You may have noticed that I’m a big fan of Crossfire, a WWII company-level wargame. If you’re interested in finding out why, then I’d recommend watching the following Crossfire intro videos courtesy of Lindybeige and Paul Ward (aka Matakishi’s Tea House). They should give you a good feel for some of the unique aspects to the game. I’ve compiled them into a playlist for your convenience.
Paul suggests some simple alternative houserules for close combat and tanks, which are worth contemplating if you aren’t keen on those sections of the rules-as-written. However I’d always recommend playing a game straight at first until you’ve got a handle on the experience that it’s trying to emulate.
Crossfire recommends base sizes for figures of 15-20mm (or 25mm). They are 1 1/4″ square (that is ~32mm) or 1 1/4″ x 5/8″ (or ~32mm x ~16mm).
Personally I find the recommendations a bit on the small side for 1/72 scale (20mm) miniatures, especially those figures that are already individually based and need mounting on a group stand. So over the years I’ve toyed around with various options and I’ve settled on the following:
Rifle / SMG Squad: 40x40mm round-cornered base with 3 figures
HMG / On-table Mortar: 40x40mm square base with 2 figures + weapon
PC: 1p base in a single figure tray
CC: 40mm circular base with 2 figures
BC: 40mm circular base with 3 figures
FO / AT: 2p base with 1 figure
Sniper: 2p or 20x40mm round-cornered or pill base as appropriate
Here are my thoughts on the above-mentioned units and base types…
Rifle / SMG Squads and HMG / On-table Mortars
I used to use squares for my rifle squads but now prefer the rounded-edged bases for those troops as they don’t need to be regimented like Napoleonic forces. However I still use straight-edged bases for HMGs and on-table Mortars as the base is useful for eyeballing their 90° arc of fire.
I really didn’t like the recommended size for Platoon Commanders. I know it was useful to have one dimension equal to the standard squad base-width, however there was a lot of excess base and I didn’t find it very aesthetically pleasing. It also seemed to be a rather unique base size for a leader, which would be a bit jarring when used with other game systems.
Left to my own devices, I probably would’ve based my PCs on 2p bases, however I inherited some figures based on 1p bases. To help distinguish them from the rank and file, my solution was to mount the leaders on a single figure tray. This also allowed me to colour code the single figure trays to highlight the platoon commander’s assistance modifier (gold = +2, silver = +1, copper / bronze = 0) and hot-swop them between games whenever necessary. Given that it’s possible to have lots of PCs on the table with different modifiers, this is pretty handy!
I could be wrong but I don’t think there are any PCs that have a modifier of 0, but there are French, Italian, Russian and US organisations that have varying PC modifiers depending on the context (see table below). So the copper / bronze tray would signify that.
French leg & motorized infantry and dismounted dragoons
Italian leg & motorized infantry
United States leg & armoured infantry
Company and Battalion Commanders
As CC and BC stands don’t fire, I thought it’s not that important to have squarish bases as facing isn’t an issue. Round bases are the classic shape for commanders on the tabletop so why break with tradition? However as they can both engage in close combat I thought it best to use a similar base size to the Rifle / SMG Squads.
Anti-tank infantry markers
Rather than create additional rifle squad bases featuring anti-tank weapons (eg Panzerfaust, Panzershreck, Bazooka), I’ve settled on using an individually based AT figure, which is essentially a token, to place beside the squad in question to designate their upgraded equipment. You just need to remember that the AT figure is just a token, and AT fire is from the centre of the squad base not the AT figure themselves. Usually I’d use a 2p base for AT figures but in the case of prone PIATs or Anti-Tank Rifles I may base them as a regular Rifle squad should the need arise.
I guess it was a blessing and a curse that when I started playing Crossfire there weren’t any local players whose basing style I needed to mirror. Anyhoo, after much play and mulling over, this is what works for me. Maybe it’ll help you figure out what’s good for you? If you’re looking for a base supplier, then why not try Warbases. That’s where I got my MDF mountain.
Yesterday I played the first of Dick Bryant’s small scenarios for Crossfire as published on his Maximus Gluteus blog with my old sparring partner doppelgangdave. We tried “The Farm” and it was a surprisingly long and rather bloody fight, even on such a small table. In the final moments, the last surviving German rifle squad frantically rushed the bullet-holed barn and stuck it to the two defending Soviet rifle squads and their platoon commander. Iron Crosses all round!
It’s the first time I’ve had a minefield and a sniper on the table and it was fun to see those traps sprung. Sadly they were largely unsuccessful. I’ll get you next time Gadget!
