|Pirates Boarding Party, Michael White|
The Close-Combat Phase
In WarStrike, Close-Combat is not a static affair. Where blobs of infantry meet, stand still, and then tediously hack at one another with swords and claws for turns on end.
Instead, WarStrike takes a more dynamic approach to Close-Combat. Rather than focus purely on melee alone, the WarStrike system encompasses both close-range shooting & maneuver as well. This gives Close-Combat a dynamic, back-and-forth nature. Where one side can push another back, attempt to run through the other, or choose to retreat rather than continuing.
The other big difference is that Close-Combat is always played out to completion within the same turn in which that combat begins. Making WarStrike’s Close-Combats a bloody, decisive affair that often form the climactic turning point of a battle.
The Close-Combat Phase
There are 6 Steps to the Close-Combat (CC)Phase. These are:
1) Who’s In Close-Combat?
2) Defensive Fire
3) Attacker Consolidation
4) The Close-Combat Cycle
5) Loser Falls Back
6) Winner Consolidates
WHO’S IN CLOSE-COMBAT?
Before you can determine who wins a combat, you... have to know who’s fighting!
A unit will be considered to be in Close-Combat if at least one of it’s models is within 6” of any enemy model. All units belonging to the current player (the Attacker) are considered to be ‘Attacking Units’, while those of the opposing player (the Defender) will be considered to be ‘Defending Units’.
Close-Combat only happens when enemy models get within 6” of one another, and it always resolves within the same player turn. Hence, Close-Combat can only be initiated by the current player. As a direct result of their units’ movement during the previous Action Phase.
If the current player wants Close-Combat to happen during their turn, they need only move one of their units within 6” of one or more enemy units. That’s all!
Thus, there is no ‘charge’ move in WarStrike, and the normal rules for Moving Around The Enemy still apply. Which will prevent a unit from moving it’s models into base contact with enemy models during the Action Phase.
The Defender’s units aren’t going to just stand there and let an attacking unit charge into Close-Combat with them. If they can, they’ll attempt to shoot an attacking unit as it runs towards them!
Once the attacking and defending units of the Close-Combat have been determined, each defending unit in the combat will have the opportunity to conduct defensive fire against any attacking unit within 6”.
Other units in the defender’s Strike Force aren’t just going to stand still either. If they can, they’ll try and help their brothers in arms by firing at an attacking unit.
Defending units outside of the Close-Combat will also have the opportunity to conduct defensive fire. If the distance from their unit leader to the attacking unit is within that unit’s current Awareness Range (Aw).
Note that any unit which performed an At the Double action in their last Action Phase may not perform Defensive Fire.
Conducting Defensive Fire
Defensive fire is easy enough to do... Unless of course a unit has been pinned down by suppressing fire from the attacker.
To see if a unit may fire in defense against an attacking unit, make note of how many suppression markers the unit has. If it has none, it may conduct Defensive Fire automatically.
However, if a unit attempting to perfom Defensive Fire has one or more markers, then it must first roll a Ld check, exactly as if it were attempting to perform an action in the Action Phase. If this Ld check is failed, then the unit will do nothing at all. They are simply too distracted by other threats. If the test is passed, then the unit may conduct Defensive Fire.
Defensive Fire Targets
Which attackers a unit may target with its defensive fire depends on whether they’re in the combat, with any enemy running towards them, or outside of the combat looking on from a distance.
Defending units in the Close-Combat may only fire at a single attacking unit which is within 6” of their own unit.
Defending units which are not in the Close-Combat may fire at any one attacking unit which is within the current Aw range of their own unit leader.
All defensive fire from a unit will follow the Snap-Fire rules.
Suppression & Close-Combat
Suppression is a huge part of the Close-Combat Phase, just as it is in the Action Phase. However, compared to the action phase, WarStrike’s Close-Combat happens in such a compressed span of time that your troops will have no chance to mentally recover from the effects of Suppression. Unless they see their enemy flee, their spirits will continue to fall until one side or the other breaks under the strain.
Suppression Markers are never removed from a unit during the Close-Combat phase. Even for successful Ld checks to perform Defensive Fire, or to continue combat itself.
However, a unit which wins a Close-Combat may immediately remove one suppression marker for each enemy unit that they either Rout, or force to Fall Back from Close Combat. Even if they are still in combat with other enemy units when this happens.
If the combat ends because all attacking units moved more than 6” away during their normal consolidation. Each defending unit may only remove a single suppression marker, instead of one for each enemy unit that moved away.
