Not that long ago I was exposed to the HBO series Generation Kill. Personally I cannot play contemporary wargames. I understand that they are popular at the moment and the models look great – but it is not for me.
But as I watched it I figured that this could be seen through the lens of Operation Barbarossa. Elite mechanised forces in an asymmetric assault. Please don’t get on my case here: this is not a political blog. It is a wargaming blog.
This renewed my search for a set of rules that could model small scale actions in WWII. Force on Force is apparently very good for modelling modern warfare, but things were not quite like this in the second world war. Fire and movement was certainly the name of the game back then. It was when these tactics were developed. I am a big fan of Savage Worlds, but this is a dramatic role playing system, not a system that is designed to specifically model tactical realities of the period.
A bit of research suggested Nuts! using the Chain Reaction system. I bought it and read it and this is my first solo attempt at using the system with the built in training scenario. The scenario did not play completely out. In fact I stopped and restarted at one point just to get a better feel.
At first blush the system does seem to model things spiralling out of control once contact with the enemy has started. It also clearly favours dispersion over bunching up: those GI’s are mincemeat once the MG34 opens up if they are close together. It also can make a game really short. GI’s walk into LOS. MG34 opens up. One man falls. The rest piss off. This was reality of course – but is it a good game?
Ultimately I think that Nuts! is a system that would repay practice and attention. The apparent simplicity of the reaction system really demands that you try again and again, using different tactics, in order to succeed. Were I the president of a club I would institute these as the principle set for serious WWII gaming, and have a league table to boot. For pulp Savage Worlds still wins, but for simulation I think Nuts! has the edge.