We recently had a play test of the Star Wars Miniatures Battles (SWMB) scenario slated for Sessions 5 & 6, September 26th, at Hurricon 2015 so it seems like a good time to give everyone more information on the game. What follows is a primer on the system and how it will be played at the convention. Because it is a fairly complex system we have streamlined many of the rules with the intent of capturing the feel of the mechanics rather than the rules exactly as written. In this way we can make the game as accessible as possible to veterans and rookie gamers alike.
Win a Copy of the Rules!
Each session we will be giving a raffle ticket to the 6 players who participate in the games (i.e. a total of 12 tickets handed out). The winner of this highly focused raffle will receive a copy of the core game rules AND the companion rules that adds vehicles to the game. Participate in both sessions and DOUBLE your chances of winning!!!
Members of The Just Dice League, their families, associates, neighbors, bookies and pets are not eligible to win a copy of the rules.
What is SWMB?
The game is an award winning, squad-based system originally published by West End Games (WEG) and is now out of print, but still available from many retailers. It is sometimes confused with the more recent Wizards of the Coast (WotC) “Star Wars Miniatures”, which is something else entirely. However, given that the original 20mm WEG miniatures are especially hard to find we will be using the WotC 28/30mm miniatures along with miniatures from Fantasy Flight Games’ “Star Wars: Imperial Assault”.
What separates SWMB from most squad-based systems is that it offers a gaming experience with incredible depth. It was also written to work well with their Star Wars Role Playing Game (also being played at the convention), so is a natural choice for GM’s and players who are looking for character/scenario driven games that immerse the players in the action beyond just “run and gun.”
I don’t want to give too much away as the story will be developing throughout the course of the campaign. Suffice it to say it will be a ground battle on the surface of Tatooine between the iconic forces of the Empire and Rebel Alliance. It will be objective based with Part I having its own set of objectives so that players participating only in the first session will have a sense of closure when they walk away from the table. The Imperial forces will consist of Stormtrooper Squads, Scout Speeder Bikes, Probe Droids and AT-ST’s. We might even have a BIG surprise if we can make it work. The Rebel forces will include Rebel Troopers, T-47 airspeeders (aka “Snowspeeder”) and, if the Empire brings the big guns, then the Alliance will also need to call in reinforcements. Oh, and the Rebels will, of course, have the Force on their side. Literally.
The Game Turn
Turns of SWMB are played in several phases:
Normally in this phase the opposing sides roll a d6 and add the highest Command (CMD) stat amongst their surviving models with the winning roll gaining Initiative and choosing which side will activate first in the Movement Phase. For the convention we are instead going to test the players’ Star Wars knowledge by asking a few trivia questions and the side with the most correct answers gains initiative.
In this phase the two sides take turns activating and moving units (squads and vehicles). Squads will have the option of walking with a penalty to ranged attacks, running without shooting or standing still with no firing penalty. The game also takes into account prone troops, so squads may assume this posture during movement and gain a cover bonus. And it is also during this phase when units initiate Assaults on enemy units by charging using their Run rate of movement (i.e. not shooting).
Vehicles are handled slightly different and is an area where we’ve done the most significant amount of simplification for the sake of time restrictions at the convention. Walkers and speeders will have walk and run rates, but will also only be permitted one 45o turn every x” of walk movement (varies between units). For example, an AT-ST has a walk rate of 6” and may perform one 45o turn for every 3” of movement, so may perform up to two turns at the walk rate (e.g. at 3” and/or 6”). In addition, the T-47’s will be using some off-board movement as their minimum speed will prevent them from being able to maneuver properly. This will, essentially, result in them making strafing runs against Imperial units as they move on and off the main table. In all cases vehicles moving at the “Run” rate can only go straight as they transfer all power to engines!
In this phase units that are able to perform shooting attacks resolve those attacks simultaneously (i.e. casualties are applied at the end of the Phase). Each attack is resolved by first determining hits, which is done by rolling a number of d6 according to the weapons fired and attempting to score a target result or higher (the base difficulty adjusted with any applicable modifiers). Against Infantry/Creatures each hit is then resolved by making an opposed d6 roll with the defender and attempting to meet or exceed their roll plus any bonus for the strength of the weapon. Winning the opposed roll subjects the target unit to one Wound.
