Friday, June 15, 2012

Concepts: The Reaction Phase

On the No-Name Height, B. Kohal

Eriochrome here for some basic rule discussion.  We have really not spent much time on the Reaction and Assault phases in the rules as of yet.  The Reaction Phase is when the opponent does some compulsory and free actions in response to the active player's Action Phase. 

Currently the text for the Reaction Phase in the Turn Structure Rules reads:
"During the Reaction Phase, your enemy will be able to conduct certain actions in response to yours. Such as conducting defensive fire in response to Assaults you have initiated"
I think that two major things that should happen here in the following order:
1. Units checking for fall back due to shooting casualties, and...

2. The response fire at charging units.
For Checking for falling back the key thing is (other than what a fall back move is which needs to be added to the movement section) what is the threshold for forcing the nerve test.  I was thinking 25% of the units original models lost in 1 Action phase.  This makes the rule about reasonably decisive firepower having an instantanous effect on the unit.  This might be too low a threshold given that units that fallback have a pretty good chance of failing to rally the next turn and being removed.  An average unit with 3 Nerve and Leadership has a 25% chance of being lost in this rule with 50% chance of breaking and 50% chance of failing to rally.  A more robust units with both 4's would be 1 in 9 with a unit with one 3 and one 4 is 1 in 6.

If we think these chances are too high then an option is the 50% threshold but this would probably be referenced to the number of models in the unit at the start of the turn instead of the start of the game.  This is more like a slow attrition affect as most units are probably not going to take 50% of their original unit in losses in 1 turn unless you are really shooting them up.  And ofcourse you can only really be forced to take that test once since the unit is gone if it loses 50% of its starting models twice.

Now if it is 50% of the models at the start of the turn how long will units last.  Well this pretty much says that you have a small chance 1/4 to 1/9 of removing the unit 1 turn earlier than just killing them outright.  For 20 models where you can kill 4 per turn it takes 4 turns to force the check and 5th it would be destroyed.  This seems pretty weak.  Maybe a compromise could be 50% of the remaining models in the unit after shooting.  This amounts to about 1/3 of the models before shooting but leaves you only with half models to deal with in checking.

So a rule like "If the number of shooting casualties from the Action phase is at least 50% of the surviving models the unit has to make a fall back test unless it has a model in base to base contact with an enemy."

Now you might wonder why I have this check in the Reaction Phase as opposed to the end of the action phase.  It seems to me like the natural place since it involves the opponent moving his models and taking tests.  It also works well here since you will not know during your actions whether you have actually broken a unit.  This forces you to choose whether to keep shooting them into oblivion or hope that they fail the test.  You will know that you are forcing a test and thus the chances of them running but you do not know if they will run.

The next part is Assault Response Fire.  Assault Response Fire allows units which are being assaulted and nearby friendly units to try to shoot the charging models before they begin the assault.   Now given the structure of the turns it is very unlikely that this will prevent the unit from assaulting as they are already in B2B unless they are killed to the man but it should weaken their effectiveness.

Now the important part is first to determine who is able to add the fire.  I was thinking individual models within 12 inches of an enemy model in a unit initiating the assault.  The individual model requirement helps force proper model placement to protect your units while also making it such that 1 unit cannot protect like 25% of the board with its whole units firepower.  When you add in the fact that units can be more than 12 inches wide and pretty flexible in the model position these numbers seem fine.

Next requirement is whether the models unit can have any suppression markers.  I was thinking that a single suppression marker should prevent models from a unit from providing response fire.  Sandwyrm suggested a more standard 0 allows focusing fire, 1 allows normal shooting, 2 prevents any response fire.  I do not like these values for two main reasons.  First I think focus fire for a free shooting action is going to be way to powerful.  Most assaulting units will probably have to ATD to get into assault so they already have a -1 Evasion add in a +1 BS and you are doubling the shooting models effectiveness for a free action.  Second, getting 2 suppression markers on units is not that easy.  Suppression markers require a shot to hit and penetrate armor so you have to get close to killing a model to generate 1.  Also a single unit can probably only target 1 enemy unit and therefore only generate 1 marker per turn.  So If I want to suppress the target unit plus say 2 others on its flanks I will need twice that number of units to even have a chance.  That is a lot of shooting to try to launch one assault especially if you have armies that are more heavily assault based.  We need to remember that these are free shots.  If you think someone is going to assault you who should be worrying about that in your turn in a proactive way as opposed just sitting back and waiting.

The final thought is whether a model in B2B with an enemy should be able to fire.  I would say no as they are going to be to busy.  This should encourage the assaulter to try to launch coordinated attacks on nearby units and to try to engage as much of the enemy unit as possible.

What the models get to shoot is probably going to be all the weapons that the model has so tanks and monsterous creatures can really be helpful in leading the supporting fire as it is hard to get suppression markers on them as you have to penetrate armor for that.

Last question is whether these shots put suppression markers on the unit.  I say no since the unit will either be roused by a successful assault, broken and running, or dead.

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