Wednesday, October 24, 2012

More Martian Thoughts

I'd like to return to my example "Martian"  setting for another post, this time to look at the distribution of game characteristics.

A good setting should require players react to different types of opponents and army builds. Different factions will have different strengths and weaknesses. The spread of potential enemies should encourage list designs to include a wide range of combined arms.    So each of my example forces will favor different model and weapon special characteristics, to give each force flavor, and to make sure that the characteristics are all used in the meta-game environment. Making sure a focused list isn't unbeatable against a particular opponent is another related consideration -- each faction should have a little access to everything.

(Again, I'm not necessarily going to use the Martian setting in the final game; this is just an example.)

The Colonials

As our baseline faction, Colonial infantry will generally lack special characteristics.  A Colonial Soldier is neither Tough, nor Armored, and his basic rifle and machine-gun lack Massive, AP or HE characteristics. This means that Colonial armies will focus on numbers.  They will need lots of shots to Wound Tough or Armored enemies.  Conversely, their opponents will need lots of shots to deal with the Colonials.  An opposing army that stacks up on fancy weapons will find them largely wasted on the easy-to-wound Colonials.

Colonial squad weapons will generally be things that increase RoF, rather than bring other capabilities. They will have lots of MGs to pump out more bullets, but few AT bombs or other specialty equipment.

The Colonial support weapons will be guns and tanks.  Their artillery will provide most of their HE fire.  Their guns and vehicles will provide most of the their AT capability.  Overall, they will largely lack Massive weapons, although their larger pieces will carry some Massive characteristics simply because of their calibre.

Colonial vehicles will have mostly medium levels of armor.  Colonial vehicles will be more Armored than Free Humans' fliers, but distinctly inferior to the Ancients' heavy walkers.

The Ancients

As our high-tech faction, the Ancients will possess many models with Armor and Vehicle Armor and a variety of weaponry. Their weakness will be limited numbers.

The Ancients' infantry consists mostly of their slave races, augmented by higher technology equipment.  Their Brute slaves will be Tough.  Their human slaves will carry Death ray guns, and will have an array of man-portable specialist squad weapons.  Both types may have body Armor.   Ancients favor heavy walkers and flyers, onto which they mount most of their heavy support weaponry, so Ancient infantry lack their own support guns.

Ancient Vehicles will have the heaviest Vehicle armor in the game.  Their characteristic Vehicle weapon will be Heat Beam guns.  Heat Beams can fire concentrated AT or an HE and high RoF arc.  The Ancients will use their superior AT to achieve vehicle superiority, and their heat arcs for burning those pesky lesser races out of hiding.  Their infantry is there to seize ground and mop up the chaff.

Opponents of the Ancients will thus need ways to defeat Armor and Vehicles, either through AP and AT weapons or superior RoF.

The Brutes

The Brute faction will be Tough, Massive and numerous.  Their weakness will be low technology.

Even basic Brute infantry will be Toughness 1 and Massive 1.  Only the smallest, wimpiest cannon fodder will be Toughness 0.  The larger Brutes may be Toughness/Massive 2 or even 3.  As they get larger, their melee attacks will start to include AT and AP values as well - indicating their ability to rip things apart! Brutes will also have access to a variety of animal troops, which will be faster or heavier than their infantry. (Or both!) Their monsters should be the equal of other race's Vehicles. All Brutes will have a high RoA.

On the negative side, the Brutes will possess only basic ranged weaponry:  Massive longarms and limited numbers of Machine-guns, plus a few primitive cannons or scavenged ray weapons.

Opponents of the Brutes will need Massive weapons or a high RoF to counter the Brute's numbers and toughness.

The Free Humans

The Free Humans will emphasize Cover and Defensive Saves and light Armor and Vehicles. They will prove quite good at negating the personal Armor of the Ancients.  They will be a medium model-count force.

Most Free Human troops will have gear that makes them harder to hit (through stealth gear) or increases their Saves (through Force-fields).  Free Human armies will contain a large number of annoyance troops -- scouts, outriders, light vehicles, and so forth -- backed up by a core of tougher regular units.

Free Human ranged infantry will carry Death ray guns, supported by a variety of man-portable specialist squad weapons.  They will have some support weapons, like high RoF rays, but generally favor mobility over field pieces.  They will sometimes have light personal Armor. Free human melee troops will be master swordsmen, with increased Saves, both Cover and Defensive, and quite often some personal Armor as well.

Free Human vehicles will be fast, but lightly armored, specializing in hit and run. 

Opponents of the Free Humans will need the wits and mobility to bring them to open battle, and HE weapons to negate their enhanced Saves.

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