviet HMG moves around the side of the wood and deals with the German anti-tank gun.

By 1001 hours (turn 5), the Soviet losses are high enough that they are close to breaking (morale drops to 1), but then so are the Germans …… where are those reinforcements!

1014 hours, German reinforcements arrive. The three infantry sections come up through the woods to feed into the hamlet. The two StuG’s come up onto the high ground to their right and engage the T-34’s. The arrival of the reinforcements has raised the German morale level, but they are hampered by some units repeatedly going Out Of Command and the Soviets seem to be hanging on against the odds.

End game -  At 1037 (turn 9) a T34 hits a StuG and ‘stuns’ it, but return fire from the other assault gun burns a T-34 and this causes the Soviet morale to crash to zero. All their units must now check to see if they pull back one hex. Everything does in fact fall back except the Soviet infantry section in the field, but since the last remaining T-34 is on the table edge,  it retreats off table permanently. 

It is obvious that the attacker cannot gain control of the hamlet, they are fully pinned in position and dare not risk going into open ground and they are taking further hits just from the weight of German fire. They suffer another loss, followed by failed retreat tests and so they call the game. The German side retain full control of the hamlet, so victory goes to them.

Above - The German reinforcement has arrived. On the right the StuG's take positions on the high ground and duel with the T34's in the far distance. On the left two infantry sections work their way through the woods to support the hamlet. One infantry section joins the 50mm mortar team in the fields nearest the viewer.

Conclusion - The game and the account suggest that the scenario falls heavily in favour of the defenders. However, the Soviets were not helped in this game by their poor artillery outcomes and their failing to concentrate efforts against the PaK 40 threat. Just before the German reinforcements came on, both sides were both down to just 1 morale point each, so if the Germans could have been tipped over to breaking point, they may have fallen back from a couple of key positions.

I ran the game a second time and got a Soviet win, In the second game, I used 15mm figures as part of my testing of optional rules for 15’s to work with the 4” hex. The two pertinent rule changes were that vehicles could not enter a building hex and that stacking was reduced from 3 bases per hex to (any) two bases. It all seemed to work rather well.

Resource Section.

Into Battle - WWII Tactical rules - Free Download (thank you DropBox) - LINK

An account of my favourite scenario from the rules - LINK

COMMANDERS is my sister website, which is snippet rather than article based LINK


  1. Norm, I am increasingly drawn to your small space wargames concept. I'm surprised how much detail can be achieved within such a small area. The 6 x 6 hex grid is very attractive to me, I can see that I could produce a nice neat board, framed up and easy to set up and to store. I just read through the rules, they seem very detailed and I would clearly need to put my mind to them, but I like the kind of game they produce. If I am struggling with one thing at the moment it's the issue of setting up big tables, I find it tiresome these days and as much as I enjoy painting figures and models etc I'm in no doubt that I prefer to play smaller scale games such as C&C Napoleonics etc. Memoir 44 is too simplistic for me, I have played a few games on the larger 'Breakthrough' board using 15mm models and additional levels of complexity which I quite enjoyed, the Terrain pack expansion certainly allows for endless battlefields to be set up. I think what I'm trying to say here Norm is that I prefer to play games on smaller areas and if I'm honest I most enjoy hex based games where it's easy to set up scenarios. Sorry to ramble, I'm inspired by your blog and it does make me think about what I want to do in future!

  2. Thanks Lee - I remember some years ago you converted C&C to a home built hex board and 6mm forces (I think), I know that took a lot of effort, as a project, but looked superb when done and something that helped me on my own own figure / hex journey.

    I do like the larger scale for older eyes and the attractiveness of an open table, but as a lifelong boardgamer, my eye is very comfortable with the hex and I really enjoy some of the benefits that come from the mechanics of hex regulation - plus, for an ongoing bad back, not having to do precise millimetre measurement out to the middle of a wide table is the biggest benefit to me at least.

    Since doing the 6x6 and 'battles on a pinboard (with is an 8 x 6 - as per the scenarios in the rulebook) I am repeatedly surprised and delighted just how much of a good game can be squeezed out from a relatively small space. Many of us only have so much game space / storage space and budget and the 12' x 6' tables as wonderful as they are, will never be a realistic prospect for many of us.

  3. Nice report Norm and great to see another great looking game on a small table.

    1. Thanks Steve, even when I ran it with 15mm figures, it was fine and I suppose the grid size is representing something like a DBA table.

