Ground Units

Blue? Green? Red? Refuse? It's time to talk about rules for a new community edition of the VBAM rules!
User avatar
Emiricol
Captain
Captain
Posts: 267
Joined: Fri Oct 05, 2007 2:09 am
Location: Near Seattle
Contact:

Re: Ground Units

Postby Emiricol » Sat Nov 26, 2016 7:26 pm

I love all these ideas, and I am certain I'll use something overly complicated for my own house rules down the road, but I'd just like to go on record as saying that the core Galaxies rules for ground combat should be as simple as possible, address the 4:1 overkill issue, and be basically "just good enough" to address planetary control. The advanced, more complicated stuff is *awesome* but belongs (IMO) in an optional rule or advanced rules supplement, not in core Galaxies. From the discussion going on it seems like ground combat is the one area of Galaxies that is getting *more* complex rather than less.

User avatar
Tyrel Lohr
Vice Admiral
Vice Admiral
Posts: 1416
Joined: Thu Oct 04, 2007 3:48 am
Location: Lusk, WY
Contact:

Re: Ground Units

Postby Tyrel Lohr » Sun Nov 27, 2016 12:49 am

That's part of the reason I want to make whatever changes do come down the pike as minimal as possible, to maintain compatibility with existing rules where appropriate and not require a wholesale scrap and reconstruction of the ground combat dynamic.

I've been doing some tests with the 2d6 x ATK / 10 system, and that seems to hit a happy medium where ground units are still varied just enough to be interesting, while keeping everything but D Factor in the mix. The increased unit stats then balance a bit better against each other. The only outstanding issue might be troops that have DEF values that are too high to overcome, but at that point players either really need a lot of Artillery to wear it down or we can just add Tactical Support back in where leftover bombardment points can be used to weaken them.

Gstano had a few ideas for ground attack fighters, and that could be repurposed to allow a more specialized ground combat-only bombardment attack, too, so that Atmospheric flights would have an important role in providing support for friendly ground forces.

Giving the ground units costs and CP allotments equivalent to the smaller ships would work better under this kind of system. The ATR vs. DEF dynamic then becomes more about holding out over the long term (Attrition) versus not taking damage (Defense). Armored units with high DEF are going to be great assets on the battlefield as long as you're in supply, but Attrition losses from being out of supply will eventually wear them down and force the owner to abandon them (destroy them) as the siege grinds on.

Looking at those sample units, the AT-AT (Cost 6, CP 16) would probably end up looking something like this: ATR 3, DEF 5, ATK 5, CMD 3. The Snowtroopers (Cost 4, CP 12) would then be like this: ATR 3, DEF 3, ATK 3, CMD 3. Then a single convoy could transport in 1 x AT-AT + 1 x Snowtroopers. If you had two identical convoys, you'd then have enough CMD to command all of the troops and include them in your army.

Then, when invading from transports, you'd have (10 + 6) / 2 [invasion] = 8 ATK. The roll [2d6] is 11, giving you 11 x 8 / 10 = 8 damage. The Rebel Infantry (ATR 4, DEF 2, ATK 3, CMD 3) would end up with 1 destroyed (6 damage). The leftover damage would not break through their DEF, so that would be the extent of their losses. If defenders get a +1 DEF from dug-in they would be even harder to kill, but that doesn't affect this example.

The Rebel Infantry's counter-attack roll [2d6] is 5 x 6 / 10 = 3 damage. This unfortunately isn't enough to hurt any of the attackers. Better luck next time! Now, if there had been 4 Infantry defending, then we would have had 5 x 12 / 10 = 6 damage. This WOULD have been enough damage to hurt the enemy. In this case, they would have lightly damaged the AT-AT (1 Attrition) or destroyed a Snowtrooper (3 DEF + 3 ATR). It makes more sense to take down the Snowtrooper.

