NUTS! for WW2 Skirmish Gaming

A pretty common question I see on game discussion boards is — what game system should I use for WW2 skirmish gaming?

I’ve played numerous systems, and my preferred WW2 skirmish system is NUTS! from Two Hour Wargames, where I’ve become an author of several NUTS books. The system work great from a handful of figures on up to a platoon per side on the table and is designed for head to head, co-op and solo gaming. I have a number of battle reports on my blog, all of them are co-op/same side games.

NUTS! is a squad-level WW2 skirmish game based on THW’s “Chain Reaction” rule system, which eliminates many of the disadvantages of standard IGOUGO systems. In the game each player basically plays a squad leader, and starts the game with a core squad or vehicle that is “his” for the game or the campaign.

Moral/training is represented by “Reputation” levels for each figure or unit, running from 1-6, which are the target numbers for dice rolls in the game. Each figure is an individual in the game, each vehicle is crewed by individual figures (TC, Driver, Gunner, etc.)that have a role in the operation of the vehicle and make relevant dice rolls for morale, shooting, crossing obstacles, and so on.

The leader figure has some special advantages, and each figure in the core squad has a special attribute like “Crack Shot” or “Poser” which helps or hurts in certain situations, so there’s a light roleplaying element in the combat game.

The Chain Reaction system uses leadership rolls to determine who goes first (and certain dice combinations result in reinforcement rolls during the game), but during any given action phase figures will react to developments on the table based on the “Reaction” table system.

For example, figures that see an enemy move into line of sight will take a “In Sight” test to see what their reaction is – do they shoot, do they fail to react, etc? Figures that come under fire also may have to check to see if they shoot back, duck for cover, panic and run, etc.

This means that figures engaged in combat *always* take some kind of action, there’s never a time in the game where you’re lined up to nail your opponent…but your card didn’t come up in time and you stood there and got shot, or the guy playing the “leader” didn’t have enough action points to let your unit move.

So there’s always a good flow to the game, and you don’t have total control over your figures. I recall one game, from the “Kampfgruppe Peiper” Battle of the Bulge campaign book in which I had a concealed US 57mm ATG, and a Panther tank was approaching down a road. As a player I planned to take the shot after the Panther turned to follow a bend in the road and take a rear shot…but the “In Sight” test for the unit meant they blew the ambush by firing on it frontally. Doh! They must have panicked and shot as soon as the scary tank approached.

Don’t get me wrong, tanks *are* scary and get a good treatment in the rules as well. Believe me, you don’t want to be on the receiving end of a tank assault!

Also, the first (only time!) I ever used proper infantry tactics against a tank in urban combat, and it worked, was using NUTS. In a Bastogne scenario a Panther pushed into a US-held town, where it finished movement near a squad of mine. Part of the squad were in an upper story and fired from the flank of the Panther, suppressing the TC and forcing the tank to button up while another element charged the rear of the tank, chucked a demo pack underneath and BOOM! Dead Panther! After that all players saw the value of combined arms.

The system also incorporates a campaign and mission builder system, so you can see your troops gain experience and raise their Reputation level up in the game (or they may lower their Rep if they run away!), replacements for lost figures, battle and mission builders to create a spontaneous game, etc.

The campaign system and mission generator also feeds into a simple optional liteRPG in the rules called “Chocolate and Cigarettes” which lets you game out what happens between missions…talk to some civilians to get info about your next mission, take your guys out on the town, do some sneak & peek missions, etc.

Overall, NUTS! is a great skirmish rule system that lets you play fairly accurate WW2 skirmish battles, have a lot of fun and play your game to conclusion in a couple of hours.

It’s well supported and there’s also a large number of supplement and campaign books for the system as well.

nuts final-front-revise 1.1

[url]http://twohourwargames.com/ww2.html[/url]

Questions are quickly answered at the THW forum: [url=http://site.twohourwargames.com/forum/index.php]link[/url]

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