Thursday, 29 September 2011

Tomorrow's War review part two!

In part two of the review I would like to discuss the rules of Tomorrow’s War.

I haven’t had any real experience with Ambush Alley Games rules before, however I have read ‘Contracting Trouble’ which i believe was a free introduction scenario/rules set way back when. I never did play those rules. I believe AAG rules all have the core mechanics pretty much the same but with subtle variants between genres.
The rules are split into 9 main sections which all complement each other to add greater depth to your games. The 9 sections are: The turn sequence; The basics of Play, this is most probably the most important section of the rules and is well described; Units & leaders; Infantry combat; Mechanized Combat; Close Air support & interface Operations, TW allows flyers, drop ships and my favourite ‘Hot Drops’ think of deep strike in 40K but it really reminds me of Star Ship Troopers the CGI version. Where the Rough-necks make planet fall in big over suits, before they burst open and release the grunt from within; Off board Artillery and finally special unit types. The book goes further to describe how to play asymmetrical engagements, regulars versus irregulars. There is a nifty campaign system, which has its own guide lines for setting the scene and establishing forces with any assets that are available.

The final part of the book has several appendices which cover unit attributes; Organisation examples based on the forces described in the ‘fluff’; Some vehicle examples which are great to get you started with common AFV of the not too far future. They also provide a base from which to create your own. There are several scenarios described ranging from capture the objective to valiant last stands. Each scenario is well described and has a map plus ORBATs for each.  
I have only played a very small encounter that has a couple of squads on each side and some terrain on  a small table. It wasn’t worthy of an AAR but it has help clarify some of the game mechanics.

What i really like about TW rule are they are very comprehensive, all though there is a mention of future books which adds more tot eh game, you most probably will be fine with this one book. It covers squad to platoon combat really well, it might work at company size engagements but i wouldn’t think it would handle any bigger. I am sure to be proven wrong at some point in the near future.
The rules themselves are really simple to understand, i think this is mainly helped by the amount of explanation that has gone it to each section. I also like the end of section scenarios, ‘putting it all together’; I think this is a very good idea as it breaks up the sections of the rules nicely. One of the best aspects of the rules are that the dice used to describe your troops and units also describe certain ranges for combat situations. I don’t really have to remember much in terms of weapons ranges and the like.

I really like the ‘nearly universal’ game mechanism, which by you have to roll over a fixed number and beat your opponents dice scores. It keeps everyone involved. The reaction mechanism is brilliant and much better to understand than 5150 by THW. I am not knocking THW rules at all, I own a fair few but AAG has it hands down on how to fully describe their reaction mechanism.
The presentation of the rules is first class, all the more better for not having skulls everywhere. The art work is pretty inspiring and the level of detail on some of the images is amazing. Check out the ‘Doc’ on page 210 if you don’t believe me.

So what is there not to like? Well to be honest, I can’t think of anything I don’t like. I guess the rules do lack point values which may be an issue to some people who think conflicts are fought with equally balanced points values...
The weapons are very generic and to some people that might be off putting, the rules are more focused on the ground pounders rather than fancy hardware.

I think the ‘Fog of War’ cards could have also been done as a table using dice scores to determine the result.  However this would only work for those situations which are played immediately.
I guess I the big question will be is it worth the £25 investment? My answer is YES. I firmly believe if you enjoy ‘hard’ sci-fi, in whatever scale you prefer, then you will enjoy these rules.

Enjoy and remember Tomorrow’s War is today!

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