Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Force on Force Firefight Houserules - Revamped

It´s been a while since I´ve posted my First Draft of experimental Houserules for Force on Force.
Since then, some things have changed on what I had outlined back then and I realized that I never updated my initial post.

The Basics are still much the same, but some tweaks have been made.

 Alternative Firefights.
  • Reaction Test as usual
  • Calculate Firepower as usual
  • Roll Firepower & count the number of successes
  • Now, instead of calculating your defense pools, roll the appropriate number of saves 
First change here is that I´ve switched to D10 instead of a D8 to give a wider variety of results and a better chance for survivial in good cover.

Success number & modifiers have changed in the following way:
  • Standard Save on 5+ (4 or less = casualty) = for any open position, but not exposed.
  •   Improved cover: +2 (casualties on roll of 1 or 2)
  •   Solid Cover: +1 (casualties on roll of 1,2, or 3)
  •   In Cover: +
  •   Smoke: +1
  •  Taliban after successful Ambush: +1
Cover Modifiers are of course not cumulative, but other modifiers are. A 1 is always a failed save. So a team "in cover" behind solid cover will gain a +2 on their saving roll, which means they´ll only suffer casualties on a roll of 1 or 2  (because a roll of 3  modified by +2 is a 5 and thus a successful save).

Negative modifiers are:
  • Irregulars / poorly trained troops:  - 1
  • Exposed: -1
  • Rapid Movement: -1
  • Subjected to Artillery or Airstrike: -3
  • Flanked: -2
In addition to this, I´ve included new rules for suppression & pinning.
Instead of having a separate action named "suppressive fire", just consider any fire to be suppressive now:
  • For any successful firepower die roll 1 Morale die of the appropriate die type
  • Any 4+ is a success, any 1-3 is a failure
  • The first failure will "pin" your units in place, preventing any further movement. 
  • The second failure will "suppress" your unit, degrading your TQ by 1 negative die shift
Just roll them all at once, if you have different colors you can even roll morale & saves at the same time.

One last change I made is the application of body armor. Armor doesn´t prevent hits. It doesn´t really make sense to me that FoF give a bonus die for body armor in addition to a first aid roll that determines the severity of the wounds.
So here´s the change I made:
  • Troops with body armor use the standard FoF First Aid Table
  • Troops without body armor incur a -1 modifier on the first Aid Table 
  • e.g. 1,2 = dead, 3,4= serious, 5,6 = light wound
Or framed in another way: Body armor grants a +1 on the first aid table, while the "standard" table is deadlier. If unarmored troops get hit, you can be sure it has done at least minor damage!

Example Firefight

Before I outline how these changes make the game more tactical (in my opinion) while retaining the fun parts, I want to finish the "rules" section with an example:

US Marines are attacking an outpost of your average African Dictator that didn´t align himself with US policy. One Fireteam of veteran Marines (TQ D10, Morale D10) is approaching a hidden MG position manned by the presidents army (TQ D8, Morale D8). 
With a roll of 5  the African team opens fire from an Ambush on 14" distance. Their Firepower is 7 (2 men team + 2 for MMG, +2 Weapon Team, +1 Opt. Range).  Their roll is: 
2.2,5,5,6,7,8  = 5 successes. 

Caught in the open, the Marines have a 5+ save, so they roll 5D10: 3,3,8,10,10 -  caught in the killzone, two Marines are hit and become casualties. Being subjected to 5 Firepower, they also have to roll 5D10 for morale, scoring a 3,5,6,8, 10  - one failure means they´re pinned, but may return fire!
The rest of the time scrambles to cover, returning fire.  With 2 men down, the remaining troopers have a Firepower of 4 (2 men, 2 support weapons). 

Rolling 4D10 against the Africans, the Marines score a 4,5,5,9 - all successes! The Africans are in cover (+1) behind solid cover (+1) (prepared ambush position) and need a 1 or 2 to save. With 4 saevs they roll 2,6,7,7  suffering one casualty from the Marines return fire. Their Morale Test of 4D8 results in 4,6,6,6 - no effect. 

At the end of the turn, the Americans remove their pinned marker, they need to be re-suppressed next turn. Next turn, they check their casualties as usual, one is OK (6), one is Seriously Wounded (3) and in need of medical care, while the African soldier is found dead (1).


This small Example is unfortunately not long enough to demonstrate the powerful effect of these changes. First of all, there´s no more problems of scaling. A large team does not have a significantly more powerful effect on their target than the same amount of attackers split up between several teams. This makes what I call the "mobbing"-problem obsolete.

The increased survivability of teams (especially small teams compared to original FoF) will force you to consider different approaches. Just shooting them to pulp with infantry will no longer work. Either you DO use airpower (the -3 save modifier is nasty for anyone who is hit by Airstrikes) to kill off enemy strongpoints or you will be forced to assault.

When assaulting, make sure your troops have the enemy properly suppressed. If not, your troops will probably be pinned by defensive fire on the way to the enemy position or the enemy will just retreat and dig in elsewhere. When pinned they can´t bug out anymore and have to slug it out.

You´ll also find that moving your superior troops into the open and into the firing line of several small enemy teams will not work as well as it did in standard FoF. You might still win some reaction tests and pin or suppress some enemy groups, but actually killing the teams is much harder than it used to be when just relying on Infantry fire.

Quality differences are no longer decisive for defense, but still makes a significant difference as your elite troops are probably faster (winning more reaction tests with their higher TQ) and more aggressive and efficient in the firefight (e.g. better chance to roll successes on FP dice due to better TQ). They also tend to have better morale and are thus harder to suppress.

Overall, you´ll notice that your units won´t move around as freely as they used to. Most of the scenarios will probably need a higher limit, as the firefights are now more drawn-out affairs and it takes a while to overcome well dug-in defenders. As a consequence of the balance shifts some scenario also might require less Insurgents, as it´s no longer the power of the mob that protects them but the power of cover.

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