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[FMA] Full Metal AAR

From: "Jim 'Jiji' Foster" <jiji@m...>
Date: Tue, 03 Aug 1999 15:12:35 -0700
Subject: [FMA] Full Metal AAR

>>Seriously, though, I'm planning on running a test this weekend with a 
>>young friend who's Star Wars-obsessed. As his gaming experience has
>>largely of the computer or CCG variety, I'll see how 'teachable' this
>>is. I plan on using the 'range bands by troop quality' variant
proposed a 
>>few days back. AAR on Monday, if warranted.

>The results of this will be very interesting - please post an AAR!

Well, it's a bit later than promised, but the playtest finally happened
(my Padwan learner got his butt grounded for a bit.) The setup was
stolen wholesale from a scenario in the SW Miniatures Battles game,
downsized slightly to put it at skirmish scale. The sides were:

1 Ten-man stormtrooper squad, split into 5-man teams
Full body armor, blasters, 1 repeating blaster/team, 1 leader. Troop
quality was blue with 1 & 2 motivations (representing the fact that
stortroopers will charge to their death, but can't hit the broad side of
a barn.) There were two 'greens' as well (bad draws on my part.)

1 Six-man infiltration cell, 1 leader. Flak vests, blasters. Troop
quality Veteran, motivation was mostly 2's with one 1 and one 3 drawn. 

For blasters I merely used the provided stats for 'Assault Rifle'...
this was a 'get the feet wet' test, not a try for exacting genre
accuracy. The rebels started out in cover in the center of a cluttered
warehouse, up to some undefined nefarious deeds. The Imperials had got
wind of their efforts, and had sent a squad to each of the warehouse
doors to capture/kill their quarry. Mini's (for those who care) were a
bunch of unpainted plastic 40K marines I've had lying in pieces for
years, and six orphan Fantasians from... Legions of Steel or somesuch.

My opponnent was a teenager I'm mentoring who has no real background in
wargaming; in fact he's much more into arcade and CCGs. I've sat him
down to Full Thrust once, but it didn't take. FMA, on the other hand,
seemed to take quite well. One quick spin through the rules, and we had
at it. Ended up playing twice through the scenario, switching sides.
This game is fast, even with newbies!

The games went well, although were a bit simplistic as I didn't even try
to fudge autofire rules for the repeaters; action was pretty much
potshots back and forth. The second time through we added grenades (made
up some damage rules on the spot) and discovered that grenades indoors
are nasty. The grenade targeting rules seem a bit off... the way the
rules read now, missing one's target number by one produces greater
deviations that simply rolling way low! Nevertheless, game two was
largely an excercise in grenade lobbing which produced near total
casualties on both sides and nearly every activation figures were
suppressed. Niceties like overwatch, reaction fire, etc. were ignored; I
plan to use them next time, however.

And, of course, the critical question: how did the players like the
game? The answer: very, very well. This is the first time I've seen Josh
so enthused about any of 'my' games. We spent pretty much the rest of
the afternoon talking scenarios, not just Star Wars, but all sorts of
genres (Terminator, Aliens, superhero, although I think I may have to
draw the line at a Dragonball Z adaptation. :P) He asked to borrow the
rules and my dice and is presumably even now working out rules
modifications and scenarios for our next meeting... I really am amazed
at how entusiastically he's taken to it. 

Theorizing about the reasons why it's so appealing? My guess is a) it's
easy to play b) the Star Wars angle of course; but chiefly c) it's easy
for a younger mind to grasp the literal relationship of one
character/one model and the small scale action which he's seen in movies
before. This leads me to think that maybe this would be a way to
undercut some of the Evil Empire's business: market a version of the
game with flashy cover and interior illos, put out a line of unrealistic
but 'cool' minis and call it Full Metal Adolescent. :)

Seriously, I think this is a really good start, and I plan on
incorporating some of the list suggestions on combat moves (I'm tending
towards the 2dX method), handling the effects of full-auto fire for area
denial, and special weapons (Josh has been most insistent on the need
for rocket launchers and flamethrowers O.o ). I'd like to get into
unit-level morale, but that's probably not going to be a priority for a

I'm also thinking that there should be some sort of spotting and target
recognition rules... while I don't want to get anywhere near the
oppressive Phoenix Command level of things, such issues are a critical
part of CQB. Suggestions, anyone?

At any rate, bravo Jon! This game may actually get me into buying and
painting 25mm, a size I've avoided for many a year.

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