My Trek – Part 5

Last week I introduced the first part of my spaceship battle rules, which set the scene and defined the terms, so to speak. Today, we finish them up with the actual combat rules.

Combat Rules

Combat is handled in turns. Each turn is divided into 12 phases. Each phase determines when a ship can move (based on the ship’s speed) and when it can attack.

All movement is handled on a grid. During a phase when a ship is permitted to move, it can be moved one space forward or turn 90 degrees.

Phase Zero: The Command Phase

Before the normal phases of a turn begin, there is a “Phase Zero”. During phase zero, captains give orders to their ship for the current turn, as follows:

  1. Power points are assigned to the ship’s three major systems (engines, force fields, weapons), and possibly to the ship’s tractor beams and invisibility device. You can do this by writing it on a paper. Ships start the game with 8 power points, and can put no more than 3 PP into each of their systems.
  2. Speed is determined. The amount of power directed to engines determines a ship’s maximum speed during a turn – the captain can choose to move at any speed up to and including this maximum speed.
  3. If a captain wants to self-destruct their ship, they must decide to do this now. The self-destruction occurs during Phase 12 of the turn. See below for more information on this last resort tactic.

Combat Phases

The table below indicates which phases a ship moves during the turn, based on the ship’s current speed. In the chart below, “H” stands for “half sub-light”, “F” for “full sub-light” and each number for a hyper speed.

“•” indicates a phase in which the ship can move.

Phase H F 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12

Ships can attack during phases 3, 6, 9 and 12. All ships move during a phase before any attacking takes place. Moves and attacks occur simultaneously. Thus a ship destroyed during an attack phase may still carry out its attacks for that phase.

Attacking

To attack, a captain designates a target, counts the range in spaces to the target and rolls their attack dice. The following deductions are made from the attack roll:

Condition Deduction
Range 4 to 7 spaces -1
Range 8 to 11 spaces -2
Range 12 spaces -3
Attacker Hyper4 or above -1
Attacker Hyper8 or above -3
Defender Hyper4 or above -1
Defender Hyper8 or above -3
Target is Size D -1
Target is Size E -2
Target is Size F -3
Targeting a specific system (see below) -3
Target is “blocked” by another ship or object -3
Target is invisible -6

If a weapon’s attack roll is higher than the force field’s value, it deals damage to the target’s hull equal to the modified dice roll minus the force field value. Thus, an attack roll of 16 against a force field with a value of 12 deals 4 points (16-12=4) to the target’s hull. The target’s hull points are reduced by 4 in this case.

Targeting Systems

A captain can either make a general attack against a vessel, or it can attack a specific system. Attacking a specific system carries a -3 deduction to the attack roll.

If the targeted attack roll would score at least 6 points of damage (i.e. the modified attack roll is at least 6 points higher than the target’s force field value), then the targeted system is damaged (see below).

Hull Damage

As a ship suffers hull damage, it loses key systems and personnel. This is depicted in the game by the loss of power points. You will remember that a ship begins the game with 8 power points. As it suffers damage, its total available power points drop, as follows.

Damage Level Hull Points PP
No damage 100% 8
Light damage 75% 7
Serious damage 50% 5
Critical damage 25% 2
Destroyed 0% 0

The following table helps one determine a ship’s damage level based on its size class and current hull points:

Size Class None Light Serious Critical
A 60-46 45-31 30-16 15-1
B 48-37 36-25 24-13 12-1
C 36-28 27-19 18-10 9-1
D 24-19 18-13 12-7 6-1
E 12-10 9-7 6-4 3-1
F 6-5 4 3 2-1

A ship reduced to 0 HP is destroyed and removed from the board during the next Phase Zero.

System Damage

When a system is damaged, its maximum factor is reduced by one step, i.e. from Factor III to Factor II, Factor II to Factor I or from Factor I to Off-Line.

Until a system is repaired, it cannot be energized above its current best factor. Thus, if weapons are at a best of Factor II, only 2 PP can be directed to them. Each turn during Phase Zero, a ship can attempt to repair a system by rolling 1d6. If the roll is a “6”, the system’s factor is increased by 1 step. Only one such system can be repaired at a time in Phase Zero.

