Saturday, June 18, 2011

Sidalis IV: After the Bombs

After I found out that I had misunderstood the rules for reactions in groups (especially the Received Fire reaction tests) I wanted to play another game of Chain Reaction 3.0. This was an opportunity to have another scenario of the War of Sidalis IV.

At the beginning of the Sidalis conflict, the local Terraforce commander needed to optimize the use of the few available resources to halt the NovaCorp operations. He ordered the use of the available star cruiser for orbital bombardment of some key military installations (wisely saving some bombs at that moment.) After a site was bombed, a small "sweep team" would be sent in to gather intelligence, destroy any remaining operational facilities and arrest any survivors.

Camp Zetarr was a small maintenance facility but the Terraforce command believed it could serve as a relay point for supplies between other bases. A single high-energy orbital bomb was deployed on it and then a team of six soldiers was sent to scout the area.

I set up a 3'x2' board as shown in the following picture. The green areas at the corners are impassable terrain. The ruins block line of sight and have a Defensive Value of 3. The patches of rubble count as rough terrain that slows movement but does not provide any concealment.
For simplicity, the NovaCorp soldiers are all Rep 4, carrying pulse rifles (using the semi-automatic rifle stats). The Terraforce sweep team consists of these six soldiers:

Sergeant Jenkins (Star, Rep 5, carrying a BA pistol)
Specialist Kendrak (Rep 4, carrying a shotgun and the survey equipment)
Private First Class Jules (Rep 4, carrying a rocket launcher and a pistol)
Private Doren (Rep 3, carrying an SMG and 2 additional rockets)
Private Monroe (Rep 3, carrying an assault rifle)
Private Briggs (Rep 3, carrying an assault rifle)

The Terraforce sweep team enters the board through the left edge and must pass through all the sectors (1'x1' squares.) Upon entering each sector except for the two that contain the left edge of the board, a die is rolled if Specialist Kendrak is still alive. On a result of 1 or 2, an energy signature is detected near the center of the sector. It can be represented by a coin or small marker, and it must be investigated by moving a soldier into contact with it. When that happens, roll a die. 1-3: malfunctioning devices (junk); 4-5: an encrypted data storage container is found; 6: a piece of an alien artifact is found. The Terraforce team wins by sweeping all sectors and returning to the starting edge of the board.

I also rolled to place three PEFs (possible enemy forces) with a fixed Rep of 3 on the board, using the same rules of the Patrol scenario from the Chain Reaction book but simply re-rolling any 5 or 6 as I had only four possible sectors to place the PEFs. However, if a PEFs is resolved into enemy soldiers, there will be 1d6 plus 1 per resolved PEF instead of using the "How Many of Them?" table.

The Battle Report
The sweep team was split into two 3-man fire teams, Alpha: Jenkins (leader,) Jules and Doren, and Beta: Kendrak (leader,) Monroe and Briggs. Team Alpha moved ahead and not long after, a group of NovaCorp soldiers came into view from behind some ruins. [I resolved a PEF that moved in sight into a group of soldiers, then I made a reaction test for Team Alpha with all units passing 1d6.] Startled, Jules fired the rocket launcher sending the rocket above the enemies' heads. Jenkins fired twice but missed. Still, the hail of fire caused the corporation soldiers to run behind cover of the ruins. Another group of soldiers appeared from nearby ruins but both groups seemed surprised by each other and didn't react.
Doren hastily reloaded Jules' launcher and he proceeded to fire it against the second group of soldiers. The one closest to the point of impact was torn to pieces, while the others were tossed around and lay injured or unconscious.

Both teams advanced and Kendrak picked up an energy signature in the ruins, but it was nothing more than a dying backup reactor. Team Alpha maneuvered around the ruins and Jules fired his last rocket at the soldiers that ducked back and were waiting to ambush them from the other side.
After this, the sweep team just moved back to their transport, bringing with them seven injured NovaCorp soldiers (three of them with severe wounds) and no salvaged data.

Giving a rocket launcher to one of the Terraforce soldiers turned this game into a walk in the park. However, had I rolled more enemies from the PEFs, things would not be so easy, as all the rockets were spent.

Bonus Round
Since this battle didn't allow me to test complicated chain reactions as the rocket launcher simply scared off or killed the enemies too fast, I staged a combat scene in the ruins to further test my understanding of the rules. All soldiers are Rep 4 with SMGs.
The NovaCorp soldiers (D, E and F) move first. As soldier D moves 2 inches away from cover, he triggers an In Sight reaction. I move the other soldiers up to 2 inches and then make the test, rolling a 4 and a 6. This means that all Terraforce soldiers pass 1d6, and are allowed to snap fire.

Soldier A targets soldier D. He rolls 6, 6, 2, scoring two hits (10 and 10 due to his Rep 4.) He rolls 4 and 5 for damage (greater than the Impact of the SMG,) prompting a Recover from Knockback test for soldier D, which he passes 2d6. Thus, soldier D is stunned.

Soldier B also targets soldier D. He rolls 6, 5, 5, scoring a single hit. Soldier D has to make another Recover from Knockback test (from a 5 rolled on the damage test,) this time passing 1d6 and going Out Of Combat.

Soldier C targets soldier E, rolling 6, 2, 1 -- one hit. The result of the damage test is a 2, again requiring a Recover from Knockback test. Soldier E passes 1d6 and is also Out Of Combat.

Now that the In Sight test is over, soldier F must make Received Fire and Man Down tests, picking the worst result. He passes 2d6 on Received Fire and also passes 2d6 on the Man Down test. Since I consider carry on worse than return fire, soldier F is not shocked by the shootout, but is unable to fire back. Since soldier F only moved 2 inches and didn't actively fire, he may move an additional 6 inches and fire. So he moves to the place where soldier E fell and fires at soldier A.
Soldier F rolls 4, 3, 1, scoring one hit against soldier A. He rolls a 2 for damage, causing soldier A to make a Recover from Knockback test. Soldier A passes 2d6 and gets stunned. Now, soldiers B and C must make Received Fire and Man Down tests. They pass 1d6 on Received Fire and 2d6 in Man Down. Again, I pick carry on as a worse result than snap fire, so B and C cannot shoot back. Now, soldier F can perform the rest of his movement, safely returning to behind full cover. This ends the NovaCorp group's actions.
Quite a bit of action in response to the initial movement from group D, E, F, and very fluid once you get a grasp on the reaction table and mechanics. I think that now I have understood the rules... or did I miss something?

[Edit: I just got an answer from Ed Teixeira and it seems I got it right, except that in the case that the reactions were carry on and return fire, the soldiers would be allowed to return fire.]

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