Hordes in the Trenches (HITT) 2nd Edition
Hordes of the ThingsTM Variant for World War I
By Matt Kirkhart
Hordes of the ThingsT M is arguably one of the most flexible rulesets for wargaming available. Initially designed as a set for fantasy gaming, players have adapted the rules for traditional historical wargaming including the Colonial period, World War II, Modern warfare, and even the American War in Vietnam. The following is simply an extension of the flexibility of HOTT to allow wargaming World War I. In the 1st Edition of this rules variant, the focus was on gaming the Western front. However, due to the popularity of other arenas during the War, as well as the efforts of a number of gamers to apply the HITT rules to other theatres of the conflict, the ability to use this variant for gaming the entire War has become apparent. The primary goal for this rules variant is to use the simplicity and elegance of the standard HOTT rules to allow for the quick play of a WWI game involving all of the units of interest in the period, including biplanes, balloons, tanks, and of course infantry. Some modifications and additions to the rules were needed to accomplish this, but the core of these rules is very consistent with HOTT. The following is only a HOTT variant. You will still need the HOTT 2.0 rulebook to play.
Choice of Figure & Model Scale
HITT can be used with any scale of figure or model but is written for 15mm figures. See “Army Composition” later for rules for putting together a force for play.
Playing Area & Ground Scale
The basic game is played on a 2’ x 2’ playing area. However, for theatres of the conflict where flanking actions and maneuver were more common than on the Western front, a 30” x 30” game board may better represent the battlefield. In either case, one inch on the playing area represents approximately 100 yards. The “Mass Battles” option in the HOTT rulebook will provide players with a more historically accurate and enjoyable way of playing this HOTT variant. It is recommended that each side field 72 AP armies using a 2’ deep x 4’ wide playing area.
The following are the troop or element types used in game. The nearest HOTT equivalent is also provided in parenthesis for reference.
Aerial troops include machines that move through the air and are therefore not
constrained by terrain. Bombers (Airboats): Winged bomber or observation aircraft of the period. Primarily they are used to attack Strongholds and other foot elements and destroy off-board artillery well behind the enemy lines. Fighters (Dragons): Winged fighter aircraft of the period such as the SE5, Fokker, Spad, and others. Their role on the battlefield is primarily to attack enemy aerial troops, but can be used to disrupt the movement of ground forces as well. Balloon (Flyers): Lighter than air craft of the period. Their role on the battlefield is observation and providing support to Barrage and Field Artillery shooting attacks.
Mounted troops include troops mounted on or in machines or horses.
Armored Car (Knights): Represent lightly armored four-wheeled vehicles usually armed with a machinegun. Cavalry (Riders): Includes all cavalry of the period, including Hussars, Uhlans, Lancers, and Dragoons. Cavalry may dismount. Tank (Behemoths): Heavily armored ancestors to the modern tank. Can be either the heavier or lighter tanks of the period.
Foot troops include infantry and heavy guns.
Artillery (Artillery): Field guns designed primarily for direct shooting attacks against ground or aerial enemy troops. Barrage (Gods): Represents off-board heavy artillery that fires indirect artillery barrages. Forward Observer (Cleric): Small foot unit whose function on the battlefield is to direct field or off-board artillery. Gas (Lurkers): Canisters of gas fired from off-board artillery. Machinegun (Artillery): Foot armed with the “belle of the ball” on the Western Front: the heavy machinegun. Mortars (Artillery): Foot armed with mortar tubes. Rifles (Shooters): Foot armed with rifles, grenades, bayonet, and possibly a light machinegun team. This is the basic foot troop type and most armies will be composed primarily of these elements. Sturmtruppe (Sneakers): Generic term to describe specialized assault units or trench raiders. Their primary purpose was to assault infantry in trenches and other fortifications.
