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Author Topic: Germans vs. GIs using FFoL:BB...  (Read 1222 times)

Offline CapnJim

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Germans vs. GIs using FFoL:BB...
« on: June 18, 2021, 09:35:16 PM »
Verdammt!  Hauling that MG42 up to the church's steeple roof was scheisse.  But it paid off.  Oberleutnant Schmidt should be happy with us now.  We were able to really put it to those Amerikanischen along that wall.  But he could see the 5 men down from 2. Gruppe on the farm lane right below him, and the burning StuG on the road next to the church they were up in.   And Obergefreiter Schweinkopf knew what was coming next.  He had seen it before.  The zug his gruppe was attached to had sent those Amis back on their heals.  But now their artillery would play hell with us. And then more of them would come.  And we would play this game all over again.

One of my wargame buddies and I played an impromptu game of Fistful or Lead: Bigger Battles (FFoL:BB) earlier today.  28mm figs on a 6'x4' battlefield.  It was a meeting engagement between US Army infantry and German Heer Panzergrenadiers. 

The US Army force had a Platoon HQ (leader, with Encouraging trait), a medic (with Medic trait), 3 rifle squads, a M1919 MMG team, a Bazooka team, and 2 M4 Sherman Tanks.  Figures consisted of Warlord (metal and plastic), Perry (plastic), Empress (metal), and Black Tree Design (metal) miniatures.  The Shermans were 1 each of Rubicon and Warlord plastics. 

The Heer force had a Zug HQ (leader, with Encouraging trait), a medic (with Medic trait), 3 panzergrenadier gruppen, a MG42 MMG team, a Panzerschreck team, a StuGIII assault gun, a PzKfwIV tank, and 2 SdKfz251 halftracks.  Figures consisted of Warlord (metal and plastic), Wargames Factory (plastic), and Artizan Design (metal) miniatures.  The halftracks were 1 each of a Rubicon plastic and Collectors' Battlefield pre-painted.  The StuG was a Warlord plastic, and the PzKfwIV was a toy I picked up at a Dollar General store somewhere along the line.

In the first pic below, the Germans came in on the right, while the Americans came in on the left.  The hard surface road snakes all the way from the American board edge to the German board edge.  As you can see, there were woods, walls, farms, farm lanes, hedgerows, and a church scattered about.  No forces started on the board, and all came in on cards in the 1st turn.

We rolled to see who played who and who came in on which board edge.  I played the Germans, and (as mentioned above) I came in from the right.  I'll tell the story from the German ZugFuhrer's perspective.

I led with my Gruppe's mounted in 251's heading up the main road.  Once they got even with the church, they spotted, and began taking ineffective fire from 2 American tanks a ways down the road.  I guess they misjudged the range.  We hadn't spotted any American infantry yet, but know they'd be out there somewhere.  I had the tank and the assault gun (with the assault gun leading) follow the 251s up the road, while my attached MG42 team sprinted as best they could to get in the church.  I wanted them up in the church tower to set up a good base of fire.  I took my 3. Gruppe and the Panzershcreck team around the right of the church to advance through the hedgerows.     

One 251 veered left down a farm lane to avoid more US tank fire, while the 2nd one went right just beyond the church.  The StuG and Panzer could deal with the tanks on the road.  It took a little time, but the MG42 team got up in that tower, and I and my 2. and 3. Gruppen and the Schreck team got set up along a hedgerow in front of the church covering the right of our little battlefield.  When we got there, it looked like my American counterpart had the same idea.  He deployed his troops in a near mirror image of mine.   

In an attempt to outflank his units on our right that had set up along a stone wall facing my line at the hedgerow, I sent my 1. Gruppe in their 251 around more open ground on our left, toward a small farm.  That move, it turned out, would pay off big!

In the meantime, The American tanks had KO'ed my StuG, and once our Panzer got into a good firing position, the other American tank moved to their left to support his main effort.  My troops on the right traded fire, with some effect going both ways, with the Americans across the field from them.  Their tank that moved up in their support tried to blast the church tower, but sent several shells flying high over the church.