The takeaway is that this kind of ground combat system would keep things dynamic, with most combat results being even but the chance of lopsided losses. Treating command like the CSCR means that you'll also see more of a protracted ground war if both sides have more troops than they can command, as then it will take time for you to grind down the opposition. This makes the cheap Militia units more useful as a delaying force that you maintain in a system. If I have 6 Militias (12 EP) in my system, then it could take my enemy several turns to round up and destroy all of them. That buys me (the defender) several turns to get reinforcements in and try to salvage the situation, or if I'm not completely sieged down I might be able to churn out a few additional cheap troops to hold the line.

This command mechanic also addresses the "problem" of cheap troops, as you're going to prefer to put more powerful troops in their place if you can, but the logistics of building and moving those forces means you are going to be relying on at least a few light troops to fill out your numbers.
"Touch not the pylons, for they are the messengers!"

User avatar
Emiricol
Captain
Captain
Posts: 267
Joined: Fri Oct 05, 2007 2:09 am
Location: Near Seattle
Contact:

Re: Ground Units

Postby Emiricol » Sun Nov 27, 2016 3:59 am

I like this. It makes light infantry far preferable on defense than offense -- they're cheap and disposable, so every defensive army is going to want a few to soak damage, but attacking armies will want as few as possible due to transport logistics. Filling in spaces, like you said. I think it would also make Compact light infantry pretty much universal for any army considering an offensive campaign. (I visualize that as just having force multipliers, like attack buggies or a mortar squad.)

What of special abilities? Those will affect how many you can fit on a given number of transports, yes?

User avatar
Tyrel Lohr
Vice Admiral
Vice Admiral
Posts: 1416
Joined: Thu Oct 04, 2007 3:48 am
Location: Lusk, WY
Contact:

Re: Ground Units

Postby Tyrel Lohr » Sun Nov 27, 2016 5:41 pm

Flooding an enemy with lots of cheap troops won't provide enough Attack to really breakthrough the enemy position I don't think, unless your light troops are all Marines and can get just enough firepower to breakthrough, kill an enemy troop, and then make landing. The Zerg style army would probably be a lot of medium troops with Marine + Compact so that they can just swarm across the landscape.

Special abilities with +Cost modifiers would impact the size of the units and how many you can load onto transport, but +Maint modifiers wouldn't affect unit size. Realistically, that would have to enter into the equation when deciding how to apply these trait modifiers. I have a feeling that Recon/Artillery will need to be +Maint just because we don't want them to be that much bigger than "normal," but at the same time if you had some sort of APC unit ability that lets one big unit shield some smaller ones then you'd probably want to make that a +Cost ability so they take more space.

I think one missing piece of the puzzle is that we aren't going to get a lot of partially damaged units, which is going to make some special abilities (especially empire abilities) less useful than they are right now. Orbital bombardment is still going to leave troops in a damaged state, though, so that might be enough to spread Attrition damage around a bit more evenly. But that isn't a major concern right now.

The one thing I can think of is to have units that are at <= 1/2 Attrition to take combat penalties like ships do right now. That would make it more appealing to wear troops down to the the 1/2 mark this turn in order to more easily take them out next turn.
"Touch not the pylons, for they are the messengers!"

User avatar
Emiricol
Captain
Captain
Posts: 267
Joined: Fri Oct 05, 2007 2:09 am
Location: Near Seattle
Contact:

Re: Ground Units

Postby Emiricol » Mon Nov 28, 2016 3:47 am

Speaking of spreading damage around, why do ground units not take damage like ships do? ATR=crippled, 2xATR=destroyed. I'm sure you have a reason, unless it just stuck around from early days without ever being questioned, but I don't think I've heard the reason before :)

User avatar
Tyrel Lohr
Vice Admiral
Vice Admiral
Posts: 1416
Joined: Thu Oct 04, 2007 3:48 am
Location: Lusk, WY
Contact:

Re: Ground Units

Postby Tyrel Lohr » Tue Nov 29, 2016 1:58 am

Emiricol wrote:Speaking of spreading damage around, why do ground units not take damage like ships do? ATR=crippled, 2xATR=destroyed. I'm sure you have a reason, unless it just stuck around from early days without ever being questioned, but I don't think I've heard the reason before :)

