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Subject: Need some rules/strategy help to get started rss

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Brian Blackwell
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Hoy now, fantasy trippers! I'm just getting started with Melee and am trying to learn the rules via a simple 1-on-1 battle. Things aren't going so well and I figure I'm misunderstanding the game...

Dwarf: MA 6, STR 13, DEX 11 (adjDEX 6) hammer, lg.shield, chainmail
Orc: MA 8, STR 14, DEX 10 (adjDEX 8) morningstar, sm.shield, leather

Basically these two are dancing around in circles swinging and missing 90% of the time and the whole thing is feeling pretty pointless.

My understanding is that ALL movement (including shifting) happens first for both players, then actions take place based upon that movement. Being engaged, each player can only move 1 hex while remaining adjacent (or move 1 hex away to disengage).

It seems that two combatants with non-missile weapons have little reason for doing anything but standing and attacking, and trying to roll 6-8 or less on 3d6 isn't exactly great odds, so we've got nothing doing here -- what am I missing?
 
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Tim Schmitt
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It's been literally decades since I've played, but yes: in my memory, that's when the game gets less interesting. Try two fighters on each side, with a more varied assortment of weapons.

...or if you can find The Fantasy Trip: Advanced Melee, you can incorporate some of the advanced rules, e.g. targeting specific parts of the body.
 
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Russ Williams
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Note that this is a reason that, strategically, you might prefer wearing lighter armor... There's a tradeoff of increased protection at the cost of not hitting as accurately. If the other guy is hitting you so rarely, it could be wiser to hit him more often and not worry about so much protection.
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John Holder
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You will hit more if you can get that Adj DX higher. Lose the shields. Consider a pole weapon. (move half MA, and if you hit, double damage). Also, one of my favorite things to use from Advanced Melee (which was added early in the Space Gamer if I recall) is "Cloth Armor": -1 hit, and only -1 to your Adj DX and -1 MA.

I'd often have a dexterous elf with a bow and short sword wound an enemy severely from a distance before taking a turn to switch weapons and finish them off... or if I knew the other guy was likely to be heavily armored, a pole weapon with a good charge attack can make nice holes in chain and plate - and if they are slow enough from their armor, you can run away and recharge them a time or two, especially if you have a partner to keep them engaged.
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Brian Blackwell
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Thank you guys; I'm sorry to hear that the answer is simply to avoid the given scenario, especially since these two guys are geared in such a common fashion. If I was trying something outlandish it wouldn't come as such a surprise that it wasn't working. But ok, I will try with a different layout and see where we get; I have to believe this game is well-liked for a reason.
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Russ Williams
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bbblackwell wrote:
Thank you guys; I'm sorry to hear that the answer is simply to avoid the given scenario, especially since these two guys are geared in such a common fashion. If I was trying something outlandish it wouldn't come as such a surprise that it wasn't working. But ok, I will try with a different layout and see where we get; I have to believe this game is well-liked for a reason.

FWIW: It's been years since I played (and I did indeed like it, and played most/all of the little solitaire modules for it), but 2 fighters with nonranged weapons don't really have much reason to move around, as I recall; you simply swing until you hit and ultimately kill the other guy, or vice versa. So even though the probability of a single hit succeeding is relatively low, the game needn't go slowly because each turn is quite fast (just roll the dice and see if you hit or not).
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Brian Blackwell
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russ wrote:
...the game needn't go slowly because each turn is quite fast (just roll the dice and see if you hit or not).


I'm just satisfied to know that I'm interpreting the game correctly; I don't find anything particularly enjoyable about rolling dice over and over with nothing in between, but it seems that can be resolved by expanding outside my little trial scenario. I'll get some more units on the board, vary their loadout, and see what happens. I don't play RPG's currently, so I wanted to get my D&D minis some exercise; I figured I'd make a tournament using Melee to see who emerges victorious!
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Rob Rob
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You're kind of pitting two tanks in a toe to toe grind fest. As mentioned, the game is more interesting in larger battles with more diverse opponents. The asymmetry is where the game shines. Back in the day we used to play using lead minis, the mounted rules (from the Space Gamer magazine) and the city hex map from Avalon Hill's "SNIPER!"
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Kent Reuber
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In cases like this, the right strategy might be to draw your dagger and enter hand-to-hand combat.

Hand to Hand rules wrote:
Since figures in HTH combat are on the ground and/or grappling with their foe(s), they always get the +4 "rear hex" DX adjustment.

During the combat phase, HTH combat is rolled for like any other combat. A dagger gets 1+2, a main-gauche gets 1-1, bare hands against a stronger enemy get 1-4, bare hands against an enemy of the same strength get 1-3, and bare hands against a weaker enemy get 1-2.


Also, the weapons you've selected require one ST less than the amount the figures have. So, take that one ST and put it in DX.
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Brian Blackwell
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kentreuber wrote:
In cases like this, the right strategy might be to draw your dagger and enter hand-to-hand combat.

Hand to Hand rules wrote:
Since figures in HTH combat are on the ground and/or grappling with their foe(s), they always get the +4 "rear hex" DX adjustment.

During the combat phase, HTH combat is rolled for like any other combat. A dagger gets 1+2, a main-gauche gets 1-1, bare hands against a stronger enemy get 1-4, bare hands against an enemy of the same strength get 1-3, and bare hands against a weaker enemy get 1-2.


