Post number 2 for Tactics, this time discussing how I changed the combat rules to account for larger scale actions.
I am going to just say Tactics when I mean Five Parsecs Tactics and From Home when I mean Five Parsecs From Home, so I don't have to type each title out a million times.
Now it is important to note that these changes are not "Five Parsecs 4e". They are used when playing battles using the Tactics rules. The idea is that when you play a scenario, you decide if it is a From Home or a Tactics scenario and use the relevant rules.
HOWEVER they are also generally modular so you can use Tactics as a grab bag for things you like. For example if you want to put a tank into a From Home scenario (quite the heist!) you can just use those rules.
Make sense? Okay, lets proceed.
The concerns Tactics have to tackle is how to work well with more stuff on the table and how to work well with bigger stuff on the table.
A From Home battle typically has 6 characters against 8ish enemies. You can absolutely play Tactics at that scale too but if you want to play, say, a platoon of troops on each side, we are looking at 3-5 squads of infantry (each of which might have 5 figures) and probably a tank or robot or three. So things add up pretty quickly and of course we have to account both for players that want to play very small games and ones who want to play very LARGE games.
The turn sequence
The first (and perhaps biggest) change is the turn sequence which functions a little differently. This works roughly as follows: The two sides alternate taking a phase. When you are taking your phase, one of your units activates normally then you roll 3D6 and can activate units with a reaction score equal or higher than one of the dice. So if you are lucky, you might activate 4 units in your phase and you might activate only 1. The players then alternate until every unit on the table has acted.
When units act they carry out their actions such as moving, firing weapons and all the rest. There are some additional options available such as overwatch, sneaking around or scanning the terrain for hidden troops.
Note that units here can either be a single character, a single vehicle or a squad of soldiers.
Movement rules are not very exciting and there was not a lot of reason to change things up here. You should recognize most things just fine.
Shooting at people
A number of new things here such as some limitations on what you can shoot at, rules for height advantage (units on the ground generally shoot at the closest target, units up high can pick from the two closest) and such. The most interesting new feature is suppression!
Yes, From Home battles are pretty space opera affairs but on the battlefield things get a bit more gritty. When units get shot at they get suppression markers which hinder them when they try to fire. The effects are handled very simply: If a unit has 3 suppression markers f.x. 3 figures in that unit will hit only on natural 6s. The owning player gets to pick who so you can minimise the effects a bit.
In return, the stun rule is not used in Tactics battles as we really dont want to have to track both. This also makes damage a bit simpler: You have to roll over the Toughness or nothing happens to the guy. Many figures have multiple Kill Points which means it takes several hits to bring them down. Conversely some weapons also inflict multiple damage rolls now.
A section on Tactical Options brings up a number of options you can add to your game if you like. These include units being able to hide, sitting tight on overwatch to shoot at moving enemies and the option to fall back in order to relieve suppression.
Doing individual opposed rolls for 6 sets of combats per unit would be a lot, so close combat is now handled in a way more similar to shooting, though the opponent gets to counter attack and you can potentially end up with a couple rounds of this.
Infantry squads of course have to worry about morale as well. This is now unit based, with units testing morale if they took casualties during the turn. The new mechanic for this is fairly simple: You have a current morale score equal to unit size + any morale bonus of the unit. Roll 2D6 and if both dice are individually higher than your morale score, the unit breaks. This means that large (or brave) troops can avoid a few morale checks (because they cant fail them) while small units get quite fragile.
For players who prefer a more tacti-cool experience, an option is included to retreat in place of testing at all.
Thats it for today
There are a ton of other things like off table support and of course vehicles, but that is going to be left for a later post. I wanted today to just focus on the infantry side of things and what things look and feel like on the larger firefights you will be able to do.
Of course a lot of these new rules still work just fine with a handful of figures on each side. I want to emphasise that you do not have to paint up 50 guys to play.
Take a look at your current collection. You likely have a number of characters to pick from and several squads of various aliens and mercenaries. Grab some of those. Maybe paint up one more squad and find yourself a cool vehicle. Now you have a Tactics force or two.