Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Rules: The Close-Combat Phase (Ver. 0.52)

The pre-IndyOpen rules update deluge continues. :)

Here's the updated rules for the Close-Combat phase. I've removed the bonuses for higher ground, and reworked the language on suppression to mesh with the new rules.

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 4 Steps to the Close-Combat (CC)Phase. These are:
  1. Who’s In Close-Combat?
  2. Attacker Consolidation
  3. The Close-Combat Cycle
  4. Winner Consolidates

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 its 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) are considered to be 'Defending Units'.

Initiating Close-Combat

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 it!

Thus, there is no 'charge' or 'assault' 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 (engagement) with enemy models during the Action Phase.


At the beginning of the close-combat, after the attacking and defending units have been determined, each attacking unit will have the opportunity to perform a Consolidation Move.

Consolidation Moves

Whenever a unit is required to make a Consolidation Move, this means that it may move up to 1/2 of its 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.

Consolidation Direction

This means that a unit may, during a consolidation move, end the combat. Simply by moving all of it's models 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. Consolidation & Obstacles

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.


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.

(Edit: Added the following coherency clarification at Eriochrome's request)

Consolidation & Unit Coherency

When consolidating, a unit in close-combat will still attempt to stay together and fight as a team. But they aren't required to maintain full coherency with models that are fighting in melee.

If a unit is performing a consolidation move, and one or more of its models are engaged, then its engaged models are considered to have already moved during the consolidation. Thus, the first unengaged model to move must maintain coherency with at least one engaged model from the same unit.
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 model.

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 only 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 an appropriate boost to the weapon's Attack (Atk) characteristic already included.

Rolling To Hit

Much like shooting with ranged weapons, models attacking in Melee must roll to hit their targets.

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 the 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-die, just as they are in ranged & close-combat shooting. Adding nerve markers as described in the leadership & suppression section.

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 its using.

An attacking or defending 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 its weapon together. In order to determine the model's current WS.

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 their 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 a nerve marker for the first failed save from a salvo of attacks.

Mixed Saves

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.

(Note that this allocation of hits is only for the purposes of determining how many hits each unit takes. It will have no effect on which models the defender will later remove as models are killed.)

The defender will then roll all of the model saves for each individual unit together as normal. 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 of their dice, in order 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.

Strength Modifiers

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 to determine the model's current Strength before rolling to kill.

Removing Dead Models

For each casualty that a defending unit suffers, a model engaged with the attacking unit which struck the blows must be removed. If the number of casualties suffered exceeds the number of engaged models in the unit, do not remove any unengaged models.

Instead, the unit will receive a single 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 as casualties.

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 against the defending unit.

Attacker Consolidation

Once an attacking unit has finished both its close-combat shooting and melee attacks, it may perform a consolidation move with any of its models that are not 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 its Ld check must perform a fall back move, just as it would if it were suppressed during their action phase. While any defending unit which passes its Ld check will fight on.

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 battle 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 The 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.

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.

A unit's hit-die is never removed from a unit during the Close-Combat phase. Even for successful Ld test to continue combat itself. Nor do successful Ld tests allow a unit to remove any of its nerve markers.

However, a unit which wins a Close-Combat may immediately remove one nerve marker for each enemy unit that they either Rout, or force to Fall Back from Close Combat. Even if they are still considered to be 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, then each defending unit may only remove a single suppression marker. Regardless of how many attacking units consolidated away.


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. If this move brings an attacking unit within 6" of a defending unit which was not in the combat, then close-combat will continue.

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