Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Star Army: Looking for Rebels

A couple of days ago, I played a Star Army game to try the "Nuts to Star Army" conversion rules available at the Two Hour Wargames forum. Essentially, it brings the option to play Star Army with the new In Sight test and simplified reaction tables. This was a simple patrol mission with no reinforcements or random events. I played a squad of planetary defense force, looking for rebels.

I had at most two squads to use as enemy, so I used a slightly modified PEF (Possible Enemy Force) resolution rule: I would roll two dice against the rebel investiment level of two. If both dice passed, I would find two squads and remove any remaining PEFs. If one die passed, I would find one squad (and if another squad was already on the table, I would remove any other PEFs.)

Here is the setup, with my squad at the bottom: The leader is the big guy with raised arm (Rep 5 Star), the assistant squad leader is the other big guy (Rep 3) and the grunts are Rep 4. The green patches with trees represent wooded areas, blocking line of sight inside and providing concealment at the edges. The other patches are brush that just provide concealment.

The enemy got a better roll in the first turn, so the PEFs activated first. One moved into the woods, the other crossed the woods and entered line of sight, resolving as a squad at the edge. I won the In Sight test (on the second roll, as the first was a tie!) but only three soldiers had any line of sight to the enemy, and two of them had to shoot across the holes in the ruins, so the enemy would count as being in cover. The shots knocked down only one enemy and the rest retreated back into the woods and hunkered down (they took the Crisis test for being fired on and passed 0d6.)

My squad split in two fire teams to move around the ruins. My star readied a grenade. Unfortunately, the PEF in the woods moved out and resolved as another enemy squad! The enemy won the In Sight test, fired and killed the assistant squad leader and one grunt. In the exchange of fire, they ducked back into the woods (passed 1d6 on the Crisis test for being fired on.)

Facing two enemy squads and split up, I started a "fighting retreat". First I threw the grenade and missed, just causing the enemy to duck back into the forest. As I moved towards my starting edge, the enemy activated again and recovered from the "hunkered down" state. They moved to the edge of the woods again, won the In Sight and shot several of my men down.

In the end I had to use the "cheating death" rule for my star, and only two other grunts escaped alive.

Two things can be said about this battle:
1) The new In Sight and reactions worked well in this squad-level game. The risk of having a PEF resolve as a squad and fire at your soldiers (if they win the In Sight) adds to the tactical concerns.
2) I seriously need to review my "tactics." Splitting up around the ruins was a terrible idea, compounded by risking my luck and hoping the other PEF would not turn into a second squad.


Ivan Sorensen said...

Looks like a fun game. Star Army battles have a tendency to go terribly wrong very quickly :)

Ricardo said...

Yeah, and my tendency to move my troops carelessly makes it even scarier :)