Disposable Heroes & Coffin for Seven Brothers was released close to 14 years ago by Iron Ivan Games. In that time, they had released over a dozen titles covering a variety of wargaming periods and genres. While by no means the most popular WWII system, Disposable Heroes & Coffin for Seven Brothers achieved a good reception in the WWII rules market and was commonly referenced and suggested in many online rules queries. With a solid system for WWII combat and fully supported by the nearly complete selection of supporting army books,
So Why an Update?
Brigade Games and Rattrap Productions acquired the entire Iron Ivan Games catalog in 2015. After the transfer of ownership, we asked one of the original authors, Keith Stine, to write and develop a complete revision of the original rules. This system is called Disposable Heroes II. It was always the intention to streamline, improve, and update the system, yet keep the elements that made the original rules popular and fun.
Why a Kickstarter?
This Kickstarter is to fund the costs to write, layout and print the rules and offer some additional options and rewards.
The following similarities to the original system as well as the key differences between the old and the new, as well as improvements are presented below.
Scope: Disposable Heroes II focuses on platoon level WWII point of contact combat, just like the original. Players activate units (or teams) and vehicles in a 1:1 scale simulation of individually based miniatures. Units take individual casualties and the weapons they are carrying matter.
Scale: Also like the original, the rules are designed for 15-28mm Miniatures individually based. Games are ideally played on 4’x6’ or 6’x8’ tables. The table represents a space of between 50 and 100 yards and the action represents a platoon sized attack with some outside support.
Alternate Unit Activation: The original Disposable Heroes used an alternating Activation system between players modified by force initiative. This allowed the action to ebb and flow between opponents and very little downtime between players (which made it an ideal convention game). Disposable Heroes II retains this basic system, but features some new tweaks and changes to improve on an already solid Activation system.
Weapon Ranges and Unit Characteristics: Weapon ranges are the same as they were in the original Disposable Heroes. As far as unit characteristics are concerned, the original Accuracy and Close Combat scores as well as the original Guts morale system have generally been retained.
Army Books: There were a large number of army books written and produced for the original rules system which included hundreds of unique vehicles. However, Disposable Heroes II is completely backwards compatible with the original army books until new books can be produced. The lists in the old army books are usable with minimal change, while all of the vehicles are usable as is straight from the old books.
Vehicles: Players familiar with the original Disposable Heroes will find that vehicles are displayed and perform much the way they had before. This includes the vehicle ID cards that include the armor stats, weapons, and crew. However, there has been some streamlining of the vehicle rules.
Artillery: Much of the original artillery and indirect fire system from the first edition has been retained and veteran players will find many similarities between the stats and functions of the weapons in the game. However, there have been some changes to streamline artillery firing.
Game Time and Multi-Player: Disposable Heroes II runs around the same amount of time to play a game as the original, and perhaps less. Two players can set up and play a game in as little as an hour or two. The system also easily handles multi-player convention type games or large scenarios as easily as it had before.
Alternate Unit Activation: While the new Disposable Heroes II uses a similar Activation system, there are some critical differences that allow for a much more flexible and dynamic Activation system. Instead of Activating each unit on the board once, the players receive an Activation Pool from which they draw Activations which they may spend on any unit they wish, even multiple times. This allows players to push units forward, or spread their Activations out to react to new threats or exploit weaknesses. However, the player who Activates the same unit over and over might find himself outmaneuvered, or over extended. The players do not place their Activation counters on their units or on the table, but spend them from a limited pool until they are used up. There are also several opportunities built into the system that allow some platoons to spend multiple Activations at once, called “Push” Activations. These improvements in the Activation system create a much more fluid and dynamic game. A lot can happen in a single turn on Disposable Heroes II and often the actions of the players will be very decisive. One of the key differences is the way Activations are used. When units Activate, rather than moving and shooting in a predetermined order, a unit now receives Tactical Points that they spend to take actions. These actions include moving and shooting of course, but they also include rallying, regrouping broken units, and bringing in off board fire support among others. This makes Activating a unit much more flexible than before. These Tactical Points can also now be shared between units so that players have even more options in the way they command their units. However, distance, Command and Control, and training and experience all factor into the use of Activations and Tactical Points.
New Characteristic: There is a new characteristic for units in Disposable Heroes II. Player familiar with Iron Ivan’s squad level rules called Disposable Heroes: Point Blank will be familiar with it. It is called Training & Experience (T&E). This characteristic represents the units ability to function in the face of battlefield friction as well as their force inertia. A unit with a higher T&E will have access to “Push Activations” which means they will be able to Activate twice in a row during a turn, allowing a platoon commander to push his forces or react more quickly to the actions of the enemy. It also applies to many other rules in ways that gives better trained and more experienced units more options or better chances of completing some actions. Combined with the Guts characteristic, this gives a much more thorough representation of the variety of forces that fought in WWII. From Soviet factory militia at Stalingrad, to US Army Rangers at Point Du Hoc.
