Friday, June 1, 2012

Rules: Action Phase Overview (Ver. 0.1)

Here's the first part of the Alpha-Test rules for the Action Phase.

The Action Phase

Unlike other games that divide the moving and shooting actions of a unit into discrete phases, M42 allows you to move and shoot your units in any order you like in a combined Action Phase.

Exactly what your unit is allowed to do during the Action Phase will depend on the number of action points that you have available for that unit and the order that you buy with them.

Action Points

Action Points are used to purchase orders for your unit. Normally, a unit will start the action phase with 2 action points, though this number can be modified during the game. Friendly characters and other types of units with special rules may give you additional action points. While the enemy can remove them via suppression, or special rules of their own.

In any case, no special rule may ever give any one unit a total of more than 3 Action Points. Nor can a unit’s action points ever be reduced to less than zero by any action of the enemy.


One of the ways for an enemy to reduce the number of action points that a unit has available is to Suppress it. Usually with a barrage of shooting attacks that forces your units to keep their heads down and move about more cautiously.

The details of how a shooting attack can result in Suppression will be left to the Shooting section of the rules. But the goal of any suppressing attack will be to add Suppression Markers to a unit.

Effects Of Suppression

For each Suppression Marker a unit has, it’s Action Points are reduced by one. Thus, a unit with two Suppression Markers is effectively pinned down by enemy fire and may not move or shoot during it’s Action Phase. Though it may react to assaults normally.

If a unit has more Suppression Markers than it has actions, must fall back from it’s current position instead of moving or shooting during it’s turn. The details how to perform a Fall Back move will be covered in the Movement section of the rules.

Purchasing Orders

A unit may only be issued a single order, regardless of how many action points it currently has to spend.

Free Orders

Free Orders do not cost any action points and so can always be performed, even if the unit is pinned down and unable to move or shoot.

There are 3 types of Free Order:
  1. Halt
  2. Go To Ground
  3. Fall Back
A ‘Halt’ order allows the unit to re-organize itself around it’s leader model. When performing a ‘Halt’ order, the leader model may not be moved.

A ‘Go To Ground’ order means that the unit is forgoing all movement and shooting in order to make itself as difficult to see and hit as possible. This will provide a +1 bonus to the unit’s Evasion.

An order to ‘Fall Back’ results in exactly the same type of move as when a unit fails a morale check, or has more Suppression Markers than it has actions.

Note that Falling Back is something of a desperate move for most units to make, as it can easily lead to the unit’s destruction; should the unit’s leader not pass the unit’s Ld check during the Starting Phase of the player’s following turn.

One-Point Orders

The following Orders cost one Action Point each:
  1. Advance
  2. Open Fire
An order to ‘Advance’ results in the unit making a normal move forward while attempting to carefully limit it’s exposure to enemy fire.

An order to ‘Open Fire’ tells the unit to stop where it is and fire it’s weapons at the enemy.

Two-Point Orders

The following Orders cost two Action Points each:
  1. Halt And Fire
  2. Shooting Advance
  3. Focus Fire
  4. At-The-Double
A ‘Halt And Fire’ order allows the unit to re-organize around a stationary leader before shooting it’s weapons at the enemy.

The ‘Shooting Advance’ order allows the unit to make a normal move either before or after shooting it’s weapons. With -1 penalty to it’s Ballistic Skill (BS).

A unit which is ordered to ‘Focus Fire’ is carefully aiming it’s weapons at the enemy. It may re-roll any misses when shooting.

An ‘At The Double’ order causes the unit to move up to twice it’s normal move distance towards the enemy. Moving this quickly, however, comes at a cost. As a running unit is much easier for the enemy to see and hit with shooting than one which is advancing more cautiously. So units moving At The Double suffer a -1 Evasion Penalty.

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