Special Forces Unit/Airfields *VIDEO*

  • 2018 2017 '16

    Special Forces Unit

    I’ve been trying to develop a new Special Forces Unit for Global 40 for quite a while now but it’s taken some tinkering to get it right. I researched the various elite units in WW2 and it seems that they were mostly specialized units for various purposes rather than the type of special forces you see in today’s world that have multiple purposes. I’m not in favor of having different types of units for the various countries because I wanted to stick with the theme of Axis & Allies where all of the countries have the same units with the same attack/defence/movement values rather than each having units with different values. I know that purists would suggest that everything needs to be historically correct but this is a game and consider that not all tanks were built the same although in A&A they all have the same values. This would hold true for all of the units on the A&A board, if we were being completely correct then every unit on the board would have different values.

    The Special Forces Unit (SFU) that I have in mind has a multitude of characteristics, is more powerful of your average unit, and is affordable so that even nations like Italy and Anzac can afford them with their limited incomes. The only nation that won’t have access to an SFU is China.

    SFU Profile

    These are the kinds of units that people make movies about many years after their exploits. They are under the direction of the highest levels of their nation’s command, carrying out secret missions. They are well equipped, resourceful, autonomous, and have multiple skill sets. This is represented in the various ways that they move and the strength of their attack and defence values. There is also a limit of how many SFU’s you can develop during a game. SFU’s must enter the game on an industrial complex located on one of their nation’s originally controlled territories. There is a limit of 5 allowed per nation throughout the duration of the game. There is only one SFU per nation allowed per territory at any given point during the game, although they may pass through the same territory as each other as long as they’re not in the same territory at the end of their movement… The exception to this rule is that there can be more than one unit in the same sea zone, but they must be on separate ships. The purpose of this rule is so that SFU’s can’t gang up and drop into a capital territory as paratroopers to take over a capital and take their money. In my mind it wouldn’t be very realistic if you could conquer a nation with a few SFU’s. It also speaks to their independence, autonomy, and the secret nature of their movements if they all have to act alone. Their secrecy is also represented by the fact that if they are being transported on a ship they must be alone. They can be transported either by transport ship or by a cruiser on the water. Yes, that means that a cruiser is finally worth the money they cost. If an SFU is used as part of an amphibious assault being transported by a cruiser, then the cruiser will not be able to make a landing shot.

    � The cost of the SFU is 6 IPC’s. Although it is one of the most powerful units on the board, consider that it is really only a highly trained, well equipped infantry unit. That would cost much less than a fighter squadron or a tank brigade by comparison.

    � As a land unit they may move 2 spaces. It’s not that they can run twice as fast as an infantry unit, it’s that they are well equipped and resourceful and have access to ground transport when they need it. You don’t need a separate unit to transport the SFU, it is built into the cost of the unit.
    � As a paratrooper they can fly up to 4 spaces from a friendly airbase or airfield. They can only act as a paratrooper during the combat movement phase and not as a non-combat movement. The only exception is that they can land in a friendly neutral territory to annex that territory and take control of their forces and IPC’s. As with land transport you don’t need an air unit to transport them as it is built into the cost. If they are attacking a territory with Anti-Aircraft Artillery they will be subject to regular fire from the AAA (@1). They are not subject to Anti-Aircraft Guns from Industrial Complexes or Facilities in a territory that they are invading. As with the normal rules of aircraft movement, you cannot fly over neutral territories unless they have been conquered or annexed by either the axis or the allies.
    � As mentioned in their profile, they can move amphibiously on a cruiser or a transport ship but they must travel alone on that ship to maintain the secrecy of their mission. While on a cruiser, the cruiser may conduct it’s regular attacks or defend itself as though it had no passengers on board. It may even conduct shore bombardment as long as it isn’t loading or unloading the SFU that turn.

    � The SFU has an attack value of 3. When paired one to one with an infantry or mechanized infantry unit, it increases that unit’s value +1 (@2 or less).

    � The SFU has a defence value of 3. It does NOT add value to other units as a defender.

    Initial Setup
    � I like the idea of placing one SFU on each nation’s capital (except China) to begin the game. What would be the point of inventing a wicked-ass unit if you don’t get one at the start of the game? The SFU on Germany is within reach of France so those 2 SFU’s will negate each other and won’t change the dynamic of the German’s strategy of conquering the French and acquiring their income on the first turn.  The British will get one on the U.K. and one on India. In total that is 6 for the Allies and 3 for the Axis. This will not only help to balance the game, but also give the poorer nations a chance to own one without sacrificing their limited incomes on the crucial first turn of the game. If you don’t have alternate infantry units that are distinguishable from Regular Infantry Units, you could use a certain color of chip placed under a Regular Infantry Unit to denote a Special Forces Unit.


