21 Mar 2015

Rosetta Skirmish System - A Quick Solo Test

The reason as to why I've been so quiet of late is because Duncan came by a couple of weeks ago and had some really great ideas for what to do with the Rosetta rules that we've been working on and off for the last couple of years.

Basically the idea was to take some parts of Blood Bowl, some parts of Combat Zone, add a touch of God of Battles and blend it all up with a Warhammer 3rd Edition / Rogue Trader vibe and see what came out. And in my humble opinion - it's quite magnificent!

So here's my little attempt to show, rather than tell, what's up with this system of ours (well, most of it anyway - the devil is in the detail after all), why it has really struck a cord with me and why I have been devoting as much of my sparetime (and brain power) on it these couple of weeks since.

To play Rosetta Skirmish then you'll only need the following:

A board about 2-3' by 2-3', 3D6 with 1D6 (or more) in a different colour, markers for Snap-Fire, Defence, Strain (d10's), Out of Ammo (little d6's) and some tufts of cotton for Pinned. Oh, and a measuring tape.

For this solo-test I simply just chose five miniatures from my recently painted 15mm sci-fi forces; The Colonial Defence Force and The Arc Fleet Infantry to conduct a little wargame.

The game was set up just for a quick skirmish, with no special scenario rules or anything of the sort - it was just a straight up firefight to see how things panned out and if there needed to be some changes to the core mechanics. And so far, so good - it really seems like that the system Duncan and I have brewed up holds its own and all that we need to do is getting a lot of meat to these bones.

The first turn went to the Colonial Defence Force, and they were rather quick in moving up to the ruins and secure a good, solid firebase from the only piece of Hard Cover on the board. I don't exactly envision that what you see here is enough terrain for this kind of game, but it worked okay if a little bloody.

Players alternate in having Turns that are divided up into an Action phase and a Tally phase. During the Action phase then a player activates one of his models and performs a number of actions with it, according to its current State - typically a model would be Steady and have 2 Actions during an activation. Once all of his models have been activated - or if a Turn Over occured - you then proceed to the Tally phase were you make sure that your Strain Tally  is lower than your Breaking Point, which is equal to the number of models that you started the scenario with. After this, it then becomes your opponents turn.

During the very first turn of the game, the Colonial Defence Force managed to Wound one of the ARC Fleet troops - but then again, that is to be expected when you deploy them like a Napoleonic line. The normal "Contact!" scenario would not start by one side having all his troops on the board anyway.

Now, if a model is wounded, then you immediately add 1 point of Strain to that force. If they ever reach a total number of Strain (called the Tally) equal to or higher than their Breaking Point, then they will immediately withdraw and end the scenario. 

During your action phase then if you activate a model that is Wounded it must test to see whether it Recovers or succumbs to its wounds and Bleeds out; in either case it won't perform any actions whilst wounded. However during your Tally phase of your Turn, you modify your  Tally by +1 Strain for that phase only for each Wounded model that you have lying about, making it a dangerous prospect for your morale to just let your wounded men lying about.

The ARC Fleet soldier then attempts to avenge his fallen comrade. He tried to fire at the CDF marked with an Opportunity Fire marker, but both he and the Colonial Defence Soldier failed to hit with any of their shots, which saw the end of the ARC Fleets action phase.

While the turn sequence in Rosetta Skirmish is IGO-UGO, there are a couple of reactions that your models can perform, such as Snap-Fire which allows you to fire at an enemy model that moves into line of sight or that targets you for an attack. However, a model that uses such a reaction is then said to have Reacted and cannot perform any actions in your next Action Phase... unless you choose to Exert them, but we'll get to that.

The next Turn for the CDF went by alarmingly quick. One rifleman tried to move up to the corner of the ruin and then attempted to Exert himself so that he could gain an additional action, allowing him to perform an Aimed Shot at the ARC trooper near the bushes. But alas, he rolled the dreaded 1 on his Exertion test. Not only did this cause a Turn Over because it was a 1, but as it was an Exertion test, the CDF added 1 Strain to their Tally. 

