Monday, August 6, 2012

X-COM and Tomorrow's War

I have been slowly working on an X-COM project, but with a bit of a twist.  Instead of using the standard multi-national soldiers as given in X-COM, I have created a background that includes the creation of a military order by the Catholic church.  However, this X-COM project is/was being designed to use with X-COM Tactical rules, and this is an Ambush Alley/Force on Force/Tomorrow's War blog, so the current structure of my X-COM project doesn't fit the rules genre this blog is dedicated to.  Therefore I have been giving some thought on how to use Tomorrow's War within the framework of X-COM.

Tech levels - The gent who worked up X-COM Tactical did address tech levels, but they still do not seem to fit what I think Tomorrow's War is meant to represent.  Tech levels within Tomorrow's War do not seem to be great chasms, but distinctive improvements upon basic weapons systems, and some new weapons systems do come into play as the tech levels increase. 

Here are the X-COM Tactical tech levels (weapons, weapons systems, and armor only:

TECH LEVEL ONE
Human
Knives
Pistols
Rifles
Heavy Cannons
Auto Cannons
Rocket Launchers
Grenades
Proximity Grenades
High Explosives
Personal Armor
Tank Cannon
Tank Rocket Launcher

Alien
Plasma Pistols
Alien Grenades

TECH LEVEL TWO
Human
Sniper Rifles
Grenade Launcher
Laser Pistols
Laser Rifles
Power Suits
Tank Laser

Alien
Plasma Rifles
Small Launcher

TECH LEVEL THREE
Human
Heavy Laser
Flying Suits
Hovertank Plasma

Alien
Heavy Plasma
Blaster Launcher

TECH LEVEL FOUR
Everything from both sides

Now, there are some problems with getting this to translate to Tomorrow's War.  First, I see the aliens in X-COM to be all Tech Level Three, meaning that their weapons should probably all be Tech Level Three (or at least Two) when compared to the human forces.  Second, the human tech levels are out of whack.  Not sure why a grenade launcher or sniper rifle would be Tech Level Two when rifles and grenades are Tech Level One.  And the "everything from both sides" caveat at Tech Level Four, which Tomorrow's War doesn't have, simply does not fit.

I propose the following system.  It makes more sense as the X-COM forces improve their technology as the game progresses (particularly useful for campaigns).

TECH LEVEL ONE
Human
Knives
Pistols
Rifles
Heavy Cannons
Auto Cannons
Rocket Launchers
Grenades
Proximity Grenades
High Explosives
Personal Armor
Tank Cannon
Tank Rocket Launcher
Sniper Rifles
Grenade Launcher

TECH LEVEL TWO
Human
Laser Pistols
Laser Rifles
Heavy Laser
Power Suits
Tank Laser

Alien
Alien Grenades

TECH LEVEL THREE
Human
Flying Suits
Hovertank Plasma

Alien
Plasma Pistols
Plasma Rifles
Small Launcher
Heavy Plasma
Blaster Launcher

This would translate into Tomorrow's War as follows - When aliens are equipped with plasma weapons, and they are facing humans with traditional slug throwers, the aliens would have a two tech level advantage.  If the humans are equipped with laser weapons, the advantage is reduced one level, and they would be on the same playing field if both equipped with plasma weapons.

More thoughts to follow!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Squads, Fireteams, and Binoms

This is something I had worked up regarding firepower dice using Tomorrow's War within the Traveller setting, based on some discussions with The G Dog.  Because of the massive firepower of some of the higher tech weapons, using squads or fireteams just didn't seem to "work" as it was punishing high tech units for having such great weaponry.

Typically in Tomorrow’s War, most infantry fire is resolved by fireteam (occasionally by squad for lower tech troops).  However, with the ten dice cap that is a part of the firepower rules, and the lack of great differences in tech levels say between a tech level 14 force vs. a tech level 8 one, I propose some changes to the way both firepower and weapons are handled for our Fifth Frontier War setting.

In Traveller/Striker, weapons such as fusion and plasma guns are fairly powerful when compared to advanced combat and Gauss rifles.  However, within Tomorrow’s War, these differences are not as devastating when compared to the Traveller world.  Certainly there are some considerations within Tomorrow’s War for using a higher tech level support weapon, but again with the ten dice firepower cap, these differences are not a prominent as I feel they probably should be.

Going back to Ray’s original ratings for Traveller/Striker weapons, one sees firepower dice increased within higher tech level fireteams, with those fireteams hitting the ten dice cap quickly.  Therefore I say the smallest unit, based on tech level and weapons mix, that can fire as an individual unit is the binom of two figures.  This is not a change to the thought process, within Force on Force there can be specialized two man teams.  Since higher tech level troops have far superior ability to communicate (based on helmet installed communication devices), operating in two man teams should be fairly common place.