Casualties and Killed: One of the criticisms of the original Disposable Heroes was in how it handled fire that produced casualties. It was thought to produce casualties and reduce units too easily and too quickly. While the original rules intended to represent casualties as unit degradation in an abstract form, on the tabletop players still saw their models being removed from the table as too bloody. Disposable Heroes II handles shooting, cover, and casualties in a much more nuanced and realistic way than before. Units shoot using a Fire Points system that is more streamlined than the previously clumsy system of counting models and weapons and adding up rates of fire then adjusting for movement and range. Players simply add up Fire Points and roll to hit. Also, when hits are applied, the scores needed to inflict casualties is handled differently. Instead of a single effect from a dice roll, all weapons now have an Incapacitating/Suppression score. The first number represents the chance of a weapon producing an actual casualty and the second number gives the weapons chance of suppressing a unit. The Incapacitating score is very low, while the Suppressing scores are much higher. Also, when weapons produce “suppressing hits”, it causes the unit hit to roll multiple Guts Checks. This new system creates less casualties where models are removed, but encourages suppression and building fire superiority against an enemy. Also, to depict the extreme difficulty in inflicting casualties on units that have gone to ground, a unit that is suppressed cannot lose models to direct fire weapons. This increases the importance of using close assault with grenades and fire from support weapons such as mortars to achieve tactical results.
Vehicles: Tank combat in Disposable Heroes II has been streamlined. The original system of target acquisition, firing, and hit location/penetration has been retained, but simplified with some processes becoming automatic under certain conditions. For example, it used to be that players had to roll to hit every time they fired, even when the target had already been acquired and hit. Now, however, once a target is acquired and hit, all further hits are automatic, and players may choose the location hit. This simulates the crew dialing the gun in on their target. This significantly reduces the number of rolls needed to resolve armor combat in Disposable Heroes II and makes armor battles much more decisive. Maneuver becomes much more important in the new system and getting off the first hit becomes critical, as it was in real tank encounters. Besides streamlining the armor combat system, Disposable Heroes II has been designed to still be backwards compatible with all of the original vehicle cards that came with each army book.
Scenarios: Disposable Heroes II is designed to be played with a specific set of scenario rules to truly bring out the flavor of WWII point of contact combat. A big part of this is the hidden deployment rules and the way units are revealed and brought into action. An attacking platoon might have some idea of where the enemy might be based on the terrain and how they think the enemy might defend it, but this is not certain. Both players will deploy in secret based on pre-arranged Deployment Points. Once the game begins, units are only revealed under certain conditions, forcing an attacker to come up with an attack plan and stick to it. Disposable Heroes II works with any scenarios, but the scenarios provided are part of what really make Disposable Heroes II work as a simulation. The rules for hidden units do not require making a map or recording hidden unit movement. Hidden units are simply marked with a number that corresponds to the various Deployment Points on the table. So while an attacking enemy might know where the defender is located, he can’t be sure! This simple system is easy to use and truly creates tension and friction in ways that traditional scenario set ups, jump off point gimmicks, and card driven rules simply cannot capture. Also, there is a new rule that creates tension within the scenario. Called “First Fire”, the first unit to fire on an enemy will have a decisive impact on the game. This First Fire gives bonuses to hit and wound in such a way that it encourages the defender to hold his fire for most effect, but not for so long that the enemy gets too close. This recreates the tension an advancing enemy faces when attacking a silent and seemingly empty battlefield… and the tension a defender faces waiting with fingers on triggers until the right moment to fire. WWII combat veterans often describe how a battle began when “all hell broke loose”. The First Fire rules are unique in recreating this tension and give an accurate representation of the stress of a combat encounter.
Why Disposable Heroes II?
Why should you buy Disposable Heroes II you ask? In such a crowded market, and with popular systems demanding your attention, what makes Disposable Heroes II a better system than the rest?
Disposable Heroes II plays fast. Disposable Heroes II is intuitive. Disposable Heroes II emphasizes fire and maneuver and those tactics work. Disposable Heroes II actually creates tension between advancing attackers and hidden defenders without the need for maps or hidden unit movement record keeping. The hidden rules are simple and elegant. Disposable Heroes II actually captures the tension and shock of initial contact in a platoon level WWII battle in a way that no other system does. The friction the scenario design and First Fire rules creates is refreshingly realistic and yet very simple to use. Disposable Heroes II is designed as a full color illustrated rule book. Disposable Heroes II is fully supported. All of the original army books are usable and will be redesigned as the originals sell out. There is no “codex creep” other rules experience.
Each year we ship thousands of packages of year across the world so we have plenty of experience in shipping. We will always be as efficient and cost effective as possible.
Shipping in the USA will be $8 for the soft cover copy of the book and $12 for the hardcover.
Shipping to Canada will be $17.00 for one soft cover or hardcover book. Rates may be higher for two books and definitely higher for the 5 soft cover book package (estimated at $26.00.)
Shipping to the Rest of the World will be $24.00 for one soft cover or hardcover book. Rates may be higher for two books and definitely higher for the 5 soft cover book package (estimated at $36.00.)
Adding any other items may increase the postage due to the weight of the parcel. These costs will be in the pledge manager we will send to all backers.
Risks and Challenges
The book has been written and is in final layout by our production team in the USA. The risks are minimal for Iron Ivan Games (Brigade Games and Rattrap Productions) as we have been in business for over 16 years and have produced many rules sets over the years. We are using a printing company that we already have an established relationship. We do not anticipate any major issues or delays.
Risks and challenges
DH2 is written and currently in final layout with our production team in the USA. The risks are minimal for Brigade Games and Rattrap Productions as we have been in business for over 16 years. Together we have published dozens of other rule books over the last 12 years. For this project, we will be using a USA based printer that we have used previously and have an established relationship. We do not anticipate any major issues or delays.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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