Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Chain Reaction 2015 playtest 2: Rebel Rescue Raid Redux!

Well, after the Rebels got bushwacked and beat up in the first go-around, I had to try and do better. In this second AAR, I won't review every detail of the system as in the first one, but get more indepth on certain aspects and skim others, so if you want to follow along from the beginning, or you're just new to 2HW system, then check out my first AAR here:

For this playtest, I chose to roll randomly for Imp squads on the militia / ganger / guerilla chart [disappointingly the same...I mean if you're going to have separate charts, at least make them different] which reduces the Reputation [Rep] of the group on average. You can still roll lots of 5s and 6s and end up with an all Rep4-5 group, but there's less chance. One recommendation to those who want specific match-ups, is to design each force. One can probably add up the Reps of the soldiers and Target values of the weapons and get a reasonably balanced opposition. Not that reasonable balance is the point of a 2HW game, necessarily!

Scenario is same as last time, a Raid to rescue droids. Below, Turn 1 starts with initial entry of the Rebel team onto the board.  Apparently failing to pass any dice for Fast Movement [FM], so move 12" to the edge of the woods in Section 6. Heading to cover is a best bet - the Possible Enemy Forces [PEF] have not yet been rolled into the board. While it is possible for any or all of them to end up in Section 6, it is still a best bet to head towards the woods as buildings have a higher likelihood of an enemy PEF being an actual enemy Force. The Rebel force has a Rep5 leader [kneeling, square base], 3 Rep4 Grunts [2 w'SAR 1 w'SAW] and a Rep3 Alien scout [square base and strange head, Pistol].

Below, three enemy PEFs are rolled, with results of 2, 2, and 4 putting them into those Sections. The nine board sections can be seen by noting the red sighting markers that denote the intersections, 1-3 top, 4-6 middle, 7-9 bottom. This is a pretty good situation for the Rebel force, depending on how quickly the PEFs move towards them, especially the Section 2 PEFs. If they end up marching simultaneously, it'll be a tough fight if they both roll into real forces.

Below, Turn 2 gets moving with the Rebels rolling higher Activation, and Activating first. As 5 = Rep of their Leader, they move down the right flank, keeping the woods between them and the Imps. The farthest PEF in the building gets no passes and stays put. The far PEF in the Section 2 woods gets one pass [pass=lower than Rep, so 1=pass and 6=fail] and moves 4" to the edge of the woods, from which there is now mutual Line of Sight [LoS]. The near PEF in Section 2 passes twice and moves 8" towards the suspected Rebel force.

Below, Turn 3 Activation roll-off results in Rebels getting the ideal - Imps roll too high to activate, while any Rebel could activate on a 2 [since the lowest Rep in CR2015 is a 3]. The Rebels roll well and Fast Move into the woods to take up positions of Concealment [helps with In Sight Test] and Cover [if you aren't Active and are in a building or wood, you have Cover, making you harder to Hit]. They are then able to lurk in ambush for the Imperial patrols who will mindlessly move towards them next turn - hopefully. The line bends back towards the Alien who only got one pass, and therefore only 4" bonus movement, for 16" move for the squad except Alien with 12", all of which is halved in woods for 8"/6" move.

Turn 4 below, and the Farce, ehrm, "Force" is with the Rebels! While the Imps Activate first, the Rebels are ready in position, in both Cover and Concealment, so have an advantage. The farthest Imp PEF in the Section 4 building gets one pass and moves 4" to the building's edge. The next farthest PEF is in the woods and passes twice moving 8" into the open but not into LoS of the Rebels [you need to be within 1" of a woods edge to have mutual LoS in and out]. 

The last PEF passes once on a 6/4 roll, and moves 4" into the woods towards the Rebels, and into LoS [PEFs are not affected by terrain]. The PEF is resolved and passes twice on a 4/2 then rolls a 2 for the actual force so is "two less than" Rebel force. Ergo, a squad of 3 is put out. Rolling a 4/3/1 for them gives them Rep 4/4/3, with the Rep 3 having the square base. All have Semi-Auto Rifles [SAR] with Target 2 [two shooting dice - a Pistol is 1 and a Squad Automatic Weapon [[SAW]] is Target 4].

