Sunday, January 16, 2011

Intermediate Combat Training: Overwatch

Note: updated post to include jump.

Welcome to the New Tannhauser University, these will be (hopefully) weekly, how to and tactical training lessons.
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I will always try to put beginner, intermediate, or advanced, in the title to let you know what level of “skill” you may need to use the info in your games.

And let’s get started, it's all after the jump.


Today as the title suggests will be some slightly more advanced combat tactics, such as Overwatch. Again as in the previous “How To”s, we are using the Core Game and the Revised Rules.

Today we’re going to look Overwatch. First let’s look at what Overwatch is for those of you who have not heard of it. Overwatch is a common game mechanic in tactical combat games like Warhammer, and it can best be thought of as a way to “place a character on guard duty”.

In Tannhauser characters can normally be placed on Overwatch status during the “Place Characters on Overwatch” step, this is the second step of each game turn, and is done immediately after rolling for Initiative (see page 10). Overwatch is one of the many uses of Command Point in Tannhauser, it costs One CP to place a character on Overwatch. Players take turns beginning with the player who lost the Initiative roll. If you choose to place a character on Overwatch, you spend one CP, and then place an unused Objective Token beneath that character. In the image below, you can see the Schocktruppen is on Overwatch.

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There are a couple of drawbacks to Overwatch, first you cannot move a character on Overwatch this turn, nor can he preform any other actions. He just stands there and waits; then after he makes his attack, he can’t do anything else but Counterattack (if you have some CP of course). Some other caveats are you cannot use weapons that have a Heavy or Mental trait, so in the upcoming demo it’s pretty pointless to put Barry or Karl on Overwatch, as they are only carrying Heavy and Mental weapons respectively. Also you cannot use a Grenade to make an Overwatch Attack. For more details on Overwatch see page 26.

Now. let’s look at what all that means…

For this demonstration we are playing Deathmatch Mode on the Castle Map, all characters are equipped with their Combat Packs (see pages 36-55 for details). See below for how the board looks right now.

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Ok, back to the demo, the Schocktruppen near the center of the map is on Overwatch, meaning if any Union character enters his path; he interrupts the Union player’s turn and attacks that character. Now that’s not the only way Overwatch attacks can happen, but we’ll cover each in turn. So, let’s say Barry wants to cross the Main Hall and join John on the other side. as soon as he takes his first step on to the blue path the Schocktruppen may attack (Overwatch attacks are always optional). In this case the Schocktruppen rolls THREE dice. Why only three? Because of the “Keep Firing” item (page 43) which allows him to stay on Overwatch the entire turn but, reduces the number of dice to two. But you said Three? He rolls a third die thanks to his “Mad Minute” token which allows him to roll an additional die if he hasn’t moved, and since he is on Overwatch and can’t move, it also applies.
So let’s take a look.

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In this attack the Schocktruppen rolls 3, 4, 8, his current Combat Value (CV) is 5 so he scores one hit. Barry makes his shock roll; 1, 5, 9, 9, that’s three success for Barry so no damage. Now normally after an Overwatch attack the Schocktruppen would go “off Overwatch”, but remember he has Keep Firing, so now if Barry moves onto another blue circle or declares an Action the Schocktruppen can again interrupt and Attack. One other thing the Union player could spend a CP to Counterattack, as this is not an action it will not trigger a subsequent Overwatch Attack, but remember you must use your Worst CV when Counterattacking, and for Barry that’s a 4, so it may not be worth it, as he would need to roll sixes or better (10-4=6). So let’s say Barry declares an Attack, again he is interrupted and the Schocktruppen makes another Overwatch Attack.

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Looking above we see the Schocktruppen faired better this time rolling 7, 8, 10, three hits; Barry however canceled two of those rolling 1, 2, 8, 9. So he would receive one wound; which the Union player can spend a CP to “Shake Off”. Now Barry makes his attack…

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Looking at the close up we see the Impressive power of Barry’s “Flash Gun A6A”  looking at pages 48 and 49 we see that the A6A allows Barry to roll two additional dice when he rolls a Natural 10, much like the Flash Gun MKI, also it allows him to target two characters standing next to each other (although that doesn’t apply here). Next if we look at his “BA-27” item we see that when he uses it in combination with the A6A he rolls another additional die. It’s all these combined effects that have lead to the Union player being able to roll eight dice. As you can see above he rolled 1, 3, 6, 6, 7, 7, 10, 10, that’s a staggering SIX hits, the Schocktruppen’s respectable roll of 1, 3, 9, 9, is no where near enough to save him.
Ok now let’s look at another Overwatch example.

In this next example we’ll look at John MacNeal’s “Medal of Honor” (see page 47) this token allows you to use an Action to place John on Overwatch. If you look below, you can see a couple activations have passed, and John has moved up into the long hallway.

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For his action John will discard his Medal of Honor token, and go on Overwatch (next two pictures). To discard a token simply remove it from you Character Sheet and set it aside.

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As you can see above John is now on Overwatch and shares a Path with Eva, Karl, and a Stosstruppen. Now at this stage in the turn, Karl has already activated so he is of no concern. But Eva and the Stosstruppen have yet to activate.

The Reich player choses to activate his Stoss and move towards John, but John’s Overwatch attack will interrupt the Stoss’s move. In the close up we see John’s attack.

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John rolled an excellent 4, 6, 8, 9, 10, and the Natural 10 adds two more dice to the roll, an 8, 6. John’s Combat Value of 6 means all seven of the dice are successes (hits). the Stoss’s pathetic 4, 4, 6, 7, cancels only TWO, and he joins the Schocktruppen in the great beyond. Now, immediately after completing his attack John goes off Overwatch, and play returns to the Union player as the Reich’s turn is over, albeit prematurely.

So I think that will bring us to a close, and while I know this doesn’t cover every possible Overwatch situation, I hope that it gives you a better understanding of the concept and it’s effectiveness in combat.

Next time Smoke Grenades.