For example, a Rebel Squad of 10 troopers at full strength fires at a Stormtrooper Squad at Medium Range. The Rebel player rolls 10 dice plus 2 bonus dice for having active Repeating Blasters in the squad. Because the squad remained stationary and the Stromtroopers are not in cover the player counts all rolls of 4+ as hits. The Rebel player makes the roll and scores 7 hits. For each hit both players then roll 1d6 with the Rebel player adding +1 for the strength of the weapon and compare the results. The Rebel player ties the Imperial player on 2 rolls and outscores them on 3 for a total of 5 wounds.
Shooting at vehicle is handled slightly different. Hits are determined in the same way as for infantry, but damage is determined by the attacker adding the strength of the weapon to an opposed roll for which the defender adds the strength of their armor. If the attacker meets or exceeds the defender’s roll the vehicle reduces its Hull Points by the total amount of the weapon strength and the value on the die. If the attacker won with a roll of “6” (i.e. a “natural 6”, the maximum amount of damage possible) they then make a second roll that, if it is also a 6, counts the damage as a Critical Hit and subjects the defending vehicle to further damage effects beyond the base damage.
For example, an Imperial AT-ST with an Armor Value of “9” is hit by a T-47 firing a Laser Cannon with a damage value of 10. The Imperial player rolls a 5 for a total of 14 (d6 roll + Armor Value 9). The Rebel player rolls a 6 for a total of 16 (d6 roll 6 + Weapon Damage 10). Since the damage roll is higher the Imperial player then reduces the AT-ST’s Hull Points by 16. The Rebel player then rolls another d6 and gets a 4 – No Critical.
In this phase any close combat is resolved – assuming the charging unit survived the Shooting Phase! Each close combat attack is an opposed roll between the participating models where the players add their Melee Combat value. If one side outnumbers the other they may apply a +1 modifier to one of the opposed checks for each model by which they outnumber their opponent. If they outnumber their opponent by more than 2:1 then they may further apply an additional +1 to the opposed checks. All bonuses must be distributed as evenly as possible. Once the number of rolls and assigned bonuses are determined the players make the opposed check and the higher scoring roll inflicts 1 Hit on their opponent with ties causing no hits. When all hits have been determined the players make opposed Wound checks in the same manner as for Shooting attacks with any damage bonuses applied for Melee weapons if applicable.
For example, a Rebel Trooper squad at full strength (10 troops) has charged a Stormtrooper squad at full strength (8 troops) that moved at a Run during the Movement Phase and is unable to fire defensively. When the Assault is resolved the two players make 8 opposed rolls (the smaller of the two squad sizes) and the Rebel player adds +1 to the first two opposed rolls for having 2 additional soldiers in the fight.
In this phase units make Casualty and Rally Morale Checks. Each unit has a morale level that corresponds to the state of the unit: 6-4 (Good), 3-2 (Shaken), 1 (Demoralized) and 0 (Broken). Penalties and/or effects are applied for morale level other than Good. When a unit receives casualties in the Shooting and Assault Phases they must make a morale check during the Morale Phase. If no check is required they can elect to make a Rally Check to attempt to increase morale.
Checks are performed by making an opposed roll where the player adds the highest CMD Bonus among the surviving models in the unit and their opponent adds the number of casualties inflicted that turn and any applicable modifiers based on the conditions of the unit (e.g. in cover, 50% strength, etc…). If the player matches or exceeds their opponent’s roll they pass the check and suffer no ill effects, otherwise they reduce their morale by one level and apply any effects for the new morale state. For Rally Tests winning the roll increases their morale level by 1.
For example, an Imperial Stormtrooper squad at Morale Level 4 suffered 2 casualties from shooting and their squad leader (CMD +1) is still alive. They roll a 4 on the die for a total of 5 (d6 roll of 5 + 1 CMD bonus). Their opponent rolls a 4 for a total of 6 (d6 roll 4 + 2 casualties). The squad then reduces its Morale Level to 4 and the unit becomes Shaken. They can no longer advance on the enemy and suffer penalties to all skill checks.
“Exploding Dice”: When making a Morale Check players on each side that roll a 6 may immediately Roll an additional die and add the result to the total. This mechanic is, technically, applied to any skill check in the game, but is only being used in the Morale Phase for sake of speed/simplicity.
And to add flavor for the convention game each side will also have access to a factions-specific ability that will give one of their squads an edge when making a Morale Check each turn!
In this phase all movement/activation markers are removed, resetting units for the next Turn.
Join the Fight!!!
If you are interested in SWMB all you need to do is attend Hurricon 2015 for two chances to play! I highly encourage you to pre-register for the convention, which will allow you to also reserve spots it up to 3 games on the PEL as spots fill up quickly!!!