Turn 4 continues below, with the In Sight Test [IST] being taken. As they are Active, the Imps must beat the Rebel rolls for Successes [1-3 on d6, 4-6 being failures] starting with dice equal to the Rep of their Leaders, or 5 and 4. As both have Concealment in the woods, they should each lose 1 dice, but I forgot. In any event, the Imps tie the Rebels and therefore lose the IST. This means that the Rebels will act first, and must fire according to the activation priorities. Note, that's probably what they'd want to do anyway!

Turn 4 continues below, with the Rebel shooting dice laid out. This is a bit tricky, so hopefully I did it right. You have to put at least one dice on every Target before you can put two, and two dice before any get three. As the Rebel SAW Outguns every Imp SAR, I spread its four dice out - this will help force them to Duck Back later. The Alien P is the large red dice, the pairs of red dice are the other two Rebels and the Leader, who has black spots on his dice. 
The 1-4 on the dice show which is the first, second, etc Target for the weapon. As only the SAW is split up, it's the only one that matters, but this is to illustrate the rule that when you drop dice the highest roll goes against Target 1, next highest Target 2, etc. So you've a much better chance of getting the 5-6 you usually need on your first Target since it gets the highest dice roll.

Below, turn 4 Rebel IST reaction shooting is resolved. They need to get a 8+ with the total of their individual Reps and the dice rolled for their weapon's Target value, as the . So for a Rep 4 you'd hit on a 4-6, and the Rep 5 Leader on a 3-6, and the Rep 3 Alien scout on a 5-6. 
The Imps get Concealment, but it doesn't help when targeted by shooting. They do not get Cover because they were on the move in the woods, and didn't go prone at the end of their movement. This represents that they're the first Imp patrol to encounter the Rebels - from now on, hearing the shooting, all Imperial PEFs that resolve into real forces will be much more cautious, hitting the deck at the end of every movement. This raises the total needed to hit them from 8 to 9, halving the effect of shooting more or less.

Below, turn 4 continues as Rebel Hits are resolved. A '6' is an Obviously Dead result [, OD, self-explanatory] and all three Imps go down, blasted by blasters. A hit equal or higher than your Rep and you are Out of the Fight [OOF], lower than your Rep and you Duck Back [DB]. I remove OD figures, but leave OOFs on the table as they can be carried off.

Below, Turn 4 ends as Rebels chuckle to themselves. They are still in a good spot, with a second Imp PEF approaching they are in Cover and Concealment, so don't need to do anything. If they moved to the edge of the woods, into LoS of the PEF, they lose the edge on the In Sight Test [winning ties] so will await the curious Imperial patrol [doubtlessly being goaded on by some officious Imperial officer on the com-link, sporting a British accent and tight Nazi uniform].

Below, turn 5 begins with the Imps again rolling too high to activate, so the Rebels sit tight, patience and experience having taught them to play a waiting game...

On Turn 6, below [I forgot to turn the dice over, apparently], the Rebels beat out the Imperials but still don't want to change position and risk an encounter with the other PEF in the Section 2 building until the near PEF is resolved. It may be nothing, but you can't be too careful! 
During the Imp Activation, they roll two successes with the farthest PEF in the Building, so it moves 8" out of the building across the open ground of Section 5. The near PEF has one success with the 6/1 and move 4" towards the [now VERY strongly suspected!] Rebel force, entering the woods and LoS of the Rebel team.