It's entirely because that was how Jay designed the rules originally. I'm not sure why it was done that way. But enough of the rules assume it at this point in 1E/2E that trying to get rid of it would be quite a challenge, because while ships are numerous enough that dealing with crippled/destroyed states is not a problem, getting rid of Attrition would force us to track proportional damage anyway or vastly increase the number of ground forces players have, making them more like fighter flights. That isn't necessarily a bad thing, but I'm not sure it's something that players necessarily want to deal with.
"Touch not the pylons, for they are the messengers!"

User avatar
BroAdso
Commander
Commander
Posts: 167
Joined: Mon Jan 25, 2016 4:27 am
Location: Richmond, VA

Re: Ground Units

Postby BroAdso » Sat Dec 03, 2016 8:34 pm

I am a huge fan of this new way of conceptualizing ground combat! It makes it more similar to the space combat system, which makes it easier to run and remember. It makes things more dynamic by removing the gang-up mechanic which felt repetitive and a very unlike real "battlefronts" of armies facing each other. It makes long ground wars more likely, thus increasing the importance and interest of ground combat, making it feel less like an afterthought. It opens up new and better ways to understand the special abilities open to ground units. Just fantastic. Gonna run off and test it as soon as I can. :D

User avatar
Emiricol
Captain
Captain
Posts: 267
Joined: Fri Oct 05, 2007 2:09 am
Location: Near Seattle
Contact:

Re: Ground Units

Postby Emiricol » Sat Dec 03, 2016 11:17 pm

BroAdso wrote:I am a huge fan of this new way of conceptualizing ground combat! It makes it more similar to the space combat system, which makes it easier to run and remember. It makes things more dynamic by removing the gang-up mechanic which felt repetitive and a very unlike real "battlefronts" of armies facing each other. It makes long ground wars more likely, thus increasing the importance and interest of ground combat, making it feel less like an afterthought. It opens up new and better ways to understand the special abilities open to ground units. Just fantastic. Gonna run off and test it as soon as I can. :D


I just added a number of new Ground Unit SAs that I'm testing, as suggestions to the Galaxies google Doc file. I haven't had a chance to test them thoroughly yet, but in my limited pre-introduction test this is fantastic and makes ground wars a drawn-out slugfest. It's actually been a LOT of fun and I'm looking forward to encountering an NAW so I can go conquer them!


Tyrel - I have mentioned I added "air support" rules to my solo game, and I'm posting them here for discussion, just in case they're wanted. I tried to keep it as simple as ground combat itself.


Code: Select all

A single Flight of fighters can act as air support in a battle without counting toward the unit’s Command limitation, adding it’s AS to the ATK rating total, or its AF to the DEF total. Air superiority is a huge advantage. Fighters that engage during the Ground Combat phase cannot participate in the ship combat phase of the current turn.

As many flights of fighters as the unit’s command rating can provide CAS against enemy support units, doing no damage but preventing that support unit from participating in any way during the current round of combat. (No +1 ATK/DEF, no bonus from special abilities). This will usually be the difference between victory or defeat in the ground battle.

Ground units suffering from suppressive fire by fighter flight may roll 1d6 per ATK value; a roll of “6” damages the flight before air suppression takes effect.

