Wednesday, 21 October 2015

Breaking down Slammer's unit attributes.

As part of our project to reboot Star Force I am looking at adapting Slammer to the new setting. It would seem useful to look at Slammer to see how it works now and which bits will be useful in the new game.

Breaking down Slammer's unit attributes.

As written when you create a unit in Slammer you have a few choices which determine how the unit is played.
Picking a Unit's Troop Quality defines their Activation, To Hit Numbers and Close Combat Factors. 
Choosing their Armour determines the unit's Movement and Defence factors. This can lead to units looking rather samey.
If we can set the unit's individual attributes that gives us a bit more range for fine tuning.


Activation represents the unit's training, morale, initiative and willingness to fight. In Slammer basic, it is derived from the unit's 'Troop Quality'.
Normal range of 0-6 (for humans) reduced by attrition and modified by circumstance. If we separate Activation from Troop Quality it let's us field units with a high aggression or initiative without making them super soldiers too. It may also let us field a more defensive minded unit that is less inclined to rush into action.
As an option it may also be useful to let a unit recover Activation during a game.

Motivation (this needs a better term)

Troop Motivation should be a special case dependant on scenario or force rational. The following may be used in addition to the troop Quality Rating.

Motivation is an optional attribute that can affect the way a unit is played. 
There is a roleplaying element here intended to personalise a unit. Slammer has the following optional Motivation factors, others will be added.

Elite Troops believe that they are the best at what they do, (often with good cause). They try harder and will often do much better than would be expected of normal soldiers. Elite units are often innovative in their approach to warfare and may have unusual (and deadly) skills. 
When rolling for Activation for Elite, add the appropriate modifiers then move up one band to the next higher Activation level. 
Elite motivation may be combined with any troop quality rating, though Untrained Elite are fairly unlikely. 
The Shooting and Close Assault modifiers for Elite are cumulative with the team's quality rating.


Fanatics have a reckless disregard for personal safety in the service of The One True Cause. Fanatics may have lower levels of ability as they tend not to live long enough to learn from their mistakes. Also experience tends to erode fanaticism fairly quickly. They may be very single-minded in their pursuit of an objective.  
When activating Fanatics, they must take the most aggressive option available. 
The Activation modifier for Fanatics is used instead of the troop quality rating.


Warriors are in it for the fight. Whatever the strategic objective might be, Warriors will try to match themselves against the enemy troops. Warriors will tend to close with the enemy and may have higher close combat factors. They may prefer close range or melee weapons. Alien races are frequently played as Warriors. The movie Predator is a good example. 
When activating a Warrior team, the team will usually prefer an option that moves them closer to an enemy unit. 
The Movement and Close Assault modifiers for Warriors are c
umulative with the team's quality rating.

Reluctant / Unwilling

These teams may have found themselves involved in a fight they consider none of their business, they may have been in one fight too many or lost too many friends and comrades, or they may be constrained by higher authority e.g. as Peace Keepers. They have little interest in the rights or wrongs of the situation. Their main goal is to stay alive and get the heck outta here! If fired on or pressed they will defend themselves and their comrades, but will not go out looking for trouble. 
When rolling for Activation for Reluctant, add the appropriate modifiers then move down one band to the next lower Activation level.


Long service career Soldiers. This represents strength in defence and a tendency to hold formation even when everything is going to heck around you, it also means Steady troops are less likely to get carried away with enthusiasm and go chasing off after the enemy. 

When rolling for Activation for Steady, after adding dice and modifiers shift the Activation Level up or down one level towards 7 Advance.

Movement Distance

An infantry element's basic move distance is dependent on the equipment carried or armour worn by the figures in the unit. This may be reduced in difficult terrain, or if a figure attempts a particular action such as running, opening a door, taking cover or entering or leaving a vehicle. 
Movement adjustments due to troop quality are handled by the Action Table. Better quality troops will tend to make advance or close moves more often than poorer troops.

At first sight movement distances may seem overlong, but bear in mind that unless the unit has a high Activation level they will be making half-moves most of the time.

None10"Civilians and figures in normal clothing. *
Light8"Ballistic cloth, flak jacket & helmet; Military and Police uniform.
Heavy6"Battle Suit; Ablative plate & helmet; Heavy Infantry Armour;
Hostile Environment Suits.
Armoured8"Power assisted heavy armour.
Aliens12"Bugs, Predators, Animals, etc.
Monsters8"Alien beasties of unusual size or strength.
Warriors+2"Troops specialising in close assault.

To Hit numbers:
    Ranged Combat

In order to cause a hit on the target the firer has to score their To-Hit number or more on two die six. 

Firer To-Hit numbers were tied to troop quality so:

Firer To-Hit numbers
Green Troops8
Trained Troops7
Veteran Troops6

We can change base to-Hit numbers to suit individual units depending on how capable they are with ranged weapons.
    Close Combat

Pair up the attackers and defenders so that each figure faces at least one opponent. For each figure involved in the close assault roll one die and add the Close Combat Factor for their weapon type. Add the Close Combat Modifiers from Table 5.

Close Combat is an opposed roll. The base factor is derived from the unit's main weapon modified by the unit's quality and tactical factors such as wounded, surprised or outnumbered, etc. If we take off the tactical factors we can give each unit or critter a single Close Combat factor.


    Target signature
In base Slammer a unit's target signature is derived from their quality, size and tactical factors. The result is a modifier to the firer's to hit score.
We can give each unit a base target factor then apply tactical modifiers.

If we go with opposed rolls then the attacker and defender both roll dice, add their firer or target factor, apply modifiers and compare scores.


Each weapon type has a damage rating listed on the weapons table as a die and modifier. When a hit is scored on a figure, the firer rolls the dice and adds the modifier listed on the weapons table. The defender rolls one die and add the modifiers listed on Table 4 for the weapon type at the target figures Armour rating.

Determining the effects of ranged combat uses opposed rolls. Each armour type has separate defence factors for Energy or Ballistic Weapons. There are also modifiers for a unit's quality or 'toughness'. This can be given as a dice plus a defence factor vs B or E.

Weapons and Equipment:

Slammer was written as a skirmish game with individual figures armed with a variety of weapons. Factors were given for each weapon in the following format:

Direct Fire Weapons: Type Damage Rating Close (<4") Effect 
Heavy Machine-gun BAH 1D+ 2 +0 36" Tripod or vehicle mounted, heavy calibre belt fed, etc 
Light Machine-gun /SAWBA 1D+1 +1 24" Rifle calibre, bipod, box, drum or belt fed.
Assault Rifle 1D +2 20" Semi-automatic. 
Sub-machine-gun BA 1D-1 +3 12" Pistol calibre, Automatic 
Sniper Rifle1D+1 +1 28" Accurised heavy calibre. 

Weapon Types; E - Energy weapons, B - Ballistic weapons, X - Explosive Effect,
A - Autofire weapons, H - Heavy weapons. 

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