Saturday, November 19, 2011

Prokhorovka Playtest Turn 2

This will be an ongoing record of my first playtest of my Prokhorovka (Kursk) scenario using the Field of Battle: WW2 (FOBWW2) rules from Piquet.  This is Turn 2, the Night turn of July 10, 1943.

Night turns are an interesting part of  FOBWW2.  Each day consists of 3 turns:  the AM turn, the PM turn and the Night turn.  A lot of action happens during the Day turns, but when the Night turn comes it's time to reorganize and repair the damage done during the day's fighting.

During the night turn the following rules change:
  • Initiative dice are DOWN 2.  So instead of rolling for cards with a German D12 vs. a Soviet D10, we have to roll a German D8 vs. a Soviet D6.  This means less chance for a large difference between the dice ( and less cards to act on) and a greater chance to tie the Initiative dice and end the turn early.
  • Movement die rolls are DOWN 2.  You normally roll for movement with your command die vs. a D6.  For every multiple of 3 you beat the D6 result by, the moving command can move an extra move segment.  So reducing the size of movement dice at night reduces the amount of movement units can make.
  • Units may make a redeployment move if they start at least 10" from the enemy.  They may redeploy anywhere on the table on a single Move card as long as they don't come closer than 20" to any enemy units.     
  • Fire combat is limited to 5" range.
  • Close assaults can only be done on the Close Assault card.  No hasty close assaults during Night.
  • No air support.
  • 5" visibility and halved visibility in terrain.
  • Units can dig in at night with a successful Engineering roll.
  • Truck-mounted units can mount up on their trucks at night.
  • Most importantly, the Night turn can end on a Morale card pulled by either player.  Out of the approximately 27 cards each player has in his deck, 3 of them are Morale cards.  So between the two decks, there are six more chances the Night turn will end early.
From the Soviet perspective, there are some things that can be achieved on this 10 July Night turn.  The Soviets have an infantry battalion and an entire motorized rifle brigade (53 MRB) arriving on the Night turn.

The infantry battalion has to enter on the eastern board edge (MAP ARROW 2), but I could declare that 53 MRB is travelling up the Psel River valley and have the brigade enter anywhere on the eastern 6 feet of the north board edge (MAP ARROW 1) with a slight delay of one Move card.  The advantage of this move is that the 53 MRB could garrison the Psel River villages along the north board edge when it enters the table.  The 99th Tank Brigade is barely holding onto Mikhailovka and Andreevka is completely unoccupied since its defenders were destroyed by German direct fire prior to the end of the PM turn.

Maintaining control of these Psel River villages allows the Soviets to continue to threaten the left flank of the Germans as they advance toward Prokhorovka.  The risk is that the Soviets won't get enough Move cards to bring the 53 MRB before daylight and the July 11 AM turn arrives.

The other potential move is to use the T-34 companies of the 169th Tank Brigade parked behind the Storozhevoe woods and launch a night attack (MAP ARROW 3) on the armored car companies of the 1st SS Recon Battalion position on the German right flank west of Storozhevoe.  The German T-34 tanks could cause some serious damage to the lightly armored German recon units and it might be an opportunity to cause some quick damage to the Germans.

While this aggressive attack is tempting, this would be a smarter attack to try during daylight hours.  Since Night reduces the armored command's movement die from a D8 to a D4, it's almost impossible for the tankers to get more than 1 movement segment on a Move card and they need at least 2 move segments to get close enough to see the Germans in the darkness.  Also, with the arrival of the the division's other PzGr Regiment, the 1st SS AT Bn, and the 1st SS Stug Bn on the morning of 11 July, the Soviet armored strike force would most likely be destroyed by the Germans before they could fall back to safety.  The Soviets just don't possess the command and control to launch these types of night operations without serious risks.

After assessing my options, I rejected the night tank attack as too risky.  I might attempt the attack if I could get a lot of cards and rolled 2 movement segments prior to launching the attack, but I'll wait and see.

I did declare the 53 MRB entering through the Psel River valley and onto the north board edge.  I'm willing to risk weakening my center to position such a strong threat along the left flank of the German avenue of approach.


First, I rolled the dice to check to see if SS Totenkopf and SS Das Reich made any progress on my flanks during the 10 July fighting.  Nope.  Big shocker there.  Thanks, jerks.

The Initiative die roll resulted in a German 7 vs. a Soviet 1 result.  6 cards!  I wasn't expecting that.