Turn 6 continues below. Upon entering Line of Sight the PEF is resolved and with a 4/1 gets two successes and becomes an Imperial patrol. Unfortunately the Farce isn't with them, so they only roll a 2 resulting in being "two less" so they've 3 troopers going Prone in the woods to the Rebel 5. The black wheel marker notes that they're Prone, making them a 9 to hit instead of an 8 as previously explained. I modeled these are an Imperial Tech Team just to be different. They roll Rep 5, 3, 3, with the 6/2/1 so the square bases are the Rep 3 Techs, the round is a Rep 5 officer. I can't remember what the 4/2 roll is...

The PEF is resolved as Imp patrol of three, lead by a Rep 5 officer, so they now have to roll off an IST. Both start with the Leader's Rep 5, -1d6 for both being Concealed, so roll 4 dice each. They both roll three successes and the Rebels win the tie, shooting first. 
Note that if they'd moved to the woods edge and the PEF had resolved the same way, they'd have LOST the die and the Imperial patrol would've shot first. Granted, they would've been in the open, but it pays to be cautious in this game.

Setting down the dice as previously described, there is considerable firepower at the disposal of the Rebels. They lay down 11 dice, white for the SAW, red for each SAR and a brown for the Alien's P. 

They roll pretty well, getting some 6s that propel them into auto hit territory, 10+.

The surviving Imp Tech should bolt, but doesn't, passing two dice for his combo "Received Fire" and "Man Down" Reaction Test. He remains DB, and I laid him down facing the enemy Rebels to symbolize it.  The other Tech  is OOF, and the Officer is OD.

Below, turn 7 begins with the Rebels beating the Imperials in the Activation roll-off, 3-2. Seeing a bit of metal glimmering in the light, the Rebel team moves forward, easily winning a new IST by two dice...

...and gunning down the Imperial Tech trooper as they fire first! Yeah, he's ODODOD or something. 

They are now in LoS to the PEF in the open, which only passes one dice and resolves as nothing. That leaves the droids as having to be with the Tech team right in front of them [I may have messed this up, but it seems right, the only alternative was that they were in a building]. 
"It is such a relief to be rescued by the Rebellion - the Empire has such labored British accents compared to mine!" and "Beep-beep, whistle" say the droids.

Ok, this played a little cleaner than the last one, since I did it later the same day. I hopefully remembered all the important mechanics of reaction tests and shooting, which have been hard to get wrapped around my little brain. The Melee and Grenade mechanics I haven't tried yet, so will have to see how that does in a future AAR!

As always, these rules and the Swordplay 2015 ones are free from 2-Hour Wargames, here:
Free 2-Hour Wargames Rules!

Until we meet again...
may the Franchise be with you - always!


  1. Looks like you had a good game. However, to me this does show up the most important characteristic of CR and related games: the side that gets first shot nearly always wins the firefight. OK, perhaps that's realistic, and it's good for solo play when you can sit tight and wait for the enemy to walk into your sights; but in a two-player game it seems to generate a reluctance to get into the fight. Or is it just our tactics that are wrong?

  2. when you are playing solo, the enemy have a predictable engagement pattern that you can set them up on. Depending on the Rep of the force leader [and therefore the quality of their In Sight roll] and the size of the force they can be set up for a likely massacre if the Player is patient and sets thing up correctly. This means sequential resolution and engagement of PEFs.

    When you've two players, you have a much larger chance of engaging a portion of the opposing force if you're thinking and there's enough complex and interesting terrain. Again, you must submit to the In Sight roll results which always have a winner and a loser. Then depending on the quality of the terrain you are in, and/or if you are prone [highly recommended!] and the amount of firepower that can be concentrated against you, you have results accoordingly.

    I think the thing that gamers miss - and that you're noticing - is that this game isn't about rolling well on predictable tables. It's about setting yourself up a turn in advance [maybe two turns in advance] for successfully engaging the enemy PEF or player force, and if you mess that up you can get massacred.

    So I say that means "our tactics are wrong" as I have no problem engaging a PEF or enemy player under the right circumstances.

  3. I should emphasize that "the right circumstances" depend a lot on the maneuvering of the opposing force and the available terrain. Personally, I think this makes for a very realistic and interesting game.