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Alternating Activation System (Bissler-geddon!)

 Post subject: Alternating Activation System (Bissler-geddon!)
PostPosted: Mon Sep 02, 2013 7:48 pm 
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Hi!

This thread is to discuss Bissler's alternate combined activation system.

Bissler, if you please, post a summary here of the rules and details you have used with any commentary.

Thanks!

Primarch


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 Post subject: Re: Alternating Activation System (Bissler-geddon!)
PostPosted: Mon Sep 02, 2013 7:56 pm 
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Orders Phase:

Players place orders in the Order Phase. As usual, they will be bound to these orders as the turn progresses.

Orders:

First Fire: Unit may not move but gains a +1 on to hit rolls when firing. This bonus is negated when using snap fire which has a standard -1 to hit roll penalty. Units who fire at units engaging them in close combat do not suffer the snap fire penalty (ie still have +1 on to hit rolls). Units firing at close combat attackers may opt to do so in the action phase OR at the start of the Close Combat phase. Skimmer units may make pop-up attacks as usual, but only during the Action Phase. Any units which use snap fire may not be activated later in the turn (ie may not fire a second time).

Advance: Unit may move up to move rate in cm. Units may fire weapons as normal. They may make snap fire shots but with a -2 to hit roll rather than -1. If they use snap fire, advance units lose their right to movement or fire later in the turn. Units ordered on Advance may snap fire attacking units, but still do so with the -2 modifier. In addition, such attacks must be made in the Action Phase and not in the Close Combat phase (as is the case for units on First Fire).

Charge: Units on charge may not fire at all but can move double their move rate and engage enemies in close combat.


Action Phase:

The action phase brings together the old movement, first fire, and advance fire phases. Players take turns at moving and firing one unit at a time. Both players should take turns at making any compulsory movement first. Thereafter, all other movement and firing takes place.

Unit orders affect movement and firing in the manner as outlined above. Note that vehicles on advance may fire at any point during their movement, and that they can then move the rest of the distance they have left to travel after shooting rolls have been resolved.

Units may snap fire as usual, but any unit that does so forfeits its right to move or fire later in the turn.


Close Combat Phase:

Players on first fire orders may fire at their attackers on the condition that they did not fire earlier in the turn. Thereafter, resolve close combat as per normal NetEpic rules.


End Phase:

Run through standard End Phase procedures.


Special Rules

Deployment: All units start 80cm apart as is usual in a game of NetEpic, with deployment zones behind that point reaching as far back as you have table.

Fog of War: At the start of the game there is a fog or war which means both forces are "invisible" to one another until they are activated. Units which have not been activated cannot be attacked, even by scattering barrage templates. Order counters are placed as normal for units concealed by fog of war. While units are ordered each turn, there is no compulsion for the units to be activated, and therefore players may keep units hidden by fog of war for as long as they so desire. If no orders are placed for a unit which is still concealed by fog of war, it may not move but can fire as if on advance orders. To do so would mean the unit is still activated and therefore no longer concealed by the fog of war. Once fog of war has been lost by activation, it cannot be regained.

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 Post subject: Re: Alternating Activation System (Bissler-geddon!)
PostPosted: Mon Sep 02, 2013 7:57 pm 
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To see these rules in action, please have a look at this thread;

viewtopic.php?f=85&t=25851

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 Post subject: Re: Alternating Activation System (Bissler-geddon!)
PostPosted: Mon Sep 02, 2013 9:25 pm 
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Hi!

Thanks for the summary Bissler!

As for deployment I had the following idea to eliminate the "unrealistic" fog of war imposition that is needed currently to alleviate the "first turn" advantage of being able to move and fire and shoot against bunched up units at the games start.

Instead of place any units on the board, units "move" onto the board through any of the deployment zones designated as such at the games start. For example, if you designated that 20cm from the tables edge is the deployment zone them units would start their activation within that zone (wherever the player wishes within that zone).

You would place the unit within the deployment zone and activate them one at a time as per your rules alternating with your opponent until all units are on the table and have acted (basically the first turn).

This has the following consequences:

1. True fog of war. Since no unit starts on the table, your opponent cannot "cheat" and know your plan before it unfolds.

2. You eliminate the problem of the opponent exploiting his knowledge of you unit placement and firing against units that have yet to activate in the first turn.

