Tuesday, 3 January 2012

Tomorrows War AAR number 2

After our last game of Tomorrows War we were left a little underwhelmed. The disparity between troop types had made it a turkey shoot for one side. However, we decided to give the game another go and play another scenario. We had 3 players this time, my brother and my two nephews (Goblin, 11, and Orc, 13, - get 'em young!) and I was referee and rules looker-upper. Goblin chose to lead the Green Berets and was suitably hyped up on Pepsi Max and doughnuts to approximate the adrenal boosts that the Green Berets had.

We chose Last Stand at Red Ridge. A small group of US Green Beret's have dropped from orbit and landed off course behind enemy lines. They are trying to regroup but the enemy is closing in from all sides...

The US forces are equal in quality to the approaching Brazilians, but are equipped with powerful suits of powered armour (I told Goblin they were like Iron Man suits - he liked that), with advanced sensors, Gauss machine guns and autodocs to keep them patched up.

The initial set up was as in the map and diagram below, with the Green Berets (the blue icons)  on the slopes of the eponymous red ridge, but split up, and the Brazilians (the green icons) approaching from all sides. The light green is dense jungle and the brown is light jungle (it's the Amazon). To the SW of the ridge line is a dense boulder field which is heavy going and provides hard cover. The sides of the ridge line also provide hard cover as they are scattered with gullies and boulders. The Green Berets would make good use of this cover....

Map view of setup - US in Blue, Brazilian in Green
View from the south table edge. US in Blue and Brazilian in Green
The first turn saw the Green Berets move towards each other, with squads 2 and 3 moving directly towards one another, and squad 1 moving straight up the ridge line. The Brazilian forces couldn't see any of the US troops, so didn't get to react and just moved up into position.

Brazilian troops slog through the jungle.
Turn 2 saw the Green Berets to the south side of the ridge begin to move towards the crest. The Brazilian troops of Squad A and B spotted them and opened fire. The Green Berets elected to abort their move and return fire. One of the Brazilian squads, team A, failed it's reaction check with a 1 and thus prompted a Fog of War card - Excellent Position. They had found an area of jungle that offered them superior cover. The other squad, Team B, took fire from Green Beret squad 2, causing just one casualty. They returned a huge volume of fire and managed to score 9 out of 10 hits on the Green Berets! Both suits went down, the Autodocs pinging away.

Green Beret Squad 3 then moved to advance up the hillside as well, prompting both Brazilian Teams to again react and pour fire on. Again the Green Berets aborted their move, hunkered down and returned fire. They won one reaction test and lost one, and the Brazilians again rolled a 1 for a Fog of War card. A random member of the Brazilian forces encountered a natural hazard and was injured. One of the Grunts in squad C stepped on a snake and got himself seriously Injured.

I then made a big error here and totally forgot that Team 3 had a AP/AT4 missile pack and instead just gave them the Gauss SAW the same as the other teams. They could considerably have made a much bigger dent in the Brazilian teams at this stage, but the vanilla SAW just didn't put out enough firepower to dent the Brazilians. Team 3 weathered the incoming fire from Squad A, fired on Squad B causing a couple of casualties and was then peppered in return by squad B to no effect.

The Brazilian armoured car trundles through the jungle.

The US Green Berets, far from home, with no hope of rescue, surrounded by enemies on all sides, decide to go for a nice stroll.
Turn 3 saw the US troops lose the initiative, which they never recovered. From now on they were simply reacting to the Brazilian moves. Brazilian squad A and B opened fire on US team 3, as team 2 were no longer combat effective (they were still casualties as their turn hadn't come round to determine what their wound state was). The US lost the reaction test and were peppered, both becoming casualties.

On the North side of the ridge, Brazilian Squad C had finally found their way out of the jungle. Opening fire on the Green Berets of team 1, they lost the reaction test with ANOTHER 1. The Fog of War card indicated that a thick mist had dropped and all movement was reduced to tactical and no fire combat could be conducted at further than 18 inches. The armoured car and (we decided) the powered armour suits were immune to this as they had thermal imaging systems (I couldn't actually see in the rules that the PA suits had advanced sensors, but we figured it'd be a pretty rubbish suit of $3 billion  powered armour if it was stopped by mist...).

Squad C and the armoured car fired on team 1, to no effect (Orc found the string of 7's and 8's from Goblin to most annoying). Team 1 then advanced onto the crest of the ridge and team 2 and 3 made their casualty checks - one light and one serious wound for team 3 and both of Team 2 were A-OK.

