Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Force on Force 40k Style

So something a little different today.  I showed my gaming group Force on Force.  Although these are technically modern rules, we used 40k figures since I don't own any "actual" modern forces.   There is also the future version of FoF called Tomorrow's War.  It's Force on Force with extra interesting chrome added (such as power armor, high tech weaponry, the "net" etc.), but to keep things simple as the group's first game, we used the plain vanilla rules.  Just infantry, no vehicles. The vehicles on the board are used as scenery since we ran out of buildings.

The mission was that a Rebel Tallarn mortar unit has been detected in this area.  A small platoon of IG has been sent in to take out the mortar's security and spotter units. They don't know the city very well, and the Tallarn do (the rebel players called them the "Tallarniban"), so they will have to move in quickly before more rebels arrive from elsewhere in the city.

The forces were:
Regular Imperial Guards: Quality:D8, Morale:D10, Abundant Ammo, and Light Body Armor
3 x fireteams of 4 guys.  Each had 2 light support weapons (plazma gun and melta gun)
1 x Sniper team
1 x Medium Support Weapons team, in this case a Heavy Bolter

The rebels started with 3 squads with a few leaders and support weapons, and lots of potential reinforcements.  Quality:D6, Morale:D12.  Normal Supply, no armor.

This is a very different game than 40k. Forces are generally smaller.   Each side maxed out at around 20 troops each.  A slightly blurry overview of the city fight on a 4x4' board is below taken by one of my good gaming buddies:

A) Starting point of the regular Imperial Guard troops.  They are entering from the left.
B) The rebel troops as played by my Tallarn troops.  These guys are "irregular" and follow different rules as to how they can move and activate.  They also rely much more on leaders to do anything.
C) The circles with dice in the middle represent "Hot spots".   The rebels are crappier, but they get reinforcements every turn (or get the chance to).  Hotspots are numbered and reinforcements are random as to where they show up and how many appear.  One of the objectives for the IG is to neutralize all these hotspots.  Once a hotspot is neutralized, it can't be used anymore and so its less likely that more reinforcements will appear.

You'll notice there is lots of terrain on the board.  This is because FoF is not IGUG, but is an action/reaction game.  The Guard player activates one of his units, and then the rebel plays reacts to it with his units.  You can react by firing, moving, or in the rebels' case, by calling a mortar strike once a turn.  Having lots of terrain allows units to take cover and leapfrog each other more effectively.  It really encourages good modern warfare tactics (at least as I understand them), with units covering each other as they advance.  Its also neat in how it handles casualties.  The rebels just spirit their wounded away so they are just removed.  The regular player however has to worry about his wounded.  Lightly wounded soldiers can fight on, but seriously wounded need to be evac'd.  If you keep them with you, you can't move as fast, which leaves room for CASEVAC stations or helicopters, medics and other more logistical things to worry about than purely fighting.

A couple of turns in.  Some reinforcements have just arrived at the central hotspot through an outside basement door rathole. Its a large group with a leader, but no support weapons.  The IG player has moved 2 fireteams into a nearby building.  One fireteam remained on overwatch for the game covering the courtyard.  The other fireteam blasted away at the rebels and tried to dislodge them.  The rebel players rolled HORRIBLY for reinforcements and only got 3 the whole game, but this group was troublesome.  Also, different from 40k.  There is not WYSIWYG junk.  The buildings are approximations.  You can shoot anywhere in or out of them, and they provide cover.  Windows are assumed.  Also, range, distance, and LOS are measured from the approximate center of the unit.  The unit represents a general "area of influence" that the unit is exerting.  It makes things very "un-gamey" which I love to bits since you're focusing on lines of fire, and not the exact positioning of every figure.

This is a quiet side of the board.  That lone missile launcher (RPG) was part of a larger unit that got decimated in a shootout with the IG across the yard.  He was joined by a lone reinforcement missile launcher, but unfortunately a Fog Of War card that said that a random figure takes a non combat related casualty.  We figured he slipped down the stairs...  Silly Tallarns.  And without a leader, this poor guy is harder to activate.  Fog of War cards are random events that crop up every so often.  We rolled quite a number of them this game.  Things ranging from the stairs ML guy, to an "all clear" for a gas attack, and even a Servo Skull UAV that showed up to help out the IG.

The sergeant closest to the camera is one of the rebel leaders.  For this scenario any leaders can call down a mortar strike once per turn.  This guy was on his Vox the whole time (as he was the last leader left alive anyway), but unfortunately the rebels had Verizon as their Vox carrier, rolling badly here too and the mortars were generally ineffective.

More action a the courtyard, a medium support weapon (Heavy Bolter) attempts to outflank the rebels and take a hotspot by moving into a building (bottom).  While the rebel unit remains in the street and has somehow survived being shot at several times, the whole left flank belongs to the IG for now...

Also, in a round of fire the fireteam in the upper building attracted fire early on and had all 4 of its members injured (added to the one effective mortar strike).  Another fireteam had to move over to do a first aid check on them. It turns out 1 of them was fine, 1 was lightly wounded, 1 was dead, and 1 was seriously injured.  They hunkered down for the duration of the game and provided fire support whilst on overwatch.  Units can only provide first aid if they have unhit members.  A whole unit of downed figures must wait for backup or risk being captured by the opposing side.

