Having come out ahead by a narrow margin in the recent poll on the forums, the first faction from the new campaign to be previewed will be the Samurai warriors of the Draconis Shogunate. What has happened to draw this reclusive state out of its long self-imposed isolation? What events lead to the conquest of much of the northern Federated Suns? Who are the Gyoku-no-Hayabusa and what do they have to do with the Shogunate’s adoption of Clan tactical doctrine? Stay tuned – all will be revealed soon!
Invasion From the Stars!
Even as the first assault ships reach your defense perimeter, the enemy recharge station crumples under the searing power of your naval lasers. Fighter squadrons move to screen your flank as you roll away from the waves of capital missiles, and your command couch shudders as your autocannons switch into rapid-fire bracketed anti-ship mode. Just as the last assault ship breaks apart, however, a cry from the sensor station seizes your attention,
“Alert! Infrared pulse detected – enemy reinforcements, probable two heavy cruisers, emerging from hyperspace!”
It looks like things have just started to get a little hairy…
The ability to move forces from star to star is a critical strategic resource in the FGC campaign: without the ability to instantly cross the light-years, military operations beyond a realm’s borders would be almost impossible. In the last edition of FGC, this important part of the rules was government by a daunting 2,500-word chapter of the manual. This has been pruned to 500 words in the new edition, and in the process a number of improvements have been added:
The complex and flawed movement point system is gone. If a ship has a hyperdrive, it can move freely.
The arbitrary limits on movement based on intended orders have been removed; instead, a gradually increasing penalty to formation quality discourages excessively deep strikes.
Lithium Fusion Battery rules have been completely remodeled to make this technology more useful during combat.
Reinforcement has been greatly simplified and rebalanced; at the same time, record-keeping for reinforcements has been clarified.
As an added bonus, this preview contains an except of the Unit Improvement rules. Unit Improvements were introduced in the Flashpoint 3090 campaign as a way to customize formations within a well-defined rules framework. For the new FGC campaign, the Unit Improvements have been streamlined and more tightly integrated into the rules.
The preview PDF can be found at this INTELSER Forum post.
During the discussion of the Operational Orders preview, a special bonus was posted: the preliminary political map for the new campaign. While the image is a little crude (it is, after all, pre-production material), it clearly shows the territory of most of the factions listed in the recent preview. The full-size image can be viewed at this forum link.
Take Command of the Battlefield
Your Aerospace fighters have swept away the enemy orbital defenses, opening the way for your transports to begin their landings. High-altitude reconnaissance reveals three regiments of enemy troops dug into fortified positions – the only way to seize control of this star system will be a ground assault. Your DropShip bucks as it hits the atmosphere; wreathed in flames, the massive spacecraft plummets towards the surface, ready to disgorge its deadly cargo. Your warriors await only your command to strike – what are your orders?
Operational orders set the stage for the combat that is the bread and butter for the FGC campaign. Without a robust operational rules set, combat can break down into a bloody (but boring) battle of attrition; on the other hand, if the rules are too complex, the actual combat takes second place to operational maneuvering. The new FGC campaign tries to strike a balance between these two extremes and incorporates many of the innovative features seen in the Flashpoint 3090 campaign.
Operational initiative has been clarified and simplified. Additionally, a “special orders” system similar to the critical events has been introduced.
Many excessively complex orders have been removed or changed into special orders.
Most orders are limited in scope to one formation vs. one formation, greatly reducing the value of “doom stack” type attacks and encouraging battle types that are more playable.
Salvage has been integrated into the economic rules and is no longer a standalone rule (more on this to come)
The operational orders rules now fit on one page – just over 400 words.
In addition to the operational rules, today’s preview includes some information about the two different tactical doctrines used in the FGC universe. Some of the details, particularly on how unit improvements work, will be in a future preview, but this section still has some good details as to how the various formations are structured. It also contains a little spoiler – a table listing all of the factions in the game.
You can download the preview PDF from this thread on the INTELSER Forums.
MechWarriors, Prepare for Battle!
As a wargame, the FGC campaign’s combat system was at the heart of its rules. While members were always encouraged to play out there battles in MegaMek for maximum enjoyment and roleplaying value, the sheer scale of the campaign meant that many fights had to be settled using Simple Resolution, and alternate, dice-based combat system.
As the FGC campaign grew and evolved, so did the Simple Resolution rules; in many respects this was good – loopholes were closed, special cases were addressed, and outcomes were made more realistic. At the same time, however, this increased the burden on members by adding more dice rolls and requiring more forum posts to complete combat.
As part of the reboot of the FGC campaign, the Simple Resolution rules were given a total overhaul. Now fitting on a single page, each round of combat requires only two to four die rolls from each participant; many unneccessarily complex elements have been streamlined or removed entirely and the focus in general has moved back to ease of play.
Some of the changes include:
- The term “unit” now only means an individual tactical unit (one ‘Mech, one tank, one platoon of infantry, etc.) – larger groups (formerly top-, middle-, and bottom-level units) are now uniformly referred to as “formations.” This may seem like a minor change, but it reduces potential ambiguity in terms of how rules are intended to be applied.
- Fractional accounting is gone. The old rules had an odd “round to the nearest quarter” provision that caused countless arguments about how it was meant to be applied. In the new campaign, all fractions are rounded up to the nearest whole number – no exceptions.
- Quality (formerly Skill Level) and Loyalty no longer modify unit Strength (formerly Force Point Value). Instead, these two statistics directly modify a formation’s die rolls during combat. Quality improves combat rolls and loyalty improves morale rolls.
- Critical hit confirmation rolls are gone, as are multiple critical strings, auto-win rolls, and penalty self-crits. Under the new rules if a formation rolls “double dice” (i.e. 1+1, 2+2, etc.) on their combat roll, they always get one critical event. The odds of getting a critical event are the same (17%) and an avoidable die roll is eliminated.
- Withdrawal checks are back in a greatly simplified form as a morale check. Hardened and Fanatical units get a bonus that makes them more likely to stand their ground in the face of danger. Now that it has tangible game benefits, a formation’s Loyalty rating is no longer a meaningless statistic.
- Damage Control is now more random, and a formation’s Quality rating influences the outcome of the roll.
- Last but not least, the combat rules have gone from about 1700 words to about 500.
Check out the preview of the revised rules on the INTELSER Forums!
COUNTDOWN TO ARMAGEDDON
As the year 3091 draws to a close, The Master unleashes his mad plan to dominate the galaxy. Great empires burn, princes fall, and death stalks the Inner Sphere as the old scores are settled and new alliances forged.
This time of tribulation will pass. From the ashes of the old order, new states will rise and new rulers will vie for power. As one story draws to a close, a new one begins.
The current FGC campaign will be wrapping up in early 2012, but this is not the end of the unique alternate universe created over the course of the FGC’s life. Over the next weeks, stay tuned for important announcements about the next FGC campaign – as well as the critical final battles of the 3091 campaign, which will have an important influence on future events.
The FGC 3091 campaign can be viewed on the INTELSER Forums.
FGC 3062′s ongoing campaign claims the life of another canon character – this time, its an old favorite who caught a bullet.
INN: REDSHIRTS MURDER MORGAN KELL - Arc-Royal Stands Alone, Defies SLDF