Self-Destruct

When a ship self-destructs, it makes a final “attack” against all ships within 12 spaces. The total attack roll against each target (including friendly vessels) is 12d6. This is reduced by 1 dice per space between the self-destructing ship and the target.

Assembling a Fleet

To keep games fair, all ships are assigned a point value derived from its size and its other capabilities. To stage a game, decide on the point total for each fleet and then use those points to purchase ships.

PTS Size Max. Speed Force Fields Max. Damage
100 A Hyper 9-10 V 9d6
50 B Hyper 7-8 IV 5d6
25 C Hyper 5-6 III 4d6
10 D Hyper 3-4 II 3d6
5 E Hyper 1-2 I 2d6
0 F Sub-light 1d6

 

Special Weapons and Abilities PTS
Aft Weapons 25
Invisibility Device 25
Torpedoes 25
Missiles 10

Example: A Size A ship that can travel at Hyper10, has Type V Force Fields, Type III weapons, torpedoes and aft weapons, is worth 100+100+100+50+25+25=400 points.

My Trek – Part 4

When the Klingons and Romulans get squirrelly, it’s time to send in the USS Enterprise, phasers a-blazing to send those jokers back across their respective neutral zones. To handle a situation like this in my Star Trek campaign, I needed some spaceship battle rules, and I wanted a set of rules that would be quick and easy. Since I write lots of games these days, I figured I might as well write them myself, with a little inspiration from Starfleet Battles and the Star Trek RPG I’m using for the campaign.

I might spread these rules out over a couple posts. They’re pretty concise rules, but they’re not “blog concise”. I’ve made these rules neutral in terms of the jargon so CBS/Paramount doesn’t sue me, but I think you can figure out what’s what.


Spaceship Battles

Copyright 2019 John M Stater

Spaceship Battles is a spaceship combat simulation game using a simple gridded mat, counters or miniatures to represent spaceships, a full set of dice, pencils and paper. There is theoretically no limit to how many players ca play the game, although play by more than 6 players would likely be difficult.

Spaceship Specifications

Ships are ranked by their size and by three systems, engines, force fields and weapons. Systems have three factors to represent their potency – from I to III. A system’s current factor is determined by the power directed to it and system damage.

Each ship begins the game with 8 power points (PP). Power points are allocated to the ship’s systems to determine that system’s current factor. Factor I requires 1 PP, factor II requires 2 PP and factor III requires 3 PP.

Ship Size

A ship’s size determines how many hull points it has and how maneuverable it is. Hull points (HP) measure how much damage a vessel can take before being destroyed. Maneuverability (MVR) determines how many spaces a ship must move forward before it can rotate one quarter turn and then continue to move.

Note that Class F ships are assumed to operate in squadrons of three vessels.

Size Class HP MVR
A—Battleships, Carriers, Colony Ships 60 3
B—Battlecruisers, Heavy Cruisers 48 2
C—Cruisers 36 1
D— Destroyers, Frigates 24 1
E— Corvettes, Scouts, Transports 12 0
F—Shuttles, Fighters 6 0

Engines

Engines determine a spaceship’s maximum speed. The spaceship’s actual speed during a turn of combat is determined by its captain. Ships can move at two sub-light speeds – half and full, and ten different hyper speeds, from 1 to 10. A combat turn is divided into twelve phases, and a ship’s current speed determines during which phases it moves a space.

Force Fields

Force fields protect a ship from damage. The more power directed to force fields, the harder it is to damage a ship. See the Combat section for more information about how force fields work in the game.

Factor Type I Type II Type III Type IV Type V
I 1 2 3 4 5
II 2 4 6 8 10
III 3 6 9 12 15

Weapons

There are two main types of weapon, energy and projectile. Energy weapons rely on power, so the more power that is directed to them, the more damage they inflict. Projectiles are not as limited.

Most weapons are located on the fore section of a ship, and are given a 180-degree forward arc. Ships with aft weapons can fire in any direction.

Energy weapons can be used during each firing phase of a turn. Projectile weapons can be fired once per turn, unless the ship has rear weapons, in which case the projectile weapons can be fired twice per turn, but only once in each direction.

