#Wargame Wednesday – Rolling Hot like a Tanklord in different Hammer’s Slammers games featuring #TravellerRPG and Game Designers’ Workshop, Metagaming, @mayfairgames, @MongoosePub, & www.hammers-slammers.com – all for @TheGascon

Thank Gascon

This Wargame Wednesday entry is courtesy of @TheGascon who sent me down this rabbit hole from Twitter by simply asking me which Hammer’s Slammers rules I prefer. In my typical way, the answer is not simple and to understand my thinking we need to look at several decades of wargaming history. Come along as I dig into a bit of my gaming past (and present) to show you my Hammer’s Slammers wargaming evolution from the early 1980’s to today.

Incoming—@TheGascon turns the BlogZ Hot

Rolling Hot

When I think of Hammer’s Slammers stories and wargames, the final battle in the novel Rolling Hot immediately comes to mind. Here, a severely understrength Task Force Ranson consisting at this point of a single hovertank and a handful of combat cars faces a (slightly) understrength local armored battalion. To me, a Hammer’s Slammers wargame needs to be able to recreate this battle—not necessarily the exact outcome but definitely the situation. Here is that situation as laid out so dramatically in the book:

Blue Three’s sensors had greater range and precision by an order of magnitude than those crammed into the combat cars, but the cars could process the data passed to them by the larger vehicle. The sidebar on Ranson’s multi-function display listed call signs, isolated in cross-talk overheard by the superb electronics of the tank pretending to be in Kawana while it waited on Chin Peng Rise north of the tiny hamlet.

There were twenty-five individual call signs. The AI broke them down as three companies consisting of three platoons—but no more than four tanks in any platoon (five would have been full strength). Some platoons were postulated from a single call sign.

Not all the Yokel tanks would indulge in the loose chatter that laid them out for Task Force Ranson like a roast for the carving; but most of them would, most of them were surely identified. The red cross-hatching that overlay the relief map in the main field of the display was the AI’s best estimate thus far of the the armored battalion’s disposition.

Blue Three was the frame of the trap and the bait within it; but the five combat cars of the west and east elements were the spring-loaded jaws that would snap the rat’s neck.

And this rat, Yokel or Consie, was lying. It was clear that the leading elements of First of the 4th were already deploying onto the southern slope of Sugar Knob, half a kilometer from the store and shanties of Kawana rather than ten kays their commander claimed.

In the next few seconds, the commander of the armored battalion would decide whether he wanted to meet allied mercenaries—or light the fuse that would certainly detonate in a battle more destructive than any citizen of Prosperity could imagine. He was being tested….

The two sharp green beads of Lieutenant Cooter’s element settled into position.

She heard a whisper in the southern sky. Incoming.

Rolling Hot, Chapter 12

Now let’s look back on the history of my Hammer’s Slammers wargames, or at least those titles I use to play out Hammer’s Slammers battles, and see how they did.


Rolling Hot, (c) 1986 by David Drake

Rolling Hot

“But Loyal to His Own”

I discovered David Drakes Hammer’s Slammers paperback book not long after it was published, likely around 1980 or the year after it entered print. This was around the same time I discovered the (now) Classic Traveller role playing game from Game Designers’ Workshop. In early 1980 I found the three Little Black Books in my first FLGS, Fascination Corner, in south Denver. I’m not sure which came first, Classic Traveller Book 4: Mercenary or Drake’s Hammer’s Slammers, but the two books are forever linked in my mind.

From a wargaming perspective, Mercenary is an interesting collection of rules. There are actually three rules for combat resolution given in the book: The Traveller Combat System taken from LBB Book 1: Characters and Combat, the Abstract System which is just like the name says, and a Free-Form System which is undefined. As much as I seem to remember differently the truth is that looking back at the Tech Level advancements in Mercenary they don’t even discuss hovertanks. At Tech Level 9 military vehicles transition from track-laying/wheeled to grav—ground effect is never discussed. Back then I passed on buying Striker, a set of 15mm miniatures rules, that also had the Classic Traveller vehicle design system. If I had Striker I “think” I would have tried to design the Regiment. Regardless, the lack of Striker meant I used the Abstract System in Mercenary but never truly had a force specifically-built based on the Slammers’ universe.

The closest I came to a wargame with hovertanks in these early days actual was Steve Jackson’s Ogre/G.E.V. microgames from Metagaming. I say “close” because, like Mercenary, Hammer’s Slammers was inspiration for play but not closely simulated on the tabletop. Another set of Metagaming titles, Helltank and Helltank Destroyer, actually came a bit closer but, like Ogre/G.E.V., were just not quite Hammer-like to be honestly called a Hammer’s Slammers wargame.


Classic Traveller Role Playing Game (i.e. “The Little Black Books”), (c) 1977 Game Designers’ Workshop

The Little Black Books of Classic Traveller

Book 4: Mercenary, (c) 1978 Game Designers’ Workshop

Striker, designed by Frank Chadwick, (c) 1981 Game Designers’ Workshop

Ogre, designed by Steve Jackson, (c) 1977 Metagaming

G.E.V., designed by Steve Jackson, (c) 1978 Metagaming

Helltank, designed by Phillip S. Kosnett, (c) 1981 Metagaming

Helltank Destroyer, designed by Phillip S. Kosnett, (c) 1982 Metagaming


“Supertanks”

The first “proper” Hammer’s Slammers wargame I owned was the namesake Hammer’s Slammers from Mayfair Games published in 1984. I am sure I got this one not long after it was published. Described by some as “PanzerBlitz in Spaaaace” this simple wargame with it’s interlocking modular map and asymmetric array of forces gives one a taste of the Hammer’s Slammers universe. Looking back on the game nearly 40 years later I still see a great simple wargame that, when played by savvy players and with attention to scenario design, is not always a walkover for The Regiment like some BoardGameGeek comments imply. Although published before Rolling Hot, this Hammer’s Slammers wargame can be used to recreate the signature battle if one is wiling to design the light tanks of the First of the 4th.


Hammers Slammer’s, designed by Jim Griffin, H. N. Voss, Neil Zimmerer, (c) 1984 Mayfair Games

Mayfair Games Hammer’s SlammersPanzerBlitz in Spaaaace?

“Night March”

For a while it looked like my Hammer’s Slammers wargaming was going dark. In the 1990’s I was getting my military career started and science-fiction games fell to the wayside as I focused more on “modern” simulations. That said, three games did enter my collection that I (longingly) yearned to use for a Hammer’s Slammers game. Although Striker II by Frank Chadwick entered my collection, once again I lacked the Traveller: The New Era vehicle design system book so I could not design Regiment vehicles.

It was during this same period that two other rule sets entered my collection, both from Ground Zero Games in the U.K. Dirtside II and Stargrunt II, designed by Jon Tuffley and others, challenged my thinking about what wargame rules could be. Up until this point in my wargaming life, Frank Chadwick and Game Designers’ Workshop defined miniatures gaming for me. In particular, I viewed Frank’s Command Decision (World War II) and Combined Arms (Modern) rules, which Striker II was built upon, as the pinnacle of miniatures rules. I respected (prided?) the “realism” in the rules and how these games were almost hex & counter wargames on a miniatures tabletop. On the other hand, Dirtside II and Stargrunt II challenged my viewpoint by giving me a set of miniatures rules that were easy to learn and used “design for effect” instead of “realism.” I also had never thought to use anything other than a d6, d10, or d100 in a wargame. Now, instead of looking up which exact weapon was used on a table in the back of a book, I was rolling a d4, d8, or maybe even a d12 Quality Die for units. It totally changed my thinking as to what a set of wargame rules could be. The vehicle design rules in Dirtside II also gave me a chance to design a hovertank, something I had not been able to do up to this point with other rule sets. In particular Dirtside II, with its vehicle design system, made recreating the Rolling Hot battle quite easy.


