Roight, been painting 15mm scifi the last weeks, and last friday this finally turned into a game, the popular Tomorrow`s War ruleset from Ambush Alley / Osprey at TSA.
I would be joining forces with Patrick (of the Nelson`s blog) and face off against Koekie in a scenario written by Willie, our local Fidel Castr... I mean ex-president.
The scenario basically went like this:
The ANZAC (aka us) needed to go take a picture of a missile system the Chinese (Koekie) are deploying, but the Chinamen don`t know where comming just for that purpose and think it`s a border skirmish.
We had at the beginning 2 squads of Recon troops (the Colonial Marines), consisting of a 4 man squad with a SAW and a 5 man squad also with a SAW and the scanner for the picture taking. In turn 3 the `regular` troops would show up in our APC (damn you Bishop!) and consist of a Medium AT team, a squad of 5 with SAW and RPG and a squad of 4 with SAW and RPG, at the diagonical opposite corner of where the Colonials needed to be.
Facing us are 4 squads of chinese, each consisting of 6 men and including a SAW and an RPG, though Koekie did shuffle his support weapons around a bit, an APC with bigger gun and thicker armour then us. In turn 5, they will receive a second of those APC`s, to be deployed anywhere they like at their table edge.
Though the Quality of both sides was even, the chinese on top of outmanning and outgunning us, where also better armoured. Our benefits?
The recon troops where represented with counters including two `dummy` counters which needed to be spotted before being able to be fired upon.
So I went doing the numbers in my head, and since that means to spot usually 5+ topping of at 7 if in a building and in cover, this would be like sheer impossible for the ANZAC to do something. Combined with the scenery consisting of ruins which don`t block LoS, tipsytopping from wall to wall wasn`t an option either.
Suicide mission anyone?
Lady Luck wanted to be invited to a barbeque instead of having a bowl of rice for dinner. With on average a 50/50 chance of spotting counters, Koekie saw the squad that had taken the picture on the very last turn of the game, taking down three of the five, but after passing morale they jumped in their APC and went home, mission completed.
But, but but, how did you pull that off. We didn`t. In all honesty, there wasn`t a master plan, no fancy manouevres and no genius strokes. In TW, you draw cards if rolling a 1 on the Reaction test. And our plan was desperate, just reacting to whatever and hoping the enemy rolled lots of 1s and drew lots of bad cards.
Great plan huh...
And it worked miracles. We had, over the course of the whole game, 1 card drawn and this resulted in a house catching fire, forcing one of his squads out. But more importantly, the smoke DID block LoS, allowing the camera team to stay behind it, catch a picture and run off.
The opponent drew about 7 or 8 cards, resulting in, lots and lots of bad stuff. A house provided no longer cover, and he had 2 squads in there.
An NCO was killed by his men, causing a squad tailing it off the table. All his moral over the table was lowered from D8 to D6. The freshly arrived second APC, right in front of the camera team, took off again without being able to do anything.
On the plus side, he did have his men make an adult movie that became a hit on the internet and granted him 3 victory points...
But we didn`t beat him at all, he did it for himself with help from the Fog of War deck.
We scored 11 VPs: Two times 3 for the stuff that ran off, and 5 for the objective.
He scored 6: A recon squad eliminated and his p**n movie
Before I write down my impressions of the rules, here are some pictures of the game:
Tomorrow`s War: hot or not?
I`m gonna be honset, I enjoyed the game and winning made it the sweet cherry on the cake as it was against all odds, but I have a bit to many issues with the system itself, so it`ll have to depend if I got money left and space in the backpack available before I bring it along from Salute in three weeks (sjeesh, only 3 weeks...)
* The reaction system. Squads seem for me to be able to fire to much and with FAR to many dice if they are with about 6 - 8 members.
here`s was a situation: my Recon squad fires on a Chinese squad, who react. Then my partner says `my overwatch fires on those reacting chinese` and they react to that as well. Now apparently this is with -1 FP, but since that is on the total dice and not per model, this chucked out an awesome load of firepower... in two 180% opposite directions.
The fact they where better armoured, in a building and in cover meant we couldn`t shoot anyone out of the squad with the first shots, whom they had taken down two marines from a 4 man squad due to winning the reaction roll. So I fired with 3 dice... being 1 marine, 1 saw and +1 for optimum, could have been topped to maximum 5 dice.
Do the maths with me: at first they fire with 6, being 6 dice, plus 2x2 for having 2 RPG`s in the squad, and +1 for optimum range at the recons. That`s eleven dice. At the other squad, they still roll 9 dice (-1 for non optimum and -1 for the FP)... that`s 20 dice shot off in one phase by 6 models... I personally find it a bit over the top.
* The SAW has less FP then the RPG. Willie can argue what he wants (we did, in a friendly manner mind you!) but I ain`t buying SAW FP 1 vs RPG FP2. Sure, that missile does more damage if hitting home, but that SAW is laying down an awful lot of bullets in the time it takes to reload that tube and aim it.
I know this is because the rules determing FP by the `potential damage` and not by the `rate of fire` but still, this seems just plain silly to me.
This essentially means it is better to go to war hauling a 17th century blunderbuss as the hailshot can cause more potential hits and `dirtier` wounds then haul around with the P90 who impacts all roughly on the same spot. Even though that `buss fires once and the P90 has emptied a couple dozens of bullets by then...
I don`t think it is a bad rulesystem, and it adds a certain degree of realistic thinking needed to game, BUT I`m not willing to proclaim it the `game of all games that rules them all`. Maybe IF I get the book and get a chance to read and study it myself I might sway over a little more, but I doubt it`ll ever be the Holy Grail for me personally.
Still, I think I`m signing up for the planned campaign they wanna run, cause it WAS fun and after all, that is the core business of having a game.