Friday, 24 August 2012

Hellfire by Jim Webster - rules review


I managed to find a copy of Hellfire on ebay and I must say for a set of rules that is nearly 20 years old they are very well written for generic sci-fi conflicts.
The rules focus on element basing of models and use a very nice method of showing unit morale over the course of the battle.

It is a very generic set of rules which at first glance my seem limited, however on closer inspection this means it is very easy to tailor to your game style and background.  Weapon ranges are 20” for small arms and up to 400” for main guns on tanks and the like. The rules cover everything from infantry, cavalry, artillery, bobby traps, snipers, to electronic warfare, psionic and aliens. Plus everything in between!
The main mechanics of the game are opposed rolls against fixed criteria on the “to hit” chart, using D12 and D10 depending on the type of weapons and armour you have.  The other important mechanic and I guess the core part of the rules is the reaction tables. There are several tables which are used depending on where you units reactions code begins. Once you come to a situation with unit, for example suffering a casualty, you roll on the table accordingly using a D6 and read off the result, which can be from taking cover, firing wildly back, laying down covering fire to attempting to engage the enemy more closely or fleeing.
These reaction tables make the game unique in my humble opinion, and are what allow aliens to act in a very alien manner.
Unit reaction codes are made up of eight digits, and  look something like this: 3,2,2,2,3,2,2,1 the total of which you can use to determine troop classifications. Clone warriors have 25 reaction points, conscripts 10 reaction points, as you can tell clone warriors will stick around longer in a fight than conscripts.
The rules contain several scenarios which are great to learn how to construct units with varying reaction codes as well as different scenario objectives.

All in all it is such a shame these rules are no longer in print, it is a shame Wessex Games haven’t released an electronic version along with the other supplements they made.
 I am looking forward to getting some use out of my old epic stuff which is based up as elements and having a go a doing different period rule mods for WWII and Zulu wars. I also think with a little tweaking these rules will play solo very easily.

If you find a second hand copy I recommend picking this long out of print set of rules up, I am sure you will find them really playable or at least full of ideas for your current games.

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