Dead Cushy – The Secret Life of a Casualty Marker

“Wotcha, me old muckers! That’s me, dead in in the centre of the picture. Dead Fred. Nah you might think that me and me mates have a pretty rough deal, being casualty markers, ‘an all; but I’m here to tell yer that it’s the best job on the table, and here’s why.

You see ol’ Stefan there, on the base of the Romanians? I ain’t seen him aht o’ the box since March 2019 on the DNEPR. Farkas in the Hungarian Box ain’t seen the light o’ day since February 2019, even if’n ‘e did have a lick of varnish earlier this year. It’s not the same though , is it?

Now me, I get to see the ol’ tabletop nearly every game. And ‘cos I’m looking up, I get to see stuff without ‘avin to do any of the ‘ard work. Admittedly, I mos’ly sits behind Russkies and Sausage Eaters, but the booze ain’t bad, and if some o’ them Prussians are a bit korrect, the Bavarians really know how to throw a party. Know wot I mean? Nah wot abaht them horrific wounds, I ‘ere yer say? Nah mate, that’s just paint!

I count meself lucky that I wern’t cast like young Facedown Frank over there. ‘E only gets to ‘ear about the battles. Still, the lights don’t keep him awake none. Tarrah then, s’pose I’ll see yer all at the next shindig. I’ll be doing the same as usual …. relaxin’!”


Filed under 15mm Miniatures Wargames

15 responses to “Dead Cushy – The Secret Life of a Casualty Marker

  1. smc67

    I am new to the rules. What do you use the casualty markers for? Just to swap out for a stand when a unit is overloaded and destroyed, or do you place them on large stands in lieu of the red pins? As I play with microarmour/6mm probably a moot point for me.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I use them to record initial “hits” or “pins”, which are halved and converted to permanent casualties when the unit reorganises. For 6mm you would probably be better using 6mm micro dice as they would be less obtrusive. You probably already have a method that works for your game.

      The dice that you see in holders on the bases are used to record how many times a unit can reorganise before it becomes ineffective. They can easily be substituted by logistic markers, leaving the unit bases free. NQM is pretty relaxed about how casualties are recorded. What sized bases are you using at the moment?

      Regards, Chris.

      Liked by 1 person

      • smc67

        Most are based on 30mm x 30mm 1/8″-thick green-painted foamcore with bevelled edges. I used to play Spearhead and various home-brew rules in the 1990s and used pins as markers, so most already have a small pin hole in the right rear corner. I have just got back into gaming and sought out higher scale rules and found yours. Your rules look good, plus there appears to be an active community. I have seen other rules I liked as well, like Assault Gun, where there seems to be no related online chatter at all.

        I have some other rules questions. Would you prefer an email or that I post them here even if the have nothing to do with the exact topic?

        Liked by 1 person

        • Just post them here please. If anyone else has the same question it helps us all. If you already have pins as markers, the way that I use them is that a strength 3 (3SP) stand has the pin at the back right (green). A permanent hit (two pins reorganise to I permanent hit) reduces the pin to the centre (amber) position, and a further permanent loss reduces it to the rear left (red) position. All as you look at the back of the stand. There is no need to paint the colours onto a stand. I just do it because it is easier to explain to new players in pick up games.

          Regards, Chris.

          Liked by 1 person

  2. Great Post Chris. It is always enlightening to have a different perspective!! I have moved to putting dice frames on all of my casualty markers, That way they can be used in skirmish games to replace individual casualties or in larger games to represent unit strengths.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It saves having piles of Dead Fred and his mates cluttering up the board and getting left behind when their owning unit moves off. I’m basically an untidy wargamer , so I don’t mind the chaos!

      Regards, Chris.


  3. Yep, Peter Pig casualty markers do make the game look more gritty, which is my thing.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I’ve been trying to get the balance right to simplify markers and the need to track various records for years, Ashley.

    It is fairly easy for small games, but on the bigger multiplayer events, if it isn’t brutally simple, it just doesn’t get done. Crete and Alamein are good examples, especially the infamous “Plum Pudding Hill”. 🙂


    Regards, Chris.


