This is sort of a response to this post:*http://www.seannittner.com/actual-play-burning-taramai-part-3/, which is a game I’m currently in. For a little bit of context, the GM, Sean, wanted to do a few sessions of a sort of prelude game - essentially, we played out he end of an Invasion Phase set on the planet Taramai from the Sheva’s War comic. We’re moving on to World and character burning proper for our next session on Monday.
What I really wanted to do here was examine the Firefight. What went wrong, and why did it take so long? I have my thoughts, and I’m certainly planning on posting something on Sean’s blog about it, but I wanted to post here first, to get some outside ideas on how future Firefights could go more smoothly.
Oh, and the TL;DR version of the situation, in case you don’t feel like checking out the link is: We had a firefight in which the humans invaded a Vaylen concentration camp, and the whole thing took, like, 3 hours.
1: I feel like a lot of the trouble came from a lack of rules mastery. BE is a game designed for people who really know how to play it, and it seems like some of the subsystems require a lot of brute force practice to get right.
2: Our side scripted a little like a Mouse Guard conflict, where the GM scripts first and then gives the players some time to confer and decide what to script as a group. I think this was detrimental. I feel like whosever scene it is needs to be in charge of the conflict, and input from the rest of the group should come in the form of Help and specialist actions and shot opportunities earned from the maneuver tests.
3: Moving. Our side holed up in one position at the beginning of the Firefight and, basically, tried to take the other side from long range. I think that even if the firefight takes a long time, moving really makes the scene more dynamic. Holing up makes the whole thing last longer, because you wind up postponing one side or the other taking down your dispo. Failed advances and flanks put units out in no man’s land, making them easier targets. Also, there was an advance that was done wrong, where the Vaylen side advanced from a position on the far side of the map straight across to where the humans were holed up, ignoring positions between the two.
4: The objective our side declared was, in retrospect, not specific enough. We were trying to take over a concentration camp, which I think is a valid intent for the Firefight, but we should have couched it in terms of taking the command center, which was a specific place on the map. This sort of leads to the problems we had resulting from #3 - we spent extra time trying in vain to reduce the enemy’s dispo directly with suppressive fire actions and, in the end, a couple of close combats, instead of having a good battlefield objective that we could look at and say, “We need to get here.”
5: Our side wound up concentrating on getting personal with the enemy officer, and I think, if I read the rules correctly, we would have been better off taking down the nameless mooks on the Vaylen side. It’s waaay harder to get rid of a named character than it is to just take out a generic soldier. There would have been plenty of disposition lost on both sides if we’d done that instead of gunning for the villain directly.
6: Ammo Checks would have forced both sides to take riskier actions. The GM skipped that rule for the sake of expedience in a long and dragged out scene, but in hindsight I wonder if taking the extra time for a couple of rolls wouldn’t have forced us to take some riskier actions.*
7: The last thing we had trouble with was circling up a demolitions specialist to degrade a position. I’m pretty sure that the actual roll for the demolition was done wrong (we weren’t occupying the position we wanted to bomb), but as for actually bringing him into the unit, we spent a success for a specialist action to circle up the character, then used another in a subsequent maneuver to actually have him take out a feature on the map - in this case, collapsing some mine shafts where the Vaylen forces not involved in the Firefight were holed up. In hindsight, I think that we should have thrown in a fairly high Ob circles test either at the very beginning of the firefight, or right after we spent the success for the specialist action, but before we rolled the demolitions test.
I can’t really think of anything else at the moment, but if anyone has any input or advice, it would certainly be appreciated.