Developing firepower factors and turn sequence

Michael Dorosh

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Feb 6, 2004
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Calgary, AB
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Doing some reading and found the following discussion about how weapons load-out has an effect on range factor:

"For paratroopers with FG42 assault rifles, use the "Airborne" counters. Any differences in the relative intelligence or training or minor differences in weapons are reflected in reduced or increased range, reflecting more or less disciplined fire."

Thing is, this discussion isn't about ASL - it's in the designer's notes of MP44, the first hex and counter boardgame to cover the subject of squad-based tactical combat in World War II. It was released in 1973 as part of Issue 1 of Jagdpanther Magazine.

What's truly remarkable about the rules set is the "MOVEMENT SYSTEM" or what we know today in ASL as the sequence of play.

MP-44 is played in turns, each consisting of two player turns, each broken into phases as follows:

a. All units that the player chooses fires. A given target may not be fired at twice in the same turn. Units which have fired are flipped.
b. Vehicular movement - subject to the limitations of the movement and terrain rules, all unflipped vehicular units may move. They may load or unload infantry at whim subject to those rules...Execute overruns.
c. During the movement phase (b) the non-moving player may, subject to the rules, fire anti-tank weapons at moving tanks.
d. Unflipped infantry units are moved as desired.
e. Defending units undergoing close assaults may fire defensively subject to the rules of combat section.
f. Infantry close assaults are made.
g. Flip inverted units to normal state.
(Note - the rules mention a disrupted state in which units are also flipped)
h. Knocked out tanks are replaced with a wreck and a crew counter.

So you have a Prep Fire, Movement, Defensive (First) Fire, Close Combat/Defensive (Final) Fire, and Rally phases.

There are a lot of major differences from Squad Leader which came out 4 years later. Units have "defence" factors for example, and the CRT has four results (no effect, X for eliminated, meaning "the unit....has suffered sufficient physical and moral effects to render it useless....remove from play", D for Disrupted (no move or fire) and disrupted squads automatically "break into fire teams" (the equivalent of splitting into HS) and P for Pinned, no more or fire. Disrupted and Pinned units automatically rally.

The Terrain effects chart has just five entries, and amusingly, "slope" rules seem to be the most complicated. The game borrows heavily from Panzerblitz (the same issue has an expanded variant for PanzerBlitz expanding it to other fronts and eras) and even requires the player to own the CRT from PB.

I recognize the author's name (Stephen V. Cole) and Star Fleet Battles fans will know who he is. Did this little game have any influence on the design of SL/ASL, or is it a coincidence that the two rules sets have some similarities?