Saturday, February 22, 2014

Hammer's Slammers

Stuart Murray ran two sessions of Hammer's Slammers, with two mercenary forces contending for an urban area. The set up had a city in the northeast corner of the map, with two east-west ridges on the western side of the map (forming northern, central and southern valleys) and some hedged fields in between, with rough terrain and a road south of the city. Our job was to get units onto or adjacent to the crossroads in the city; their job was to stop us. The fire-resolution part of the game is pretty simple: most weapons have unlimited range, so if have line of sight you roll a d6 against your quality to see if you hit, roll a d6 plus your weapon vs his armor to see if you penetrate, roll a d6 plus any excess penetration to see what damage you do. What you have to pay attention to is your command points. Each turn you roll 2d6 plus your Leadership to see how many command points you have; it costs 1CP to move one element, 2 more to move it again, and 4CP to move it a third time. You usually have 6-10 elements in a unit, so you can usually move everything once; but if you're trying to rush into a city, you need more than that. In addition, you can use CP to boost your unit's shooting, and to retry quality tests (such as "passing over a hedge").
In the first game, we though the defenders were coming in from the north instead of, most of them, starting inside the city, so our axis of advance was off; in addition, we were using cm instead of inches, and it was our first time playing. Consequently, our attackers never really got close to the city.
The second time around, I was in charge of he attackers and Indy (the other round-two player who'd been in the first game) took charge of the defense. This time, or forces came in from the west. In the south valley, Steve Barosi's recon formation tangled with and destroyed the defender's screen, although our unit was pretty battered by the end. Damond pushed some heavy tanks up the center. Our recon unit on the north was broken up by infantry buzzbombs but my heavies came on and knocked out their armor, forcing them to withdraw. We pushed hard in the north and center and managed to force a single tank into the objective area; nine infantry squads close-assaulted but failed to do more than immobilize it, so we eked out a draw. A very close, hard fought game with lots of burning armor on the field.
The rules are quick and simple; the book is fairly long but most of that is fluff and unit TOs, with the actual meat being only about sixteen pages. By halfway through the game, pretty much everyone had a handle on the basics of how to move and shoot and could manage without having to ask Stuart for help.

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