Run, Rabbit, Run!

I suffer from a serious case of gamer ADD and have rabbited off after another project.

I spent the week piddling around with some test figures…15mm Command Decision sculpts by way of Old Glory miniatures. I have some vague intention of playing Crossfire or maybe Fireball forward with these guys.

Really, this new project is a part of my quest to sucker some of my board gaming friends over the line into playing miniatures. Or maybe I’ve just rationalized a way to get and paint some more miniatures. But hear me out, anyway!  So far, levels of interest in ACW have been very low, and while a buddy of mine played in a test game of Chain of Command with me, he constantly had this confused and/or overwhelmed expression on his face.  He said he’d play again, but I think he was just being nice.

So, I need a rules set less intimidating for newbies, and it needs to address a more popular historical subject. Everyone’s seen Saving Private Ryan, and probably had to watch The Longest Day on a Sunday afternoon when they were a kid, so I think WWII is the period to go for. Crossfire reads as if it would be easy to play (though I hear it’s difficult to master (which isn’t a bad thing)), and it has some nice mechanics that do away with some of the common complexities of wargames, but the armor rules are less than satisfying. I haven’t read Fireball Forward, yet, but I’ve read it has similar innovative mechanics to Crossfire, but addresses armor a bit more equally. I have a copy on the way to me, so I’ll soon find out the truth of the matter. Feel free to express an opinion below!

Here are some D-day/early post D-day paratroopers I’ve painted up. I intend for them to be 82nd airborne, though I haven’t committed to painting unit insignia, yet. They’ll remain unbased, until I’ve settled on a set of rules.


This means I'll have to do 20' of 15mm bocage! Maybe I should switch to the East Front.

This means I’ll have to do 20′ of 15mm bocage! Maybe I should switch to the East Front.

I think the painting is ok, though the flags are a bit too high contrast, and the webbing is too low in contrast to the basic uniform. The sculpts are plenty good for the price, which is roughly $0.30 per figure.




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  • grantdyck  On 06/13/2014 at 5:47 pm

    I’m not sure about the air cooled MG; I have a hunch that they jumped only with air-cooled .30cal, otherwise, great work on your Airborne!

    • grantdyck  On 06/13/2014 at 5:50 pm

      That should read “not sure about liquid cooled” :)

      • arkiegamer  On 06/13/2014 at 6:16 pm

        I figured! I’m sure you’re right about that-it wouldn’t make much sense to take on the extra weight.

      • arkiegamer  On 06/13/2014 at 6:23 pm

        Yep-you are correct. Looks like only glider- borne troops would have had the water cooled version. Thanks for the heads up!

  • grantdyck  On 06/13/2014 at 6:59 pm

    I did some 101st in 28mm,
    and really enjoyed painting them. I do a fair amount of research in my projects, and hadn’t seen the liquid cooled guns before!

    Cheers – they still look excellent!!!

    • arkiegamer  On 06/13/2014 at 7:24 pm

      Thanks! The 82nd had a glider regiment, so there may still be a use for the water cooled guns, yet.

  • John Dillon  On 06/14/2014 at 2:38 am

    They look great to me!
    Ive played both Crossfire and Fireball Forward and despite comparisons constantly being drawn between them I found them to play very differently. I can understand the comparisons from the fact that both employ quite unique and innovative movement mechanics. But from my experience of playing them they are very different.

    Firstly I would say they were two of my favorite sets at that company level engagement.
    Secondly while Crossfire is very simple in its mechanics it has a very brilliant imho but abstract concept of time in regards to action, initative and movement. This non-linear relationship between these elements can lead many to misunderstand the objective behind the system and reject it as unrealistic.

    Again in my opinion if you can get your head around the non-linear concepts it is an incredible simulator of creating the fog of war and eleminating the 90 foot omnipresent general who sees and knows all on the entire battlefield.
    It also encourages authentic tactics of move and maneuver as well as the importancy of holding a reserve. And Ive never played a wargame that exploits a poorly prepared defence position.

