Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Great War Crossfire: The Ottoman Turks

I have been branching out into other rulesets for wargaming the Great War. I have recently made some adaptions to Arty Conliffe's Crossfire (company level WW2 game) to play out some Middle Eastern Theater actions.

We had some problems using it for a skirmish level game, but it worked well for platoon-company level games. I took the command level down a notch, so instead of moving platoons about the field, we moved sections. Essentially a stand of 4 figures functioned as a team, so we got a 1:1 representation, but the game did not bog down with orders and moves for each soldier. This went a ways toward keeping the whole 'fire and maneuver' dynamic of the next war off the table.

Crossfire has some templates ready-made to tweak for World War I soldiers. For instance, the Japanese and Russians ignore pin results but are killed by suppression when charging in for a close assault. That seems about right for the Turks. Considering the accounts of their massed attacks and lack of good officers, I kept their commanders to a minimum. The game also gives commander bonuses to close assaults and/or rally attempts; I figured the Turk company/platoon commanders ought to give an attack bonus, but not one for rallying. 

But what about the effects of high level officers like Kemal, who famously ordered his men not to fight, but to die while reinforcements made their way towards Gallipoli's western shores? I think his influence might best be taken in the acceptance of high casualties before having to take an army/command morale check. While army morale checks aren't really a part of Crossfire, I would apply this to games that do have it (ie. don't make the Turks test for morale until reduced to 25% effectives or something like that). In Crossfire, it might play out in a higher close combat bonuses conferred by officers.

The Osprey Warrior title, 'Ottoman Infantryman 1914-1918' (pictured right) was a great read and good source for some of my ideas.


  1. I have to be honest here. As much as I have gamed, I am still confused by the terminology sometimes. Skirmish level vs Platoon-Company level, and now even larger scale with campaign rules, battalion, brigade, etc and so on. I get that it's typically a ratio, 1:1 for smaller scale and 1:many on a larger scale. But, that scale tends to vary by period and sometime's even by army. The Turks for instance fielding more men in a unit than the brits. It makes for difficult time calculating odds and strength. Then if you throw out balance in favor of historical accuracy, now you aren't playing a game so much as attempting a re-enactment. There should really be a class taught on this stuff. Perhaps Professor Leach can give a workshop on the subject in the near future or point me towards a good resource for study.

  2. Sounds like a good idea for future post - thanks for the suggestion. It might be a good idea to tie in the appeal to wargaming at certain levels of command in with that.

    Something worth adding to your query is that some games handle the effects of morale and casualties differently, even when they are trying to represent the same level of command decision - ie. whether you are you assuming the role of an army general, a company captain, or a squad leader.