Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Playtest AAR

Did a quick (well under ten minutes) play test of the tactical skirmish rules I'm toying with... This scenario used two identical forces of Space Pirates,
1x Pirate Leader with pistol and sword. (1 leader die)
1x Pirate with pistol and sword.
1x Pirate with nonautomatic shotgun (slug and shot selectable).

I'll do another play test soon with military forces-- the activation system makes military forces very different (and faster with greater numbers on the table). I'll also do a Pirate vs. Military scenario... I expect there to be a fair balance between the disorganized but fast and high-personal initiative pirates and the slow but steady, armored and organized soldiers. I hope also that this will bold well for even more varied forces (such as aliens).
For perspective, I see a baseline military squad as follows:
1 Sergeant (Has Command dice and Leader dice)
2x fire teams
-1xCpl (has leader die)
-3x Troopers
With all having less initiative (less personal activation dice) then the pirates but the leader and command dice meaning that they can put effort into coordinated actions while the pirates all act in essentially random order (though they are more likely to act individually in any one turn).
Of course a poorly trained force with low experience would have neither the pirate's personal initiative or the military's leadership and organization, while an elite force would have both to some degree (the 1-10 stat basis and having several stats play a function in activation and leadership allows a fair degree of granularity).
Hopefully even a platoon's worth of pirates will be playable, but we'll see-- regardless the system is really aimed at a handful of figures a side-- a la XCom. Admittedly this AAR is somewhat below the aims of the system in that it is two very simple AND small forces. Ideally if everyone has the same stats (excepting leader dice) and simple weapons and equipment (no SF weaponry or armor) then you'll be playing with more models on a bigger field, while a small game like this will be more interesting with more detail in each piece…

Anyway, onto the AAR:
GZG figures on Khurasan terrain. The pirates at the top of the picture we'll call Ravagers, the pirates at the bottom we'll call Scavengers. Presumably they've met somewhere on an abandoned installation or ship...

As neither side is In Contact, the leaders roll to activate their whole group and the Ravagers win, sending their shotgun down the flank while the others move out into light cover to engage the Scavengers.

As Overwatch is an action, and without that action troops are roughly equally effective to active troops when reacting, acting first is an advantage on defense or offense. In this case, both sides exchange some pistol fire down the hallway, and the Scavenger with the shotgun is suppressed.

But the Scavenger leader and the other pistoleer are still able to act once it is their turn. The Pirate leader takes an Aimed Shot at one of the Ravagers and gets a lucky hit through cover, taking him out of action. Meanwhile the other pistol moves up to a door and opens it, taking some fire from the Ravager shotgun but taking no damage.

Everyone is in Contact now… so everyone rolls activation separately. Normally a suppressed character cannot roll, but one capability of Leaders (anyone with a leadership die or more) is to assign leader dice to act as activation dice for nearby suppressed troops. Doing this means other actions cannot be taken however, such as coordinating actions that allow units to move together. Rallying the suppressed shotgun means everyone is definitely going to be acting individually (even getting the same activation roll means that they're treated as moving at different times for the purposes of reactions, which is often a disadvantage and is merely an option to coordinated troops). Regardless, the Ravager leader fails to activate, and the first actors are Scavengers… things aren't looking too good for the Ravagers.
The first action in the sequence is Suppressing Fire on the shotgun, which succeeds. Next, the Scavenger Leader sprays suppressing fire down the hall, pinning the Ravager Leader behind some barrels. Finally the Scavenger shotgun finds her way to her enemy's flanks clear, and she rushes up... 

And barely wounds the Ravager! Unfortunately for the Ravagers it is clear that the Scavengers have won the firefight regardless… even surviving a single hail of fire, all of their fighters are suppressed, and sure enough the next turn the Scavengers get another chance to push up unopposed, and the Ravagers are wiped out.

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