Our 15mm WWII games using A modification of the SQUAD LEADER IN MINIATURE rules

I have wanted to play a miniatures version of Avalon Hill's SQUAD LEADER boardgame for years. Sane people do this with 6mm (1/295th scale) miniatures on a mildly enlarged hex grid. Naturally I did this with a grossly enlarged grid sheet with each hex being 4" across, and 2.25 inches on the hex faces. The troops are in 15mm scale. Our game table which is 6' x 8' is about 1.5 times the width of a scaled-up Avalon Hill game board, but only about .8 of the length of what a game board would be with 4" hexes.

Naturally in our games we usually overload the game with too many units and ran these games with lots of players. We do not get as many turns in as the boardgame because it takes more time for 6-8 players to move and fire and do defensive fire... So a LONG game for us might get 5 turns played.

Photo by Ed Sansing

We have had to make some changes to the rules to allow games to be finished in 3-5 turns. Some of these are:

• We eliminated the "artillery request." Players roll for radio contact in the Rally phase, and if they get it, they place spotting rounds in the Prep Fire phase or the Defensive fire phase. They roll to maintain radio contact at that time and if successful, the artillery rounds impact at that time.
• Artillery rounds from off-table must roll for deviation. One D6 is rolled for each round that the firing battery shoots. If the result is 5 or 6, the artillery shell hits in the target hex. If the result is 1,2,3, or 4, then it deviates by than number of hexes and a second D6 is rolled to see in what "direction" it deviates.
• We have used two methods to see if artillery is available.
1. GERMAN METHOD - When the German player has successfully tested to maintain radio contact, then he pulls a card from a standard deck of 52 playing cards. A black card means that some other unit has a higher fire priority and the German player gets NO shells at this time. A red card means that he gets his shells. A D6 is then rolled by the umpire to see how many shells are fired. A result of 1 = one shell, a result of 2 = two shells, and so on.
2. AMERICAN METHOD - When the American player has successfully tested to maintain radio contact, the umpire rolls a D6. If the result is 1 or 2, it means that some other unit has a higher fire priority and the American player gets NO shells at this time . If the result is 3,4,5, or 6, that many shells are fired. We now use this method for both players.
• AFVs may fire in the Prep Fire phase and then may move up to half of their movement allowance. No fire is allowed in the Advancing fire phase for these units.
• AFVs that do not fire in the Prep Fire phase may move up to half of their movement allowance and then fire in the Advancing fire phase. Normal modifiers to fire apply.
• AFV units that are fired upon in the defensive fire phase, the Prep fire phase, or the Advancing fire phase and are not knocked out, may "fire fight" with the unit that fired on them. After passing an immediate morale test, they may fire back at the unit that fired on them. Normal penalties apply for moving, firing outside the covered arc, etc.

If the unit that originally fired upon the "Target" unit above is NOT knocked out by this "fire fight" it may fire back after after passing an immediate morale test. If the "Target" unit is still not knocked out, it may again fire back after after passing an immediate morale test.

After those possible four shots, we stop the fire fight. The result of any failed morale test by the vehicles in the "fire fight" is to stop the fire on both sides.

AT guns may take part in these "fire fights" with enemy AFVs if the AFV target is in the covered arc.

• We now allow "Panzerfaust" counters to be held by the German commander and doled out to the players as they are used. This keeps the American player from knowing which units have the one-shot anti-tank weapons.

Photo by Jim Pitts

One of Robert Whitfield’s Panthers under ineffective American artillery fire. It was also later destroyed by a British sherman Firefly tank. This was in our "Three Villages" gane, played on September 3, 2007.

Photo by Jim Pitts

Jim Pitts, as the German armor leader is advancing on the extreme German Left flank. Note the combined arms. Jim had the three Panthers. Sean Pitts commanded the two StugIII assault guns in the background. The American Shermans could destroy the assault guns frontally but not the Panthers. Their success against the PzV tanks came only from the flank or rear.

Photo by Jim Pitts

At the end of the game, Fred Diamond, the American armor leader tired of fighting at long range and advancing quickly, his Shermans over-ran many Germans on the American left, taking the two FLAK guns that were the American objective.

This photo shows many of the "unit types" in the game. The Base with 3 German infantry is a Squad. The single figure standing with the Red and White label on his base is an officer of Company A which is composed of 9 squads with various supporting weapons, operated by the Squads, in addition to their integral rifles. The prone figure with the "50mm" label is a marker showing the position of a weapon - in this case a 50mm mortar. This has no integral crew, it is operated by the squad.

The Tank is an AFV which is over-running all of the German units in this hex. The Germans had to retreat very quickly to a new hex. They were broken and dropped the 50mm mortar which was destroyed by the tank.

Photo by Jim Pitts

A continuing melee on the German left-center resulted in this hex being in close combat for two turns with no clear winner in our first game on the Hex grid. We have now changed the rules slightly so that continuing melees are muchmore rare in close combat.