After the Defender’s units have had a chance to conduct defensive fire, each attacking unit will have the opportunity to automatically perform a Consolidation Move.
Whenever a unit is required to make a Consolidation Move, this means that it may move up to 1/2 of it’s normal Mv value, rounded down.
A Consolidation Move is always unaffected by area terrain or hills. Though it is still affected by the crossing of Obstacles, Structure Walls, and the normal penalties for moving between the different levels of a Structure.
Note that Consolidation Moves may be made in any direction, not just towards the enemy.
This means that a unit may, during a consolidation move, end the combat simply by moving more than 6” away from all enemy units. Or they might choose to draw additional enemies into the combat by moving within 6” of an enemy unit that was not previously in the combat.
Consolidation Moves are also exempt from the normal rules for Moving Around The Enemy, and are thus the only way of getting into base contact with enemy models for the purposes of melee attacks.
A unit’s models may not consolidate across a structure wall, or a linear obstacle, within 2” of an enemy model which is in base-contact with its far side.
THE CLOSE-COMBAT CYCLE
Once all attacking units have finished consolidating, the standard Close-Combat cycle will begin.
1) Close-Combat Shooting
2) Melee Attacks
3) Attacker Consolidation
Each attacking unit will, one at a time, go through each step of the cycle. Until all of the attacking units have completed it.
The defender will then test the Ld of each defending unit. To see if they continue to fight, or fall back from the combat.
All defending units that pass their Ld check will then then become the attackers. While all the units that were the previously the attackers in the Close-Combat will become the defenders. The close-combat cycle will then restart.
This back-and-forth will continue until one side of the other has finally won the combat. Having Killed, Routed, or forced their cowardly enemies to withdraw from the close-combat.
Engaged & Unengaged Models
If a model is in base-contact with one or more enemy models, then it is considered to be Engaged. While any model which is not in base-contact with an enemy model is considered to be Unengaged.
If two opposing models are separated by a structure wall, or a linear obstacle, then they will be considered to be engaged if both are in base contact with the wall/obstacle and are also within 1” of each other.
1) Close-Combat Shooting
When two opposing units get close enough to one another for close-combat to happen, they aren’t just going to put away their ranged weapons and fight it out with fists and swords. No, they will continue firing their weapons at close range, so long as they aren’t directly engaged in melee with an enemy.
Any of an attacking units’ models, which are not currently engaged, may snap-fire their ranged weapons at any unengaged enemy models within 6”.
These snap-shots are resolved using the normal Action Phase shooting rules. However, the range of all weapons in the combat shall be considered to be 6” for the purposes of both targeting and wound allocation.
2) Melee Attacks
If an Attacking model is engaged with one or more enemy models, then it may attack those models in Melee.
Choosing A Melee Weapon
Most models will only have a single melee weapon listed on their unit’s stat card. However some models (usually Heros, Officers, or Monsters) may have more than one melee weapon available to them. When this is the case, they must choose which of their weapons to use each time that they roll their attacks.
No model may use more than a single weapon in melee. Where a model is allowed an identical weapon in each hand, this option will be listed as a single weapon entry. With the appropriate boost to the weapon’s Atk characteristic.
Rolling To Hit
Much like shooting with ranged weapons, models attacking in Melee must roll to hit their targets first.
To attempt to hit a target in Melee, each model will roll a number of dice equal to the Attack (Atk) characteristic of their current melee weapon. These rolls are made as a comparative test between the attacking model’s Weapon Skill (WS), and the highest WS of all enemy models that it is currently engaged with.
Note that the hits a unit receives in melee will be tracked on a unit’s hit counter, just as they are in ranged & close-combat shooting. Adding a suppression marker to the unit every time the hit counter passes 6.
Weapon Skill Modifiers
A model’s chances of hitting another model in melee can be affected by a number of factors, starting with the type of weapon that it’ s using.
An attacking model’s WS may be modified by the WS+ characteristic of the weapon they are using. Making it either higher or lower than the model’s base WS characteristic. Simply add the model’s WS, and the WS+ modifier of it’s weapon together. In order to determine the model’s adjusted WS.
If the attacker is standing on higher or lower ground that it’s targets, then it’s WS will also be affected.
If an attacking model is standing on higher ground, as described in the target selection rules for shooting, and all of the enemy models that it is engaged with are on lower ground, then the attacking model will receive a +1 bonus to it’s weapon skill.