Striker II, designed by Frank Chadwick, (c) 1993 Game Designers’ Workshop

Dirtside II, designed by Jon Tuffley & Mike Elliot, (c) 1993 Ground Zero Games

Dirtside II from Ground Zero Games

Stargrunt II, designed by Jon Tuffley, Mike Elliot, and Steve Bease, (c) 1996 Ground Zero Games


“Hangman”

The early 2000’s was a bad time for my wargaming hobby. Many issues conspired against me and the result was a lack of personal emphasis on wargaming. Instead, I leaned more into role playing games since, generally speaking, it took less space (and money) to buy a book than to buy a wagame. During this time, I rediscovered my passion for Traveller RPG with Mongoose Traveller (MgT). I loved MgT (at least the first edition) because it was basically an updated take on Classic Traveller. Starting with the core rules in 2008, the MgT line immediately added Book 1: Mercenary. Then there was a very exciting development….

In 2009, Mongoose Publishing printed a sourcebook for MgT titled Hammer’s Slammers. The book showed much promise as it was written with the support of David Drake himself. This book, featuring extensive background, showed me just how disconnected I had become from the Slammers universe and helped reenergize my interest in the series. As a wargame, however, the Mongoose Publishing Hammer’s Slammers was grossly lacking.

A decade ago I wrote on this blog my thoughts of the MgT Hammer’s Slammers. Alas, the years have not changed my thinking:

The Verdict: Let’s be clear about a bias first; I love the Hammer’s Slammers series of books and stories. More than anything else David Drake has defined for me what I think of when I hear the term “military science-fiction.”

This book is a true labor of love and worth the price for the background alone. Finally, in one place you have the entire history of the Slammers together; all the people and places, event and equipment. But how does it translate as an RPG?

Unfortunately, I feel that Mongoose fails to live up to the expectations here. Especially the boast on the back cover that claims, “With all vehicles created using the Traveller Vehicle Creation System, this book is guaranteed to be fully compatible with every other Traveller book, allowing you to mix and match supplements as you desire!”

So in no particular order, here are some thoughts on the book:

– What is up with the cover soldier? The outfit is nothing like I imagine a Hammer’s Slammers trooper to be like; blinking lights and the like and doesn’t even match the armor depicted on page 120 which is that used by the Slammers

– A “Mercenary Roster” is provided on page 21 comparing notable mercenary units; each is assigned a rating but ratings are never explained (ahh, on page 180 when making a Mercenary Contract the quality of a unit is used for a DM; quality similar to but not shown the same way as the ratings on page 21)

– Joining the Slammers can be direct or through The Connections Rule from the Core Book; you can also join the Slammers after finishing a military career as per the Core Rulebook or other supplement

– Who did the maps?  They are HORRIBLE—gridded squares with cartoonish graphics don’t fit this high tech military setting; easily the worst part of the book

– The characters are great but again the kit doesn’t match what is provided elsewhere

– Errors abound when cross-referencing items; is the Protection for Light Ceramic Combat Shell (or is is called Clamshell, Light) 10 or 12?

– Tank Powerguns are really powerful; like they should be in this setting

– It is impossible to make any of the supertanks using the Vehicle Creation System found in Supplement 6: Military Vehicles; so much for “guaranteed to be fully compatible”

– Vehicle Combat introduces new range and hit systems; one should backfit this to the Core Rules

In sum, Hammer’s Slammers provides great background but it is not seamless in its integration with existing Traveller books and supplements. Putting them together can be done in places (character generation) but not in others (vehicle creation).

“Got Your Powergun?” Feb 11, 2011

From a wargaming perspective, the combat system in MgT Hammer’s Slammers built upon the core combat rules in MgT. That is, they retained the focus on “vehicles as characters” and a very tactical (skirmish?) level of combat. One could conceivably roleplay a member of the Regiment but to fight took much more effort and much interpolation in the rules. At the end of the day, MgT was a near-total failure as a rules set for Hammer’s Slammers-style combat. From the perspective of Rolling Hot, MgT Hammer’s Slammers could certainly recreate the personalities but, even though all the equipment was there, recreating the battle in a playable manner was near-impossible.


Book 1: Mercenary, (c) 2008 Mongoose Publishing

Hammer’s Slammers, (c) 2009 Mongoose Publishing

Mongoose Traveller Hammer’s Slammers

“The Tank Lords”

At nearly the same time Mongoose Publishing was giving us Hammer’s Slammers for Mongoose Traveller, another British publisher was also working with David Drake to give us a set of miniatures wargame rules very tightly focused on the Hammerverse. The Hammer’s Slammers Handbook, written by John Lambshead & John Treadaway, provided background, vehicle design and technical specifications, as well as, “an easy play gaming system.” The many shared graphics between the Handbook and MgT Hammer’s Slammers shows how closely linked the two products are. Which makes me wonder—why didn’t Mongoose use the Handbook and its combat system like GDW did with Frank Chadwick’s Striker 30 years earlier?

In 2010, John Treadaway and John Lambshead published the ultimate version of the Handbook. Now called Hammer’s Slammers: The Crucible, what started as a 50-page, digest-sized softcover Handbook grew into a hardcover, full-color 203 page book that proclaimed to be the “Ultimate, all-in-one rules system for tabletop gaming plus technical specifications, vehicle designs, timeline & background materials for the Slammers Universe.”

Like Dirtside II/Stargrunt II published two decades earlier, both the Handbook and The Crucible are tabletop miniatures rules that emphasize “design effect” over strict “realism.” As the introduction to the combat rules state:

These rules allow wargamers to re-fight the battles of the Slammers Armoured Regiment on a one to one scale, i.e. where one model equals one vehicle or one infantryman. Turning modern armoured warfare into a game, of necessity, involves a great deal of compromise. Thus the aim has been to recreate the spirit of the fast moving armoured engagements so brilliantly described by David Drake and so emphasis here is put on command and training rather than technology. Also, a simple ‘clean’ game system is employed so that the game flows quickly; infantry warfare in particular is abstracted. The rules focus on recreating an armoured skirmish game, as opposed to an infantry skirmish game with a few vehicles in support.

“Fighting with the Slammers: Introduction,” Hammer’s Slammers: The Crucible, p. 106

Finally, over twenty years after Rolling Hot was published, there is a set of wargame rules that can be used to faithfully recreate the battle situation. Resolving that battle also won’t break your sanity.


Hammer’s Slammers Handbook, (c) 2004 Pireme Publishing Ltd.

Hammer’s Slammers: The Crucible, (c) 2010 Pireme Publishing Ltd.

The Ultimate—Hammer’s Slammers: The Crucible

“Caught in the Crossfire”

Although Hammer’s Slammers: The Crucible is certainly the final word in my collection on a wargame for the Slammerverse, it did not enter my collection until very recently. In the meantime, I experimented with another set of rules. Between the time I was battling with MgT Hammer’s Slammers and now, I tried Tomorrow’s War (Second Edition) from Osprey Publishing. I had high hopes for Tomorrow’s War as it was based on the (somewhat) acclaimed Force on Force rules. Alas, Tomorrow’s War took exactly the opposite design approach from The Crucible. Unlike The Crucible which focuses on armored combat (very Slammer-like), Tomorrow’s War focuses on infantry combat first with a set of vehicular rules that feel are very “bolted on.” To be fair, all the elements of a good Hammer’s Slammers battle are in the rules, but the infantry-first focus leaves certain elements—like vehicular combat—lacking. One can recreate Rolling Hot using Tomorrow’s War but it doesn’t play out as smoothly as The Handbook or The Crucible allows.


Tomorrow’s War (Second Edition), designed by Shawn Carpenter, Robby Carpenter, (c) 2011 Osprey Publishing

Tomorrow’s War = Infantry First

“Standing Down”

At the end of the day, this Grognard is very comfortable stating that Hammer’s Slammers: The Crucible really is the “ultimate” set of wargame rules. I like the rules enough that I am looking to invest in a line of 6mm miniatures to use for tabletop battles. Better yet, if @TheGascon makes a Tabletop Simulator (TTS) module for The Crucible, it may be enough for me to overstress my old laptop and play online….