By now, with both my and the Americans' main efforts having taken a few casualties, it looked like we might have a stalemate in the making.  Then things swung our way, all in a few minutes.  First, my Panzer finally forced the crew of the Sherman that stayed on the road to bail out.  Then, my Panzergrenadiers at the hedgerow and the MG42 in the church tower did a real number on the American troops arrayed against them.  Then, the Panzergrenadier squad I sent around the left to that little farm wiped out the US squad there, along with their MG team.  They took a few casualties in doing so, but I now had someone that could threaten the Americans' right flank.  And, as a bonus, the Schreck team managed a decent hit on the other Sherman!

At that point, the Americans succumbed to reality, and backed off the board.  But we all know they'd be back.  Along with their damn artillery...

And that was it.  The fight was over.  The Germans took 30% casualties, and the Americans about 60%.  And we really though the rules made for a WW2 game that felt right.  I am currently reading Panzer Killers by Daniel Bolger, and our little fight felt and played out just like one of the many engagement described by Gen. Bolger in his book.  We only used a few traits, but they worked very well.  We played our game to a tactical conclusion in about 2-1/2 hours, with both of us only having played the game once before, a couple weeks ago.  We think the FFoL:BB rules are a keeper!

Thanks for reading.  Pics of the fight below, and in the next post.  As usual, comments/questions/critiques welcome! :) 

"Remember - Incoming Fire Has the Right-of-Way"

Offline CapnJim

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Re: Germans vs. GIs using FFoL:BB...
« Reply #1 on: June 18, 2021, 09:37:35 PM »
The rest of the pics...

Offline Hu Rhu

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Re: Germans vs. GIs using FFoL:BB...
« Reply #2 on: June 18, 2021, 09:54:08 PM »
Very nice set up.  Lovely terrain and miniatures and a cracking good AAR.  First class.  :-* :-*

Offline vodkafan

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Re: Germans vs. GIs using FFoL:BB...
« Reply #3 on: June 18, 2021, 09:59:44 PM »
After reading avidly all the CoC battle reports on here, it's kind of inevitable I was comparing this to those, especially as you set it up as a platoon a side.
It's almost like these are a beer and pretzel version at the same level...
It would be interesting to play a couple of the Bloody Bucket scenarios using FFoL Bigger Battles and see how differences play out.
I am going to build a wargames army, a big beautiful wargames army, and Mexico is going to pay for it.

2019 Painting Challenge :
figures bought: 500+
figures painted: 57
9 vehicles painted
4 terrain pieces scratchbuilt

Offline Marine0846

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Re: Germans vs. GIs using FFoL:BB...
« Reply #4 on: June 19, 2021, 03:08:32 AM »
Cool AAR.
Nice set up with your figures and terrain.
Semper Fi, Mac

Offline crafty

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Re: Germans vs. GIs using FFoL:BB...
« Reply #5 on: June 20, 2021, 01:08:08 AM »
Great write up thank you very much. We've played a few multiplayer games of FFoL, and it is always really good fun. Very engaging for all players.

I'm interested in the 'Bigger Battles' supplement...is there more 'book-keeping' to track unit losses & morale etc? how does it compare with the base game in this sense?

In our man-to-man/four player games, we usually have roughly 3-4 figures - with traits - per player. That usually gives players enough fuel to last an entire game...as FFoL can get pretty bloody, and one doesn't want to sit idly by after all their dudes are killed off in the first few turns....
This Slap-Dash Life

Offline flatpack

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Re: Germans vs. GIs using FFoL:BB...
« Reply #6 on: June 20, 2021, 08:18:19 AM »
We’ve played a couple of FFOL BB games now, set in Back of Beyond, and really enjoy the rules. (AAR can be found in Back of Beyond section )
There is no more book keeping, as wounds are taken as figures removed from the table.
Nice to see it being used for ww2. Got me thinking......

Offline fred

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Re: Germans vs. GIs using FFoL:BB...
« Reply #7 on: June 20, 2021, 09:14:21 AM »
Sounds a good game - hadn’t thought of using FFoL bigger battles for WWII - but I suppose why not!

In my test game of FFoL bigger battles it was pretty brutal

Offline crafty

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Re: Germans vs. GIs using FFoL:BB...
« Reply #8 on: June 20, 2021, 11:29:24 AM »
There is no more book keeping, as wounds are taken as figures removed from the table.

