I´m a few days late with the Dev Diary as I was busy and not very motivated to write another entry last week - including the weekend.
So today we´re covering list building with some more in-depth details.
Let´s take a look at some entries from the Taliban list to get a better idea how the system works.
First of all, every faction has some degree of flavor built into it, encouraging you to use them according to their doctrine or preferred way of fighting. Modern US Forces will get cheaper fire support, Russians will probably get cheaper mechanized forces and artillery and so on – always depending on the theatre of course.
The Taliban list takes a special position here as a list that doesn´t get much of a bonus, but has a huge amount of choices and flexibility. Taliban units are not cheap (in fact, some units might even be more expensive than comparable units from other lists), but they have a large arsenal that can be combined into a multitude of force compositions, enabling clever players to use synergies and adapt their list to meet the challenge ahead.
Before we delve deeper into the example: The list is still work in progress and being tested, not the final product.
The basic building block of the Taliban list is the Cell, currently available in three sizes: Small cell (3), medium cell (5) and large cell (7).
Each cell has options to choose from, like adding leaders, support weapons and other shenanigans. Next to the options there are restrictions and limits.
+ RPK (Magazine LMG) (10pt)+ PKM (MMG) (20pt) (not available with RPG-7)
+ RPG-7 (40pt) (not available with PKM)
+ Ammo for RPG-7 (20pt)
+ Weapon Team (10pt)
+ Upgrade to Hardcore Fighters (10pt)
+ Upgrade to Foreign Fighters (21pt)
+ Leader (additional figure) (35pt) (1 per 150pt*)
+ Ambush Card (10pt) (max. 2 per Cell)
By choosing and customizing our cells we can now create a variety of different infantry groups, ranging from standard infantry groups over MG-teams to RPG-cells and so on.
Being a tactically advanced and versatile irregular force, the Taliban also have options to upgrade their troops to a higher standard by making them Hardcore Fighters or even Foreign Fighters (Cechens, Syrians, Arabs, Pakistanis, etc.) – this doesn´t come cheap but will boost the effectiveness of your core force. Combine this with a cheap screen of irregulars to suck up the enemy firepower and you can devastate modern western forces.
Taliban also have the capability to add area denial options in the form of IEDs to their list. IEDs can have a huge impact on battles as we experienced in several test games – Western Forces think twice before heading into a minefield. You can (and should) combine your regular IEDs with some dummies to increase the uncertainty, it´s a cheap option that always pays off. And there are Suiciders carrying IEDs as well…
The Afghan Insurgents also have access to some limited Fire support either in direct fire mode (like DShK HMGs, RPGs and SPGs) or indirectly via mortars and improvised, unguided rockets, which can be combined with disguised locals to correct shots.
Speaking of locals: The Taliban list also sports Rules of Engagements that apply to their opponents. These can be a real pain in the ass, if your opponents troops have to confirm the hostility of their opponents first, while you can shoot as you like. There are different sets of RoE, from PID checks to Fire support restrictions of different intensity.
Furthermore, there are reinforcements. You can choose from several lists and customize the kind and intensity of reinforcements, from a trickle of Hardcore Foreign fighters to waves of locals. As outlined in the DD on this topic, there are some trade-offs here.
Being Insurgents, the Taliban are also masters of the ambush – so they do have access to Ambush cards, both when setting up their list and during the game (getting new cards).
And there is another advantage of their guerilla nature: The enemy does have some restrictions on the objectives you will be confronted with. Some objectives are simply not available against guerillas.
The only things Taliban do not have are heavy fire support (large artillery and airstrikes) and heavy vehicles (not even armed technicals, as the use of those is suicidal with all the air assets flying around).
All in all, the Taliban have multitude of options that are not available to other combatants per se – this is their inherent bonus: flexibility and the ability to adapt.
You can create any kind of scenario. Small number local insurgents in urban environments imposing heavy Rules of Engagement on their opponent, Human Wave Tactics with lots of reinforcements (beware your command dice though!), Hardcore Foreign Fighters fighting in a remote area using all sorts of ugly tricks, IED-ridden environments becoming the showground of an ambush, and so on…
I hope this adds some more insights into the list building, please leave your questions in the comment section if there are any.