Nuts! World War Two Game

The second game that Mark, my son and I played on last Saturday was a Nuts! game. Nuts! is the Two Hour Wargames set of rules for World War Two. We used the Final Version of the rules (Nuts! 3 as I call them). The scenario was simple. An American platoon sized force had to clear the Germans off positions guarding a road so that a theoretical American follow-on force could attack further up the road. The American force included two infantry squads, a Sherman M4A1 tank, a two man bazooka team, an medic, and a platoon leader. Additionally, the Americans would be reinforced by an M10 tank destroyer. The Germans had three potential units: an infantry squad, and infantry squad with a platoon leader, and a StuG IIIG with an attached two man MG42 section. The German forces could enter as PEFs; those that did not come into play as PEFs would come in as potential reinforcements. Mark and my son, James, played the Americans and I ran the Germans pretty much as a NP force.

I put out three PEFs as per the rules and then the Americans set up 6″ in from their base edge. The Americans sent two men across the road to their left, which revealed that the one PEF on the hill was a StuG IIIG and a two man MG42 team. The Germans won the insight check and put both Americans out of the fight. The Americans then decided to move to their right as that would allow them to use cover and concealment to get near the German position. The American plan worked well and they were quickly on the German left flank. In response, the German StuG IIIG moved to counter the Sherman. My son was running the Sherman, won the insight check, hit the StuG IIIG despite having a Rep 3 gunner, and passed both dice in the penetration roll, which completely destroyed my StuG IIIG. I calculated the chance of that happening and it turned out to be a 1 in 36 chance, so good die rolling by my son.

Shortly thereafter, both sides got reinforcements (none of the other German PEFs turned out to be an actual German unit): the Americans got their M10 and the Germans got an infantry squad. The German infantry squad moved to the entrenchments in the hills near the road. The Americans massed to attack them. Here we found a major flaw in the new edition of the rules. The newest edition of both Nuts! and Chain Reaction says that prone figures only take a crisis test if within a HE blast circle. That made the Germans prone in entrenchments impossible to kill with grenades or HE fire from the Sherman. That really screwed up the game, and forced the Americans to move up to melee the Germans hiding prone in the entrenchments. The result was a number of American casualties as the Germans pooped up and won the insight test and inflicted some heavy casualties on the Americans before being defeated. In hindsight, we realized that the new rule for prone figures in HE blast zones was very flawed. After some thought I will use a different rule for that situation in the future. Instead of just taking a crisis test, prone figures in HE blast areas will check for casualties at a -2 HE value, which reduces their casualties somewhat, especially for higher Rep figures, but still allows them to take damage from HE attacks.

I also realized that we played some of the firing and duck back rules wrong (and have been in the past). Duck back prone figures in the open can still be seen by the enemy (which we didn’t really understand). Therefore, they may be fired upon by an enemy force that is actively shooting (after activating). That makes a lot more sense to me. Also we were not matching figures for the return fire tests. Instead we seemed to be using a rule from older editions of Nuts! that required at return fire test if a figure within 4″ was short at. I think we had the misconception that all figures in a firefight had to keep shooting until one side was entire out of the action/dead or ducked back. That doesn’t seem t o be the case. Again, this makes the game more realistic from my perspective as a former infantry officer.

And here are some photos of the game (photos by Mark, figures by me – all figures are 15mm Battlefront figures):

Click on the pictures for larger images.

The initial American casualties as they tried to move left:

Americans cut down

The Americans go right:

Americans advance on the right

StuG IIIG vs Sherman:

Sherman over StuG

Sherman close-up:

Sherman close up

German positions after losing their StuG IIIG:

destroyed StuG

Americans prepare to attack:

Americans prepare to attack

Americans assault the hill (many casualties due to a German rifle grenade):

Final Assault


Even though the prone vs. HE rules didn’t work at all, we had a good time and learned the rules a bit better (especially the duck back prone in open issue). I think the revised prone vs. HE rules will work well. My son liked the rules and wants to try them again. I think the next time we will do a very basic scenario with two squads (each run by one of us) against one defending squad.

2 Responses to Nuts! World War Two Game

  1. Bill Owen says:

    Sounds fun. Even though we played Tractics which was to 1:1 scale, I don’t think it was truly skirmish. And only 1 game in 70 was linked, a campaign. We always aspired to having more stuff especially tanks. What made Nuts appeal over Chadwick’s Men Against Fire or the Lard Island guys Chain if Command?

    I note that they have a campaign aid (pint sized campaigns) and I have been fascinated with what some have done in Chicago to link several games where a player starts as a Pz I platoon commander in Poland and the last game he had graduated to Pz IIs in Norway.

    Takes someone with a wide enough collection (and knowledge) to pull it off. Or get all the players painting (why be s one man band?) The genius of the CHI guys’ campaign structure was to let the minutea of the overall be irrelevant insofar as the judge just adjudicated it. And the players didn’t just blow their troops on a last turn rush. Like a D&D for WWII. The downside is the need for a judge if you want to play. But perhaps the Lard guys’ campaign product addresses that.


    • jdglasco says:

      I looked over some reviews of Chain of Command and it didn’t do much for me. I have read Men Against Fire and there was nothing terribly exciting about it, although Arturo raved about it when he visited me in 2007. I like Nuts! as it does have a good campaign system that does not require a referee. Also Nuts! is generally aimed at squad or platoon level battles, which is what I am most interested in.


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