Totensonntag

Run-through/Play-through of game rules and mechanics

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Totensonntag

Postby Whiterook » Sun Oct 11, 2015 3:25 pm

Part of the Corps Command system, by designer Peter Bogdasarian, and sold by Lock 'N Load Publishing LLC, the game portrays the events of the First Battle of Sidi Rezegh, fought between the British Commonwealth’s XXX Corps and Germany’s Panzerarmee Afrika during Operation Crusader.

It is played at the Battalion-level for armor and infantry; and Regiment-level for recon and artillery. The hexes equate to 3 miles wide. For you squad and platoon-level games, you really need to think on a broader scale.

The game plays out 6-days (November 19-24, 1941), in the Libyan Desert of WWII, with each turn representing one full day played... from the opening skirmishes, to the hellish clash on Totensonntag, the Sunday of the Dead.

ToTS Game .png
Totensonntag Game


:ugeek:

The game has one scenario...the six days.

You setup the game with initial troop deployment in certain areas in order to begin Turn 1:

The DAK assets set up initial forces onboard of....
  • The German 21st Panzer Division, deploy in the Northeast side of the map, in or within one hex of Gasr al Ared;
  • The German Africa Division, deploy in the North sector of the map, blocking the way to Tobruk (a main victory objective);
  • The Italian Ariete Division, deploy in the Northwest sector of the map, in or within one hex of Bir el Gubi;
  • The German 15th Panzer Division deploy, with a Recon battalion anywhere in the middle of the map rows E - O.

The Commonwealth British 7th Armoured Division has assets onboard of....
  • The British 4th Armoured Brigade deploys tanks in the Southeast sector of the map, in Gabr Seleh, with support units within one hex;
  • The British 7th Armoured Brigade deploy to the Northeast of Talb el Asem, along with elements of the British 7th Support Group;
  • The British 22nd Armoured Brigade deploy in the extreme Southwest.

CCToT STARTMAP.png
Totensonntag Start Map


Note that the map above is a Big Picture view of the aforementioned units, set up according to the scenario, with placement of my judgement (some units go in a specific hex; and some are placed at your judgement in specific areas).

The game also has Optional Rules for aircraft.

After the first turn, Reinforcements will arrive for each side:

The DAK assets set up....
  • On Turn 2, the German 15th Panzer Division deploys units along a 3-hex span on the Northeastern map edge;
  • On Turn 3, the German Artillery Command 104 deploys units on the North map edge to defend the road to Tobruk.

The Commonwealth assets set up....
  • On Turn 2, the 1st South African Division deploys units of the 1st Brigade to the Southern map edge, Southwest of Talb el Asem; and...
  • On Turn 3, their 5th Brigade deploys units to the same location;
  • On Turn 4, the 2nd New Zealand Division deploys units of the 6th Brigade near Gasr al Ared; and...
  • On Turn 5, the New Zealanders' 4th Brigade enter around the same spot.

:ugeek:

STACKING; Note that a hex can have up to three units in a hex total. Stacking is checked at the end of every Impulse. There are some instances where something happens on the battlefield where a hex may become overstacked (more than 3 units within), and it is the player's responsibility to make sure it is brought to 3 units before then end of the impulse in which it becomes overstacked, or else the owning player will have to destroy units until it is brought to three units!!!

You can rearrange your stacks during any friendly player Impulse, or in the Night Impulse.

Order of stacks is important because, in Assault or Overrun combat, it is the top unit that will suffer any damage. Yet on a Barrage, Artillery Battalions can attack any unit within the stack.
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Re: Totensonntag

Postby Whiterook » Sun Oct 11, 2015 4:03 pm

COUNTERS

The game features Germans with black counters; Italians in gray; British in red; South Africans in orange; and New Zealanders in blue. Armor and other vehicle units feature a gorgeous silhouette of the unit; while infantry and artillery are represented by NATO symbols.

