TITLE: Action All Fronts: Rules for Man to Man Combat in WW2
AUTHOR: Justin Taylor
PUBLISHER: Veni Vidi Vici
PUBLICATION DATE: 2015
WEB SITE/SUPPORT FORUM:
PRICE: $6.27 for PDF (2016)
REVIEWED BY: Mark “Extra Crispy” Severin
PERIOD COVERED: World War II
The author provided me with a printed copy of the rules. My copy is a paperbound book of 60 pages with a simple color cover and black and white interior.
SCOPE: Action All fronts (AAF) is a game designed for company level actions during World War 2. Players may command up to 100 infantry and 10 tanks in a game.
ARMY SIZE: Naturally, the variety of troops and vehicles in WW2 is enormous. However, games could certainly be had with a few dozen troops a side, plus maybe a vehicle or two. Up to a company per side plus 10 tanks is possible, according to the author.
BASE UNIT: The base unit is the squad for infantry, or individual tanks and guns.
GAME SCALES: There are no scales given in the game. Figures represent individual soldiers and weapons. The scenarios included assume a 4 x 6 foot table being used.
BASING SIZES: Not applicable. Soldiers are based individually for convenience, but are organized into squads.
TURN SEQUENCE: Action All Fronts uses an alternating unit activation system. Each turn thus has just two phases: an Artillery Phase for calling bombardments, and an Action Phase for the activation of units (including artillery that are not bombarding).
Unit Activation & Orders: Players roll off for initiative and in the Action Phase the winner chooses the first unit. An activated unit may then recon (spot enemy units), move, fire and charge. The charge must be the final action - the others may be performed in any order.
There are a few special Orders that allow a unit to perform special actions. To use these, the unit must first pass a Morale Check. If passed, the unit may carry out the Special Order. Otherwise, there is no penalty for the missed morale check other than not being able to perform the desired order. The special orders allow units to: (i) move up to triple speed (ii) fire twice without moving or checking for ammunition (iii) eligible units may Recon for enhanced spotting (iv) attack by moving toward a spotted enemy or the enemy table edge.
Movement: Each unit in the game is rated for Speed. Terrain is simply categorized as Open, Road, Rough, Difficult or Obstacle. Speeds are prorated for different unit types. Tracked vehicles move half speed through Difficult, while Wheeled Vehicles move at double speed on roads, etc. Units are required to stay in Coherency by being in “The Box.” This is defined as an imaginary box either 12 x 12 or 18 x 8 inches for squads. Where inside the box figures are is unimportant so long as they are in The Box.
Units may be carried by vehicles, and guns may be towed. Units may move on to the transport but the transport forfeits its move for that turn. Naturally, fire against a loaded transport affects the passengers as well. If the transport is destroyed, half of the passengers are as well. It is possible to attack the passengers in a soft skin separately from the transport.
Spotting: In order to shoot at the enemy you must spot them first. Units may make one spotting action during their activation. To spot an enemy, you must have a clear line of sight. Spotting distance is 70 for AFVs and 30 for everyting else. This range may be doubled or halved for various reasons, like remaining stationary, being entrenched etc. Multiple reasons may end up with the final distance being quartered (e.g. stationary and entrenched). If within spotting range, spotting is automatic.
Units with the Recon ability may be give a Recon order. When performing the order they spot every enemy unit in range.
Once spotted units remain so until they move out of LOS of all enemy units at which point they become unspotted again.
Fire Combat: Each unit has a Fight Rating. When shooting, you must roll this number or less to score a hit. Weapons are rated for Rate of Fire and Power. You roll one die for each point of Rate of Fire. For each hit scored, you consult the damage table. Cross reference the Power of the weapon with the Constitution of the target. The chart then indicates the number you need to roll to kill that target.
The score to hit is modified only for moving and Overwatch. All other modifiers apply to the target’s Constitution. These include cover, being prone, etc. A roll of 1 is an automatic miss, although there are no automatic kills.
