Home Forums Sci Fi 6mm Sci-Fi It’s back – Hellfire

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  • #159050
    ian pillay
    Participant

    Just stumbled across this on Amazon… Yes ,Hellfire by Jim Webster is back in print.

    I have the original so I will be getting the new version, I don’t think anything has changed in the rules but hopefully the charts and tables have been reformatted so they are easier to read. Been a while since I played them but I do like the reaction system.

     

    Tally-Ho!

    #159055
    Tony S
    Participant

    Are those the rules that had a list of numbers that one used and crossed off for morale tests?  The numbers were higher and stayed higher for elite troops, and went rapidly downhill for conscripts?

    Eg – 9 8 9 9 7 7 6 7 5 5 5

    or 7 5 5 4 3 4 2 3 3 3 2

    Always thought that was rather clever.   But it’s been a long, long time, so I might be thinking of another set of SF rules?

    #159056
    Fred B
    Participant

    It seems it’s also available digitally from Amazon, WargameVault… and even Barnes&Noble! Seems like the author is bringing it back it full swing!

    There’s a lot of love for this ruleset on various wargaming forums, but I couldn’t find any review or other concrete info about it anywhere. What makes this system special?

    #159058
    ian pillay
    Participant

    Those are the ones. That’s how unit morale works with each relating back to a particular reaction on the chart.

    Tally-Ho!

    #159059
    ian pillay
    Participant

    Nice find Fred. Didn’t think to check out wargames vault.

    Tally-Ho!

    #159071
    madman
    Participant

    There’s a lot of love for this ruleset on various wargaming forums, but I couldn’t find any review or other concrete info about it anywhere. What makes this system special?

    My thoughts as well. At $5 on Wargame Vault it is worth it just to buy and check out. Seems to have some activation, friction or reaction mechanic which was/is unique. That and the mentioned falling morale.

    #159087
    Ruarigh
    Participant

    I wrote up a bit about Hellfire ages ago that might answer the various questions here: https://ooh-shiny-complex.blogspot.com/2019/02/hellfire-hell-on-dodgsons-world.html

    We also played the Dodgson’s World scenarios and campaign, which you can follow on my blog: https://ooh-shiny-complex.blogspot.com/search/label/Hellfire

    I like the game system, although the scenarios we played were too long for our usual evening’s gaming. The rules require some interpretation in places, and work best with players who are gentlemanly towards each other, but they are fun and the reaction system works nicely. Moreover, you can tailor the tables for various alien races. One of the Dodgson’s World scenarios includes a unit of aliens whose preferred mode of attack is to stab you with sharp things, and their reaction table takes account of that, allowing them to respond with berserk charges. It might take a bit of work to decide how to build custom aliens for your own games but it works and can make them more than just humans in rubber suits.

    Never argue with an idiot. They'll only drag you down to their level and beat you with experience.

    https://emidsvikings.ac.uk/
    https://roderickdale.co.uk/

    #159102
    Tony S
    Participant

    I just spend a very enjoyable hour or so, reading through all your posts on the Dodgeson campaign.  Great posts – seemed like great fun!

    I’ll echo those that commented on your blog; I do hope Mr. Webster also puts his campaign for sale in Wargames Vault.

    Is the version on WV identical to the original, or have there been some changes Ian?  I must dig out my old copy, and perhaps buy the new one.

    #159103
    ian pillay
    Participant

    Tony, other than what it says on Amazon I don’t know just yet. Pay day is this Friday so I will be ordering a copy. Just dug out my copy for old times sake as well.
    Dodgson’s campaign is great. Maybe it is my age and I pine for the good old days but some of these old ‘indie’ rules are fantastic.

    Tally-Ho!

    #159104
    madman
    Participant

    I picked up the pdf of the rules based on the discussion here then read the opening post of the Dodgson’s Campaign blog. Has that wild, implausible story line which none of the current balanced forces lists and point based armies could match. I posted on the Wargame Vault page for it asking the designer if he will release the campaign scenario books again (I got from somewhere that they were also his work) so we shall see if he replies. If you guys are interested please add your voices there as well in hopes to push him along. Someone was asking on the above blog about scans of the campaigns and I also sent an email to Irregular to see if they have any copies left or can get me in contact with the designer. So there may be some hope out there.

    #159108
    Fred B
    Participant

    I wrote up a bit about Hellfire ages ago that might answer the various questions here: https://ooh-shiny-complex.blogspot.com/2019/02/hellfire-hell-on-dodgsons-world.html

    We also played the Dodgson’s World scenarios and campaign, which you can follow on my blog: https://ooh-shiny-complex.blogspot.com/search/label/Hellfire

    Thank you for sharing those 🙂 It seems that the system is not really my cup of tea (not a fan of multiplication and division around the table), but the scenarios look quite fun. Hopefully the scenario books will get released in the future 🙂

    #159128
    Ruarigh
    Participant

    Glad to hear my ramblings were useful.

