Thursday, March 27, 2014

Tinkering with World War Risus

I am approaching the completion of the 1st ready for public viewing draft of World War Risus. But, what kind of solo wargamer would I be if I didn't constantly tinker with rules?

Last night, I wanted to try out some modifications to World War Risus, including using the Deadly Combat rules in the Risus Companion and some kind of "lucky shot" rule (not the same Lucky Shot rule from Risus itself) that would allow an AFV to be knocked out of the fight with one attack.

Deadly Combat did make things move a little more quickly in the damage department - it does away with both adding pips (per Risus) or counting 5's and 6's as I had written the rules originally. Instead, highest die wins. If it's a tie, the side that rolled the least dice wins, else it's actually a tie. 

Simple enough, but as written, World War Risus gives a bonus for outscoring the target by 2 or more successes (2 CE dice are lost, as is 1 morale die BEFORE the required morale check is rolled, which can result in a further loss of morale). In the heat of battle, I forgot why I had included that rule to begin with: I wanted a way to speed things up just a bit.

Using the Deadly Combat rule would do that anyway, as more attacks would result in damage, forcing more morale checks, so the "2 or more" rule would not be unnecessary.

An American (minor) Victory:
They didn't secure the bridge in 8 turns,
 but the Germans were whittled down to a StuG and an HQ unit.

As for a lucky shot rule, there were two now:

1) For an attack that succeeds in damaging an AFV (i.e. causes the loss of CE cliche dice), roll a number of dice equal to the number of the attacker's successes minus the number of the target's successes. If the total rolled >=10 then the AFV is destroyed. 

2) Infantry Rifle units and HMG/MMG units may fire on AFVs. If the attacker scores more successes than the target, the target takes a morale test. 

The first allows for an infantry anti-tank weapon or an ATG to take out an AFV in a single attack, provided the attacking side scores at least 2 more successes than the AFV. In the playtest, this situation never occurred. The bazooka team was firing at the front of the StuG where the armor is thickest and had little chance of success.

There is a Lethal Risus rule over on Risusverse that is expressly written for one shot kills. If the attacker's total is at least double the defender's total then the defender rolls their cliche vs a target number (TN) 10. This would probably work well if I was still using traditional Risus combat.

The second item addresses something Stu Rat mentioned in the comments on my previous post on World War Risus

People like to survive and will do what they can to drive off the enemy, even if it's an AFV that they can't damage directly with their weapons. It seemed to me that they're just hoping to cause the AFV's crew to second guess their course of action and perhaps panic. In World War Risus, that's a morale check. 

This happened twice during the playtest, and both times the StuG made its morale check successfully, despite being down 1 die due to a previous hit by the bazooka team. 

I don't think that's any reason to condemn the rule - the saves were quite lucky. More importantly, I liked that my rifle unit had a chance to do something useful against the AFV, while the bazooka unit tried to maneuver close enough to take another shot.

Finally, it occurred to me that a unit will more than likely be reduced to 0 CE dice before their morale is reduced to 0. That means a unit generally has the will to fight right up until they can't.

I'm not sure I like that. 

So, the next time, I'll require a target to take a morale test anytime an attacker has at least 1 success, regardless of how many successes the target has. Another alternative might be to have the morale check not count successes, but roll against a TN 10 instead.  

I'm OK with either, because unlike Combat Effectiveness, there's no Risus "death spiral" inherent in the morale cliche; a leadership roll can improve morale.

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