Thanks for the reply...have yet to use vehicles in FFoL...are vehicles treated like 'battlefield characters' with their own stats? One of the things I love about the game is the simplicity, but am reluctant to add armoured vehicles to the game unless the mechanisms are simple & fast to resolve. My mates aren't going to go for charts detailing penetration values, facings, HE vs Anti-rounds etc etc etc...

Don't get me wrong I personally love detailed wargames, but we play FFoL as more of a narrative/roleplaying/miniatures game rather than a simulation.

I'm also curious about stoppages/out of ammo/weapon jams as well...one of the coolest parts of FFoL are those moments. Are these still handled in BB?

I am planning on running another scenario soon...so I'm 90% convinced I'll get BB...but still it's not so much the money, more the investment of time...

Offline has.been

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Re: Germans vs. GIs using FFoL:BB...
« Reply #9 on: June 20, 2021, 01:01:09 PM »
'Vehicles' get their own section. Nothing complicated at all.
As Flatpack said we have played a few games set in the Back
of Beyond. In these we included Tanks & Armoured cars. I
thought they were too powerful in the first game, so introduced
a simple rule. The result was poor Flatpack was busy looking for
an AA or RAC man to help fix his noisy & unreliable buckets of
I recommend you give it a go. There are a simple fun set & adding
an amendment or two is not a problem.

Offline CapnJim

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Re: Germans vs. GIs using FFoL:BB...
« Reply #10 on: June 20, 2021, 01:27:02 PM »
Thanks for the comments, everyone.  Couple notes:

A.  As far as comparing it to CoC, in terms of movement, combat, and morale, it's about the same level of granularity.  It does not really have anything like CoC's patrol phase, and its card mechanics are a bit simpler.  But (granted that we've only played 2 games so far), I feel it gets just as satisfying results as CoC.  Plus, since I run participation games at conventions here in the States (which we can now do again - yay!), I think FFoL:BB is a bit better suited for that then CoC.

B.  As has already been mentioned, Bigger Battles requires no more tracking then the original FFoL, even using vehicles.  We did tweak vehicles just a bit by reducing their movement and shooting dice by 1 per damage taken, as well as each shock.  That felt right to us...like the rules themselves say, adjust them as you see fit!

In any event, we're definitely sold on the FFoL family of games!  And we may have found our go-to WW2 set for platoon (or even maybe small company) actions.

« Last Edit: June 20, 2021, 02:46:37 PM by CapnJim »

Offline CapnJim

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Re: Germans vs. GIs using FFoL:BB...
« Reply #11 on: June 20, 2021, 04:27:22 PM »
I think the key in using vehicles is statting them out right within the framework provided by the rules.  The rules use 4 vehicles classes (light, medium, large, and huge), and 3 AT gun classes (light, medium, and heavy).  For example, we used these stats for the vehicles we used:

M4 Sherman (75mm):  Large vehicle with a medium AT gun.
Panzer IV (75mm L48):  Large vehicle with a medium AT gun.
StuGIII (75mm L43):  Medium vehicle with a medium AT gun.
SdKfz251:  Medium vehicle.

Of course, all the vehicles had appropriate MGs.  We statted the StuG as a medium vehicle, as large vehicles have a +1 to hit them.  That made the tanks a bit easier to hit than the StuG.  And we used the standard armor roll (8+) for all the vehicles.  As I mentioned earlier, we reduced the vehicles movement and fire by 1 die per damage taken, in addition to the same for shock.

We might try a future game using the 6+ armor roll for the tanks, although it seemed to work out OK using the 8+ armor roll.  We'll see.

As I mentioned previously, the game just felt right.  We'll get around to having some Elite units (d12s) and Green units (d8s), and using a few more traits.  The game doesn't have some of the "Fog of War" stuff some other games do, but all in all, it was a good game, and we thought it represented WW2 combat fairly well.  And that is based on what my dad told me about his experiences in WW2 (he was an infantryman in the US 94th Division), my own readings about the war, and what I learned in the Army as both an enlisted combat engineer and an armor/cavalry officer. 

That's our take.  Everyone has their own opinions, though, so other's thoughts are indeed welcome!   
« Last Edit: April 24, 2022, 10:27:46 PM by CapnJim »


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