Thursday, October 13, 2011

Effectiveness of Small Arms Shooting

N. Tolkunov. Immortality. Brest, 1941.

Eriochrome here. When building the game, it is important to think about how effective we want shooting to be.

Ideally it should be realistic where catching an opponent in the open could result in the destruction of the unit but for game play balance that probably cannot be the case.  This is especially true if the game is going to use alternating phases where the second player moves to line up his shots before the first player has fired exposing himself to preemptive fire. If the fire from only the target unit of the first player can cause substantial casualties to the second player from a single turn of shooting the first player will always win.

Setting the expectations for shooting results can be used to tune the unit characteristics once all the mechanics are finished.  So starting with small arms fire on other infantry what level of damage seems correct.  In 40K, a group of guardsman will wound each another at a 25% rate then with an armor save to a lower rate of (need to check guardsman AV).  Marines wound other marines at 44% rate but the armor save drops that down to 15%.  These values are without 2 shots from rapid fire but I doubt that the alternating phase game can have that and still have units with assault effectiveness.  A net damage value of 11% seems pretty low since in your 6 turns an undamaged attacker will not destroy the other unit on average with their small arms.  This is why 40K is all about the special and heavy weapons since the two special weapons will increase the units shooting effectiveness by 80% against the most common infantry.

I would probably like to see this number go up to 25% for casual fire (move and shoot) and 33% for dedicated fire (just shoot) for target units out of cover from the small arms.  The number can then be increased slightly higher with the specials if you have chosen anti-infantry based one but I do not want to see the special weapons have like 5 times the effectiveness of the normal small arms on fellow infantry like we get now in 40K.  To maintain a nice combined arms feel, your small arms must have some punch.

We have also discussed a new pinning mechanic which should probably be part of discussion of shooting effectiveness.  I see a unit as having 4 statuses: Normal, Suppressed (will not move next turn and fires like it did move), Pinned (will not move next turn and may not fire at its next shooting phase), and Broken ( moving away at full speed and firing only at nearest visible enemy if possible).  I would like to see small arms mainly lead to the suppressed type of state.  Perhaps a moral check based on the number of hits from weapons that can actually damage the unit.  IE getting hit but not killed causes you keep your head down as long as you know the weapon could have killed you.  We could add into the roll that if you fail without the modifier you are now pinned instead of just suppressed.  Now being suppressed would not affect assaulting that turn since you are taking these additional hits since you are exposing yourself to get in close for the assault but getting pinned would probably prevent the assault from going forward.


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