Advice for new players
SETTING UP A SCENARIO
You will need a large table and lots of terrain. The rules suggest
covering a third of the table with terrain. I find that half is better
and two thirds not too much. You need the large table to give room for
You should put a few layers of terrain between starting positions and
objectives, so that there is not too much open ground to cross. If you
don't do this, then the player starting with the initiative has it too
easy advancing to objectives, while retaking objectives will be too hard,
since it will be so easy to place defending troops in the right place to
ward off an attack. You need lots of small pieces of terrain. Actually,
I'd say that the amount of the table covered by terrain is less important
than the number of terrain pieces, because big bits of terrain (you should
have a few, though) are little more useful than small. The number of
pieces of terrain between one place and another makes more difference than
the amount of the table covered between one place and another. With lots
of bits of terrain, defenders can not sweep large areas of open terrain
with their fire, are more easily frustrated by smoke, and can less easily
predict the direction of the attack.
A wargame table, with terrain suitable for Crossfire.
Bear in mind that hidden deployment is a big advantage for the
defender, so alter the sizes of the forces or the difficulty of the
Don't get discouraged if the attacker gets hammered in the first game.
Good play will make attack possible. The first game I played involved
any attempt at forwards movement's becoming doomed. This was partly
because I didn't have enough terrain on the board, but also because I was
not a very good Crossfire player. Advancing in the open, across ground
swept by machine guns, is a good way to lose lots of troops. It can seem
impossible to advance at times, but, though you may lose many troops
trying, you can get to grips with the enemy eventually.
Give each side some 3" mortars (81mm). Mortars help break deadlocks, but
these mortars are not so huge that they take over the game.
Crossfire can get bogged down in a slogging match between two forces
unwilling to move. One way to avoid this is to make the defender ignorant
of the exact objective of the attacker. One might too even make the
attacker ignorant of the defender's objectives. This way, you don't get a
game where the defender clusters his forces around the attacker's
objective, and then just sits there, or one where the attacker just
wanders around the board, knowing he is safe to do so, looking for a way
Parachutists are good for scenario design, as they give you an excuse for
allowing troops to arrive from odd directions.
I don't find the victory conditions which involve numbers of initiatives
to be very satisfying. If, for instance, one side has so many initiatives
to achieve a goal, then these can whiz by very quickly, representing very
little battle time, largely because of bad luck, with little happening on
the table. If one side has to, say, hold something for five initiatives,
then this encourages the other player, after four initiatives towards
this count, to fling everything he's got at the objective in a suicidal
and unrealistic manner. This, and/or the defender of the objective "wins"
holding the objective with one stand, having lost all other stands, and
being surrounded by overwhelming forces. To combat this, requires just a bit of good scenario design. You might say that one player has to take an objective without sustaining more than a certain number of casualties.
Crossfire is so very simple that
pretty soon you'll feel able to stage ambitious scenarios. Some people
insist that you must never use many vehicles. Personally, I think that
vehicles are fun and look good, and they do not take over a game of
Crossfire, since they are so vulnerable if set upon by lots of troops, and
troops are tricky things to shoot at when they have the power to move
unlimited distances in one initiative, behind all that terrain.
TACTICAL TIPS ON HOW TO ATTACK
- Accept casualties. You must take risks. Every time you put troops
where they can be shot at, you risk losing the initiative, but at the same
time, the enemy risks becoming No Fire. Once he is No Fire, get stuck in
with the bayonet.
- Get into cover. If you are caught in the open, you may be tempted to
stay there, to avoid reactive fire. Don't. Get into cover and accept the
casualties. This is a time when group moves help a lot, because some of
your troops should make it to cover. Some will be shot. That's
- If there's something (AT gun, FOO etc) you don't want shot, but you
want forward, make sure you have some other troops further forward. They
will attract the fire (target priority rules). If you can attach, then
attach the vulnerable and valuable thing behind a platoon of troops and
group move the whole lot forwards. The platoon will attract the reactive fire during the move,
then after the move, will be a target priority in the opponent's initiative,
which should keep your FOO safe.
- Advance behind tanks. Advance behind smoke.
- Drop smoke on pillboxes and the like, blind them, them rush past them.
If you can by-pass defences such as these, do so. Once you have a
breach, reinforce the success - pour troops through. Force the defender
- If something has an arc of fire (MMG, Pillbox etc.), then attack it
from outside that arc. Use the width of the table.
- Remember the very useful "retreat move". If an attack falters, pull it back and try
somewhere else (defenders too should make good use of this rule - shoot and scoot).
- Get MMGs to where they make the enemy nervous to move. Prevent him
from moving laterally this way, then concentrate on some part of the
- Beware the counter-attack. Smoke isolates your troops too, remember,
even if it is your smoke. A good defender will rush out, close assault
troops who got suppressed during a failed attack, and then rush back to
- Remember that troops cannot fire through friendly troops. A line of
troops is therefore vulnerable on the flank, where only one section can
shoot in defensive reactive fire, so often a V formation works better
- Open your initiative with indirect fire. If it fails, you still have
the initiative. Your next decision is "what is most urgent?". Sometimes,
this is rallying troops, but this is always a risk. Usually, it is better
to leave troops unrallied, and try to push forwards with other troops.
Later, when the enemy is out of sight, you can rally the stragglers (+1 to
rally when enemy out of sight).
- Remember that close assault is likely to end large engagements of troops,
rather than fire. Once you have isolated and/or suppressed some enemy units, get stuck in with the bayonet.
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