These squad level rules are an adaptation of the Avalon Hill game "Platoon" based on the movie of the same name. The main feature of the rules is the inclusion of fog of war and limited intelligence (without the need for an umpire) through the use of cards to represent groups of soldiers on the tabletop. Figures are placed on the table only when they fire. Having leaders in the right place is very important. Spreading your troops out keeps casualties low but makes it much harder to get them to act. Bunching up risks higher casualties but makes it far easier for leaders to exercise control.
The ground scale is 1 meter = 1cm on the tabletop.
The rules use d10 with "0" counting as "10".
Each side has a number of cards which are moved around the table or kept off table in a group holding area (made up of several pouches or envelopes). Each soldier and fake has his own card and each side has an additional 8 group cards (lettered A-H). These group cards are used to represent groups of more than 1 soldier or fake, therefore there are never "stacks" of cards on the table. Thus a single enemy card could represent anything from a single fake to a squad of several soldiers.
Each card has the soldier’s details on one side and a centre mark on the other. It is from the centre mark that all firing distances are measured and the terrain cover the card is in is whatever is directly beneath the centre mark.
Cards are always kept face down whilst on the table and should not be revealed to the opponent. Cards may not overlap each other. Once a moving card overlaps a stationary card remove the moving card. The soldier(s) or fake(s) represented by the moving card are now part of the stationary card (which would now have to be a group).
Card size is not critical. I use cards that measure 90 x 55mm made from cartridge paper in two shades of green.
Each figure represents 1 man.
Each soldier is given an ID number, a fire modifier and a movement rate.
Some soldiers are leaders, medics and radio operators and as such have special functions.
This roster sheet records each side’s assets as well as being used to mark pinned fire effect results.
Each side has a certain number of chits as determined by the scenario. During each turn the chits are drawn from a container and determine the order in which actions occur rather than the passage of time.
After both sides have deployed according to the scenario instructions, and after any special "free" actions have been completed, the turn sequence is followed thus:
When a chit is drawn, the unpinned soldier or fake selected may perform one of the following actions:
Actions By Groups with Leaders: The soldiers and/or fakes in a group may all be used to perform separate actions if the group contains an unpinned leader. The individuals in a group with a leader may be used to perform the same or different actions and they may be used to do so one-at-a-time in any desired order.
Fake Soldiers: Fakes do not really exist and these are intended to confuse the enemy. They may be moved in any desired manner (30cm movement rate) but may never fire, cut barbed wire or close assault opposing units. If a single fake soldier triggers a mine or Claymore he is eliminated but the mine or Claymore does not fire and only it’s general location has to be revealed.
Eliminated/Exited Units: Eliminated or exited cards should be kept from view when removed from the table. An opponent should not be allowed to examine eliminated and/or exited cards until the end of the game.
Each soldier is rated for how far he can move through jungle terrain in one action. Add 10cm if his move begins and ends on a trail or in open terrain without leaving it. Deduct 10cm if he crosses a stream except whilst moving on a trail.
If a group with a leader all choose to move, the player may move the single group card (rather than several individual cards moving to a new location and reforming as a group).
Cards may move into contact with enemy cards and when they do so an immediate close assault is resolved as follows:
Moving Through & Cutting Barbed Wire
Barbed wire is laid in lengths of approximately 10cm. It is impassable unless cut. Any soldier whose card is adjacent to the barbed wire may perform the cutting action. A gap is automatically created and the wire section is removed from play.
Cards that move off the table are considered to "exit" the game and cannot return. They are not considered eliminated. Cards may exit only where designated in the individual scenario.
How to Fire
The acting player announces that a soldier is firing and at what target card. The exact soldier used for firing does not have to be revealed to the opponent if a grenade is thrown, fire support is called, or a claymore is fired. For all other firing, the firing figure must be revealed to the opposing player by placing it on the table on or adjacent to his card. The figure remains in position on the table until he is either pinned, eliminated, moves to a new location or expends an action to be removed from the table. Firing ranges are still measured from card to card, not to or from the firing figure.