ToTS Ratings.jpg
Totensonntag Counter Ratings


Per the image above, the anatomy of the markers (ratings) are confusing, because they represent more than one thing per rating on some:

  • STRENGTH FACTOR (SF): Represents most importantly, Firepower (FP). But it also represents Strength Points (SP), which are reduced as you incur Hits in combat, with the loss of one SP per Hit. Per the rules, it is meant to represent unit cohesion, but its most important rating is that of firepower.
  • PROTECTION FACTOR (PF): Is best thought of as the unit's Defensive Factor...what does it take to damage the unit. When an enemy unit attacks your unit, they add their Firepower and modifiers to a roll of 2d6, and compares it to your PF; =/> PF results in a Hit.
  • INITIATIVE FACTOR (IN): Represents most importantly,whether a unit will Activate during your turn; the IF being compared to an Activation Number you roll for during your turn (see below). However, it's most important secondary role is that of being the units' Movement Factor (MF).

The back of the counter represents the unit with one Hit against if (1-SP lost). After that, you place a Hit marker underneath the unit to denote further hits; and when you run out of SP's, your unit is destroyed....

Damage.jpg
Damage


There are some other counter symbols to be aware of:

Counters.jpg
Counters


  • RANGE: Artillery units is represented in a dot in the middle of their NATO symbol. Note the 132 counter in the upper right.
  • COMBINED ARMS: Denoted with a 'C' in the upper right corner of their IF rating, German motorized infantry and engineer units get a +1 modifier to their MF if they begin their turns' go (called an 'Impulse') mounted with a Panzer III tank. See the 8MG/21 pzg counter above.
  • MODIFIERS: These can befound on certain units, like the 1/5/21 pzf tank above that denotes German Panzer un its get a +1 modifier to their combat FP. Another example of this would be a Commonwealth Stuart Tank (not pictured) that get a +2 modifier to combat FP; the lower rating of 3 reflecting the "Honey's" poor fuel performance.

Also included in the game are Optional Rules for Aircraft, with counters that have beautiful silhouette of these powerful units...

AC.jpg
Aircraft
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Re: Totensonntag

Postby Whiterook » Mon Oct 12, 2015 1:17 pm

So, as mentioned earlier, the game is played over a 6-day period, and is basically one big scenario. It is an IMPULSE-driven system, in which during an Impulse, a number of your unit counters will be considered for ACTIVATION to perform any of the following actions:

  • MOVE or ASSAULT: You conduct combat against an adjacent unit; it's one or the other action, as you cannot do both per Impulse.
  • OVERRUN: Your armor and/or recon units can conduct an Overrun, in which you move adjacent to an enemy and attack. You must also pay the additional movement cost of the enemy hex in order to attack, because, if you win and eliminate the enemy entirely from the hex, your unit can then move into the hex! This also includes any other unit(s) that participated in the attack...up to a stacking limit at the end of the impulse of three units.
  • BARRAGE: Your Artillery can either:
      1) Fire a BARRAGE in indirect fire, with a -1 modifier to FP, from a distance of two hexes away from the enemy and up to the artillery units' Range; or,
      2) Your Artillery unit can use it's full FP in a regular Assault adjacent to an enemy unit.

:ugeek:

Of note at this point is understanding the Sequence of Play. As touted in the rules, the system observes no ridged SoP. Instead, you need to remember that the game is played out in a scenario that transpires over the course of 6-days. A 'day' period of time is made up of 4-alternating daytime phases called COUPLETs and 1-nightime administrative conclusion phase. The system does not refer to these as 'phases', but to conceptualize the sequence of things, it best describes it....

  • A day of play = 4-alternating COUPLETs and a NIGHT phase;
  • A COUPLET = 1=IMPULSE/ Player
  • An IMPULSE = Your Actions played out for units whose ACTIVATION NUMBER is =/< than your units' INITIATIVE FACTOR (IF). You can also Pass on actions by any of your eligible units.
  • A NIGHT IMPULSE = Allows a Player the opportunity to RECOVER SP's lost in battle. Beginning with the Commonwealth Player first, roll 1d6 for each Hit taken by a unit:
      -- German Panzer, Panzerjager, and Recon units recover on 1d6 = 3-5
      -- Commonwealth and German Infantry and Artillery units recover on a 1d6 = 4-6
      -- Commonwealth Armor and Recon units recover on a 1d6 = 5-6
      -- All Italian units recover on a 1d6 = 6

      * There is a -1 modifier if your units currently occupies an enemy ZONE OF CONTROL (one of the 6 hexes surrounding an enemy unit); and Italian units cannot recover SPs if they are in an enemies' ZOC. Also note that destroyed units cannot be returned to play via this method...once they are dead, they are DEAD!

