Saturday, June 30, 2012

Alien War - Continued

Alien War – Continued 

This is the second post about the new rules Alien War, available at Defiance games.


Alien War weapons are rated for range, impact, and how many dice you get for firing while moving or standing still.  Support weapons are counted as suppressive weapons, which means they count double for determining if the target it pinned down.

If the number of shots fired (dice thrown) equals or is larger than the number of figures in the target area, there is a chance for the target to be pinned down.  This has nothing to do with how many casualties are caused, its simply the weight of fire.  I like this feature of the game.

To determine how many of the shots are hits, you cross reference the shooter quality with the target type.  This gives a number from 1 to 5.  You need that number or less on a 6 sided die to hit. 

You then divide up the hits on the target figures, and go to the “cheating death” table.  This was a bit confusing at first, because I think there is a bit of left over text from a previous version.  The process is to subtract the impact of the weapon from the armor of the target.  This gives you a column on the table you roll against.  That column is shifted right or left depending on factors like troop quality, sniper fire, and artillery fire.  The range of results is out of action, wounded, ok and retaliate.  This is essentially a saving roll.  I am not a big fan of saving rolls, but it looks like it will work.  There aren’t a  ton of factors, so it shouldn’t bog down the game much.  The retaliate result is the target immediately shooting back at the firing figure.  You only retaliate once each time you are targeted.

If you get a wounded or out of action result, you roll on another table to determine how serious it is.  You may return to the battle or the other end of the spectrum is gory death.  Wounds can be treated by medics. 

Again, I am not a huge fan of including battlefield casualty treatment in a wargame (damnit Bones, I am a combat officer, not a doctor) but these rules are pretty straightforward, and there are good reasons for treating casualties. 

There are special weapons like grenades.  There are also flame throwers, limited to 3 shots per game.  Getting hit while carrying a flame thrower means you risk a fiery death. 

I like that the chance of being pinned is not directly tied to casualties.  Its more a function of the weight of fire you are taking.  The different charts you use in the casualty process are easy to understand.  The modifiers are column shifts as opposed to a lot of numbers to keep track of.  I am going to be really interested in seeing how this plays.

Close combat, because of the sequencing of moves by element, allows you to fire support weapons at the target the same turn you assault.  You do have to pass a test against the highest rank combat value before you charge.   You perform any fire you wish with other elements, and the defender tests as normal from that fire.  There is a reaction test against the CV of the defending side.  If they fail, they cannot fire and run to defensible cover.  If they fail by 3+ die points, they run and end up facing away.

Close combat is a firefight at close quarters.  The number of dice you roll is increased, unless you are weapons crews, flamethrowers, etc fighting with pistols at close range.  You figure up the casualties as normal. 

There are points you figure out from the combat, and you are trying to double the opponent to determine the winner. 

My third post for this rules set will be after we play the game.   I am looking forward to it.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Picking Apart Alien War


This is not picking it apart to see if its broken, but picking it apart to see how it works.  I am planning on running an Alien War game in about 3 weeks.  I wanted to break it down so that I understand it before I run the game.  This is as opposed to my “I can learn the rules while I explain it” method of learning.

I plan on doing this in a couple of parts, or maybe three depending on how long it gets.

First, the scale is one figure equals one man or vehicle.  Currently there are not vehicle rules, but this is a beta and it says vehicle rules are coming.

The game appears designed for play with a squad (6-15 models) up to a platoon (40 to 100 models or more). 

While the basic unit is the squad, that can be subdivided, and the rules intend for you to do that.  You can, on an ad hoc basis, form elements, or fire teams.  Your squad may be moving forward, and need to drop off a heavy weapon with a gunner and a loader.  As soon as they are more than 3” from the rest of the unit, they are their own element.  Single figures such as snipers and medics can act as their own element.  You can form or disperse elements as you see fit.  It’s a two-edged sword, as it gives flexibility but can result in not activating in some circumstances.

Information you need to keep track of for a figure is their grade (Green, Experienced or Veteran) and their rank.  The grade will determine their CV, or Combat Value.  You also need to know what they are armed with and if they have armor.  Each squad will have a grade also, either Professional or Grade 2 ( militia, bandits, etc.)

While mention is made of both medics and comm techs, the basic squads shown in the rules do not include them.  I assume they will show up in the platoon organizations later.  I suppose one member of a squad could be assigned as a medic as a collateral duty to the fighting.

The weaponry is pretty generic.  You won’t find long listings of made up weapon names.  An assault rifle is an assault rifle.  Weapons are rated for range and impact.  Armor has a rating from 1-7.

Each turn you roll to activate your force.  I assume this means each side rolls.  I am checking with the author to see if he means that or if it means each command on a side rolls.  The order of activation is decided once, at the beginning of the game.

You roll a D6.  For professional troops with linked communications (think satellite) on a 1-3 you can perform 2 actions with all elements in your command.  On a 4-5 any element led by a level 1 or higher (Corporal) may perform 2 actions.  On a 6, you roll on the “What the ?!?” table.  You can perform the same action twice if you want. 

Rolling a 6 causes some things to happen.  First, your comms drop one level.  This will make activation harder in the future.  You check to see if your wounded models die.  One element in your force may perform one action.  You also roll on a table that tells you what table to roll on for a random chance.  Some are good, some are bad. 

So you go from most or all of your squad activating, to 1 element activating.  This happens 1/6th of the time.  I will play it that way, but I am thinking it may really slow down the game.

In addition to moving and firing, you can set up overwatch (no mention made of how large an area) , take up a counterattack pose (you can charge enemy that appear from cover), set up an heavy  weapon, or do almost anything your GM comes up with.

Movement is creeping, walking and running.  You generally can fire while creeping or walking.  Difficult terrain is half speed movement.

Next up is firing.  I will do that in a separate post.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Can I turn over a new leaf?

I have been really bad about this blog.  So, either post or close it down!

What have I been doing lately?  I decided that my Seven Years War project was just too much to take on.  I sold my figures to my brother.  He and a friend are having the figures painted by a Sri Lankan service.  They will get done, which was not happening with me.

I bought a French naval starter box for Dystopian Wars.  Several people in my group are painting these, so we should  be able to start playing soon.  My box did not have the masts for the larger ships, so I emailed Spartan games and they are mailing them to me.

I also am looking at 15mm AWI figures.  I can paint those much more quickly than the 28mm 7YW figures, also I am not doing them for Black Powder, so I will be doing smaller units.

I downloaded a new set of science fiction rules, called Alien Wars.  They are written by Howard Whitehouse, whom I met many years ago when he came to a wargames convention I was helping run.  They are published by Defiance Games.  They can be downloaded here.

I only have read them, but I like some of the concepts.  One problem I have with a lot of sci fi skirmish rules is that you have to keep all figures in a squad within a certain distance of each other.  In Alien Wars, you can break up your squads into fireteams.  The fireteams have to stay together, but this is ad hoc.  You can combine and divide fireteams as you want. 

It has an effect on unit activation, and if you have a coms problem you may need to move back together to activate your units fully.

But it lets you have a sniper or heavy weapon set up, and then have the rest of the fireteam move on to a different position.

I am still not certain I understand all about the combat system, it seems at first look a little complex.  Having wargamed for over 30 years, I do know that if you like a set of rules, it quickly becomes second nature to do combat.  (maybe except for Empire III)

Ok, all for now.  I will be trying to get stuff painted and pictures put up.  Otherwise, I might have to resort to political rants or somesuch to fill this thing.