The ARC fleet trooper valiantly dashed forward and attempted to Recover his Wounded comrade, using one of his actions for it instead of the model itself, hoping to get him back up on his feet. However, as the die shows, he rolled  a four and only gained a Brief Respite for the Wounded comrade. 

Meanwhile the rest of his comrades started to move out on the CDF left flank in order to circumvent the ruins, but failed to get any good lines of fire established. This left the ARC Fleet with no further option than to activate their Wounded soldier.

You must always activate all of your model, if possible, during an Action Phase. And models that are Wounded must always attempt to Recover during their activation and can perform no further actions if they manage to recover. Unfortunately, the wounded soldier only rolled a 2, which meant that he was Bleeding Out and was Out of Action, meaning that the model was removed from the game. This incurred a further point of Strain to the ARC fleets tally.

The CDF tried to gain lost ground at this juncture and formed small fireteams that kept the lead flying in the general direction of all ARC fleet troops that they could see. Unfortunately, most of them failed to hit; only two hits were scored.

Whenever you Shoot at an enemy model, then you compare your Ranged Combat (RC) value against their Defence (DF) value. If the RC was equal to or lower than the DF, you only roll 1d6. If, however, the RC was higher than the DF you would roll 2d6 and choose the result. As can be seen in this photo, the CDF scored a 5, meaning that he hit the ARC trooper. The white die means that he used Rapid Fire, netting him a +1 RC modifier, but also means that he has to roll a Wild Die (the white die). If the Wild Die ends up a 1 or 2, then he has run out of Ammo and must spend an action in order to Reload his weapon.

Once you have hit the target, you then roll 2d6 and add them together to see what the effect of the hit was. A score of 2-7 means that the target is Pinned, 8-10 means that the target is Wounded and 11-12 means that the target is Out of Action. In this case, the result was that the ARC trooper became Pinned.

On the CDF left flank however, a rifleman joined up to the Support Fire that the Leader was giving and managed to roll the above result! Double 6, which meant two results of Critical Hits, netting him a +2 modifier for his Damage Roll against the target - this could spell the end for the ARC Leader...

... Unless of course you roll a 4 on 2d6, which ended up a 6 with the +2 modifier - the Leader was only Pinned! 

Support Fire is an action that a model can take during its activation which grants all friendly models within 2" a +1 RC modifier against an enemy target that is in line of sight to both the active model and the model granting Support Fire - sort of how Assists work in Blood Bowl.

It then became the ARC Fleets turn to move. But seeing as all of his model that didn't React in the CDF players turn were all Pinned, his options were severely limited. So he chose to attempt to Rally his men... and unfortunately failed with all of them. Pinned models only have 1 Action during the Action phase (unless they rally and gain an additional action). So, in an attempt to have some comeuppance against the CDF, he tried to Exert his Leader and rolled a 3 - "Wearied" - and the leader did get an additional action... but at the cost of adding 1 Strain to the Tally. And just to kick the ARC fleet while they were down, he flopped his Aimed Shot against the CDF (rolling 2 and 2 - two misses) and thus ended their Action Phase.

This meant that the ARC fleet had a Tally of 3, with a +2 for having two Pinned models. The net result was a Tally of 5, equalling their Breaking Point and thus ending the scenario at this point.
Had the Tally been 4, then he would have automatically removed the Pinned markers from the models, giving him at least a fighting chance for the next turn.

So there we have it - three turns, and even though it was a solo playtest I really felt excited during the game as I was constantly weighing my options and how to best put the odds in my favour for both sides... not aided at all by some very bad die rolls at very bad times. 

Ah well, hope this has given you a bit of insight into the shape of things to come. I might, provided Duncan gives the go-ahead, release a very trimmed down and basic playtest rulebook on the blog so that you can give them a go yourself.

Till then, happy gaming everyone!