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  1. #1
    Member madman's Avatar
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    The Next Step(s) with Ambush Alley!

    I guess this is where to post thoughts and keep the AARs in the game log section.

    So after my last play of Ambush Alley! (yes the rules do have the explanation point at the end) I had a few issues that I have been thinking about.

    1. All scenarios in AA! use only a single squad. I went through the base rule book for Force on Force and one scenario has a couple squads except for those with vehicles. I have all the supplements and expansions for AA! and FoF so there are likely larger scenarios there. All scenarios in Battlespace only have a fire team or two(one scenario). I would like to run from a fire team up to a platoon with reinforcements.

    2. I felt the solo rules for AA! insurgents were not aggressive enough.

    3. Along with being low on aggression I feel the solo rules, even given the use of Fog of War cards could be amped and cleared/cleaned up.


    Given the present lockdown and the likelihood it is not going away anytime soon I am looking for a set of solo rules to play skirmish games with. Until this last year I had no real interest in solo but the excellent Battlespace set of rules has changed my mind. Even when we can get together again I have a new found appreciation for co-op games. My son and I played the first scenario of Battlespace and I enjoyed not having to "fight" against him but rather having him on my side was enjoyable. I am sure the same will be with other gamers as well. I also had no real interest in skirmish level games but once again the subject matter and the ability to play solo or co-op has additionally opened my interest.

    So in my endless (lack of?) wisdom I have decided to combine Ambush Alley! and Battlespace. Here is a rough outline of how they would be integrated together and mostly insufficiently developed random thoughts all teetering towards that goal.

    Since this is still retaining Ambush Alley! as the base that everything is combined into I am not going to repeat it just show how I would integrate aspects of Battlespace into it. It should make insurgent forces stronger and will need playtesting to see that I haven't made them too strong.


    The player's forces still operate as teams of from 2 to 4 figures. Since I may make these forces just regulars and third world forces at that I might enlarge them to half squads. Before a team activates they have to roll success (4+) on their troop quality die. If they succeed play them as usual. If they fail then pull a sitrep card from Battlespace (I have to review the additional sitrep cards added to Battlespace from the expansions) and apply its effects immediately. After that the team still has a single action activation. They could make one attack, a cautious move action but with the effects applied of a rapid advance but only 6" of movement not 12", etc..

    During the turn if a team rolls a 1 on it's reaction test roll then a Fog of War card is drawn and applied as usual.

    After all player's units have activated another SitRep card is drawn (same as Battlespace) and it is immediately put into play. Any irregular units which have not activated also activate at that time and follow Battlespace procedure for the SitRep phase in that all inactivated irregulars move and attack (if possible).


    I am pretty sure there is no one here familiar with both sets of rules, although I have tried to introduce AA! and posted links to play of Battlespace on YouTube, thoughts and comments are welcome. I hope to run a game of this this weekend. I may just keep it to a single squad, just not to overload me plus some of the SitRep cards may have to be modified if too powerful or weak an in any case to adapt them to the alternate game mechanics. The Fog of War cards inherent in AA! may need to be adapted as well. Another aspect I have to look at is exchanging the AA! Fog of War cards for the Fog of War cards from Force on Force. Additionally there have been different sets of FoW cards introduced in many of the supplements. Whether they are additions or complete exchanges I do not know. I will look into that further in the future.

    It was always my intent to add rules from Force on Force into Ambush Alley!. Partially as a learning experience as FoF is both much more extensive and poorly laid out and partially because I may find FoF does some things I don't like. Yes it is based on AA! but there are aspects I have read already where there are significant differences. How they play out I do not know. I believe FoF will be better (the section(s) I know of right now) but I want to play them and see. I am on somewhat of a playing and not JUST a reading and writing roll.
    Last edited by madman; 03-31-2021 at 06:18 PM.

  2. #2
    Super Moderator josta59's Avatar
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    That's a very creative idea! I look forward to seeing how this works out.

