Monday, June 10, 2013

super alpha micro force on force rules

 I've been a fan of Force on Force since its inception. Despite its blemishes, the system brought a fascinating and hectic dynamic to wargaming in the form of reaction that makes discreet turns a thing of the past. Unlike in a system such as 40k, you don't get a free card to run your unit of mans through an open field  in front of a machinegun nest without any sort of reprisals. Instead your opponent may attempt to interrupt any of your actions at any time, as long as you have strayed into their line of sight.

This dramatically altered decision making in games and forced a large amount of tactical conservatism onto the board. No longer could you simply charge your power-armored bezerkers into a gunline haphazardly, because that gunline would likely open up - along with all its buddies near by - and reduce you to paste. 

Despite this, however, FOF has its flaws. The system is, if anything, too detailed. Games with a mere 50 - 60 pieces can drag on for extremely long times, leaving players fatigued and confused as they try to keep track of all the variables, tokens and events going on around the battlefield. This issue is further compounded by the fact that every piece on the board has unlimited range. As long as they can make eye contact with an opposing unit, they may engage it. This may sound cool and realistic in principle, but in practice it can impact upon the fun factor.

At the same time I have long had a passion for the aesthetic and practically of microarmor. The easy logistical factor in getting it to my local club, combined with the teeny tiny sports car I drive and the image of hundreds of riflemen on a single table has always been quite appealing to me. Unfortunately the system of FOF, with its aforementioned clunkyness, simply can't handle this sort of scale.

This posed a question: how to take the best elements of FOF and streamline them to make a system that was fun and quick, while still retaining the hectic dynamism of the original framework?

With this in mind, a colleague and I began a slow brainstorming session. After demoing the new rules last week, we found the following adjustments really help the system in a microarmor setting.

TINYFOF rules version 2309809734027340273409

Command ranges – 

Units must maintain cohesion within their platoon if at all possible. Units outside of a chain leading to their command unit receive a -1 to all quality/morale checks to represent the breakdown of cohesion and chaos of combat.

Cohesion ranges for infantry are based on their quality level, vehicles double this value. Post-RMA armies receive an addition ‘increment’ of this value, so a post-RMA M1 Abrams would receive a cohesion range of 3X its base quality level.

Units with the special rule ‘Independent’ ignore this criteria.

Due to bronnegruppa doctrine, Russian mechanized units may effectively split their infantry from their transports once they have disembarked without penalty.

Engagement ranges – 

Infantry units have an engagement range of 5 X their quality level. Optimum ranges still apply as normal.

RPGs have an engagement range of 2 X quality level.

Sniper rifles and crew-served weapons have an engagement range of 10 X quality level and always count as being in optimum range. 

Vehicles have an engagement range of 10 X quality level and always count as being in range.

Vehicle Rules

Damage -

Vehicles that have been penetrated must take a survival check based on their quality level. This reflects the general training of the crew in such factors as positioning, emergency drills etc. A failed role equals a knocked out vehicle, ignore all damage charts.
Additional penetrations beyond the first add a -1 modifier to the role. So a D8 quality tank with three penetrations must role a 6+ to survive. Only one role is made per round of fire, regardless of the amount of penetrations.

Vehicles with the special rule ‘Lifesaver’ receive a + 1 to roles; vehicles with the rule ‘deathtrap’ receive – 1.

Vehicle and weapon classes also impact on the role, depending on how they compare to one another. For example, a light gun penetrating a heavy tank would give the survival role a + 2 bonus, given that it is two classes away. In contrast, a medium gun penetrating a light vehicle will give the survival role a – 1.

Vehicles that survive a penetration must make a bailout check on a single dice. If they fail, the vehicle will be unable to take any actions for the remainder of the turn, including return fire.

Infantry Rules

Casualties –

Any failed saves against enemy fire are automatically counted as a casualty for infantry units. Each casualty bestows a – 1 FP/- 1 defence dice token on the unit. When the amount of tokens exceed the amount of actual individual infantry units on the base, the unit is removed.
Any casualties cause an automatic morale check taken on a single dice.

Suppressive fire –

Regular infantry units do not receive the suppressive fire/intimidating weapon special rule.

Sniper Teams – 

Snipers are the dodgy trolls of the battlefield. Snipers always count as hidden, and may ambush at any range. A unit that is shot at by a sniper who fails their ambush check may attempt to spot the sniper unit and fire back with a successful quality check. This round is purely between the sniper and their opposition; overwatching units may not attempt to intervene. Once a sniper is spotted, they may be fired on in subsequent turns by other units if they do not move, as the spotter relays the position to his or her comrades.

All sniper teams are ‘independent’.

Base infantry team statlines and special rules –

As a general rule of thumb, a four-man fireteam has a base stat line of 6 firepower/4 defence. This value varies between nations, depending on training, equipment and doctrine.

All units are considered to have some form of AT. This weapon depends on nation, and may be used once per turn against any vehicle in range.
Variables include:

Body armor, + 1 defence: the unit is equipped with some form of armor that increases survivability.
Good logistics, + 1 firepower: the unit is part of a larger force that excels at getting things where they need to be when they need to be. Their cup overfloweth with ammunition, allowing them to expend it at a particularly high rate.
Poor logistics, - 1 firepower: high command has never heard of this unit and doesn’t know why they need what they are asking for. Ammunition is scarce and forces them to scrounge and make due.
Run heavy, - 1 firepower while moving, + 2 firepower when stationary: The unit has an exceptionally high machinegun-to-man ratio. While moving this is something of an impediment, but while stationary the unit is a veritable bunker unto itself.

                British Fireteam: D5-8/D5
                Unit size: 4 men
                Special rules: Body armor, Run Heavy

A medic unit adds + 1 defence to every unit within their optimum range.


  1. Very interesting article. Anyway to make it "permanent".

    I have been meaning to re-fight 2006 engagements between the IDF and Hizbullah in micro armor, but fell short with the rules and completing the two sides.

  2. Thanks!

    not sure how to 'sticky' it, not a big internet wizard.

    A hezbollah force would rock! also very contemporarily relevant me thinks :)

  3. Cool read. Interesting Rules by FOF. Just curious again, For your tinyfof games, What brand of 1/285 wargaming miniatures do you use?

  4. Did you make any further progress with this idea? I'm keen to get into larger battles using FoF and micro armour, but as you say the overall rules are a bit too much for company+ sized games.