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Subject: After Action Thoughts rss

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Aron Clark
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Well drat, Tomorrow's War isn't exactly what I hoped it would have been. I was looking for something a bit more like the feel I had from a single play of Ambush Alley. Sadly TW misses the mark for me right now, couple of observations:

Quality disparity can be pretty devastating. I had quality at a d6 vs an opponent with quality d8. TW is basically an opposed roll system counting successes, with the key mechanic being the reaction check. Target number for a success is 4. Count your successes vs. your opponents successes to yield a result.

TW is also a bucket o dice system, which is kind of fun to roll lots of dice

Here's a basic example of a fire fight that illustrates the two above points.

1 Declare a unit will fire on a target
2 Firing unit and target unit dice quality and check for successes to see who fires first. Ties to the initiative player.
3 Firer counts the number firepower dice which vary, usually about 5 for a small or exhausted vs 10 for a large or fresh unit
4 Defender counts defense dice, 1 per figure plus body armor and cover usually about 7 to 10
5 Defense successes will cancel Attack success of an equal or lesser value. Attack successes will cause a casualty.
6 The other side then returns fire in the same way

So here's what happened pretty consistently for my lower quality troops. Declare to fire, fire second (every damn time), take x number of casualties that will reduce returning fire power, return fire and score 3 or 4 hits, which are then easily saved by the high quality defense dice.

Tech level disparity (which I suffered from too) is an effective +1d modifier in my opponents favor for every opposed roll we make. Yes, every single opposed roll . . . and if the tech was more disparent it could be +2d or more.

The game feels broken with quality disparity, but maybe that's the way it is supposed to be (british paras beating up on argentinian regulars)?

I only killed one of those paras, vs 3 kia for my side

So it's not a casualty heavy game, even for all that dicing
The rulebook is painfully fluffy and not laid out very well, I would need to write a summary set of rules on a couple of pages to logically cover what is written in 30 or so

That's not to say that there aren't some good rules there, they are just needlessly buried.

It felt a bit like playing WRG, factor factor factor factor I still need a 6 type of thing.

What did I like?
The action / reaction system is pretty cool. The chance to respond to your oppents action either by fire or movement is neat. However, I think there needs to be a limiter on the reaction by fire. Maybe pooling the total available fire power for the responding unit and dolling it out through out the turn. That means that the reacting unit if high quality couldn't lay down more fire as an inactive player than they could as the active player.

The initiative system is pretty cool too, that works well enough. Throw 1 quality die per 2 units, plus some basic modifiers . . . but then again having initiative doesn't net you a lot, just means you get to go first and see if you get shot first in reaction.

I'm going to have to play TW a couple of more times to make sure I'm not missing something, but I'm not looking forward to that. I'd rather play Star Grunt or Hammer's Slammers, both of those sets seem to provide a more enjoyable game.
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Charlie Theel
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I've played 3 games so far and really enjoyed it. It feels like a modern, evolved version of Stargrunt II. The reaction system is excellent and I do agree that many rules are buried.

On the positive side, the book is gorgeous and very cheap. The ruleset also seems very flexible with rules given for mounts/bikes, night fighting, combat drugs, aliens, air units, all different kinds of land vehicles, artillery (on and off-board), etc.

It's very complete.
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Padraic Kirby
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Good review and I agree they will leave you with your first impression as you stated.

Tomorrows War is a scenario based Rules Set. It is best to play one of the balanced Scenarios from the TW Book or adapt one from the excellent in-print Force on Force Scenario Books until you get a feel for how to handle the disparity in quality of forces. When you play a Force on Force scenario say based in Afghanistan you have a context for the quality disparity. If the Taliban lose 10 casualties but put 5 casualties on the ISAF force you can sense this as a tactical victory for the Taliban. Within a Sci-fi context the same tension may not be present as the forces are abstract unless you have a fleshed out the backstory of the forces involved.

I will be putting on a TW scenario on Sunday for my fellow gamers that have not played it yet. I can see the biggest obstacle will be getting the attacking force to be aggressive enough to press into the enemy's position under fire while trusting their superiority of Quality and Technology will prevent them from being massacred and will actually give them a good chance to win if they use good tactics. The defenders of lower quality will make up for that in numbers and maneuverability.

I have been gaming for 40+ years and I have had more fun with these rules than any other. When I first tried them I had no experience with or interest in gaming modern or future conflict. I am now busy collecting every 15mm Sci-Fi figure and vehicle I can afford.

Keep playing.

Get help here:

http://ambushalleygames.com/forum

Pat
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Greg Moore
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Make your higher tech teams smaller than the lower tech.

Yes the rule book could have been laid out better.
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Charlie Theel
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I saw your blog post about this game as well (or was it your opponent's blog post?) where you mentioned confusion over dicing for casualties.

I probably should have replied on your blog but I don't have the link now and am on BGG much more often.

I posted about casualties and dicing for wounded on the Ambush Alley forums as I wasn't quite sure how to do it either. I was aware that who bites it doesn't matter in a Regular unit since others can take up command or the SAW.

However, when dicing off casualties you treat the Seriously wounded as dependents. In the dependent section, it states that if more than half the Attacker's dice are misses then the dependent's take the casualties. Otherwise the fit members of the Fireteam do. Light wounded are not considered dependents and may be designated as one of th casualties. This causes a bit less book-keeping.

To simplify book-keeping of wounded, I either turn seriously wounded models on their side or I use some of the markers I have from Stargrunt II (use the skulls for Seriously wounded and the Crosses for Light Wounds).

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Corey Locke
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You got to also take into account that this is a scenario based game, and you need to try and play with in the confines of the task.

When I played, i was the D6 troops and I got smoked.. thing is, I almost won, as I was able to delay him. If it wasnt for a mistake with him running through difficult terrain, I may have been able to get the win.

Yes, D6 troops really suck compared to D8 or higher, and will loose in a straight up firefight. I found I was able to use other tactics to compensate and hence why I like the rules..
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Padraic Kirby
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Agree, as the d6 player, study the scenario mission objectives carefully and plan accordingly. You do not want to get into a stand up fight with a D8+ player unless you have to. Delay him by staying hidden and using ambush fire as he trys to scout you. Use your manoeuvre advantage out of his LOS to infiltrate into areas he thinks are safe on flanks and behind him and take easy kills. Delay by using suppression (-2 Die) fire on his overwatch units rather than trying for the kill. Delay, Delay Delay.....

Pat
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Aron Clark
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Well we played a second round of TW tonight. This time a scenario of my opponent's own design. Very well thought out ambush with some interesting rules of engagement. The troops were closer in quality with some slight benefits to the ambushed side (+1 armor, 2 more units, etc.). We learned a good deal more about the TW mechanics (timing details of the action / reaction stuff, and overwatch behavior). Even with this new understanding I found the game to be too crunchy for my tastes and the the rule book is still too difficult to navigate.

I would rate TW as "difficult" on the complexity scale, possibly "very difficult" given the rule book challenges. If you are interested in a heavy miniature war-game at this platoon level scale it would be an enjoyable experience.
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