On the other hand, if all of the models that an attacking model is engaged with are on higher ground, then the attacking model will suffer a -1 WS penalty.
Defender Rolls Saves
If some or all of a model’s melee attacks succeed in hitting their targets, then the next step is for the defender to see if his models’ armor can turn the attacker’s blows aside.
The defender will roll an armor save for each of the attacker’s To-Hit rolls that succeeded. This is done comparative test between the defending models’ Armor (Ar) characteristic, and the Armor Penetration (AP) of the attacking weapon.
As in ranged & close-combat shooting, the defending unit will receive one suppression marker for the its first failed saving throw.
It’s possible that the models from an attacking unit may find themselves engaged with models from 2 or more enemy units at once. If this happens, the defender must split up the attacker’s hits amongst all of their engaged models, such that no single model has more than one additional wound compared to any other.
The defender will then roll all of the model saves for each individual unit together at once. Keeping the results separate from those of their other units.
Rolling To Kill
If the blows of the attacking models manage to both hit their targets, and penetrate their armor, then the final step is to see if the blow was fierce enough to kill the enemy. Or, if not kill, at least injure them severely enough that they cannot continue to fight.
If a defending unit does not have a Toughness (To) value, then each failed save will automatically result in a casualty.
If a defending unit does have a Toughness value, then they may yet be able to survive the enemy’s blows. For each save that a defending unit fails, the attacker must pass a Toughness test to cause a casualty.
A toughness test is a pass-all roll. Where the model’s toughness is the number of dice that the attacking player must be roll for each failed save, while the attacking model’s Strength (Str) defines what the attacking player must roll equal to, or less than, on all their dice to cause a casualty.
Note that, if the toughness of the defending models is 2 or more, it is not allowable to simply roll all the tests together at once. Instead, you must either roll the tests one at a time, or follow the rules for rolling a pass-all test in parallel.
All of a unit’s models start with a base Strength (Str), which is modified by the Str+ characteristic of the weapon they are using. Simply add the base Str and the Str+ of the weapon together before rolling to kill.
Removing Dead Models
For each casualty a defending unit suffers, a model engaged with the attacking unit which struck the blows must be removed. If the number or casualties exceeds the number of engaged models in the unit, do not remove any unengaged models. Instead, the unit will receive an additional suppression marker. As a consequence of seeing their fellows not just felled in melee, but being torn limb-from-limb before their very eyes.
Attacker Allocation Test
Normally, the choice of which models are removed as casualties is up to the defending player. However, just as in shooting, the attacking player may roll an allocation test to see if they may pick some of the models which are removed, before the defender selects the rest of his casualties.
To perform an allocation test against an enemy unit, the attacking player will roll 2D6, and count the number of sixes that they have rolled. If no sixes are rolled, the defender may freely choose which engaged models are removed as casualties.
If one six is rolled, then the attacking player may choose the first casualty, so long as it is not the unit’s leader.
If the attacking player rolls 2 sixes, then they may choose either the unit’s leader as the first casualty, or up to two other models in the same unit.
Note that the attacking player may not choose any model as a casualty which is not engaged. Nor may they choose more models than the number of casualties that were actually caused to the defending unit.
Once an attacking unit has finished both it’s close-combat shooting and melee attacks, it may perform a consolidation move with any of it’s models. Even those that are engaged with the enemy.
Defender Tests Leadership
Once each of the attacking units in the combat has completed the close-combat cycle, the defender must test the Leadership (Ld) of his units to see if they will continue the combat, or fall back from it.
Any defending unit which fails it’s Ld check will fall back, just as if they had failed a Ld check during the action phase. While any unit which passes it’s Ld check will fight on.
If all of the defender’s units fall back or rout from the close-combat, then each of the attacker’s units may make a single consolidation move. Following this move, any models from a falling-back unit which are still within 6” of an attacking model, will be removed as casualties.
Expanding The Combat
In the confusion of a close-combat, additional units may be drawn into the combat, as the attacking player’s units overrun the defender’s lines.
If an attacking unit’s consolidation move should bring it within 6” of a defending unit which was not previously in the close-combat, and which is not falling back or routing, then the defending unit will now be considered to be a part of the close combat.
Defender Becomes Attacker
So long as the defending player still has units that are within 6” of the enemy, the close-combat will continue. The Defender’s units will now become the attacking units. While the units which were previously attacking become the defending units. The close combat cycle will then re-start.
Ending The Combat
The close-combat will end when there are no longer any opposing units with models within 6” of each other.