Turn 4 opened with The US again losing initiative. Brazilian squad 2, snug in their improved position, fired on team 2. The exchange of fire resulted in both suits falling as casualties again to no real effect on the Brazilians.

The Green Berets take fire. Two unconfirmed casualties on the right and a light and serious wound on the left.
 Brazilian Squad B fired on US team 3, winning the reaction test and knocking them down as casualties again. They then advanced down off the ridge towards the downed suits.

On the North side of the ridge the Squad C were now out of sight of team Team 1, now lost in the mist at the crest of the ridge. They advanced out of the jungle, cautiously looking for snakes. The armoured car, however, could see team 1 just fine and blazed away with it's Gatling laser and Gauss SAW, knocking both suits out as casualties. All of the US suits were casualties now, and as their turn rolled around they made their first aid rolls.

Tragically, team 2 and one member of team 3 failed their rolls and were KIA. The last remaining member of team 3 was still seriously wounded, so combat ineffective. Team 1, on the top of the hill suffered a serious wound and a light wound, halving their firepower.

Turn 5 opened with the US again losing the initiative. Brazilian squad B advanced on the last member of Team 3 to capture him. At the last moment his triggered his self destruct mechanism and as the Brazilians closed on him he detonated in a blast of flame. The quick witted Brazilian troops, however, managed to dive away from the blast and his sacrifice was in vain.

The smoking remains of Bravo-2 and Bravo-3 are inspected by Squad A as they move out of cover.

On the north side of the ridge, squad C continued to creep out of the jungle, and the armoured car did a hill climb up the side of the ridge, spraying fire at Team 1 as he did so. Team 1, reduces to just 1 combat effective figure, unable to hurt the oncoming armoured car and seeing the Brazilians closing from all sides, sprayed fire down onto Squad C and prepared for their last stand.

Turn 6.

The Brazilians again won the initiative (although only because you retain it on a tie). The armoured car advanced still closer, spraying fire over team 1. Both suits fell as casualties. Squad B, bloodied by the self destruction of Team 3, advanced cautiously.

Last Stand at Red Ridge.

The two green Berets, crawling through the Amazon mud, tried to trigger their self destructs as they were surrounded by Brazilian troops - anxious not to be interrogated by the brutal Brazilian Secret Police. Through a haze of blood, Bravo-1-Bravo triggered the charges and his suit brewed up. Bravo-1-Alpha was not quick enough, however, and the Brazilians of Squad B surrounded him and took him captive, to disappear into an Amazonian prison camp....

For you, Yanqui, the war is over...
However, despite the eventual loss of all of Bravo Squad, the Brazilians had failed to capture or neutralise the US troops quickly enough. Their brave and defiant last stand was captured by a US recon drone, the last moments of the film showing the brutal treatment that the wounded Bravo-1-Alpha suffered.

The Brazilian objectives were to capture or kill quickly. The US objectives were to hold out as long as possible. The final victory point score was Brazil 8, USA 10, so a marginal (and pyrrhic) US victory.

In summary, we all enjoyed the game, but felt there were still a few areas open to improvement. The Brazilians were constantly frustrated that they might score 6 or 7 hits on one of the Green Beret teams, but only cause 2 casualties. They felt that excess hits should somehow affect the casualty roll, or prompt multiple wounds.

The US player felt that his fire should have been more effective. There was some discussion about squad size vs firepower, but I think the weapons on the PA suits were just underpowered. A two man squad, firing on the Brazilians, had 5 dice. 2 basic firepower (2 man team), +1 each for the Gauss SAW, +1 for the tech level advantage for 5 dice. I haven't re-read the rules, but I have a sneaking feeling that the Gauss SAW negates some or all of the targets armour.

One player also felt that the basic mechanic of FP vs Defence dice should be changed. His opinion was that defence should be static - it's not an opposed roll - as the song says, you can't dodge a bullet. I advised that the defence dice represent taking best use of cover and so on, but his retort was then why add extra dice for cover and armour? Either the armour works or it doesn't.

Nevertheless, I still think that the scenario worked well. It was certainly a tense and desperate fight, that might have gone differently had I remembered the US had the missile pod. The final showdown on the top of the ridge was especially nice, as the one lightly wounded Green Beret stood watch over his badly wounded partner, Brazilian troops advancing through the mist and the armoured car grinding on towards him, Gauss rounds bouncing off it's armoured sides....

1 comment:

Umpapa said...

Greatly painted Oddzial Osmy NVLs.

We have simillar problems with TW: defence dices are not enough logic.