Thursday, January 22, 2015

Battle Report - GDW's Striker Part Two

My pal Dan and I had another go at our Striker game last night, and fought the battle to the point where it probably would have come to an end in real life.  The first part of the battle is here. Read that first to get the set-up of the battle. 

I'll wait. 

You're back?  Good. We played rounds 6,7,8 and 9 and learned more about how the rules work together. Really, reading the rules as a book gets you so far, but you have to at some point put counters on the table and roll some dice to understand it all.

At the conclusion of the battle, the Bravoricans had 9 effectives remaining, while the
Alphasians had 21 effectives left. The Bravoricans had gotten only half-way to their objective, the Divisional HQ buildings at the north end of the map. 
Bravorican troops approaching the stream.

Alphasian team 8 finished their rout off the field (losers!), teams 3 & 4, which were in the red box above, failed some morale checks, got forced back, and were shot up once out in the open.  Bravorica maneuvered from one tree stand to another, got pushed back for a turn then surged forward, losing troops every turn, mostly to the Alphasian MG team.

Here's the map table at the conclusion of the game:
Alphasian Divisional HQ. North is left, East is up.
The red boxes are/were Alphasian positions, the blue box is the last location of the Bravorican troops. The Alphasian general is in the box just below the red ruler. The MG team was just south of the General's position. As you can see, the Bravoricans never got close. 

This session seemed to be more about trying to change orders, and dealing with morale. I think we've got the turn order down, as well as the fire combat procedures.  There's a lot to still work out like:
  • Visibility 
  • Spotting
  • Effects on unit morale when it takes casualties
  • Effects of terrain/obstacles on Line of Sight and on attacks
  • Comprehensive orders and contingency planning

Lessons Learned

There were several by the end of this game, which will carry forward into future games.

  • Body armor is worth it - equip your troops with the best you can.
  • Automatic weapons are a firepower multiplier - Alphasia had a few auto-rifles, but Bravorica issued them to all troops. The difference in volume of fire was big.
  • Having both sides be in each other's Effective range gets troops mowed like wheat.
  • Stationing troops in tree stands has many benefits, and few penalties. Get under cover!
  • Weapons with set-up times of 2 or more turns should be set up as quickly as possible. Bravorica never got to use its 10cm Recoilless Rifle, because they tried to move it with the main body. 
  • Include lots of "if this happens, do that" in the initial orders. 
  • Inexperienced troops suck. They have low morale, and fewest attack bonuses.
  • Trees block LOS if you're trying to fire through them, but do not provide cover or concealment unless you're in them. 
  • Alphasian troops barely moved at all, while Bravorica had to move every turn. This was a big advantage for side A, but the lack of orders locked Alphasian troops in a bad position once Bravorica got close. 
  • Having all of your units close together allows the Officer to bump up morale, but also results in more morale and panic checks due to proximity. Spread out your forces.
  • But spread them out too far, and you can't have your officers Rally routed troops. The Alphasian General should have intercepted Team 8, but I didn't think to have him do it. 
Despite mis-steps and rules confusion, we had a good time, and plan to set up another battle some time soon. I'm interested to see what changes if we move up the TL scale to more 'current' or even 'future' tech levels. Adding vehicles to the mix should also be fun. If the Bravoricans had a light tank or APC, the Alphasians would have been in big trouble.

Striker does not give any advice in the basic game about game balance. I still could not say if the scenario I devised here had balanced forces. If we played it again, the results might be very different. I hope that eventually we'll get an intuitive sense of advantage/disadvantage. 

If anyone has suggestions for future scenarios, leave them in the comments below. I hope we'll be able to play them and report back.

As a bonus, here's a link a Striker lecture delivered by Frank Chadwick (the game's author) given at the Celesticon convention in 2011.

1 comment:

  1. Good on you for trying a Striker battle from prep through to conclusion. It is a great part of the Traveller canon and something every CT player should try at least once.

    I wonder if you picked up on the key part of the command rules - that leaders can be used to give orders OR they can directly lead troops (the latter is especially useful for low initiative troops who otherwise can't do much). When I play I often spend most of my time leading rather than mucking about trying to issue orders. I take those high initiative leaders and get a bunch of troops alongside of them and head out for where I want to go. The more high initiative leaders the better.

    Depending on how much prep time you want to spend, you can try to balance the game using the prices in the campaign section of Book Two (Rule 72 on page 38). There you'll see, for instance, costs for the various grades of troops and you can add up the value of their weapons fairly easily using Book Three. A long time ago there was a great series of games in Rapp's Ten Million Credit Striker tournament. As you can guess, the basis was each belligerent getting ten million credits to spend on an army.