Thoughts and ideas about abstract combat
I've been playing through a bit of an Only War game, and i've started to trip up a bit during combat. In previous solo games I have had combat slowed down by the system mechanics and I'm now trying a more abstract approach.
I thought I would just talk about how I treated combat so people might discuss how they would approach a situation and any ideas they have.

So far, what I did during a little test battle I ran:

I Simply figured out the setting, where the battle was and who was fighting. It was an imperial guard squad fighting a squad of orks, each squad numbering ten soldiers. It was a simple firefight in an armoury aboard a frigate.
There wasn't any cover where we were but there was some just ahead of us so we first needed to rush to cover.

I played out my own first action which was to run to the cover, checking with a simple yes or no if I took any fire. Orks are terrible shots so I didn't.

Next I used mythic to find out if any particular actions took place this round of combat I should be aware of. So I got a focus which was approach goal, and then an action and subject. Put those together and decided the whole squad reached cover.

That was quick and now the battle had some movement. I quickly asked if the squad took any fire which it did but using the get damage button said it was nothing at all serious.

So now I played out my next action using the Only War mechanics, which was some simple shooting, figured I had injured one of the orks. Again now I checked for any particular actions in combat that I would be aware of. Which worked out to mean the orks shot high a lot and dust was raining down from the ceiling, hurting visibility.

This did work to a certain degree and gave the whole fight a much better feel while being so much quicker. However I still wanted a bit more detail in how many soldiers went down on either side and anything like that. I could just ask some yes and no questions which I did at the time and that works, but I thought I would ask you guys how you would handle combat between two squads like this.
The way I deal/would deal with this would be to say does the squad hit the target squad/group?
very likely in this case, yes.

Of the ten enemies how many are in the open and could be hit?
all ten in this case,

I would then roll a D10 using any +/- modifiers to the roll as I felt required by the circumstances.
say i rolled a 4,

I would then select the damage button four times once for each enemy hit.
I would add modifers to the damage before clicking to represent the likelyhood of causing serious injury.
i.e. one heavy weapon hit them so id maybe do one damage with a +3 or +4 to increase the likely hood of death.
Conversely if one of the hits was from a light weapon or the target was heavily armoured I might apply a negative modifier to the damage roll.

If the squad or the enemy contained figures I wanted to target or record differently I would use yes/no questions to see:
Are the 6 standard troops hit? yes/no
Is the PC/officer/heavy weapons specialist hit? yes/no

I could then assign the damage modifiers without the tempation to assign all the hits to the standard troops.

Mostly I change my process to suit the situation! so some times its a key combat that could go either way and other times its going to be a faster less risky combat where the main information I want is not am I gonna die but am I going to be forced to go a different way or change my plan, it all depends what works for you and your story.
(04-24-2013, 06:07 AM)TheRoqueTrader Wrote: I still wanted a bit more detail in how many soldiers went down on either side

I'm going to expand my answer for the sake of others who may read this.

There is no right or wrong answer but here are some more thoughts.

When dealing with combat you basically choose on a sliding scale how detailed you want to be. The range can be very narrative to very technical.

Very narrative could be something like:

"My squad battles the orcs. Do we win?"


Moving towards more detailed:

"Vladomizer shoots at the largest orc. Does he hit?"


"What is the damage?"

Minor Injury: Largely superficial; painful and distracting, but not life threatening.

Now here are is an idea for even more detail:

Use the Notes section of the play screen as a quick and dirty battlemap. Below, the letters A-F represent the orcs and letters G-L represent my squad. The Xs above and below represent that they took hits of say 12 or above using the "Get Damage" button with Display Rolls turned on.



Whenever someone either gets three Xs or a result of Killed from the "Get Damage" button then you can consider that unit dead.

Or, for even more detail, you can use the note section to track each unit's hit points.

[code]A 10
B 10
C 10
D 12
E 10
F 9

G 8
H 12
I 10
J 11
K 11
L 9[/code]

Then instead of using "Get Damage" use the "Roll Dice" button. Say, "this unit is now attacking this other unit." Calculate the opponent's cover, size, movement, armor and the attacker's skill, movement, weapon type, and range. Then, if there is a hit, calculate the damage and subtract it from the target's hit points.

With more detail also comes more record keeping and more time, which isn't a bad thing, it's just however you want to play.

And of course a more narrative style requires no, if very little, record keeping and time.

So basically if you want more detail then you need to be more precise in each action.
Wow, that is detailed! In the two stories I've played so far, I've just used the 50/50 button about ninety percent of the time, followed by the Get Damage button, when appropriate. Of course, my stories are more narrative than technical.

For a tactical combat, I would want to lay out numbered stats and a core mechanic prior to playing - that or use an existing system that I have the books for, like D20, GURPS, etc.

I don't know if I'd post a tactical battle in the forum though. I'd rather post only narrative short stories, since I don't want to post something that I wouldn't personally have the patience to read.

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