Hammer’s Slammers works referenced:

  • “But Loyal to His Own” (c) 1975 by David Drake. Originally published in Galaxy, November 1974
  • “Supertanks” (c) 1979 by David Drake. Originally published in Hammer’s Slammers
  • “Night March” (c) 1997 by David Drake. Originally published in The Tank Lords
  • “Hangman” (c) 1979 by David Drake. Originally published in Hammer’s Slammers
  • “The Tank Lords” (c) 1986 by David Drake. Originally published in Far Frontiers, Vol. 6
  • “Caught in the Crossfire” (c) 1978 by David Drake, Originally published in Chrysalis 2
  • “Standing Down” (c) 1979 by David Drake. Originally published in Hammer’s Slammers

#WargameWednesday Retroactive – Hammer’s Slammers (Mayfair Games Inc., 1984)

pic772418_md
Courtesy BGG.com

After looking to create a Hammer’s Slammers hover tank in #CepheusEngine RPG last week, I decided to pull out my “real” Hammer’s Slammers wargame. I kinda remember playing this one several times when it first came out but it never reached the same status in my mind as the Yaquinto Panzer-88-Armor-series that my friends and I played so much. Much to my surprise, this simple game actually packages great depth of gameplay.

Hammer’s Slammers is a true hex-n-counter game using small counters, a thick modular mapboard, and a 2d6 Combat Results Table (CRT). There are four forces provided; Hammer’s Slammers (blue), another Mercenary Force (red), and two Conventional Armies (green and tan). Interestingly, there is no scale designated although units look to be platoon/battery organizations and each hex multiple (?) kilometers.

Hammer’s Slammers is taken straight from the first book. Hover Tanks, Combat Cars, Infantry on hover scooters, and Hover Self-Propelled Artillery. The “Red” Mercenary Force is the same plus optional Large/Small guns (for indirect or direct fire), Howitzers (indirect fire only), or a Self-Propelled Calliope (for Counter Paratrooper or Counter Artillery Fires). Slammers and Mercenary units generally pack more firepower, have better protection, and come with superior speed. Conventional Forces use Tracked Tanks, Armored Cars, Armored Personnel Carriers, Large/Small Guns, Howitzers, Tracked Self-Propelled Artillery, Wheeled Self-Propelled Calliopes, and towed Calliopes. This mix of units lets one recreate many of the battles found in the books where the technologically superior but numerically inferior Slammers fought against other mercenary or conventional units.

The main rulebook is 16 pages long, but the first nine are reprints of the “Interludes” found in the original Hammer’s Slammers book. This leaves seven pages of two-column text and tables for the rules. Every turn each player sequentially resolves their action in the order of Rally (Moving Player) – Paradrop & Counter Paradrop FireMove (Moving Player) – Ranged Combat (All Players – Indirect Artillery & Counter Artillery Fire – Direct Fire) – Close Assaults (All Players). Once all players have gone the next turn begins.

Units that are Disrupted in Combat can Rally. For this each force has a Morale Number that must be rolled above on 2d6. Many scenarios have a variable Morale Number based on increasing losses – the more units lost the harder it becomes to rally a unit. A simple mechanic that doesn’t get in the way of play but adds a nice layer of realism.

I don’t remember any paradrop operations in the original stories so Paradrop & Counter Paradrop Fire seems a bit out of place to me. It does allow a nice way to enter units onto the map quickly.

Movement is again very traditional with each hex having a movement cost to enter. Hover and Conventional units have separate movement charts reflecting the different mobility of hover versus tracked/wheeled. There is not much difference but there is enough to be evocative of the setting.

Ranged Combat is where the differences between forces really stands out beginning with Indirect Fire & Counter Artillery Fire. Indirect Fire attacks the defense factor of the hex, not the units. This makes indirect fire very dangerous because the 8-defense factor Hover Tank in the Clear hex actually has a defense factor of 2 against artillery. To offset this vulnerability, Hover Tanks and Calliopes have the Counter Artillery Fire (CAF) capability which allows each unit to cancel a single artillery barrage in range. Of course, this comes at a cost; units firing CAF cannot fire in the Direct Fire phase.

Direct Fire is very simple; compare Attack Factor to Defense Factor, convert to odds, roll on CRT. Stacked units can combine fire and attack other stacks or individual units. Firing out to twice your range cuts the Attack Factor in half. Terrain Modifiers add to the Defense Factor. Combat results are No Effect, Disrupted (no indirect or direct fire, half movement), Defender Eliminated, or Defender Eliminated with Rubble (adds to movement and defense). There is an optional rule for Electronic Countermeasures (ECM) which allows Mercenary and Slammer Hover Tanks to “jam” conventional units which means the target cannot combine their attack nor spot for an indirect fire unit.

Close Assault takes place when units are in the same hex. All undisrupted units get a positive column shift and infantry fights with doubled Attack Factors. Units in Close Assault cannot leave the hex until all enemy units are eliminated.

There are other rules for Fortresses and Gas Attacks but generally that is it. You can play one of the 14 scenarios or Design Your Own using the point-buy system provided.

IMG_0139
Slammers in Action

I played two scenarios. “Badger Hunt” is the introductory scenario that uses Conventional Forces only. I also played “Slammers” which is a three-way brawl with the Slammers squaring off against the Green Army (lots of long-range artillery and infantry with few mechanized) and the Tan Army (Mechanized and supported by a few Small Guns – no infantry). Each player has six turns to get as many points as possible (points are scored using the Design Your Own Scenario values). I used the Slammers with ECM to get as much high-tech effect as possible.

Hammer’s Slammers plays out much differently than I remember. I kinda remember the CPF and CAF rules and I don’t think I ever actually played with the ECM rules. I sorta remember the game as being very vanilla; simple and bland.

This time it was a much deeper experience. The low rules overhead meant the game could be played with minimal relearning. The differences in forces is just enough that there is no one-size-fits-all approach or best strategy. In the “Slammers” scenario, the Slammers start in the center and must determine how to deal with each force. I painfully learned that the Hover Tanks greatest asset is not its firepower but its CAF capability. The Hover Tanks ended up providing cover for the Combat Cars until they got close enough to dash in and deal with the guns. Of course, nipping at the flanks or blocking the direct route was that pesky tracked armor. This forced a decision; drop the CAF for Direct Fire or cover the force and let the lesser combat cars try to deal with the threat? For the Green or Tan Conventional Armies the key is combined arms and interlocking fields of fire. Artillery is in many ways still the King of the Battle.

pic1100227_md
Courtesy BGG.com

As much as Mayfair’s Hammer’s Slammers game captures the flavor the of books, it best replicates battlefield force-on-force situations. There is one scenario, “Hangman,” where a Mercenary force takes on Militia and Buses. It’s a one-sided bloodbath. The game has no real ability to present an asymmetric combat situation. I have to admit the best game I have in my collection for that is actually Tomorrow’s War: Science Fiction Wargaming Rules (Ambush Alley Games/Osprey Publishing 2011). This is a skirmish game played at a much more granular scale than Hammer’s Slammers. In many ways, Tomorrow’s War is a direct competitor to my other HS game, The Hammer’s Slammers Handbook (Pireme Publishing Ltd, 2004) which is a set of miniatures skirmish rules published in the UK which still has its own website.

pic87199_md
Courtesy BGG.com

I also think back to the Hammer’s Slammers sourcebook from Mongoose Publishing for their Mongoose Traveller (1st Edition) RPG. As I have written before that product was a real disaster.

So when I look at the Mayfair Hammer’s Slammers game today I actually see a real gem. The game is a close to an introductory-level game in terms of rules, but the variable forces and modular map make for endless play variations. As simple as the rules are, the designer has actually captured a good deal of the flavor of combat in the Hammerverse. The game also has a very small footprint; the “Slammers” scenario map was playable in an area literally 18’x24″. A 3’x3′ table is more than sufficient for even the largest scenarios!

RockyMountainNavy Verdict: MUST PLAY MORE!