General Firing Procedure
The two modified numbers rolled are then compared:
Miss: If the modified target number is equal to or greater than the modified firing number the fire had no effect.
Pinned Down: If the modified firing number is larger by 1 through 4, the target is marked as pinned. Additional pinned down results are ignored for a target already marked as pinned down.
Eliminated: If the modified firing number is larger by 5 or more the target is eliminated.
Firing at Groups
If the target card is a group the owning player must reveal that fact. The dice are rolled and modified comparisons made individually against each soldier or fake in the target card with individual results being applied.
If the firing weapon has a limited number of targets that it can attack it must attack any figures on the table first before it attacks other soldiers or fakes in the target group.
The order in which targets are attacked is up to the owning player.
At over base range and up to maximum range, an additional "-3" fire modifier applies.
** These two weapons have a minimum range of 10cm and cannot fire at cards at that range or closer.
The maximum distance that any fire can pass through jungle is 30cm.
When the explosive weapons in bold type are fired at a target in a bunker or foxhole, the target modifier for the bunker or foxhole is ignored. M72 LAW have a "+3" fire modifier.
The maximum # of targets refers to the maximum # of attacks allowed against a group (due to slower rates of fire).
M60 LMG Teams
When a M60 machine-gunner is firing the gun solo he uses his printed fire modifier. As a special single action (without the need for a leader in the group) any non-pinned soldier in the group may assist the gunner and adds a "+1" fire modifier to the M60’s attack. The assistant may not do anything else.
If a M60 machine-gunner is moved he may be moved together with his assistant as a special single action (without the need for a leader in the group).
Instead of being used to fire a weapon, any soldier (except medics) may alternately be used to throw a hand grenade. The maximum distance a grenade can be thrown is 15cm but not through more than 10cm of jungle terrain (measured from centre to centre of both cards).
A hand grenade’s fire modifier number is "+4".
Hand grenades do not ignore foxhole and bunker protection. (If within hand grenade range, assaulting fortified positions is best done through close assault).
Firing A Claymore Mine
As part of the game set up, the US player must specify the exact location of each Claymore mine and the direction it is facing must be expressed as one of the 8 cardinal points.
A Claymore will be fired immediately when any enemy card passes over it. Otherwise any activated US soldier within 30cm of the mine can fire it as an action.
The danger zone extends in a fan shape 45 degrees either side of the direction the mine is pointing for a distance of 25cm (not reduced by jungle terrain).
If the centre mark of any card is within the danger zone then the mine attacks all the soldiers on the card. The mine always attacks the enemy card that triggered it. The fire modifier number is "+5".
As part of the game set up, the NVA/VC player must specify the exact location of each mine.
Mines are fired immediately a US card passes over the location.
The mine will attack all the soldiers on the US card.
The fire modifier is "+8".
Calling Fire Support
Instead of being used to fire their own weapons, any leader in a group with a radioman (neither may be pinned) may be used to call for "fire support", using both of these soldiers together to perform the same single action.
The US player may have a Medic. The medic cannot throw hand grenades or initiate close assault. He cannot fire at targets beyond 10cm but performs defensive close assault as normal.
Foxholes & Bunkers
These are deployed as part of the scenario set up. They begin the game hidden and the owning player must record their location (usually in the same position as a particular card). They are deployed on table whenever an enemy card passes over them, any of the occupants fire or the occupying card is fired at. Either side can use vacated or captured foxholes and bunkers and they provide protection from fire from any direction. They can accommodate an unlimited number of soldiers.
Example of Play
The US player draws a chit. It is an NVA chit. The NVA player decides to activate a leader on a group card that contains the leader, a machine-gunner and 4 riflemen. None of them are pinned.
Because the leader is unpinned each of the 6 soldiers may perform an action.
A US card is 25cm away (with no US figures adjacent). The NVA player declares he is firing with the machine-gunner and places a suitably armed figure next to his card. The US player declares that his target card is a group of 4. The US card is in jungle terrain. The NVA fire modifier is +4, the US target modifier is +3.
One attack is carried out on each of the 4 US targets with the results as follows:
The US player removes the card belonging to the eliminated figure from the group holding box and marks on his roster that the second target is eliminated and that the fourth target is pinned.
