Sunday, November 2, 2014

Code Red - Dev Diary 6: Close Assault & Casualties

Back again with another Dev Diary for our modern ruleset.

This time it´s all about getting close up and gritty. We´re going to cover Close Assaults and Casualties.

The prerequisite elements (find, fix) have been covered already, so it´s time to show you how to defeat the pinned opponent once and for all... using close combat.

Close Combat in FoF was a protracted affair, with each side rolling attacks and defenses back and forth until one side broke or found itself annihilated.
While there was nothing wrong with the procedure nor the outcome, I felt that I´d have to rework it to generate a level of cohesion with the rest of the rules. As stated in earlier Dev Diaries, keeping the FoF-Mechanic of attacks and defense when it was not used anywhere else anymore didnt seem like the most straightforward solution. So I dropped it and redesigned it.

The development of the mechanism itself was one of those ideas that just appear in front of you without any thinking or planning. Sort of the "why don´t we do it that way"-moments that simply work out.

But before we get to the core, we´ll again cover what we wanted Close Assaults to be:
  • Bloody.  The close fight should be the real killer, while the firefight has relatively low casualty rates, the close engagements firing bursts at point blank range, using knives, bajonets, buttstocks and grenades should be very very quick and bloody. 
  • Defensive Fire - should play a role, as troops that are not properly suppressed have a decent chance of defeating the assault before it reaches their position.
  • Morale effects - should also play a role, as troops that are suppressed are certainly less steady and aggressive than units that are fresh and calm. 
As it happened, the solution was very simple. Taking away the cover roll during close combat produced some very brutal combat results, while the morale effects would be considered while rolling for successes in the first place. The only changes were the dice contribution and to make combat occur simultaneous. Both attacker and defender roll at the same time once close combat has been reached.

Defensive fire can be mounted by troops that are still able to fire, an assault would be canceled once the attacker received a morale chit during the defensive fire. Troops take a reaction test to see if the defenders are quick enough to mount effective counterfire on the assaulters, while the attacker get a penalty to their reaction test the more distance he has to cover to the target.

A small example:

A Soviet PKM-team has been pinned down by a a British Squad using the gun group to put fire on it while the rifle group maneuvered in. The British Rifle group (6 men still standing after first contact) now mount a close assault on 8" distance. 
Being pinned, the PKM-team can still fire with a penalty, so they take a reaction test with the British Rifle group. The PKM-team rolls a 5, the British a 10 which means the British advance fast enough (despite all the negative modifiers) to reach the enemy position before effective fire is mounted. 

Close Combat then commences, the British have 6 dice at their disposal for 6 men in combat, the Russians have 2 dice for 2 men in their team and are pinned, which penalises their roll.
Both now roll their dice and count their successes, the enemy doesn´t get a cover or defense roll at all. Unsurprisingly the British roll enough successes (two) to defeat the Russian team. 
The Soviets meanwhile roll a 1 and a 7, which means they score one success after all modifiers and cause a british casualty. The British take a morale test for their casualty and roll a success, so no adverse effect for now. 
After having conquered the position, they check their casualty and find him dead.

Which brings us straight to the next point:  Casualties. These have been surprisingly easy on your troops when playing FoF and always seemed like a minor annoyance to deal with. To make things more realistic, we´ve increased the effects that casualties have on your troops.

Critically wounded soldiers can now succumb to their wounds on the battlefield if they are not tended to by trained medical personell. The medic is now simply there to stop that deterioration and keep your critically wounded personell alive while the combat is still going on.

Light wounds (walking wounded) that still leave the soldiers in the fight are now restricting the movement range of your troops to tactical speed and decrease combat efficiency of your unit slightly, but noticably.

Apart from buffing the wound effects we´re also using different regimes to abstract situations where the seriously wounded would be left behind to be recovered or treated after the battle - situations such as a regular conflict in a Cold War Hot environment, WW2-style situations, etc.

We also introduced a more granular effect of body armor, distinguishing between light armor (Helmets + Kevler Vests or Flakjackets) and full body armor with heavy plate carrier vests. This should allow you to depict different equipment styles throughout different periods, conflicts or factions.

We hope to introduce more options while limiting the depiction of unneccessary detail to distinguish the different features of wars and conflicts.

I think that´s it for today, more stuff coming in next week, when we´re talking about Fire Support!

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