Starship Combat

December 14, 2017

I was reading a 1 page rules set I got from Wargame Vault.  It is based on the old computer Star Trek game.  You go from quadrant to quadrant, killing enemies until your patrol is complete.  It  looks like a simple and fun game.  More importantly, it got me thinking about some simple rules that I’ve never been able to articulate until now.

The basics go like this.  Each ship has a set damage track.  The total number of hits each ship can take before being destroyed is based on the class of the ship.  Escort 4, Destroyer 8, Cruiser 12, Capital ship 16.  The attack modifier is also based on size at 0 through 3 respectively.  Movement is 6 through 3 respectively.  Finally, defense is 3 through 6 respectively.  When one ship attacks another, a single die is rolled.  If you roll above the target’s defense, you score that many hits to the target.  When a target reaches 25%, it receives a -1 for all functions.  At 50%, it receives a -2, at 75% it receives a -3 and at 100% the target is a hulk.  Every time the target takes damage over 100%, roll a die.  If you don’t roll over the deficit, the target explodes.  Thus a target is 2 points below 0, a roll of 3 or more will destroy the target.

Some ideas for special weapons:

Torpedoes which always attack at +5 but subtract the target’s top speed for a modifier.  Each point of damage caused does double damage.

Fusion guns might have shorter range but get a bonus to hit on top of the normal attack bonus.

Ion cannon hit on a 4-6 but don’t cause any structural damage.  Instead, they cause -1 per hit.  These hits can be repaired on a 4+ checked at the beginning of the turn.

Fighters come in two styles.  Interceptors hit other fighters on a 5or 6.  They have no effect against ships.  Bombers can attack adjacent ships and count as a normal attack with a +1 per fighter left in a group.  Normally 6 fighters per group and -1 per fighter hit of course.

I’m sure I can come up with other ideas.  Each ship should get a basic laser attack plus one other weapon type.  The attack number  is the basic number of attacks in the case of an ion cannon.  And the attack number +1 is the number of torpedo attacks that ship can make in a game.  Thus an escort can carry 1 torpedo while a capital ship can carry 4.  If a ship is to carry fighters, it can carry the attack number in fighter wings and the type must be determined before the game begins.  Thus a destroyer can carry 1 fighter wing and a capital ship can carry 3 fighter wings.

Finally, there should be some modifiers for a ships style.  A wedge shaped ship like a Star Wars star destroyer would get a bonus of 1 to hit when making an attack dead on.  It would get a 0 for the front arc and -2 for any other arc.  A broadside style ship would get a 0 out of the broadside arc and a -1 forward or aft arc.  A wide sweep style ship would get a 0 through 3 arcs and a -2 to the rear arc.

Movement would be on hexes or free form with an observance of 60 degree turns.  It would be non-inertial style movement to speed play along.  Some standard rules for turning and side slipping etc.  I think it could be a workable system.  Now if I only had some ships!

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OHOTR D6 Conclusion

November 28, 2017

The last 10 turns took a little over an hour to play out.

Somewhere about turn 7 the Confederates press home the attack. A crack brigade swings around the Union flank.

The pressure mounts. Confederates inflict losses all across the Union line. The union rolled a steady stream of ‘6’s, missing wildly. This looked as though the Rebs were going to take the town before the last Union reinforcements showed.

Finally, Union forces arrive with another infantry brigade and a cavalry brigade. The Confederates were so close that the Union cavalry entered the field dismounted.

Towards the end of the day, Confederate troops failed to charge and sweep the union brigade from the field on the right. Another ill-fated charge from a rebel brigade in a bid to overrun the Union artillery resulted in heavy losses. The artillery actually won the melee and inflicted a stand of casualties from shooting.

I ended the game after turn 14.  The Confederates were in better shape but were clearly not going to take the town on Turn 15.  It was a fun little game and my suspicions were confirmed.  One Hour Wargames scenarios can work well for a good many games.  I’ve played it with Dux Bellorum, Throw me a 6 and now On to Richmond.