    I found through play-testing the Special Forces Unit that there was a need for more Airbases because there are large areas of the map that don’t contain any. At 15 IPC’s per Airbase, it didn’t make economic sense to build them in places like Africa, Asia, and the Pacific Islands just so that you would be able to use the SFU as a paratrooper.

    I remembered that I had Airfield markers as part of an expansion set, Amerika Strategic Markers, that I had purchased for my Amerika game and so I put them to use. If you don’t have these markers and you don’t plan on purchasing any, you could flip one of your airbase markers upside down and use that as an Airfield marker. It should be noted that an Airfield is smaller than an Airbase. The rules that I have made up for Global 40 to incorporate Airfields and better utilize the SFU’s are as follows;

    � The cost of an Airfield  is 5 IPC.
    � The Airfield increases the movement ability of a Fighter or a Tactical Bomber +1. The Airfield does NOT increase the range of a Strategic Bomber.
    � The rules for utilizing the Special Forces Unit are the same as an Airbase. An SFU can fly up to 4 spaces from an Airfield.
    � The rules regarding Scrambling are the same as an Airbase, except that only ONE Fighter can be scrambled instead of 3.
    � An Airfield can sustain a maximum of 5 Damage Points from a strategic bombing raid by either a Strategic Bomber or Tactical Bomber. The Airfield is fully operational with 2 Damage Points or less.
    � An Airfield can be placed anywhere on a nation’s originally controlled territories or on a friendly territory containing at least one ground unit from that nation.
    � Like Airbases or Naval Bases, an Airfield may also be used by a nation’s allies.

    I made a video demonstrating the use of the SFU and showing how it is working in a game situation. If you’re like me then you absorb information better by having someone show you how to do something rather than simply reading about it. The video is about a half hour long.
    Here is a link;

  • Nice piece, and I’m looking at a similar unit myself (along with a bunch of other changes).

    I’ve got a SF c4, a2, d2, m1. I’m looking at it as a Paratrooper, Marine, Commando type of unit. As a Paratrooper it can launch from an AB 3 spaces (1 per AB), or be dropped from bmr. Can be transported by cruiser, battleship, or transport (takes the space of an inf).

    Allowing bmr to drop SF in combat (1 per bmr) may solve your airstrip problem w/o adding a bunch of airstrips. I wanted to keep the cost down, so a 2/2 unit seemed ok. I don’t allow an art pairing, and you can’t para w/o other units attacking via ground or amphib.

    Just to point out, in an amphib I’m also looking at inf not getting an art pairing +1 bonus in the first round (would be attacking at 1 in the first round), and maybe art/tanks not being able to fire in the first round either. So if you want to take a beach you would probably want to use some SF.

  • 2017 '16 '15

    Looks interesting. You’ve obviously put a lot of time into it. How many test games ?

    I know the kids marine unit has some special abilities although I don’t like the fact that half the fleet can carry them.

    Also like that you limit their number. Do you only play ftf ?

  • 2017 '16


    Nice piece, and I’m looking at a similar unit myself (along with a bunch of other changes).
    I’ve got a SF c4, a2, d2, m1. I’m looking at it as a Paratrooper, Marine, Commando type of unit. As a Paratrooper it can launch from an AB 3 spaces (1 per AB), or be dropped from bmr. Can be transported by cruiser, battleship, or transport (takes the space of an inf).
    Allowing bmr to drop SF in combat (1 per bmr) may solve your airstrip problem w/o adding a bunch of airstrips. I wanted to keep the cost down, so a 2/2 unit seemed ok. I don’t allow an art pairing, and you can’t para w/o other units attacking via ground or amphib.

    Just to point out, in an amphib I’m also looking at inf not getting an art pairing +1 bonus in the first round (would be attacking at 1 in the first round), and maybe art/tanks not being able to fire in the first round either. So if you want to take a beach you would probably want to use some SF.

    I prefer this approach. A unit with A3 D3, similar combat values to a Tank unit, should be at least Mechanized or armored, IMO.

    A2 D2 M1 Cost 4, is similar to Artillery unit on offence which can simulate the higher combat capacity of better trained Special unit, even with lower number of individuals inside this army division group.

    Also, denying combined arms to Infantry for the first round of an amphibious  assault is a fair way to have at least a special and specific bonus when attacking with 2 SFU vs 1 Inf+ 1 Artillery.

  • 2018 2017 '16

    I hear you on the combat values Baron. I was a little nervous when I was making the video because it was my first attempt so I didn’t explain it as well as I would have liked to.