Energy Weapons

The primary weapons of a spaceship are energy weapons. The more power that is fed to these weapons, the more damage they can cause. The most common weapons are as follows:

Factor Type I Type II Type III Type IV
I 1d6 2d6 3d6 3d6
II 2d6 3d6 4d6 6d6
III 3d6 4d6 5d6 9d6
Range 9 9 12 9

The number indicates how many dice are rolled when the weapon attacks. See combat for more explanation.

Type IV weapons lose their potency at longer ranges. You can use the following table to determine the number of dice rolled on a Type IV attack based on range.

Range
Factor 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
I 3 3 3 2 2 1
II 6 6 6 5 5 4 3 2 1
III 9 9 9 8 8 7 6 5 4

Projectile Weapons

Torpedoes and missiles are not powered like energy weapons. They can be used with just one power point directed towards weapon systems. Projectile weapons always have the same attack value. Ships have a limited number of projectile attacks, usually 6 for Class D/E/F ships, 9 for Class B/C ships and 12 for Class A ships.

Missiles Torpedoes
Attack Dice 4d6 6d6
Range 9 9

Tractor Beams

Most spaceships are equipped with a tractor beam. To use a tractor beam, one PP must be directed to it. The ship can then tow another willing ship no more than one space behind it, or can attempt to tow an unwilling ship.

An unwilling ship must first be caught in the tractor beam. A tractor beam has a range of 3 spaces and rolls 3d6 to attack. If this attack is successful, the tractor beam catches and holds the target. The target then has a chance in subsequent turns to break away. This chance is based on its current speed, as follows:

Speed Chance to Break Away
Sub-light Roll 6 on 1d6
Hyper 1-5 Roll 5-6 on 1d6
Hyper 6-10 Roll 4-6 on 1d6

A ship caught in a tractor beam cannot move on its own, but can be dragged (see above). A ship in a tractor beam can still fire its weapons.

Boarding Parties

A ship can transport a boarding party (about 6 people) to a target if the target has no force fields operational and both ships are moving at the same speed. The boarding party can be targeted at the enemy ship’s bridge, engines, force field generators or weapons.

A boarding party attacking a bridge must roll a 6 on 1d6 to succeed. If they succeed, they control the enemy ship. Against other systems, a boarding party must roll a 5 or 6 on 1d6 to succeed. If they succeed, they take that system offline until they are repelled.

A boarded ship has the same chances of success to repel as the boarders had to board.

Ramming

A ship itself can be used as a weapon by ramming into another vessel. To ram, one vessel must move into the space of another. To make contact, one must roll a “6” on 1d6. Modify the number needed to hit down by one for every two levels of speed faster the attacker is than the defender. Thus, a ship traveling at Hyper4 trying to ram a ship at half-SL is traveling at 4 levels higher and modifies the number needed to hit down two, from “6” to “4 to 6”. If the ramming ship is traveling at a slower speed than its target, it always fails to ram.

The ramming ship does damage equal to its normal hull point value (i.e. hull points without damage) to the rammed ship, and vice versa. The defender’s force fields reduce this damage as normal.

Example: A destroyer traveling at Hyper5 attempts to slam into a heavy cruiser traveling at Hyper3. It is traveling two speed levels faster than its target, so it needs to roll a 5-6 on 1d6 to hit. If it succeeds, it deals 36 points of damage. Assuming the cruiser has a force field value of 12, it would lose 24 hull points. The destroyer would lose 48 hull points minus its force field value.

Invisibility Device

An invisibility device allows a ship to hide from other vessels, though not perfectly. Attacking an invisible vessel is done at a penalty of 6 points from the attack roll. A ship must direct 3 PP to an invisibility device to use it. While a ship is invisible, it cannot attack. A ship can become visible and attack during an attack phase, but cannot become invisible again until the next attack phase. Power points no longer used when a ship is visible are not re-assigned until the next Phase Zero.


I’ll continue these rules next week, with an explanation of how combat works and how you assemble a fleet for a battle.

Battle of Gaudin’s Ford – Final Rounds [Blood & Treasure]

You didn’t think I forgot about the battle, did you? Of course, since today is the 4th of July, I wish I’d pitted Red Coats against Yankees, but I’ll have to settle for halflings and orcs.