User avatar
BroAdso
Commander
Commander
Posts: 167
Joined: Mon Jan 25, 2016 4:27 am
Location: Richmond, VA

Re: Ground Units

Postby BroAdso » Sun Dec 04, 2016 2:46 am

Here's a quick playtest I ran, in which the Imperial Guard attacks an Ork colony world. The Imperials have...
1x Regimental HQ Company (MGRND, 12 CP) ATR: 3, ATK: 1, DEF 2, CMD: 6
3x Infantry Company (MGRND, 12 CP), ATR: 5, ATK : 2, DEF: 2, CMD: 2
2x Stormtrooper Platoon (LRGND, 8 CP) ATR: 2, ATK: 3, DEF: 1, CMD: 2, Marines
1x Armored Company (MGRND, 12 CP): ATR: 3, DEF: 6, ATK: 1, CMD: 2

And the Orks have...
1x Minor Warboss (MGRND, 12 CP) : ATR: 3, DEF: 2, ATL 2, CMD: 5
4x Boyz (LGRND, CP 8) : ATR: 3, DEF: 1, ATK: 2, CMD: 2

Each month sees combat in orbit which thins the Imperial fleet's numbers, and gives the Orks some bombardment points in the second month.

Image
Image
Image

This test and the other ones I did with it show the value of balanced and carefully created ground forces, the power of orbital bombardment (it's ATR damage that bypasses DEF ratings!), the potential usefulness of hospital ships, and the need for more special abilities for ground units in this new world of ground combat.

I would suggest having ground units follow the same cost and CP as spaceships. up through 10 EP / 24CP. It could be interesting to give them a "command cost" as well, commensurate with ships.

User avatar
Tyrel Lohr
Vice Admiral
Vice Admiral
Posts: 1416
Joined: Thu Oct 04, 2007 3:48 am
Location: Lusk, WY
Contact:

Re: Ground Units

Postby Tyrel Lohr » Sun Dec 04, 2016 3:17 am

This does highlight one of my worries when it comes to high DEF ratings and damage assignment. It looks like after the first turn, the Orks were unable to score any damage because it was always being applied by the defender to the unit with the highest DEF, completing negating their attack. This can be easily abused by creating a single "shield" unit with high DEF to nullify the enemy attacks while your "sword" units grind them into the dust. This is one of the reasons I think the attacker would have to score all damage, or else some directed damage equivalent introduced so that they could destroy other weaker units instead.

That being said, having ways to buff/debuff DEF would be a way around this. Have enough Artillery or air support and you could weaken that armored division enough to break through, or use orbital bombardment to bypass its DEF and just blow it up.

However, the battle does end up being quite a bit more dynamic than what we had before, with quite a bit of room left for some interesting troop configurations. I'm leery about allowing troops up to Cost 10 to be running around, but I could be proved wrong there. It might not be that big of an issue. But it's promising.
"Touch not the pylons, for they are the messengers!"

User avatar
BroAdso
Commander
Commander
Posts: 167
Joined: Mon Jan 25, 2016 4:27 am
Location: Richmond, VA

Re: Ground Units

Postby BroAdso » Sun Dec 04, 2016 3:29 am

Tyrel Lohr wrote:
That being said, having ways to buff/debuff DEF would be a way around this. Have enough Artillery or air support and you could weaken that armored division enough to break through, or use orbital bombardment to bypass its DEF and just blow it up.


I ran into this same problem with two units of Space Marine Terminator Company (HGRND, CP 16, ATR 4, DEF 7, ATK 3, CMD 2) in a similar playtest - they just ate all the damage like a shield.

Since the system is already so similar to the space combat one, I think introducing a directed vs undirected damage equivalent and a crippled/uncrippled equivalent, would not be too much in terms of complexity. This would reduce the effectiveness of "shield" units. A variety of special ground unit abilities (like Ambush, Armor-Piercing, etc) to reduce DEF could also help with this problem.

I understand if that goes too far though - this is getting quite distant from your original mission to tweak rather than transform the ground combat system.

Just as a wild idea, if you wanted to go really far, you could even bring the Missions system in, halving or doubling the DEF/ATK of certain units, increasing their "formation" (entrenchment?) level, and so on. That would probably make the game TOO much about ground warfare, though - this is a space game, after all, and ships are the stars of the show for good reason.

