Trucked up to the club this week for an intro game of Fireteam Andromeda. Scott had pulled out all the stops with two fully painted armies, with mechs, tanks, aircraft, dropships and, of course, huge numbers of alien mercenaries. By the time I arrived, the table was all set up, a mining outpost on a (presumably) terraformed Mars. The miners were had risen up against the Martian authorities and it up to me to put them back in their place. The game started with the miners holed up in their reinforced structures, awaiting the arrival of their militia forces.
A couple turns in. Having destroyed the scout jeeps on the right, my infantry move into the Martian maize.
The core combat mechanic is pretty straightforward; 2D6 rolls to hit, roll to save vs weapon strength, morale check depending on casualties. Terrain, buildings, range and range cause modifiers to the various rolls, while spending command points can boost accuracy. All in all, pretty by-the-numbers wargaming fare.
An interesting addition to the genre is the command point system. Although fairly familiar to historical players, I've not come across a similar mechanic in a sci-fi game. Essentially, at the start of every turn, each player gets one command for every effective unit either on the table or available that turn (so no points for shaken or pinned troops, nor for reinforcements yet to appear.) Players then use these points individually to activate a unit, who can then perform their movement and combat actions. Again, pretty logical.
With two destroyed colony buildings and zero surviving miners, my infantry pull back to cover...
... because these guys were all about to flood onto the table!
Now here's the interesting bits. Each force can only use a certain number of points in one "go" based on their commanders leadership. In this game, we could both use up to three command points before we had to let the other player spend their three points. Half way through the game, I took out Scott's commander and as a result, he was only able to use two points before returning initiative to me.
Yes! Nailed the command vehicle!
Command points aren't only there to activate units though. As I mentioned earlier, you can spend one to boost a unit's shooting (spending one to activate and one to boost,) or you can spend one to return fire when one of your units is attacked. Lastly, if you have reserve units, you need to spend a command point to attempt to bring them on, which I think is a fantastic wee innovation and very different from other sci-fi games.
Maybe slightly imbalancing the game, the flying tank took out three tanks, two apcs, three scout jeeps without a scratch in return. Maybe include some anti-air weapons next time Scott!
The end of the game with an impressive amount of smoke markers. Both sides had plenty infantry units left, but my force still had three extremely resilient tanks and the ridiculous fighter to call on!
So, a decent set of sci-fi rules, able to cope easily with forces larger than I would have expected. Reading through the rules, there's a flexible approach to choosing your units are plenty of optional abilities to customise your forces. Fast and brutal, the game flowed quickly enough, and, on a 6x4 table, didn't feel either too crowded or barren. Lastly, the vehicle on vehicle combat seemed spot on, fairly easy to hit but quite difficult to take something out with one hit (unless you're using the bitchin' aircraft!)
Now the three of us have only read the beta rules, no longer available as the author, Torben Kastbjerg, has published the updated rules here. Although the £10 is a little steep besed on the beta rules, I'm willing to recommend you check them out.
Lastly, a HUGE thanks to Scott for running an excellent game. When he offered to run the game, I expected smallish forces with the odd bit of terrain and a kill everyone mission. Instead, we had heaps of troops, plenty of terrain, building that were replaced with ruins when destroyed and a great scenario. Great effort!