In preparing an article for an upcoming Ragnarok, I decided
to compare Future War Commander with Jon Tuffley’s Dirtside II.
Before doing so, it was necessary to re-acquaint myself with the DSII rules, as
while we play StarGrunt II fairly regularly, we hadn’t played DSII since the
late 90’s. Bearing in mind that DSII
will be twenty years old in 2013, the Friday Night Pals went with a simple
scenario, based on a situation well known to anyone who has played GDW’s
IMPERIUM – a planetary invasion.
Since we were playing using 15mm miniatures, we increased
some of the distances, like command grouping (extending from 3” to 5”) while
leaving other ranges unchanged (movement, firing ranges). The Usual Suspects
were playing: Rob C., DJ and Kenzie, with yours truly refereeing the game.
Scenario: The Third Interstellar War is not going well for
the Terran Confederation. The Imperium has sent the defeated remnants of the
ConFed fleet back to the Sol System where they are scrambling to defend Earth.
The confident and haughty Vilani have decided to pause in the Alpha Centauri
system to reduce that system to obedience. The Terran 8th
Interstellar Division is supporting the Alpha Centauri B Planetary Defense
Force, with orders to fight to the last Infantry Anti-Vehicle Rocket.
Using counters from GDW’s Imperium game, I randomly drew
what would be a standard-sized garrison of a Terran world in your
garden-variety Imperium game – a “2” strength army plus PDF battery. Each strength point would equal 1000
Dirtside points. To make things manageable, I reduced the points to 2000
attacking 1000. The Vilani would be
attacking at 2-1 odds.
The PDF anti-space missile battery was set up on a
mid-sized hill, with an administrative building/barracks adjoining. Four squads
of Terran infantry were dug in amongst the silos, supported by light APCs,
while a half-troop of light tanks, anchored to the admin building, held the
right flank. On the Terran left, a
GMS/L team held the high ground. A separate mortar battery held the high ground
to the rear.
|Terran Positions - Minis by GZG and Force XXI|
The Imperials had a platoon of line infantry – eight
squads of infantry on four heavy GEV APCs, plus a Fire Support/Point Defense
GEV AIFV, all commanded from a GEV TOC.
Turn 1 – the Imperials advanced and their infantry
de-bussed and set up their light RAM mortar.
Terran missiles flew fast and furious as Terran mortar shells began to
rain down. The Imperial Point Defense
vehicle was able to stop most of the incoming fire (good shooting, Kenzie) and
bad rolls on DJ’s part stopped the rest.
|Imperials Advance - minis by GZG and Stan Johansen|
Turn 2 – Encouraged by the poor Terran showing, the
Imperials advanced. A squad of Imp
infantry that wandered out from under the protective point-defense umbrella
were hit with mortar fire and wiped out. Random fire also took out their
Imperial APC, as the dreaded “boom” chit made it’s first (but as you will
shortly read, not it’s last) appearance.
|First Blood to Terra!|
Turn 3 - The Terran
tanks gained two kills on the nearest Imperial APCs (two more “boom” hits).
The PD AIFV now switched to it’s Fire Support role in an attempt to knock out a
tank, but failed to hit.
|Fire Support AFV vs. two Light Tanks - "that trick never works..."|
Turn 4 – the Imperials were now doubtful of their success,
and I was inclined to agree, but I also asked them to game out an infantry
assault on the defended positions around the missile silos, which they gamely
did. Four squads of Imperial infantry stormed up the slope (losing a squad in
the process) and chased the Terrans out of the position. Even if they had carried the position, the
Terrans were in control of the rest of the objectives, and we all agreed it
was a Terran win.
Post Game Thoughts:
After years of playing StarGrunt II, going back to
Dirtside II is very similar to the proverbial walk known memory lane. One can see how the DSII system will be
refined in SGII, and despite it’s age, DSII still makes for a fast, fun game.
|First APC goes "BOOM"|
We had misinterpreted the F~ chits, and instead of applying them to the firing
unit (you press the fire pedal and nothing happens) we were adding them to the
target’s woes. Live and learn.
The Point Defense/Fire Support vehicle is a mixed blessing - it works great knocking down mortar rounds and missiles - especially from the lower tech earthlings. When it switches to direct fire mode, that safety umbrella is lost, and it's not too good as a tank killer. One must time this carefully. I love it.
A rematch is planned, either with the original group
or with the Ratrap Hill Mob in Maplewood. Ω