Recommended Basing Conventions for HITT
(All bases are 40 mm wide) Element Type Artillery Armored Car Balloon Barrage Bomber Cavalry Dismounted Cavalry Forward Observer Fighter Gas Machinegun Mortar Rifles Base Depth 40mm 40mm 40mm 40mm 40mm 30mm 30mm Number of Figures 1 gun+ crew 1 1 Speciala 1 2-3 2-3 + horse
20mm 2 40mm 1 30mm Specialb 40mm 1 gun + crew 40mm 1 tube + crew 30mm or 3-4 20mm Sturmtruppe 20mm 2-3 Tank 40mm 1 a Barrage elements are depicted with an explosion or several explosions on the base b Place a yellow or green tuft on the base to create a gas cloud element
HITT armies are purchased with points, with 24 AP spent by each player. However, rather than simply purchasing each element individually without concern for army composition as is often the case for traditional HOTT armies, players should consider the following guidelines to make HITT armies as historically accurate as possible given the constraints of the HOTT system. When creating a HITT army, players should begin by spending 2 points and purchasing a Rifle element that will serve as the general for the army. After that players should purchase either (or both) an infantry battalion or a cavalry regiment to serve as the core troops of the army. After that additional support elements of any type are purchased to complete the army up to the maximum total cost of 24 AP. Below are the suggested costs for elements along with the composition and cost of the core troops for an infantry Battalion and cavalry Regiment.
Element Type Barrage, Fighter, Tank Artillery, Bomber, Machinegun, Sturmtruppe Armored Car, Cavalry, Rifles Balloon, Forward Observer, Gas AP Cost per element 4 3 2 1
Core Infantry Battalion and Cavalry Regiment
Infantry Battalion 4 x Rifle (each element is a company) 1 x MG Total AP Cost Cost 8 AP 3 AP 11 AP Cavalry Regiment 4 x Cavalry (each element is a squadron) 1 x MG Total AP Cost Cost 8 AP 3 AP 11 AP
Therefore, the beginning core troops of an army will cost 13 AP, 2 AP for the Rifle general’s element and 11 AP for either an infantry battalion or cavalry regiment. Additional AP are spent on any other types of elements desired to get the total cost of the force up to the recommended 24 AP. If the Massed Battles option in the HOTT rulebook is used, each side will be composed of one regiment (three battalions plus supporting troops).
Any type and shape of terrain can be used but the length plus the width of the terrain feature itself may not exceed 14 inches or an area of 144 inches if varied shaped terrain is used.
The defending player may choose a trench as one of the terrain features. The trench must be placed on the defender’s half of the battlefield and must run between two edges of the board, i.e. left side to rear, left side to right side, or right side to rear. Trenches are considered to be bad going for movement purposes if moving across them, but are good going if moving through them as long as all of the element’s movement is in the trench.
Barbed wire is a terrain feature. However, unlike other terrain features, barbed wire can be destroyed by Barrage and Tank elements. Therefore, it is best to mount barbed wire on bases that are 40mm x 20mm, although the depth of the base is less important.
The Command Bunker replaces the Stronghold in normal HOTT but serves the same function in the game. Only the defending player has a Command Bunker. A Command Bunker is not a troop element. It is assumed to have its own garrison of soldiers for protection and cannot be further garrisoned by other troop elements.
If a Command Bunker is destroyed, this simulates a break through and the defender automatically loses the game. A Command Bunker may not be destroyed by unaided aerial elements or by a Barrage element, but it can be destroyed by ground troops aided by aerial or Barrage elements. The Command Bunker should be placed on a 2 inch by 2 inch base, modeled to look like a cement bunker.
Playing the Game
Both players roll a die with the lower rolling player being the defender. The defending player places the first terrain feature on the board. If a trench is used it must be the first terrain feature placed by the defender. The attacking player may then place a terrain feature and the players continue taking turns placing terrain features until 4 terrain features have been placed (including the trench if it is used) and at least three squares have at least part of a terrain feature in them. At that point each player rolls a die. The higher rolling player may then either place an additional terrain feature or decide that no more terrain will be placed. This procedure is followed until the higher rolling player decides that no more terrain will be placed. The defending player then places his Command Bunker. The Command Bunker must be placed on the defending player’s board edge within 4 inches of the center of the edge. A Command Bunker may not be placed entirely behind terrain impassible to ground troops. The defender deploys all his elements except for Barrage, Bomber, Fighter, and Gas elements either in a trench or within 6 inches of his side of the battlefield. The attacker then places all his elements except for Barrage, Bomber, Fighter, and Gas elements within 6 inches of his side of the battlefield. The defender takes the first turn.
