Monday, February 18, 2013

Combat Groups

In the introduction to this blog, I said that my approach to this set of houserules for a faster and simplified Blitz variant would be two-pronged.  So far, my posts have been focused on simplifying and possibly clarifying the rules to make the flow of the game easier.  In this post, I switch gears to the other method which is making the game quicker by decreasing the effective game size without hopefully losing the "feel" of the larger Blitz game.

Blitz plays a bit differently in person compared with the impression that you get from both the name of the game as well as a reading of the rules.  While still a simplification of the Silhouette d6 system compared to the older Tactical and RPG rulesets, the game time benefits of the simplification are largely gobbled up by the larger model count in the new rules.  While I am a fan of larger-than-skirmish level games, playing at the size that allows the mix of models I'd like means I'm largely devoting the entire evening to the game.  I've found that changing the size of the combat groups (while still keeping the character of them) allows me to add more variety to the army without increasing the overall TV (and therefore length) of the game.   The Flash! combat groups will be referred to as fire teams for gear squad derived elements and sections for the vehicle ones (thanks to SGTcapraco for the army nomenclature clarifications!).

Enough with the fluff, get to the CRUNCH!  :)

Start your Flash! army by choosing the various squads you'd like to use in Gear Garage (see the link to the left for the free army construction program) using whichever Army Field Guide, League, and Regiment rules you'd like to use per the normal rules.  Change the Combat Groups into Flash! variants as follows:

Infantry: This category includes all combined models.  There is no change to the rules of these types of combat groups.  I considered modifying them but frankly infantry IMO should outnumber vehicle and gear based models by a significant figure count margin when used.  In addition, infantry/combined model units generally are already relatively inexpensive as well and are rarely most of the TV of an army.

For vehicle and gear combat groups in Blitz, construct your Blitz combat group as normal initially and then use the following conversion to fireteams.
1-2 model CG in Blitz: 1 model (CGL) combat group in FLASH!

3-4 model CG in Blitz: 2 model combat group (CGL plus one of your choice) 

5-6 model CG in Blitz: 3 model
combat group (CGL plus two of your choice) in FLASH!

7+ model CG in Blitz: 4 model combat group (CGL plus three of your choice) in FLASH!

 You may choose any models you have in your full blitz squad keeping in mind that models using veteran upgrades must spend a veteran slot to do so per the rules below. Combat groups containing combined models (like infantry) are unchanged from Blitz. Before taking another Fire Team of the same type, you must take a second combat sub-group with your remaining models (if any) from the first Blitz combat group.
 For example, selecting a Blitz two tank squadron gives you a single model in FLASH! (the CGL).  If in Blitz you upgraded the tank squadron to 3 models by adding an extra tank, the FLASH! version would be 2 models instead (CGL and one of your choice).  If you wanted to add a second tank squadron of the same type, you'd have to first take a second combat group consisting of the remaining tank you didn't take above in both examples.

My original intent was to make the fire teams half size mirrors of the full blitz versions but that seems to have lead to some confusion unfortunately.  I've rarely seen bog standard models in games unless those bog standard models were quite special to begin with (like my opponent's Fer de Lances this past game) so why fight the inevitable.  The above instead lets you just cherry pick whatever you want from blitz instead of being a half size version with the caveat that you must "complete" the original blitz squad

As for veteran slots, I've decided to try changing the veteran slot effect to applying only to a single model instead of the whole squad.  With the ability to cherry pick the models, this seems like killing two birds with one stone.  It limits the overpowered possiblities inherent to cherry picking upgraded models somewhat and also grounds the game a bit more at att/def2 without everyone fielding extra sturdy boxes.

Veteran Slots: You get a number of veteran slots equal to your army PL in Flash!. Each slot may be used to upgrade a single model to veteran status and unlock veteran options for it. (i.e. a single gear or a single squad of infantry is upgraded for each vet slot spent).   You may buy extra veteran slots at the cost of 2 SP per veteran slot.  

You can still take a fair number of veteran upgrades (PL4 gives you 7 in a 1000TV game which is the upper limit roughly for my skirmish houserules) but you're giving up all your SP to get to that point.  Honestly, I think att/def3 and extra sturdy boxes should be more expensive but changing TV is going beyond what I'd like to do with my blog and would prefer to leave that to DP9 themselves.

As usual, let me know if you try any of the above or whether you think it's an improvement.  I'm leaving the original army construction rules in the table of contents to the right for the time being to aid in comparison but hope to eventually change the chapter once I get some feedback.



  1. i'm late to this party but have issues with the whole Blitz - isn't-really-that-fast contradictions as well. I'm from the very old school where we costed the units on an individual level to make squads but GG wants things in groups, of course.

    Also, GG is a PITA on a Mac, but whatever.

    anyway, enjoying the reading so far.

  2. Yeah, I've seen comments about GG on Mac but at least there is an option. I'm an old fart who remembers the days when you had absolutely no chance of running anything windows on Mac so it's still an improvement. Thanks, glad you enjoyed the read. This section will actually be replaced with the rules on the front page in my most recent post though as I got some feedback that it was a bit complicated. Also, I don't know if you follow the DP9 forums but they announced a new edition of Heavy Gear that will go into open playtesting next month. According to the developer post, when asked if current books will be used or replaced we were told that the new edition is "significantly different".