User avatar
Emiricol
Captain
Captain
Posts: 267
Joined: Fri Oct 05, 2007 2:09 am
Location: Near Seattle
Contact:

Re: Ground Units

Postby Emiricol » Sun Dec 04, 2016 3:52 am

I see here that my system would result in a lot of inability to damage one another if there are a lot of units supporting the primary but few SpAbilities. It would often all come down to the Special Abilities distribution of the support units and/or air superiority. That may or may not be a bad thing, but I'd like to have a chance of a strong underdog getting a lucky break even if the odds are long.

I may need to try out a bunch of test battles to verify, if I ever do get the time (it's hard to get time to do a couple of early-game turns a day, at this point, grrr)

User avatar
BroAdso
Commander
Commander
Posts: 167
Joined: Mon Jan 25, 2016 4:27 am
Location: Richmond, VA

Re: Ground Units

Postby BroAdso » Mon Dec 05, 2016 1:08 am

Here's an attempt to codify these new ideas in an organized way:

Building Ground Units

Each Ground Unit has the following attributes:
Name / Cost / Maint / ATR / DEF / ATK / CR / CC


ATR/Attrition: This represents the unit’s ability to last in a battle over a long period of time, usually representing sheer numbers.
DEF/Defense: This represents the unit’s ability to withstand damage without losing appreciable numbers. Armored or very tough units have a high DEF.
ATK/Attack: This represents the unit’s ability to dish out damage on the battlefield through whatever means it has at its disposal.
CR/Command Rating: This represents the unit’s ability to provide coordination on the planetary battlefield, letting you have more troops in the fight.
CC/Command Cost: This represents how much battlefield control and coordination this unit requires to use effectively.

Like ships, ground units come in several classes. The base costs, CP available, and fixed CC of these unit types are:

Light Ground (LTG) - 2EP Cost - 8CP - CC 1
Medium Ground (MDG) - 4 EP Cost - 12CP - CC 2
Heavy Ground (HVG) - 6EP Cost - 16 CP - CC 3
Large Ground (LRG) - 8EP Cost - 20 CP - CC 4

When building the unit, no attribute may be less than 1, a unit's CR cannot be less than 1/2 its CC.

Ground units stop at Large because 8EP is the most one transport fleet can carry at a time, if the unit has any special abilities which increase its EP cost. If a Large unit has no special abilities, a Transport fleet might still have room for a Light Ground unit in addition.

Ground Combat Procedures

In Ground Combat, each month undergoes steps 1-3 each month:

1) Select units and determine final ATK/DEF Values:

1a)Each player selects which of their ground troops in the system are participating. Each player may select a total Command Cost of units up to their highest participating unit’s Command Rating.

1b) Players apply their unit’s active special abilities.

1c) Players apply predetermined bonuses and penalties (like penalties for invasions).

1d) Players note the final ATK, DEF, and ATR values of their units at this point.

2) Calculate and direct combat damage:

2a) Each player adds up their unit’s adjust ATK values, rolls 2D6, and multiplies the totaled ATK values by the results of the 2D6 roll. Then each player divides the result by 10. The resulting number is the total points of damage the player has scored.

2b) Each player chooses whether to use points of damage as directed or undirected damage.

3) Assign damage and deplete or destroy units.

3a) When points of damage are assigned to a unit, it “absorbs” a number of points equal to its DEF before taking any points of ATR.

3b) When a unit takes a number of points of damage equal to its ATR, it becomes depleted, and its ATK and DEF are halved going forward. When a depleted unit takes a number of points of damage equal to its ATR, it is destroyed.

3c) Each player assigns all undirected damage scored by the other player. They must assign damage equal to DEF + ATR to a unit wherever possible. Remaining damage automatically depletes or destroys the unit in their force with the lowest DEF + ATR.

3d) Each player assigns directed damage to enemy units. This works exactly like Formations in space combat. All units have an Entrenchment Level of 1 by default, meaning it takes 1.5 points of directed damage to equal one point of directed damage.

Special Abilities

Marines
+0 EP, +1 MAINT, 0 CP, Passive
Does not halve ATK value when invading from orbit. Adds +2 to ATK value when invading from Assault ships.
Peacekeepers

Peacekeeper
+0 EP, +1 MAINT, 0 CP, Passive
Counts as a number of units equal to its CC plus one for purposes of garrisoning.

