D-Day to Berlin:
Corp-Level Rules for WWII
Western Front 1944-1945. by Chris Parker. PDF and Softcover. 37 pages.
I had looked at this rule set back in the beta test phase, when it used a d10 instead of the d6s in this released version. Back then, DDtB used the same battalion per stand structure across battlefield squares (zones) as it does now. I see how it has been improved in the interim period. For now, consider my comments a first look.
Each battlefield zone (square) represents about two miles and each non-artillery stand represents a battalion. The artillery stand represents a regiment, or at least that’s what I gather from comparing a 1944 US infantry division OB with the associated OB in the rules. You get to stack four battalions per square.
The idea is that a player is at least a division commander (15 stands in a 1944 US infantry division), but with the idea that grognard players can take care of a corp (call it three divisions). With corp-level assets, call it about 50 stands — that’s a lot of stands. For convention games, a division, perhaps with a corp asset or two attached, will be just right.
Combat uses a number of d6s, the exact number depending on the number of troops, supporting troops, artillery and air support, and another factor or three. Any hits to a zone get distributed on the defenders, who can retreat intact, or, tempt fate with a successful saving roll to stay put.
Combat is the cleverest part of the system and a sweet improvement. If you have overkill, the excess hits are applied as division morale markers and generate long-term consequences. Did I mention that this is even cleverer?
Movement is basically two zones (squares) for mechanized units and one zone for everything else.
For units within a division to move, you pick a zone within the HQ command range of two zones and roll one d6 activation roll that applies to all units in that zone, with a 3/6 chance of a regular move, a 1/6 chance of a double move, a 1/6 chance of no move, and a 1/6 chance of a fall-back move.
Here’s where I part ways with roll-to-move systems*. I put an asterisk there so I can reiterate the long-standing Russ’ Rule: If you don’t have movement, you don’t have a game and I came to game, not to sit. When you have a 1/3 chance of not moving, on average you will not game for 1/3 the time, or for the logic purists out there, on average a third of your units will sit.
Yes, I know. It’s my personal preference. I also seem to be in the distinct minority. Whatever movement mechanic you like is A-OK by me. I’m just saying there are plenty of other aspects in a turn for randomness to stall your attack or have your guys run away. Random movement shouldn’t be one of them.
DDtB uses a 15-point clock to represent the daylight hours of a game turn. Essentially, the game turn is Igo-Ugo with a determination of who goes first.
After this first player ends his five-step phase, he rolls a d6 and subtracts the roll from 15. Then the other player takes his five phases and rolls a d6. That roll is subtracted and the first player takes another five phases and rolls a d6. When the total is 15 or higher, the daylight portion of the turn ends and so begins the night portion of rallying, reinforcements, and other end turn aspects.
As no combat takes place at night, the clock mechanism adds uncertainty to the turn length, or, more to the point, whether the side that went first in the turn will be able to squeeze out an extra phase over the opponent. I told you there were long-term consequences. I like this idea.
DDtB contains other nuances in the application of firepower, a pair of scenarios, OOBs of the most common US, British, and German division types, examples of play, and optional rules.
Note that while this is available as a PDF, www.onmilitarymatters.com prints and sells the hard copy version with a pair of Quick Reference Sheets as well as the PDF.
Obviously, I have to grid out my table and give this a go in order to offer more than just a first look.
I can say that DDtB possesses many clever ideas.