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Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Slight Update

I have slightly updated the Martian Colonists to Version 3.  I increased the AT of AT Rifles, AT Rockets Launchers, and Howitzers.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Introducing the Martian Colonists

Introduction

The second book for my game is Force Book for the Martian Colonists.

http://www.buildingabetterwargame.com/p/the-rules.html 

You can download it by clicking on the picture.


Who are the Martian Colonists?

A Colonial Officer

The Martian Colonists are the descendants of humans from Earth.  In 1878 Belgian explorers discovered a gate to another world in the Congo region.  The great powers of the world created colonies across the newly discovered world scientists christened "Nova Planetia," but which the press inaccurately and popularly called "Mars." Their settlements soon spread across the canals and ruins of the Great Basin region and fended off the primitive native tribes of humans and Brutes.

Then in 1914 disaster struck.  The Ancients and their war-machines swept south across the region, destroying cities, slaying populations, and taking slaves.  Then, aburptly, they stopped.  The outlying human colonies survived, cut off from Earth.

For a decade the colonists have planned their counter-attack.  They have developed new vehicles, powerful guns, and advanced tactics to seize the basin again.  Now, in 1942, their divisions are trained and ready to fight.  The long-planned offensive will begin.

How it Works

Like other armies in this game, the Colonists are meant to use existing model ranges. The Colonists are based on historical inter-war and World War II forces.  A typical army at the platoon-level will consist of less than fifty infantry models and a few vehicles. So if you have a 28mm World War I or World War II army, you have a Martian Colonist army too, and you can play this game.
Give it a try!

Quality

The troops available to the Colonial armies vary considerably.  Most receive adequate training, destined for service in the coming Offensive.  Those seasoned in combat, even small skirmishes gain a valuable edge of experience.  A select few are trained, selected and equipped to the highest standard.  The Colonial population is low, and must supplement its regular forces with a reserve of civilians trained part-time for police, garrison or other secondary duties.

  • Reserve Units are trained and equipped for secondary duties, and are often composed of older men who have only recently been recalled from civilian life.  Their last training may have taken place months or years ago.  Reserve Units are usually last in line for new equipment.  Despite this, Reserve Units are often highly patriotic and committed to current offensive. 
  • Regular Units have received substantial training.  They are usually young men who have volunteered or are serving their mandatory terms of service.  The Colonies have tasked their current regular Units with the coming offensive, and many have received new batches of the latest equipment.
  • Veteran Units have seen combat and survived.  This experience gives them a substantial edge.  Most Veteran Units consist of men who have served more than one term of service and intend to make the military their career.  Most Veterans have fought Brutes, Native humans, or rebels.  Very few have tested themselves against the soldiers of the Free Cities or the Ancients.  Most Veteran units are designated for the coming offensive, and have been receiving new equipment and resupply.  A few Veteran units, however, are posted in garrisons far from the center of the Colonies and may be making due with older equipment. 
  • Elite Units consist of only the fittest and ablest of volunteers, and are highly-motivated.  They are able close-quarter and melee combatants.  The Elite Units are well-equipped.  However, many Elite Units are light infantry and thus eschew heavy equipment. 

Doctrines

Even forces with the same equipment may be trained differently.  In this game, differences in training and capacity are reflected in special abilities called Doctrines.  Activated with a roll, each Doctrines allows your army to do something special.  You can choose among different Doctrines before play:

  • The Armored Doctrine focuses on vehicles, allowing your vehicles to fight more effectively at close and long range, and to move in and out of cover.
  • The Assault Doctrine focuses on close combat, letting your troops re-roll close combat attacks and avoid being suppressed by enemy fire.
  • The Brutality Doctrine is for forces driven into battle by heartless taskmasters.  You can kill your own troops in exchange for benefits in battle. Alles klar, Herr Komissar?
  • The √Član Doctrine allows your troops to recover from suppression more quickly and to move faster across the battlefield.
  • The Drill Doctrine reflects disciplined troops and their greater volume and accuracy of fire.
  • The Professionalism Doctrine reflects the high degree of training in your force, and grants situational bonuses of your choosing.
  • The Rugged Doctrine makes your troops tougher, better able to cross difficult terrain and survive punishing enemy fire.
  • The Stealth Doctrine lets your force ambush the enemy and conceal themselves in the open.
The First of Many

The Martian Colonists are only the first of several forces for the game.  In coming months, I will release supplements for other armies too: the hardy non-human Brutes, the proud but hidden Free Cities, and the dastardly, sadistic Ancients who have laid all Mars waste with their endless wars!

Martian Colonist squad.
The pictures on this page are of Old Glory's British World War One range.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Introducing the Core Rules


Core Rules v2
Click on me for the rules.

Over Christmas break, I revised my core rules into a PDF.  Let's take a moment to look at the game, and what it's about.


What's Different about This Game?

My game is a platoon-level space fantasy game.  It has two major strengths:
  • It can represent a variety of different sci-fi or space-fantasy troops.
  • It models fire and movement and suppression in a (mostly) realistic way.
Why does this matter? Well, games like Warhammer 40k or Warmachine all feature armored models and monsters and vehicles.  But the tactics usually just involve shooting or hitting them with bigger or badder guns until they die.  There's little reckoning of the secondary aspects of fire -- pinning, suppression, leadership and so forth.  It's just a slaughter fest.  Historical games often model these elements of the battlefield, but they assume all the combatants are either vehicles or squishy, unarmored humans.  My game is designed to encourage more complex tactics, like a historical game, while still letting you play with superhuman monsters, magic and technology, like a fantasy game.

Armor, Monsters, and Vehicles

This Brute is Tough.
The core mechanic of the game assumes that every weapon of the game is man-lethal. This speeds things up if only ordinary humans are hurting each other.  Then, bigger, tougher, or better armored models become harder to kill. A model can have different Special Characteristics, each representing some way it can be more awesome than your basic infantryman:

  • Armor: The model is covered in some sort of plating that absorbs or deflects projectiles.
  • Toughness:  The model is a bigger, tougher creature than normal.
  • Vehicle Armor:  The model is a vehicle, and has significant armored plating that's heavier than personal armor.
  • Cover: The model is behind (or carries with it) terrain or a field that prevents its injury.
Each of these Characteristics can be countered by the right kind of weapon:
  • Armor Piercing: Counters armor.
  • Massive:  Blows up big monsters.
  • Anti-Tank:  Shoots up vehicles.
  • High Explosive:  Counters the effect of cover.
You only have to worry about Special Characteristics that are in play. If none of your models are Tough, you don't have to worry about keeping track of how Massive a weapon is.

These Colonists escort a Vehicle.
Fire and Maneuver

The game's combat and damage are divided into several phases:

  • Shooting: This represents long-ranged shooting. It might kill some enemy, but that's not its main purpose.  The Shooting phase is when your models Suppress the enemy in preparation for an assault.
  • Assault Fire:  Your models have now closed with the enemy, and exchange fire at close range.
  • Melee:  Your models run up and hit the crap out of things with a chainsaw, bayonet, or pointy stick.
In each phase, Units which take incoming fire may be Suppressed.  Units with better leadership are harder to Suppress, and some weapons (like machine-guns) are more effective at making the enemy keep their heads down.

What about Vehicles?

As a platoon-level game, there's room for only a few vehicles on the table.  They are a combination of awesome and fragile: with machine-guns aplenty and mostly invulnerable to infantry weapons in the Shooting Phase.  But up close, in the Assault Fire or Melee phase, lucky rolls can hit them pretty reliably, meaning any such beast requires an escort of friendly infantry model.