Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Synopsis/Review of MSD Games - Frontlines: Korea 1950-53

Photo from MSD Games' website
I received my copy of Frontlines: Korea 1950-53 just a few days after placing my order via the MSD Games' website.  Excellent service from MSD!

Published in 2004, the book is in standard 8.5" by 11" format with a glossy cover and retails for $25.00.  It consists of ninety pages, of which only twenty are rules (including advanced and optional rules), the remaining being vehicle, aircraft, and boat data, unit organizations, notes and four scenarios (color maps for the scenarios are included at the end of the book).  The text is easy to read with a larger font than most publications.  There are two sheets of clear acetate templates, and three sheets of cardstock charts.  Production value is average - my copy was copied/printed with slightly slanted pages throughout.  

There are ratings for over twenty-five vehicles, thirty-plus aircraft, and four boats.  There are also many types of artillery pieces rated, from mortars to recoilless rifles to naval guns.

The various scales I find to be not consistent.  An infantry stand (called a counter) represents a fireteam or squad (perfect for what I want to use with the Fox Hill scenario), but one inch equals fifty meters, and infantry can only move one inch in open terrain.  Based on this, Fox Hill would have the Marine infantry bases standing shoulder to shoulder in a defensive position of six inches by three inches!  Let's see, using the squad organization from ODGW's Mein Panzer, that would be a minimum of twenty stands crowded into that area.  That simply is not going to work.  

Infantry bases are assigned a range and firepower factor, based on the national organization data.  For example a U.S. Marine fireteam has a firepower factor of 3 and a range of 5", while a Chinese infantry squad has a firepower factor of 5 and a range of 4".  Weapons such as machineguns have of course different firepower factors and ranges as well.  One takes the target's situation into account, adds all the firepower factors targeting a unit, cross references this on a small arms chart, and rolls a twenty-sided die for the result.  Results can range from forcing the target to slow movement and lose firepower, to causing no movement or fire, to destroying the target.  Obviously units in the open targeted by a high number of firepower factors can be destroyed more easily than troops in hard cover.  This ability to rate each nationality by differing ranges and firepower does appeal to me.

What I can use from Frontlines is the firepower factors and ranges, along with the unit organizations, cross referencing them with Mein Panzer.  What I cannot use are the rules as written as the ground scale simply does not match troop scale.  The search for the "perfect" set of rules continues, but I can find a lot of useful ideas and information from Frontlines: Korea 1950-53.

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