Monday, December 1, 2008

Striker II AAR

What follows was a test match using four squads of Ziru Sirka
(1st Imperium, played by K-Tracts and Megz) infantry in two ACV APCs and two squads of
Terran ConFed troops (played by DW) to refresh my memory of the Striker II rules system.

The Terran ConFeds were dug in on a hill at the end of a valley, guarding a power plant. Stands (2 per squad) were armed with TL-10 5.5mm ACRs with shoot-through RAM grenade launchers, each squad had a TL-10 5.5mm SAW. Support stands (1 per squad) were armed with SAWs and man-portable tactical missiles. There was an HMG stand and a Tactical Command stand supporting both squads.

The Terrans were outfitted to reflect a light infantry platoon (though they were short a squad) like that of the contemporary 10th mountain or 82nd airborne - squaddies who get dropped into an area and told to "hold on" until heavier assets can link up with them. It's a helpful trope for making up a tough scenario.

The Ziru Sirka infantry stands (2 per squad) were armed with 7mm ACRs (practically the same for all purposes except giving a 10 metre range advantage to the Imps) with RAM GLs and 7mm SAWs. Support stands were armed similarly to the Terrans. The hover-APCs mounted a single VRF gauss gun and twin tac missile launcher.

Imperial objective was to seize the power plant complex.

Turn 1 began with the Imperial sections making a cautious move around the burning shells of Imperial GEV tanks (placed there by the referee as a warning against taking the Terran's anti-armour abilities lightly) to the cover of a rock formation and a blast crater.

Turn 2 began with surprise as the leading Imp APC (K-Tracs') kicked into overdrive and zipped up the left flank. Infantry ATGMs lashed out at the speeding APC while wide-eyed squaddies clung to their seat-straps and prayed to their ancestors not to punish their officers for failing to follow procedure.The two missiles missed (needing an 11 or less on a d20, reduced to 5 or less due to the vehicles speed (about 200 kph).

Turn 3. The second APC driver fastened his safety belts, muttered a
prayer of protection to the Gods of Parliamentary Procedure, and
kicked it into overdrive to avoid losing contact with #1 Section, which was dodging a second round of ATGM and RAM AP fire (Dice hated DW, the Terran player, who still needed a 5 to hit with the ATGM and a 1 to hit with a RAM AP grenade) while screeching (well, woooshing) to a halt and debarking its two squads.

Those Terrans who weren't firing were redeploying to fire. The rear of their position was rapidly turning into the front of the position - fortunately for them there was a rocky spine along the ridgeline they could use for cover.

Turn 4. The second Imp APC trundled up and debarked a squad against the Terran flank, while #1 Section occupied the building complex and began to snipe at the ConFed troops along the ridge. There was some confusion as to where fire was landing, on the stands which were visible or on the squad as a whole (I ruled the visible stand was to take any hits - there were none). The APCs raked the ConFed lines with VRF gauss gun fire (11 to hit, reduced to 5 or less for cover).

Troopers were starting to fall now. Megz had a hit on two stands, as did K-Tracts, and DW had multiple hits along the line.

Turn 5. The ConFed Line began to crumble (I mis-ruled that one of the ConFed squads had been Forced Back. It hadn't, though it's morale was tottering). At this point, I suggested we call the game as a Ziru Sirka win. The Vilani were sitting on their objectives and the ConFed troops didn't have the strength to dislodge them.

Post-Game Observations:

The biggest complaint came from the Terran ConFed player, who felt the Terrans had too little mobility. He was correct, and there should have been at least one more ConFed squad to hold the power plant buildings proper. Since we were playing a test game, I wasn't (and still ain't) too concerned about presenting an ebb-and-flow kind of scenario. The purpose was to build familiarity with the rules of Striker II, which was just as well, because reviewing the rules later on I discovered a passel of errors made:

"Forced Back" the squad or group must move a full cross-country move away from the enemy unit causing the Force Back result, EXCEPT if the unit is in cover. Then it just moves back deeper in the cover and then gets a "pinned" result. All stands take a Forced Back result when they receive the "red marker" (as the next hit will eliminate the stand).