Here are some weapons ratings Ray developed (from Book 4: Mercenary)
Dice
Type
TL
Assault Rifle
1
SA
7
Advanced Combat Rifle
1
SA
10
Gauss Rifle
1
SA
12
PGMP-12
3
MSW
12
PGMP-13
3
MSW
13
PGMP-14
3
MSW
14
FGMP-14
4
HSW
14
FGMP-15
4
HSW
15
Taking the Imperial Marines, a squad is organized along the following lines:

Squad
                Squad Leader with laser rifle
                Fireteam A
                                Team leader with FGMP-14 (4)
                                Trooper with FGMP-14 (4)
                                Trooper with FGMP-14 (4)
                                Trooper with FGMP-14 (4)
              Fireteam B
                                Team leader with FGMP-14 (4)
                                Trooper with FGMP-14 (4)
                                Trooper with FGMP-14 (4)
                                Trooper with FGMP-14 (4)

The number in parenthesis is the number of firepower dice each figure would throw.  With the ten dice cap, a fireteam actually loses its potential overwhelming firepower, because while the four figures have sixteen firepower dice available, only ten can be used, before any penalties are applied.

Using binoms, two troopers would start with eight firepower dice, and then apply modifiers as needed.

It is suggested that binoms can only be used in this manner with higher tech level troops that have MSW or HSW weapons within both members of the binom.  Therefore, the following unit could not use binom teams:

Marine Boarding Party
Squad
                Squad leader with snub pistol (1)
                Assistant squad leader with Gauss rifle (1)
                Fireteam A
                                Team leader with RAM GL (2)
                                Private with Gauss rifle (1)
                                Private with Gauss rifle (1)
                                Private with Gauss rifle (1)
              Fireteam B
                                Team leader with RAM GL (2)
                                Private with Gauss rifle (1)
                                Private with Gauss rifle (1)
                                   Private with Gauss rifle (1)

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

A Small Update

Having taken a quick look at Irishserb's and G Dog's blogs over the last couple of days, I realize that I need to get my gaming projects moving forward.  To that end, I want to start with the sci-fi project(s) first, both the Tomorrow's War project using mostly RAFM figures, and the X-COM-like project using the Eureka Germans to go against the Rebel and Khurasan Martian types.  This second project holds a higher level of interest right now, although I might design the project to use with both Tomorrow's War and X-COM Tactical. 

There is a new blog (Divided Future on Wordpress) that has some nice ideas for Tomorrow's War, some interesting factions have been created.  The owner, PMC317 on The Miniatures Page, came up with an idea I will be directly using for my Eureka Germans, and that is having nationality flags painted on his figures.  So, while a unit might be part of a certain faction or block, each individual will have his own nation's flag on his uniform.  I will use this for my Sword Brothers influenced faction.  Each figure will have an Austrian, German, or Swiss flag on his left arm, while having a Order's markings on his helmet and/or right arm.  I haven't decided on a uniform color scheme yet, but will either use white, gray, or black as the primary color.  Dark gray or black would allow the national flags and other markings to stand out fairly well.  And I might be able to avoid having to paint these on the figures by using decals instead, but more on that later!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

More New Ideas = More New Purchases

Some months ago I leapt into my second go-around with the MJ Figures 15mm Falklands War figures.  Yes, second go-around.  I had several packs of these castings a few years back, and decided to sell them.  The company that was producing them at that time seemed to disappear, so I took that to be a good reason to move them to another gamer.  However, with MJ Figures now controlling their own fate, so to speak, the Falklands minis are available again, and relatively easy to purchase (online ordering with PayPal).

MJ carry a decent selection for this conflict.  While at times the product listings on the MJ site can be, well, confusing, there are several packs that will cover most aspects of the ground fighting in the Malvinas.  The confusion stems from the fact that there are three packs of British Paras (packs FALK01-FALK03), but no description as to what differences there might be between each pack.  Also, code FALK08 is Argentine infantry.  Simple enough, except that if you were to order several of those packs, you might find an interesting surprise upon delivery...these figures are cast from the waist up to be used with FALK07, which are foxholes!

But, aside from these confusing points, there are several packs of British infantry (paras, Royal Marines, SAS/SBS, and Ghurka), packs of Argentine infantry (one for the foxholes mentioned already, one regular infantry pack, and one pack of Argie Special Forces), and some support asset packs (armored, artillery, an air defense).  My first order (of the second go-around) was for British Royal Marines, regular Argentine infantry, and Argentine Special Forces.  My most recent purchase is for more Marines and Argie Special Forces, along with a pack of SAS/SBS, one pack that is a British medical team, and a pack of penguins!

As mentioned, ordering is completed online, and shipping to the U.S. is 30% of the order value, but orders over forty British Pounds are shipped free.

I plan on taking some pics and writing some reviews on the figures soon!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

New Purchases = New Ideas = New Purchases....

Picture from Eureka Miniatures USA website
For quite some time I have thought about buying some Eureka Miniatures Sci-Fi Germans, not because I need them for any existing project, and not because I am running low on figures to paint, but by God, they are COOL minis and I just WANT them!  Sculpted with a classic coal kettle style helmet (aka Fritz), and armed with SturmGewehr 44 looking assault rifles for the riflemen, they just look COOL!  Many times over the last several months I have gone to the Eureka USA site and added them to the shopping cart, only to talk myself out of sealing the deal.  I just keep thinking "what am I going to use these for?", and then decide against buying them.  That was until last week.  I finally pulled the trigger and completed an order with Eureka USA.  By the way, I placed my order on a Friday and had the figures on Monday, DAMN good service from Rob at Eureka USA!  Anyway, I wound up buying figures to create two eleven man squads along with support elements (LAW team, auto cannon, and a sniper team).  Got my package in the post, ripped open the box, and was simply blown away by the quality of these figures.  Seemingly there are many companies out there now cranking out some high quality 15mm infantry.  A true golden age I believe.