    I know what you mean about the maths, Fred, but I just comfort myself that it should be helping to stave off senility.

    Never argue with an idiot. They'll only drag you down to their level and beat you with experience.

    https://emidsvikings.ac.uk/
    https://roderickdale.co.uk/

    #159198
    madman
    Participant

    Jim just posted a link on TMP pointing to his blog.

    https://jimssfnovelsandwargamerules.wordpress.com/

    #159199
    Tony S
    Participant

    Thanks Madman.  Someone should tell Jim that he should consider posting on TWW, where miniature wargaming and rules are discussed.

    I see that the QRS download on his blog has a new table that makes combat calculations a bit easier I think?   It’s the casualty table.

    And he’s got a long example of play, which quite helps with comprehending the rules.  I did manage to find my old copy, and upon reading it realized why I vnever played it.   I just couldn’t quite wrap my head around the combat table and calculations.

    I may have passed over a hidden gem.  The rest of the rules, and the whole ethos behind the rules is most attractive to me!

    #159201
    madman
    Participant

    Done

    #159204
    Jim Webster
    Participant

    OK, I’ve been summoned 🙂

    Dodgson’s World?  Lost in time, like tears in rain 🙁
    Written on an old Amstrad PCW. The original files effectively no longer exist. People have hunted for the original hard copies and have found me the first. If people have them, I’ll copy them out by hand and put them on the blog as free downloads.

    I’m working on a scenario book at the moment 🙂 but this is a bigger and more meaty item

    #159205
    Ruarigh
    Participant

    Hi Jim

    Ralph has hardcopy of the whole Dodgson’s World campaign as I sent it to him, so hopefully you and he can put it back together fairly easily. I also sent him my copies of Fields of Hell and Hellswords and Sorcery, so there’s a project in there somewhere, I think.

    I could have sworn I sent you a scan of the Dodgson’s World campaign many years ago. If Ralph is insufficiently forthcoming and you cannot find the old scan, I could go back through my back-ups and see if it still exists in there.

    Never argue with an idiot. They'll only drag you down to their level and beat you with experience.

    https://emidsvikings.ac.uk/
    https://roderickdale.co.uk/

    #159209
    Mike
    Keymaster

    OK, I’ve been summoned

    Thanks for joining!

    #159217
    Jim Webster
    Participant

    Well I’ve definitely been sent the first part of the campaign
    I’ve searched on the computer and found the weirdest things  ( “Discretion and deceit: a re-examination of a military stratagem in Egil’s saga.” )
    But no further parts of the campaign
    I’ll ask people again

    #159220
    Jim Webster
    Participant

    Thanks Mike

    #159234
    madman
    Participant

    Is Hell and Uncivil Disorder going to use the Hellfire system for the Spanish Civil War? Based on the post and the title.

    #159236
    Jim Webster
    Participant

    Hell and Uncivil Disorder is another rules ‘re-release’. It uses entirely different mechanisms and systems 🙂
    One of the scenarios included in with the rules is SF. Basically unlike pretty well every set of rule I’d ever come across, Hell and Uncivil Disorder works on the principle that the vast majority of people involved in combat are largely incompetent. What is frightening is how well it gives ‘historical’ results

    You could easily use Hellfire for Spanish Civil War without much in the way of alterations, it would more be a case of setting up the scenario. So there would be no energy weapons obviously. Such armoured vehicles would be ‘largely immune’ to small arms but vulnerable to anything heavier. The morale would be a matter for discussion with those who are knowledgeable about the period, as to which troops deserved which reaction codes.

    Indeed in the campaign book I’m working on, one of the campaigns is set at the end of Moghul India. You could easily use Hellfire, although there are other rule sets which will probably do it better. I used that campaign as much to show how different political and economic systems can be modelled for campaign purposes

    Jim

     

    #159237
    Jim Webster
    Participant

    Just to add about Hell and Uncivil Disorder. I’m at the stage of ‘looking for a picture’ for the front cover. A nice photo of nice figures representing the scruffy side of warfare, guerrilla warfare, partisans,  police actions, crowd control etc
    In simple terms the picture ought to be reasonably empty at the top and roughly A4 proportions because that’s the way a front cover works 🙂

    The Hellfire cover shows how it’s done. Given the shoestring nature of the enterprise, the photographer gets my undying gratitude, credited in the rules and a free copy of the rule book

    The advantage of Kudos is that it’s non-taxable 🙂

    #159249
    madman
    Participant

    So Hell and Uncivil Disorder is it’s own thing. Once it has been released start a thread on the WWI or WWII section of this site.

