Jim Krohn is perfectly explicit in his designer’s notes for BoB:SE: “This is not a game about artillery.” Fair enough. Representing artillery fire is left to scenario designers who have a basic mechanism and a palette of geomorphic boards to create an impressionistic treatment of various actions that are well separated in time and space. Okay. The lines of sight and engagement ranges can be very long. And it works just fine.
FTGU isn’t a game about artillery, either. But the weapons can take tall walks through your lines and sure can ruin your day. You can’t sidestep the subject, either, as it was (and is) the greatest producer of casualties in high-intensity conflict. Doing so would make no more sense than avoiding the role of armor’s employment at the tactical echelon. Everyone should get a look at Henri Levaufre’s collection of concussion-shattered helmets that he has recovered over the years from the four battlefields depicted in FTGU. I have never seen such artifacts in museums. Here’s the English-edition cover of his book. It seems to say, “Whoopsie. Where did my cover go?” But here’s the French.
I don’t want to tiptoe around the reality of this. From a design standpoint it really is a problem of scale. A game about artillery needs, at the least, 100-meter hexes, if not 500-meter ones. One day, I’d love to play that game for all the insight it would deliver. How to make a powerful aspect present yet maintain focus? An ideal solution would avoid any more overhead than the original rules. I’ve read a few technical books, gazed at manuals, solicited a few expert opinions, and balanced this against my personal knowledge. Nothing has impressed me more than Henri’s roomful of shattered helmets. There’s a reason why artillery is a whole separate branch of the military, too. The subject is as complex as it is diabolical.
I suppose asking players to bear up under a little more overhead for historical reasons, or simply out of respect for the demon, would not be out of order.