The system for shooting at vehicles is much the same. Score hits based on your Fight rating. Roll to cause damage. A hit on a vehicle, however, may not result in a kill. Rolling on the damage chart may result in a “Ping” or a complete kill. This die roll is modified for various factors. most notably if the Power of the firer’s weapon exceeds the Constitution of the target, 1 or 2 is added to the die roll making a kill more likely.
Artillery Fire: Bombardments are highly abstracted and come prior to the unit activations. Bombardments are part of a force and are purchased individually if using the points system. If a bombardment is called for a die is rolled which may cause it to arrive next turn, to be delayed, or even denied. Presence of an FOO adds to the die roll making arrival more likely.
When the bombardment arrives, the enemy may declare Counter-Battery. Counter-Battery, like bombardments, are purchased as part of the army. Rolling a die for a 4+ cancels out the bombardment. You may use more than one counter battery die to negate a bombardment, but once used they are lost, whether successful or not.
The firer now places the template on his desired target. A die is rolled for accuracy. On a 5+ it ands on target. Otherwise it drifts 2D6” where it lands. Once placed, every figures under the template is hit. Bombardments have a Power rating just like small arms and damage is calculated the same way.
If a unit takes a casualty from artillery, the firing player may - at his option - require the target to take a morale check. He may opt to wait and call for this later - only one call may be made so you may wait for a better opportunity.
Melee: Normally, units may not move closer than 1” from the enemy. Using a Charge action, however, they may move into direct contact. Melee is fought much like shooting. Roll against your Fight rating to hit, then assess damage. In melee damage is caused by rolling 4+ on a die - no cahrt is consulted. Instead of the weapon’s rate of fire, each figure gets one die. Bonus dice may be awarded for having an assault weapon, charging the enemy, supports, or cover.
In Melee the defender rolls first (this is essentially his defensive fire). Only attackers that survive then roll to see if they hit the defender. The side suffering more casualties is the loser and must make a morale check. If they fail they will either surrender or flee. Otherwise the melee will continue next turn.
Morale: Units are rated between 6 (bad)to 10 (excellent) for morale. To pass a morale check, the roll of 2D6 must be equal to or less than the Morale Rating. The roll is modified for casualties, cover, losing a melee etc. When rolling morale a natural 2 always passes and a 12 always fails.
Units that fail will become pinned. They may not advance toward the enemy or go on Overwatch, and suffer a -1 penalty on their Fight rating. Pinned units that fail a morale check flee. The unit must mve toward its table edge and may only move until rallied.
Rallying is an action. It must be the unit’s first action. If they pass their morale check, they will be able to act normally next turn.
Overwatch Fire: Units may perform Overwatch Fire during the enemy’s activation. When an enemy finishes moving or firing, the opposing player may attempt to fire at it with one unit. The firing unit must first take a morale check. If it passes it then shoots as normal but with a -1 on the hit roll. Units that are pinned or fleeing may note fire Overwatch.
Heroes: AAF includes a rule for the inclusion of Heroes, Hollywood style. A Hero may use “Hero Points” during the game. Each Hero Point allows that player to perform extraordinary feats. Points may be used to pass a morale check, score a hit, or score damage automatically. Hero Points should naturally be used in very limited numbers!
AAF also includes a variety of other rules. These cover buildings, fortifications, mines, snipers and specialized weapons (e.g. flamethrowers).
The rule book includes abbreviated ratings for the major nations with ratings for the most common equipment. There is also a guide on how to determine the ratings for other troop types and weapons.
Also included are five generic scenario types, such as Breakout or Capture the Town. They can be played with any army lists using the points system.
Overall AAF looks like a simple but well constructed set of rules. I wonder at how fast game play would be with 100 figures per side, but that is a practical matter. There are a few minor blind spots - for example, it is not clear what the point of the special Attack order is. It conveys no benefit I can see. Otherwise these look like a fun set of simple rules. I may have to give them a go and see if I can wean my Bolt Action players to something less amorphous and random.
Not played (yet).