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)
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