This a simple fix to the issue and would add some more tactics to the game since your opponent cannot see you initial deployment anymore. :)

I'm thinking about some flanking and flyer rules to throw into the mix. I'll post them later. :)

Primarch


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 Post subject: Re: Alternating Activation System (Bissler-geddon!)
PostPosted: Mon Sep 02, 2013 9:47 pm 
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Nice one Primarch, great idea! I'm presuming though that you'd have to sketch out where your units would be deploying? Otherwise you could still have a situation where players still very much react to one another's deployment, albeit one unit at a time?

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 Post subject: Re: Alternating Activation System (Bissler-geddon!)
PostPosted: Tue Sep 03, 2013 12:38 am 
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The Bissler wrote:
Nice one Primarch, great idea! I'm presuming though that you'd have to sketch out where your units would be deploying? Otherwise you could still have a situation where players still very much react to one another's deployment, albeit one unit at a time?


Hi!

You could have both options, depending on how much pre-planning players want to do.

Note its okay if you use the option of deploying one at a time without sketching anything out, its okay if players react one unit at a time. It could actually quite fun. :)

The main intent is eliminate having to institute artificial rules on way you can't target units that are not activated at the games start. In essence the way you do it now and this way only differs in that my proposed my doesn't "feel funny", since its rather odd you can shoot at units that are on the table just because its the beginning of the game. Otherwise they achieve the same thing.

If the way you do it did not cause any issues, perhaps giving deployment options is better than defining one. It seems they all work in one way or another.

I'm more concerned at the moment with first fire dominance, so I'll be thinking more about that. :)

Primarch


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 Post subject: Re: Alternating Activation System (Bissler-geddon!)
PostPosted: Tue Sep 03, 2013 7:37 am 
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I do think your solution was the best one and would be fun... but maybe allowing players to use whichever system they feel most comfortable with?

Oh, I dunno, I still like your solution best!

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 Post subject: Re: Alternating Activation System (Bissler-geddon!)
PostPosted: Tue Sep 03, 2013 5:36 pm 
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The Bissler wrote:
I do think your solution was the best one and would be fun... but maybe allowing players to use whichever system they feel most comfortable with?

Oh, I dunno, I still like your solution best!


Hi!

I would agree a list of options is better. Its what we're all about after all. ;)

Now on the matters at hand.

The original orders were made due to the turn structure devised at the time. So they tend to be pretty "fixed' in what they allow to do. I think the first step is to define what the orders mean or try to achieve under the alternate rules structure.

Advance orders should be the default order. The one most commonly used. You can move and you can shoot.

Charge orders is used either to get somewhere in a hurry OR engage in close combat. You sacrifice shooting.

These two are the easiest to define in the new turn structure. The problem is first fire. Even the orders name tells you it was made for a fixed turned sequence. So what should this order do?

Originally it gave you the ability to fire before advance fire. However with a combined activation this advantage no longer exists. I can see why you initially gave them a bonus. Perhaps first fire in this context means "carefully aiming" and thus more accurate. Problem is we use a d6 for combat resolution (a d10 would not have this problem with small bonuses).

A bonus makes first fire so attractive as to invalidate all other orders. So we must find something else.

If you give them no bonus then, advance orders is "king" and first fire "worthless". A no penalty for snap fire is okay, but advance can do that too, even if its with a -1 penalty. So, still first fire loses.

As you can see, first fire is hard to pin down because it has no precise definition in the context of the combined activation. Therefore we must first decide what the order wants to achieve.

I propose first fire be defined as something akin to "defensive fire" or "overwatch". It would do the following:

1. A unit on first fire orders may not move. If it is forcibly moved before the unit is activated it loses the first fire orders and receives advance orders.

2. A unit with first fire orders may snap fire (overwatch fire) any units within range that MOVE into their line or fire or LOS. You cannot snap fire against units that have not moved (like another unit on first fire orders). If a unit is hit with snap fire and suffers casualties (even 1 model lost), the unit must make a morale roll to continue moving. If it fails the morale roll the unit stop as the point the firing took place (as indicated by the firing player).

I postulated an additional "option" for this feature below.

3. Units on first fire orders engaged in close combat receive a bonus +1d6 for resolving close combat later in the turn sequence. This simulates the defensive "readied" fire of such units anticipating being engaged.

What does this achieve?

First the role of first fire is well defined and the player knows where and when to used it. Since combined activations mean move and shoot, then something to "Stop movement" is needed. First fire is what you do to stop people from moving to where they are going.

Second, first fire is the order you use to defend. Note first fire does not let you shoot those whom attack you in close combat. It gives you a bonus to close combat. This bonus is more advantageous than shooting since it gives units (particularly infantry) a stronger position in close combat. Even units with a CAF of zero will be dangerous if given first fire orders (they would roll 3d6!), meaning the opponent will have to think twice before committing to assault with such an order.