Photo by Ed Sansing

More changes have been made to the physical components of the game.

• To avoid mistaking the units, all German stands now have the ID data on a RED background. That includes labels on weapons such as "HMG" for Heavy Machine guns, or "50mm Mortar" for the light platoon mortar of the Germans.
• The three pieces of data shown on the boardgame counters are now shown in golden-yellow paint on upper right of each of the squad stands. Previously only the morale factor was shown.

As an example of this: 4-4-7 is on most of the German Squads. The left-most digit is the firepower factor of the squad - in this case four. The center digit is the range of the squad's integral firepower - four hexes. The right-hand digit is the morale factor of the squad - seven.

Officers still have only the Morale factor shown, and also the officer's morale BONUS factor in black. This is the effect that the officer has on squads. All of our officers have a "Minus" morale BONUS factor. This is good. Less is good when testing morale in Squad Leader! We have no "Plus Morale" officers, although some are found in the Squad Leader boardgame.

Photo by Ed Sansing

In our first game we played for almost 6 hours (not counting a 45-minute lunch break). This time also included a tutorial at the start of the game and some time researching the artillery firing rules, and the vehicle movement rules during the game. During this time we completed 3 complete turns.

In Squad Leader with Miniatures, each complete turn consists of a complicated phase something like this:

Sequence of action (somewhat simplified)

Items in COLOR are changes made to the sequence of action used in previous games

RALLY Phase

• Attacker removes or clears obstructions (wrecks, roadblocks, etc) and removes TI counters
• All players attempt to repair broken equipment and vehicles
• All players attempt to rally broken troops; removing broken status if successful and removing DM (desperation Morale) counters in all cases
• Defending player attempts to establish or maintain radio contact.
• Defending player places spotting rounds for artillery that will impact in defending fire phase.

PREP FIRE Phase

• Attacker removes dissipated smoke and places new smoke
• Attacker conducts ranged attacks; placing fire markers on units that do so
• Attacker attempts to maintain radio contact and if successful, may convert spotting rounds into FFE artillery barrage(s)
• Attacker attempts entrenchment and as mine/wire clearing; placing TI counters on units that do so
• Attacker determines if any of his attacks started fires · Place DM counters on any broken German units that receive fire and are not eliminated

MOVEMENT Phase

• Attacker determines movement penalty for infantry units moving off wire and then moves such units;
• Attacker moves units that did not fire during the Prep Fire Phase, checking for AFV immobilization where applicable.
• Attacker marks overrun attacks to be resolved in the Defensive Fire Phase
• Attacker places demolition charges
• Attacker removes wire destroyed by AFVs
• Resolve any minefield attacks as soon as a unit enters a minefield

DEFENSIVE FIRE Phase

• Defender conducts ranged attacks against enemy units within range and LOS; place DM counters on any broken units that receive fire and are not eliminated
• Defender attempts to maintain radio contact and if successful, may convert spotting rounds into FFE artillery barrage(s)
• Attacker resolves overrun attacks
• Defenders that survive overrun attacks place and resolve ATM attacks
• Defender determines if any of his attacks started fires

• Attacker resolves ranged attacks with units that did not fire in Prep Fire Phase; place DM counters on any broken units that receive fire and are not eliminated
• Attacker resolves demolition charges that achieved operable placement in the Movement Phase
• Attacker checks for spreading fires
• Attacker removes prep fire and movement markers

ROUT Phase

• All players attempt to move broken units into cover; those unable to do so are eliminated and removed from play
• All players move units out of fire locations; those unable to do so are eliminated

• Attacker moves all unbroken infantry units 1 hex and/or into close combat

CLOSE COMBAT Phase

• Defending player attempts to establish or maintain radio contact
• Defending player places spotting rounds for artillery that will impact in his next prep fire phase when he will be the attacking player.
• Attacker places and resolves ATM attacks
• Both players resolve close combats
• Infantry attacking AFVs in close combat that lose the combat are returned to the location occupied before they advanced into combat or one hex in any direction.

After all of the above is complete, the defending player becomes the attacker and all of the above is repeated. After the second player has done all of the above, the turn is over. It all then begins again with the second turn.

Photo by Ed Sansing

Photo by Jim Pitts

American artillery fire impacts in the center of a German position. Jim Pitts' 88mm FLAK gun, two infantry squads, and a Sturmgeschutz III self-propelled gun were destroyed by the accurate American fire. This photo shows the newly constructed "Fire for Effect" markers. Each marker shows the impact of one round of 105mm howitzer fire.

These markers replaced our older method of a puff of cotton. We used cotton for spotting rounds, fire for effect, to designate burning buildings and for the result of smoke grenades or rounds. This just did not work. The new markers are garish but there is little doubt as to what they represent.

More To Come!

It is my intention that any modifications caused by playing "Squad Leader With Miniatures" games will be posted here. I will have a link to the full rules set.

Updated through our game on 9/03/2007