Stars & Crosses provides an easy-to-learn wargame experience with basic and expert rules, modular board, and rich possibilities for extended and advanced play. At $2.99 for the PDF rulebook and printable component file, Stars & Crosses is a fantastic way to dive into the board or miniature wargame hobby.
(Note: I know Doug Anderson from various online community interactions focusing on gaming; he provided me a comp download of Stars & Crosses, though I bought a print-on-demand rulebook as physical reference at the game table.)
Stars & Crosses uses some original, intuitive rules to provide a company-level wargame experience a step or two in complexity beyond “battle games” like Memoir ’44. The mechanics evolve from traditional chit-and-board wargames, with core rules for a basic game and individual expert rules to add gradually for greater depth of play. Each piece includes expected information for a wargame unit: movement rate in hexes, attack power over range, number of dice rolled when attacking, and the unit’s “armor” value when resisting damage. Players alternate moving three units and then attacking with three units. The basic movement and combat rules cover only two pages each. The overall presentation of the rules and pieces lends to easy reference during play.
The use of a modular hex tiles to create the board increases the replay value and – with the scenario set-up material included in the rulebook – enable players to create and fight skirmishes between American and German companies across the entire northwestern European theater. The printables PDF includes all the markers, unit pieces, and hex tiles to print as needed. If miniature wargaming is more your style, use the print-and-play hexes for ideas on modeling your own terrain.
For those who enjoy World War II but might find wargames intimidating, Stars & Crosses offers the perfect introduction to chit-and-board wargaming, an entry point into miniatures wargaming, and excellent potential for continued play with new scenarios, additional units, and expert rules.