Up Front on Kickstarter, and Now Here’s the Weather

In awesome news, there’s a Kickstarter for the classic Avalon Hill squad leader card game Up Front. Go check it out!

A mock up of the leather-bound Up Front rulebook from the Kickstarter stretch goals.

Rik Falch’s mock up of the possible stretch goal bound rulebook. Image © by Rik Falch or Radiant Gaming.

In and amongst many other additions and improvements, I believe the new version will include several of my own scenarios from my previous website as well as some weather rules, which may or may not reflect the rules I’m re-sharing here.

There have been at least three other treatments of weather in Up Front. First was Jim Burnett’s “On All Fronts” article in The General Volume 22, Number 3. It included several oddments, like the inability to move from cover to cover when the environmental conditions were muddy (two Moves had to be played, so you’d lose the benefit of terrain somewhere along the path). Then there was “Cold Front,” also by Jim Burnett, in The General Volume 26, Number 2. It covered only what his earlier article would call Frozen conditions but made some changes (Marsh was no longer Cower but Open Ground). Then there was Ken Rutsky’s article “Up Front Weather Rules” used to be available online, but is 404 now. It adapted the Squad Leader: Crescendo of Doom weather table to Up Front. My rules here are similar in origin; I’m adapting the weather rules from Advanced Squad Leader: Yanks.

Those who haven’t played Up Front, sorry, but you’re about to encounter a whole slew of unfamiliar acronyms without expansion. Rules reference numbers are to the Avalon Hill version’s rulebook, not to the upcoming Kickstarter edition’s rulebook.

99. Weather

99.1 CLEAR: Clear conditions are considered to be the normal conditions in the game unless designated otherwise by SSR or by mutual agreement among the players.

99.2 FOG: All groups not in Hill terrain are treated as if they were in Smoke (13.2). At RR5, determine effects as if only the target group were in Smoke. Smoke cards have no effect in Fog. If an effective Breeze card is drawn (13.243) with a Red 6 RNC, the Fog level is reduced by 1.

99.3 MIST: Fire attacks and observation attempts are at −2 at RR0 and at −1 at RR1.

99.4 GUSTY: Treat Radio cards as effective Breezes when they are drawn during an RNC/RPC check.

99.5 OVERCAST: Check for precipitation at the beginning of each deck. Rain (or Falling Snow, if Ground Snow, Deep Snow, or Extreme Winter are in effect) begins on a Red 4–6 RNC.

99.6 RAIN: As Mist (99.3), and Smoke cards have no effect. Make a RNC check at the start of each new deck. On a Red 4-6, the Rain intensifies and an additional −1 FS or TH penalty is applied at all ranges. On a Black 5 or 6, the Rain stops but it remains Overcast.

99.7 MUD: AFVs not in Buildings check for Bog (28.53) with a one-column shift left each time they play a Movement card that remains in play. Unboxed ordnance attacks against targets in Open Ground have −1 FS. Entrenchments are successful only on a Black or Red 1. Only Movements with RNC 3–6 may be used to exit Open Ground or Gully. EXC: A Banzai group may use any Movement card.

99.8 SNOW: Snow can exist is several forms and combinations. In Ground or Deep Snow, observation attempts are made at +1.

99.81 FALLING SNOW: Treat as Rain (99.6). Streams are Frigid unless other Snow forms are also indicated; any Infantry group entering a Frigid Stream must make a RPC check. If it is black, the man in the indicated position is Wounded (33) and another check is made with a one-column shift left for the remaining men. This is repeated until all men are Wounded or a Red RPC is drawn.

99.82 GROUND SNOW: Entrenchments are successful only on a Black or Red 2. Bog checks (28.53) are made with an additional one-column shift left.

Only Movements with RNC 3–6 may be used by Infantry to enter or exit Hill terrain and by all non-tracked AFVs unless played to the discard pile. EXC: A Banzai group may use any Movement card, and a Hill terrain discard may be accepted regardless of Movement RNC.

99.821 Streams are Frozen and treated as Gullies in all respects but if a Black 5 or 6 RNC is drawn during the resolution of a HE attack against a group in a Frozen Stream it becomes a Frigid Stream (99.81) instead. Marsh is treated as Open Ground although it may be discarded on opposing groups or played during initial terrain placement.

99.83 DEEP SNOW: Streams are Frozen as per 99.821. Marsh and Brush are treated as Open Ground and may be discarded on opposing groups or played during initial terrain placement. Minefields and unboxed ordnance attacks against targets in Open Ground are at −1 FS. All Movement cards that are not played to the discard pile must have RNC 3–6. (A Banzai group is also restricted, but the player may play Movement cards with RNC 0–2 on other groups without first playing a Movement card on the Banzai group.) Entrenchments are successful only on a Black or Red 2. Bog checks are made with an additional one-column shift left. Smoke may only be placed on groups in Buildings terrain.

99.84 DRIFTS: Marsh cards represent Drifts Terrain (not Open Ground). Any defending group on a Drifts card may subtract one from the Fire Strength of the opposing group directly opposite it, unless attacked by mortar or artillery or if the defending group is encircled (17.6).

99.841 A group in Drifts terrain must exit by playing a Movement card in the Sideways mode; this requirement does not prevent a Flanking Fire advantage from resulting from the same move.

99.842 An AFV may exit Drifts terrain by playing a Movement card in forward or reverse mode, but must make a Bog Check with a two-column shift to the left (for Ground Snow and Deep Snow). An AFV attempting to Overrun a group in Drifts terrain must also pass a Bog Check with a two-column shift to the left before resolving the Overrun attack.

99.85 EXTREME WINTER: Increase the breakdown range for Russians before 4/41 and non-Finnish Axis powers before 4/42 by 1. Non-Finnish Axis AFVs must draw a RNC during Prepare for Play in scenarios before 4/42; a Red 5 or 6 means they are Immobilized. Terrain is as per Ground Snow (99.821). No entrenchment attempts may be made in Extreme Winter conditions.

99.86 WINTER CAMOUFLAGE: Infantry personality cards designated as having Winter Camouflage receive −1 from attacks and observation attempts at RR0 or RR1 if in Open Ground and they may play Concealment as per 37.2 (EXC: Partisans do not receive any further bonus to their Concealment cards). Vehicles with Winter Camouflage receive −1 FS/TH from attacks while in Open Ground at RR0 only.

99.9 SKI TROOPS: Ski troops are available only by SSR. Any number of personality cards in a group may switch between ski mode and foot mode, but only as the sole action of that group for that turn. Ski troops in ski mode may ignore Snow condition restrictions on Movement cards, but they may not enter Buildings or Pillboxes. If Buildings terrain is discarded on a group in ski mode, that group may accept it but it must switch to foot mode as an action in the next turn. A Berserk (20.9) skier may not change modes unless necessary to attack an opponent in Buildings or Pillbox terrain.

99.91 All ski troops are assumed to be wearing Winter Camouflage (99.86).

99.92 While in ski mode, ski troops cannot fire ordnance weapons or MMGs and they have their CCV reduced by 2.

99.93 When playing a Movement card from a Hill, a group in ski mode may play a second Movement card to the discard pile to change its Range Chit by two instead of one; the Hill terrain is flipped to its Open Ground side in this case. If the first Movement was played in Sideways mode, the second card serves only to change the Hill to Open Ground.


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