So this kicks off the WW2 rules quest.. what will hopefully become a series of blog posts about ww2 wargaming, as I and my friends go through a ton of wargame rules, analyze and talk about this, and test out the same scenarios with each system.
The series will cover both commercial and “freeware” rules.
The first on the list is Landser, which is free from the yahoogroup located at http://games.groups.yahoo.com/group/Landser/
This is a first glance before putting the rules to the test. The rules are short and compact: Only 4 pages in total and only covers infantry combat (which is all I am interested in, generally). No army lists are included, though the downloaded included separate PDF’s covering US, German and Soviet squads. The game is aimed at about a squad on each side.
Turn sequence is a straight (I go, then you go). When its your turn to go, each figure can perform one action, such as moving, hiding, firing etc. Its possible to fire on the move, but at very low accuracy. There’s a fair number of actions, and I like the inclusion of a hide and sneak option, though I’d prefer an alternating activation sequence
There’s not much in the way of command/control. Figures can move off as they see fit, and there doesn’t seem to be any particular benefit to the squad leader.
Combat looks very quick and dirty. You roll to hit, and then roll for effect. Automatic weapons get a template, and there’s rules for the most common weapons types (various machine guns, grenades and rifle grenades). As an interesting touch, most hits will simply force the target to hide, causing a suppression effect.
If you do get wounded, the wound may be light or heavy, and each has a small chart to roll the actual effect. Very nice touch as it gives a good range of possibilities. As it reads, it looks like long range fire will be relatively safe but can easily disrupt a squad, while an MP40 at point blank range is bad news.
Morale is simple. Once 2 men are dead, you test morale with a D10 against the number of men left. If you fail, you break off the fight. Its unclear if you are supposed to test once, every turn, or every turn you take an additional casualty, though the latter makes the most sense. This “break point” increases for more determined or well trained units.
National traits are briefly discussed in the separate PDF’s. Soviet soldiers cannot fire on the move, while Germans and Americans can only assault if a leader does so.
Fielding most infantry types should be relatively easy, though I did not find rules for the Sturmgewehr and no distinction between self-loading or bolt-action rifles.
Overall, Landser is nothing anyone havent seen before. It is however a nice, quick and effective skirmish game, with some fun touches to it. I definately look forward to playing it, and I could see this little freebie becoming a recurring game at my table.