Saturday, 16 March 2013

Flood - another scenario idea

Another idea inspired by Stephen Baxter's Flood.  This one seemed to need a post all of its own!

It's the final curtain - the waters are about to close over one particular piece of land, a mountain-top that has provided refuge for some time.  A group of VIPs must be escorted to the waiting aircraft in order to escape the rising waters.  Perhaps it's a shuttle to take them to an orbiting spacecraft or maybe it's just a helicopter to take them to an even higher mountain plateau which is still habitable - fit it to whatever game universe or range of models you have available.  The arrival of the aircraft has not gone unnoticed, boats are approaching from all directions with refugees eager to escape - or if they cannot, to stop anyone else from escaping!

This map gives an example of the game board layout, the contours of the mountain peaks rising above the water.  Red marker 1 is a small boat in which the VIPs have just arrived, 2 is the aircraft, 3 are weapon emplacements.

The forces involved will comprise:

20 (veteran) - 30 (regular) troops in units of 4-6, armed with small arms plus 1-2 support weapons (SAW, RPG/LAW) per unit.  If using power armour, reduce the number of troops by 50%.  1 unit will start by a boat at the waters edge, the rest can be deployed as the defender wishes.

10 VIPs (unarmed).  These will start in contact with the boat at the waters edge.

8 weapon emplacements - each will contain a single heavy weapon, should be a mixture of heavy machine guns, missiles and anti-tank guns.  The weapons are fixed in place and cannot be moved during the game, though they will have a 90 degree fire arc to their front.  These should be arranged 2 or 3 on each contour starting with the 2nd contour above the water (there will therefore be 2 turns in which all can fire, after which they will gradually stop working).

Dropship/helicopter/shuttle on landing pad (might have a couple of door gunners to provide a last-ditch defence).

Starts with 20 troops in units of 4-6.  Troops should be green or regular quality (probably 1 level lower than the defenders).  Weapons can be allocated to either individuals or to groups depending upon how quickly and easily you want to play.
Roll 1D6 to determine weapons for each individual or unit:
1 - knife/club
2-3 - pistol
4 - shotgun
5-6 - rifle
These starting units can be placed on the shoreline as the attacker wishes, with a minimum of 6" between units, and at least 18" from the VIP party.  At the start of every turn (including turn 1) there will be 4D6 extra troops appearing, divided evenly amongst D4 boats approaching the island.  Roll a D12 clockface or scatter die centred on the middle of the table to determine the direction from which the boat is coming.  It will appear 6" offshore in the direction indicated and moves 5" per turn.  Depending upon how lucky they are, the passengers might be able to disembark on the second turn - or the tide might be rising so fast that they take 3 or 4 turns or make landfall!
(If you are short of figures, you could just represent each new boat with a piece of card and note the number of figures on it.  Once the boat reached the shore, the appropriate figures can be placed on the table).
Roll a D6 for each boat:
1-2 = an unarmed raft,
3-5 = a boat (provides limited cover for those inside),
6 = armed boat (provides limited cover for those inside, armed with a heavy machine gun).

Victory conditions:

Everything hinges on the escape of the VIPs.  If the VIPs are all killed of the aircraft is captured, victory goes to the attackers.  If at least 1 VIP makes it to the aircraft and the aircraft takes off, the game counts as a draw.  If 2 or more VIPs make it to the aircraft and escape, it is a victory for the defender.
If playing this game as part of a campaign, the survival or loss of certain VIPs may affect future games - they might have vital plans, maps or important scientific or military knowledge that will influence deployment or availability of troops/technology.

Special Rules:

Boats: Boats and rafts count as light vehicles.  If one is destroyed, roll the attacking weapons damage against all passengers to see if any survive.  Survivors are placed in the water on the spot at which the boat was destroyed and can swim the rest of the way to the shore.  If they are too far from shore to reach it before the game ends, it may be simpler just to remove them.

VIPs: The VIPs need to be escorted to the waiting aircraft before the tide reaches it.  They will travel at the normal movement rate of the troops who are protecting them and must remain within 4" of them.  If the accompanying troops are all killed, the VIPs will hunker down in place until another friendly unit gets within 4", at which point they can move once again, using this new unit as their protectors.  Once they are within 8" of the aircraft the VIPs will move directly towards it regardless of incoming enemy fire or casualties amongst themselves or their protectors.

Aircraft: The aircraft has a door gunner on each side (180 degree fire arc to the side) who can fire a SAW at enemy troops.  If attacking troops manage to reach the aircraft and overcome the door gunners (who count as in cover against incoming fire and will fight as normal infantry in close combat), the aircraft is lost and the attackers have won the game.  The aircraft can take off as soon as at least 1 VIP is on board.  When the waters close over the landing pad, the aircraft must either take off (if at least 1 VIP is on board) or is submerged and destroyed (if no VIPs on board).

Swimming: Figures may end up in the water during the game, either through the destruction of their raft or by voluntarily swimming between rafts.  Anyone falling in the water will lose any weapons larger than assault rifles/SMGs, so all SAWs, LSWs, LAWs, RPGs etc. will be lost.  Figures can swim at a rate equal to 1/3 of their normal move (probably about 1½ - 2") and should suffer some sort of penalty for shooting (-1 to hit modifier or -1D firepower).  Anyone shooting at swimming figures receives no penalty but swimming figures should be able to claim complete cover if desired from any floating debris or rafts they can reach (it is assumed that they duck down with only part of their head above the water).  Climbing out of the water onto a boat or raft takes ½ a move.  Anyone who has swum to the shore does not need to climb out - once at the shoreline they immediately continue moving at their normal rate with no ½ move penalty.

Rising tide:This should add some fun and a real sense of urgency to the game!
Using a blue sheet as the base of your gaming surface, create the playing area by stacking several polystyrene hill contour sections to form the mountain-top or island.  The aircraft should be on a landing pad at the highest point of the land.
At the end of every turn, carefully remove the lowest hill section as the waters rise to cover it.
Anything that was on the contour which has been removed is placed back on the table in the same location relative to the remaining scenery.  Figures who end up in the water can swim as per the special rule mentioned below.  Heavy equipment, support weapons, vehicles etc. are lost.  Grav/GEV/amphibious vehicles remain in play assuming that they were manned at the time - any which are unmanned are assumed to have sunk before anyone managed to activate the engines.  If you are using powered armour, figures could remain in play underwater, moving at ½ normal move rate and firing their weapons at a -1 to hit modifier or -1D firepower.
As an alternative to polystyrene hill sections you could represent the contours using sheets of corrugated cardboard, cork, or even just sheets of coloured card.
As the game progresses, the defenders will gradually lose their heavy weapon emplacements as they are submerged, but the length of coastline they are guarding will be reducing all the time.  Some of their opponents will also be ending up in the water or getting cut off on separate pieces of land, reducing the immediate threat.  As the attackers start to clump together in a smaller area, they might become more susceptible to area effect weapons.

As you will no doubt have realised, the number of hill contours will determine the length of the game.  If you haven't got many contours, you could remove the lowest layer every 2 or 3 turns, if this is the case make sure that you start the attacking boats further away or move them a shorter distance each turn.

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