    But for now how about either starting a thread or incorporating here the solo rules. You want feed back and discussion let us put it here.

    #159251
    Jim Webster
    Participant

    sounds like a plan
    If we have anybody with suitable photos, I’ll get the plan into action sooner 🙂

    #159259
    madman
    Participant

    Problem is I really like the picture your are using. How about stacking the text to match the image or photoshopping more sky above the figures?

    I started a thread in the WWI section of this forum for H&CU. Lets move discussion of that there.

    #159266
    ian pillay
    Participant

    The Hellfire cover shows how it’s done. Given the shoestring nature of the enterprise, the photographer gets my undying gratitude, credited in the rules and a free copy of the rule book

    Jim, firstly thank you for joining up and posting in TWW. I stumbled across your blog. I do need to explore it on the PC rather  than the phone.

    As to the shoestring nature of the project. I really like it, it is very nostalgic and really cool. I am looking forward to seeing more of it especially the fantasy version. I do need to check out the QRS as I too found my self scratching my head as to how it worked.

    All the best

    Ian

    Tally-Ho!

    #159268
    Jim Webster
    Participant

    There’s a simple scenario on the blog, ‘played through’ which should explain things

    Hellfire. Playing the Game

    The whole thing is a shoestring operation in that people have asked me to republish rules that they bought 30 years ago!

    #159276
    Jim Webster
    Participant

    Problem is I really like the picture your are using. How about stacking the text to match the image or photoshopping more sky above the figures? I started a thread in the WWI section of this forum for H&CU. Lets move discussion of that there.

     

    Actually the picture if taken of fighters from the Greek Civil War (1944-1949) but I can see why they might look Spanish

     

    I trimmed it to fit a more A4 format as a placeholder. I do like it and it’s more than 70 years old

    I’ll see how things go. I do want to get this campaign booklet done, and then, if I’ve still not got a nice figure picture, I might just run with this one

    #159290
    Ruarigh
    Participant

    Well I’ve definitely been sent the first part of the campaign I’ve searched on the computer and found the weirdest things ( “Discretion and deceit: a re-examination of a military stratagem in Egil’s saga.” ) But no further parts of the campaign I’ll ask people again

    Hi Jim,

    I found the pdf I made and sent to you originally. I can send it again if you send me your email. It consists of the three scenarios and the campaign rules that Irregular sent me when I ordered it and the related figures. Drop me a line. This is the same stuff that I sent to Ralph Plowman recently. If there is any more to the campaign, I never had it.

    Never argue with an idiot. They'll only drag you down to their level and beat you with experience.

    https://emidsvikings.ac.uk/
    https://roderickdale.co.uk/

    #159303
    Jim Webster
    Participant

    Well I’ve tried sending you an email to make contact 🙂

    Given it hasn’t immediately bounced, there is hope

    #159313
    Ruarigh
    Participant

    Hi Jim. I just emailed you the scenarios and campaign. That is everything I received from Irregular back in the 90s(?) when I bought all the packs for Dodgson’s World.

    Never argue with an idiot. They'll only drag you down to their level and beat you with experience.

    https://emidsvikings.ac.uk/
    https://roderickdale.co.uk/

    #159314
    Jim Webster
    Participant

    Great, many thanks 🙂

    They’ve arrived and I’m now completely out of excuses 😉

    #159315
    Ruarigh
    Participant

    Brilliant. I look forward to other people enjoying the campaign. We had a blast and the narratives that developed from it were great fun.

    Never argue with an idiot. They'll only drag you down to their level and beat you with experience.

    https://emidsvikings.ac.uk/
    https://roderickdale.co.uk/

    #159355
    Jim Webster
    Participant

    Well I’ve got them typed out into some sort of order, and I’ll drop them into the blog at intervals 🙂
    Many thanks
    Jim

    #159441
    madman
    Participant

    Thoughts on Hellfire so far.

    Just gone as far as infantry and cavalry combat and skipped to the casualty table so some ways to go still.

    I like the “friction” imposed by rolling for number of activations while still allowing “un-activated” units to still perform some actions based on conditions and quality.

    I definitely see the “issues” with it being a math test. Although the reaction system is introduced before then the effects have not been introduced yet, so we shall see. The example of play with the marines helped a lot but I still had to read and re-read the rules a few times for it to sink in. I am working understanding on the casualty table. As I see it (based on the example only) it will be a slow build to cause casualties and affect a game. That combined with the minimal movement gives me the feel of the long games mentioned above.

     

    #159443
    Jim Webster
    Participant

    The maths test isn’t actually as strict as it appears because of the lose bands the results fall into.