  5. smc67

    OK, first question – Recce.

    There seems to be two systems for roll results, one -2 to +2 and the other -3 to +3.

    The first: “If the defender wins by +1, the attacker may remain in contact, +2 the attacker withdraws out of contact, every point over +2 places a casualty marker on the attacker. If the attacker wins by +1, the defender lays out his minefields and outpost line, +2 his main defensive line as well, every point over +2 places a casualty marker on the defender.”

    The second: “I use the following differences (from the point of view of the recce unit) to get the result. Unless destroyed or disorganised, the recce can remain out of contact observing the enemy position :
    +3 Enemy main defensive line (MDL) discovered + three bases of defender and inflicts 1SP damage
    +2 Enemy MDL + two bases of defending unit discovered
    +1 Enemy MDL + one base of defending unit discovered.
    0 Forward edge of enemy MDL discovered.
    -1 Forward Defensive Line (FDL) of enemy outposts discovered.
    -2 FDL of enemy outposts discovered. Recce unit withdraws disorganised.
    -3 Recce unit destroyed. Enemy location assumed from initial recce orders.”

    Are these just different generations of the rules?

    And I don’t understand why in “How the NQM DSO Works – a Brief Outline” the Soviet A/C recce unit rolled three dice. Was it red for them, blue for Germans and if so what was the white for? Or was it one per each German stand they could spot?


  6. Thanks for the questions, SMC.

    You are correct in thinking that the variations are different iterations of the rules. The first is the current system. The second was my first try at simplifying the original RED/WHITE/BLUE dice for recce.

    I’m currently of the opinion that “+3 Recce unit destroyed” is too harsh a result – I’m thinking of Gräbner’s charge across the bridge at Arnhem here. Even then, Gräbner lost 12 vehicles out of 22, slightly more than 50% when trying to force a passage through an ambush site. If it is a larger fighting recce mission using an infantry or armoured battalion, it is unlikely that the unit would immolate itself on a recce mission.

    With the current rule as written, it is possible for a regular recce unit to roll a one, the regular defender rolls a 6 giving a +5 difference, putting 3 casualty markers onto an SP3 attacker. These would reorganise to 33 or 66% permanent SP loss, which seems OK for an extreme 1 in 36 event. In worst case, a green recce unit at -2 against a +1 veteran defender could get +8 giving 6 casualties and an overloaded recce unit that is destroyed. We are in Putin’s Russian Federation vs the Ukraine here!

    The old RED/WHITE/BLUE system really only worked at regimental level (RSO). I ditched it because it required the recce unit to roll three simultaneous dice and consult two tables to get a result:

    RED: Does recce sight the enemy first on the RECCE SEQUENCE table below? If the recce does not sight a concealed enemy in defence, then:

    WHITE: Still using the recce sequence table, does the enemy ambush the recce, or allow it to pass by unmolested without seeing the defence: Defenders choice. If the recce fails to spot the enemy, and the enemy fails to ambush, or stay hidden from the recce, then the defender opens fire:

    BLUE: Check against the ENGAGEMENT TABLE to see how close they can allow the recce to come before opening fire. The defender fires and places casualties on the recce before the recce replies. Before the result is known, recce troops only can shout “SHOOT AND SCOOT”, which allows them to halve their casualties received and withdraw to safety without
    returning effective fire or expending ammo dice.

    Hope this helps, SMC. I find questions really helpful, because it forces me to examine my own thinking. Most of the rule revisions have come about from player feedback.

    Regards, Chris

    Liked by 1 person

    • smc67

      Yes, digesting what you said, the current system seems much better. Can still destroy a carless and/or unlucky recce unit, but not automatically at -3.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. smc67

    It does help, thanks. I will get my other questions down soon.


  8. I thought that might appeal to your sense of humour. 🙂

    Regards, Chris.


  9. Pingback: NQM Soviet Summer Offensive 1943 (Part 2) | Not Quite Mechanised

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