This post covers off on something I've been meaning to put to paper for a while now. That is: to discuss easy ways to utilise board games (which we love for strategy and operational games) as a campaign system for generating table top miniatures games (which we love for lower level tactical actions).
It is a fairly easy thing to do to use higher level board games to do grand-tactical and operational level movement of larger formations in order to generate the situations, scenarios and forces for tabletop battles.
Below is one example using one of my favourite board games, Air and Armor (A+A) by West End Games...
...used as a campaign system to generate tabletop miniatures games played using my favourite tabletop moderns rules, Fistful of TOWs 3.
The conversion rules below provide one example for these two specific systems, but by following similar methods they could be used for other systems. For example SPI's Central Front series as the campaign system for tabletop games of Modern Spearhead.
In any case, I hope it is useful.
Conversion A+A to FFT:
- The main purpose of using A+A as a campaign system is to generate Tabletop battles. Therefore, in most cases, battles resulting from the players’ actions each Map Turn will be fought on the tabletop.
- Each time an A+A battle eventuates, decide whether to fight it on the tabletop or not.
- Battles that players don't want to resolve on the table for whatever reason (too unbalanced, too many battles in one turn, not enough time to fight the battle that week, etc) may be resolved with the A+A rules if the players wish.
- Tabletop forces are converted directly from the A+A “Steps” (company-level strength increments) taking part on the battle. The description of each Step’s composition is outlined in the A+A rulebook.
- Infantry Steps are generally three infantry platoons (with their APCs/IFVs), sometimes with an attached tank platoon. Represent these as such.
- Tank Steps are generally three tank platoons, sometimes with an attached infantry platoon (with APC/IFV). Represent these as such.
- Supporting weapons squads in each Step (mortars, MGs, ATGMs, etc) should either be represented as “teams” of the appropriate type, or combined into complete support platoons (normally at battalion level).
- Artillery and Air assigned to the battle is as per the A+A assignment of assets (see the sections below). EW can also be assigned.
Duration and Victory Conditions:
- Each FFT tabletop game lasts for 12 turns (an A+A turn represents 6 hours, so this conversion is a close enough translation to the tabletop rules' turn duration).
- These will be either day or night turns, depending on when the A+A turn occurs.
- After 12 turns:
- If the attacker has not captured the objective (see below), the game ends and his forces withdraw.
- If the attacker holds the objective at the end of the 12-turn game (see below), the defender’s forces withdraw (defenders can counterattack and re-capture an objective within the 12 turn game if desired).
- The Defender can voluntarily withdraw off the table, any time after turn four, using normal or strategic moves as per the FFT rules. The attacker can try and prevent this.
- Each A+A map hex equals 1 mile = 1.6km = 16” on the tabletop.
- Tabletop play should represent the objective hex (the central 16” of the tabletop), along with its surrounding six hexes (the 16” deep area around the objective), as a 48”x48” (4’x4’) tabletop.
- Large battles involving many troops, especially with attackers entering from two (or more) hexes, can be played on a 6’x4’ or 8’x5’ table (representing 5x3 hexes or 6x4 hexes respectively).
- Terrain should be laid out, as per the terrain represented on the A+A map.
- The objective hex is the centre 16” area of the battlefield, surrounded by the terrain present in the six hexes surrounding the objective hex.
- The centre 16” square of the tabletop (representing the objective hex) will be the defender’s deployment area. The attacker's objective will be within this central 16".
- The defender is free to act on the tabletop in accordance with his overall (A+A) strategy; He could try and withdraw, defend to inflict maximum casualties on the attacking force, or a combination of both.
- Defenders must deploy at least 2/3 of their force in their deployment area; the remaining 1/3 may deploy anywhere on the tabletop. Defender Infantry (only) may use hasty entrenchments. Any other enhanced defences that would be present from the A+A game are also available.
- Attackers under A+A Hasty Attack or Attack orders may deploy up to 1/3 of their force on table, within 12” of the table edge representing the hex they are approaching from. The remainder enter using moving deployment, from the direction of the hex they are entering from (see diagram below). (Note: this means that multi-hex attacks on the A+A map may end up being effectively flanking attacks on the tabletop).
- Defender troops reinforcing under A+A “counterattack” orders enter from their direction of approach, and from a road if there is one present. The turn of entry depends on the number of MPs expended to reinforce (between1-3 will be used if reinforcing); each MP expended results in 3 turns delay (ie. 1 MP = turn three, 2 MP = turn six, 3 MP = turn nine).
- Attacking units may delay their entry on to the table in order to manage “traffic” (ie. they do not all need to enter on turn one).
- As per the ‘Troops’ section above, artillery must be allocated in the A+A game if it is to support a tabletop battle.
- Artillery fire groups in FFT are equivalents of A+A units:
- If the A+A unit has three steps, the FG has no availability modifier.
- If the A+A unit has four steps, the FG has a +1 availability modifier.
- If the A+A unit has two steps, the FG has a -1 availability modifier.
- If the A+A unit has one step, the FG has a -2 availability modifier.
- Within Tabletop battles, artillery units have a limited number of turns of ammunition available to fire, dependent on calibre:
- Below 100mm: every turn
- 100-129mm: 9 turns
- 30-160mm: 6 turns
- Over 160mm or MRLs: 3 turns (MRLs minimum or 3 turns between each firing)
- Special ammo types (Smoke, ICM, FASCAM, PGM, Chemical) cost 2 turns of fire
- Place ammo markers equal to the number of turns of fire with the artillery unit (don’t bother with artillery below 100mm as they can fire every turn). Remove a marker for each round of fire (or two if special ammo).
- Attackers conducting Attack orders may use pre-planned artillery fire.
- As per the ‘Troops’ section above, air must be allocated in the A+A game to support a tabletop battle.
- Roll on the A+A Air Support Table to determine the type of support. This will provide the type and number of aircraft.
- Each A+A aircraft = one FFT tabletop Airstrike of that type
- Airstrikes are single use (ie. no ‘loiter’). IAW the FFT rules, if they suffer an abort/destroyed result, air strikes are used up. If ‘delayed’, they may try again in subsequent turns until used or aborted/destroyed.
- Attackers conducting “Attack” orders may use pre-planned air strikes.
- Permanent casualties = stands destroyed + half of the stands that failed quality tests.
- After the tabletop battle, reconstitute casualties into complete steps
- Each complete step of casualties is lost from the campaign permanently (ie. the equivalent of permanent destruction of Steps in normal A+A battles).
- Any leftover casualties that are insufficient to combine into complete steps are ignored (ie. they are not casualties in A+A terms).
- For infantry, the greater of infantry or their APCs/IFVs is what is lost. (eg. If two companies of infantry remain, and only one company of APCs, then one company of infantry in APCs remains).
- Once the tabletop battle is complete and A+A Steps reconstituted as per the Casualties section above, campaign play continues with the next A+A turn. Repeat the process above, fight battles etc.