Crossfire scaled down

Steven Thomas's post on Crossfire as a board game set me thinking.

I rarely play Crossfire these days, instead playing a lot of DBA. DBA is attractive because it's very portable, quick to set up, and gives a good quick game.
What could I do to make a version of Crossfire that I could play as easily with as DBA?

I wanted something that I could easily transport, could be stored easily, and could be easily played at the pub (someday…after COVID eases).

Here is what I came up with.

Magnetic whiteboard

Rather than using a table, I'm using a magnetic whiteboard, with magnetic counters. I can store this on a wall, with a game in progress, or easily transport somewhere.

Instead of using terrain, I just print out the game's map onto paper. I use a scaling factor of 42% (relative to the full-size table).

This makes a 4' × 4' standard table 500 mm × 500 mm, and a 4' × 6' standard table 500 mm × 750 mm. Both of these fit on my whiteboard.

A 4' × 4' standard table can be printed out on six overlapping sheets of A4 paper.
Stacks Image 33
Part of the board, set up to play the Scottish Corridor scenario from Hit the Dirt (available from On Military Matters).


I used 3 mm MDF bases from Warbases, (with 3 mm holes in their centres) and 3 mm diameter 3 mm deep magnets from Bunting.
I labelled the counters with Brother P-Touch printer, with 12 mm wide tape. I used black-text-on-white for the Allies and vice-versa for Axis.

The best way to make the counters is to apply the label, then push the magnet into place, then superglue it from the back.
I painted over any exposed MDF in the appropriate colour.

Squads, HMGs, Company Commanders, and Battalion Commanders are represented by 15 mm square counters (i.e. scaled down 50% from normal Crossfire)

Scaling PCs and FOs the same way would give very fiddly 7.5 mm × 15 mm bases so, instead, I used 15 mm diameter circles. These can either more on their own or be attached to the top of a squad counter and move with it (counting as a group move). Note: it is important that you keep the same polarity (e.g. all north up) of all the magnets in the counters if you want to do this.

Vehicles are 15 mm × 30 mm, sometimes with a 10 mm diameter turret. The latter fits on the top, is rotatable, with a stripe to indicate the way it is facing.

I used coloured P-Touch tape to further differentiate the counters by applying it to the front of the counter (making it easier for the player who is having to look at upside-down text). This also indicates the fronts of HMG and guns.

  • FO, guns = blue
  • HMG = yellow
  • BC, CC = red

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A couple of companies of late war Germans. Bottom right are two tanks.
Bottom left are some upside-down counters. You can see the magnets and traces of the superglue used to secure them.

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Some British counters, showing how the German player can easily distinguish FO from PC and HMG from gun or CC/BC by the colours.


My labelling consists of a type designations and then unit ID.

The label is in the form 'type-y-z' where:
y is the platoon ID, z is the company ID,

I use these type designations:

(blank) = Squad
  • SMG = SMG
  • HMG = HMG
  • BC = Battalion Commander
  • CC = Company Commander
  • PC = Platoon Commander
  • FO = Forward Observer

Example labelling: German Leg Infantry Battalion (1944-45):

  • Battalion Headquarters:
    • [BC], [SMG]
  • Company A:
    • [CC A]
    • Company Heavy Weapons:
      • [HMG A], [FO a], [FO b]
    • Rifle Platoon 1
      • [PC 1•A], [1•A]×3
    • Rifle Platoon 2
      • [PC 2•A], [2•A]×3
    • Rifle Platoon 3
      • [PC 3•A], [3•A]×3

Status markers

Status markers are done similarly, using 10 mm diameter MDF counters, with the usual 3 mm magnet in the middle.

They are colour coded and labelled. I painted the sides of the counters took, so that they could still be identified if stacked on a squad.

Pi - pinned - yellow
Su - suppressed - red
NF - no fire - blue
GH - ground hug - green

Stacks Image 80
Suppression, Pin, Ground hug, and No Fire markers. They can be used on-top-of or adjacent-to squads.

Additional comments

Tapered MDF

Laser-cut MDF counters are slightly tapered. If you make the lightly larger side the top, they are easier to pick up. I do this for all my counters, except for the tank turrets.