Chris Kemp's Not Quite Mechanised

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Frequently Asked Questions

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Q. Does it matter if we don't measure distances exactly? (Back to Movement)

A. Most of the time, no, as long as you adopt this convention: Before moving anything, state what you intend to do with it to your opponent. For example;

     "This Tank Battalion is moving into (its own) effective fire range of your defended position". 

If your opponent agrees that this is possible, then just do it. If you cannot agree, then measure it.

We use the distance between outstretched index finger and thumb as a unit of measurement. Infantry go one, tanks two, and recce three. It is amazingly quick, and gives Uncles an inbuilt advantage over smaller Nephews! There is too much going on, too fast, to dawdle.

Here you see an Italian CV33 going at less-than -maximum speed. I can stretch much further if I really have to. 

Q. Why don't you always bother to measure the speed of recce in the advance to contact? (Back to Recce)

A. If you allow recce to go as fast as it wants, and let the defender shout "Stop!" when he thinks that they should take a test, it avoids two or three tedious moves where recce crawls forward and nothing much happens. Make the attacker declare in advance where he is going to make his one allowed recce test before he starts moving . Only allowing the recce to make one recce test per bound means that bold commanders can throw their recce forward and accept the odd ambushed recce unit as the price of speed. Of course, timid players will still not take advantage of the potential speed of recce and will test every hostile bush - that's life.

Q. With all this hidden movement, and with hidden defenders, how do you know people aren't cheating during the recce phase?

A. You don't. Use an umpire, or play with people that you trust. Draw a map with your hidden units on it. Better still, take off and nuke the planet from orbit. It's the only way to be sure.

Q. I can't be bothered with all these Markers. Do I have to use them?    q

A. No. You can dispense with Ammo Markers by saying that every time a one is rolled, one stand is out of ammo and cannot fire until reorganised. The unit can be turned to face backwards if it is out of ammo, or hit. The game balance alters slightly, but not enough to worry about. The slightly increased availability of ammo is offset by the reduced firepower as units can no longer fire when hit. The balance swings in favour of the stronger unit. A quicker game results because a unit is taken off when it receives its second hit, or you can still use the casualty markers to designate a unit that has received two hits, and take off the marker on the third hit. 

I still find it easier to use pins, but some of my friends dislike them because they bite! An excellent idea used by Martin Goddard's AK47 is to use a piece of hamster bedding smoke to show a pin, or a cast marker that looks like a row of MG fire bursting in the dust.

My favourite way of showing disorganisation is to place an officer figure based on a penny. The best officer figures are the ones reading maps and pointing the wrong way!

 

Q. I Like 30mm figures, are they too big for NQM? B

A. No. We had a few games of "Silly Spacemen" using Club Members' 28mm Sci-Fi figures. They fitted onto 50mm square bases. I subsequently mounted a couple of figures on 40mm bases and they looked OK. Have a look in the Gallery and make up your own mind. More importantly, "Silly Spacemen" (name shamelessly stolen from Peter Howard's Silly Wizzards) played 3 times as fast as a Warhammer 40K game, and players got the hang of the rules in 30 minutes. Form an orderly queue now with your 50 notes ... !

Q. I've been looking at playing a game of NQM but I've come across something I'm not clear on in the rules.
It's to do with Combat Units supply and firing. I get the idea that a Combat Unit has 1 die per supply point but in Winning the Firefight it says that you keep rolling as often as you like (supply dependent?) but that "A Company can fire off CUs at a maximum of 1 per Company per hour".
So what happens exactly? Say 3 companies attacking a defender: Roll  3d6 - see result, not good enough, try again, rolling 3 more d6 and hence expending more ammo?
And how many CU's do the infantry start the game with?
 

A. At the start of the game, each company (STAND) of infantry or armour gets 3 dice per base/stand. Artillery usually get 3 or 4 on the gun, and perhaps 3 or 4 more on the limber.

 
Usually, I give 1 die per figure (STRENGTH POINT), so a 3 figure infantry Coy gets 3 dice. It is usual for all units to begin the game fully supplied, but scenario play allows you to decide how well supplied units are at the start of the battle.
 
Hence in each hour (round) of combat, a stand can fire 1 die. After 3 rounds of combat (lasting 3 hours), the Coy is out of ammo, and must resupply.
 
I usually give each Divisional size unit (on the Eastern Front), or Brigade sized unit (on the Western Front) a truck or two as supply companies. Each truck may have 3 or 4 CUs onboard, which should be enough to supply each fighting Bn in the Div/Bde once in the game (you may have to juggle here to get the game balance that you want). A Bn will resupply by having a truck to drive up to it in contact. 
 
One CU taken off the truck becomes a full resupply of dice for the Bn.
 
Example:
 
The Cheshires have
 
Comd (2)
 
A Coy (3)
B Coy (3)
C Coy (3)
MG Pl (3)
Mor Pl (3)
 
A total of 17 Light dice to start the battle with. The companies fight 3 rounds of combat, each firing off 1 die per hour (the maximum they are allowed). They are then out of ammo until a brigade supply truck rolls up to donate 1 CU, which brings them back up to strength. The mortars, MG and Comd have not fired so need no resupply. They cannot stockpile extra ammo. (Sometimes I do allow this in defence, especially troops facing massive attacks. The defenders cannot take any ammo with them that they cannot carry [max of 1 die per unwounded figure] if they are forced to retreat from the position.)

I'm running through the rules and using an attack by a Regular British Infantry Brigade on a Veteran German Infantry Battalion (of x3 Inf Coy stands and a MMG stand say) that is dug in as an example.