    My idea was that this unit was not going to be like just another unit with a slightly different set of values. There is really no way to use it accurately the way I have in my mind. These are the type of soldiers that slip into a combat zone before the rest of the troops enter under the cover of darkness to sabotage the defender’s ability to mount an effective defence or counterstrike. They would be setting explosives under bridges, disrupting communications, compromising whatever type of infrastructure in the territory that is about to come under attack, and then setting it all into motion at the specific time that the invasion is about to begin. That is why they would be travelling alone in secret, so that nobody would suspect what they are doing until it is too late. On an amphibious invasion they would be slipping off their ship unknown to others and making their way to shore to prepare in the same way for the impending invasion. During combat they would already be in position ready to bring the fight to the enemy. There is no way in this game to simulate all of these tasks except to adjust their values to indicate their effectiveness as a unit. The reason they are able to add the +1 to the infantry units is because those units would be attacking a compromised opposition.

    I had thought about using bombers to transport them but I decided that I wanted to keep their bombers free to do their job attacking as they always have instead of becoming a transport unit. I also like the idea of having the airfields on the board, they also help move your aircraft further and require more strategy in placement than simply flying a bomber from anywhere to somewhere else.I’ve built into the cost of the SFU their transportation enabling them to move as far as they do. I debated whether to make it 3 spaces or 4 spaces for paratrooper ability. After staring at the map and studying what they could do I decided on 4 spaces because of some of the places they could reach. A good example of that is the portion of the video I spent talking about the Anzac strategy. If you looked closely at the rest of the map you will be able to see other places where you could use the paratrooper ability that makes it such an interesting option and worthy of the unit’s cost. 3 spaces would’ve meant that I needed to go with the bomber transportation strategy to make the unit worthy of a place on my map.

    Forgive me for doing a lousy job of explaining what this unit was all about. It took me a number of attempts at making this video to get it this far. I have a whole new world of respect for Young Grasshopper and the job that he does at making his videos as good as they are after spending a week making this one. It was an awful lot of fun though.  😄

    This is only the third test game barney. After only this amount of time though it was clear to us that this was a really fun unit to use. We’ve already nicknamed them “The Big Swingin’ Dick Dudes” after that quote from the movie “Platoon”. I’m sorry but I don’t know what ftf means.

  • You are the king of your basement so if you are happy with this house rules, and your buddies are happy, then you should totally go for it, man. But I tell you, man, they are not historical correct, not even close. Special forces during WWII, like marines, paratroopers, rangers, commandoes, ninja warriors etc etc were light units, meaning they had no heavy equipment, no heavy weapons and only supply for 2 days. Their fire power were low and their combat perseverance were low too. They had to trust on surprise and luck. They were designed to make surprise attacks by sea or air to secure bridges, roads and beach heads before a main landing by the Army. They were not designed for independent operations.

    IMHO, a special force unit, or SFU as you named it, should be represented by a specific plastic unit like the ones HBG are selling. It cost 4 IPC, actually in the real world it was less expensive than regular infantry because the lack of heavy equipment and weapons, but for game playability and balance most games have it cost more than infantry. An SFU used as airborne should be able to move 3 spaces from any friendly operating Air base both in combat and non combat movement. It was common to reinforce pockets with airborne troops. A transport plane did not have the range of a heavy bomber, so I figure 3 spaces is the limit. As cargo on a ship, a light unit as the SFU with no inherent supply coy with trucks and horses dont take up much space so I figure one ability of a SFU is a free ride on any surface ship. If a tranny is loaded with two land units, it still got space for an extra SFU. The SFU can even ride on a destroyer, or a cruiser, or a battleship. In combat, the idea with an SFU is it land before the rest of the army, and use its defense value in the first round of combat. An SFU attack on 1 and defend on 2 or less. But in the first round of combat it use its defense value of 2 or less to defend the beachhead. For the next rounds of combat, it join the general attack and use the standard infantry attack value of 1. I think they should move 2 spaces both in combat and non combat movement, because they had some jeeps, and usually they were good at highjacking enemy buses and trucks too. They even had bicycles, which gave them better range than slow moving Tanks.

    So basically
    SFU cost 4 IPC, move 2, attack 1 and defend on 2 or less. Special abilities are, they can be airborne 3 spaces when starting from an Air base, they get a free ride on any surface ship, and they have a one time surprise attack of 2 or less in the first round of combat only, no matter how they arrived the battlefield.

