This blog post was inspired by a conversation with one of the Yahoo group members who was trying to work out the damage for weapons circa 1950.
In early drafts of Skirmish Sangin we looked initially at two types of weapon the AK47 and the M16A1/ L85A2/FAMAS and after careful consideration we gave them the following damage dice rolls:
As we play tested these very early basic rules, we decided to make all assault rifles 2d10. Why?
Well it speeded up the game and seemed to reflect all the reading and video watching we had, at that point, been watching like men possessed. Once the rules moved out to the real world of players, its been accepted like many rules that use 1d6 for all small arms and add additional damage for support weapons (LMGs) etc.
From this decision we worked outwards adding the plethora of weapons used in the Afghan conflict. One of our key points from the beginning was to try and reflect modern weapons and tactics.
While watching one of the many soldier cam videos we came across images of an Afghan holding an old Lee Enfield .303 rifle. So when we added this weapon in to the mix we made its damage 3d10.
Why I hear you ask again? Always with the questions :-)
Well modern assault rifles tend to be used in “Put some lead down range to keep their heads down” method often less politely called “Spray and Pray”.
automatic fire does not increase the burst hit probability beyond that of the single (first) round.
The bolt-action rifle is not, on the modern battlefield, used as an assault rifle. Its very nature makes the shooter selective and fire more carefully at the target. These shooters are not snipers, they are occasionally referred to, as marksmen or sharpshooters but they do tend to take aimed shots. An aimed shot, has a slightly higher chance of hitting somewhere nasty hence the increase to 3d10. We took this further with the snipers whom we gave 4d10 damage too, not because they use bigger cartridges (Although we did up the damage for the .50 cal Barret because it’s a monster) but more for the reason they are firing an aimed shot and choosing where to hit even more so than the marksmen.
Our aim was not to create a mathematically accurate representation of each type of round and to differentiate between each weapon but to create the feel of the modern battlefield with a set of rules that are simple to use.
Feedback so far from players across the globe, some of them who have actually served in paces like Afghanistan and Iraq is that we have a managed to do just that.
So why the post? Again with the questions :-)
Well quite a few people are using the Skirmish Sangin engine to play there favourite post ww2 battles and we thought if you can understand the logic of our decisions it will help you in your conversions.
If you converting the rules to your favourite period do let us know as we would love to hear what you are doing and how.
On a related note, so far in are WW2 rules play-testing we have downgraded rifles to 2d10 as many more troops used bolt-action weapons and did so in a more “5 rounds of rapid-fire now” approach. The average dice roll of 3d10 is 16.5, so to increase casualties we are considering downgrading bolt-action rifles 2d10. As the lack of Body Armour in WW2 makes 3d10 almost always a kill shot. So the damage is assigned to create the feel of the era not really representative of the calibre of the round.