ROUND FIVE

Click to enlarge

The halflings and orcs both find themselves in an interesting predicament with the annihilation of the billmen. The orcs should want to follow it up and charge in … but then they’re surrounded by angry halflings. Likewise, the halflings should want to plug the hole … but then a company of boyos has to take on the orc blackguards all by its lonesome. What to do?

The halflings decide to do the following … the surviving sheriff will retreat back to the safety of Halfling C. Those companies will stay put. The elves would really like to fire their bows at those orcs, but instead they’re going to wheel back a bit. The other halflings are going to hold their ground. All of the halfling’s with missile weapons, except Halfling I and Halfling G, are going to concentrate fire on Orc A. Halfling I is going to fire on Orc G and Halfling G is going to fire on Orc H.

The orcs decide, in true orky fashion, to charge. Orc A is going to charge in to Halfling D – if Halfling B gets in the way, they’ll hack down the elves first. This will, they hope, free up Orc E to slam into the side of Halfling I, along with Orc G. Orc H is going to attack Halfling G. Orc B is going to fire at Halfling F and Orc C at Halfling E.

So, how does it play out?

Missile Phase
Since the last report, I’ve modified the rules a bit to use normal side vs. side initiative which has to be re-rolled for each phase. For this missile phase, the orcs roll a ‘6’ and the halflings a ‘5’.

The orc crossbows let fly their bolts. Orc B scores no damage on Halfling F. Orc C inflicts 7 points of damage on Halfling E, whose leader, Merlyn, rolls his save and suffers no damage.

Orc A suffers 7 points of damage. Thundergut saves and suffers no damage. They’re battered, but they didn’t break! Halfling G scores 2 points of damage on Orc H, and sub-chief Nardo saves, so no damage. Halfling I is pretty ineffective against Orc G, scoring 5 points of damage. On the plus side, this is enough to force a moral check! The orcs, without their leader, fail the check and will begin moving away next round. The worg riders, who have been ordered to attack Halfling I, might be in trouble.

Movement Phase
Orcs roll “1” and Halflings roll “1” – they re-roll initiative and this time the halflings win.
The elves move back, and everyone else holds. The orcs now have two forced moves. The Orc G swims for their own side of the river, while the fleeing ogres in Orc D run off the battlefield. Orc A charges into Halfling D, Orc E wheels into the flank of Halfling I and Orc H rushes up the river bank to attack Halfling G. Plenty of melee combat this round!

Melee Phase
Orcs gain initiative this round, and they’re going to need it with three units already having fled or being in retreat.

Orc E plunges into Halfling I and scores 6 points of damage. Because they’re hitting the far flank, I’m going to rule that Father Godwin doesn’t have to save to avoid damage this round.

Orc A works their magic again … 14 points of damage on Halfling D. Finn, the leader of Halfling D, fails his save and is killed in the onslaught. The halflings now have to roll a morale check – they fail, and turn to flee. Because they’re in melee combat, they expose themselves to pursuit and an extra attack. The orcs score another hit, this one for 2 points of damage, reducing Halfling D’s hit points to 4.

Orc H, scrambling from the river fail to score any damage on Halfling G, who responds by scoring 3 points of damage on the yobbos.

Halfling I now counterattacks Orc E. They fail to score any damage.

No magic this round, so we go to …

Click to enlarge

ROUND SIX
The halflings know they have to destroy Orc A to break the orc army. To that end, Halfling C is going to wheel and attack their flank while Halfling E does the same from the other direction. Halfling B is going to wheel back and wait for an opening. Halfling H is going to join battle with Orc H. Halfling F sling their stones at Orc B. Halfling I is going to maneuver while in melee – essentially, they’re going to change formation this round into a square.

Orc B and C are not going to reload this round, but rather hustle towards the lines. The orc chief needs orcs on the line to hold the bank and claim victory. Orc E and H are going to continue to attack, and Orc A is going to wheel and hit Halfling C in its flank. Clearly, initiative will be important this round.

