Sunday, January 4, 2015

Its Time To Make Planetfall

Hi all! SeerK here once again.  Well its a new year and we are 73 days away from the best 5 days in war games, Adepticon.  We are working on primer missions for The Schaumburg Prime Offensive so everybody can prepare for the big show.  Adepticon has tentatively given us more space to accommodate 32 players.  Its not set in stone yet though, so if you have not gotten on the wait list do it today to guarantee your spot in the first Firestorm Armada tournament at Adepticon!  We will be crowning the first North American Champion!

If you are still on the fence or just curious about the game we will be running demos Friday and Sunday of the convention as well.  We will also be doing demos of this posts main topic.  Spartan Games released the game of ground combat in the Firestorm Armada universe, Planetfall.

Planetfall allows you to finally play out the ground war in the Firestorm universe.  The game is in the 10mm scale and has a nice low barrier to entry with some very cool looking models.  The six core races of Firestorm Armada are currently available with some Alliance fleet races available as support forces.  Lets dive in and take a look at the game.  I am by no means an expert as I have only been able to get a few games in, but so far I really like it and it is easy to pick up, but has quite a bit of tactical depth.

Building an army in Planetfall is pretty strait forward.  The game uses a "Force Organization" called the Helix system.  The base of the army is your "Core Helix".  The Core Helix is currently made up of units from one of the six core races.  It has a minimum amount of units you must take before adding additional units to it.  Like most war games you also have a maximum amount of units you can take as well.  The Core Helix contains your command element as well as the bulk of your army in the form of medium and light tanks.  Infantry and other specialized units also make up the Core Helix.  Once you have your Core Helix selected you then have several different Support Helixs to choose from.  The Helix Chart shows you what you can select past your Core Helix.  At the center of the Chart is your Core Helix.  There is a Hexagon theme to the Helix system.  Each side of the Core Helix Hexagon has a support Helix associated with it.  You can select any one of these support Helixs to add to your force.  You can even double up on a Support Helix, but at the expense of the Helix that is directly opposite it on the chart. For example you can take two Heavy Support Helix's but then you cannot take a Strike Helix as it is directly opposite the Heavy support Helix on the chart.  All models have a points cost, so you and your opponent decide on a points total for the game.  The Point total will determine not only the size of the battle field, but also the Tactical value of Objectives and how many T.A.C's you can take.

Tactical Value is how you score points in Planetfall.   In fact every unit has a Tactical Value.  Rather than using Battle log like Firestorm Armada, Planetfall uses the Zero Hour Tracker.  Victory is a race to zero.  When you destroy an enemy unit, you subtract its Tactical Value from you zero hour tracker.  When you hold an objective you subtract its point value from the Zero Hour Tracker.  The first player to reach zero is the winner.  It is pretty strait forward.  I really like this system.  You can get the big swings in score that you see in FSA and you can make up a big difference in points pretty quickly.

Terrain is handled pretty simply.  Everything has a size class and this affects what kind of line of sight it will have.  Light elements blocked by armored elements and armored elements are blocked by elevated elements.  Flyers can see everybody.  Buildings and walls are classified in this way as well so it make it pretty simple.  You cannot shoot though your own vehicles either, so you can screen your vital command elements with other vehicles of the same size class.  I have to admit it is taking some time adjusting to a game that does not use true line of sight.  Maneuvering your vehicles so that a part of its base has an unobstructed view of your targets base can prove challenging when you have three or four vehicles and a narrow corridor.

Probably my favorite thing about Planetfall is how brutal it is.  In FSA you use the linking mechanism for determining dice pools.  You have your leader and then the dice from the other contributing ships is added all together and then halved. This pool is added to the leaders full dice pool.  In Planetfall all dice are combined.  SO if you have 10 dice for the main cannon on a tank and you have 2 tanks, you are throwing 20 dice.  This makes the game brutal.  All the elements in the game have damage levels instead of hull points.  A DR will read 8+7 or 6+5+5.  Basically you must get enough hits to meet the first number to do a point of damage.  To do the next level you must do an additional 5 and so on and so fourth.  So it is not out of the question to just destroy vehicles out right when you are throwing 20 dice at it.

I really want to go in depth, but this post would be way to long if I tried to cover everything. I wanted to kind of touch on some of the things I really like about the game.   I am going to be writing about different aspects of the game for the next couple months as I play the game with my Relthoza army.  There is quite a bit and it seems like Spartan has drawn all the good aspects of all their games into one system.

Its a new year and its looking pretty bright so far.  Look for Relthoza coverage in the not to distant future for both Planetfall and FSA.  I have been doing a lot of painting as of late too, so I will be doing some hobby articles as well.

Thats all for now until next time, crush the Alliance as as always.....


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