OTR played out well.  The new melee system needs more testing.  I did not get any overwhelming victories but mathematically, they should happen.  Even with a marginal victory, it is a good way to eject an enemy from their defenses.  My one messup was that I apparently did not scale down movement.  Movement rates were as per the original game but shooting ranges were essentially halved. I’ve been using a simple modification where each additional morale marker drives a unit back 1 move.  With the larger moves, that means that a unit would fall back more quickly than intended and might make it impossible for an enemy to march forward and give fire.  I’ll slow everything down by half.


One Hour On to Richmond D6

November 27, 2017

The title is a little clumsy but that is exactly what it is!.  I managed the first five turns of scenario 10 of One Hour Wargames.  The situation has the Yankees fighting a delaying action and protecting a town.  The Rebels have to advance through a narrow gap flanked by trees and an impassible mountain.  The game is moving along at a good clip.

Union forces consisted of 4 infantry brigades in 2 divisions, a rifled artillery battery and a cavalry brigade.

The Confederate forces consisted of 3 infantry brigades, 2 crack infantry brigades and a smooth bore artillery battery.

I made any crack unit (Zuoaves as they are called in OHW) have a combat value of 4.  The other brigades are either trained or veteran, randomly determined.  As it turns out, all regular infantry on the field are veterans.   I determine the combat value of a unit at the first time the unit grade is needed.  Seeing the elephant.

The situation after turn 1. Both forces would come to grips by turn 3.

The Union started the fight by inflicting some losses on one of the Confederate brigades.  The battle ebbed and flowed through turn 4 with the Union brigades grudgingly giving ground.  At one point, a Confederate brigade made an uncontrolled charge and got one a minor victory over a Union brigade in melee.   The gap was so narrow that the crack brigade formed a reinforced line and took its chances with the dice roll for shooting, as it could only bring 4 stands to bear.  Turned 5 went to the Confederates.  The picture below says it all.

Turn 5 was a mixed bag. The Yankees failed to inflict significant losses. However, the union artillery and part of the second division can be seen deploying around the town.

I will hopefully have a conclusion tomorrow.

 


A Little Show-and-Tell

October 23, 2017

Here are a few photos from my work over the past few months.  They were some quick shots so the photo quality is not so great.

A few Orcs from Dark Alliance set 3. This mix is one of each figure from a single spru.

My first Union Cavalry. I have 18 bases in all. This represents 1 Union Brigade.

Some dismounted Union cavalry.

A Confederate firing line of dismounted cavalry. ACW figures by Good Ground and by Old North State. The latter is out of print.


MWAN 101: Gaming with 6th Graders

October 12, 2017

https://i0.wp.com/www.wargamevault.com/images/3610/94279-thumb140.jpgI was looking through a PDF copy of MWAN 101 which includes a great article by John Stafford on gaming with 6th graders.  There is an introductory piece which includes a brief description of how he devised the game and a battle report describing how the game went.  At the end of the article is the rules used for this game.  It is based mostly on the On to Richmond rules from back in the early 80s.  The game uses a pair of 6 sided dice for all mechanics.  The rules fit on about 3 pages really.   From what I gathered from both the article and the rules sheets, the game is scaled at about 700 men per stand and each unit is about 1 division.  Confederate divisions are quite large compared to their Union counterparts.  If running this, I would arbitrarily make confederate divisions 2 roughly equal units which together total the entire strength of that division.  The other thing I would add is a penalty for under strength units at -1 per stand less than 6.  I would also allow a second shot with a unit that has more than 6 stands at the appropriate penalty.  Thus, an 8 stand unit would get 1 shot at full strength and a second shot with a 2 strength (ie -4) to the die roll.  This is a brilliantly simple set of rules and is well worth the price of the magazine.  I am looking forward to giving these rules a try with my son.


Back from Southern Front

October 9, 2017

For those that don’t know, Southern Front is a small convention held every fall in Raleigh, North Carolina.  The conventrion has a usual attendance of just under 100 people.  There are usually a half dozen games going on at any one time and there are usually several dealers for you to spend your money on.  If you are within a few hours, I highly recommend this convention, if only for the nice ladies and gentlemen who attend.  Below is a selection of games that were played this weekend.

Arab Slavers attack some cultists who are trying to use the heroin as a sacrifice. Yeah. Everyone has their faults. Don’t judge! The game played was Astounding tales by Howard Whitehouse. Highly recommended!

