Here's the updated rules for the Starting Phase.
The Starting Phase
The Starting Phase is where you prepare your Task Force for the rest of the turn. Testing it’s will to keep on fighting, figuring out if you’ve won the mission (or not), bringing on your reserve troops, and other general tasks that need to take place before the Action Phase.
Starting Phase Sequence
During the Starting Phase you:
- Check Task Force Morale
- Check Victory Conditions
- Update Unit Suppression
- Roll For Reserves
1. Check Task Force Morale
In real battles, it’s extremely rare for a side to fight to the last man. It’s far better, when all hope of achieving the mission is lost, to fall back with the forces you have left and fight another day; rather than it is to waste men and material on a hopeless cause.
Count up the number of units in your Task Force which are still alive or in reserve. If this number is less than half of the number of units that your Task Force started the game with, then you will need to perform a Task Force Morale check.
To perform a Task Force Morale check, roll a Ld test using any of your Task Force’s officers that are still alive and not in reserve. If this test is passed, then your Task Force will fight on. If this test in failed, then your Task Force will retreat from the table. Giving the victory to your opponent’s forces.
If your Task Force has no officer left alive on-table to take the Ld check, then your Task Force will fail the check automatically and retreat.
Special Rule: Hive Mind
Some Task Forces, such as those of the insect-like Turids, have no defined HQ unit or leader. Their actions are instead directed by their collective consciousness. Thus, the desires of each individual unit will impact the desire of the Task Force as a whole to keep on fighting.
A Task Force with the Hive Mind rule does not roll a single Task Force Morale Check when they have lost more than half of their starting units. Instead, they will roll a Ld test for each remaining unit in the army separately. Do not remove any units that fail the check. Simply keep track of which units pass the test, and which fail.
If more units fail the test than those that pass, the Hive Mind will choose to withdraw it’s forces from the battlefield as if it had failed a standard Task Force Morale Check. Otherwise the Hive Mind will choose to fight on with all remaining forces that are available to it.
Special Rule: Fanatical
Some armies are made up of ideological Zealots that will often refuse to flee, even when the cause for which they fight seems hopeless.
An Army with the Fanatical rule may re-roll the Army Morale check if the result of the first roll would cause the army to flee. They must abide by the result of the 2nd roll.
2. Check Victory Conditions
Besides simply killing the enemy and forcing them to withdraw, most missions in M42 will have other ways for each side in a battle to win. Whether it’s the capture of an Objective Marker, the safe escort of a hostage, etc. Often these win conditions will be different for each player. Based on whether they are the Attacker, or the Defender in a mission.
During this step, check to see if the mission’s victory conditions for the current player have been met. If so, they have won the game. If not, the game will continue.
3. Update Suppression
While being fired on by the enemy, your units will gain suppression markers and hit counters that limit it’s ability to follow your orders. Suppression and it’s effects are detailed in the Action Phase rules.
If a unit hasn’t been hit by enemy fire during your opponent’s turn, they will lose some of their suppression. During this step, remove one Suppression Marker for each unit that doesn’t have a Hit Count Die applied to it. Then remove all active Hit Count Dice from all of the current player’s units.
4. Roll For Reserves
At the end of the Starting Phase, you will roll to see if any of your reserve units (assuming you have any) arrive.
For details on reserves and how to roll for them, consult the Missions Chapter.