Tuesday, 15 March 2016
Neil Thomas Tanks
A few months ago I bought Neil Thomas’s Wargaming: An Introduction, and you’ll recall that I played a couple of games using the ACW rules from it. There is a set of WWII rules, and I wondered if it would be possible to play a game basically just using the tank side of them. After reading them through, I reckon that it it.
It goes without saying that I’d make a few changes.
(i) The rules group all tank guns into the categories Ultra-Light, Light, Medium, Heavy and Super-heavy. Armour is similarly classified as Light, Medium, Heavy and Super-Heavy. When testing for penetration you roll a D6: a 1-2 is a Miss, a 3-4 is Immobilised and a 5-6 is Destroyed. You add a factor for the weight of the gun and deduct one for the thickness of the Armour. This is basically done in increments of 2 with Medium as the zero point, so a Heavy gun gets +2 but Heavy armour causes a -2. This means that there is scope for some granularity, with, say, an armour rating between the 0 of Medium and the -2 of Heavy. It is simple enough step to reclassify all guns and armour as numbers, from 1-8; when rolling to penetrate, add the Gun factor and subtract the Armour. Roughly, Light becomes 2, Medium 4, Heavy 6 and Super-Heavy 8, but with some guns and armour going up or down one point from the Neil Thomas classifications.
That previous paragraph will make more sense when I post some tank stats. But they won't be in this post.
(ii) The damage table is quite deadly, since an Immobilised vehicle is stuck for the rest of the game. A second Immobilised result destroys it. I would make it a touch more complex:
2 or less = Miss
3 = Damaged
4 = Immobilised
5+ = Destroyed
‘Damaged’ is the same as Immobilised in terms of effect, except that at the start of the turn the tank rolls a D6 and on a 4+ it is removed. So it’s like Immobilised, but temporary. Otherwise it’s treated as Immobilised, although I am still looking at some possible interactions with respect to that.
(iii) The rules use a single set of range-bands for all tank and anti-tank guns. I suspect I’ll change that at some stage, but I haven’t really looked at it. The range band dictates the chance of a hit. I would add two modifiers: -1 if the vehicle moved or pivoted (a tank can only half-move and fire as well), and a -1 if the vehicle is Immobilised or Damaged.
(iv) In the delightfully all or nothing way that Neil Thomas writes his rules, artillery has no effect on tanks in this game. I’m looking at changing that; I think it can be built into the artillery fire procedure, with maybe hits causing potential Damage results rather than outright destruction.
(As an aside, on the subject of HE, rating guns as numbers also allows for different HE ratings. Neil Thomas has all tank guns rolling 10D6 when firing HE. This can now be adjusted to rolling a number of dice equal to twice the Gun rating. It also allows for the defining of howitzers and infantry support guns in a simple way; they get the gun rating appropriate to their size, but it counts one less for anti-tank fire and one more for the purposes of calculating HE dice)
There are a few other minor tweaks I plan on making, but I won’t bore you with them. The next stage is to play a game.