Sunday, June 26, 2011

Out of the Blue - more on mortars in skirmish gaming

WI 259
This post is part of a series regarding combined arms in skirmish level games (primarily World War II and taking inspiration from Neil Smith's "Skirmish Envelope" article in Wargames Illustrated 259). This one in particular picks up from a guest post made by Neil Smith. You can follow the whole thing from his post or simply roll back a couple weeks.

I think Neil brings an important fact to light regarding mortar attacks - or more specifically, opening a combat encounter with a mortar attack. The falling rounds give little or no warning, giving them the advantage of ambush - ie. taking the targets by surprise. I'd also have to agree with Neil's suggestion that falling mortar rounds in the midst of an already-hot combat kind of loses some of its impact since the targets are already taking some sort of evasive action if possible.

I think this probably should translate into an increased chance to pin, suppress, or kill with the opening salvo (which might only be one round). Going beyond mortars here, I think the ambush concept of applying bonuses to initial attack rolls for any kind of fire ought to apply - and this thought is probably not a stranger to most rules systems.

Another point Neil mentioned is that for game purposes one side shouldn't be allowed to simply pound the other with mortar rounds right after another - ie. the targets should get a chance to act. I agree with this certainly. In an I-Go-You-Go game this can be done by simply requiring a check for suppressed figures to take some action (maybe at some reduced mobility). I kind of like how Arty Conliffe's Crossfire handles one-sided pounding - if the attacker can't achieve significant results (ie. suppression or kills), then the targets get a chance to do something besides take a shellacking.

Finally, I think skirmish games do benefit from interrupting actions - things that come under such names as opportunity fire or overwatch - and I believe mortars ought to get those kind of options. I think this mode of fire typically applies only to direct fire, but I can really see it working for a local mortar team, self-spotting or with a spotter.

No comments:

Post a Comment