Commando
+0 EP, +1 MAINT, 0 CP, Passive
Lower the CC of the unit by 1. If the unit has a CC of 1, it has an effective CC of ½

Reconnaissance (X)
+1 EP, +0 MAINT, -1CP/Level Active
Lowers a chosen enemy unit’s ATK by its Recon value each round.

Shock (X)
+1 EP, +0 MAINT, -1CP/Level Active
Lowers a chosen enemy unit’s DEF by its Shock value each round.

Artillery
+0 EP, +1 MAINT, 0 CP, Active
May choose to not add its ATK to the total pool, and instead lowers one enemy unit’s DEF by an amount equal to its ATK.

Support
+0 EP, +1 MAINT, 0 CP, Active
May choose to not add its ATK to the total pool, and instead increases one friendly unit’s DEF by an amount equal to its ATK.

Fortifier (X)
+0 EP, +1 MAINT, 0 CP, Active
May raise any friendly unit’s entrenchment value by (X).

Spearhead (X)
+0 EP, +1 MAINT, 0 CP, Active
May lower any enemy unit’s entrenchment value by (X).

Hospital (X)
+1 EP, +1 MAINT, -1CP/Level Active
May prevent its Hostpital value in ATR to any other unit once per month.

User avatar
Tyrel Lohr
Vice Admiral
Vice Admiral
Posts: 1416
Joined: Thu Oct 04, 2007 3:48 am
Location: Lusk, WY
Contact:

Re: Ground Units

Postby Tyrel Lohr » Wed Dec 07, 2016 12:26 am

In experimenting with different solutions, I like to take a look at what settings would make good use of the systems and how I could replicate them.

For VBAM, I use Star Wars as a common touchstone if only because that setting has an increased emphasis on ground warfare. You get a pretty wide selection of ground combat units there, with sufficient variety that you have to try figuring out what would slot in where when it comes to ground forces.

In that case, it seems like ground units could be split into three types: Infantry, Armor, and Air. You would then replace Attack and D Factor with separate attack stats for each type (Anti-Infantry, Anti-Armor, and Anti-Air). Abbreviations are not helpful due to the two AA, obviously, but let's run with the concept for right now.

Now, if we were to make ground combat more like space combat, that would mean killing Attrition (RIP) and just having a Defense Value, and having that be handled consistently with space combat. Similarly, we'd have formations and CR work the same way. Hell, you could even do surprise, scenario length, etc. the same, and move all of the nuts-and-bolts combat rules to its own chapter.

The problem of course is that while this gives good variety and rules consistency, it also seems to make ground combat far more involved than I think we want it to be, and a step away from whipping out a hex map, giving units movement speeds and terrain modifiers, and having a full wargame experience that goes completely off the rails.

...

The other setting that I could see trying to model would be something like Mass Effect. There, we have Health, Armor, and Barriers/Shields as three different types of defenses, and then attack types that are better at stripping or bypassing each of the latter types of defenses. Health and Attrition are analogous, but Armor and Shields are different enough that they would almost have to be two different Defense types.

Having different defense types would then mean having attack types that were better at one or the other, but I haven't put enough thought into how you would combine these two elements together under some sort of new paradigm.

...

With that said, keeping about the same system as we have now, with CR introduced, D Factor removed, a more "conventional" attack roll with all damage scored by the attacker could address most issues, with the exception of damage not getting spread around. There would have to be an impetus to do that, because otherwise it will always be better to wipe out enemies instead of just damaging them a little. Classic VBAM sidesteps that issue by limiting the number of attackers that can score damage to a single unit, which means there is an absolute maximum amount of damage that can be scored beyond Defense each turn.

...

