Weclome to the second of our articles focusing on Patrol Angis, a new 15mm sci-fi game by The Ion Age.
Last time we briefly reviewed the contents of the starter set and touched on the game setting. In this second post I am going to offer part 1 of a review of the rules themselves. Part 2 will follow later in the week.
Dice and measurements
This game uses 6 sided dice (D6), 8 sided dice (D8) and measurements are made in centimetres (cm).
The Patrol Angis book is an A5 black and white paperback gem brimming with far more than seems possible for a book this size. The first 19 pages are fluff which helps develop the narrative for all your future games. Every page after this contains rules, scenarios and the army lists that you can use for building your own platoons.
So what is a platoon?
Each platoon (also called a lance) contains a number of squads of infantry, portable weapon teams, battlesuits and heroes. The starter box contains 2 small platoons which give a good indication of what you should consider as a basis to start building your own force. In this case one side contains 2 infantry squads and 2 heroes, whilst the other has 1 infantry squad, 1 battlesuit squad and 1 support weapon. This contains plenty of variation to help you learn the rules and it’s what I will be using for demo games at the club.
These squads can be further broken down into elements of various sizes and the guys at The Ion Age have done a wonderful job of producing some handy group movement trays to help with in-game movement and also clearly define your units on the tabletop. These smaller elements range from 2 man sticks to 4 or 5 man fire teams and of course you can always keep your squads at max size if you want to.
unit cohesion in the game is a simple affair. Each squad has a dedicated squad leader and other models in the unit must remain as close as possible to each other, centred on the leader figure. This usually means base to base but can be played as 1cm gaps if prefered. I have found that this works well in practice even if it sounds a little unusual to not be stringing your infantry out into lines.
After the rules ection in the rulebook there is a handy army list building section with heaps of different options for weapons, skills and equipment, as well as some general guides and suggested forces. This section I found a little overwhelming the first time I read it through because I am so used to playing games like Bolt Action and 40k these days, which both have army lists spread out over large army books. With Patrol Angis the details are compressed into 7 pages of charts and 3 further pages of notes for each particular faction and because the text is quite small it can be a bit like trying to crack a cypher. However, don’t despair as it’s really far more simple than it initially appears and the writers have made it clear enough how to go about forming your platoons.
The turn sequence
Each turn is broken down into 4 parts –
1. The initiative and activation phase.
2. The combat course of action phase.
3. The support phase.
4. The end game phase.
In the initiative and activation phase each player rolls 1 D6 for each platoon they have on the table and the highest roll decides both which player has initiative and also how many activation tokens each platoon has. For example I roll a 5 and Chris rolls a 3. I have the initiative and both of us have 5 starting activation tokens. Because I won initiative each of my platoons also gains an extra token.
Next we have to assign tokens to squads within each platoon. This starts with the player who lost the initiative roll handing out a token first and then the player with the initiative assigns a token. This continues in a loop with each player passing out a token until they are all out of tokens. There is no limit to the amount of tokens that can be assigned but you have to assign a token or discard a token when it comes to your turn to deal a token. Discarding tokens is a neat way of trying to gain back some initiative if you are the losing player. Alternatively it allows the winner to see where the other player is assigning his tokens and then counter them. In the end it can turn into a gambling game all of its own with players vying to see who will break first and assign a token. I really do like this mechanic and can see so many uses it in the game.
The combat course of action phase is when you use the tokens you have been passing out to your units. Starting with the player with initiative you pick a unit with an activation token and remove the token to carry out 1 action.
These actions are:
Move and fire – can shoot and move or move and shoot.
Move and close combat – move and fight in combat.
Rapid move – move 3 times.
Precise fire – more accurate shooting if stood still.
Overwatch – move 1/4 of standard movement and then go into overwatch. This allows you to shoot at an enemy when they come into line of sight.
Dash – can move twice and shoot with a penalty.
Self protection – move 1/2 but gain bonus protection against shooting.
Re-motivate – helps recover from failed morale.
Command and control – used by an officer. This lets you pass a token from the officer to another unit so they activate instead of the officer.
Reform elements – allows you to rearrange unit composition.
Let it pass – discard a token and do nothing else.
Once you have carried out your action play passes to the next player who picks a unit and takes an action. This then loops back to the player with initiative and continues until there are no tokens remaining.
The support phase follows and during this step you can use any support actions available for this scenario such as callong in off-table support.
Finally there’s the end phase. Here you check to see if the game has ended because it’s the last turn or because scenario objectives have been fulfilled. You also tidy up the table here, removing casualties etc.
And that concludes part 1 of the Patrol Angis rules review. Next time I look at the combat and shooting mechanics, introductory scenarios, the special rules and finally I draw my conclusions.
If you would like to know more about the game or the background then take a trip on over to The Ion Age and have a look at all the cool stuff on offer.
Keep on gaming folks