Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Civilians in Modern Wargames

As I am waiting for the weather to change so I can do some priming outside I was looking for additional 15mm figures to base. I had picked up this pack of Arab Civilians from QRF for a market that I wanted to buy from a vendor that unfortunately disappeared. So I now have eight male civilians for my village and not sure how to use them. They can be used as background like terrain but I would like something more. The problem is I do not want them to turn into target. How do other gamers use, or don’t use civilians?


  1. Hey Jon,

    I have used civvies in a couple ways for games without using as targets.

    1. Intel- First declare that the civilian can't be harmed but adds bonuses to which ever group he is attached to, "The guys you are looking for are in that house!" If the group he is attached to is destroyed, he simply fades back into the surrounding area.

    2. Objective- You need to rescue Mr. North. The civvie again can't be harmed and may not move on his own. He must be attached to a group to move.

    3. ROE- Rules of engagement. The civvies may not be targeted again, but the enemy player may move them, treating them as dummy counters and swap them out for live fire units at the beginning of his turn, maybe with a roll. Opposing player may not shoot the civvies until they are fired upon by a revealed target.

    4. High Level Target. Again a dummy counter game where the civies may not be fired on, but enemy units may trade for civilian units if they come into contact or pass a roll. Opposing player needs to pass a sight check to spot and reveal who is who.


  2. Maybe borrow some stuff from Charlie Don't Surf, i.e. Political points.

    One side shouldn't target the civilians (they are their friends!) and the other shouldn't target them since it will bring them a bad rep (give political points to the other side).

    But I usually do not include civilians, because it's a rather unpleasant side of war which I'm not that comfortable to represent on the gaming table. It depends on the game really.

  3. How about as a mobile form of hard cover?

    If the area you are fighting in is populated, have civilians making a break for safety a random event and have them move from one building to another (or to a table edge) in a random direction (in a straight line).

    They can't be targeted but can be used by PLO etc to use as a shield to manoeuvre behind or shoot from. The hard cover represents the Israelis having to hold their shots at inopportune moments as they don't have a clear shot.

  4. Jon:

    I wrote a rather long essay over on my blog about having civilians represented in wargames. I was originally writing a reply to your blog, but then realized that it as rather long. So I expanded on it and posted on my blog.

    I hope it helps.


  5. You could use the civilians as restriction marker for Israeli troops. Your opponent could move them (with some restriction and a random factor) to hinder Israeli movement and shooting. It would be in my view a rather acceptable way to model the difficulty to operate in a populated area

  6. We use civi's to hinder when we play IDF on the same table, but typically more in the IDF's near uncontrolable urge to bully them in some form or another.
    This simply reflects the actuality, civilians in a firezone are very often targets. Sad but true.