The Germans pulled a few Command and Control cards and did a great job repairing the tanks that were damaged the previous days' fighting.  Only the Tiger company was unsuccessful at replacing its losses.

The Germans then flipped a Move 1 Command card.  They moved a PG Battalion into the unoccupied village of AndreevkaPsel River village, Mikhailovka.

Another Move card allowed the Germans to move armor around the village and the single Soviet tank company defending Mikhailovka nervously listened as the sounds of armor came nearer.

The next card for the Germans was a Close Assault card.  The Germans geared up to assault Mikhailovka.  The surrounding German tanks conducted preparatory fire on the village before the Germans infantry were sent in.  The Soviet tanks fired back, but the German tank fire destroyed the Soviet defenders and the shattered Russian tankers fled from their defenses.  With no defenders, there was no close assault.  Instead the German infantry waited for the flames of the burning village to die down so they could occupy the ruins.

Now it was the Soviet turn to flip cards.  The first Soviet card flipped was the Firepower card, but with no visible targets, this didn't help them.  The next card was the MORALE CARD!!!!! ARRRGH!!  No Move card?!

The Night turn ended on the Morale card.

The Soviets were only able to bring on their single infantry battalion.  My decision to bring the 53 MRB onto the northern board edge meant that I'll have to wait until the 11 July AM turn to bring them on to the table.  Apparently the 53 MRB is stuck in congested traffic on the way to the front lines.  Hopefully, they'll show up soon.  In the meantime, someone will have to answer for this.  Commissar!!!


  1. Love it! Guess the 53 MRB doesn't want to get chewed up...


  2. Maybe. Those villages are only Class II cover and no drift for artillery because they're town sections! Buckle your helmets, 53rd!

  3. how do you like the rules. Would you recommend them. What about that dice roll for initiative are there modifiers or you just roll and the difference is how many cards the opponent gets. Also on initiative you said you rolled 7 versus 1 thus 6 cards. But how many cards do you get. Or is initiative based on whos turn it is. Or is it that he rolled higher and he gets 6 cards and you get none because you rolled less. Just trying to understand the mechanics of the game. Great site by the way.


  4. I would recommend them, especially for large scale battles. The rules focus more on command and friction issues and less on questions of armor angle and gun penetration statistics. If you think the game I'm describing in the playtest sounds like fun then you might like them.

    Each side has a deck that ranges from Abysmal to Superior. Better decks have better cards in them. Companies make variable moves (determined by a die roll based on their sub-commander's ability) on Move cards. They reload on Firepower cards. Artillery spotting and rallying occurs on Command & Control cards, etc.

    Each side rolls for initiative and the difference in the die rolls is the number of cards each can play in that particular Initiative. The winner decides who goes first. Bad armies have smaller initiative dice and also Lull cards in their deck that give the opponent a chance to interrupt their Initiative with a fresh card. Turns end when one side runs out of cards in its deck or the initiative dice roll a tie.

    Momentum swings back and forth as initiative changes and different cards are flipped. The rules are great for solitaire play. I'm currently playing this playtest solo and it is almost as fun as playing against an opponent.

    Please feel free to post any other questions you have about the game. It is available from

  5. Also, the only time the Initiative dice are modified up and down is at Night.

    In all of the Piquet family of games, dice aren't modified by +1 or -2. They go Up and Down in size based on modifiers. For example, if my tank has a D10 combat die and it shoots at an infantry target in the woods (DOWN 1 for Class II cover), I would roll a D8 for the shot. The dice progression is D4 to D6 to D8 to D10 to D12 to D12+1 to D12+2, etc.

    So in my example, if I took the shot and the infantry target had a D4 defense die, we would roll a D8 vs its D4 and subtract the difference. If I beat its D4 roll and rolled Even, the target is suppressed. For every 3 I beat it by, the target loses a strength point (it has 3 before it is eliminated).

    Movement works the same way. My tank company normally moves 12" per move segment. On a Move card, I roll my D12 command die for the unit vs. a D6. If I beat it and roll Even, the unit can conduct special movement and ignore certain terrain. As long as I don't roll a "1", I can move one movement segment. For every 3 I beat the D6 result by, I get an extra movement segment up to a total of 3.

  6. I also forgot to mention that the Night rules are very interesting for another reason.

    If you wanted to modify the rules for 1980 Warsaw Pact/Modern, it's very easy to ease the Night restrictions for forces like the US that are much more capable of operating during darkness. Forces with superior night-vision equipment might be able to ignore some of the night restrictions.