In my last blog entry I talked about Force on Force and provided a review in the context of an AAR. However, I glossed over one of the most important features of the ruleset...reactions! So I thought I would write a follow-up that looks at this critical aspect in more detail, as it is what really makes the game great!
I think that the AAR/review format worked quite well, so I'll use pictures of figures to illustrate the action/reaction, although it will be a fabricated situation and not an actual 'in play' AAR. I don't actually have any modern stuff painted up yet (that last game was using all George's stuff), so I will use my 28mm WWII Tommies and Fallschirmjager. But first, let's recap the reaction test.
Whenever an initiative unit (IU) announces that it will take an action, any non-initiative unit (NIU) that has LOS to it may announce a reaction. Note that this is optional, as performing a reaction uses up any subsequent action the NIU may make. In most cases, though, you're going to want to react. If the NIU declares a reaction it may be one of two options - move or fire. However, a reaction test must be made to see who gets to perform first. Both sides roll a TQ dice and the side that passes (4 or more on the TQ die) gets to perform it's intended (re)action first. In the case that both die rolls succeed, the highest roll wins. In the case of draws, or both die failing, then the IU goes first. Let's look at an example:
|The Germans are the IU and announce they will fire at the British. The British announce they want to move in reaction.|
|The British win the reaction test and move first.|
So, that's pretty simple, eh? Well, remember that the reaction can be to fire at the IU instead. Any NIU in LOS can engage the IU in a round of fire as a reaction. The IU may decide to return fire. Every time a unit fires it loses 1 FP die for further actions or reactions that turn so sometimes you may want to take the hit and save the FP. Perhaps an example might help again:
|Same as above, but now we have a second British team with a Bren (which we'll count as a SAW).|
|The Bren team hoses the Germans before they can shoot the other team, but a British trooper is still hit.|
|The British may now complete their move, but they have lost a man.|
Hmmm...! Still pretty simple if you ask me! To wind up, we'll look at the two features of modern rulesets that are notoriously hard to deal with - overwatch and opportunity fire. Opportunity fire is pretty simple; any IU that hasn't acted yet may sacrifice it's action to react to an enemy movement. So if the NIU successfully reacts with movement, then a second fire team may take an opportunity shot at them. Overwatch is slightly different. You place an IU on overwatch at the beginning of the turn and for the duration they may interrupt a reaction with fire. So an IU announces its action, a NIU announces it's reaction and then the overwatch unit announces it's interruption. The overwatch round of fire is treated normally and then the NIU may roll it's reaction test, if it can (i.e. it's not pinned or suppressed). One more example, methinks:
See? It's all pretty straightforward when you work it all out methodically. Of course, there are a lot of variations on the above situations with morale and suppression fire taking a big part. There are also situations where units can fall off overwathch. The examples I've given are the basics and there are even more differences when you deal with asymmetric warfare, as irregulars are limited in their reactions. The rules are very rich in content and deal with all sorts of stuff, so you'll just have to buy them to find it all out!
Again, I can't recommend Force on Force highly enough! The action/reaction mechanism coupled with the fantastic dice mechanism, results in a very fluid game that can be completed quickly and gives a believable result.