Tomorrow’s War – Contact Front!

Finally got a learning game of Ambush Alley’s Tomorrow’s War in last night. Although I’m sure Chris and I missed a few things and lingering memories of Stargrunt may have caused a few hiccups, I really love this game!

I mention Stargrunt because TW really is the spiritual successor to that game – unit effectiveness based on troop quality and morale is the heart of the game. The point is, a poorly trained conscript with an advanced combat rifle is dangerous, sure, but I’d rather face him than a Delta Force operator armed with a spear. In TW, what this means is better quality troops are probably going to kick nine kinds of hell out of lesser quality troops unless that difference is made up with numbers. Weapons and technology can provide an edge but it’s not a huge advantage overall.

In play, when a unit opens fire you roll a dice pool and look for 4+, and the dice you roll are based on troop quality;. Regulars roll a d8. Green troops get a d6. You roll one die per figure in the unit and add dice for other factors. For example, my 4-man fire team gets a base of 4d8 (1d8 per guy). The SAW gunner adds an additional d8 and the rocket launcher adds another 2d8 for a total of 7d8. If my troops’ Tech Level is higher than my opponent’s, I add another die for the difference (TL3 v TL2 would give me +1). So when I open fire, I roll all those dice and look for rolls of 4+ (successes).

There is no range measuring, which is nice – if you have an unblocked LOS you can shoot it. If you’re within Optimum range (8″ for Regular troops) you can add another Firepower die to your roll.

Against this the defender also rolls Troop Quality dice, one per figure in the squad, plus dice for armor, cover and other factors. A 6-man team with hard armor (2d) in cover (1d) would roll 9 dice, also looking for 4+. Then the defender tries to equal or exceed the attacker’s successes with his dice, and any that aren’t beaten indicate casualties. In play, this went surprisingly quick once we’d done it a few times. There are no pluses or minuses to figure out, only adding or taking away dice from your pool.

But the real beauty of the game is the Action/Reaction system. If I do an action with a unit in LOS of your unit, you can try to react and interrupt me. We roll off Troop Quality to see who goes first. This system can set off complicated chains of reactions but it definitely works and definitely gives the game a constant level of action. You can set units on Overwatch to try to interrupt enemy Reactions. It takes a lot to explain perhaps, but in play, it makes a lot of sense. The result is a very fluid game with a lot of back and forth and player involvement.

That’s what really sells it for me. I really dislike the Igo-Ugo sequence of play in 40K. Standing there doing nothing while an enemy waltzes right up to you is silly. Plus there’s a lot of down time while you just watch your opponent moving around and you can do nothing to react until he’s all done. Charging an unsuppressed and active enemy pretty much equals suicide, so you do end up having to employ more realistic tactics to reach your objectives. TW makes every move a potential turning point.

TW does have some issues – some rules aren’t entirely clear or even somewhat contradictory, and the organization of the rules is kind of scattered (why is it always like this?) Leaders are present but don’t seem to have nearly the impact they do in Stargrunt (and I still love how SG leaders can reactivate finished units). But just on one play I can see this is a game I can really sink my teeth into. Some more time with the rulebook and a couple more games and I’ll be deep into Tomorrow’s War!

I’ll get some pics of the game up soon!

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