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Richard Littles
03-05-2010, 05:07 PM
I spent about an hour testing out the Hero System Mass Combat rules and I was very surprised at how fast it went. It took about 20 minutes to get through almost a full turn with Speed 3 and 4 units. The two sides were about evenly matched points wise. I used the factions, infantry, and vehicles that are in my, soon-to-be published, setting book Inceptum Terminus: Chronicles of the New Confederation. The New Confederation fielded 2x12 man squads and an M-255 Kodiak Heavy Armored Anti-Gravity Vehicle. Their opponents was the High Plains Alliance, which fielded 2x12 man squads and 2 M-244 Lynx Light Armored Anti-Gravity Infantry Fighting Vehicles. The battle was fought on a 4'x8' surface on the outskirts of a small town.

Due to how Hero System handles who goes first, the majority of initiative wins went to the New Confederation. Hero System uses a Speed Chart and every unit has a Speed characteristic. Each turn is divided up into 12 segments and a unit is assigned a specific segment to go on which is called a Phase. A turn is 12 seconds long in individual combat, but is 48 seconds long for squad battles due to scaling. Initiative during a single segment is determined by the unit's Dexterity. Since all the units, of their type, were identical stat-wise I had to roll a d6 for each side with the highest going first. A unit can do 2 half phase actions like move and shoot or a unit can do a full phase action like running its full move. Hero System presents plenty of options for a unit to do during its phase like ramming and other things.

Moving quickly, the Kodiak held the center of the line and charged forward. The squads were placed on either flank and moved at a good pace to get into position. The Kodiak fired its 155mm Gauss Cannon at the Lynx moving up the right flank behind cover and missed. In the following phases, it would try to hit this Lynx, but would regularly miss. Dang range modifiers. :(

The other Lynx moved up the left flank and dropped its troops behind cover before moving up to engage the Kodiak. Its first and only shot barely scratched the paint on the Kodiak. The Kodiak returns fire and blew up the Lynx in a massive fireball. The other Lynx had deposited its troops prior and was waiting for its turn to go. After seeing the Kodiak gut its brother, the Lynx's driver floored the gas pedal and slammed into the side of the Kodiak. The Kodiak was rocked and took massive damage. At this point in the game, I stopped with the infantry squads on each side at full strength and unengaged.

I have to say that in comparison with all the other wargaming rules I've played, Hero System's Mass Combat rules play much faster and smoother. The full game would have been over in less than 20 more minutes. Overall, Hero System does a lot better job for wargaming than rules that were specifically written for it.