The scenarios are designed to be played on a 2’x2′ table with 15mm figures, but we were using 20mm figures so scaled up the layout to a 3’x3′ table and it worked out fine. We’ve been playing quite a few Ostfront games of late, but are still early in the war, so we decided to give the German attackers a medium rather than large mortar (in hindsight, this probably contributed to the length of the game). As we were both familiar with Crossfire, we made both sides Regulars (as suggested by Steven Thomas on the Steven’s Balagan blog).
In order to keep track of the hidden defenders, we used numbered maps courtesy of Steven’s blog, and a simple hidden unit sheet I knocked up, which you could use for any units you’d like to field. I’d recommend placing a numbered token on the tabletop next to each of the terrain features in sectors C+D to help streamline proceedings.
As is not unusual when playing a relatively rules-light game like Crossfire, we came up against an unexpected situation… What happens when an HMG is close assaulted and there is a friendly 50mm mortar within 1 stand-width. Can the mortar assist the HMG in the close combat… and if so, how?
After a bit of humming and hawing we decided it could assist the HMG and made the following call on the close combat modifiers:
-2 as the HMG wasn’t assisted by a non-weapon squad
+1 because the 50mm mortar counts as an additional squad
Net result combat roll of D6-1
Double-checking the rules after the game, I think we made the right call.
8.3 HMGs / Crew Served Weapons A Weapon that fights by itself or with a PC is -2 (plus any modifier for the PC). If it fights with another non-weapon Squad or a CC it fights normally (i.e. no -2) counting as an additional Squad.
2.2 HEAVY WEAPONS These include Heavy weapons such as: Heavy Machineguns (HMGs), 81mm Mortars, and Infantry Guns (IG)… The term Squad will be used to describe game procedures that apply equally to both Squad and Heavy Weapons stands.
8.3 Close Combat Modifiers Each Squad Larger: +1 for each additional Squad (PCs / FOs do not count)
I hope our deliberation helps you out of a jam, when you give these small scenarios a go. And you should. What’s stopping you? They’re right here!
I’ve been frequenting the Board Game Arena website to play boardgames online for over a year now and would heartily recommend it. It’s free to create an account, there are no ads, and you can play a whole host of boardgames with your friends or other BGA users. Some games can only be kicked off by a premium member, but all games can be played with a standard free account.
ANYWAY… I was gobsmacked to see the news that they now have a hex & counter wargame available to play. I’ve not played Unconditional Surrender before, and I must admit the 50 page rules tome is a little daunting, BUT it’s a wargame nonetheless. I hope to have a crack at it before too long…
it seems that all my buses came at once this week! Not only did I get my FREE Flames of War 4th edition upgrade, I managed to win a Blitzkrieg Commmander / Cold War Commander double-whammy on eBay, and bought a cheeky copy of Kings of War Historical too!
I’ve been wanting to get a hold of BKC ever since I heard it used push-your-luck command rolls to try and activate your units. I love the uncertainty in games like that which is undoubtedly why games like Crossfire and Song of Blades & Heroes tick my box!
Although Cold War shenanigans weren’t really my thing, I’ve found that I’ve been on a slippery slope into alt-80s wargaming ever since I picked up some 1/72 Spetsnaz and British Paras at last year’s Claymore. Up until now I’ve been making do with using Crossfire for this, but I’m gonna raid the army lists in CWC to make it a ‘little bit’ more authentic.
Call me slow on the uptake but I finally realised that I could get some great gonzo wargaming going using Kings of War Historical. I had been thinking of using Of Gods & Mortals with some homebrew factions in order to send Vikings or Samurai against the Undead and Goblinoids – I may still do this for small skirmishes. But for bigger battles that don’t involved brain-melting tomes, I’m gonna plump for KoWH… in 1/72 of course!
ARGH! After applying a Humbrol Clear gloss varnish and leaving my miniatures for 24 hrs to dry, I applied a Humbrol Clear matt varnish. Much to my disappointment the jerries ended up looking like they’d just returned from the Eastern Front. To say that I’m gutted is an understatement after trying my best to make them look as good as I can.
Has anyone got any tips for removing frosting and preventing it from happening in future? Thank you in advance!
Lieutenant Colonel John Malcolm Thorpe Fleming “Jack” Churchill (nicknamed Fighting Jack Churchill and Mad Jack) was a British soldier who fought throughout the Second World War armed with a longbow, Claymore sword and bagpipes. Now that’s what I call a character!