Central War Gaming Blog

Central War Gaming Blog


Sunday, January 31, 2016

The Combat Medic at CWG Events

Every week we're another step closer to hitting the field. Supplies are arriving, squad rosters have been created and team Combat Medics assigned. Casualty cards are having the finishing touches put on them. It is time to talk about what our Combat Medics will do, why they do it, and how this impacts the effectiveness of your squad.

For those who have not had a chance to read the medic and respawn rules, you should start with those.

New rules? Why new rules? 

Once you read them you may ask "Why?" Why add complexity? Why fix what isn't broken? Is there some value missing from normal medic rules that is added under this new system?

Every time new or different medic rules are created for an airsoft game, this is the question. Here at CWG we absolutely recognize this issue, and haven't written our medic rules just to be different, but because feel they better match the style of the event, and can improve the game.

We considered the best practices from:

  • Airsoft, paintball and blank-fire re-enactors
  • Military training exercises
  • Tactical medicine training
  • Real world treatment of combat casualties 

We balanced what was possible, what was safe and inexpensive, and considered the effects of each of a number of proposed solutions on game play.

Because we know from experience that needless complexity kills events. While some requirements and details help make it more realistic and immersive, too much can kill the fun. Making every player understand all the details is annoying when every event has its own methods and procedures.

In the end, we were able to develop a set of medic rules that are reasonably realistic, add some complexity but also make it simpler for most players

The role of the Combat Medic

How to do this—how to strike the balance between challenging and fun—was surprisingly straightforward.

You have probably played with a guy who has a rocket launcher. If he's any good at actually killing vehicles or bunkers with it, then it probably almost defines him in game. He's the rocket guy because he knows his weapon, the range, how gassed up it is, and is always thinking how he can maintain and employ it (or when not to). You haven't got one yourself because it looks like it takes a lot of effort.

The same is true of a Combat Medic. Anyone assigned to be a Combat Medic becomes that as their specialty. Note the word "combat" in their title is key; they will also carry a rifle, and fight with the team, but the speciality is medic, so they will spend time not just carrying a pack with a red cross on it, but thinking about resupply, considering where to go to both fight and to care for squad injuries when the shooting starts.

When the first screams for "medic" arrive, the Combat Medic is the only one who can go and patch up your team, so they can keep fighting. But they also have to decide if it's more important to stay in the fight or be a medic; if there's an ongoing fight, it's often best to finish that first or there may be more casualties, including the medic. When many are injured, you have to decide who is more worth saving, or if that guy already shot in a previous battle is worth your dwindling supplies.

The role of everyone who is not a Combat Medic

This also means the medic rules are much easier for everyone else. If you are a rifleman, fire team leader, machine gunner or anyone else when hit you:
  • Yell "Hit!"
  • Lay down
  • Get out your red rag
Just like usual, and then you wait for the medic. Okay, there's a fourth item; you also have to note the time as we use the typical five minute timeout before you are dead.

Our medic rules actually result in less to do or remember than most events, because only the Combat Medic can fix your injuries. If your buddy gets hit, there's nothing to do but scream "Medic!" or maybe help drag him to safety.

Supplies for the Combat Medic

While the medic rules discuss multiple ways to treat wounds, and refer to carrying around a whole bag of supplies, it's really not that complex. Medics only really need three types of medical supplies:
  • Cravats (fabric slings)
  • Elastic bandages (like ACE™ bandages)
  • Aluminum splints (like SAM® Splints) 
CWG provides these supplies, and the medic and squad leader work to decide how many to carry, and how best to carry them. While the medic is the only one who can use them (and has to carry a medic bag with casualty cards, markers and so on), supplies are supplies so can be carried by anyone in the squad.

Limited supplies, and a limited ability to carry them all, may require triage from the medic. Triage is just the process of determining priority of treatments and rationing of care and supplies, based on the severity of their condition and the overall situation.

The various supplies are needed because different wounds get different treatments. Each Combat Medic will be issued a set of casualty cards. The rates of different parts of the body hit are based on actual studies of wounding in our most recent wars, and each card tells the medic how to treat it. Some get a slung arm, some get a splinted knee, and so on.

Of course, some injuries cause immediate death. The cards are random, so you never know the results until the medic gets to you. Part of the evaluation the medic performs when he arrives involves what the hit player is wearing. Helmets and body armor in CWG events provide actual protection; a hit to the torso may be a minor wound with armor, but kill when not wearing armor.

Once wounded and treated, you are free to keep fighting, as much as you can. A splinted knee makes it hard to walk, but you can shoot just fine. And if you get hit again? We start over, the medic evaluates you and patches up whatever part got hit this time. There are ways to deal with a wound to the same part of the body, and we'll cover all that in subsequent articles.

What medic rules mean to your event

Leaders will have to work with medics to manage supplies. Leaders will have to accomplish the mission while dealing with wounded players who have reduced mobility. They will need to plan for functional casualty evacuation. If members of his team can't walk, they need to be carried out or brought to a truck.

Medics will have to know how to treat the various wounds, and do so quickly, effectively, and while staying in the fight. They will have to decide when to treat a single serious wound or to save supplies for multiple minor wounds. Sometimes people will die because of this. Medics will have to make timely requests to their Squad Leader for supplies so it doesn't interfere with the mission.

Soldiers will have to balance comfort and armor. They will have to assess the risk of receiving a potentially serious wound versus making bold moves to defeat the enemy, knowing that wounded slow down their team. Soldiers will also need to keep track of their buddies so they can find and/or carry them to safety.

Leaving your buddies to die, thereby saving you a hassle is not a good plan. Wounded troops can talk after being "saved" and can function within the limits of their bandages/slings. Having an arm in a sling does not put you out of the fight at all. Eyeballs are a potent weapon to use against the enemy!
Dead soldiers take their knowledge with them to the grave, and can not use it during the remainder of the game.

In the coming weeks we'll be posting much more detail on how to be a medic, and will review each possible medic card as well as how to use the supplies to properly treat each wound.

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