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.


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