On the right flank, another IG fireteam takes out a hotspot.  The IG players gets 10 VP if they remove all the hotspots which is REALLY difficult.  The rebel player didn't use out of contact movement at all which allows them to move anywhere on the board if they are unseen.  A Fog of War card for the IG was a UAV (40k recon skull) which prevents that sort of thing anyway.

All of a sudden, the rebels finally roll big on their reinforcements.  A large squad of rebels appears at the hotspot that the medium support team was trying to remove!  Basically the MG team was busy dropping grenades down a rathole, but this squad moved through the rest of the city and was able to get the drop on them.  The MG team responded by running away from the newly appeared rebels.  The rebels decided to charge to close assault them.  Alas, they failed their reaction check so they only got to charge AFTER the IG unit had moved into the building.  This meant that the rebels had to charge through open ground past TWO overwatching IG units.  Regardless, they took a few casualties, passed all morale checks, and carved up the MG team.  They took a prisoner, but decided to kill him anyway as they didn't get points for prisoners anyway.   After this, one of the overwatch teams that was caught napping, got to fire at the assaulting team and almost totally destroyed it.

You'll also notice that the other rebels in the street (top left) are no longer there.  They got blown away finally.

With the hotspot clear, the IG moves into the street to clear it.  There's a lone gunman in the building opposite but he's reluctant to react by fire as there is also an overwatch team watching him.  In FoF, overwatch teams get to react to reactions... So the rebels react to the IG, and overwatch units react to those reactions... hope that makes sense!

The game ended on turn 8.  The rebels had caused a few casualties, which the IG can't really tolerate.  The IGs didn't take out all the hotspots, but did take out several of the leaders.  8 points to 8.  A TIE!  A bit of a letdown considering all the action, but I think the game could have gone either way.

One thing I will say about FoF is that you roll a LOT of dice. Not just D6s either.  The rebels were Quality D6, Morale D12 so they were crap, but never ran away.  The regulars were Quality D8, morale D10.  Generally didn't run away, but were better shots.  And they had more support weapons, and abundant ammo, so they put out a lot of firepower dice when they shot.

Reaction tests are a bit odd.  I think for multiple reaction tests, especially when dealing with overwatch units, each unit should roll 1 reaction dice, and you use all those dice to determines who reacts first.  I think that'll speed up gameplay.  I need to run a few more games to really get all the little tests.  There are LOTS of quality dice checks for practically everything.  Basically if anything happens, you have to do a quality dice check to see if you pass.  This makes it really difficult for the rebel player as trying to roll 4+ on a D6 is not great odds.  But it also makes it a bit difficult to remember things like quality dice to charge, and if a rebel support weapon gets hit, a quality test to see if you can keep the support weapon...

The game is intended to recreate modern fights between regular troops and insurgents.. Basically Afghanistan and Iraq, but can do any modern fight post WW2 and future.  There is also WW2 rules, but they haven't come out yet in the new edition.  I think it does a bang up job of it, and really allows good tactics.  The IG didn't use their sniper team, but there weren't many good lines of fire..

One thing I really love about this game is the speed.  From beginning of setup to end of teardown was 2.5 hours.  And considering only half of the group had every played before, and even then only 1 or 2 games each, I thought it went really fast.  The adding and subtracting of dice can take a bit of getting used to but is easy once you get the hang of it.  The action/reaction system, especially with several units reacting (and overwatch reacting to reactions) can take some time, and I think I screwed up the order a few times.  Using the 1 dice per firefight I think might speed it up, but probably its experience that'll do it.

A bit of a long post, but I've been wanting to play this game for AGES, and finally both ran a game and recorded.  Lots of fun was, especially considering this group is more historical based, and not moderns. Then again, they also love colonials which is FoF in the 19th century!  I'm also excited to try vehicles at some point.
I'll show Goulio and Willy when I next see them too.


Mandarin said...

Very nice game. Thanks for running it. I think this will become my default modern-> futuristic skirmish set, something that won't be my main period but I'll dabble in.

I can also see this as Legation vs Boxers as all my figures for those are singularly mounted. Will add that to the schedule maybe before you leave...

Tony58 said...

Would you please post the full force list for the rebels.
I.e. support weapons and leaders.

Also, could you have given the rebels(irregulars) more troops, to counter balance the superiority of the I.G. forces?

Otherwise a great report and battle.

greedo said...

Hi Tony,
The scenario was taken directly from this download on AA's website: http://ambushalleygames.com/images/pdfs/bashing-around-basra.pdf

So all the orders of battle are there.

But for completeness
The rebels started on the board with this:
Group 1
1 x Leader
4 x Militiamen with small arms
1 x SAW Gunner
Group 2
1 x Leader
6 x Militiamen with small arms
Group 3
1 x Leader
4 x Militiamen with small arms
1 x Militiaman RPG

But they had random reinforcements coming in every turn. You roll 2d6 on a table in the scenario and also roll to see which hotspot they show up on. As the regulars remove hotspots, the rebels loose potential reinforcements. I think the rebels only made 3 reinforcement rolls. On one turn they got a single guy with an RPG (the guy who fell down the stairs). Another turn they got 8 guys, a leader, and a SAW guy. And the final turn I think they got 8 guys and a leader.

If they'd gotten a couple more reinforcement rolls, I think they could have won. But it was just bad luck that they kept rolling 5 and 6 for reinforcements, and they had to roll 1-4! The guy with the vox calling in mortar rounds also had very bad rolling and the rounds never came in.

So I'd say the scenario was fine the way it was. Sometimes you just can't beat the dice! :) Thanks for reading.