There is part of me that would much rather just handle ground combat more abstractly, like how Marine boarding parties are handled in Starmada X. You roll a d6 for each attacker, on a 5-6 you kill an enemy, on a 1 you take a loss yourself. No differentiation between troops, they'd just be 1 EP units that you build tons of and just use force of numbers to kill the enemy.

The problem of course is that it makes ground combat very boring and just a factor of rolling dice rather than anything actually interesting to resolve.

...

I look forward to hearing how your ground combat playtests end up turning out, and I'll try to figure out what prototype we'll be using in the playtest game in January. It may end up being a moving target where we sample a lot of different options as we figure it out :)
"Touch not the pylons, for they are the messengers!"

User avatar
BroAdso
Commander
Commander
Posts: 167
Joined: Mon Jan 25, 2016 4:27 am
Location: Richmond, VA

Re: Ground Units

Postby BroAdso » Thu Dec 08, 2016 3:45 am

So I did six playtests with 40k and Star Trek ground units. What they revealed confirms the idea that ground combat doesn't need all the frills of space combat, but that with some of the changes we discussed, they can be dynamic and interesting without taking up too much of the stage. A couple examples attached. The revised rules that resulted:
Rules wrote:Building Ground Units

Each Ground Unit has the following attributes:
Name / Cost / Maint / ATR / DEF / ATK / CR / CC

ATR/Attrition: This represents the unit’s ability to last in a battle over a long period of time, usually representing sheer numbers.
DEF/Defense: This represents the unit’s ability to withstand damage without losing appreciable numbers. Armored or very tough units have a high DEF.
ATK/Attack: This represents the unit’s ability to dish out damage on the battlefield through whatever means it has at its disposal.
CR/Command Rating: This represents the unit’s ability to provide coordination on the planetary battlefield, letting you have more troops in the fight.
CC/Command Cost: This represents how much battlefield control and coordination this unit requires to use effectively.

Like ships, ground units come in several classes. The base costs, CP available, and fixed CC of these unit types are:

Light Ground (LTG) - 2EP Cost - 8CP - CC 1
Medium Ground (MDG) - 4 EP Cost - 12CP - CC 2
Heavy Ground (HVG) - 6EP Cost - 16 CP - CC 3
Large Ground (LRG) - 8EP Cost - 20 CP - CC 4

When building the unit, no attribute may be less than 1, a unit's CR cannot be less than 1/2 its CC.

Ground units stop at Large because 8EP is the most one transport fleet can carry at a time, if the unit has any special abilities which increase its EP cost. If a Large unit has no special abilities, a Transport fleet might still have room for a Light Ground unit in addition.

Ground Combat Procedures

In Ground Combat, each month undergoes steps 1-3 each month:

1) Select units and determine final ATK/DEF Values:

1a)Each player selects which of their ground troops in the system are participating. Each player may select a total Command Cost of units up to their highest participating unit’s Command Rating. Only these troops contribute their ATK or can take damage directly this turn.

1b) Players apply their unit’s active special abilities.

1c) Players apply predetermined bonuses and penalties (like penalties for invasions).

1d) Players note the final ATK, DEF, and ATR values of their units at this point.

2) Calculate and direct combat damage:

2a) Each player adds up their unit’s adjust ATK values, rolls 2D6, and multiplies the totaled ATK values by the results of the 2D6 roll. Then each player divides the result by 10. The resulting number is the total points of damage the player has scored.

3) Assign damage and destroy units.

3a) When points of damage are assigned to a unit, it “absorbs” a number of points equal to its DEF before taking any points of ATR.

3b) When a unit takes a number of points of damage equal to its ATR, it is destroyed.

3c) Each player assigns all the damage their troops scored ontoto opposing units.

3e) If the damage scored by a player destroyed all enemy units able to engage because of CR restrictions, damage can carry over to non-engaged enemy units.

4) Close

4a) Units that take ATR damage retain that ATR damage next turn. Note the remaining ATR of any damaged ground units.

4b) Any unit currently in supply regains up to one lost point of ATR.

4c) Apply end-of-turn ATR special abilities like Hospital.

