Saw a post and a blurb on one of my favorite blogs, Tiny Solitary Soldiers, about a game by the same name of the title of this post.
It sounded cool and Spacejacker has never led me astray, so I checked it out at the Tactical Assault Games website. I liked what I saw, in fact something about had me quite taken with it. I plucked down a mere eleven bucks, made some copies, and the rest is what you see here.
The rules, a solid QRS, and two decks of the Combat Cards
Why was I taken with these rules right off the bat? I mean really, there's tons and tons of rules out there, so why these? There was just an intangible quality about them. My curiosity was piqued when I saw solo scenarios and mechanics. Then I had to raise an eyebrow when I saw the game required zero dice. Genre ranges from WWII to modern to near-future, it's up to you and what you've got on hand, so far so good.
It helped that the rulebook itself is free, here's a direct link. Sure, you get what you pay for, but these rules are well laid out, compact, and efficient. They get the job done in a no-frills manner in a simple, to-the-point style that said to me that this game is one of those that will be easy to get the hang of it and get on the tabletop quickly enough without a high learning curve.
After reading the rules, the overall package struck me as the love-child between Piquet and Hordes of the Things; two games that I absolutely adore and could play all the time. In Piquet the fog of war is always in full effect and just because you may want your troops to do something at an opportune moment, it doesn't mean they will. You have to wait on the right cards to come your way, and that's where the dice-less beauty of Combat Cards comes into play as well.
Each side of the conflict utilizes a combat card deck turn in and turn out. Here's a breakdown of a sample card. Playing these cards on your unit is what makes them 'go', be it moving, shooting, close combat, engineering, and more. If you don't have a move card in your hand, then your troops aren't moving that turn.
Other card mechanics including interrupt effects too like over-watch fire. The dice-less part comes into play when "rolling" for damage. When a unit shoots another unit, the top card of your deck is flipped over and you apply the combat result on that card to the target. This is further modified by steps up or down the combat result track depending on things like cover, firepower, and the like.
There's a list of units in the rules, each for a certain point value, and descriptions of what that unit does. There's also examples of what the unit could be, key word being "could". And this is where Combat Cards strikes me as Hordes of the Things, the units themselves are abstract, so really you can use anything you have on hand...or paint up specific units to match, it's up to you.
Scale is up to you as well, either you're throwing down on a skirmish level (one figure is one unit) or on an army level (five tanks is a single unit). A mechanized unit is pretty much anything that is augmented in the movement department, you define it by what you put on the table. In the long run, personally, I think it would be fun to paint up some 15mm sci-fi specifically for use here, putting multiple figures on a base and throwing in some mechs for good measure.
I think I've gone on enough here about the game, hopefully you get the idea! We've got a test battle lined up this week between a couple of 28mm skirmish platoons, so I'll be posting that batrep soon enough. Maybe I'll get in one of those solo games too...