Wednesday, 25 February 2015

Crossfire at Cavalier AARs

The calm before the storm
Cavalier is one of Britain's smaller shows, but well worth attending. It is supported by some major traders, and, falling in February, is the first show of the year for many in South-East England. Tonbridge Wargames Club ran my 'Crossfiregrad' scenario as a participation game. They have been keen Crossfire players for many years and helped to tweak the scenario. Although the toys were mine, getting the game developed and presented was very much a collective effort, so thanks to everyone for their efforts both on the day and leading up to it.

We got through four games during the day. The chess clock drew a lot of interest, as did the lengths of string initially used to demarcate the deployment areas and later to check LOS. The clock changed the whole dynamic of playing CF, was universally applauded, and will certainly feature in our future CF games. It not only drives the game but adds to the drama, though we might need to have a stress counsellor on hand for reasons of health and safety.

High tide of the German attack
The game was being staged as a participation game rather than a demo one, but it took a while for the punters to filter through so we kicked off with a game between club members Bob (German) and Dave (Soviet). Bob's secret objective was the Flats (the blue building complex in the centre) and at one point he managed to get three German squads up to the walls unscathed, only to lose the assault itself. The game essentially turned on that event and the Germans never recovered. This was the only Soviet victory. The Soviet player had used 23 minutes when the Germans hit their 30 minute limit. The picture shows the German approach path up until the failed assault at the point of the arrow.

A double pincer wins the day
In the second game, the Germans were led by Oscar, a young but keen player expertly advised by his uncle and Crossfire veteran, Martin. They bypassed the Mill and Flats in a double pincer movement to take the Factory (grey building, lower left) in a down-to-the-wire 29 minutes. The arrows show their lines of approach.

In the third game, new player Gary took the Mill (cream building, centre) from his equally inexperienced friend in 23 minutes, advice and guidance having been given to both sides.

Soviets counter-attack just for fun
In the fourth and final game Kevin, whose objective had also been the Flats, won in 21 minutes after the Soviets, commanded by club member Bernard, ran out of ammunition (i.e. hit the 30 minute limit on the chess clock). This was an unusual game in which the Soviets counter-attacked, if only to relieve the boredom. Had they not done so, the Soviets would almost certainly have won by default. The arrow indicates the Soviet counter-attack.

I've played or otherwise run this game many times, so I've no particular desire to play it again, at least in its current form. The layout is semi-modular, however, and at some future date it will be interesting to see just how well the tiles might be re-arranged to create a different layout. I will also bring out the AFVs and anti-tank guns which were dropped for the sake of simplicity.

As the attacker in the scenario, the German player bears the onus of winning or losing the game. If the player is systematic, aggressive, fast and not unlucky with the dice, it is possible (as we discovered while testing) to take the Mill and win the game in 12 minutes of German playing time. The other objectives will inevitably take longer.

The key to success is fairly typical of Crossfire generally: use smoke to cover the concentration of your forces,  exploit that concentration to suppress the target with superior firepower, especially mortars and HMGs. Then use smoke again to isolate the target and storm it. Finally, reinforce the lodgement to fend off any counter-attacks.


  1. Nice report! Great layout, and looks like a good day's gaming.

    1. Thanks. It was quite dramatic and amusing, but it's time to move on to something new. I'm currently working on four sets of home-grown rules. More anon. I also have to sticker up a box of blocks for C&C Ancients!

  2. I've always had a lot of fun with this Crossfire scenario:

    The hidden set up worked really well, and it is small enough that you can dedicate a force to it with its own terrain as you have (and I did).

    1. I've never actually played the Stalingrad scenario from the rules. I accept that hidden deployment is more realistic but I find it rather fiddly. Putting all the toys on the table is also best for a show game IMO.

      I like your scenery. If starting now I would probably do something similar.