About Me

My photo
My name is Gavin McClements. I am a wargamer and family man, living in Los Gatos, which is a suburb of San Jose, CA. Building terrain is one of my favorite aspects of the wargaming hobby - in fact, lately I've become more interested in making my battlefields "pop" than in actually playing.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Contemplating my next game of Tomorrow's War

Ive been reading Force on Force to get a better understanding of the rules of Tomorrow's War, so that our next game goes a little better.

Things I know now:
Models that are knocked over or have Serious Wounds do not contribute dice to Morale Checks, Firepower Dice, OR Defense Dice.

Wounds caused to a unit will be wasted if more wounds are caused than there are models.

Despite TW claiming they dont have record keeping, there is quite a bit of work to be done to figure out which model takes a hit or a wound. I think, of all the problems we had with our first game of TW, that this was the thing that bugged me the most.

Let's walk through an example:

I have a Regular fireteam of 4 models. 1 Leader, 2 SAWs, 1 soldier.
Turn 1: They take 1 hit. The regular soldier is chosen to be tipped over.
Turn 2: The hit turns out to be a Serious Wound, so now, effectively, the Fireteam has 3 models in it. The team takes another round of fire later in the turn, and ends up taking 1 more hit. At this point, no dicing is needed because the hit is going to be a SAW soldier. Think about it...anyone can be a Leader in a Regular unit, so he will basically be the last alive. He might end up having a SAW, but there will likely always be a Leader. Arguments for or against?
Turn 3: The hit from last turn is a Light Wound. The actual model of the SAW soldier with the wound is marked. It cannot be "generic", because this might make a difference later.
*The wounded 3-man team take fire again. They take 1 wound. It is randomly decided that the wounded SAW gunner takes the hit. He is knocked over again.
*The now-2-man team takes fire again on this same turn. 1 hit is taken, and for giggles the SAW gunner is knocked over.
Turn 4: The two First Aid checks are made at the beginning of the turn. A KIA and an OK! result are rolled. THIS is why its so important to mark the individual models and declare who gets hit with what, etc. If the KIA was the previously-wounded model, then the Fireteam will be unencumbered with the Casualty penalty and will be good to go...for now. If the KIA was the other SAW model, then our wounded buddy gets to bounce back up, but will still be wounded.

So...we go back in time and point to the wounded soldier and make the roll: He is KIA. We point to the second soldier and roll, and his comes up with the OK! result. We pick up the wounded model and his Light Wound marker and make the TQ roll to see if the fireteam can act as normal. Rolling 3d, they pass and can and do.

Why does this bother me? I think its because I am playing this in 15mm. I expect this to occur in 28mm games, which by its size invites such close examination of each model in a team. But when I think about the level of abstraction I get in 6mm (Epic: Armageddon, for example), I think I want something a little in-between when I put my 'tweeners on the tables (you know, 15 is 'TWEEN 6 and 28?! lol).  I know the game CAN be played in 28mm, and many people do. But this just feels wrong to me.

I am, however, preparing to play again. I am working on a scenario that has 2 roughly equal d8 forces squaring off. One team will likely have to cross the board intact and the other team will be shooting them up. I dont quite know how to balance it, except that I want a few things: The ambushers will have at least one weapon team, or maybe two (a sniper and a LMG team, likely) in addition to their compliment of fireteams. The other, the "runners", will have a few turns to get across. This will give them the choice to stand and fight and run the risk of not getting off the board in time, or they can run like hell and take their chances.

Problem this this scenario idea? All units can return fire, regardless:
Force on Force, pre-Osprey version, p.31, "Round of Fire" says, "Any unit, whether it is an Aggressor or Defender, may return fire at a unit that attacks it."

It does not state this as clearly in the Osprey version of TW, but it does say:

Tomorrow's War, p. 56, "Rounds of Fire", "If the unit receiving fire first survives, it will return fire unless it has suffered some morale effect that prevents it from doing so, has been completely wiped out, or has no remaining Firepower dice."

So the Running team can run down the middle of the map with Rapid moves, and on a 3'x3' board, can be off in 3 turns. What makes this not so attractive? Aha! Give them an incentive for keeping people alive! DUH :) Let's imagine a trail running right down the middle. The ambushers are off to either side, firing into the center. If there is no terrain on the path, the running team could be Exposed, giving the bad guys +1d, and moving Rapidly would also give the firing units +1d. Keeping the Tech Level the same, this could mean that the attackers in this case could get quite an advantage on the runners.

Should this be rewarded? Let's say the Ambushers have 4 fireteams of 4 and 2 weapon teams of 2 (1 sniper and 1 LMG nest). The runners get 4 squads of 4, with Light Support weapons only (SAWs and Grenade launchers, no bazookas). We COULD say this is happening at dusk, and the ambushers have no night vision (TW p.80), meaning they lose 1D when firing and have their Optimum Range halved. Maybe not a bad idea if you give them 2 or 3 turns of unhindered fire, and starting on turn 4 you lower the curtain of light on the table...

Hmmm. so how long should it last? On a 3'x3' board, a team full out running can get off in 3 turns, assuming they have Initiative or choose to Move for their reaction every turn. Is this likely? No. So let's say it'll take them 4 turns. Now give them a chance to fire back. 6 turns? What if they get a Serious Wound. No chance to move quickly is a bad thing. 8 turns? Now we're in the same ballpark as Lost and Found (TW p.96).

My gut says 6 turns. Some kind of points based on how many bad guys killed for the Ambushers, and how many live soldiers make it across, combined with how fast they do it for the runners. Hmm...starting to shape up. Looking good for now. More thoughts later.

1 comment:

  1. Just want to link to the other blog that is working on learning TW:


    Looks like there is hope after all :)