Friday, October 29, 2010

A Quick Game of FUBAR

Last weekend, we gave the 1-page rules FUBAR a test spin using my 15mm WWII figures, which hadn't seen any action in well over a year. When they say FUBAR is rules-lite, they aren't kidding! They were fun for some quick knocking about, but we made some additions to help the game along. This weekend, they should be releasing Version 3 of the rules.

1. The overall table above. While I might have liked my Woodland Scenics trees a few years ago, I realized that I need to make bigger trees and better trees. I also need to work on a lot more scenery and buy more buildings, both of which have been keeping my miniatures in their boxes instead of on a table. For this game, the three US squads will come in from the right center of the table, while a German squad will hold down the row-home backyard in the center as two other units try to come in from the upper left of the table.

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2. The units are deployed. FUBAR does have cohesion, so the soldiers had to stay close to their squad leader.

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3. In FUBAR, players each roll a die for initiative. The highest-rolling player gets the initiative and then selects one of his units, rolling a single die to activate it. If the die meets or exceeds the unit's training, which for the Americans we set at 4+ while the Germans we set to 3+, the unit can perform an action, such as run or move-and-shoot. Simple enough. Since we were using 15mm instead of 28mm figures, we decided to halve all distances but keep them in inches. This worked better than using centimeters, which we first tried.

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4. We're nearing the end game! The situation looks bleak for the Americans. Though they wiped out the original German squad defending the backyard, putting their 30cal machine gun to good use, two other German squads suddenly appeared. The tide of battle was about to shift to the Germans.

We made two changes here. First, FUBAR 2.0 lacks morale rules, allowing a unit to fight to the last man. We made a rather arbitrary decision about when a unit looked so suppressed and shot up that the leader had to make a leadership roll to keep the unit in the game, otherwise it routed. Every time the unit became suppressed or lost a soldier after that point, the leader had to make the roll. This really hurt the Americans, who were not as experienced as the Germans.

We also said that units could see 3" through "light woods," which is what the GI's were in in the last photo above. This allowed units to see farther than the rules allowed for normal woods.

The simple activation roll can really make a break a game. Even when no Germans were in sight, both American squads kept failing their activations, allowing the luckier Germans to move up and then wipe them out without so much as return fire. Some "narrating" during the game sought to explain the Americans' bad situation. In the end, the activation system determined the game. This caused mixed emotions. I did get frustrated as all my GI's just stood there for three turns in a row, doing nothing but get shot up.

Will we play FUBAR again? It depends how version 3 improves the game. FUBAR is a simple, fast game, but sometimes its simplicity works against it.

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