    Let us have seven marines in flak with personal projectile weapons firing a nine Guard in ablat with personal energy weapons who are moving through cover.

    The marines check the To Hit tables, and because they’re projectile weapons they’re ‘black dice. They roll a d12 and get a 12. The enemy have ablative armour worth 4 so that’s a difference of 8 which is as good as it gets.

    So it’s seven (the number of troops firing) times eight (the difference) which is 56

    Then there are nine in the target unit which means the 56 is divided by 9. Actually you can start doing approximations, if it was divided by 10 it would by 5.6 so it’s probably just over 6. Because the target is moving through cover, you half the result so it’s just over 3

     

    Looking at the casualty table, ‘Modified Difference between target defence and firers dice’ is between 2 and 5. So actually your approximation was good enough. Even if you’d divided by 10 rather than 9 you’d still have fallen into the same band.

    So the fact that the numbers were really 56 divided by 9 which is 6.22 which halved is 3.11 doesn’t matter. Rough estimates are pretty well always adequate.

    Indeed, if the troops above had only got a difference of four, you can actually work it out without doing the maths.

    4 multiplied by a smaller number and then divided by a larger number will give an answer of less than 4. Then if you half it, the answer will be less than two.

    I confess that I was the generation which sat chanting our times tables by rote, as the head master tapped out the rhythm using a t square, but once you’ve seen this system work you can normally tell the answer without doing the math

    Whilst just looking at casualties, a unit can take a long time to break, the fact that there are only eight numbers in the reaction code mean that units break down through exhaustion/stress long before then.  So the units that blunted the enemy attack could start falling back before they suffered serious casualties, but the enemy units themselves might be happy to halt on the captured positions and let fresh troops come through to continue the attack. You soon learn not to expect too much from units. Indeed with specialist armoured units with the 5.5.5.5.1.1.1.1 reaction code, pulling them back and letting them rest and regroup can be essential, going for ‘just one more push’ with units who have already given their all could see your force shatter around you

    Casualty Table

    #159446
    madman
    Participant

    So, to take it as far I have read, the guards are probably on the rightmost table (over 20 reaction points). With a value of 3 there is no value so the guards take no casualties. Just for example purposes let us assume the guards only had 19 reaction points. Then there would be a 1 in 6 chance (roll of 1 only) chance of a single casualty, or loss of one base. Am I correct so far?

    Next question, is the group reaction points the unit’s starting value (from page 11) or is this value the start value LESS any crossed off by this time in the game?

    #159448
    Jim Webster
    Participant

    You are reading the table correctly

    If the guards are over 20 (which is rare) then they won’t lose a base. But they’ll still have tested reaction twice (one for being shot at and once for the fact that there were casualties, just not enough to represent by moving a base)
    So the guards are already used the first two numbers of their reaction code. This is not as serious for them as it would be to a unit with fewer reaction points.
    A unit with fifteen could be 3,2,3,2,2,1,1,1  15pts
    Once it’s used three or four of it’s numbers it’s starting to look distinctly flaky.
    A guards unit might well make two good attacks, or take ground with one attack and hold back the counter attack.

     

    On page 11 of the rules it mentions about the reaction point total. The Reaction Point Total is used as the basis of Group Morale. It is also used as a
    measure of troop quality and competence. Note that during the game, whilst you continually knock off the leading digit from the Reaction code every time the group takes a test, the Reaction Point total is only ever reduced by its initial starting figure by an “I” result in a reaction test.

     

    #159451
    madman
    Participant

    You are reading the table correctly If the guards are over 20 (which is rare) then they won’t lose a base. But they’ll still have tested reaction twice (one for being shot at and once for the fact that there were casualties, just not enough to represent by moving a base) So the guards are already used the first two numbers of their reaction code. This is not as serious for them as it would be to a unit with fewer reaction points. A unit with fifteen could be 3,2,3,2,2,1,1,1 15pts Once it’s used three or four of it’s numbers it’s starting to look distinctly flaky. A guards unit might well make two good attacks, or take ground with one attack and hold back the counter attack. On page 11 of the rules it mentions about the reaction point total. The Reaction Point Total is used as the basis of Group Morale. It is also used as a measure of troop quality and competence. Note that during the game, whilst you continually knock off the leading digit from the Reaction code every time the group takes a test, the Reaction Point total is only ever reduced by its initial starting figure by an “I” result in a reaction test.

    So before you use the casualty table you apply the reaction step loss for;

    1. Being under fire, and;
    2. being subject to the use of the casualty table.

    Now lets assume the guards start with 21 reaction points, being veterans. Having taken a minimum of 2 points lost (one for each of the above) they would use the 15 to 20 column of the casualty table. OR because this is the first time in combat this game they would use their starting value of 21? Just looking for clarification when things are applied.

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