 

 

Zhongli Quan Traveller/Tomorrow’s War Campaign – Week 4

This Mercenary Campaign uses Spica Publishing’s Outer Veil (OV) Traveller RPG setting for background.  The Campaign Game Resolution System is a combination of the Conflict chapter of Mongoose Publishing’s Traveller Hammer’s Slammers (HS) setting book and Tomorrow’s Campaign from Osprey Publishing/Ambush Alley GamesTomorrow’s War (TW). All combat actions are fought using Tomorrow’s War.

Basic Campaign Flow

The war is fought in weekly segments. Scenarios are either designated or created using Tomorrow’s War Mission Generator (TW 176). Victory Conditions generate Mission Result DMs that are used for monthly Conflict checks in accordance with theConflict chapter in Hammer’s Slammers (HS 182).

Click here for Campaign Background and Forces.

Click here for Week 1 First Strike scenario. For Weeks 2 & 3 see here.

Jane’s Dragons, a platoon of the mercenary Smith’s Wild Raiders, continues its fight across Zhongli Quan. The Loyalist government is still resisting. Depending on the battles in the past few weeks, the Citizen’s Movement resistance is growing stronger – or fading away. The next crucial test calls for stopping the sole Loyalist Armored Battalion before it fully mobilizes. Per their Mercenary Ticket, Smith’s Wild Raiders lead the fight, with Jane’s Dragons in the front.

Loyalist Heavy Tank (Courtesy thedonovan.com)

Week 4: Tin Shield

Scenario Information

  • Duration of Game: 6 Turns
  • Initiative: Raiders for first two turns. Test on following turns
  • Special Conditions
    • Due to generally rough terrain all vehicles are limited to TACTICAL speed only
    • See Familiar Terrain rules for Loyalist and Citizen’s Movement Militia in background
  • Fog of War: Generated by Reaction Tests
  • Table Size: 4′ x 4′; terrain should be mixed (clear and lightly wooded); no roads but maybe a few trails

Loyalist Mission

Your tank platoon must cross enemy-held territory to link up with other units in defense of the capital.

Loyalist Victory Points

  • Use Typical Victory Points for Regular Forces (TW 178) with the following additions
    • Per tank that exits board by game’s end: 5 pts
    • Per Gun Truck that exits board by games’s end: 3 pts
    • Per loaded Troop Carrier that exits board by game’s end: 2 pts

Loyalist Forces

  • Armored Platoon (See Background for basic attributes)
    • Set-up within 6″ of west end of board
    • 1x Heavy Tank with Leader
    • 4x Heavy Tank
  • Operational Momentum Points equals 2d6
  • If the cumulative Mission DM is -1 or -2, ADD 1x Infantry Squad to the Loyalist Force for 0 Operational Momentum Points
  • If the cumulative Mission DM is -3 or -4, ADD 1x Infantry Squad AND 1x Mechanized Infantry Squad with Troop Carrier for 0 Operational Momentum Points
  • If the cumulative Mission DM is -5 or -6,  ADD 3x Mechanized Infantry Squad with Troop Carrier  and Gun Truck to the Loyalist Force for 0 Operational  Momentum Points

Raiders Mission

The first elements of the mobilizing Loyalist Armored Battalion have left their garrison and are attempting to link up with the rest of the battalion. Jane’s Dragons is to ambush and destroy the armored units before they can link up and bolster the Capital’s defenses.

Raiders Forces

  • Jane’s Dragons Platoon (see background)
  • Operational Momentum Points
    • If cumulative Mission DM is negative, roll 2d6 – cumulative Mission DM
    • If cumulative Mission DM is 0 roll 2d6 unmodified
    • If cumulative Mission DM is +1 or +2, then Operational Momentum Points equals 2d6+2 +cumulative Mission DMs
    • If cumulative Mission DM is +3 or +4, then Operational Momentum Points equals 2d6+4  +cumulative Mission DMs
    • If cumulative Mission DM is +5 or +6, then Operational Momentum Points equals 2d6+6
  • Citizen’s Movement Militia variable quality based on cumulative Mission DM (remember to use modified TQ and Morale – if any – from Week 3)
    • If -6 or -5 then Morale -2 steps (minimum D6), Low Confidence
    •  If -4 or -3 then Morale -2 steps (minimum D6)
    • If -2 0r -1 then Morale -1 step (minimum D6)
    • If 0 then no effect
    • If cumulative Mission DM is positive then increase Troop Quality 1 step (maximum TQ8)

Raider Victory Points

  • Use Typical Victory Points for Regular Forces (TW 178) with the following additions
    • Tanks count as “Enemy AFV”
    • Gun Trucks count as “Enemy AFV” -1 pt
    • Troop Carriers count as “Enemy AFV” -2 pts
    • Points for Citizen Movement Militia losses are doubled

Mission Result (Used as Mission DM for HS 182-183)

  • Compare VPs
    • Wild Raiders 3:1 or better = Exceptional Success +2 DM
    • Wild Raiders 2:1 but less than 3:1 = Success +1 DM
    • Wild Raiders less than 2:1 but better than 1:1 = Partial Success +0 DM
    • Loyalist less than 2:1 but better than 1:1 = Partial Failure -0 DM
    • Loyalist 2:1 but less than 3:1 = Failure -1 DM
    • Loyalist 3:1 of better = Dismal Failure -2 DM

Zhongli Quan Traveller/Tomorrow’s War Campaign – Weeks 2 & 3

This Mercenary Campaign uses Spica Publishing’s Outer Veil (OV) Traveller RPG setting for background.  The Campaign Game Resolution System is a combination of the Conflict chapter of Mongoose Publishing’s Traveller Hammer’s Slammers (HS) setting book and Tomorrow’s Campaign from Osprey Publishing/Ambush Alley GamesTomorrow’s War (TW). All combat actions are fought using Tomorrow’s War.

Basic Campaign Flow

The war is fought in weekly segments. Scenarios are either designated or created using Tomorrow’s War Mission Generator (TW 176). Victory Conditions generate Mission Result DMs that are used for monthly Conflict checks in accordance with theConflict chapter in Hammer’s Slammers (HS 182).

Click here for Campaign Background and Forces.

Click here for Week 1 First Strike scenario.

After the initial attack on the mechanized infantry company compound, Jane’s Dragons conduct several weeks of limited combat missions. The emphasis is working with the Citizen’s Movement Militia and enhancing their confidence and training.

Resistance Fighters (Courtesy http://www.history.ucsb.edu)

Week 2 – Shared Blood

Mercenary player uses Jane’s Dragons. If the Mission DM from Week 1 was POSITIVE, the Loyalist player has an Infantry Battalion Platoon; if the Mission DM from Week 1 was NEGATIVE, the Loyalist player uses a Mechanized Infantry Platoon.

Generate a Random Mission using Tomorrow’s War Campaign (TW 173).  Operational Momentum Points for the Raiders/Loyalist player equals 2d6 plus/minus the Mission DM from Week 1. One Citizen’s Movement Fireteam (Resistance Cell) is added to Jane’s Dragons for 0 Operational Momentum Points.

Victory Points are accumulated per the After Action Sequence, Step 1: Operational Assessment, Victory Points (TW 178) with the following modifications:

  • VP for all Citizen’s Movement casualties are DOUBLED
  • For every turn the Citizen’s Movement Fireteam engages in combat: +2 pts
  • For every turn the Citizen’s Movement Fireteam does NOT engage in combat (except for Turn 1): -1 pt

Week 3 – Brothers in Arms

As Week 2 except for the following:

  • If Mission DM from Week 2 was POSITIVE then increase Citizen’s Movement Militia Troop Quality to D8
  • If cumulative Mission DM is POSITIVE, add second Citizen’s Movement Fireteam for no cost in Operational Momentum Points
  • If cumulative Mission DM is NEGATIVE, Jane’s Dragons must PAY first 2 Operational Momentum Points to add single Citizen’s Movement Fireteam
  • If Mission DM from Week 2 is NEGATIVE, reduce Citizen’s Movement Militia Morale to D8

Zhongli Quan Traveller/Tomorrow’s War Campaign – Week 1 First Strike

This Mercenary Campaign uses Spica Publishing’s Outer Veil (OV) Traveller RPG setting for background.  The Campaign Game Resolution System is a combination of the Conflict chapter of Mongoose Publishing’s Traveller Hammer’s Slammers (HS) setting book and Tomorrow’s Campaign from Osprey Publishing/Ambush Alley Games Tomorrow’s War (TW). All combat actions are fought using Tomorrow’s War.