Missile Phase
No initiative this round, since only the halflings are shooting. Halfling F scores 5 points of damage on Orc B. Sub-chief Gruk fails his save and suffers the same – he’s a tough old bird, though, and keeps on breathing.

Movement Phase
Big initiative roll this round, and the orcs win it! Orc B and C move forward. They might end up being too late to do any good. Orc A wheels and moves into Halfling C’s flank. Orc G makes it out of the water on their way to flee the field.

Meanwhile, Halfling D continues to flee and Halfling E wheels and charges into the rear of Orc A. Halfling B wheels and moves back. Halfling H moves to attack Orc H.

Melee Phase
Orcs lose initiative this time to the halflings. The plucky Halfling C, flanked by the orcs, manages to score 2 points of damage on the blackguards. Halfling E, despite a rear attack and charge, score no damage. The orcs still have 11 hit points, so they don’t have to check morale yet. But the halfling leaders do some damage as well. Samwinn and Merlyn inflicts another 2 hit points of damage on Orc A – now they have to make a morale check and fail badly. This is probably it for the orcs. They immediately flee back for the river ford, and Halfling E pursues (C choose not to), but fails to score any more damage. Thundergut failed his save, and suffered 4 points of damage as well.

Halfling I continues to fight at a disadvantage against Orc E, and scores no damage.
Halfling G and H attack Orc H, combining for 4 points of damage (tough little buggers, those halfling slingers). Sub-chief Nardo fails his save this time, and takes a shiv to the ribs. He’s dead, but I’ve rewritten the rules so that the loss of a leader does not necessitate a morale check.

The orcs (what’s left of them) counterattack. Orc E scores 8 points of damage on Halfling I. They’re one point away from a morale check. Orc H scores 2 points of damage against Halfling G. Muriel fails her save and suffers 2 points of damage. Halfling G is down by at least 50% of their hit points, so they roll a morale check and pass. They stand and fight.

No magic again, so the end of round six!

EPILOGUE
At the end of Round Six, the battlefield is a bit chaotic, but the halflings seem to have the upper hand. Even if Thundergut rallies his blackguards, they’re going to have trouble turning the tide. We’ll give this day to the halflings. I learned quite a bit from this little demonstration, and I’m now ready to apply what I learned to the final mass combat rules in Blood & Treasure.

The Battle of Gaudin’s Ford – Rounds 2 to 4 [Blood & Treasure]

Today, I continue with the Battle of Gaudin’s Ford. Things begin to get ugly for both sides.

ROUND TWO

The orcs are marching, the halflings are ready … let’s see what happens.

Orders Phase
The halfling commander is now going to order all of his missile troops to concentrate fire on the central company of orc yobbos. Everyone else is going to close ranks (i.e. go into a tight formation) and prepare for the onslaught. The halfling cleric is going to strike, though, this round. If the orcs get close enough, he’s going to unleash his 2nd level spell, sound burst, on them.

The orc commander is going to charge his yobbos at the enemy, even though they’re in a loose formation. He mostly wants them to screen his elite troops. Units G and H are going to plunge into the river and swim for the other side – it will be slow going, but he wants to nail those other halfling units down and keep them from harassing his elite troops. The crossbowmen are going to spend the round reloading their crossbows. The elites are going to march forward and prepare to charge!

Missile Phase
No need for initiative here, as the orcs are reloading this round.

The elves don’t score a hit this round, but the halfling slingers and archers do score some damage – 11 points in all. Yort has to make three saves and fails two, so he’s eliminated as well. That means Unit F has to make a Will save or flee, as they’ve now lost half their original hit points and their commander. The orcs roll a 9 and fail the save, so during the movement phase they will begin fleeing around those elite units.

Movement Phase
Again – no need for initiative, since the orcs are the only one’s moving. Unit F starts off by fleeing.

Melee Phase
No melee yet – next round for sure

Magic Phase
Orc Unit G is close enough, so the halfling cleric throws sound burst. Since it’s an area effect spell, it does normal (i.e. 1d8) damage to that unit, and it must save or be stunned. As it is, the unit suffers 3 points of damage, but is not stunned. Unfortunately, its commander, Fang, fails his save and suffers damage along with the unit – and that kills him. Fortunately for the orcs, the unit does not break (they never like him anyhow).

