|That cover, the true|
story of which can
be found here
|MMP’s infamous advert|
in ASL Journal#2
|Ron Volstad sketch for|
the new Up Front (via)
Of course, nothing’s perfect!
Those few games of Up Front I played earlier this year had brought back to mind thoughts about the rules I’d been mulling over for years now. The announcement of the new edition decided me that it’s timely to write these up so I can try them out.
Some of my ideas are just plain disagreements with certain rules interpretations which have emerged in FAQs and errata down the years. My time in the trenches with Up Front dates back to the early/mid 80s, pre-internet days when rules updates- in the pages of the The Avalon Hill General and the game’s 2nd printing, were few and far between. The result was that the official game I found when I caught up with Up Front again a few years ago was subtly but significantly different from the one I’d played so often, different in ways I find eccentric, unfun, or both.
Moving Flanking Fire
Houserule: when conducting moving Flanking Fire, weapons contribute their moving firepower to the moving group’s total firepower, which total is then doubled for Flanking Fire.12.11 & 17.4 Does the simultaneous halving of firepower for Moving Fire and doubled firepower for Flanking Fire leave a Bolt Action Rifle with its normal firepower? A.
|The standard issue|
WW2 American G.I.
moved between the sending and receiving group, and ismarked with a Transfer chit.
14.2 & 17.8 If a group that a man is transferring to is fired on by a Sniper, is he also a legitimate target for the Sniper? If so, what position is the transferring man considered to occupy? A. Yes. The first position.
17.8 When a man is in the process of transferring and the receiving group is fired on, what position does the transferring man occupy for purposes of the fire resolution? A. Transferring men are always attacked first.
Why? Tidiness, like I said: no more ‘floating’ men, plus this brings Individual Transfer into line with all the other single-man chits, ie. they don’t by themselves change a man’s position in his group.
19. Weapon Malfunction
|Three cards of dread|
Houserule: if there is only 1 weapon with usable FP at the given RR, that weapon is the sole firing weapon; it will malfunction without recourse to RPC selection if its malfunction #s are drawn during the resolution of a fire attack (EXC. eg. pinned men’s weapons are always subject to malfunction if their malfunction #s are drawn).
|“Oh no, not the LMG!”|
V2.4 First player
Variant: randomly select which side goes first in encounter scenarios. A straight 50/50 is good enough (we use an RNC: black- Axis; red- Allied).
It has long irked me that the Axis player always goes first in encounter scenarios. It doesn’t make sense that they’d always enjoy the tactical initiative in the various situations and it stereotypes the scenarios because the Allied forces’ scope for tactical experimentation is limted because they always set up in response to the Axis setup. This variant could be developed and expanded for campaigns and historical scenarios.
V3.2 & 17.7 Groups with the same ID chit
Variant: a group can make a Lateral Group Transfer onto the same ID chit as a friendly group if the 2 groups are on different range chits. A group on the same ID chit as a friendly group cannot play a Movement card to advance or retreat to the same range chit as that other group unless: the group is already moving or the group has a Movement card played on it that same turn. Terrain discards abort this manoevure exactly as for transferring groups swapping ID chits.
Squads should be able to deploy in line ahead as well as line abreast: proper screening is impossible otherwise. I think the write-up above is all the rules burden this variant needs.
V36.3 Entrenching in different terrain types
- TEM: +1 TEM.
- INF from: 1 left
- INF versus: 1 right
- Placement: a group cannot place entrenchments in Buildings during play; they are allocted by SSR.
|Cresting in a Gully|
- LOS: a group entrenched on a Gully is not subject to the attack restrictions of 8.2.
- TEM: when fired at, a group entrenched on a gully must always claim the entrenchment TEM- and only the entrenchment TEM.
- Remove: a group entrenched in a gully may play a Movement card into the discard pile to remove the entrenchments and return to the gully (EXC. not in Wire).
|Dug-in out of sight|
behind a Wall
- LOS: A group entrenched on a Wall cannot attack or be attacked except by Snipers; mortars and radios; groups on a Hill, or at Relative Range 5 or beyond; and in Close Combat.
- TEM: when fired at, a group entrenched on a wall must always claim the entrenchment TEM- and only the entrenchment TEM (EXC. The entrenchment TEM is cumulative with the +1 wall TEM for indirect fire).
- Remove: a group entrenched on a Wall may play a Movement card into the discard pile to remove the entrenchments and return to the Wall (EXC. not in Wire).
I decided more recently that this variant could be extended. Entrenchments in Buildings represent some degree of fortification instead of the familar quick scrapes, which is why they can’t be placed by a group during play. The Infiltration modifiers represent the effects of fortifying buildings: they’re harder to get into; and there’ll be boltholes and the like making it easier to sally forth.
Also derived from ASL, entrenching on a Wall represents withdrawing behind the wall and using it to hide- hence the LOS implications. A group on a wall can’t claim the Wall TEM because you’ll be attacking over- not across, the wall if you can attack. Indirect fire is the exception because the entrenched group is assumed still to be close enough to the Wall for it to offer some protection. Removing the entrenchments was a logical option too.
Unless my memory fails me completely, those 6 are all the improvements Up Front’s mechanics need. Not bad at all for a game that’s nearly 30 years old and has a rulebook legendary for its mind-bending attention to every detail! I’ve put these houserules and variants into a PDF for readers who might want a concise copy. Meanwhile I’ll be trying them out myself just as soon as I can find a willing playtester. More soon, I hope. ;)