The NVA player declares that the rest of his group will move and close assault the US card. The NVA movement through the jungle is 30cm so the US card is within reach. As the NVA player is moving his card he must leave the machine-gunner behind. The machine-gunner figure remains on the table as he has not moved and his own card is placed in the spot vacated by the NVA group card.
The NVA group card is placed adjacent to the US card but in the process passes over the location of a Claymore mine which automatically sets it off (the US player must show proof of the mine’s location if required). The Claymore’s firing arc and range is worked out and the NVA machine-gunner is found to be outside the danger zone. The Claymore’s attack is immediately resolved on the NVA group with +5 modifier. The NVA get the +3 modifier for the jungle and the NVA player has to declare the number of targets to be attacked:
The NVA player removes the 2 eliminated cards from the group holding box and marks on his roster that the leader and Rifleman 2 are eliminated and that Rifleman 4 is pinned.
At this point the NVA player could elect to stop his close assault attempt (which ends his turn) or he could continue (because his eliminated leader started the turn with the group). He elects to carry on and the NVA card (now representing Rifleman 1 and 3) is placed adjacent to the US card leaving the pinned NVA Rifleman 4 behind where the Claymore attack occurred (his own card is placed on the table). The close assault is immediately resolved. Both sides have 2 non-pinned soldiers giving them both a +4 modifier (no other modifiers apply to close assault). The US rolls 1 and the NVA rolls 5. The difference is 4, which is not enough to eliminate the US soldiers so the NVA card is moved back 10cm. This places the NVA group card partly over the pinned NVA rifleman card so his card is removed and he rejoins the group. The NVA action ends.
This is a complicated example of play. Most chit plays will be much simpler to resolve.
From the US perspective the US player should be pleased with the result of the turn but also concerned, not knowing exactly what is going on with the NVA. He can see the machine gunner figure and knows there could be more NVA in that group. He knows the Claymore nailed 2 NVA and pinned 1, and 2 were repulsed from the close assault so the group in front of his position must total 3 men. The NVA might try another close assault preceded by more MG fire or could stay where they are and start firing. If the US player knew the true NVA situation he would be less worried.
The NVA have suffered a minor disaster. Leaders are too valuable to have them leading charges and the leader should have remained back with the machine gunner where he could either move forward to re-join the riflemen after a successful close assault or be ready to salvage them after a repulse. Now the NVA are in a bad situation. They would hope the next chit drawn is theirs so the MG can lay down some more fire and maybe pin more of the US. That would improve the odds for a single NVA rifleman to launch a successful close assault.
SCENARIO: NIGHT AMBUSH
November 1967, somewhere near the Cambodian border.
The 2nd Platoon of Bravo Company 22nd Infantry, 25th Infantry Division, is searching the jungle for the elusive North Vietnamese 141st Regiment. After a hard day’s slog spent bashing through the bush, elements of the platoon are detached from the company perimeter to prepare a night ambush.
Duration: 4 turns
Action Chits: 10 US & 8 NVA
The tabletop is ¾ jungle and ¼ mixed (open & jungle). Three trails wind across the table from edge to edge together with a stream.
NVA set up first up to 1/3 across the table.
US set up second up to 1/3 across the opposite side of the table.
1 LAW is available and may be assigned to any M16 armed soldier who is not a leader or RTO. The LAW fire modifier is "+3".
The first US attempt to fire requires a roll of 1-6 on 1d10 to succeed. Unless successful, none of the US can do anything on that chit draw. If the first US attempt to fire fails, the NVA immediately get to perform a bonus action without the need to draw a chit.
How To Win:
The NVA get 1 point per NVA soldier that exits the table from any of the 3 trails that exit on the US table edge, and 1 point per US soldier eliminated.
The NVA win if 8 or more points are gained or if the number of US soldiers eliminated exceeds the number of NVA soldiers eliminated. Otherwise the US win.
I am interested in any feedback, comments or suggestions that players of these rules may wish to submit or discuss. Please contact Mike R with your comments who has agreed to pass them on to me for an answer. Thank you.