A 1" LoS may be traced into a building area (ya'll like that 1" measurement in a centimeter-based game? We'll assume they meant "a 25mm LoS".) Concrete building areas give any stands within a +3 saving throw.

Infantry stands and vehicle turrets may fire 360*. Stands measure from the center of the firing *stand* to the center of the target *stand* for range.

The radius for distributing small arms fire is 10cm (about 4 inches). This includes any personnel stands in the same cover as the target (which I suppose could include friendlies).

The Terrans, having the higher iniative (3 to 2), should have resolved fire first in each respective fire sub-phase (effectively allowing them to inflict hits and cause morale checks on the Vilani before the latter could respond).

A single stand can be moved without the entire squad moving. This would have helped the Terran player to selectively shift some of his infantry stands toward the power-plant without moving his tac missile support stands away from the "front" (they would be considered having a "No Order" order and thus eligable for opportunity fire).

A unit must move in the same general direction as their movement chit indicates, and must end with their facing in the same general direction as the chit indicates. (During the game, I ruled correctly and then redacted it in the face of player rationalisation.) The vehicle may freely change it's facing at the end of the final fire phase. (I'm supposing the intention is to allow an opportunity fire shot up the tailpipe if one is available.)

I also discovered the section on Tac Missiles just trails off without discussing counter-measures, flares, and chaff. I'm going to cull some ideas from Striker and Command Decision, from which both systems Striker II is derived. Ω

4 comments:

dylan said...

Keith,

enjoyed your write-up. Glad to see someone else struggling with some of the 'missing links' in SII. It is frustrating that decoys do not affect tac missiles (as they did back in CT/Striker). As written, in SII point defense weapons become crucial because it is a relatively trivial task to use FF&S to design a tac missile with enough agility to cancel out any speed DMs of a target grav sled. Make it a top attack missile, and it becomes extremely deadly if a hit is obtained.

Regarding the inches versus cms typos throughout the rules, a post on TML a long time ago clarified that all references to "inches" should be treated as "cms" - i.e. without conversion, so a reference to "3 inches" should be treated as "3 cms".

Other quirks include the discrepancy between the description of a rapid advance order on page 8 (must move at least full movement allowance) and that on page 11 (must move at least half full movement allowance). This is important, not least because of Rule 5.71 which says that a unit must be issued a rapid advance order to close with the enemy. A fast grav or air cushion vehicle issued a rapid advance order travels a very long way!

Jake Collins

dylan said...

Another quirk results from the addition of advanced stabilisation systems in SII. Because vehicles equipped with these can fire in the Opportunity Fire Sub-Phase (rule 7.34), regardless of their own movement, this can pose issues if the vehicles are also of a higher initiative than any defenders.
I have seen a grav vehicle zoom up within the 5cm autospot range of some defenders and (based on its higher initiative - rule 7.22) proceed to eviscerate them with a rapid fire plasma gun before they are permitted to get a shot off. This result strikes many gamers as extremely odd.

Keith said...

Hey Jake!

I finally found rules covering sensor decoys on pg. 48, rule 19.3

If one wanted to reduce the problem with SII down to a single sentence, one might say the writer thought that everyone playing SII would also be a TNE FF&S gearhead.

Rather woolly thinking, that. :)

And I'm glad you found the AAR interesting.

dylan said...

Yes, there are rules covering decoys for sure - but as you'll see, only to decoy target designated missiles. Homing missiles are unaffected, and you'll seldom use target designated missiles against grav vehicles, because only homing missiles get to use their agility rating to cancel out the DiffMods due to target movement.

Equip your troops with a mix of top attack and normal homing package-launched missiles, and you force the enemy to armour all faces of their vehicles heavily. Have the ATGM teams hide in foliage until the vehicles fly by overhead and then let rip.