Monday, June 18, 2012

Concepts: The Assault Phase

Storm of the Sapun Mountain, P. Malcev
So the Assault Phase is currently the last phase of the turn.  The basic idea is that each assault group is played through until a victor is found then results are determined before going to the next assault group.  No assaults tying up units for an entire game.

From Turn Sequence Stuff:
The Assault Phase

During the Action Phase, some of your troops may have contacted the enemy and entered into close-quarters combat with them. The Assault Phase is when you work out who strikes who, which models are killed or wounded, and which unit or units are destroyed or forced to fall back from the assault.
  1. During the Assault Phase you:
  2. Determine Assault Groups
  3. Select An Assault Group
  4. Select An Assaulting Unit
  5. Roll To Hit/Penetrate/Kill Enemy Models
  6. Select And Assault Your Other Units
  7. Opponent Tests Morale.
  8. Opponent Counter-Attacks (If Able)
  9. The Loser Falls Back Or Is Destroyed
  10. The Victor Consolidates
  11. Select And Assault The Remaining Groups
So Steps 1-3 are pretty self explanatory.  Assault groups are all units which have common units in the assaults.  For example Unit A is assault units X and Y while B is assaulting Unit X but Unit C is assaulting Unit Z.  Units A,B, X,Y form 1 assault group while units C and Z form another.

Step 4 is going to I assume follow the same model as shooting just with opposed WS instead of BS and Evasion.  We do not have an attacks or strength characteristic so the number of attacks, strength, and armor penetration will depend on the weapon just like in shooting.  We also have to decide who fights.  We had said that any model in base to base fights and then models within 6 inches not in base to base can make an assault ranged weapon attack which will ofcourse need profiles also.  Given the nature of movement the B2B vs assault weapon is going to be a tactical choice optimizing both your attacks and limiting your enemies response.  Next is where to take casualties from: All models is probably going to be the way to do it with the assault weapons idea.  All the attacks happen at once so how to do wound allocation will also matter.  Unit and Army Leaders are very important to the game so are we going allow them to be targeted.  I would say probably not given how free non leader model movement it would be easy to place 4 or 5 guys on the leader.

Step 5 is also pretty clearly a repeat of 3 and 4 together for all the units on the attackers side.  So all the models on the attacking side go first.  I am sure there will be some special rules here that can influence this but their are no initiative values.

Step 6:  What is the threshold here for taking the nerve test.  For shooting we have talked about 25-50% for forcing fallback but currently 1 lost model is enough to force this check.  Given that other mechanics have limited both the leader and nerve values to relatively low 3-4 for most units we will either need special rules here or something different such that large units losing 1 model do not have a 1/3 or 1/2 chance of running away.  While you may say that this low threshold makes assaults effective even if most of the attacking models are killed by defensive fire before the assault, I do not think this is the way to go.  It is just not going to make for a fun game where just getting the assault to occur has such a big role that is largely independent of how effective it actually was in killing opponents models.  I know that you do not want assaults to run cycle after cycle but this is a very precise balance that we need to think about.  Maybe 1 lost model can force the check but units get modifiers based on percentage of their unit lost.  Another issue here is what about multiple defending units should we treat their loses together or independently or some composite system where your side losing models forces the check but units that did not lose any models get +2, +1 if you lost less than 25% of your unit, and -1 if you lost more than half your unit from the start of this pass at the combat.

Step 7:  Pile in required or optional or not allowed.  Probably an optional advance move for any models not in base to base.  Pile in would be considered move of leader but what if leader is gone.  Then probably have to fight from current positions in terms of b2b and assault weapons.  What if both units have lost their leaders and are not in base to base or even no one in assault weapon range of 6 inches?

All the defending units then fight and see if they can drive off the attackers with the same morale rules as in step 6.  If not attacker goes again and the cycle repeats until one side is destroyed or all its units are falling back.  For multiple assaults when do units actually fallback?  Right after they fail I would guess.

Step 8: What are the conditions for destroying the loser.  Cannot fallback?  No leader?  This is a bit of a problem for multiple assaults since a unit might have fled a few cycles before combat actually ended.

Step 9: Basic Advance move if unit still has leader.  Otherwise halt move around leaders last position or just physically stuck standing their twiddling their thumbs.  I would lean toward halt around last leader position which might allow the unit to take up semi defensive position.  No moving into contact with new enemy unit.

Step 10: Rinse and Repeat for all the other assault group.

So definately still some thinking to do here but most of the rules gave gone through multiple cycles of ideas to get to rough rules to get finally to formatted ready to play.   Probably more questions than answers above to find the holes.
First some small changes to the turn sequence to better consider multiple defender units:

  1. Determine Assault Groups
  2. Select Assault Group
  3. Select Attacking Unit in Assault Group
  4. Resolve Attacking Unit's Attacks
  5. Repeat 3-4 for all remanining Units
  6. Test Morale for Defending Units, Falling Back or Destroying Failing Units
  7. Remaining Defending Units Pile In Moves
  8. Switch Label for Attacking and Defending Units and repeat steps 3-8 until one sides units have all fallen back or been destroyed. 
  9. Units from Winning Side consolidate
  10. Repeat steps 2-9 for all Assault Groups.

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