We play with several house rules.
Many house rules that I have seen add extra detail in one way or another. In my opinion, the game does not need any extra detail. I’m not playing Advanced Squad Leader. These tweak the game just a bit, to discourage tactics that seem incredibly silly and to reduce player frustration. Each rule is accompanied by an explanation of motive.
1 – More Vulnerable Artillery – Infantry attacking an Artillery unit in Close Combat hit on Stars and Grenades.
Why? Artillery are hard to kill. They require, on average, 12 dice to kill, more than an Infantry and a Tank unit. That’s fine. It’s not easy to charge cannons. However, when you think about it, an artillery detachment should be dead meat if you can put even a little bit of small arms fire onto the gun crew. Reason aside, tough artillery leads to odd game decisions. We noticed that it was often a very effective tactic to lead an attack by advancing one’s artillery units, well ahead of the main battle line. They were tough enough to kill that firing at them was a waste of time. Mobile Artillery, in particular, were total monsters. Further, you could make a victory location invulnerable by parking an artillery unit there. This very simple rule deals with all of these problems cleanly. Artillery need to be protected from Infantry, and stay away from them. Advancing Infantry onto Artillery positions is hard, but once you do, there is a realistic reward in sight.
2 – Flexible Close Assault – Remove the Ambush card/s from the deck, and replace them with Close Assault. Close Assault cards may be played as an Ambush or a Close Assault.
Why? Depending on the map, either of these cards may be completely useless. Adding this level of flexibility helps ensure that these cards will always be useful, and reduces the likelihood that a player will be stuck with a truly bad hand.
3 – Flexible Dig In – Dig In may be played in 1 of 3 different ways.
- As normal.
- After a command card has been played and all actions and combats have been resolved, place a sandbag on two units which did not fire during that turn, whether or not they were ordered or moved.
- After a command card has been played and all actions and combats have been resolved, place a sandbag on one unit which fired during that turn.
Why? Dig In has its uses, but more often than not it would be deadweight that sat in your hand the whole game. This ensures that you can, at the very least, get it out of your hand quickly.
4 – Weakened Mines – Mines hit on Stars and Grenades.
Why? In our opinion, this strikes a nice balance between caution and recklessness.
4 – Restricted Air Power – Air Power is played with an archaic interpretation of the card – select up to 4 units that are adjacent to a single hex. Blob okay, line no.
5 – Barrage and the Endgame – You cannot get a winning medal using the Barrage card. If you kill an enemy unit with Barrage and it would win you the game, you do not get a medal.Why? Last-turn Barrage wins always feel cheap and anti-climactic.
6 – Occasional Rule – When a fixed Artillery unit (immobile, in a bunker) is destroyed, remove the bunker from the map.
Why? Gun emplacements are gun emplacements, not general purpose bunkers. With the guns gone, they’re not much use to anyone. Furthermore, on a lot of maps, in particular beach maps, the emptied bunkers will be re-occupied by the defending player almost immediately. This encourages odd rushes on to the sand in an incredibly gamey manner, and it makes these maps even more punishingly difficult than they are. However, we do not play with this rule on every map – we make the call on a map-by-map basis before play begins.
7 – Custom Deck – We use a deck that is roughly the size of a breakthrough deck, with a mix of regular and breakthrough cards, and with a special center-heavy mix. It’s designed to make play open and interesting, and to make it less likely that a player will get hosed with a consistently bad hand. Center card are emphasized for the simple reason that having no center cards will result in a loss on almost any map.
Recon – Breakthrough Version (1 combat move, 2 non-combat moves, draw 2 keep 1)
- 2 Left
- 2 Center
- 2 Right
Probe – Normal Version, 2 combat move
- 5 Left
- 8 Center
- 5 Right
Attack – Normal version, 3 combat move
- 4 Left
- 7 Center
- 4 Right
Assault – Normal version, all move in a sector
- 3 Left
- 4 Center
- 3 Right
Multi-Regional – Normal version
- 2 General Advance
- 6 Recon in Force
- 2 Pincer Move
- 4 Direct from HQ
- 3 Move Out
- 3 Armor Assault
- 4 Infantry Assault
- 2 Firefights
- 2 Close Assault
- 1 Behind Enemy Lines
- 3 Counter-Attack
- 2 Finest Hour
- 2 Artillery Bombard
- 2 Medics and Mechanics – Regular Version
- 1 Medics and Mechanics – Breakthrough Version
- 1 Air Power
- 1 Barrage – Breakthrough Version
8 – 2-Player Overlord Rules
We play Overlord maps on occasion. The rules, as written, are clearly designed for more than 2 players. The enormous hands reflect this. A 12 card hand is unwieldy. Our rules are quite simple.
A – A player will have an opening hand size of 7, 8, or 9 cards, depending on the card count originally specified in the scenario.
B – On their turn, a player may play 1, 2, or 3 cards. Draw the same number of cards played every turn.
C – The map is divided into three sectors (Left, Right, and Center), and sector has two sub-sectors. A sector card (ex. Attack Left) must be played in its appropriate sector. When playing a sector card, the player must choose one sub-sector for that card. All activations must be made from within that sub-sector.
D – No two sector cards may activate units within the same sub-sector. Recon in Force and Pincer Attack activate units in three or two sectors, respectively, but are not exceptions to this rule in any way. One card per-sub sector.
E – Some cards are exceptions to the rule described in D.
- Direct from HQ – Activate any four units, regardless of sector and sub-sector, even if another card has been played in the same sub-sector as the activated unit. Choose whoever you want.
- Finest Hour – Roll six dice, and interpret the results normally. Choose the appropriate units from anywhere on the board, even if another card has been played in the same sub-sector as the activated unit. Make sure to distinguish units activated with Finest Hour from units activated via other cards for attack die purposes.
- Armor Assault – Activate four armor units anywhere on the map, even if another card has been played in the same sub-sector. Make sure to distinguish units activated with Armor Assault from units activated via other cards for attack die purposes.
- Medics and Mechanics – Select a target (or targets) for this card freely, even if another card has been played in the same sub-sector as the chosen unit.
- Artillery Bombard – Activate all Artillery Units on the map, even if another card has been played in the same sub-sector as the chosen unit. Each Artillery unit may fire once, or move up to three spaces. Some Overlord maps have 5 or 6 Artillery units to a side, making this card absolutely devastating if played as written.
- Firefight – Activate four units as normal, even if another card has been played in the same sub-sector as the chosen unit.
- Counter-Attack – This card must be played in the same sub-sector as the original card, if applicable.