Units in advance are at a disadvantage in defense since they only get snap fire at -1, which means on average more units will get through and they get no close combat bonus!

Now, we can do snap fire "overwatch fire" as described above just once for each unit on first fire orders. But there is another option. Why not give units on first fire orders a "zone" of interdiction. Lets say the "overwatch zone" is 25cm regardless of the actual range of the weapons (the to hit and other stats remain the same). However in this case the unit on first fire may fire at ALL units that cross their "overwatch zone"!

As you can infer this makes first fire powerfully good for defense and interdiction, but not good for offense due to the range cap at 25mm.

It stimulates "combined arms". Right now under traditional net epic, its relatively easy to assault units in defensive positions, even if they are on first fire. With these rules it would be a bad idea. You would need other fire or artillery to inflict casualties to lower the amount of defenders before you attacked. Also powers and abilities that push units away would be very useful since you lose first fire orders if you are moved for any reason!

This means each order has a distinct tactical use. Charge for speed and assault, advance for move and shoot and first fire for defense and interdiction.

I believe this would be a good solution in the combined activation paradigm.

Thoughts?

Primarch


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 Post subject: Re: Alternating Activation System (Bissler-geddon!)
PostPosted: Tue Sep 03, 2013 7:37 pm 
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I was thinking that your defensive fire idea was an excellent one until I realised that you need to be on First Fire to do pop-up attacks. How would this be solved? There's no way we could allow skimmers to pop up on advance orders, it would make them incredibly powerful...

I'm not so keen either on the idea of giving vehicles/stands an extra combat die, if only because I feel it is too powerful and will encourage players to sit on objectives with their best tanks/cc troops. I would be fine about giving them a +2 in cc though, I'm pretty sure that is the close combat bonus that troops get in buildings so the fact that there is already a precedent in the rules for that.

I agree if we do keep some version of FF that it will have to be renamed. "Sustained Fire" might be an idea, if only to wind up my E:A friends! >:D

I completely loved the idea of the overwatch zone though, that would be ace for attack/defend scenarios! I did think it was interesting that you thought the defences too flimsy. I've always found troops and vehicles in entrenchments an absolute nightmare to kill!

Sorry for shooting this down Primarch, it isn't because I didn't like your ideas because I really did.

Going back to the +1 for FF quickly, I think it is fair because both sides have the option to use this. To beef up the idea behind FF, I have another suggestion:

Troops / vehicles can opt to either fire 1 aimed shot which would give a +1 on to hit rolls

OR

They can take 2 quick fire shots, one normal shot with no bonuses to hit and a second with a - 1 to hit roll.

This would mix things up a bit and give players more options to play around with...

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 Post subject: Re: Alternating Activation System (Bissler-geddon!)
PostPosted: Tue Sep 03, 2013 7:41 pm 
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Just thinking, the double fire option would probably be better if both shots were at -1. This means the dice rolls required for a hit would be the same and therefore could be rolled faster.

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 Post subject: Re: Alternating Activation System (Bissler-geddon!)
PostPosted: Tue Sep 03, 2013 8:16 pm 
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To make Advance slightly more attractive (although I think giving the option to Snap Fire already helps), the shooting can be carried out at any point during activation (ie weapons can be fired at any point during movement). This was always the intention, but astute players will be able to use it to fire off a volley and then move to hide behind cover.

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 Post subject: Re: Alternating Activation System (Bissler-geddon!)
PostPosted: Tue Sep 03, 2013 9:13 pm 
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Hi!

I totally forgot about pop-ups! :P

Well another one bites the dust! ;D

For the sake of simplicity (and our sanity), let's leave it the way you tested it. +1 bonus for first fire and first fire snap fires without penalty (robotic units STILL gain +1 for snap fire) and snap fire for advanced fire with -1 penalty.

I forgot that advance fire lets you fire at any point of the move. I think that is very important (and advantageous) and should be stressed.

As for the first fire options I would give two:

1. The one you already use (+1 bonus)

AND

2. A re-roll for misses

I think doubling the shots (even when the second is at -1) is too much.

I suspect the bonus or re-roll may be less of a problem than I originally thought. :D

I will be getting a game or two in soon and will be using this system as well as the alternate plasma one for titans.