So, many of you know I have been busy selling gaming items here on the blog, on the Bazaar page.  This flux of cash (PayPal cash, but cash nonetheless) has given me some extra coin to pick up some ultralight backpacking gear for a big trip to Isle Royale later this year.  But, I also am using some of this influx of PayPal cash to expand some of the Ambush Alley/Force on Force/Tomorrow's War "stuff" I have been slowly gathering.  And, as mentioned previously, I've been playing a lot of X-COM on the home PC, and that gives me some gaming ideas as well.

Why the Eureka Germans?  They obviously do not fit with anything else I have going on, but I can see them in an X-COM-like setting, shooting Greys on Mars or something.  Wait, so, I need Greys then, yes?  Why yes, yes I do!  I have ordered aliens from both Rebel Minis (their Greys) and Khurasan Miniatures (their Little Green Men).  From Rebel I picked up two packs of armed and one pack of unarmed Greys, along with a Mini Martian Walker for heavy support.  From Khurasan I bought one pack of Martian Warriors, one Martian Overlord, a Martian Flying Saucer, and various terrain accessories (sci-fi furnishings, computers, desks, along with steel drums and trash receptables for both sci-fi and modern gaming).  I have also picked up some buildings made by Micropanzer Wargames Studio.  These sci-fi buildings (I have six now) will work great on their own, or perhaps to supplement the Deimos Design middle eastern buildings I have.  I still plan to use Tomorrow's War as the base rules, but might also take a look at X-COM Tactical for more of a "Marsy"  or Martian feel.  Having options is good, very good!

Once the Rebel and Khurasan orders arrive, I will have plenty of figures to work on for this Mars meets X-COM meets Krauts in Space "thing" I have twirling about in my mind.  Thank goodness the Greys/Martians will be fairly easy to paint, as I have enough camo schemes in my immediate future!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

It's About Damn Time!

Wow, it has been FAR too long since I have added anything to the blog.  Seemingly life comes around from time to time and keeps me from getting more involved with my hobby of gaming.  Of course, I also have the hobby of hiking and backpacking that keeps me very busy as well.  Spent fourteen hours a few weekends ago working on trails, killing honeysuckle, putting in the foundations for a footbridge, and other assorted trail maintenance duties.  Amazingly enough, this is all volunteer work, and some hard manual labor at that, but I do enjoy getting a trail looking more like a trail and less like a honeysuckle jungle!

Picture from RAFM
So, what has been going on with the gaming?  Not a lot.  I missed CincyCon, where I was going to assist The G Dog with some Force on Force and Tomorrow's War events.  I've recently placed an order for two more RAFM grav tanks for the Striker/Tomorrow's War project as they are now being cast with resin hulls, and I added a neutron turret to the order as well to give my tanks a different firepower option (I will use this turret as some sort of fusion weapon).  I have found a new interest in an old PC game I used to play many years ago, X-COM: UFO Defense, which eats up far too much time.  And I am also getting heavily involved with 12mm American Civil War with my passion for the Battle of Perryville, but that's another blog.  So, even other gaming projects get in the way at times!

I plan on taking a hard look at the upcoming QRF sale that starts this Friday.  They already give a slight discount when ordering three or more of the same pack code, and the sale will be an additional 10% discount.  I could always add some additional West Germans (but why, I have plenty for Force on Force as it is), or more modern Germans with the cool G-36, some Seminole War figures (always had a hankering for that, and 15mm is far cheaper and requires less space than 28mm), or Spanish-American War (same reasoning, but historical battles are mostly lopsided affairs in terms of manpower), or some sci-fi (shades of Alien and Predator).  Or, I am probably better off avoiding the QRF sale altogether and just work on what I already have!

And then, with the X-COM PC gaming, there is always the idea lurking in the back of my mind about gaming X-COM on the tabletop.  It has been done before, take a look at LuckyJoe's Place, some cool X-COM work being done there!

And, while I still have the Anglo-Irish War in Miniature blog up, I have combined the posts into this blog, since I plan on using Force on Force for that period.  Eventually I will need to do some sort of cleaning up with that...either keep that blog as it's own entity, or shut it down and add more Anglo-Irish war "stuff" here.

So, where to go from here?  Reading some of The G Dog's blog has smitten me with the Tomorrow's War/Striker project again, so now it's a matter of sitting down and putting brush in paint, and paint on figure.  My goal for May will be to get some gaming work completed.  This month is difficult due to some other hiking commitments, but a few evenings here and there should be able to be dedicated to a few hours of cleaning, priming, and painting.

More coming, and I won't wait six months to update the blog!
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