Since some interest has been shown in learning how to wargame the Two Hour Wargames (THW) way, I'm posting this thread as a tutorial. This tutorial will apply to multiple THW games such as NUTS!, FNG, and 5150: Star Army...basically any game where characters are carrying weapons at the ready, prepared to see violent action at every turn.
Lucky Luke knows this stuff as well as I do, so feel free to jump in as my assistant instructor, Luca.
A lot of people who look into THW miniatures wargames find them strange and hard to understand. And they are. Part of this is due to a lot of awkward wording in the rules, as well as inconsistencies between different rule books. But a bigger part is just that the mechanics are different and take some getting used to, particularly if you're accustomed to using more standard wargaming rules.
Those of us who stick with THW find a lot of valuable aspects. I like it because it provides a decent artificial intelligence component, making it easier than many games to play solo in a satisfying way. Even when playing head-to-head, THW is different because your actions can cause reactions that can get you in trouble before it's even the other players turn. There's a lot of realism here that I haven't found in other types of games, whether board games or miniatures.
Let's start with one of THW's most confusing but most useful mechanics.
Lesson 1: Grouping
One thing that often confuses players is how to handle groups vs squads vs individual soldiers (which I'll call figures here).
In THW mechanics, squads are actually less important than groups of figures. For example, if a certain dice roll provides you with reinforcements which turn out to be a new squad, you can immediately add it to your own squad to make one big group, or you can split it into smaller groups. You can still consider them a squad, but for the purposes of your game, it's the groups that matter. This is important for factors like activation (will this group move during this turn?), leadership (does this group have a leader?), and reactions (how will this group react to enemy fire?).
So what's a group in THW? Any friendly figures within 4" of each other are considered a group, unless there's no way they can communicate with each other (e.g., one is inside a building and the other is outside and there are no doors or windows nearby).
Let's say I have a squad of 6 figures. Currently they are all within 4" of each other, so they are one group. (I have no miniatures, so I'll be using my virtual tabletop for these lessons.)
If I split them into two fireteams and move them more than 4" from each other, I still consider them a squad, but according to the rules, they are now two groups.
I put my SL in one group and my ASL in the other, so both groups have leaders with them. If I split them even further and separate them by more than 4", they're still in the same squad, but now I have even more groups.
Since I sent the ASL out as a point man, the group of two figures is now without a leader, which will affect their individual reactions to various game events. (In some newer THW rules, one of the two figures becomes a "temporary leader," but we can talk about that another time.)
The next lesson will be about "Rep," but please feel free to ask any questions about grouping, or interject something I left out, before I move on.
Wargaming 101 for Designers and Enthusiasts
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