Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Round of Fire - Play Through 1

Round of Fire is a game that is currently in development.  I have been given the opportunity to help a little with play testing the game.

The game does not have a specific period or genre attached to it, so you can play the game with lots of different models: Old West, Pulp, WW2, Sci-Fi, etc.  I'm not sure how well it would work with a fantasy setting, but you never know.

After a read through of the rules, I generally like what I see.  There are some interesting mechanics and I was very interested in the activation mechanic.



Each unit has a token on the turn wheel.  When a unit activates, it progresses on the turn wheel a number of "steps" based upon the action it has taken.  A walk (moving 2 grid spaces) costs 3 steps for most units, while a run (moving 3 grid spaces) costs 5 steps for most units.  Shooting costs 3 steps for an Elite fireteam, but costs 5 steps for a Regular fireteam.



I like how this sounded and found it to work well in the game as well.  I liked the idea that if you are taking quick actions, or are well trained, you can act more often than a team that is doing a more complicated/lengthy action.



The game also allows for use of suppressing fire to push units along the activation wheel.  With this action you can delay an enemy unit's activation.  This adds some interesting tactical choices and means that sometimes you will be shooting at another unit without the chance of killing anyone, but it still has a useful purpose.



After playing the game, I am not impressed with the combat mechanic.  It seems to be more complicated than it needs to be, but this is just my first game.  Your fire is based on the weapon you are equipped with the range to the target and if there is any cover.  That is straight forward enough, but then target gets a save and that is where the process starts to break down.  The target gets to roll 1 die for each hit made on them, but then can add dice for their toughness value as well as dice for their armor, but then the Armor Penetration of the weapon reduced the dice added from the armor.  A 5+ on each dice is needed to shrug off the hit.  In my game, almost every model had the same weapon (aside from a few machine guns, that didn't get to fired much) so it wasn't that difficult to keep track of this, but if you have a wide variety of equipment (and the game has a pretty wide variety of equipment available) this could become much more cumbersome.  If the models doesn't save from the hits, then they are wounded.  However, you have to calculate of how wounded they are so you can see their status from the fire.  When a model is knocked out, he can be killed, bleeding, or unconcious.  So know you take 3 die and add dice based on the models toughness, but you reduce that pool based on any excess wounds received by the model.  So if he failed to save 2 wounds and only had 1 wound to start with, he has taken 1 excess wound so reduced his dice pool by one.  You roll those dice and based on how many successes you get, you determine the level of injury.



These different levels affect the victory points for different factions (which is interesting and adds some character and variation to the different factions) but adds another level of rolling to each round of combat.

I'm not sure how to simplify the process and I will try to think of something to offer to the designers, but at this point, it just feels cumbersome and I would like to see a more streamlined process.

Overall, I did enjoy the game and think there are some very cool things going on in these rules.  I look forward to trying out the different factions to see how they work and using a bigger variety of troops and specialists.

The Reticulans took command of this battle field.  They eliminated all but one model of the Earth Alliance forces and managed to take control of most of the objectives.  They did all this with only the loss of a few soldiers.  The Earth Alliance will need to rethink their troop selection and equipment before the next engagement.

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