ROUND THREE

Orders Phase

The halflings are pretty pleased – they’ve eliminated one unit of orcs and a couple orc leaders. Unit I is now going to attack Orc Unit G and try to send them off the board as well. Units H and G are going to attack Orc Unit H. Unit F is going to send their stone sailing over head into Orc Unit D, and the elves are going to make that unit their target as well. With any luck, few halflings will fall this day. The cleric will cast bless on his unit, giving them a +1 bonus to hit and save vs. fear for the remainder of the battle.

The orcs, on the other hand, are having some problems. The orc commander had planned on sending his yobbos against the billmen, to allow his ogres and blackguards to form up in a tight formation before attacking. Now he’s worried that spending a round forming up will cause undo casualties from missile fire. Still, he decides to do it right – Units D, A and E will take a tight formation and charge next round. Meanwhile, Units G and H will begin swimming the river to harass the halflings on the other side. The crossbowmen will pour their shot into Halfling Unit A, to soften them up a bit. Orc Unit F, the one fleeing, has no commander, so they cannot rally – they’re out of the battle.

Missile Phase

Initiative: Halflings (5), Orcs (3)

The halfling player attacks with Unit I first. They score 3 points of damage on the orcs, not enough to cause them to flee. Lousy dice rolls!

The orc commander responds with Unit B, sending his black-fletched bolts into the billmen for 7 points of damage. The halfling commander has to make two saves, and fails one of them. He takes 3 points of damage and has 8 left. Integrating him with a unit might have been a terrible miscalculation in the long run. But the billmen have a bigger problem – they’ve been whittled down to under half their original hit points, which means it’s time for a moral check (i.e. Will save). Fortunately, they ace it with a ‘20’ and will stand and fight – for now.

[Here’s a quick aside. I might remove the moral check when a leader is killed. Leaders improve a unit’s morale checks and enable them to rally if they flee, but a leaderless unit has a weird advantage over them in that they have no leader to lose and force a morale check. I’ll have to think about this.]

The halfling commander is next, so he has Unit B – the elves – send their arrows into the ogres, scoring 4 points of damage. First blood on the ogres!

The second orc crossbow unit now let’s fly at the billmen … and fails to score any damage.
The rest of the halfling units can now go at it. Units G and H have no success against the orcs crossing the river. Unit F, on the hill, scores 1 point of damage against the ogres.

Movement Phase
Again, no need for initiative when the halflings aren’t moving.

The central orc units use the turn to form into a tight formation. They’ll charge next round. The other orc units begin swimming – they can move 10 feet per round swimming. Unit F finally quits the field. No plunder for them.

Melee Phase
Next round, for sure!

Magic Phase
Godwin now casts bless on Unit I.

ROUND FOUR
Time for melee.

Orders Phase

The halflings stick to the script, duplicating their orders from last time. Godwin, the cleric, will cast guidance on himself this round.

The orc crossbowmen are reloading this round. Units G and H are continuing their swim. Unit D, the ogres, is going to crash headlong into the billmen this round. Unit A and E will follow along, charging in the ogres stead if they are eliminated.

Missile Phase
The orcs are reloading again, so it’s all halflings this round.

The elves and hill slingers combine for 5 points of damage, forcing a morale check. The ogres say “screw this!” and are ready to quit the battle. They aren’t getting paid enough for this crap.
Meanwhile, Orc Unit G suffers 2 more points of damage. They’re still standing strong. The halfling slingers fail to do any damage to Orc Unit H.

Movement Phase
First and foremost, the ogres beat it. That leaves it up to the blackguards, who charge into the billmen. The other orcs continue swimming – they’re just about ready to mix it up!

Melee Phase
Finally, we have some melee in this battle.

In melee, both sides exchange blows. Only squadrons within a unit that can attack get to roll the dice. The orcs are using pole axes, so both squadrons (front and back) are able to attack. Likewise for the halflings, who are using bills. Two of the five halfling squadrons can attack. There’s no initiative here – all attacks are treated as simultaneous.