Also, the weapons you've selected require one ST less than the amount the figures have. So, take that one ST and put it in DX.


Hey Kent! Good point.
 
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Brian Blackwell
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Ok, so I added in an unarmored combatant with a crossbow, and on the other team a very bad man with a spear who has teamed up with our evil Orc; things seem to be going better.

Just to get this charging bit straight... the spearman does not have initiative and so moves last; he is charging (moving the last three hexes straight in a row) for half his movement allowance, ending adjacent to his target (preparing for an attack). Is his target (who has already moved and has a higher adjusted DEX) now considered engaged, and may use his action to disengage, taking a step back and thus missing the spear charge attack?
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Kevin Smith
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bbblackwell wrote:
Ok, so I added in an unarmored combatant with a crossbow, and on the other team a very bad man with a spear who has teamed up with our evil Orc; things seem to be going better.
Just to get this charging bit straight... the spearman does not have initiative and so moves last; he is charging (moving the last three hexes straight in a row) for half his movement allowance, ending adjacent to his target (preparing for an attack). Is his target (who has already moved and has a higher adjusted DEX) now considered engaged, and may use his action to disengage, taking a step back and thus missing the spear charge attack?

I believe so.

If the target has a higher adjusted DEX than the orc then it will attack before the orc. For its attack it could use the disengage option to move one hex away from the orc, causing the orc to not have an eligible target to attack.

When using very few models you probably have a greater chance of higher DEX models disengaging from lower DEX models. Eventually, though, a model has to attack to do damage, so we never found this to be a problem.

Kevin
PS: If you ever get the chance, pick up the module called Death Test. It's a pre-programmed dungeon where you're basically going from room to room and fighting. All of the inhabitants are pre-generated, so there's very little book work to do. It's tough to survive, but very fun.
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Brian Blackwell
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I've seen Death Test but hadn't looked into it sufficiently to decide upon it. Thank you for chiming in here, Kevin; for some reason, Melee just wasn't clicking for me right out of the gate, but I'm committed to getting it working smooth. Been enjoying The Lords of Underearth, though! I'll look into Death Test right away.
 
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Tim Schmitt
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underling wrote:
PS: If you ever get the chance, pick up the module called Death Test. It's a pre-programmed dungeon where you're basically going from room to room and fighting. All of the inhabitants are pre-generated, so there's very little book work to do. It's tough to survive, but very fun.


bbblackwell wrote:
I've seen Death Test but hadn't looked into it sufficiently to decide upon it. Thank you for chiming in here, Kevin; for some reason, Melee just wasn't clicking for me right out of the gate, but I'm committed to getting it working smooth. Been enjoying The Lords of Underearth, though! I'll look into Death Test right away.


I got great enjoyment out of both Death Test 2 and Security Station as well.
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Brian Blackwell
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So many interesting titles here, recommendations focus my research efforts. Much obliged!
 
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Gary McCammon
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Here's where your initial combat went wrong: ignoring the bell curve for the moment, there's about a 100/15 = 6.7% chance of any given result on 3d6, meaning that the guy with a adjDX of 6 only has a (3,4,5,6) 26.7% chance to hit with any given attack, while the guy with adjDX 8 has a 40% chance, and, then when you count in the bell curve, nobody's hitting anyone anyhow. A figure really needs an adjDX of at least 9 to be able to be competent at combat, and that's a 9 counting any minus they get from armor.

Now! There's a character type described in one of the early Space Gamer issues called "The Blob", which turns this idea on its head. You put as much as you can into ST so he can carry a massive weapon (a battleax or 2-handed sword) and give him Plate armor. His adjDX will be total crap with the -5 for the Plate, he'll be almost motionless, and he'll only hit on a 3, 4, or 5 on 3d6, but the Plate and his high ST will keep him going until he DOES hit - for an average of 8-9 points, enough to severely injure most combatants.

Now, as far as the crossbowman and the spearman go - it's been a while since I read the rules in detail, but, if I recall correctly, the crossbowman, even though he has a higher DX, has already moved for the turn, and wouldn't be able to dodge the spear UNLESS he had moved less than half his MA... which of course actually penalizes for having the higher DX, but there you are.

BUT! Note that the rules state that if you're rolling for initiative, the winner of the initiative gets to choose whether or not to move first - so the crossbowman could tell the spearman to go first, see that he's charging and THEN pull a Defend maneuver for his action, leaving the spearman to try to hit with a 4d6 roll instead of 3d6. (It's really more efficient to use a set pole weapon against an enemy who's charging YOU.)

OR- you can steal a mechanism from the advanced game and give the crossbowman a 3d6 roll vs its DX to step back one hex and avoid the spear, which is probably how I'd handle it. If spearman misses, he'll likely get a crossbow bolt at point-blank range, or the crossbow guy will move in for HTH which means the spear becomes useless anyway.
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Chris Rice
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Another thing to bear in mind is that disengaging, or moving one hex away from a spearman, does not protect you from attack. A pole weapon can make a jab attack across that distance.

This was certainly a rule in Advanced Melee. I can't remember if it was in the simpler Melee rules, but is well worth adopting.
 
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