AUTHOR: Arty Conliffe
PUBLISHER: Quantum Printing
PUBLICATION DATE: 1996
WEB SITE/SUPPORT FORUM: There is a web site here but no forum I am aware of.
PRICE (with date): $23.00 (in 2008)
REVIEWED BY: Mark “Extra Crispy” Severin
PERIOD COVERED: World War II (could be easily adapted to cover many conflicts)
THE BOOK: Crossfire is a slim booklet weighing in at a mere 44 pages. The rules themselves take up just 19. The rest of the book is devoted to advanced rules, army lists and a “pick up” game generation system. Also included are two quick reference sheets. The book is black and white with a color cover. There are a number of diagrams in the book, which is otherwise simple text - no eye candy or excess verbiage.
SCOPE: Crossfire is a game of WW2 infantry combat in which players control companies.
ARMY SIZE: Crossfire armies can be quite small. One infantry stand is a squad, so platoons are typically 4 stands (3 squads, plus a command stand). A company might be less than 20 stands.
BASE UNIT: Each stand represents a squad of infantry or a support weapon. Each tank model represents one tank.
- Ground/Time Scale: None given
- Figure/Base Ratio 1 infantry base = 1 squad of 9-12 men
- Recommended Figure Size: Crossfire works with any figure size.
- Table Size: Most scenarios are built for a 4x6 table. The most important aspect of the table is that it be dense with terrain, as no rulers are used. Movement is from terrain piece to terrain piece.
- Game Length: Most games should be playable in 2-3 hours
BASING SIZES: Infantry bases should be approximately 1.25” square, with command stands being proportionally smaller. Provided both sides are based the same way, basing is unimportant to the game.
There is no turn sequence in the traditional sense in Crossfire. Instead, a player with the initiative carries out actions. The player keeps the initiative unless or until he is interrupted by the enemy, or fails in an action. At that point, his opponent has the initiative. It is theoretically possible for a unit to move across the entire board in a single turn.
Initiative: Instead of a traditional turn sequence, players alternate in carrying out actions when they have the initiative. Actions include moving, shooting, retreating and rallying. When an action fails, the initiative is lost and passes to the opposing player. For example, if you fire at the enemy and miss, you have failed in that action, and the initiative passes to him.
You may also be interrupted by fire from the enemy. This is “Reactive Fore” and if it scores a kill or pin result, the initiative immediately passes to the firing player. In this way the action passes back and forth. Thus, not only is there no “turn sequence,” there are no separate “turns.”
Unlike most games where a unit moves a set number of inches, in Crossfire, movement is from terrain piece to terrain piece. The table must thus be relatively dense with terrain. Movement may be by stand or by group.
To move a stand, a player indicates the moving stand and its destination. This allows the opponent to declare any reactive fire he may wish to take. The stand is then moved, in a straight line, to the destination. If it suffers reactive fire, the fire is resolved immediately.
To move a group, each stand in the group must be within one stand width of the group leader. The group leader may be a squad, command stand or even a support weapon. The stands are moved one at a time, suffering Reactive Fire as normal. However, all stands in the group move, even if one suffers a pin/kill from fire.
If a move is completed successfully, without a unit being hit by fire, the moving player retains the initiative and may perform another action. In this way a single unit could theoretically move across the entire table if it had a path free of enemy LOS!
A Retreat is a special form of movement. It allows a unit to move rearward from a terrain feature. While still in that initial terrain feature, it may not be targeted by Reactive Fire.
Spotting / Recon By Fire:
In order to fire on an enemy unit, a firing stand must have a clear line of sight to the target. LOS is measured from center point to center point. LOS is always blocked by intervening terrain, but not by the terrain either stand occupies.
If using hidden deployment, each terrain feature has a marker, with only some markers representing real units. These markers are revealed by entering the terrain with friendly units, or Recon By Fire. To perform Recon, the stand “shoots” at the terrain feature. If a 6 is rolled on any die, all enemy stands in the terrain feature must be revealed (if any). If no six is rolled, the recon has failed and the initiative passes to the opponent.
There are three modes of direct fire: Single Squad, Firegroup or Crossfire. Regardless of mode, a number of firing dice are rolled (typically infantry roll 3, HMGS roll 4). Each 5 or 6 is a hit. If a single hit is scored the target is pinned. If two hits are scored, the target is suppressed, and if three hits are scored, the target is Killed.
Single Squad: In this mode a single stand fires at an enemy stand. It rolls the appropriate fire dice, scoring hits on 5s or 6s.
Firegroup: In this mode, stands of the same platoon, within one base width of each other may fire together. Each stand fires individually, but effects are cumulative.