Basic Campaign Flow

The war is fought in weekly segments. Scenarios are either designated or created using Tomorrow’s War Mission Generator (TW 176). Victory Conditions generate Mission Result DMs that are used for monthly Conflict checks in accordance with the Conflict chapter in Hammer’s Slammers (HS 182).

Click here for Campaign Background and Forces.

Gun Truck (Courtesy http://www.100thww2.org)

First Strike (Zhongli Quan Campaign Week 1)

Jane’s Dragons leads the first attack after landing. The target is a mechanized infantry company compound. As the Loyalist unit is still mobilizing, limited opposition is expected.

  • Duration of Game: 8 Turns
  • Initiative: Wild Raiders for Turn 1 and 2; test thereafter
  • Special Conditions: Night
  • Fog of War: Generated normally by Reaction Tests
  • Table Size: 2’x2’
    • Garrison Layout: Central HQ/Admin Bldg (Average Bldg -6D/Decent Construction D8, command bunker in basement) surrounded by 3x Platoon Barracks (single story Weak Bldgs – 3D, Shoddy Construction D6); central motorpool with 3x vehicle sheds (Weak Bldgs – 6D, Shoddy Construction D6) with each shed housing 1x Jeep, 4x Troop Carriers, 1x Gun Truck. Garrison surrounded by barbed wire fence (no cover) with 4x guard towers (light fortification with searchlights at one level above ground) and ECP with Guard Shack (light fortification).
    • Hotspots: All placed within 3” of barracks buildings

Wild Raiders Mission

  • Objective is to Overrun Mechanized Infantry Company Headquarters. Destroy C2 and vehicles. The garrison will likely have a security force patrolling the perimeter with additional forces on call from barracks. All vehicles will likely be in their vehicle sheds.
  • Operational Momentum Points: 2d6-2 (Recently landed, still organizing; not yet fully linked up with Citizen’s Movements forces)
  • Rules of Engagement: Citizen’s Movement desires to minimize casualties to Loyalist military forces in effort to draw them away from the Loyalist.
  • Victory Points
    • HQ Command Bunker Destroyed (At least 3x Merc soldiers spend complete turn in bunker – unpinned – with no movement or combat): 10 pts
    • Per Loyalist jeep destroyed/immobilized: 2 pts
    • Per Loyalist troop carrier destroyed/immobilized: 3 pts
    • Per Loyalist gun truck destroyed/immobilized: 5 pts
    • **All vehicles in a shed are destroyed if at least 3x Merc soldiers spend complete turn inside shed – unpinned- with no movement and no combat **
    • Per Loyalist infantry killed or seriously wounded: -1 pt

Loyalist Mechanized Infantry Company

  • Objective is to defend HQ and protect vehicles; battalion is mobilizing and will be a vital part of suppressing enemy forces by acting as a rapid response counterinsurgency force.
  • Operational Momentum Points: 0
  • Security Force
    • 1x Platoon on Guard Duty (5x Fireteams)
    • Secretly Roll 1d6. If 5+ then 1x Gun Truck out of shed on security (deploys as a hidden unit)
    • Starting Turn 3, roll 1d6. Result is number of additional Loyalist Fireteams ready for action. For each fireteam roll for random hotspot location. Maximum fireteams placed in play by this means is 10
  • Victory Points
    • Per Mercenary Killed or Seriously wounded: 3 pts
    • Per undamaged Jeep at end of game: 1 pt
    • Per undamaged Troop Carrier at end of game: 2 pts
    • Per undamaged Gun Truck at end of game: 3 pts
  • Mission Result (Used as Mission DM for HS 182-183)
    • Compare VPs
      • Wild Raiders 3:1 or better = Exceptional Success +2 DM
      • Wild Raiders 2:1 but less than 3:1 = Success +1 DM
      • Wild Raiders less than 2:1 but better than 1:1 = Partial Success +0 DM
      • Loyalist less than 2:1 but better than 1:1 = Partial Failure -0 DM
      • Loyalist 2:1 but less than 3:1 = Failure -1 DM
      • Loyalist 3:1 of better = Dismal Failure -2 DM

Zhongli Quan Traveller/Tomorrow’s War Campaign Background

Courtesy officialplaystationmagazine.co.uk

This Mercenary Campaign uses Spica Publishing’s Outer Veil (OV) Traveller RPG setting for background.  The Campaign Game Resolution System is a combination of the Conflict chapter of Mongoose Publishing’s Traveller Hammer’s Slammers (HS) setting book and Tomorrow’s Campaign from Osprey Publishing/Ambush Alley Games Tomorrow’s War (TW). All combat actions are fought using Tomorrow’s War.

Basic Campaign Flow

The war is fought in weekly segments. Scenarios are either designated or created using Tomorrow’s War Mission Generator (TW 176). Victory Conditions generate Mission Result DMs that are used for monthly Conflict checks in accordance with the Conflict chapter in Hammer’s Slammers (HS 182).

Background

Zhongli Quan is a Frontier World (Aningan 0327/OuterVeil); a world that is relatively newly colonized and far from the Core Worlds. The planet is Size 7 (11,200km diameter, gravity .9 Earth-standard) that is 50% water with a thin atmosphere. The temperate climate resulted in a garden world with a complex biosphere making it a good agricultural producer, but the low technology (Traveller TL5/Tomorrow’s War TL1) and government (Self-Perpetuating Oligarchy) restricts industrialization (Low Tech, Non-Industrial) of the 9 million inhabitants. (OV 90-92,118)

Megacorporation TYC is the major supporter of the Zhongli Quan government, based mostly on a shared Chinese-Russian cultural heritage. More recently, Barnard Conglomerate covertly explored the Asteroid Belt and discovered it is of good quality (+2 Belt Quality, OV 118). The presence of an FNH Scout Base on Zhongli Quan means Barnard cannot just belt without anyone on the planet knowing, and early negotiations broke down over profit sharing. Looking to sign a belting agreement with a more friendly government, Barnard started supporting Citizen’s Movement, a small political party dedicated to overthrowing the reigning government controlled by the Loyalist Party. Barnard is now impatient and pushed Citizen’s Movement to rebel, though they are woefully lacking in strength compared to the government (Citizen’s Movement: 4; Loyalist: 9). The Capital is divided, and the military (composed of one active duty infantry battalion and two reserve battalions –one armor and one mechanized infantry) remains loyal to the government. The Loyalist Party believes their greater political strength, and a combination of a loyal military force fighting on familiar terrain is sufficient to crush Citizen’s Movement. Barnard hired Smith’s Wild Raiders, a Good Quality mercenary unit, to turn the tide against the Loyalist government. (All political background generated using HS 176-179)

Military Forces

Smith’s Wild Raiders

Your unit is a Platoon of Smith’s Wild Raiders (Good Merc Unit, DM+2, Cost 2 – HS 180), a Mercenary Striker Battalion equipped at TL 9 (Tomorrow’s War TL2). The Mercenary Ticket is for a Striker Elimination mission for a period of no longer than 7 weeks. The target for the unit is the Loyalist reserve battalions; the ticket calls for the elimination of the units before they can mobilize or, failing that, their destruction in the field. Once those units have been eliminated, the Raiders will spearhead the Citizen’s Movement attack on the Capital.

