To see the previous parts of this Example of Play, check out Part 1 (Basic Game AP Combat), Part 2 (Advanced Game AP Combat), Part 3 (Advanced Game ATGM Dodge), Part 4 (Advanced Game GP Fire), Part 5 (Advanced Game Close Assault Combat), and Part 6 (Advanced Game Hand-to-Hand Combat) on InsideGMT.
Continuing the AP Direct Fire example from the Basic Game, everything remains the same with the exception of the Hit Angle, Hit Location and Damage determinations. It is determined that the M2A1 Bradley’s Rear/Side Hit Angle is applicable [in the Advanced Game there are four hit angles (six when including the mirrored right and left sides)].
The following is an actual example of play from the MBT rulebooks. It has been annotated with additional notes to help with the gaming mechanics and terminology.
In MBT, players manage the flow of the game through control of the initiative. It dictates the course of action for the current turn. Who controls it is determined during the Initiative Phase.
Initiative works hand-in-hand with command and control. Both relate to the management and sequencing of individual units. However, because the Command Phase takes place before the Initiative Phase, players must make their command decisions without the advantage of looking into a crystal ball as to the order of execution.
Play in MBT unfolds sequentially. The combat and movement phases are divided into First and Second player steps. There are also simultaneous actions, but those do not have First or Second Player as part of their Phase or Step. These actions are resolved in any agreeable order.
In combat, the First Player executes and resolves his actions and applies all results before the Second Player does the same. When moving, the Second Player moves first, followed by the First Player. In goes without saying that shooting first and moving second affords a distinct advantage.
In the Basic Game, determining which side controls the initiative is a simple head-to-head unmodified roll-off. Players roll off percentile dice (two different colored d10s) with the winning side controlling the initiative in the role as the First Player. There may be some occasions where it may be advantageous to move first as the Second Player, but those situations are the exception.
Superior forces should more often than not find themselves controlling the initiative. This really comes more into play in the Advanced Game where the two forces receive positive or negative die-roll modifiers awarding superior forces an advantage. Through this, they are more able to dictate and control the course of battle. However, as with all things in life (and war), there are no guarantees.
Typically, initiative is a force-wide consideration. An optional rule, Staggered Initiative, expands the process by determining the initiative on a formation-by-formation basis. Forces with two or more formations will execute their combats by one formation followed by another friendly formation or by an opposing formation. This twist adds even more uncertainty and fog of war to the action. Movement is then executed in reverse order by the same formation by formation sequence or players may streamline the process and use the overall Second Player/First Player movement order.
The MBT scenarios add some additional twists when determining who controls the initiative. Modifiers may be applied based on the arrival of reinforcements, morale situations, or when having won the initiative the previous turn thereby simulating momentum.
Note: All counter images are the actual components from MBT.
Panzer Series Support Site: FYI, if you want to get to know more about the Panzer/MBT series, there’s an excellent gamer-created (Thank You, Fernando Sola!) support site (with scenarios, variants, AARs, etc) for Panzer here: The Panzer Pusher Enjoy!
Command and control is a common element of most tactical games for good reason. Force management is a necessity to properly model low scale combat where each counter represents just a single unit up to no more than a few, not to mention supporting infantry units. It basically comes down to who can do what and when. Its modeling can take different forms, e.g., command points, chit pulls, or cards.
MBT is no exception. At its scale, with each counter representing a single vehicle, aircraft, towed gun or infantry squad, half-squad or section, command and control is an integral part of the game.
Since it first arrived on the battlefield in the 12th Century, artillery has played an ever expanding role. This no less the case on the modern battlefield of 1987. Whether employed off-map or as on-map fire support, artillery assets are a major facet of MBT.
In game terms, artillery comes in two flavors: individual on-map mortars and self-propelled guns and off-map artillery batteries, which represent a group of guns of various calibers modeled as light, medium, heavy and super heavy. Not limited to just smoke, illumination and high-explosive shells, the modern battlefield includes specialized ordnance. If available in a scenario, players may also choose from cannon launched guided projectiles (CLGP), e.g., the US M712 Copperhead, improved conventional munitions (ICM), and artillery delivered mines (FASCAM). Also keep in mind that where there is artillery there is also the possibility of counter battery and counter-counter battery.