So, the orcs tear into the halflings, and their attack is devastating – 17 points of damage! Chief Thundergut scores 6 points of damage against the halfling sheriff, who makes his saving throws to avoid the rest of the damage – he alone survives, with only 2 hit points. Meanwhile, his troops fail to score any damage on the orcs in return! And Sheriff Brando scores no damage against Thundergut. A devastating blow to the halflings, to be sure.

Magic Phase
Godwin now casts guidance on himself.

ROUND FIVE … This Weekend!

Battle of Gaudin’s Ford – Round One [Blood & Treasure]

Time to fight.

(Oh, and I made a mistake on my map yesterday, switching the places of the elf bowmen and halfling cavalry and mislabeling the halfling yeomen – sorry!)

As the rules now stand (yes, covering my @$$), mass combat is handled in the following phases:

1) Orders Phase
2) Missile Phase I
3) Movement Phase
4) Melee Phase
5) Magic Phase

During the orders phase, each commander writes down orders for each unit. These orders cannot be changed because of events on the field.

During each phase, each commander rolls 1d6 to see who moves a unit first, play then proceeding from commander to commander until each unit has moved or attacked during that phase.

So, orders for this phase will be as follows:

Halflings
A, C, D, E – Maintain a loose formation and wait
B – Stand ground and shoot bows at Orc Unit F
F – Stand ground and sling stones at Orc Unit G
G, H – Stand ground and sling stones at Orc Unit H
I – Stand ground and shoot bows at Orc Unit F

Orcs
All orc units are going to maintain a loose formation
All orc units except B and C will move ahead at normal speed, save the worg riders, who will have to match the pace of the units in front of them
Units B and C will target Halfling Unit A with their bows

With orders given, play proceeds with the missile phase

Each commander rolls 1d6 – Thundergut gets a ‘5’, Brando a ‘3’

Each squad of 10 figures makes a single attack, rolling damage if they hit

Thundergut has Unit B fire at Halfling Unit A, rolling a ‘13’ and ‘17’ and scoring 5 points of damage; Brando rolls a ‘18’ for his Reflex save and takes no damage

Brando has Unit B fire at Orc Unit F, rolling a ‘16’ and hitting for 5 points of damage; Sub-chief Yort rolls a 13 for his Reflex save and succeeds, suffering no damage

Thundergut has Unit C fire at Halfling Unit A, rolling an ‘11’ and ‘21’ and scoring 4 points of damage; Brando rolls a ‘25’ for his Reflex save and suffers no damage

Since Thundergut has no more missile attacks planned, it’s all halflings now

Unit F fires at Orc Unit G, rolling an ‘8’, ‘8’ and ‘18’ and scoring 2 points of damage; Sub-chief Fang rolls a ‘12’ on his saving throw and also suffers 2 points of damage

Unit G fires at Orc Unit H, rolling a ‘13’, ‘19’ and ‘17’ and scoring 4 points of damage; Sub-chief Nardo rolls a “1”, “12” and “22” on his Reflex saving throws, failing two and suffering 3 points of damage

Unit H fires at Orc Unit H, rolling a ‘2’, ‘8’ and ‘13’ and scoring no damage

Unit I fires at Orc Unit F, rolling a ’16’, ‘12’, ‘13’, ‘11’, ‘17’ and ‘1’ and scoring 4 points of damage; Sub-chief Yort rolls an ‘18’ and ‘20’ on his Reflex saves and suffers no damage

Movement now commences

Since none of the halfling units are moving this round, the movement all goes to the orcs.

Each square on the map represents 5 feet, and the orcs have a 30 foot movement rate. Thundergut has them move at full running speed towards the enemy, so they move 24 squares forward

No units are in contact, so there is no melee phase. No casters are casting, so there is also no magic phase.

So, at the end of Round One, we’ve seen some minor casualties on the orc side – nothing too dramatic yet, but we’ve only just begun the battle

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The Battle of Gaudin’s Ford – Preliminary

Among other things, Blood & Treasure includes some simple rules for mass combat to support the end game of stronghold and army building. While I’ve been playtesting the good old-fashioned dungeoneering and wilderness rules for a while now, I have yet to make sure the mass combat rules actually work. So, to correct this oversight, I’m going to test them LIVE, on this blog. Without further ado …

When spring rolls around, a young orc’s fancy turns to thoughts of plunder. And so it was that the orc chief Thundergut, rousing from a winter’s sleep, decided that it was high time to show those civilized bastards down in the valley what for. To that end, he rallied his troops (it involved lots of screaming and head kicking), convinced a few ogres to join in, and set out for Gaudin’s Ford.