:ugeek:

A note on ACTIVATION NUMBERS:
Each Couplet phase, each player rolls 1d6, and marks their AN track on the map with their Nationality Counter.
  • If your previous AN was a 5, you can increase or decrease your AN roll by 1;
  • If your previous AS was a 6, you can pick your own AN (1-6);
  • Note that the higher AN between Players has Initiative and plays first; whereas the lower the AN, the more units you'll theoretically be able to activate. It's up to you to find the balance you desire in these situations.

    FIRST TURN SURPRISE: Remember the whole premise happening here is the fact that the Commonwealth stealthily snuck a whole heap of tanks in the Desert Fox's sandbox, so there was 'surprise' there! As such, the Commonwealth player gets to select whatever AN (1-6) they want on Turn 1, Couplet 1.

:ugeek:

ADVANCING AFTER COMBAT:

If an Assault or Overrun results in all defending units being eliminated, any unit assaulting or overrunning the defending hex that Impulse, can advance into it. ZOCs do not prevent the advance.

  • Units cannot advance into hexes they could not enter during the movement phase;
  • Assulting units cannot advance from an overstocked hex.
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Re: Totensonntag

Postby Whiterook » Mon Oct 12, 2015 2:53 pm

So let's see some of this stuff in action!!!

TANK COMBAT


In combat between the Commonwealth (red units 1 and 2) and German (black unit 3), the CW player had a higher AN for the couplet and therefore, Initiative; and plays first. Of many actions available across the battlefield, he decides his first action is to attack a lone German Panzer III (unit 3):

ToTS 2.png
COMBAT EXAMPLE
ToTS 2.png (168.77 KiB) Viewed 559 times


  • The CW Crusader Tank Battalion (unit 2) is already adjacent to the enemy, in the enemy's Zone of Control, and decides to Overrun the enemy position;
      -- Note that if this were an Infantry unit, they would only be able to Assault
      -- In this example, we are assuming that the Crusader tried an Overrun before and didn't succeed, and is therefore still in the ZOC. The reason I am doing this is to illustrate that you don't necessarily have to move into the ZOC and Overrun, but rather could already be there for some reason. This is not covered in the rulebook but, common sense would dictate as so. Keep in mind that the Crusader still must be able to pay the cost of the Panzer III's hex, which it can with a MF or 4;
      -- If there were another CW unit in the ZOC, they could not participate at the same time, as a Firegroup with unit 2 (there are no firegroups in Totensonntag....units act individually;
      -- Note that the hex the Panzer III is in, is terrain the Crusader can legally enter...if the Crusader was attacking an Infantry unit in terrain the Crusader could not enter, it could not Overrun it (because the end result is to end up in the enemy hex), but could Assault it. Units cab Assault or Barrage hexes they cannot enter, but can't Overrun them.
  • The Crusader (unit 2) generates a FP: Rolls 2d6 = (a 2, and a 3) 5; + 3 FP = 8; - 1 for CW firing at a Panzer or recon unit = 7. The Panzer III's PF = 11. Since the Crusader's 7 is lower than the Panzer III's protection of 11, it is a miss.

So that didn't work out so well! A low 2d6 roll was disastrous against a high protection value of a Panzer III. The Commonwealth player is still the possessor of the Impulse, and can look for other actions anywhere on the battlefield; and he is rather miffed at that last round, so he decides to keep pressure on the German Panzer III (unit 3) and moves his other Crusader into the fray, moving into the Panzer III's ZOC for an Overrun:

ToTS 4.png
ToTS 4
ToTS 4.png (158.8 KiB) Viewed 559 times


  • The Crusader (unit 1) generates a FP: Rolls 2d6 = (a 6, and a 4) 10; + 3 FP = 13; - 1 for CW firing at a Panzer or recon unit = 12. The Panzer III's PF = 11. Since the Crusader's 12 is equal to or greater than the Panzer III's protection of 11, it is a hit.

