Colin Y.J. Chung

OK, it took three attempts and probably eight or ten hours of studying, taking notes, and looking at the tables, player aids, maps, and punching out a few counters to get a "feel for it"... but I have just finished reading all 21 pages of Next War's Standard Series Rules.

I just reread that sentence. That's a lot of time invested just to understand 21 pages of rules. What is this hobby even.

The way it's organized is kinda... not how I would logically do it. It's fine that weather is 4.0 and initiative is 5.0... but then we have Air Power, Sea Control, and Naval rules for 6.0/7.0... and not Movement and Combat next. I see movement and combat as foundational to H&Cs, and everything else supporting it. But I'm rambling and who cares.

Here are my notes, more for myself, as in the act of writing, I can process my thoughts better.

Weather - clear/overcast/storm - and air power and amphibious assaults are affected. Got it.

Intiative - If one side has initiative, there are extra moves. Exploit move & combat for the one with initiative, so they can keep pushing and fighting... and elite reaction movement, reaction movement and combat for the non-initiative players. What's interesting is how you wrestle initiative away by gaining more VPs. So while the exploit move and combat seems like a benefit, you're really just exhausting your troops to seize more VPs to maintain initiative.

Air Power - Can be used for combat support and escore missions. Helicopters can transport. But every action in the air is affected by ADF (air defense fire). There are four missions ultimately: combat support, airmobile transport, paradrops, and rebasing (for helicopters... which is abstractly saying you're moving all your crewpeople on the ground as well).

Sea Control & Naval - The at sea vs inshore and contested vs controlled is still a little confusing. I'll probably need to reread these rules again. With that said... what it does are four actions: combat support, troop movement, marine airmobile movement, and carriers inshore to get more APs. What stops naval stuff are submarines and mines. What stop submarines is anti-submarine warfare levels? This section is most confusing.

Movement - Stacking points are limited to 4 or 3 in mountains (unless same formation). Stacks don't exert a ZOC unless it has at least 2SP and 1AS. The terrain stuff is regular stuff.

What's new and interesting here for me is whenever a unit advances into an urban hex, city, or installation (airbase or port), they have to "clear it". And there are a ton of rules on how they can do that. Each of these clearing missions is a random chit pull. So you don't know what you're up against. You check "efficiency ratings"... then minimum safe stacking points (MSSP)... then if there are more installations in the hex... if it was a special assualt using airmobile/airborne/amphibious... or combined arms into the place.

There are six movement types:

  • Ground - stacks can't drop off or pick up. They split at the origin if you do that.
  • Air Transport - From one airbase/airfield to another
  • Paradrop - From an airbase/airfield into any hex where there's no enemy, it's not urban/mountains/highland/city/installation in enemy city.
  • Air Mobile - 24 hex move as long as not highland/mountain unless there's a road.
  • Sea Transport - From at sea to inshore to coastal... can't skip from sea to coastal.
  • Amphibious Assault - Need to review rules again.

Combat  - This was insane. Here's what I understand it to be:

  1. Check all combat strength modifiers (CSM) first. This determines your initial combat odds ratio (ICOR)
  2. Then check all column shifts (CoSh)
  3. Then check all dice roll modifiers (DRM)

CSM is affected by attacking across rivers. Armor and Mechanized advantages/disadvantages. And marines, motorized infantry or leg units getting double defense in urban terrain (unless they're clearing it).

COSH is affected by efficiency rating, if you're attacking a city/fort, while on exploitation attack (you're exhausted), surprise, amphibious and artillery.

DRMs come in the form of if you're attacking an airfield/town/installation... if you're attacking with multiple hexes into one, light infantry gets bonuses in cities and non-flat terrain. On and of course, APs, helicopters, naval combat support... provided they survive ADF.

Interesting quirks for retreat - sometimes it's 1 hex, sometimes 2. Retreats can split up. They can't run into EZOC, obviously and suffer a ER.chk or lose a SL. What's really cool is they can "stand their ground"... ER.chk/SL. Attackers MUST advance at least 1 unit if the hex is vacated by defenders... AND Mech/Motors can advanced BEYOND the hex in some cases.

Reinforcements/Replacements - pretty straightforward.

Victory Conditions - Track both VPs this turn and total... so that you can determine if one side seized the initiative. That's interesting.

OK -- Now to game specific rules (GSR) for Next War: Korea