(Renegade Legion) damage template / armour penetration combat systems
Barry Harvey
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This is a GeekList for games that use the Renegade Legion damage template system or similar.

Playing early sf combat games, such as Car Wars and Battletech, I sometimes felt fustrated when armour was shown as being some form of hit points with every bit of armour having to be shot off before any internal damage could be done. Was armour in thin layers that evaporated when hit? Was each piece magnetic and attracted hits until it was completely destroyed?

FASA's Renegade Legion came along and offered a different interpretation. (I don't know if this was the first implementation of this sort of system but it was my first encounter with the basic idea).

Armour was represented by a block of boxes 10 wide by X thick. One face represented the outside, the other led into the internal workings of the vehicle in question. A vehicle would have a separate armour block for each side, and an extra one if a turret was included.

When hit with a weapon, instead of applying an amount of damage, the weapon produced a template. The column of the armour block was selected at random and the template set at the first undamaged box in that column, with every box under the template marked as destroyed. This led to a difference between armour-piercing shots, which would produce long, thin templates, and high explosive shots, which would be wider, more spread out but flatter templates. This was combined with the idea called 'widowing', which meant that armour boxes that were no longer connected to other armour boxes would fall out, i.e., the armour had been undercut.

The result was that sometimes, if multiple shots hit the same column, a vehicle would take internal damage with very little armour damage. On other occasions you would find yourself having to destroy virtually every piece of armour on the side of a vehicle to get anywhere. All this produced a visually appealing representation of damaged armour.

Note that this list is about the use of templates in the penetration of armour; there are many other games that use some form of template purely for damage allocation.
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1. Board Game: Renegade Legion: Interceptor [Average Rating:6.76 Overall Rank:4463]
Barry Harvey
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The first of FASA's Renegade Legion series. The weapons available were lasers, particle cannons, mass drivers and various missiles.

I understand that it was supposed to have been their idea for a Star Wars game but they didn't have the licence. I'm not sure how it would fit as there was very little variation in weapon types in Star Wars.

The first edition rules used an unpopular wire-diagram system for damage allocation. The unpublished 2nd edition attempted to combine the damage templates with damage allocation.
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2. Board Game: Renegade Legion: Centurion – Blood & Steel [Average Rating:6.71 Overall Rank:4371]
Barry Harvey
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My first encounter with damage templates.

Centurion applied the idea that tank guns - gauss guns in this case - would have different types of ammunition available to them so you now had a choice of what type of shell to use. Additional weapons included lasers and missiles.

Centurion also integrated the armour blocks with the vehicle's damage allocation. You could now see the high explosive rounds as they penetrated the armour and exploded inside the structure of the tank, taking out surrounding systems.
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3. Board Game: Renegade Legion: Leviathan [Average Rating:6.23 Overall Rank:7352]
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The third Renegade Legion game,

Leviathan couldn't make much use of the damage template system because its weapons were so abstracted - something that was necessary when a weapons bay could fire 100 lasers at the same time. However, armour could still be widowed with spinal mounts and it was fun pouring fire into a battleship which had 20 layers of armour to work through.
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4. Board Game: Crimson Skies [Average Rating:7.05 Overall Rank:2871]
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Again by FASA, Crimson Skies was alternative history, post-WW1 fighter combat with just a hint of steam-punk.

Integrating the internal structure with armour blocks meant that armour penetration and damage allocation were combined. And if damage applied to the back armour of a wing penetrated far enough (destroying internal components as it went) that it met up with damage applied to the front armour of a wing then guess what? The wing fell off!
 
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5. Board Game: Armor Grid: Mech Attack! [Average Rating:7.78 Unranked]
Barry Harvey
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So the game is called Armor Grid because it uses... an armour grid!

Not by FASA but similar to their system. A vehicle only has a single armour block and widowing is different and so occurs more often.

Unlike the other games in this list it is not OOP.
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