Friday, 7 March 2014

Is it a bird? Is it a plane? Aw, it's just a Fast Mover...

The new resistance Fast Mover in full swing
Hawks thought process when they first started developing the idea for Fast Movers must have been one full of excitement. The prospect of cinematically calling in air strikes and having 27th century sci-fi jets flying around the board, taking out aircraft and being intercepted by a foe's fighter is, to be honest, pretty damn awesome and also something that more or less all war gamers cannot offer. Having the ability to create something so swish and fresh from the very foundations of your game is something well established games just don't have the freedom to do.

So want went wrong?

To elaborate, the actual rules set for Fast Movers isn't bad. I think it is far from it. The mechanics bring all the prior points to the table; you can shoot down enemy transports in sweeping moves across the table, before being shot down by an enemy FM and crashing helplessly onto your own units. The problem is that they are just not viable in a competitive environment and can be frustrating in a friendlier one, which to be honest makes me a little sad.

This problem isn't just something that I have noticed and am bitching about though (and yes, I know I'm bitching!). It is something the whole Orbital Bombardment team have noticed, and most of the Hawk forum too. Each of us in OB have tried using a FM within our armies (and we have a player for each race. Edchopp even brought a Seraphim to Invasion 2014) but found that they were ineffective and just plain unreliable. I hear you saying “Well it's all well and good bitching about it you sassy young man, but why don't you suggest something huh!?!”

My suggestion would be to simply scrap the Check Availability roll.

This is a roll which takes place after an FM squad has come out of reserve and when the player chooses to activate the fleet battlegroup containing the units. A dice is then rolled for each FM squad and on a roll of a 1 they don't turn up, 2+ they do. This may in it's own right not sound like to big an issue, but the player must first roll for the squad to be available from reserve before making that roll. It is entirely possible for a FM to turn up out of reserve on turn 1, and then for a 1 to be rolled and it not be able to do anything that turn (this exact situation happened when I played Skullsword once. Much to my pleasure I may add). It is after all exactly the same odds, 1 in 6. Removing the Check Availability roll suddenly means you only have to wait for your spanky planes to come out of reserve and that you are not potentially wasting 200 points worth of models, and almost more importantly an activation each turn.
If only our pilots were as smug as this complete tool

The chances of a FM squad turning up in turn one are slim, but even if a opponent does manage to spawn out on his dice and gets it, you will know before you move any units giving you the opportunity to deploy appropriately. If they roll to the odds they won't have them on the first turn, meaning they lose a valuable activation giving you a slight tactical advantage. Heck, there is even potential that units may not even turn up all game if you are playing an opponent who gets particularly bad dice rolls!

Every other mechanic for the Fast Mover rules are fine in my eyes. The attack run rules work well, and the intercept rules also work well (the 3+ rule for intercepting is fine. If you want to take the risk then you have the option to do so). Also the reserves roll to have them deploy in the first place works nicely too and balances things out in my eyes (i.e. you will most likely be an activation down in the first turn). The units themselves aren't particularly overpowered in relation to points cost (Corsairs still only hit on a 4+ for example) but if with this change it turns out they are, then a simple tweaking of a models stats can be made. It is after all easier to change 5 models than it is a whole rules mechanic!

As always this is just my slice of opinion and I welcome comments- Nay, I relish them.



  1. I agree with this, though I have one small caveat to add. They seem to be effective only if you 'go big of go home' i.e. take more than one. Played a gent at Invasion with 2 Athenas. Instantly hated the things - they are hard to kill, kick out damage, have a toolbox of options, and make my gates cry. He came 3rd overall.

    That said, I breathed a sigh of relief when he rolled double 1's one turn and neither came on to the field...

  2. I also want to make the FM validated. It all feel really cool and then you realize you don't actually need the models because (1) you actually don't need the models, you need the line they are moving in and (2) they aren't good enough. I think that one of my main concerns is that FM is the one type of units I feel can be allowed to be dangerous against all tagets. They can have a wepaon with either 2 E11 shots or alt 2 shots with E7 AA. They are the only ones I feel can have both.

    I think that one of the issues are that it is not only the FM that are not good enough but other do the same but better. Making sure they always will arrive is one way (and a good way) but you can also make them better overall in killing stuff and then make something special with intercept so that FM are really dangerous and intercept is the best way of making sure they are not too effective.

    So my suggestion would be: give them both AT and AA capability. Remove the dice for entering. Take intercept to 2+ instead of 3+. If a FM unit is intercepted they will be disrupted so have +2 in accuracy.

    This way, the FM are good and dangerous and one of the best ways to protect your army from enemy FM is interceptors. With these rules, only having one would mean that you can disrupt the enemy attack. The interceptor in it self can be dusrupted by other enemy interceptors. I think this would make FM as cool as they should be.

    Dammit, I should have blogged this response instead... But a really good topic!

    1. My problem with making each FM good at both AA and AT would be that it could unsettle the game, and could even result in FM spam (if the rules made them more reliable). They are all fairly balanced bar the Warspear (which is unbelievably over costed; the Corsair is already E11, UCM have 2 variants of FM for different jobs and the Athena is quite simply a beast.

      I want to have more FM on the table, but not really at the expense of ground units who specialise in AT.

      PS - You can still blog it, we won't tell anyone ;)

  3. I really want to use my Archangels, they are my favourite models in the UCM, but their reliability makes me not use them - not even in friendly games and it makes me sad face.
    I think I'd agree with egge make the intercept a 2+ and scrap the attack run rule. I would certainly take my Archangels then. Oh and Zombie, Maverick is no tool