Ultra FUBAR

No, it is not my attempt at crazy superlatives. Instead it is an attempt to trial the latest version of FUBAR, which is still in it’s infancy.  Tonite I had a chance to try out the new rules with Chen-song at the EWG semi-monthly games night.  We managed to play two games of platoon size each in a little over an hour and a half.  A very fast pair of games.

The biggest proposed changes reflect activation and reaction fire.

In FUBAR it has happened in many games where a unit becomes engaged and then fails to do anything while getting cut down by enemy fire. Or worse, most of a game is spent idly throwing dice while units bask in the sunlight and fresh air.

I think a picture speaks a thousand words:

Game 2 - turn 1

This is the end of turn 1 in game two.  Chen-song failed to activate 2 of his 3 units.  But look, he has more than one unit on the board.  How does that work?

In the proposed revision we were trialing tonight, all units have 1 action if they fail to activate (and initiative passes to the other player) and 2 actions if they successfully activate.  Actions are chosen  from a list:

1. Move up to maximum move distance (infantry 6 cm, walkers 9 cm, ground vehicles 12 cm, hover vehicles 18 cm).

2. Fire one weapon.  After a lot of debate from another FUBAR player we decided to cap vehicle fire unless stationary and only one action is taken.  While most vehicles only have 1 or 2 weapons, some are bristling with weapons and would give a very unfair edge.

3.  Aim.  This provides a +1 to the next shoot action.  Again after discussion we decided it can’t stack beyond +1 and yes, it can be used on reaction fire.  Like suppression markers, the bonus is removed following the activation roll.

4. Assault.  This is an infantry only action.  It allows a move of up to half move distance and engaging in an assault.

5. Scenario or unit specific actions (repairs, calling artillery, uploading the virus, etc.).

So, if a unit fails, it can still move.  If it passes it can move twice.  Or move and fire.  Or fire twice…well you get the idea.

Reaction fire is simple: every unit is able to make one reaction fire per turn if a unit moves within their line of sight and range but with a -1 to the roll.  We discussed it an using aim seems relevant.

So now on to some nitty gritty:

Game 1 - early

In game 1 the Cats were working on the secret objective to seize infrastructure while the Strays secret objective was to secure and upload virus.  Just on the turn Chen-song secured both objectives (as it was a smaller scale game only 2 infrastructure and 2 tactical objectives were placed), my orange Frames unit contested the objective.

Unfortunately, the Cats swarmed from the power-plant onto the Frames.  The reactive fire of the Frames did suppress a couple of Cats, but the remainder swarmed over the walkers with limpet mines.  A following turn of shooting did cause a few more casualties, but the Frames went down screaming into cyberspace.

Game 1 - mid

Although not clearly visible, the SPRCs (Semi-Autonomous Programmable Robotic Combatants) are flanking the Cats at the power-plant.  After one turn of successful shooting, the Cats fled from the power-plant.  If a unit is below 50%, and fails an activation, it makes a double move towards the nearest friendly board edge.  Each following turn if they successfully activate they function normally.  If they fail, they flee again.  Maybe a bit fake, but remember that unit is really combat ineffective by the time it has been chewed down to below 50%.

With the Cats gone, the Sparks moved in to secure the objective.

Game 1 - firefight

The other side of the battlefield saw a half strength Lion Pride securing the Water Treatment facility while a Strider Squad dodged in and out of cover to move into range of the deadly tanks.

The turn around the corner resulted in two things, one expected the other not so much.  First, the Lions did some reactive fire.  Making use of the Sabot Rounds, only luck saved the lead Strider from any damage.  In reply, the light cannons chattered away.  The lead Strider was having problems with his gyros, but his wild firing caused the crew to be suppressed.  In contrast, the rear Strider stuck a lucky microchip in the breech with the round and blew up the Lion tank.

Game 1 - end

Here is close to the end of the battle.  The lone Lion tank managed to chew through the rest of the Strider Squad, and the Strays fled the battlefield.

In every game I call 3 end conditions:

1. A player achieves a Major Victory.  If at the end of the following turn they still hold the victory conditions, they win.  In this game, the Cats almost won very early on.

2. A player loses 50% or more of their units.  Note, a unit below half that fails an activation is considered destroyed for this condition.  This is why the Cats won.

3.  One player concedes.

What we drew out of this one is that assaulting can trigger reaction fire.  We discussed it and figured it is not unbalancing to have the assaulted unit suffer from reaction fire.

In Game 2 Chen-song brought out the Colonial Marines to face off against the Strays.

Game 2 - firefight

Sadly most of the pictures didn’t turn out.  However, this important picture did.

At this point in the game we discussed the virtues of how many weapons a vehicle can fire.  Under the old FUBAR, a stationary vehicle can fire all weapons and if it moved (depending on distance for some types) it could only fire one weapon.

Fortunately Bruce (another FUBAR player) was present for his 2 cents on the fire effects.  He made a great point: that much firepower is unfair for a failed activation.  Consider a vehicle (like the AILV suppressed) failing activation.  It can take one action, so opts to fire.  It didn’t move…so despite failing activation it can now unload all of it’s arsenal.  Hmm.

On the other hand, a stationary vehicle can now only fire 2 weapons (or the same weapon twice).  For most of my vehicles they only have two weapons – an anti-pers and an anti-armour weapon.  But a couple have three weapons.  I’m sure there are people who have loads more.  So what Bruce suggested is a vehicle can opt to fire all it’s weapons at the cost of two actions.

The original proposal for Ultra FUBAR had different actions costing different points.  That  seemed a bit complicated for me, since it was something to either memorize or reference.  So that is part of why I suggested the stream-lined approach.  So right now, I am 50-50.  The number of vehicles or situations where the 2 action choice would seem relevant would be very few.  So I might suggest that as an optional rule.  The primary rule will still stand.  So most vehicles don’t fire much more than infantry.  Well until you consider the greater rangers and higher firepower they carry then those two shots from across the table makes a BIG difference.

So something for you to consider in your games if you wish to try Ultra FUBAR.  When I get a chance I am going to make the rules I trialed into a one-pager, and have it available for download.

I hope something inspired you.

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