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News from a wargamer with a special interest in the military history of the Balkans. It mainly covers my current reading and wargaming projects. For more detail you can visit the web sites I edit - Balkan Military History and Glasgow & District Wargaming Society. Or follow me on Twitter @Balkan_Dave
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Saturday 2 April 2016

Iron Cross

I was listening to the Meeples and Miniatures interview with Great Escape Games about their new WW2 rules, Iron Cross. Sounded like my sort of fast play game, so I bought a copy.

The big selling point is simple mechanics. Each side gets a command token for each unit in their orbat. After dicing for initiative, the active player activates a unit by using a command token and then move, fire or a combination of both. The non-active player can react (interrupt the activation) by using one of their command tokens and rolling usually 3+ on a D6. If they roll a 6 the initiative shifts to them. Otherwise the active player keeps activating units until they hand over the initiative to the other player. The idea is to try and keep a few command tokens for reactions when needed the most.

Firing requires a base score of 5+ on a D10, with a few modifiers. There are no ranges, the basis being that weapons could reach across the table. There is a plus 1 modifier for close range. It's a bit more complex for armour by cross referencing gun and armour factors, but still straightforward. Each unit has a morale value and when it has exceeded that in hits, it is destroyed. Although you can use company morale checks, at command token cost, to recover morale.

There is no heavy artillery or aircraft, although scenarios can include preliminary bombardment. There are mortars and special rules for some units, but not many. An infantry unit is assumed to have all it needs. There is also no close combat - short range shooting does this.

The production value is high. Almost everything you need, including orbats, is in the 32 page booklet. My only complaint is that it could have done with more orbats. 1944 may be popular, but limits others. Having said that, it wasn't difficult to guess values for early war armies. You can use anything for tokens, but there are some nice ones made for the game by 4 Ground.

My test game involved German infantry, supported by mortars and three tanks, attacking a British held town. The British infantry have two cruisers attached for support as well as a mortar and a 25pdr.

Here is the table with the Germans at their starting point.

The British in the village await the assault.

After the second turn the German armour is in trouble, but the infantry are trying to get around the flanks.

After the third turn, it's all over for the Germans. The British tanks have counterattacked effectively.

It played very well. The mechanics may be simple, but the key to the game is thinking about how to use your command tokens. It needs a well thought out plan and while you can move and fire every unit in a turn, in practice you need to keep command tokens in reserve.  This really is a game were you play the period, not the rules.

You can use any scale of figures. I used 15mm, as my FoW bases work well, the orbats will as well. This is a game I will certainly play again.


  1. played a test game last week with our 15mm armies - using a scenario from Kursk. A fun game - the core activation rules are great and make for an exciting game. Feels like there are lots of other things not nailed down in the rules though and as a result they feel a little rushed

  2. Fair comment. I suspect these rules will be in the love them or hate them category.