Another view. Chinese underground and Chicago Mafia being ambushed by various denizens.

A racing game. Note how far I was ahead before I spun out. I could have won this one by downshifting to 4th gear but I kept my promise to run the whole race in 5th gear. And I would have made it too if wit weren’t for

Snake Oiler came within a car length of winning and besting his rival Speed Racer but it was Speed managed second place while Speed Buggy took the checkered flag.

Tron themed game. This one was very clever. Perhaps a little slow playing but quite fun never the less. It was programs vs the computer. We didn’t make it to the central processing unit.

A grand view of the desert town. The GMs left this setup all weekend. The racing game, an El Cid game and a Conan game, a Zombiecyde game and a Conan game were all played on this board. The GM used kabob skewers to help denote the movement zones.

Here are some pictures of other games played that I did not participate in or know little about.  Very nice terrain setups.

A WW I game

I did play in this one! Faction based objectives. Great fun!

Le feu Sacre I think.

The purchases for the weekend. A friend gave me 7 Reveresco “28mm” knights. They are absolutely closer to 1/72 scale.

Foreign Legion battle.

Going Medieval This appeared to be a Norman v Saxon fight..

Harlequins on bikes?

Pointe du Hoc. Note the nice looking card model Higgins boats. This was a pretty nice looking game.

Another Medieval or Ancients game.  I took the shot for the layout but the battle looks quite nice!

Traffic was bit slow going both ways from home to the con and back.  I had a great time but was happy to be home when it was all done.  Looking forward to next year.

 


For King or Empress: A Quick Overview

September 13, 2017

I’d been eyeing up For King or Empress by First Command Wargames for some time now.  There is a relative dearth of information on this game.  I finally got the bug and decided to take a chance on the PDF version of the game.  FKoE is a relatively short rule book, at least by today’s standards, weighing in at just 44 pages.  About half the rule book is devoted to all aspects of the game.  FKoE uses a card activation system.  When a General’s card is pulled, the owning player makes a move with all units under that General’s command.

before units are moved, a die is rolled.  If it is greater than the command number for that general, all units under his command may move freely up to their movement rate.  If they fail the command roll (usually by rolling a 1 or a 2) the units under his command move at half speed.

Units move at double speed when they are outside of 8″ from any enemy unit.  Within 8″, units move at normal speed.  This is a simple way to have units fight deployed without having to fiddle with actual formation changes.  There are simple rules for wheeling.

If hits are sustained, morale checks are made.  The more hits you take, the worse the penalty for failing a morale check.  No unit can take more than 4 hits before automatically routing.  A failed check on 3 hits, for example will cause the unit to take another hit and route.  I noted that morale also goes down by 1 for each hit.  So you are double penalized for taking hits on units.  I am not really sure how I feel about this.  After a couple of plays, I will have a better feeling.

Shooting and melee are handled in the same manner.  Each unit (a single element representing a battalion) gets 1 die.  If you roll the units combat rating or less, you score 1 hit on the enemy.  If your chance to hit is 6 or more, you automatically score a hit.  For numbers greater than 6, there is a chance you can score a second hit.  Also, combat hits in melee are modified based on the situation.  Horse, for instance, takes an extra hit when meleeing infantry from the front.

There are rules for setting up the battlefield and a few quick suggestions for campaigns.  Most of the rest of the book is concerned with army lists.  There are set piece lists for small armies which are assumed to be for battles against the advanced guards and more extensive lists for full armies and big battles.

There are some minor errors in the book but no show stoppers.  The game lists the equipment needed at the beginning of the book.  Among the dice needed are D12s and D6s.  However, when we get to the morale section, the call is for a D20.  The call is repeated in the QRS which tells me that D12s were once used for morale but have fallen out of favor for D20s.  Not such a big deal since everything related to morale seems to be geared for D20s throughout book.

So, yes.  The rules junky fell off the wagon and got another wargame.  This one is on my list of games to play in the near future.  The upshot: I have two Baccus 6mm starter armies.  I’ve been vacillating back and forth how I should base them.  I think I have my answer now.  The rule book calls for 4cm frontage and 3cm depth for infantry.  So 3 ranks fills that out nicely.  Ill probably leave a 1cm space to the rear of the base for placing hit markers…which I also have.