ToTS 6.png
ToTS 6
ToTS 6.png (117.14 KiB) Viewed 559 times


So the second action of the CW Impulse has a little more success....a Hit to the German tank battalion! And the CW player still owns Impulse and can continue fighting, moving, or call it enough for this couplet and wait for Couplet 2 to keep on the fight after the German player plays their impulse out. But the CW player still has options, and wants that Pazer III down for the count in a brew up! So, luckily for him he has some artillery handy!!!

:ugeek:

MOVEMENT & TERRAIN AND EFFECTS:

As stated earlier, the IF rating is the units' Movement Factor (or points, as they are called in the rules). A unit moves by expending 1 MF point for each hex entered, and can continue moving until it expends all its MF points,; or until it is forced to stop (such as entering an enemy ZOC). MFs cannot be saved from one impulse to another.

NOTE: Armor, Recon, Motorized, and Artillery units receive +1MP to their IF rating.

ROUGH HEX:
  • Basically an open space which can be entered by all units at a cost of 1 MF point
  • +1MF point Cost for for Armor and motorized units
ESCARPMENT HEX:
  • Can only be entered by Infantry units at normal cost of 1 MF point
  • Motorized units can enter at a cost of an additional (+1) MF point
  • Spotters located on an Escarpment hex can spot two hexes away
ENTRENCHMENT HEX:
  • Can be entered by all units at a cost of 1 MF point
POINT HEX:
  • Can be entered by all units at a cost of 1 MF point
  • Spotters located on a Point hex can spot three hexes away and receive a +1 drm
VILLAGE HEX:
  • Can be entered by all units at a cost of 1 MF point
AIRFIELD HEX:
  • Can be entered by all units at a cost of 1 MF point

MINIMUM MOVEMENT RULE:
Regardless of the number of MF points available, a unit can always move at least one hex

NOTE:
Units can never enter hexes occupied by enemy units, or prohibited terrain

:ugeek:


ZONE OF CONTROL (ZOC):

  • Note that a unit must stop immediately upon entering an enemy ZOC...the one exception being if you are conducting an Overrun Attack and succeed, in which case you can move into a vacated enemy hex;
  • You can move from one ZOC hex to another (adjacent to the same enemy hex) ZOC hex...but must stop immediately....and you cannot conduct an Overrun action;
  • Terrain has no effect on ZOCs;
  • Artillery battalion units cannot enter an enemy ZOC.

:ugeek:

CALCULATING FIREPOWER (FP) MODIFIERS:

  • +1 drm to all German attacks;
  • +2 drm to all Panzerjager attacks, when firing on Armor or Recon units;
  • -1 drm when when CW Armor or Recon units for at German Panzer or Panzerjager units;
  • -1 drm when Overrunning a Recon unit;
  • -1 drm when Infantry is firing at an Armor unit;
  • -1 drama if the Target occupies an Escarpment or Entrenchment.
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Re: Totensonntag

Postby Whiterook » Mon Oct 12, 2015 3:44 pm

The Commonwealth player still owns Impulse, so the battle for destruction of that lone Panzer III battalion continues.

ARTILLERY COMBAT

What we didn't see in the above illustrations in armor combat was some artillery units in range on the periphery:

ToTS 8.png
ToTS 8
ToTS 8.png (226.58 KiB) Viewed 557 times


  • Commonwealth Artillery Battalions (unit 4 & 5) are within range of the Panzer III. You count the number of hexes between the target and attacker, and compare to the Range in the center dot of the attacker's NATO symbol. Range is 2; there is only one hex between the CW and GE units in each case.

