Minden Games Retro Essential Houserules


Note: these rules are mostly about "soft" factors, humans rather than hardware. Being house rules they are highly opinionated, and not entirely essential.

Armor combat vs Ordnance and Infantry:

Instead of using the Armor Combat Table for Gun fire vs non-vehicle targets, use the Retro Infantry Fire Table. The caliber of the gun in mm in red (round down) in the top row (as in Squad Leader and ASL) determines the column to use. So a 75mm gun uses the "12/70" column. Pencil in the above number on your Retro IFT.
Apply TEM as leftward column shifts. So 75mm gun vs infantry in woods is the "8" column. Tank Leader DRM applies.
Trucks use the Armor Combat Table, Armor value = 0.

Comment: A Retro Stewart 37mm gun kills an entire squad on a 9 or less with 2 D6, 0-6 hexes, no modifiers. This is very unlike Squad leader. Now it fires on the IFT "2" column. Which is still deadlier than Squad Leader, since there is no "To Hit" roll. Same as JOSÉ LUIS VALLÉS

Group Vehicle Hesitation:

If a Tank Leader passes his Hesitation check, so do all adjacent friendly AFVs. If a Tank Leader fails his Hesitation check, so do all adjacent friendly AFVs. AFVs adjacent to a Tank Leader do not have separate Hesitation checks.
Comment: This avoid the Kung Fu movie effect where you have 6 tanks, but only one gets to attack each turn. Now a troop moves as a troop.
We also assume that an AFV causes hesitation only in its covered arc.

Group Vehicle Radio:

If a Tank Leader passes his "AFV without Radio" check, or has a radio, all adjacent friendly AFVs enjoy a -2 modifier on their individual "AFV without Radio" check. If a Tank Leader with no radio fails his "AFV without Radio" check, so do all adjacent friendly AFVs.
Comment: 'Do whatever the boss is doing' was a standing order for Soviet tanks.

2-Man Turrets

An AFV that has a turret, with a turret crew of less than 3 suffers a 2 column right shift on its first shot at any target. This does not apply to subsequent shots unless either party moves, or LOS is broken. This applies to (more or less) all light tanks, Brit heavies before Churchill, Brit Medium before Crusader, Soviet heavies before KV-1, Soviet Medium before T34/85. All Japanese and Italian tanks. German medium/heavies have 3-man turrets.
Comment: In a 2-man turret, the commander sits looking thru the gunsight and has a limited field of view. Or has his head out and is not at the gun station.

Combine MG and Gun:

If the target is within 10 hexes, add 4 to the Gun FP for one dice roll, never fire the AFV MGs separately. 10-20 hexes, add 2. Just to speed things up.

Partial Kill:

If the Armor Combat Table die roll is equal to or just 1 higher than needed for a Kill, roll a D6: 1-3= kill, 4-5 the vehicle must Flee in its next movement phase according to the Fleeing DRM rules but without the +3 DRM. 6=Immobilized.
Comment: The Fleeing vehicle has been damaged or stunned, so the crew fall back, risking Hesitation and a second hit.

Crew Exposed (CE)

CE counters may be placed or removed anytime during the owner’s Movement Phase only.
The CE counter adds an additional 2 column left shift advantage on the AFT, allows road movement rate, and use of any AA MG fitted. If an pivoting AFV is not CE, add an additional 2 column right shift disadvantage on the AFT.
The exposed crew may be fired at on the IFT with a +2 TEM (no other TEM factors apply). A Morale check fail removes the CE counter for the rest of the scenario. An IFT KIA result does not eliminate the vehicle, but the AFV may no longer fire. Passengers in an armored halftrack may not fire unless in a CE position.
Optional Rule: Soviet AFVs are never CE.


A natural 6 always causes SMC/MMC Hesitation.
All Debris/Rubble is open for hesitation purposes only, not for fire (Norman Smith).


OBA may be used to place smoke instead of the standard High Explosive fire. Merely place a smoke counter in all 7 hexes of the Blast Area. Smoke lasts 1 turn (remove at start of firing player's next fire phase).

A Gun/Mortar firing directly may fire smoke instead of other types of ammunition in its Fire Phase, smoke exponent = 5. A Gun/Mortar may only attempt to fire smoke once per scenario. Direct fire smoke automatically lands in the target hex, if within range and LOS.
AFV's firing smoke cannot fire their MGs first.
50-70mm Gun/Mortar: smoke lasts 1 complete turn (remove at start of firing player's next fire phase), 71-100mm 2 turns, >100mm 3 turns.

All smoke placement must be done at the very beginning of the fire phase before other units fire. All smoke counters, throw a D6, a 6 means no smoke in that hex (smoke exponent = 5).

See back of counter: s8 (2-7 = you got smoke, 8 = you got it but it was the last one, 9-11 = no more smoke try again with another ammo, 12 = malfunction).

"Canadian tankers quickly discovered that a squadron smoke shoot permitted the Sherman to attack: a line of smoke placed along the front of an enemy position allowed them to close quickly into effective kill range. "

"Tank Tactics, From Normandy to Lorraine," by Roman Jarymowycz, Chapter 13 "Who Killed Tiger": The Great Tank Scandal, page 265-266: