Chain Reaction, aka Guns and Girls aka CR1, is, as the name suggests, an older version of the rules. The first version at that (although the mechanisms appear in some of THW's other, earlier, offerings). The "in sight" is different for example - only the inactive side rolls. I disliked the received fire table as it sent troopers scurrying home when they passed 0d6. That just seemed inappropriate for the Control Battalion Riflethings. So I decided to bring in the received fire from MG-42, an introductory ruleset THW distributed around the time Nuts! 1st ed. was released. The resulting game just didn't flow right. I played several times as the games go quick with just 3 figs a side, so I had ample opportunity to figure out what was bothering me.
|A poor decision in progress - popping around a corner into the open.|
The problem I had was the combat system - in CR1, Rep 3 figures are useless against targets in cover and armor, although the rules themselves suggest that's the right value for untested troops. Compare that to CRFV where it's suggested that leaders be Rep 5 and their grunts be Rep 4 AND the rule that if the shooter is a Rep 3 and they roll an unmodified 6 to count the hit. My untested Sepulvedan Rebellion squad was at a decided disadvantage under CR1's system as written. Secondly, the Scratch/Bad Wound doesn't sit well with me either -nor did I like the duck down for x number of turns mechanism.
I then played MG-42 as written. Here, the "in sight" is taken on both sides - certain conditions not withstanding, but there are still differences to CRFV. For the first time ever, though, I think I finally "got" the CR2/MG-42 version of the rules. The game felt "realistic" and with somewhat less to track than CRFV. Still, the game plays insanely fast, in my opinion.
Regardless of version, these rules require a judicious use of cover if you hope to survive to fight another day. And I dare say, that's their biggest strength. While I like the reaction system, it's the fact that the rules force you to consider your risks that makes them interesting. Recklessness will occasionally be rewarded. But by and large, it'll mean you're dead in your tracks.
I gave THW one more go, and played Six Gun Sound (1st ed), basically as written, although I treated the weapons as having limitless ammo. This may have been a mistake. One of the ways SGS broke the chain of reactions in a shoot out is the fact that six-guns have a limited number of times they can return fire. Ditto for rifles and shotguns. It never really felt like a shoot out, it just devolved into rolling one side, then the other, back and forth until someone scored a hit or was forced to duck down -sometimes this took quite some time.
I stand by my earlier assessment of CRFV. I think though, given the speed at which the games resolve, that they are not suitable for my intentions of very small skirmishes. If you're pressed for time, and using limited numbers of figures per side, however, they may be the ultimate in fast play rules.
Just make sure your table has plenty of cover.