  4. Hi Norm,

    Great game, it reminds me how good your Tigers at Minsk rules are!



    1. Thanks Jay, I saw your newest rules being played out on Duc's table yesterday and he did a fab job of presentation.

  5. Norm, your hex terrain looks so nice and you scenario map first rate. Quality results both!

    As for your game and BatRep, you provide another interesting situation in which the German defenders are able to capitalize on quickly in Game 1. TaM sounds very much like your TF-ON rules. So much that I could probably move on to WWII quite easily. The same game footprint is really attractive to me. What are your thoughts on 15mm figures and a 2" hex?

  6. Thanks Jonathan. TaM was initially designed to play on an 8 wide by 6 deep grid and with the 4" hex, that would just fit inside a large pinboard and there are examples of those sized battles at the back of the TaM rulebook.

    To just have a dabble, I think I would be tempted to get a sheet of cardboard at 2' x 3' or even that cheap coloured sugar paper that artists shops have and draw in the hexfield, using a printed off hex shape from a computer drawing program or even an enlargement (at the copiers) of the hexfield from your 2" hexed cloth.

    I can see 15mm on a 2" hex as being very problematic. The functionality of a hex / figure game is the balance of being able to fit both terrain and the maximum stacking allowances in a single hex at the same time and I think 15mm with 2" hex would push that relationship too far.

    Using a 4" hex, I am going with a stacking of 2 bases for 15mm (rather than 3 bases in 10mm) and part of the reason for me wanting some stacking is for the 'target rich' rule, as well as the sheer physical necessity of what will and will not fit into a hex.

    In the wings, I also have some thoughts about going to a 6" hex (on an 8 x 6) grid for using with a larger scale and also for converting TaM to an 'open table' format .... One day!

  7. Great stuff here Norm. I've been reading TaM a lot and want to use it as the basis for doing a lot of old Squad Leader scenarios. Good to see that you've put a few hacks in. I'll probably do teh same - mainly to avoid too much 20mm stuff being stacked in a hex, so I might expand the range and size of table.

    1. That would all work. I came across a post a few weeks ago in which a gamer was using the rules with Squad leader game parts, he just increased movement allowances to work on his boards.

  8. Norm,

    Great looking game, always impressed with your troops and terrain, though sadly I've not yet gotten around to playing Tigers at Minsk.


  9. Thanks Jack, I am enjoying your Napoleonic posts, mine are still in the painting queue (3 years now! that's not good).

  10. A great showing off of what to do with 6x6. I think one of the tricks to get a great gaming experience on these small tables is not to load up on the number of bases. You definitely do not have many troops on the table, which is great! I do think this does lead to battles that can swing a bit wildly as a few good or bad dice rolls can swing the game a lot. I see Just Jack commented above and he and I have had this conversation before - we agree that having only a few units and these huge swings is actually great for the solo player. It creates interesting narratives very quickly!

  11. Yes, I think so. When you look at this particular scenario, there is initially 1 x Pak 40 and 3 x T34/85's. This does make it feel a bit more critical when the dice are rolled in what obviously becomes an early duel, especially as one is firing HE and the other AP, so two different processes. Once the anti-tank gun goes, the T34's can turn their full attention (until the StuG's arrive) on the hamlet. The small narratives that crop up along just that path of outcomes makes for both interest and tension.

    You are right, the focus of the player becomes more intense and individual outcomes matter more in these smaller games.

  12. Great post norm!Tam rules work perfectly well with squad leader,ask and ATS scenarios just adjust the movement and ranges as per series rules but use everything else from Tam! In fact last week I played the ATS pork chop hill game using your rules !worked very well at what is primarily an infantry assault in dug in hill position!

    1. Yes very much like retro !my next attempt will be to try TAM with the airfix battles game!not a fan of the card action system so haven't played it as much as I'd like,I think TAM may fit this quite well!

  13. Thanks Keith, good to hear and interesting, it sounds like the rules can be used a bit like the Retro rule system from Gary Graber at Minden Games (i.e. generically with some other systems), though perhaps easier to use with other systems vehicles.

  14. Did use your rules with airfix battles worked pretty well although I've now sold airfix battles on eBay but did manage to replace it with one of my "Grail" games close assault from yaquinto the forerunner of Avalon hills firepower!particularly like the moveable terrain features in close assault

  15. I did have Firepower and played it a lot (big rule book, which somehow seemed easier to learn in those days!). I had the Yaqunito Panzer and Armor and those had thick terrain tiles as well.



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