|View of the table at the conclusion of last night's game of Tomorrow's War|
|The objective - a disabled T-640 tank - sits in the middle of a 4' x 4' table|
|A T-340 burning away in the village, victim of the LuftSchwarm|
|LZ marker for the Gün Schwarm VTOL|
|FuturKom officer, lackey (right) and medical bot|
|FuturKom Motor Fuzileers before the fight - beautiful figures from Pig Iron Productions|
|Close up of a FuturKom fireteam - Dallas did an amazing job with these figures|
|Gün Schwarm side before the battle|
|Close up of the "TruKom" rebels - Kolony Rebel figures from Pig Iron Productions|
|Gün regulars, with heavy infantry to the left, just out of the shot|
|FuturKom occupies some cover - the CO keeps things running from the courtyard|
|FuturKom troops cover the street while the Gün VTOL buzzes the battle area|
|TruKom rebels get ready to move out|
|TruKom fireteam showing the effects of heavy fire from FuturKom troops|
|These Gün heavy infantry would end up isolated as the VTOL was driven off, and suffer a "negative outcome" i.e. getting blasted to pieces|
|Another FuturKom fireteam, blazing away at the enemy|
The Kommers got to start two fireteams on the board - others would walk on in the second turn. Brian then set up the two TruKom units anywhere at least 8" away from the Kommers. The Gün regulars would start trying to arrive via VTOL on the first turn - the VTOL had three marked LZs to choose from. The Güns would start with initiative.
|TruKom rebels taking cover near some handy Kommulist-themed containers - Brian would roll Vegas on the first aid checks to keep these guys alive|
|FuturKom fireteam moves out into the street after the building gets a bit too hot...|
|Gün heavy infantry fireteam confronted by the BTR-800 - it would end in tears for the Güns|
On the second turn, one of Brian's fireteams was totally wiped out - they would lay there for a few turns until we got some medical help to them. But the VTOL landed and managed to get the balance of the heavy infantry out into a good position, and they started to hit some Kom fireteams pretty hard. The VTOL, however, was hit by fire and forced to land, effectively knocking it out.
|Gün VTOL forced to make a hard landing thanks to heavy fire by the FuturKom troopers|
|Gün regulars move out to try and support the TruKom rebels|
Dallas rolled quite a few "1"s during his reaction tests, and so the Fog of War cards came out a lot. A couple of these were benign - "the weather clears", but most of these were a big hassle for Dallas. He lost one guy to a booby trap. Another card turned one of his buildings into "Swiss cheese", which made it easy for me to mow down the troops inside. But it went both ways - I lost one of my squads to a misplaced mortar strike - and rolled Vegas to basically wipe them out - and Dallas got to have one of his fireteams go "in the zone", improving to D10 quality and D12 morale for a turn.
|Worst. Reaction Rolls. Ever. Where is that Fog Of War deck?|
|Gün heavy infantry gets zapped by their own mortars...my best rolling the whole game, unfortunately|
|This building suddenly became way less effective cover for the Kommers, and I was able to wipe out the fireteam - but the medical bot brought them back next turn....darn it!|
|FuturKom fireteam covering the T-640 - the BTR-800 (in the background, at the right) has moved on to engage other targets|
|Gün heavy troops pour fire out into the streets...|
|Gün AT launcher engages the BTR-800 in the distance - they would manage to immobilize it...|
|TruKom rebels engage the BTR-800, knocking out the main gun|
|FuturKom Officer - "Well, we're all seriously wounded, but job well done!"|
Thoughts On The Good Stuff
Most games go much better once you understand WTF you are doing, and this was no exception. The action/reaction sequence is very cool. With a little planning and coordination (and not losing your overwatch reaction checks) you can move around the table and cover your own units. This is far and away the coolest aspect of these rules, and makes for a very, very enjoyable gaming experience. Looking back I can already see the mistakes I made by not getting my different fireteams organized to work together a little more. The one heavy infantry fireteam which ended up isolated (and then hit by random mortars...oh well) would have made a huge difference for the rest of our troops, but just ended up getting zapped by a hot LZ.
I also enjoy the constant firefights. You throw buckets of dice (which I love, although that's not for everyone) and everybody gets to shoot a LOT, in just one turn, which I think is fun. The game was only six turns, but we were blazing away at each other for practically the whole game.
The medic/medical bot aspect is neat - with the medical assets around, units can hang around longer, and keep fighting.
