This will be by no means detailed review, but I will share my experience with Chain Reaction System from Two Hour Wargames, based on their WWII game Nuts!, I played these days
As a former roleplaying gamer, I have an issues with some aspects of combat. Namely, knowing where enemy is and reaction to enemy actions. While first cannot be offset that easily, or at all, latter often makes me pack a game in the middle of it. Basically, I put my guy somewhere and if he is not a total loser, I expect him to defend that area - but often on enemy's turn they ran past him.
File comment: You shall not pass! ...this bridge, though..
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A&A has a defensive fire and a Overwatch, so things are not bad, but this Reaction System kicks in to full and basically makes all units as on Overwatch at all times. And not on that one fireline
Now, the gameplay of any Two Hour Wargames goes something like this:
- you and enemy roll for initiative. Higher goes first, and can activate commanders up to quality (called Reputation) rolled,
- now each commander with squad can wander around inside allowed movement, can run and do stuff,
- and when they turn around corner or jump out of hedge or however they get in sight of enemy, fun things happen!
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It's event called In Sight, after which they can make additional 2" (out of 8") movement, this bring other guys from squad into action, or fall back to cover. Now all commanders will roll for initiative inside this In Sight, namely number of dice based on their Reputation, with some modifiers. Winner goes first, and can fire, fall back, or charge if in charge range. If they fire, whatever figures are fired on (and are alive!) take tests and based on success they return fire, duck back or even flee the battlefield if they fail morale check badly and someone close died. In the rules fire is exchanged until they are unable to fire or until they duck back, but I have modified it to last for few exchanges when new turn starts - makes it easier to make combined approach assault.
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So what is different in this approach?
First, in i-go-you-go game I can send few teams to take target. If first fails, second or third team can take it - all I can lost is a turn. Here though, sending one or two teams can make them KIA, and their buddies can fail morale check and do nothing.. You lost not a turn, but units! Makes game more dynamic and unpredictable.
Secondly, it's down and dirty. One figure in AAM is a squad and by sending few of them you know they might take casualty, and by taking it and disappearing you are telling yourself they are wounded. Not here though - if there is MMG down a street sending guys in front means almost certain death to some, and I have stopped playing one game by being unable to solve this deadly trap (solution: spread units so MG can target only few) and not wanting to send guys to their death. Neat.
Any attempt to charge has higher chance to receive fire and without superior firepower, things will go bad. In the setup below, dug-in T-34 were taken (very hard!) by close assault with infantry as they were almost impossible to hit and penetrate with panzers.
File comment: Stuck.. any movement forward will be greeted with hot heavy AT rounds
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Nuts! has German, British, American and Russian army lists for infantry and vehicles. There are close assaults, random events, simple but effective out of ammo rules, missions, reinforcement rules, mortars as free supplement, even campaign. Game is very solo friendly by using PEFs, or possible enemy forces and their movement, and I had (incredible is the word here) fun using them in other settings.
I believe they are used for 28mm but I'm using them in 15mm without problems. In previous versions of Chain Reaction system used in Nuts! all units in In Sight event rolled for initiative. I still use this approach if I play with fewer units in the game.
The whole system takes a different approach and may take getting used to. There are times when I am unsure what to do as all things can happen at the same time. For this, I would not recommend rules for tournament playing with rules lawyers, at least until it's understood really well. However, with these rules I had greatest time ever and can fully recommend to people playing for story and immersion. I can recall vividly literally all of my games I had, heroics, unexpected failures and enemy successes....
There are free Chain Reaction 2015 rules, whoever has the terrain can try it out. But beware... there is no turning back
File comment: Battlefield aerial recon view
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