I'll post on this thread my thoughts on a flanking system and flyer system that would integrate with your system. :)

Primarch


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 Post subject: Re: Alternating Activation System (Bissler-geddon!)
PostPosted: Tue Sep 03, 2013 10:01 pm 
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Bizarrely I don't do anything to improve on the +1 bonus. It was more about giving players an either/or option to mix tactics up a bit. I think the +1 is already a big deal and to offer re-rolls would make it close to offering certain hits. Going back to my playtest, the fact that I put everything on FF meant that the +1 was a good enough incentive to use FF orders in itself.

Thinking out loud here about my earlier suggestion of +1 on roll to hit OR 2 shots both at -1:

eg: Land Raider fires at Falcon. Option would be to roll 2D6 hoping for 4+, OR 4D6 looking for 6+.

eg Falcon fires at Land Raider. Option would be one shot at 3+ OR 2D6 at 5+.

In example 1 I'd go for the first option but example 2 the second.

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 Post subject: Re: Alternating Activation System (Bissler-geddon!)
PostPosted: Tue Sep 03, 2013 10:05 pm 
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Hi!

Deployment and flanking

Now that we have options for deployment in Bissler-geddon, lets add more by adding the ability for formations to appear in zones other than the standard deployment zone.

We will call these additional zones of deployment "entry zones" to distinguish them from the standard deployment zone.

The entry zones should be accorded by the players prior to the game. These entry zones can be:

1. The side edges of the playing board

2. The rear edge (your opponents edge of the playing board)

3. Any 20cm x 20cm area on the playing board (visualize these are "drop points")

Note players can use some, all or any combination thereof (or none if that is what the combatants decide).

I wanted the rules to be easy to grasp, but add a level of uncertainty. Since being able to deploy in zones other than the standard deployment zone there needs to be a form of restricting how many formations can use it and how reliable they can do it.

I devised the following system.

For every full 1000 points of your army you get ONE d6. Thus, an army of 3000 gets 3d6. An army of 3900 also gets 3d6 since it would require 4000 to get 4d6.

Once you determine how many dice you get roll them and determine how many dice equal or exceed the target number for that army.

The target number is a static number that denotes the ability of that army to coordinate the proper response to deploy units in such a fashion. The recommended scores (Lets call them the army's "flank value" for the lack of a better term) are as follows:

Flank Values
Space Marines 4+
Imperial Guard, ministorum, etc 5+
Eldar 3+
Orks 5+
Tyranids 4+
Chaos (roll a d6. The roll indicates the army's flank value for this game)
Tau 4+
Squats 5+
Necrons 3+
Slann 2+

For every die you roll that equals or exceeds the flank value you get to enter ONE formation through a previously agreed upon entry zone.

Option: for particularly advantageous entry zones (like the rear) you could designate a -1 penalty to the roll (or increase the flank value for the army by one, its the same thing).

Now now all formations are created equal. To keep it simple, a formation of a pinning class that belongs to super heavies, knights, preatorians and titans count as TWO formations. It would take two successful die rolls to bring one formation of these units into the flank.

Note that there is no distinction of formation size (detachments, companies, special, etc). A formation is basically any ONE unit. So choose wisely. ;)

One the number of successful formations is determined the player keeps track of how many of the successful flank rolls he uses while he activates them until his allotment is exhausted.

Second note. A player may withhold bringing in formations until later turns of the game and deploy them through these entry zones.

That is the proposed system in a nutshell. We can tweak "flank values" and such and also certain units (like farseers, space marine commanders, etc) could have abilities that increase the flank value.

Thoughts?

I'm still fleshing out a proposed flyer system to integrate with Bissler-geddon.

Primarch


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 Post subject: Re: Alternating Activation System (Bissler-geddon!)
PostPosted: Tue Sep 03, 2013 10:10 pm 
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The Bissler wrote:
Bizarrely I don't do anything to improve on the +1 bonus. It was more about giving players an either/or option to mix tactics up a bit. I think the +1 is already a big deal and to offer re-rolls would make it close to offering certain hits. Going back to my playtest, the fact that I put everything on FF meant that the +1 was a good enough incentive to use FF orders in itself.

Thinking out loud here about my earlier suggestion of +1 on roll to hit OR 2 shots both at -1:

eg: Land Raider fires at Falcon. Option would be to roll 2D6 hoping for 4+, OR 4D6 looking for 6+.

eg Falcon fires at Land Raider. Option would be one shot at 3+ OR 2D6 at 5+.

In example 1 I'd go for the first option but example 2 the second.


Hi!

Hmm. I'm think I understand your point better. I saw test it and see how it goes. But your right, more options makes it tactically interesting.

Primarch


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