Smith’s Wild Raiders General Attributes

  • Troop Quality/Morale: Veteran (D8), Good Morale (D10)
  • Confidence Level: High
  • Supply Quality Level: Normal
  • Overall Tech Level: 2
  • On Grid? Yes
  • Body Armor: TL2, Hard (2D)

Your Platoon is nominally designated as 3rd Platoon, Gamma Company. Colloquially known as Jane’s Dragons, it is made up of the following personnel (internal assets):

  • Jane’s Dragons
    • 1x Platoon HQ Squad
    • 3x Rifle Squads
    • Platoon HQ
      • Lt Jane Dragoon (Leadership +1)
      • SFC Dynx (Leadership +1)
      • PFC (Comms Operator)
      • Rifle Squad (x3)
        • SSG (Squad Leader)
        • 3x Rifle Fireteams
        • Rifle Fireteam
          • SGT (Fire Team Leader)
          • 2x Riflemen
          • 2x Auto Riflemen (SAW) TL2 TST, Lt AP:1
          • 2x Grenadier (TacMissile) TL2 TacMsl, Med AP: 2/AT:1 (L)

The platoon can call on the following external assets using Operational Momentum Points (OMP):

  • Weapons Squad
    • SSG (Squad Leader)
    • ATGM Team – (x2 soldiers) – 6 Operational Momentum Points
      • TL2 ATGM (4D, Negates ERA, Performs Deck Attack)
  • Heavy Wpns Team (x2 soldiers each)  – 3 Operational Momentum Points
    • TL2 ABW, Med AP:2, AT:2 (M)
    • Mortar Section
      • SSG (Squad Leader)
      • SGT (Asst Squad Leader)
      • Lt. Mortar Team (x2, x2 soldiers each)  – 3 Operational Momentum Points
        • TL2 ABW, Med AP:2
  • Other Assets Available (Asset – OMP Cost)
    • Fireteam from Own Platoon – 2
    • Infantry Squad from Own Platoon – 5
    • Soft-Skin Transport – 3
    • Artillery – Off-Board Hvy Arty AP:10/AT:2(H)(8” radius) – 8
    • Radio Jamming Team – 4 (Vehicle mounted; driver, 1x Technician, 2x Security)
    • Recon Drone – 6 (Stealthy; cannot be tracked by Loyalist Air Defense)
    • Citizen’s Movement Fireteam – 1
    • Citizen’s Movement Technical – 3

Citizen’s Movement Militia (CMM)

Citizen’s Movement fields the equivalent of an irregular battalion of troops (Tomorrow’s War Irregular TL1) although they usually deploy in Fireteam-sized units (known as Resistance Cells). These cells occasionally are supported by a Technical (though the design varies, they are often referred to as the Green Snake). The Citizen’s Movement military arm is led by Jeng Shipung, formerly a member of the Central Military Commission but ousted from the Loyalist Party after advocating reforms. General Jeng has a skill of Tactics (Military)-3.

Citizen’s Movement Irregular Infantry General Attributes

  • Troop Quality/Morale: Untrained/Green (D6), Good Morale (D10)
  • Confidence Level: Confident
  • Supply Quality Level: Poor
  • Overall Tech Level: 1
  • On Grid? No
  • Body Armor: N/A
  • Attributes: Indigenous Scout when attached to Raider unit
  • CMM Fireteam/Resistance Cell
    • Squad Leader
    • 3x Rifleman
    • 1x Gunner w/ SAW (TL1, LT. AP: 1)
  • Green Snake (Qing She) Technical
    • TL1, Soft-Skinned, Wheeled Vehicle
    • Firepower: GPMG (TL1 Med AP:2)
    • Armor (F/S/R/D): 1D6/1D6/1D6/1D6
    • Crew: 1+3
    • Attributes: TL1 Armor, No Sensors (-1 to Reaction Rolls), Technical

Loyalist People’s Army (LPA)

The Loyalist army consists of an active duty infantry battalion that nominally guards the Capital. There are two other battalions – one armor and one mechanized infantry – in a reserve status. Generally speaking, the active duty battalion is considered politically reliable and trained. It is historically used for crowd control; hence its Despised attribute. The reserve battalions are of a lesser quality, with the costly armored battalion being the least trained, motivated, and supplied. Plans call for the mechanized infantry battalion to be fully activated in 2 weeks whereas the armor battalion will take 5 weeks to activate. All the forces are equipped to the level of a Tomorrow’s War TL1 Regular standard. Due to the thin atmosphere there is no Aerospace Force. The overall commander of the Loyalist Army is Bo Xilang. General Bo has a skill of Tactics (Military)-1 as he owes his position more to being a political sycophant of the ruling council than an effective military leader.

The Loyalist Army has the advantage of familiar terrain. All sighting/hiding related checks are made using one TQ higher quality. FOr example, a TQ 8 Infantry Battalion team with tries to go into hiding (TW 80). The unit rolls as if it is TQ 1o. Note: The familiar terrain advantage also applies to Citizen’s Movement Militia.

Loyalist Infantry Battalion General Attributes

  • Troop Quality/Morale: Trained/Moderately Experienced (D8), Average Morale (D8)
  • Confidence Level: Confident
  • Supply Quality Level: Normal
  • Overall Tech Level: 1
  • On Grid? No
  • Body Armor: TL1, Jack/Lt Body (1D)
  • Attributes: Despised
  • Typical Squad:
    • Leader (Leadership per Leadership Rating Table, TW 174, with -1 DM)
    • 2x Fireteams
  • LPA Infantry Fireteam
    • Team Leader
    • 3x Riflemen
    • 1x Support Wpn (TL1 TST, Lt AP:1)

Loyalist Mechanized Infantry Battalion General Attributes

  • Troop Quality/Morale: Trained/Low Experience (D6), Average Morale (D8)
  • Confidence Level: Confident
  • Supply Quality Level: Normal
  • Overall Tech Level: 1
  • On Grid? No
  • Body Armor: TL1, Jack/Lt Body (1D)
  • Typical Squad:
    • Leader (Leadership per Leadership Rating Table, TW 174, with -1 DM)
    • 8x Rifleman
    • 1x Support Wpn (TL1 TST, Lt AP:1)
  • Red Fox (Hong Hu) Troop Carrier
    • TL1, Soft-Skinned, Wheeled Vehicle
    • Firepower: GPMG (TL1 Med AP:2)
    • Armor (F/S/R/D): 2D6/2D6/2D6/1D6
    • Crew: 1+12
    • Attributes: TL1 Armor, TL1 Sensors
  • Red Hawk (Hong Ying) Gun Truck
    • TL1, Soft Skinned, Wheeled Vehicle
    • Firepower: 75mm Fixed Main Gun (TL1 TST, AP:3/AT:3(M))
      • Limited Traverse ( +/-15 degrees from front facing)
    • Armor (F/S/R/D): 2D6/2D6/2D6/1D6
    • Crew: 5
    • Attributes: TL1 Armor, TL1 Sensors

Loyalist Armor Battalion General Attributes

  • Troop Quality/Morale: Trained/Low Experienced (D6), Low Morale (D6)
  • Confidence Level: Confident to Low
  • Supply Quality Level: Normal to Poor
  • Overall Tech Level: 1
  • On Grid? No
  • Body Armor: TL1, Jack/Lt Body (1D)
  • Red Dragon (Hong Long) Main Battle Tank
    • TL1, Heavy, Tracked Vehicle
    • Firepower: 100mm Main Gun (TL1 TST, AP:4/AT:4(H))
    • MGs: 3D
    • Armor (F/S/R/D): 3D10/2D10/1D8/1D6
    • Crew: 3
    • Attributes: TL1 Armor, TL1 Sensors, Slow Turret

Loyalist Army Operational Momentum Points Cost

Note: Week 1 is a set scenario with 0 Operational Momentum Points for the Loyalist player.

  • Infantry Fireteam: 2 pts
  • Infantry Squad: 5 pts
  • Mechanized Infantry Squad (Squad + Troop Carrier): 8 pts
  • Mechanized Infantry Gun Truck: 6 pts
  • Heavy Tank:  8 pts (available Week 4 or later only)
  • Infantry and Mechanized Infantry have gun sections that are not depicted above but available using Operational Momentum Points
    • AT Gun Section (1x Lt Arty): 6 pts
    • Infantry Gun Section (1x Hvy Arty): 8 pts
    • Howitzer Section (fires as Heavy Mortar Salvo): 7 pts

Wargame Wednesday – Tomorrow’s War SOP (Updated)

Courtesy shatteredcitadel.com

Last year I posted about trying to get Tomorrow’s War into a playable condition. To recap, the basic Infantry Combat system is well done, but when adding other items, like mechanized combat or interface craft and the Grid, the game suffers from not being seamlessly integrated. So in February 2012 I took a stab at trying to get it all to flow together.

