We have been looking at modern skirmish rules recently, and one of the sets we looked at was Wessex Game's Cold War: 1983. We found it to be a fun game which is easy to play, but we also found that it failed in some major respects to capture the feel of the modern period. We devised a set of additional rules and clarifications which could be used by anyone playing these rules:
Reaction Fire: This is perhaps the most important rule to add to the game, as it stops people from ripping across the battlefield in their APC, firing in your face, and then shooting at you again without you having gotten a single shot off in your own defence (this happened to me...). Any figure which has not already taken an action during a turn (and is not suppressed) may choose to take a reaction move. This is a combat action which may occur at any point during an enemy figure's movement, or after an enemy combat action. It must be made against the moving/acting enemy figure. If against a moving figure, as the path of that figure is described players must declare reaction fire in the same sequence as the moving enemy figure becomes available as a target - that is, you cannot force a figure to retrace its steps because a later reaction fire failed to hit. Once a figure has taken a reaction combat action, it loses any movement action it might have made that turn.
Overwatch is part of reaction: if a figure's unit is activated, and that figure is capable of a combat action, it may be declared "on overwatch". Instead of moving the figure, it is now able to make reaction actions as per the above rule.
Grenades: We realized that the rules do not specify how far grenades can be thrown. Working from short and effective pistol ranges, we determined that this should be 6 cm.
Vehicle Kill and Passengers: When a vehicle is killed, any crew are killed as well, and any passengers are automatically suppressed.
Muzzle and Backblasts: Any figure within 2 cm of a weapon with a backblast being fired is immediately suppressed. Any figure within 2 cm of the muzzle of a firing main gun (90mm or larger) is immediately suppressed.
MBTs and Turret Movement: A main battle tank may only rotate its turret up to one firing arc per turn, whether moving or firing. An MBT with its gun in the front firing arc cannot target a figure behind the tank with its main gun - this will require one turn of rotation, to either side - firing to the rear would be possible the following turn.
Bussing and Debussing: When passengers move inside a vehicle, they may no longer perform a movement action for the turn. When a figure has entered a vehicle (that is, become a passenger), the vehicle in not allowed to make a movement action that turn. If a figure moves up to a vehicle which has already made a movement action that turn, they cannot move into it - that will only be allowed on the following movement action.
Rules About Being Prone: When a figure makes a crawl movement, it is prone. Other types of movement do not allow a figure to go prone. If a figure makes no movement, it may choose to go prone. When a figure is suppressed, it goes prone. Vehicles may not go prone. Being prone does not in any way stop a figure from performing combat actions. If a figure is engaged in close combat, however, it is no longer prone.
Armor Ratings for Vehicles: If desired, scenarios should specify whether the rear and side armor of vehicles is classed differently for the rear aspect of the vehicle (that is, a medium-armored vehicle might be only light-armored from the rear aspect.)
Vehicle Movement in Terrain: Scenarios should also specify the effects on movement for vehicles for each piece of terrain on the board. It is suggested that really rough, rocky or muddy terrain slow tanks by two thirds, and that other impeding terrain slows them by one third. Note that tracked vehicles move differently than wheeled vehicles, and that lighter tracked vehicles may have a harder time going through some kinds of terrain than heavier ones. (An MBT will just knock trees over, where an APC might not be able to, etc. On hard surfaces, a heavier tracked vehicle moves faster than a lighter one, whereas on soft surfaces the reverse is true.)
Cold War: 1983 is publshed by Wessex Games. In the US, it can be purchased from Brigade Games. As a final note, we suggest that this game plays well in 1:32 (54mm) scale if you substitute inches for centimeters. To see some pictures of one of our games, go here.