      -- Note that unit 2 does not block unit 4's Line of Sight (LOS) to unit 3. In fact, the rules don't cover LOS at all, so units wouldn't block LOS, nor would escarpments.
      -- If unit 4 or 5 were in the Panzer III's ZOC (adjacent), they could choose to fire at FULL FP; but they are not, so they can indirect fire with a -1 FP modifier.
      -- Artillery units need a friendly spotter in the enemy ZOC. This can be any friendly unit.
      -- Also, in order to indirect fire, they need to RANGE IN, by rolling 1d6 ; 1-3 fails and the unit cannot fire, and 4-6 Range's In and the unit can fire. Subtract 1 of the Spotter moved this Impulse; and add 1 if the Spotter is in a Point Hex.
  • The Crusader (either unit 1 or 2) in the ZOC can Spot, but unit 1moved this Impulse so would incur a -1 drm (dice roll modifier).
  • The Artillery battalion (unit 4) decides to fire at the Panzer III:
      -- Range In roll 1d6 = 5, so Range In successfull;
      -- Generates a FP: Rolls 2d6 = (a 5, and a 6) 11; + 3 FP = 14. The Panzer III's PF = 11. Since the Artillery Battalion's 14 is equal or greater than the Panzer III's protection of 11, it is a hit.

ToTS 10.png
ToTS 10
ToTS 10.png (204.44 KiB) Viewed 557 times


Note the Damage Counter under the Panzer III in the image above. It now has an IF of 1, so it has one more hit before it is destroyed. At this point, the German player is hoping he can make it to Nightfall so he can try some recovery rolls!!! But.....there is that other Artillery Battalion (unit 5) in the wings!!! But you get the idea. :D

:ugeek:

RECOVERY ROLLS:

Any unit that looses SPs due to combat hits, is eligible for Recovery Rolls, which happens in the Night Impulse, beginning with the Commonwealth player. Roll 1d6 for every hit the unit took:
  • German Panzer, Panzerjager, and Recon units recover on a die roll of 3-5;
  • CW and German Infantry and Artillery units recover on a die roll of 4-6;
  • CW Armor and Recon units recover on a die roll of 5-6;
  • Italian units recover on a die roll of 6
  • -1 drm if the unit is currently occupying an enemy ZOC;
  • Italian units cannot revover SPs while in an enemy ZOC.
  • Destroyed units are never returned to play.
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Re: Totensonntag

Postby Whiterook » Mon Oct 12, 2015 4:51 pm

VICTORY POINTS:

  • 1 VP for controlling Sidi Rezegh (hex M7);
  • 1 VP for controlling Gambut (hex N16);
  • 1 VP for controlling El Adem (hex N3);
  • 1 VP for each Axis division Shattered;
  • 1 VP for relieving Tobruk;
  • -2 VPs British 7th Armoured Division Shattered;
  • -1 VP 1st South African Division Shattered;
  • -1 VP 2nd New Zealand Division Shattered;

A player Controls a hex if they occupy it, or were the last side to occupy it.

SHATTERED STATUS:

  • A DAK division is considered Shattered if it has lost at least 4 units;
      -- Each German Panzer Battalion eliminated counts as 2 units for calculating Shattered status;
      -- The two Arty Command 104 units are not part of a division, so they don't count towards one being Shattered.
  • The British 7th Armoured Division is considered Shattered if it has lost at least 10 units;
  • The 1st South African Division is considered Shattered if it has lost at least 5 units;
  • The 2nd New Zealand Division is considered Shattered if it has lost at least 4 Infantry units and/or artillery units....armored units do not count.

RELIEVING TOBRUK:

The CW relieves Tobruk if they exit Infantry, Armor, and Recon units, via hex Q2, totaling at least 9 SPs (after hits) over the course of the game. Exited Artilley units do not count.
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Re: Totensonntag

Postby Whiterook » Mon Oct 12, 2015 8:43 pm

So, that's the game! :D

The main issue I have with the game is the Terrain; and no Line of Sight (LOS)/Blocking rules.

  • I suppose one could argue that since this is on such a large scale....Battalion/Regimental....units would not necessarily block LOS, which I can support.
  • Even cities and airports, I can grudgingly agree that perhaps a battalion of tanks would be able to fire around a city or airport? ...well, that is a tough pill to swallow, so pass the water, dammit!
  • But an escarpment??? That one is more than I can swallow. I would say a Home Rule is warranted on that one!
  • And what exactly is a Point? I assume it's a rather large hill, especially since it has a hefty barrage spotting modifier. Again, a Home Rule is likely needed there, too!


Thanks for following along! :mrgreen:
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