    Another idea for a special ability is targeting during raids. I dont know how it will affect playability, but it is a fact that some special forces, like the SAS, did surprise attacks behind the enemy lines in order to target soft objects like airfields. In one case the SAS combat moved on jeeps through the desert in Libya and destroyed more that 100 German fighters in an airfield during one night, and then retreated before the German infantry could do anything. And then we have the Dieppe raid, or Lofoten raid, both by sea, where the SFU targeted specific objects. Also the German airborne attack on Eben Emael was targeting a specific fortress. Other German airborne attacks were targeting airbases in Denmark, Norway and the Netherlands.

    My suggestion. A SFU also have the ability to target a specific enemy unit during a raid. This is the first round of combat only. The next turn the SFU can retreat, if this was a independent raid, or continue combat with its general values and no more special abilities if it is part of a general landing, like the Ranger attack on Point de Huc during D day, they target a Blockhouse the first day, and then continue fighting along with the rest of the army.


  • 2020 2019 2018 2017 '16 '15 '14 Customizer '13 '12 '11 '10

    For whatever it’s worth, there was a lengthy discussion about elite units over on this thread…

    Re: G40 Redesign (currently taking suggestions)

    …starting roughly around Reply #400.  I posted a number of replies on the subject starting with Reply #455 (November 18, 2015, 03:16:58 pm).

  • 2018 2017 '16

    Thanks CWO Marc for the wealth of information provided in that thread. I had read that thread a while ago and that was what originally started me thinking about developing my own elite forces unit. There were lots of great ideas there that influenced my choices, the rest of it came from my own imagination.

  • 2017 '16 Customizer

    One of my players has been asking me to add it to out game, not sure about it, but looks like you put a lot if thought into it.

    One thing I suggest is maybe painting the base, rather then adding a chip, less moving parts.

  • 2018 2017 '16

    My markers came in for them. Each nation has a different marker under them now except U.K. and ANZAC who both have the same commando marker. Germany has SS. Japan has SNLF. U.S. has Rangers. Italy has Bersaglieri. Thanks for the idea though, it might be a good idea to do that anyway to help identify them from across the map.

  • 2017

    1. If it costs 6 IPCs and is A3 and D3, then do you find in your games no one purchasing tanks anymore? Seems like the SFU is a better unit than a tank cause it’s even more mobile than a tank and pairs up infantry or mech.

    I like your video and this concept. I think if it was the same cost but A2 and D2, than 6 IPCs would still be worth it as demonstrated by the capability from ANZAC to the money islands.

    2. What do you think about limiting the amount of SFU per nation? Special Forces weren’t really capturing territories, just mainly doing raids during WWII and there weren’t many of those types of forces. How about a limit of 3 units per territory (which is almost what looks to be displayed in your game).

  • 2018 2017 '16

    You may have missed the part of the video where I said that there are only 5 units per nation allowed for the whole game. You can have 2 pass through the same territory but they have to finish their movement with only 1 allowed per territory. The only exception is that you can have 2 in the same sea zone but they have to be on separate ships. The result is the role of tanks haven’t diminished at all, they are more of a compliment to them.

  • 2017

    GenHandGrenade, I applaud you for working on implementing a new unit. But of course not everyone is readily going to accept your HR idea.

    I agree with Narvik in sentiment. I would play a HR described by him. Also, I think there should be no restrictions on the amount of units for purchase. No single unit should be so powerful that you have to put a restriction on the amount.

    I think your HR over represents this type of unit and made it too powerful in retrospect to the representation of the size of the units in this strategic level board game.

    I think the “SFU” should be: C5 / A1 /  D2 / M2 + Airborne attack movement up to 3 spaces from an air base (like the Airborne tech from OOB). Artillery pair up the SFU to +1 for attacks (not the other way around of SFU pairing up other units). 4 spaces is too far in this game I think and changes the game dynamics too much I think.

    Combined Arms Explanation: Modern US Army Airborne Rangers call in artillery (or an A-10 Thunderbolt II) for support. So in the game, a “SFU” should be paired up by artillery, not it pairing up other units.

    US Army Special Forces (SF as Soldiers say or “Green Berets” to the general public), Navy Seals, and Delta Force (off shoot of SF), usually don’t operate above a platoon sized element. Only Army Rangers operate up to a battalion level. Essentially, Rangers are just infantry, (bad ass elite infantry, but infantry nonetheless). Ranger units and Airborne Divisions were sized large enough in WW2 to “barely” be represented in this game as a single unit on the board.

    Cost Explanation for 5 IPCs: 4 IPCs account for the 2 space movement ability like mech +1 more IPC to account for the cost of the airborne “transport” option from an air base. This way mech remain the main mobile infantry and tanks still roll overall better while being the justified higher 6 IPC cost.

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