    That said, in my experience unless the individuals playing have an enthusiastical appreciation of these things than it is a difficult sell. Quite realistically firefights can become drawn out static affairs where neither side want to make that bold decision to force their opponents hand. Therefore I have found the game very much relies on thoughtfully conceived scenarios. The proper use of terrain cover on the scenarios battlefield is also paramount.

    Personally I absolutely loved Crossfire but needs to be understood before whats its trying to do is fully appreciated. Unfortunately in my experience a lot of nongaming types wont fall into this category.

    Its strange but the two games Ive had the most interest shown by jon gamers are FoW and Bolt Action. The players are given limited options with a strict and definate schedule and most newcomers respond very positively.

    Anyway great topic…


    • arkiegamer  On 06/14/2014 at 7:38 am

      Wow! I appreciate the information.

      My friends I’m trying to ‘convert’ aren’t wargamers, but they are very experienced and capable board gamers. Certainly abstract mechanics wouldn’t be a problem, as long as they’re internally consistent, and my buddies wouldn’t be locked into the whole “move 6″, tanks have a range of 18” mindset. Their understanding of WWII tactics is practically nil, though, so appreciating the simulation might be a tough thing for them to do.

      Do you happen to know of any good Crossfire scenarios online? I know Lloydian Aspects has several, but they’re a little light on maps, which seems to be the most important thing.

      You seem to be more enthusiastic about Crossfire than Fireball Forward-does FF have significant problems, or is it just that it pales in comparison?

      As far as Flames of War and Bolt Action, I can’t say that either system has ever appealed to me. Flames of War seems pretty complicated, and has things like divisional artillery on the table, which is pretty bizarre. With BA, you read things on the internet like “units are unable to fire their rifles across the length of Pegasus Bridge,” which doesn’t exactly stoke the fires of enthusiasm in my heart.

      Maybe I should just bite the bullet (so to speak), and pick up a copy of Bolt Action and give it a shot (again with the violence!). I’m sure I could use my 20mm WWII stuff, as is, for that game.

      • John Dillon  On 06/15/2014 at 5:59 pm

        Don’t get me wrong I really do like Fireball Forward and it doesnt take long to teach so introducing new players long to catch on.

        Where Crossfire is exceptional IMO is it’s ability to represent the Fog of War in a non complex way which doesn’t require an umpire or ghosts or maps.

        Again to me if a gamer is interested in attempting to recreate a realistic company level ww2 engagement then you have to illiminate each sides ability to know and instantly respond to each other’s movement. This didn’t happen and die to the limitations of the technology available was impossible. So in my opinion to neglect this is really making little attempt to reflect the historical tactical challenges facing the CCs of the time. I have spent so much time and effort trying to address this and I had never found a satisfying solution without slowing the initial phases of the game to a snails pace. Crossfire did this without any real addition to slow moving mechanics. Need to go but I’ll get back to you about scenarios :)

      • arkiegamer  On 06/15/2014 at 6:42 pm

        Yes-I did notice that Fireball Forward relies on a referee or the use of blinds.

        Lack of fog-of-war seems to be endemic to miniatures wargames, in general.

        I mean, you read almost any American Civil War battle account, and the confusion of the battlefield and difficulty in getting orders carried out is an extremely common phenomenon-one on which the entire battle often hinges.

        I look forward to hearing about the scenarios. Thanks!

  • John Dillon  On 06/14/2014 at 2:44 am

    My apologies for several mistakes in the message but im having probs with this keyboard ;)


  • tinpotrevolutionary  On 06/15/2014 at 4:34 pm

    Hey Mr. Arkie! If you’re not careful you’ll have WWII in all the scales! ;)

    As you know Crossfire gets my vote every time, you get to play the period not the rules. In regards to tanks, the one action per initiative is rather limiting, however, I played a demo game at a war games convention earlier this year where they gave vehicles 3 actions per initiative and that certainly opens things up a little.

    • arkiegamer  On 06/15/2014 at 5:58 pm

      I know. It’s pathetic, isn’t it?!

      I read somewhere about that 3 initiatives house rule. I’ll give it a shot as written first, though.

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