Gaudin’s Ford was a ford across the River Pepp, named for a trapper who once had a trading post in the area. It provided the easiest way for many miles to cross the river and strike into the heart of the civilized area known as the Downs, an area inhabited primarily by a halfling moot called Mottlesby, with elf and human lands beyond.

As the orcs marched, they were spotted by a flock of giant eagles, who sped to the elves to warn them of the impending danger. The elves dispatched immediately a squadron of wayfarers to warn the halflings of Mottlesby and prepare a hasty defense at the ford, while the various elf princes were roused for battle and the humans were given the alarm.

And so it was that the orcs of Chief Thundergut met the halflings of Sheriff Brando at Gaudin’s Ford.

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The above is my battle map, whipped up in Excel for ease of use. On the right, you see the display of the forces involved, along with leader types. My plan is to run a few rounds each day and see how things proceed, dropping in a few points about the rules as I go along. Consider today the set-up, with the battle being joined tomorrow.

The orc plan is to push forward, using the yobbos to soak up missile damage and then get out of the way so the ogres and blackguards can attack the lines in waves. The archers will try to engage the enemy missile troops and keep them out of the battle. The worg riders are kept in reserve.

The  halfling plan is to inflict as much damage as possible with missile weapons, and then hope the billmen can whittle the orcs down enough that they won’t overwhelm the yeomen and boyos.

In general, I’m trying to keep this simple and just test the mechanics. The troop types and leaders are drawn from the monster section of B&T and things like hit points were rolled randomly.

Oh – rhe dark green bits are woodlands, the brown blob a hill and the light blue bit is the ford in the river. The rest of the river could be crossed by swimming.

Invasion America!

I came across this article recently positing an invasion of the United States by the Nazis during World War II. It immediately brought to mind two games from my wargaming past – RISK and Axis & Allies (and Invasion America, though I never actually played that one). I got RISK as a kid and immediately fell in love with it – one of those “I didn’t know something like this even existed!” moments. I was big into militaria and WW2 as a kid – watching Victory at Sea on Sunday mornings on the local TV station (KVVU, Channel 5) and playing war with other kids in the neigborhood. I remember my first game was played against a friend in the neighborhood and my dad. I played the blue army, naturally, and my father the red army. When he finally beat me, I felt like I’d failed the USA and let the Soviets conquer the world – what a lousy feeling. Fortunately, he gave me some pointers – mostly on not spreading myself thin and attacking at all costs – and I improved quite a bit at RISK. I now move at a snails pace, building up so much depth that attacks crash against me like waves on a shore. The last time I played was a few years ago, with my daughter. The first game I played with her she couldn’t roll a bad dice and she won. She decided RISK was a great game. The next two went to me and she decided she was going to take a break from RISK for a while. C’est la vie.

I was introduced to AXIS AND ALLIES (one of the greatest game covers ever, by the way) by some guys I worked with at a video store (VIDEO PARK – World’s Largest Video Store). They also introduced me to SUPREMACY. Fun stuff. I learned the hard way that AXIS AND ALLIES is designed to replicate the strategies used in WW2 – almost like wargame railroading. You wander too far off the reservation, and things can get tough. I can still remember a good friend of mine and I were going to be playing the Axis in a game and we spent the entire day at work plotting our strategy. We seized on the idea of Germany building an aircraft carrier and threatening the USA with its fighters – the Allies would never expect it – we would be unstoppable. Unfortunately, we were playing with a guy who didn’t think in terms of military strategy, but rather game strategy – and he also had a knack for rolling dice. Germany built its ill-conceived carrier and, like the real carrier built by the Germans, it took forever, was finally stuck in port, and then unceremoniously sunk when the Allies came across the Channel. Still – good times, and very instructive about the importance of understanding the logic of the game rules over the logic of the “real world”, even in terms of old school, rules-lite games.