Pittsburgh House Rules:


Credits where due to: Larry Chaban, Chuck Schnur, Eric Streicher, Howard West
and the members of the Spearhead mailing list:

(Archives & Settings: http://www.onelist.com/community/Spearhead)

Non-armored recon units which move half speed and do not issue fire are treated as having a DEF (defense value) of "5". This simulates the fact that dismounted elements would move forward while the main body would remain in concealment. We're still debating whether to treat armored cars similarly as they would also send dismounted elements forward for recon.
Terrain and entrenchment modifiers are not cumulative. We do this because we feel that a cumulative bonus makes it too hard to dig Germans out of their holes! Most Allied troops fire at a 4 and light artillery and mortars also fire at a value of 4.
Garrisons-The player has the option to drop off Garrisons in captured villages. He may do so without regard to Command Zone restrictions, but any Platoons so dropped become separate Morale Units within the villages and are deducted from the "total original strength" of the parent Battalion, e.g. a Battalion of 12 Platoons drops off a Company of 3. The Battalion now has a "total original strength" of 9 and, if Regular, will test Morale when it loses 5 of the 9 remaining. The Garrison will test if it loses 2. Garrisons may be dropped without needing a Change of Orders but a Change is needed for them to rejoin their Battalions. The Battalion is increased in size by the Garrison the instant the Garrison leaves the Sector. The Garrison may only move towards its BC until it is once again within the Command Zone. Of course, Support Weapons normally eligible to be dropped off to give Fire Support may still do so following standard rules.
This above rule is lifted from the Spearhead supplement White Star Rising.
Only stands whose edge is at the outer contour line of a hill may see or be seen from lower heights. We do this to eliminate arguments about "crest lines".
US Stuart tanks in France 1944 may use canister versus infantry/soft targets. It's range is 3" and it uses a Direct Fire AI of 5.
We usually limit the number of smoke rounds available for all weapons. The way we handle this is to roll two dice when the first smoke round lands. If you roll "7" or less, than you may fire smoke again. Americans may roll "8" or less. This encourages players to save smoke rounds to use when needed, not to fill the table up indiscriminately. Attackers may be given the option to begin rolling after placing two or three smoke rounds.

Playing Aids:
Why do we do all this below? We regularly play with Divisional-level combat scales. We have the luxury of large tables at two sites which we can leave up until we are finished with (or tired of) the game. Sometimes one of the guys can't make it, so it's easy for someone else to run his troops if all the stands are marked and their status is apparent. The steps below are also used in our convention games, and it's easy to break in a rookie to the system if he can see what's going on.
Mark stands which are stationary by placing a small stone or bit of lichen at their front. Mark those which move at half speed or less with the piece at their rear. Stands which move more than half get no marker. This way, it's easy to see who may fire in the proper phase.
Nice markers for suppression can be made by using US Civil War period wheat shocks. If you cut them shorter and paint them white, they look real nice with your figures.
Mark battalion HQ stands with two vehicles rather than one. The second vehicle may be a jeep/kubelwagen or a radio vehicle. This way it is very easy to see for command purposes.
If you desire, mount transport vehicles on the same stand as the transported unit. Face the vehicle to the rear of the stand. To signify movement in vehicles, turn the stand around so the vehicle points toward the front. Doing this means you don't have to use unmounted vehicles or separate stands for moving and stationary stands
Use labels! I personally use Tom Mouat's True Type Fonts (link), then color-code the labels for each separate battalion. Below is an example of the tags generated with the fonts. These tags are for 21st Panzer Division, 200 Sturmgeschutz Abt. I reduce the tags on a copier, then cut and apply to the base of the model. The tag can then be colored using "Highlighter" pens, which are available in many colors.

If you label your stands, use only one unbased truck per company, placing it on the 1st platoon stand. Since you dismount by company, this saves the expense (and wasted painting time) of two-thirds or even three quarters of the amount of vehicles you have to use. Just think...an American Division has a LOT of trucks!!
Make counters for each firing artillery unit with the unit's identification. This way it's easy to keep track of where the artillery lands. I personalize the artillery counters with a graphic of the real Division. Sample showing counters for US XII Corps and US 2nd Armored division:
Print this screen shot from Talonsoft's East Front© and mount on a 3" by 3" piece of thin cardboard to mark built-up areas. I use it for rural area villages. Other similar screen shots can be made for your next Stalingrad.
Using a graphics program, create counters for minefields. If numbered, the type of field can be specified or used as dummy minefields. Place one dummy for each real counter to play mind games with the opposition. This is an example with a graphic scanned from the Handbook on German Military Forces TM-E 30-451. Counters should be 1 1/4 " square.

To mark artillery spotter stands (not Divisional Artillery forward observers) make small flags of the nationality of the spotter to place on the stand once it is used to call in fire. This can be done by using a tack as a base with a small bit of tubing glued to it, where the head of the tack becomes the base. Print small flags on your printer as needed. If your bases are metal, you can even glue a small magnet to the base of the flag for better use.



A Spotter identified by a flag will attempt to call in battalion artillery



Picture from

These stands are stationary as identified by the small stones at the front of their bases






These stands are from different battalions. They are color-coded on their labels


Picture courtesy of Howard West


Pittsburgh Games

Photos of some of our games can be found here.


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