After a year of on-and-off tinkering I now have a revised version of the Expanded Sequence of Play (SOP). The hardest parts for me to figure out were Air Defense, VTOLs, and the Grid.

For Air Defense there are literally two systems; an abstract Air Defense Environment and Ground Fire from units on the board. Figuring how these worked together/overlapped/were separate was an intellectual challenge. The solution (?) finally came to me as I was wrestling with the second major problem; what is a VTOL.

Like Air Defense, VTOLs come in a somewhat abstracted off-board support form and on-board units (treated as vehicles). It is important that they be defined BEFORE game play. This is crucial since vehicles count for Initiative whereas off-board/abstracted assets don’t. Once you define VTOLs one way or the other it becomes clearer which Air Defense resolution system should be used.

Of course, the Grid lays on top of both systems and adds a further layer of complexity because it literally provides a mechanism for a unit to cross from one Air Defense system to the other. [Sigh!]

Another major factor in my revision was a conscious effort to move as much into the Action/Reaction part of the turn. I think this effort is in keeping with the Designer’s Intent to have the interactive combat/movement part of the game be the true heart of the system. So whereas last year there were several “actions” conducted outside the Action/Reaction phase now many of those “actions” are where I think the Designer intended them to be.

So here it is, the February 2013 version:

Tomorrow’s War Expanded Sequence of Play (Feb 2013 Version)

  1. Campaign – Spend Operational Momentum Points (p. 177 Spending Operational Momentum Points)
  2. Note units suffering Loss of Grid (p. 159 Loss of Grid)
  3. First Aid; Call for Medic; CASEVAC – Walking Wounded (p. 64-68 Casualty and Casualty Evacuation)
  4. Stress Test (p. 88 Stress Test)
  5. Morale: Pull Back Units noted as Regrouping; Mark Irregular Shaken units  (p. 86 Pull Back; p. 167 Irregular Morale Effects – Shaken Result)
  6. VTOL Morale Check to return (p. 134 VTOL Damage Effects – VTOL Damage Chart – Withdraw)
  7. Arrival of Reinforcements; Insurgency Level Test (p. 37 Start New Turn – Arrival of Reinforcements, Hot Spots; p. 168 Insurgency Level and Reinforcements)
  8. Dropship Landing (p. 130 Dropships)
  9. Resolve regular Airstrikes; Grid-enabled units using SFAD restricted to SFAD fire for remainder of turn (p. 126 Calling in an Airstrike; p. 157 Synchronized Fire – Synchronized Fire Air Defense (SFAD), Synchronized Fire Against Aircraft)
  10. Merge Units (p. 53-54 Merging Units)
  11. Declare (and test for) unbuttoned AFVs (p. 103 Tank Commanders – Buttoned Up & Unbuttoned)
  12. Declare Hidden Units; Chameleon Suit units resume hiding (p. 80-81 Special Fire Combat Rules – Hidden & Stealthy Units; p. 82 Chameleon Suits)
  13. Drone/UAV Detection Check; Distributed Drones Grid Quality Check vs. Hidden Units (p. 80 Aerial Drones and Hidden Unit; p. 148 Distributed Drones)
  14. Declare Controlled Dumb Bot; Recall Bots (p. 144 Independent Dumb Bots; p. 146 Recalling a Separated Bot)
  15. Initiative (p. 38-40 Initiative)
  16. Declare Overwatch Units; Place Bots on Overwatch (p. 70 Special Fire Combat Rules – Overwatch; p. 146 Bots and Overwatch
  17. Initiative Force activates unit (p. 41 Actions)
    • TL2 or TL3 forces with Loss of Grid must act as Pinned (p. 159 Loss of Grid, p. 86 Pinned)
    • Hot Drops/Parasail Assaults (p. 134 Hot Drops & Parasail Assaults)
    • VTOL Landing/Take-off (p. 131-132 VTOL Troop Insertions)
    • Fast Rope or Grav Belt Insertions (p. 132 Fast Rope or Grav Belt Insertions)
    • Disperse/Manipulate/Transform and Hostile Mobs (p. 160 Regular and Civilian Mobs, p. 161 “Popular” Leaders and Civilian Mobs, Hostile Mobs)
  18. Resolve Reactions (p. 41+ Actions and Reactions); Round of Fire (p. 41-44 Reactions)
    • Resolve Reaction Tests starting with non-Initiative unit nearest to activated unit and work outward
    • Resolve Reactions starting with non-Initiative units that lost; nearest to farthest from Active unit
    • Resolve Reactions where non-Initiative units won Reaction Test nearest to farthest from Active unit
  19. Repeat 17 and 18 until all Initiative Units have been activated (p. 35 SOP)
  20. End Phase
    • After all Initiative units have activated, any Non-Initiative units that has not made a Reaction during turn may move and/or fire.
    • Regular Initiative units who are fired at may react as part of a Round of Fire, as may units on Overwatch (p. 35 SOP)
  21. Move civilian mobs (p. 160 Civilians on the Battlefield)
  22. Grid Quality Check/Jamming Grid Quality Check (p. 155 Grid Quality Check, p. 158 Jamming the Grid)
  23. Morale: Pinned units become “un-pinned”; Shaken units recover (p. 86 Pinned; p. 167 Shaken Result)
  24. Check to Regain Confidence (p. 88 Regaining Confidence)
  25. Remove Smoke (p. 74 Smoke)
  26. Campaign – End of Game (Turn 5 and later) (p. 177 End of Game)

All in all, a bit more realistic.

Couldn’t pass on this.  While searching for images to use found the one below. A future soldier from a 1950’s perspective! Love the helmet – very Disney or Mr. Potato Head-like – but no gloves?

Courtesy atomic-annihilation.blogspot.com

Wargame Wednesday – Tomorrow’s War in the Outer Veil

Courtesy writups.org

Xenophon (New Detroit 1037 – Outer Veil) – 2159

This scenario draws from Spica Publishing’s Outer Veil setting for the Mongoose Traveller RPG and was fought using Ambush Alley’s Tomorrow’s War skirmish rules.

Lt. Commander Graup, Federated Nations of Humanity (FNH) Navy, and captain of the 300-ton Feilong-class Patrol Frigate 486 knew something was wrong. After grounding at Xenophon’s Class C starport, the Marine Squad led by Gunnery Sergeant Pencol had left on foot to visit a small research station and download data tapes. Why his orders were to send his Marine Squad was not for Graup to question; but given that Xenophon was basically a corporate world he was sure it had something to do with industrial intrigue. He was even more surprised when he got an urgent comm from Gunny Pencol announcing the Marines had taken casualties and were returning quickly.

Graup broke open the ships locker and armed the crew. One of the gunners manned the dorsal laser turret while the engineers began the pre-launch routines. He debated if he should launch his Caracal Assault Boat. It had been on stand-by since the squad left, but the op was supposed to be so easy there was no air support called for. Guess that was wrong….

Graup was at the breaching tube airlock as Pencol and his squad returned. Four Marines where there should of been seven. Graup could feel the nervousness of his crew growing; they knew that Marines didn’t leave their own behind. To return with half a unit was not a good omen.

Graup became even more concerned when Pencol got close. He had seen that look before – Combat Panic. Pencol was breathing fast and looking about wildly. Graup could also see the anger in the eyes of the two Privates and the fireteam gunner, a Private 1st Class. The gunner was bringing up the rear, walking backwards and looking at the way they had come.

“It must of been an entire company of regular troops!” Pencol was nearly screaming. “They ambushed us! Zeta Squad was wiped out. We have to lift now and get word to the Corps!”

Pencol pushed past Graup and went straight to his quarters. He was definitely not in a good way. Graup waved the medic to follow Pencol. Graup then turned back to the members of Theta Squad. The team was kneeling in a defensive circle just outside the airlock as the squad gunner continued to look back.

“What happened?”