Deploying Bombers & Fighters
Bomber and Fighter elements require 6 PIPs to deploy. When deployed, all of a side’s Bomber and Fighter elements are deployed at once anywhere in contact with the player’s own side of the board at a minimum of 2 inches distance from an enemy element.
Barrage elements require 6 PIPs to deploy. They may be placed anywhere on the opponent’s side of the battlefield as long as they are no closer than 2 inches to an enemy element. The exception to this is that they may be placed in base contact with an enemy element if the enemy element is in a trench, or they may be placed in base contact with an enemy’s command bunker. Because of the static nature of trenches and fixed positions like bunkers, off-board artillery barrages may target command bunkers and trenches, and the elements inside them, right from the beginning of the game. Whenever a Barrage element is on the battlefield, the opponent may spend 6 PIPs to force the Barrage element off the battlefield. This represents counterbattery fire and silences the off-board guns providing the barrage. A Barrage element may also be removed if the other side flies a Bomber element off the enemy’s side of the board. This represents a bombing mission meant to silence the off-board artillery battery. However, the Bomber element is also lost from play and may not return during the game.
All the rules for deploying and redeploying Barrage elements apply to Gas elements as well except that only 1 PIP need be expended and the other player may not remove a Gas element once deployed. In addition, when a Gas element is deployed the deploying player rolls a die. This is how many turns the Gas element will remain on the board. The turn the Gas element is deployed does not count. Once the number of turns has expired remove the Gas element from play. It may not be redeployed. In addition to harming elements it contacts, Gas also blocks line of sight for purpose of shooting attacks.
A tactical move is how troop elements move around the battlefield. One element or a group of elements may normally be moved by spending PIPs. An element group is any grouping of elements that are in front to front corner contact or front to back corner contact with one another. The number of PIPs available for tactical moves is equal to the die roll. In addition to the normal rules in HOTT, it costs 1 additional PIP to carry out a tactical move if the single element is a Tank or a Tank is a part of an element group.
Mounting & Dismounting Cavalry
Rather than moving, a player may spend 1 PIP to dismount cavalry. Just like moving, it costs 1 PIP to dismount a single Cavalry element and 1 PIP to dismount all Cavalry elements that are a part of a group. If desired, after moving the Dismounted Cavalry element(s) may move as if they were Rifle elements. When remounting, it also costs 1 PIP and the now Cavalry element(s) may move as if they were Rifle elements for this turn only. After that, they move normally as Cavalry elements.
Moving Through Friendly Elements
Rifles and Strumtruppe may freely move through each other either through tactical moves or combat outcome moves.
Zone of Control
Elements inside a trench may ignore the ZOC rules for elements outside the trench. Elements inside a trench must abide by the normal ZOC rules for elements inside the same trench. Because they are always moving, Bombers and Fighters have no ZOC restrictions of any type. In addition, Bombers and Fighters may move through all ground elements.
Foot and all mounted elements except Tanks must stop moving when contacting enemy barbed wire. Move the element into base contact as if it was attacking the barbed wire in close combat. On their next turn, elements whose movement was stopped by barbed wire may move through the barbed wire as if it was bad going. For combat purposes, elements in barbed wire are considered to be in good going.
Barrage and Sturmtruppe elements destroy a 40mm wide area of barbed wire at the end of the turn they moved into contact with the barbed wire. Tank elements do not have to stop moving when contacting a barbed wire base. They may move through the barbed wire as if it is bad going and destroy the barbed wire while moving through it. Destroyed elements of barbed wire, or friendly elements of barbed wire, are considered good going for movement and combat purposes.
Either player may opt during his turn to move a Gas element. To move a Gas element the player spends 1 PIP. As with other elements, the Gas element will stop when it contacts another troop element.
