#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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

 

 

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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.