Brits are formed up 2 Bns up, 1 back with each Bn 2 Coys up 1 back.

Brits are ~1km from defending Germans.

Turn Sequence:

1. Write New Orders.

   Brigade HQ says 'Attack - capture the German defensive position.' (Therefore this is a Brigade attack)

 

2. Move to Contact and Run Recce Sequence.

   I have a (Regular) Recce stand that moves towards the Germans. It stops about 300m from the Germans and I roll a red, white and blue dice for Recce Sequence.

Red = 5, (Reg Attacker fails to spot Vet Defender) White = 3,(Vet Defender fails to Ambush, or allow to pass with defender remaining hidden, Reg Attacker ) Blue =2. (Vet Defender  opens up at effective range using the engagement table)

From the Recce Sequence Table I can see that a Regular Recce trying to spot a Vet Defender needs a 6 to spot first. They get a 5 so the defenders spot first.

Here's where I need a bit of clarification. For the White dice to resolve 'Defender ambushes or allows Recce bypass unmolested' I take it you resolve again on the Recce Sequence Table?

(Yes, but treat the defender as the active party [i.e. as if they were conducting the recce]). It isn't the clearest bit of rule writing in the world.

 But looking at the values it seems that it is easier for a Militia defender (who needs a 3+)

(No. Use the militia recce-ing line. They can only hope to ambush against a Conscript [scoring a 6] or Militia [scoring a 5] attacker) to ambush than a Vet defender (who needs a 6) (No. Use the Veteran recce-ing line. They can ambush everyone except elite.)  Does the White dice on the Recce Sequence table actually mean 'Defender Opens Fire', which would seem to fit the table a bit better? (No, see above. If the defender fails to meet the recce score to ambush the attacker, or stay hidden and let the attacker pass, the defender opens fire on the attacker)

In this case a Vet defender would open fire on a 6 and ambush on a 1-5. (No, see above)

 

The Blue dice indicates that the Vet defender opens up at effective range (Yes). A single defender stand rolls a single dice at the Recce stand in the open, in this case causing no effect (say). If they had have caused casualties and the Recce stand had turned and run that might have caused the following troops a bit of a problem? (Not necessarily. Watching the Cherry Pickers getting a spanking may cause the Cheshire's morale to rise :O) You can write your own scenario rules if you feel the situation merits it.)

 

I now take it that the rest of the Brigade can move up at 'Move to Contact rate' for foot troops of 1kph, in this case I move them up to 300m from the defenders. (Yes)  

3. Decide level of attack. Preliminary bombardments. Remove Arty ammo.

Prelim bombardment of x1 battery of 25lbers does no damage (say). x1 Ammo dice removed. (Normal for the Gunners :O))  

4. Firefight sequence. Check morale if required.

The 2 Brits Bns up have a go at effective range with x2 Inf Coys + x1 MMG + x1 3" Mor each => 8 dice. I take it that other units in front of a stand block Line-of-fire? (I usually play it this way. Sometimes I allow mortars to join in, depending on the mood that I'm in [You should be picking up the flexibility of NQM here. Just don't change your mind in mid-game!]) If not it could go to x3 Inf Coys + x1 MMG + x1 3" Mor each => 10 dice. Lets say that the Brits get 5 hits from L fire against Dug-in and spread these hits amongst 4 defending units (say) so that 1 Defender gets 2 hits. (Yes)

 Defenders are disorganised? Assume yes. (Yes)

What happens to Break tests for defenders? Do they need to take any or is it only for attackers? (No, both test when the occasion demands it)

 Defenders fire back at Brits in the open but cause no hits (say). (Lucky Cheshires!)

5. Apply Morale results if appropriate.

Assume defenders OK.

6. Run Close Assault sequence.

Brits have caused more casualties than they have received but because they are Regular they cannot Close Assault in the same hour, so they have to wait until next turn. (Yes)

7. Counterattacks.

What happens here? Can't find anything in the rules about it. Presume defenders stay put. (Yes, Counterattacks are put in from the defenders in-depth positions, to recapture positions that have just been taken by the attacker)

8. Reorganisation and Resupply.

The defender with 2 hits gets an auto reduction to 1 hit. The other defenders with 1 hit lose the hit on a 4,5,6. Infantry can carry a maximum of 1 hit.  (No, this is the key bit. A stand with 3 figures on it can carry up to 3 [pre-reorganisation RED hits. On reorganisation, two Red hits come off automatically, to be replaced by one BLACK hit. The remaining one, as you say, is diced for and comes off on a 4,5,6]) A stand with 3 red hits on it can stay in the field, but if it takes another hit, it is permanently removed. (you can only ask so much of your troops). For this reason, it is usually wise to reorganise troops as soon a s possible. 

Need a bit more of a clarification here: it says that "..remaining stands with markers are taken off .. to brigade medical post..". I take it that units with just 1 casualty stay put (YES) but that units with 2+ hits get removed from the table and get carted off to the brigade medical post? (No, when a 3 figure stand has three black hits on it, it is carted off to the aid post. I only play this in campaigns, because in a single battle, troops being whisked off to hospital swathed in bandages rarely make it back in time to affect the outcome of that particular battle)

  No re-supply as only 1 die expended so far by each firing unit.

Next Turn.

Assume firefight again. Take it that Brits can advance to close combat but that if they firefight and receive more casualties than they inflict the Close Assault is cancelled?  (Postponed, until more reinforcements are added to the attack. This is where the Bn in depth becomes useful :O))

 

 

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