Sunday, January 23, 2011

Intermediate Combat Training: Smoke Grenades

Note: updated the post to include the jump.

Welcome back to Tannhauser University, today we’ll be looking at Smoke Grenades. I’ll be focusing on how they work and the basics of how to use them. This is not going to be a comprehensive strategy guide to when and where to deploy Smoke Grenades. It’s all after the jump.

Union M-15

Above is the Union’s “M15 Smoke Grenade” this is the most common Smoke Grenade you’ll see in Tannhauser, and they’re the only ones you’ll see without searching a crate. The Union is the only faction in Tannhauser that uses Smoke Grenades in their packs, in the Core Game Tala, Commando Alpha, and Delta all can be deployed with Smoke Grenades. So, now that we see who has them, let’s look at what they are.

If you look at pages 22 and 23 you’ll see the general rules for all Grenades and the rules for Smoke Grenades, which covers both how to deploy them and what they do once they’re on the map. First we’ll look at how a character “throws” a Smoke Grenade, then we’ll move on to how they effect characters on the map.

Today I’ll be using a couple of extra items beyond the Core Game and Revised Rules. First is my usual extra light colored dice and the second is a variety of Bingo chips (Bingo chips are small transparent, colored, plastic circles, and they have a metal ring around them so you can pick them up with a strong magnet). They usually are available from Bingo supply stores (on the web), and I find them very useful. Also they’re really cheap.

So let’s get to toady’s demo, First this is how the map looks after the first turn. This is a another Deathmatch on the Castle map for demonstration (I keep using this map because it photographs better than the Crypt.), and as before all characters are equipped with their combat packs. As you can see below the Reich spent a couple of CP to move a little further into the board. The Union has Initiative for the next turn.

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So now lets look at throwing a Smoke Grenade, these items have a “throw” range of EIGHT, and all but the target (last) circle must be on the same path as the “thrower” (page 22). In the next image we see Tala on the left side of the Main Hall, the blue Bingo Chips mark the circles where she can throw her Smoke Grenade, without moving.

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Now if she moves even one circle the number of target circles increases greatly (see below).

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Now you can see just how massive a range of 8 with one out of Path circle can be. In fact if you take the time to count out how far the furthest possible target is; you’ll see it’s only six circles away. Ok, now we have a basic understanding of where you can throw a Smoke Grenade, let’s see what it does once it gets there.

First the active character may use the “Throw Grenade” Action to place the Smoke Grenade token in the target circle, in this case Tala tosses it right at Karl’s feet, but unlike a regular Grenade it does no damage so there’s no need for any action on the part of the Reich player.

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Next, place two smoke tokens on top of the Smoke Grenade token, these act as a timer. The effects of a Smoke Grenade last three turns. So on each of the following “Refresh Tokens” steps at the beginning of the next three turns Remove one of the tokens, that way the smoke effect runs out in three turns.

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The last thing I suggest you do is get some of these Bingo chips and mark all the effected circles (you could also use coins or glass “gems”), it just makes it easier to tell who is standing in smoke.

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Finally to end her turn, Tala takes a few steps away from the Reich.

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Now that it’s the Reich’s turn how does this smoke effect them?

Well, as long as they or any other character is standing in the smoke, they can only target adjacent characters, and this goes for all attacks and grenades, the rules do not distinguish between Mental or regular attacks. So, remember if your in smoke “Adjacent Targets Only”. The other penalty of standing in smoke is you roll two fewer dice on all attack rolls. There is an exception to all of this and we’ll come to it in a minute.

Back to the Reich’s turn, we’re going to go over this quickly so we can get back to the Union and smoke. In the image below you see the Stoss has moved south and attacked Barry. Barry only manages to cancel TWO of the Stoss’s SIX hits, and would have died were it not for a Command Point. (CP can be spent to prevent death see the current FAQ on FFG’s web site)

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Now, back to the Union, their next move is to activate Commando Delta and toss a second Smoke Grenade into the Main Hall.

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Now much of the map is filled with smoke and the Union’s turn ends.

The Reich now have limited options, they must use one of the longer paths around the hall or end up in the smoke. Their best option at the moment is to take the Schocktruppen a few circles to the left and move on to the smoke free Orange Path, and then toss a regular Grenade. You can see the results below; Barry has only canceled ONE hit from the Grenade and he is eliminated. Tala canceled TWO hits and spends a CP, to Shake Off one of the wounds she would have received. Ok your probably starting to think what good are these Smoke Grenades? Well, to be honest they’re not a whole lot of use in Deathmatch, but when we look at Objective and Story mode in a later article; we’ll see how to better use them.

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Now Back to the Union, for good measure let’s toss out one last Smoke Grenade and fill the that Hall with the Orange Path with smoke.

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Now you can see the extent the map can be filled with smoke in a single turn. For the Reich Karl moved into the rooms just to the right of the Main Hall, and fired Doom at John, but he missed completely. So, back to the Union.

John MacNeal is the only character in the Core Game that can see through smoke, his “Night Eyes” item allows him to “ignore the effects of smoke”. Additionally they add +2 to any die you choose after making an attack roll. So he moves to the center of the map an fires on the Stoss. Now because of his equipment he does not need to be adjacent to his target nor does he suffer the -2 dice penalty.

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John rolled 10, 9, 8, 3, 2, the Natural 10 lets him roll an additional 8, 1, his Night Eyes allow him to change the 3 to a 5, and his “Combat Infantry Badge” allows him to reroll the 2, 1 and he gets a 7, 4. So after all that math John scores SEVEN hits. The Stoss only rolled 8, 8, 4, 1, and cancels two of them which is not enough to keep him alive. Well, with John’s vengeance complete, the Reich gets to move Eva and Hermann back to back.

The Reich player chooses to move Hermann back and keep him in reserve for now, and then sends Eva in to attack John, while she will be in smoke fighting Hand-to-Hand is her forte anyway.

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As you can see above, Eva rolled a Natural 10 while attacking with her “Strafe”, which forces John to roll only two dice on his shock roll. Also note that Eva still gets her “Additional die” when attacking despite the smoke. As a result John suffers TWO wounds and has no Command Points to Shake Off any of them.

And that brings to a close Turn Two, of this demo game. Now as turn three begins remember to remove ONE smoke token from each Smoke Grenade. As you can see below the Refresh Tokens step is complete and turn three is ready to begin.

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Well I think that I’ll bring us to a close today, and I hope that gives you an idea how Smoke Grenades work, and while this may not be the best example where you should place your Smoke Grenades, it should give you a good idea of how they function.