Saturday, 11 January 2014

5150 Star Army versus 5150 Battalion Commander - Part One

5150 Star Army and 5150 Battalion Commander. What are the differences?

In this series of posts we'll do a step by step game showing the differences between the two. When mechanics differ we'll tell you the "how" and "why".

Squad or Platoon Level

The latest book in the 5150 Universe is 5150 Battalion Commander coming out next week.Where 5150 Star Army is a Platoon Level game with players commanding squads, Battalion Commander is a Company Level game where players commanding Platoons.

Like SA, BC also has rules for vehicles. One difference is we've added Mechs to the mix in BC.  One cool thing is you can take the Mech rules and slip them into Star Army with no need to modify them.

Battalion Commander uses the same organization as Star Army so you can use the same figures in both. Units are composed of 2-3 stands (3-4 figures) so if you have multiple figure stands it will work just fine. Players can move their units between rules sets depending if they want a large or smaller scale fight.

Step by Step - Getting Started

Setting up your games in Battalion Commander is easy, just follow the step by step outline on page 55. Let's get this Campaign/Game going.

1) I choose to play a 3 squad Platoon of Star Army. Each squad has 8 figures (like Star Army) and I also have a 4 figure fire team led by the Platoon Leader. Where platoons in SA have squad leaders and NCOs, BC has one Platoon Leader with the Rep of each squad representing their leaders. I also have 2 Rocket Launchers as Platoon Assets.

2)  I roll for Rep. The PL is Rep 3(newbie from the Academy). 1st Squad Rep 5, 2nd Squad Rep 5, 3rd Squad Rep 4 and the two Rocket Launchers Rep 4. I fill out the Roster for them, taqkes two minutes.

3) Optional Step. I load up my PEFs (Possible Enemy Forces). I decide my enemy are the Zhuh-Zhuh (Monkey boys). I will be using a Light Mech, 1 squad of armored Assault Troops, 2 squads of infantry, one being a Free Company Merc.  I assign numbers to them so when contact is made I'll roll 1d6 to see what is contacted. Pre-generating PEFs will save time during the game. 

4) I choose an Attack Mission with the objective being to exit the opposite side of the table taking as few casualties as I can. The Monkey Boys are fighting a rear guard action and must inflect as many casualties as possible and prevent me from acheiving my objective.

5) I set up the terrain.

6) Roll for Inclement Weather, it's fine.

7) I'm contesting the planet. I roll for my Activity Level (3) and the Enemy Activity Level (4). This will affect the chance of either side getting reinforcements.

8) I roll to see how my guys were inserted into the battlefield. I could have chosen this but rolled instead.  Either way I ended up walking in as AI don;t have enough vehicles in my collection to give them all a ride.

9) I deploy my boys.

10) I drop the PEFs onto the table, placed behind terrain so they start out of sight.

This took twenty minutes from pulling out the troops to the first turn. The next battle will take less time as the Reps and Activity Levels are rolled only at the start of the Campaign.

Activation Dice are rolled and come up SA 2 Z 5. As my PL is a Rep 3, we activate. The PEF Rep is 4 so the Zhuh-Zhuh will not activate. While SA uses variable Reps for PEFs, BC uses one number, 4.

As the Activation dice totaled 7 there is a chance that the higher scoring side (Zhuh-Zhuhs) would get reinforcements. But I've decided  not to use them so my boys move out.