Situation – A Squad of FNH Marines from a Patrol Frigate has been ordered to enter a small research station and seize data tapes. This is a Snatch & Grab mission with 2x Operational Momentum Points. The Marines are led by Gunnery Sergeant Pencol who has been on the frontier a bit too long and is not a good leader (-1 Leadership). The Marines are organized into two fireteams each with 2x Rifleman with FEConA Model 2146 Advanced Combat Carbines and a Squad Gunner (Theta has a FeConA Model 2138 Advanced Support Weapon – TL3/Lt AP:1 while Zeta has a FeConA Model 17 Squad Assault Rocket Launcher – TL3 Med AP:2/AT: 2(M). The Marines are Troop Quality D10, Morale D10, Confident, Normal Supply, Overall TL3, not on the Grid, and wearing Hard Armor (2D).

Facing the Marines is a mercenary squad from a Kaban-class Assault Frigate. The Mercs are also searching for the data tapes, and got to the research station first. They have a Consolidate & Hold mission with 2x Operational Momentum Points. There are 12 mercenaries. The leader is charismatic (+2 Leadership). There are two fireteams of 4 riflemen armed with TY-AM-28 Assault Rifles, one gunner with a TY-AP-89 light machine gun – TL 1 Lt AP:1, a computer tech armed with a TY-88M machine pistol (Close Assault only) and a medic seconded from the ship. The mercs are Troop Quality D8, Morale D8, Confident, Normal Supply, Overall TL 2, not on the Grid, and wearing Hard Armor (2D).

“We were almost to the station,” the gunner started. “We were split left-right along a road. The station had several dense woods on either side. Sarge ordered us to flank the station on both sides. As we moved to the left with Sarge we took fire from some bad guys in the trees. Not much, only small arms but Sarge had us drop right there. Zeta Squad was moving to the right; they also took some fire – sounded lighter but faster than ours – I saw them keep moving.”

FNH Marines have the initiative on Turn 1. Theta Squad declares Rapid Movement. Mercenary Orange Team is hidden in trees and tries to ambush Theta Squad. The Marines spot the mercs and stops movement short of the trees to take the mercs under fire. IN the Round of Fire the Marines fire first, seriously wounding one of the mercs and pinning the rest of the merc team. On the other side of the road, the Merc Gunner and Merc Leader successfully ambush Zeta Squad as they move towards cover. Zeta chooses not to React and reach the cover of trees. Meanwhile, the mercenary Red Team inside the Research Station fires on Theta Squad. Being beyond optimal range it scores no hits against, but in the reaction fire one of the mercs is wounded. The team calls for the medic, who slaps a bandage on the lightly wounded merc.

“We started taking some more fire, and Sarge pointed to a cluster of trees to the left of the enemy – we made a dash for it. I could hear the chatter of that machine gun again across the road. Zeta told us on the comm they were going to charge the machine gun because it looked to be all by itself. They were cursing when it faded back into the woods as they charged.”

The mercs gain the initiative and try to take Theta Squad under fire. Theta reacts first and races for cover suffering no casualties. On the other side, Zeta ignores the pings from the machine gun and try to Close Assault the gun. As Zeta dashes across the gap between the trees, the gun seeming fades into the forest (a successful defensive Close Assault check allows it to move back to the Research Station).

“Zeta called out they had the station in sight and were going in. We actually couldn’t help them; we saw a team of four bad guys crossing from one group of trees to another in front of us. I guess we had hurt them because they were carrying one of their guys. Keening there started to get up to go after them but Sarge stopped us. I guess he was listening to the comm as Zeta went screaming into the station. We could hear a whole ‘lota firing then silence. One of our guys was moaning and we could hear a bad guy order him to drop his gun. Then the comm went dead. Sarge didn’t do anything for a long while. Then he ordered us back here.”

Orange Team tries to Rapid Move to another stand of trees but fails their Casualty Penalty Check, moving only at Tactical Speed. Theta Squad reacts and tries to Close Assault but fails their quality check. On the other side of the battlefield, Zeta Close Assaults the building but the three Marines run into seven mercs inside the building. In the exchange of fire one merc goes down – but so do all three Marines. The merc who was hit bounces right back up, but two of the Marines are seriously wounded and the third has light wounds. They are taken prisoner.

Graup nodded gravely. “How many bad guys do you figure there are,” he asked the gunner.

“It seemed like a reinforced squad, maybe a dozen or so bad guys.” The gunner spoke as he kept scanning the horizon. “Not too heavily armed, but we walked right into their trap. I don’t know why Zeta didn’t use their rockets to knock down the building a bit or why Sarge didn’t call for the boat. I don’t think he realized how many bad guys were out there.”

Graup punched the comm panel on the bulkhead beside him. “Bridge, quick launch. Once we get up we will launch the Caracal.” The whine of the ship’s engines started growing louder.

“We can’t leave them!” The gunner was shouting over the roar of the engines. He also looked like he wanted to turn his big support gun on Graup.

Graup leaned close to the young Marine to be heard. “We’re not leaving. We are going to get up where we can see what’s happening. There is not too much traffic on or off this rock. We will interdict anything that launches, and use the Caracal to search the area of the Research Station. Any ship we clear will carry a message to FNH forces requesting support. We got one month of fuel; by then we either have them or help. We need to be patient; but we ain’t leaving them.”

The gunner and Graup stared at one another for a moment. The gunner then used his eyes to gather up the two Privates and board the ship. “Promise me this, skipper. When we find them, I get the first shot.”

Zeta Squad got too cocky; after taking several rounds of ineffective fire they figured they could Close Assault the building and quickly knock down the mercs. Unfortunately for the Marines, the mercs got an awesome first set of die rolls and wounded all three Marines who were captured in turn.

The poor leadership rating of the Marine Gunnery Sergeant also hurt the Marines, whereas the outstanding leadership of the mercenary commander more than made up for poorer training and inferior technology of his force.

Wargame Wednesday – Tomorrow’s War Today in Mali

 

Courtesy Ambush Alley Games

Tomorrow’s War from Ambush Alley Games has its problems, but if one keeps to the infantry combat heart of the system it actually plays very well. The game is also very good for low-intensity, insurgent conflicts and for the use of the “Grid” to help show the impact of information warfare on command and control (C2) as well as ISR (intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance).

One of my favorite aviation blogs, The Aviationist, has been following the war in Mali quite closely, and in early February posted an entry named The taking of Tessalit airfield in Mali: air assault as seen from the camera of a Harfang droneIt covers the assault on Tessalit by 50 paratroopers of the Parachute Chasseur Regiment and their subsequent link-up with a flying column of the 1st Marine Infantry Regiment.

So this got me thinking….

The first scenario is a dropship insertion by a company-sized force to seize an airfield. The attacking force is TL2 in Tomorrow’s War terms taking on a nebulous TL1 insurgent force. The attacker has a TL2 Grid with ISR drones and can call on air support.

The second scenario involves the attacker moving a small convoy of armored vehicles through the city to link-up with the inserted forces at the airfield. Again, the attacker has a TL2 Grid with ISR drones and air support on call.

RPG Thursday – My Top Seven RPG Internet Meme

James over at Grognardia started it, and I am late to get on the bandwagon.

My top 7 played RPGs in 2012 (and a good marker for the past several years):

1 – Classic Traveller (Admittedly not so much the RPG but the setting. I especially have played the games of Classic Traveller such as Striker, Book 5: High Guard, Adventure 5: Trillion Credit Squadron, Imperium, Fifth Frontier War, and Power Projection: Fleet; as well as using adventures such as Adventure 7: Broadsword as inspiration for Tomorrow’s War.)

2- Mongoose Traveller (including Hammer’s Slammers, Outpost Mars and Orbital)

3 – Battlestar Galactica

4 – Serenity

5 – Prime Directive

6 – Mouse Guard

7 – Others I played around with in 2012 were Marvel Heroic Roleplaying and the new Star Wars: Edge of the Empire Beginner’s Game. Also messed around with Space: 1889 and A Song of Ice and Fire: Game of Thrones Edition.