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    Avatar photoMr. Average

    So I’m dropping this here instead of the “rules” thread because it’s not so much a “rules” question as a speculation about expanding the game a little.

    I’m currently basing some 3mm scale units in platoons, with some big mechs as single units (or at most pairs, for light mechs) for some battle plans set in my own sci fi universe.  Or, rather, the prelude to my sci fi universe, a war called the First Upheaval.  Thing is, those plans call for a lot of air power and the use of nuclear weapons.

    So my questions are thus:

    Is is conceivable that Conventional Units could be given the Anti-Aircraft trait out of Command Resources?  I mean, is there some game design reason a tank can’t or shouldn’t carry SAMs or AAGs within the game’s idiom?

    What might the cost of tactical nuclear weapons be, and how might they be paid for?  I imagine them as a single use, firepower-10 attack that attacks all units not behind hard cover (like, solid, indestructible terrain).  Mechs might get a nerf on them, being tougher by nature (within the universe) and therefore possibly designed to withstand tacnukes.  It would take a guide-fire action to bring it down, and each warhead would cost four, maybe five CR points.  Smaller nukes could cost less and be relatively less damaging.  Some could be carried by aircraft.

    Is that a crazy idea that would break the game?  Might other expendable munitions be bought that way, too, to represent heavy off-board bombardment from fortified rear-area assets?

    Avatar photoRobey Jenkins

    OK, let’s look at the AA question first.

    No, in principle there’s no reason not to give the AA upgrade to non-mech elements for house-rule purposes.  It’s not an option for them in the rules because dedicated anti-aircraft elements have no good reason for being involved in battles that are supposed to represent the “big hand/small map”, Cold War style of open warfare.  Review the use of AA elements in history and you’ll find that they are positioned in the rear echelon to protect logistical assets or on the home front to defend against enemy strategic strikes.

    However, I recognized that people would want them in the game, so I added rules for mechs to be upgraded to AA elements.  Mechs are wacky, experimental elements to begin with, so it isn’t so odd to find them on the front line.  But it also means that there’s a hint there for people who want to design fixed AA batteries or AA conventional elements for home-made scenarios representing the defence of the logistical rear echelon.

    As for tac-nukes…

    I really decline to believe in any such thing, even at 2mm or 3mm.  A nuke is a strategic asset, and there’s plenty of evidence to illustrate that being behind hard cover isn’t going to save your arse from the effects of having all the air sucked from your lungs and replaced with molten, radioactive dust.

    However, given that this is *your* fictional universe, feel free to have nukes operate differently (or call them something else).  Still, for an example of why you might not want to unleash a strategic asset on a tactical battle, I would refer you to Warhammer 40k 2nd Edition and the thing of beauty that was the vortex grenade.  It’s not that you can’t write rules that will work or that you couldn’t make an argument for the presence of such a monstrosity in your army list.  It’s that doing so is basically creating a honking great fun vacuum that will render your (or your opponent’s) carefully planned strategy and finely judged tactical decisions null and void, because someone decided to press the big red middle finger button.

    If you want to embed nukes into your game’s idiom (to use your word, because it’s a *good* word), I’d recommend making it part of the game’s situation: this battle takes place immediately *after* a nuclear strike, so everyone’s in full CBRN mode, running around in Noddy suits.  The terrain would all become treacherous.  All buildings would be ruins and hazardous.  Infantry would lose its Alert ability (due to the Noddy suits).

    That’s my thoughts, for what they’re worth.



    Avatar photoMike

    We banned vortex grenades.

    Avatar photoRobey Jenkins

    Fairly sure everyone did, Mike.

    Avatar photoMr. Average

    All good points. In my own solo games, I’m far more apt to use the Big One because I don’t really care so much about fairness. I’m very unlikely to introduce Tacnukes into a game with opponents except in very limited circumstances, as you mention – ever the setup to or the climax of a particular scenario. The “You’re winning but now I use the Bomb” thing is a tough sell, I agree, although it does feature prominently in the literature of Cold War planning, especially from the 50s, before we really knew what we were doing, and the 80s, when we were less apt to care.

    On the other hand, I might be thinking of my battlefield being a bit bigger than you’re thinking of yours. It’s scaleless so everything is relative. The nukes I’m thinking are halfway from Honest John and SS20 to Heinleinesque micro-atomics. In my world they’re better and dialing down their nukes to kiloton-and-smaller devices. The irony is that this encourages them to use more of them which pushes things beyond reasonable by the end of the war. There’s an unspoken rule they all more or less follow about not using nukes on Earth, too, but they do see use on the Moon, Mars, Callisto and Titan.

    An interesting idea might be to make them a general part of the battlefield environment, such that a nuclear strike might occur or not occur “at random” as part of a general offensive, of which the game is one section.

    There’s also more limited sub-strategic weapons, like RFG Bombardments, which are tungsten rods fired from a satellite on the high end of the magnetosphere, heated to plasmatic phase by re-entry heat.

    Anyway, food for thought. Can you tell I’ve been reading my NATO white papers lately?

    Avatar photoMr. Average

    By the way, thought I’d add here that I’ve previously been considering a conventional AAA unit, but in our recent games, we’ve found them redundant, as the author has suggested we might.  In fact, Light Cav make admirable low-level AAA units – they’re quick enough to get into a nearby flying unit’s strike zone and have a decent chance of cracking the airframe at base range.

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