  3. #3
    Administrator Whiterook's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by madman View Post
    I guess this is where to post thoughts and keep the AARs in the game log section....

    .....So in my endless (lack of?) wisdom I have decided to combine Ambush Alley! and Battlespace. Here is a rough outline of how they would be integrated together and mostly insufficiently developed random thoughts all teetering towards that goal.
    You make a valid point here on where to place your threads: The General Discussion area for miniatures is a good place to post your plans to do what you say... basically home craft a combination of game systems into one through basically, home rules. It announces to the general populace what you’re up to here.

    The actual thread itself, that deals with working through that process of research, and development, through to the final redesign of a new system would go in the R&D Labs section, within the Home Rules Research & Development Lab forum. That formerly a subforum in the forum above it, but I moved it tonight with a little tweak to its own forum.

    As you start the actual home ruling process, do so in that Home Rule Research & Design Lab forum, and you can provide a link to the General forum if you want to tie in the genesis.
    "Life begins at the end of your comfort zoneĒ

  4. #4
    Rule bashing! Love to see what you can come up with combining different rule sets. Also, I like the die roll way of activating units you mention.

  5. #5
    Member madman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hagen View Post
    Rule bashing! Love to see what you can come up with combining different rule sets. Also, I like the die roll way of activating units you mention.
    Frankly I do not recall playing a game, back in the day, with "friction", as in where your units didn't do exactly what you wanted with no hesitation. I do like that, hard though it may be when they DON'T do what YOU want. The other option is using cards to activate a unit. By using dice I can still give units a partial activation. In this case regular units will get a partial activation even if they fail their die roll. To me this feels right as highly trained units should still do something, while irregulars if they fail the test for interrupting the regular's actions they have used up that unit's attempt for activation that turn. Also with cards, or the random draw of unit specific dice like I have played in Bolt Action, that works best for multiplayer games or ones where players play both sides. That would work similar to Chain of Command where by dice roll a side could get more than a single turn's worth of activations in a row. Not a bad mechanic IMHO, just not really applicable here. Primarily as the players play only one side in Ambush Alley and my modifications remain a solo, and therefore one sided game.

    The other common mechanic is buckets of dice. I really don't care for buckets of dice. However, the alternative, buckets of die roll modifiers, I like a less. I was watching a couple of videos of the play of Ultra Combat Modern, which is another potential game in this genre, and for one combat roll (a single fire by one player's figure) it took the players a minute and a half to run through all the die roll modifiers which could be applied to a single roll (less I assume the obviously inappropriate ones not considered). Yea, no. Ambush Alley modifies the numbers and size (number of sides) of the dice used with a few roll modifiers. This takes a few games to become comfortable but the QRSs show when and where.

    Along with buckets of dice comes the roll to hit then the target player rolls to "save'. Now that all smells to me like D&D where you roll to save vs spells, poisons, etc.. It feels weird but I have come to see it as a two dice roll. So where you used to roll a D20 or 2D6 for your "attack", and modify the hell out of it, now you roll one die and your opponent rolls the second. Not the best feel to me but I have learned to live with it (much like buckets of dice).

    I have always rules bashed. There was always something not covered (like EVERY weapon or armoured vehicle used in the Western Desert in the Tractics rules we used) so characteristics or rules to cover certain situations had to be worked up. At least until we found Squad Leader and ASL (where we just became overwhelmed with minutiae, threw up our arms and ran away). How about Air Superiority (a super detailed modern air combat game) which we played with egg timers to keep it moving and using the 32 step impulse system from Star Fleet Battles. Yes I always found "something" missing I HAD to add. In this case I have only posted modifications to the "official" Ambush Alley forum which could be considered as covering missed areas in the rules. Here, where I am mixing two rules sets (plus more) I consider really house rules so not suitable for that venue. I will post links to this forum if and when I post my ideas here.

  6. #6
    Super Moderator josta59's Avatar
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    I enjoyed reading that explanation, madman! I'm bashing some rules this weekend that I hope to share soon, and they also include opposed rolls.