Tactical Move Distances for Aerial Elements
Element Type Fighter Bomber Balloon Barrage Gas Distance 12 inches 5 inches 2 inches 3 inches 2 inches
Tactical Move Distances for Ground Elements
Element Type Cavalry Armored Car, Forward Observer Rifles Machinegun, Mortar, Sturmtruppe Artillery Tanks Entirely on Road 5 inches 4 inches 4 inches 4 inches 3 inches 2 inches Good Going 5 inches 3 inches 3 inches 2 inches 2 inches 2 inches Bad Going 2 2 3 2 inches inches inches inches River 1 1 1 1 inch inch inch inch
1 inch 1 inch
The maximum shooting distance for shooting attacks is dependent upon the type of element doing the shooting. Measure shooting distance with aerial elements the same as with ground elements, e.g. base to base not figure to figure or figure to base. Element Type Maximum Range Dismounted Cavalry, Rifle 3 inches Machinegun* 4 inches Mortar** 5 inches Artillery 12 inches *Machineguns may fire in the player’s own bound as well as the opponent’s bound. **Mortar shooting is not blocked by other elements or terrain features between it and the target element.
Element Type Barrage, Fighter, or Command Bunker Sturmtruppe or Bomber Tanks Artillery, Machinegun, Mortar Armored Car, Dismounted Cavalry or Rifles Cavalry Balloon, Forward Observer, or Gas Combat Factors +6 +5 vs. foot, tanks or stronghold, +3 vs. others +4 vs. foot or stronghold, +5 vs. others +4, +2 vs. any in base contact +3 vs. foot, tanks or stronghold, +4 vs. others +3 +2
Modifi er +1 +1 Situation If resolving close combat, Rifles or Sturmtruppe have a friendly element of Rifles or Sturmtruppe (respectively) in full front edge contact with their rear edge and neither is in bad going. If Barrage attacking or Field Artillery shooting and a Balloon or Forward Observer from the same army has LOS to the target element (maximum of +1). Note that each Balloon or Forward Observer may provide this modifier to only one attack per turn. If Barrage attack or any shooting and the target element occupies a trench. If element occupies a trench and attacked by Gas.
If its total is more than that of the enemy during shooting: Sturmtruppe Advance
If its total is less than that of the enemy but more than half: Artillery, Machinegun, Mortar Destroyed if in contact Otherwise no effect Armored Car Destroyed by Barrage or Tank
Balloon or Forward Observer Barrage or Command Bunker Bomber or Fighter
Dismounted Cavalry, Rifle
Destroyed by Artillery, Machinegun, Rifles or Sturmtruppe the Armored Car moved into contact with this turn Destroyed by any the Armored Car moved into Contact with this turn if in bad going Recoil from others in contact Recoil from Artillery or Machinegun shooting Destroyed by any in contact Destroyed by Artillery or Machinegun shooting No effect Destroyed by Bomber or Fighter Destroyed by Artillery in contact Flee from others in contact Recoil from others shooting Destroyed by Barrage or Tank in contact Destroyed by any if in contact in bad going Destroyed if in good going by Machinegun shooting Recoil from others in contact or shooting Destroyed by Sturmtruppe or Tank if that element initiated contact this turn Destroyed if in good going by Machinegun shooting Recoil from others in good going Destroyed if in good going by Machinegun shooting Recoil from others in good going Destroyed by Sturmtruppe if that element initiated contact this turn Flee from Artillery shooting Recoil from others
If its total is equal to or less than half the enemy’s score: Barrage All others Destroyed by Barrage Others no effect Destroyed
For close combat when both elements are inside the same trench, the elements may fight in close combat side to side rather than turning front-to-front, front to side, or front to rear. Consider the two sides of the elements in the combat as the “front” of the element for purposes of close combat. The opposite side is now the “rear” of the element with the normal front and rear of the element being the two sides of the element.
Combat Outcome Movement
Strumtruppe elements may, when shooting against them is ineffective, move 1” towards any enemy element. If the advancing element has one or more Strumtruppe element in rear side contact with it, all may advance.
Elements occupying a trench that must recoil as a result of combat may move along the trench rather than move straight backwards as long as this movement does not end with the recoiling element in base contact with an enemy element.
A Cavalry, Rifle, Sturmtruppe or Tank element will pursue according to the normal HOTT rules.