Crossfire: In this mode, stands of a platoon may fire together, even if they are widely separated. To fire in this mode, the platoon command and all firing stands must have LOS to the target stand. In addition, all firing stands must have LOS to the platoon command stand.
Whether firing as an action or in reactive fire, scoring suppressions or kills gives the initiative to the firing player.
When firing, each stand rolls singly. Infantry and SMGs have a 360 field of fire. Other stands have a 45 degree FoF (vehicle fields of fire vary by vehicle). A single hit is a pin, which means the target may not move until rallied, but may fire. Two hits yield a suppression. Suppressed stands may not move or fire until rallied. Units that suffer a second suppression result are killed (removed). When three hits are scored in firing, the target is killed and removed from the table.
Rather than modify die rolls, terrain reduces the number of dice thrown. Thus a rifle squad (3 dice) firing at a target in cover (-1 firing die) can at best score a suppress result.
If firing as an action, a unit may fire multiple times in a single initiative, provided it does not “miss.” When firing, a miss is a failure and passes initiative to the opposing player. In Reactive fire, if a stand misses, it may not fire again during that initiative.
To initiate close combat, a player must move in to contact with the enemy. Once in contact, each side rolls a die, modified for troop quality, suppression, terrain etc. The higher roller wins (re-roll all ties). The loser removes all his squads (!) and initiative passes to the winner. The winner takes no losses. Each side may also use command stands within one base width of the fighting stands, but such stands suffer the results.
Close Combat inside buildings is slightly different. In these cases the defender divides his troops into groups. The attacker then matches up one attacker per group. If either side then has uncommitted troops, they may allocate them to the “sub-combats” as they see fit. Each combat is resolved. All surviving stands then repeat the process until one side has won and the other has been eliminated. The winner then has the initiative.
Crossfire is unapologetically an infantry game. Armor combat, therefore, is kept quite simple. Vehicles have two firing ratings: accuracy and penetration. Likewise they have two armor ratings: front and side. To fire, a gun rolls an accuracy die, scoring a hit on a modified 4+. The die is modified for the vehicle rating (a T-26 is -1, a Sherman is rated 0, and a PzIV H is rated +1). If a hit is scored, a penetration die is rolled and modified per the vehicle rating. If the roll is greater than or equal to the target’s armor rating, the target is destroyed. Vehicles are never pinned/suppressed or damaged.
If a kill is scored, the firer now has the initiative.
Given the scale of Crossfire most, if not all, indirect fire will be fired by off board guns.
Every indirect fire weapon will have an assigned Forward Observer (FO). In order to attack an enemy stand, the FO must have a line of sight to the target. An FO may only spot for fire if it remains stationary for the entire initiative. Depending on the firing gun type. a number of dice will be rolled as for direct fire. Hits are scored on a 5+. One hit pins, two suppress and three kill the target. If a stand is killed, all stands within one stand width are suppressed (and if already suppressed, they are killed just as with firing). Guns have a “Kill Potential” which limits how many stands may be killed by a single barrage. Artillery may only fire once per initiative. Artillery may not target vehicles.
Artillery may also fire smoke. Depending on the size of the gun a number of smoke stands are placed centered on a target point. The FO must have LOS to the target point, but not necessarily to the entire smoke screen. To place smoke roll a d6. On a 3+ the smoke lands as desired, otherwise no smoke is placed. Smoke blocks LOS and lasts for the duration of two initiatives (basically the balance of the firer’s and then all of the opponent’s next initiatives).
Units that become pinned or suppressed must be rallied. A d6 is rolled and the unit rallies if the roll equals or exceeds the Rally Number. Suppressions are harder to rally from than pins. Nearby commanders, within one stand width, may add their morale bonus (if any) to the die roll. As with any other action, if a rally attempt fails, initiative passes to the opponent.
Crossfire contains additional rules for minefield, barbed wire,
The book contains a scenario generation system, as well as company level organizations for the major combatants. Given the simplicity of the system, determining army lists for any forces not provided should be relatively easy.
Crossfire is a simply written book - easy to follow and understand. The illustrations are clear and helpful, and there is an extended example of play.
I have played Crossfire several times, though not for WW2 games. I have played it for Spanish Civil War and Russian Civil War scenarios. Given the lack of fighting vehicles in those conflicts these rules work especially well. Crossfire is quick, bloody, and forces players to make tough choices: make a sure move here that will not cost the initiative - okay. But now I have to choose fire here or move there? Either risks losing the initiative. Identifying top priorities is the key to success in the game.
Despite its simplicity, I found the rules actually reward sound tactics. Flanks need to be protected. Interlocking fields of fire are critical. Players without a reserve are in real trouble. Recommended!