  7. #7
    I agree that highly trained regulars should be able to do something (partial activation) vs irregulars. What do you allow them to do or not do?

  8. #8
    Member madman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hagen View Post
    I agree that highly trained regulars should be able to do something (partial activation) vs irregulars. What do you allow them to do or not do?
    Ambush Alley allows essentially two actions, say fire and move, move and fire, move double time and fire so I would limit them to a single action like move or fire or perform half a function which might take a full turn. Thinking about the latter I think I will deny the ability to perform a half function as you are unlikely to be subject to a second failed activation and keeping track of partial actions would either mean yet more items on the game table or tracking sheets beside the table.

  9. #9
    Member madman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by josta59 View Post
    I enjoyed reading that explanation, madman! I'm bashing some rules this weekend that I hope to share soon, and they also include opposed rolls.
    Thank you. I am nothing if not long winded!

  10. #10
    Member madman's Avatar
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    I am going to place this here as it is not an AAR but a critique of combining AA! and Battlespace.

    Played scenario 1 from Ambush Alley! with my son cooperative against an insurgent force operating under both AA! and Battlespace rules combined.

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    This is the table layout with exceptions in that instead of middle east buildings I used the HO buildings I have acquired recently. I also used my decades old drop cloth (with 2" iron on black hexes if you can see them), and same age felt for the roads. I have to iron all my felt out to flatten them (open to suggested temperature values, I assume it is cotton or some kind of polyester???) so they don't stick up at odd angles.

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    Quick reminder. Irregular units can only react to regulars during the turn. At the end of the turn, depending on conditions, remaining irregular units MAY activate. To interrupt units roll one troop quality die per side. On a 1 to 3 the interrupt fails regardless and the irregular units is done for the game turn. If it passes but is less than the regular unit's roll it fires or moves after the regular unit. If the regular unit moves out of LOS or eliminates the irregular unit it is done. If it wins the interrupt roll it acts first (move OR fire not both). So basically irregular units act last, poorly or not at all. Also AA! has a list of actions an irregular unit would perform which is very unaggressive, usually seeking to gang together with other units or leaders and only if much more capable than the regular units would they attack.

    No step by step AAR here. Every time a regular failed (rolled less than a 4, which was about 1/3 to 1/4 of the time) an interruption check, a SitRep card (from Battlespace) was drawn and applied. Also at the end of the game turn another one was drawn and applied as well. Plus any irregular units which did not activate or attempt an interrupt automatically activated at the turn end. This differs from AA, as written, in that at the end of the game turn units which did not activate or attempt to interrupt would have to meet conditions under which, in past games, only half the units would activate and do little (see previous paragraph). This follows Battlespace (sorry I can't bring myself to abbreviate it as BS as it isn't) practice and it more aggressive than AA.

    So now the occasional unit or individual pops up during regular activations (usually attacking) impacting the unit which failed it's interruption check roll (not necessarily losing to the irregular which challenged it as they have to get over a 3 to even have a chance of winning). We also had a card drawn twice which immediately activated all irregulars. Again though I kept with AA! and those units only moved or attacked and were done activating for the game turn and couldn't activate later, which if I remember correctly is how Battlespace handles them as well.

    So I found it a lot more active but my son, who only played Battlespace found it too easy. He did take the lead, getting quickly to the wrecked car with the two PMCs beside it, as the point force (straight up the road in the first picture). Then rushed back keeping out of sight to exit. I was trying to shut down hot spots (only got one this game) and covering his derriere. The game lasted 5 turns with no Marine or PMC casualties while about half the irregulars on the table all game long were killed. Surprisingly, even when down to one out of six original figures in one case, all irregulars passed their morale checks. They did have high morale but always passed by a wide margin.

    In this game the regulars were only one level better quality then the irregulars. In scenario 2 I posted earlier the regulars were two levels better, which was significant. I think I may run this scenario again solo before I tear it down and see how it plays a second time.

    Thoughts?
    Last edited by madman; 04-04-2021 at 06:28 PM.

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