I also enjoyed the Fog-Of-War cards. It helped that these mostly plagued Dallas :) but they are pretty neat, and didn't affect the game in an excessive way.
Thoughts On The "Meh" Stuff
I have mixed feelings on the casualties. I have seen several other reviews where the players have remarked one way or the other on this too. For all of the shooting, there were perhaps five models KIA on Dallas' side, and maybe six on our side, for about 11 out of almost 52 infantry models. Now - is that "right"? I'm not sure.
To be clear, this is still 250% better than a 40k game, where the casualties are something like 90% (100% when I play against Dave V's Eldar), and yet somehow neither side breaks, and there are three or four models still on the table at the end of the game, which always feels stupid to me. Besides, what do I really know about the "right" level of casualties?
Removing models by the bunch is just something I'm used to in gaming, so the approach taken by Tomorrow's War is really different from my perspective. By keeping the seriously wounded troops with the unit, you do think of the game a little differently, and I credit the Ambush Alley guys for going with a system that makes the players think/act much more like "real" regular soldiers would with regard to injured comrades. They would be cared for, protected and evacuated, and not just flicked away to make room for a sweeping advance move.
I guess it just seemed like the repeated accumulation of serious wounds in a unit should have had...some kind of worse outcome. Just not sure what it is. Maybe a fireteam with two serious wounds needs to do a TQ check to do anything, even return fire....who knows...but something. All in all, I think this is something I will get used to once I play the game more. Not a big negative, just very different.
Thoughts On The Not-So-Good Stuff
No question we had a way, way better experience with last night's game than our first game. But I feel there are still some serious challenges with these rules.
First of all, it's a lot of "red tape" for a skirmish game - who is wounded, who is seriously wounded, who has moved once, who hasn't, who has fired, how many times have they fired etc. You are keeping track of a lot of stuff for a small game. You will need a number markers/chits for the tabletop. This is not the end of the world, but it will serve as significant check on the size of the game you can have. And not everyone likes a tabletop cluttered in chits.
A big bugaboo, in my view, is the separation of getting hit by fire and determining the results of those hits. Considering that you are taking morale checks all the time in the middle of the turn, waiting until the next turn to see how bad the hit was just does not make any sense to me. The first aid checks should happen right after the round of fire is complete, and before the next activation.
Last, and most significant, remains the confusing structure and organization of the rulebook itself. I simply did not understand "Tomorrow's War" until we read "Force On Force". Tomorrow's War reads like you already know the rules - like you are all already "in" on the game. The fact that we would read a second set of rules just to understand the first set is a strong testament to the positives in this game. "Tomorrow's War" already appears to enjoy a very strong following (and we now see why). A properly organized version of the "Tomorrow's War" rules would surely draw exponentially more new interest from gamers!
A final bit - this game need a proper and well-thought-out QRS sheet. This is a good start, but doesn't quite cut it.
With the riddle of the rules unlocked, Tomorrow's War is a lot of fun. It is a very engaging, firefight-packed game. I look forward to trying it again with the group sometime!
Thanks to Dallas and Brian for coming out to game last night, and to Dallas for bringing along his awesome FuturKom guys and vehicles!
A Word from Dallas
Great report, Greg, and thanks for hosting the game. I don't really have a lot to add, except to echo your comment that this go-through was MUCH better than the first one. TW makes a lot out of its ability to simulate "asymmetric" encounters but as I found in the first game, and Brian saw last night, d8 guys vs. d6 guys is generally not a lot of fun for the d6'ers. This is exacerbated to some degree by the difficulty of putting a man down in TW. Crap hordes vs. a few good troops works better (psychologically) in a game like 40K, where stuff dies. The horde player can feel good about getting a few kills on the other guy, and the good troops will kill horde monsters by the truckload.
But TW is more realistic... not everybody who gets hit will die, be seriously wounded, or even get a boo-boo, for Pete's sake. So it's a bit more cerebral and less visceral an exercise to "see how you're doing" when most of the guys you knocked down stand straight back up again.
I am also growing to be somewhat of a convert to the "reaction" system (as opposed to IGO-UGO). Limiting the number and quality of "reactions" is key, though, especially when the battle is asymmetrical. I enjoyed the way we played last night - that Initiative units were not allowed reactions once the non-Initiative units starting doing stuff at the end of the turn. "You had your chance to act - could have gone on Overwatch if you wanted - now it's our turn." TW allows a bit more "reaction" from the Initiative units so we'll have to consider that.
All in all a great evening's gaming!