Unlike Space Combat, the Ground Combat sequence only occurs once per turn. It is not a series of repeating rounds like space combat.

Special Abilities

Marines
+0 EP, +1 MAINT, 0 CP, Passive
Does not halve ATK value when invading from orbit. Does not half attack when invading from orbit.

Peacekeeper
+0 EP, +1 MAINT, 0 CP, Passive
Counts as a number of units equal to its CC plus one for purposes of garrisoning.

Reconnaissance (X)
+1 EP, +0 MAINT, -1CP/Level Active
Lowers a chosen enemy unit’s ATK by its Recon value each round.

Shock (X)
+1 EP, +0 MAINT, -1CP/Level Active
Lowers a chosen enemy unit’s DEF by its Shock value each round.

Artillery
+0 EP, +1 MAINT, 0 CP, Active
May choose to not add its ATK to the total pool, and instead lowers one enemy unit’s DEF by an amount equal to its ATK.

Support
+0 EP, +1 MAINT, 0 CP, Active
May choose to not add its ATK to the total pool, and instead increases one friendly unit’s DEF by an amount equal to its ATK.

Hospital (X)
+1 EP, +1 MAINT, -1CP/Level Active
May prevent its Hostpital value in ATR to any other unit once per turn.

Anti-Orbital Defenses
+1 EP, +1 MAINT, -1 CP/Level, Passive
Has an effective Defense Value equal to its Hardened rating against attrition from Orbital Bombardment.


I saw a lot of evidence that the balance of ground combat will often depend on the dynamic of orbital dominance - come in with strong bombardment points and orbital power, and you'll win eventually. This new system also makes it MUCH harder to win a planetary invasion during the first turn if the opponent has a strong planetary garrison, or simply wipe out garrisons with bombardment unless you have a bunch of Gunship Battleships or something. It also increases the importance of Transports and Assault ships a great deal, since a larger number of more expensive ground units will be needed to have fast, effective ground invasions. Some of the biggest changes in my playtests resulted from simple numbers - when the invaders had 20 instead of 10 transport capacity, their chances against the defenders improved dramatically, even if they didn't use quite all of it.

It'll also force players to make meaningful choices when designing force lists or units when they get tech advances - sometimes it will be very tempting to get that light ground unit with some Shock to reduce enemy DEF, for example, or replace your older, low-ATK marines with an updated version. A few extra ATK sometimes seemed to make all the difference! Ships and fighter will still be the majority of lists, but there's a lot more reason now to save a slot or two for a more diverse or better up to date ground force roster.

The only problems I found in my runs were:
1) Order of operations. Both Artillery and Support allow the unit to do something special with their ATK value if they don't contribute it to their side's ATK for the battle. However, Recon and Planetary Invasion reduce ATK. Do they have to happen before Artillery and Support? I'm divided.

2) Keeping track of ATR. It's not ideal to have to track anything about specific units from campaign turn to campaign turn like this, but I don't see an easier option. It is made easier to swallow when I remember that there will be far fewer ongoing ground battles at any time than space battles, so tracking lost ATR won't be as arduous.

3) Wasted damage. Without a "disabled/crippled" state, any damage that can't overcome the DEF of at least one unit in the enemy force is just lost. This could lead to min-maxing with tons of high-DEF units, but because of fear of oribtal bombardment, the need to have invasion units, and more this seems like a relatively minimal problem to me.

4) I did away with the +1 bonus for dug-in defenders throughout, since high DEFs are already problematic. It didn't seem to make them "too weak," but it might be useful if, in the larger macro game, we expect players to end up trying to fight off many invasions with whatever cheap defensive units they have on the planet at the time.

Next up, I'm going to try a more "integrated" example, in which fleet composition in orbit changes a couple of times over a few months, both get fresh reinforcements from new transport convoys, and so on.
Attachments
Quick Examples.pdf
(109.47 KiB) Downloaded 50 times


Return to “VBAM Galaxies”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest