2GM Tactics: Core Concepts & Rules [Part 2]13 Jun 2017 0
Yesterday we looked at various core concepts and rules integral to card-based wargame, 2GM tactics. In today's follow-up part, we will look at a few other remaining key principles, namely Generals, Victory & Player Turns.
Generals currently represent a very odd dimension within the game. From a theoretical perspective they should (and sometimes are) be a great way of focusing a deck and offering different build archetypes to enhance and encourage experimentation. In practice they're kind of confusing and as a mechanic could have been designed better. Some poor translations into English certainly don't help.
These are not units in and of themselves; they exist outside the game in much the same way as the HQ does, except they can't be interacted with at all. Generals all have abilities that modify the game in some way: from cost reductions on specific card types, to one-off abilities, to alternative economy options.
The problem is that, as far as the official rules go, Generals are not present for the start of the game. Every faction has one single copy of a Support Card called 'General'. It costs 4 AP for the purposes of deck-building, but only costs 1AP to play and the text reads:
“Use this card to deploy a General of your choosing the Headquarters. All corresponding bonuses apply.”
We find this a problematic mechanic for Battle Royal, mainly for the following reasons:
- Some Generals allow you to add cards into the deck “at no/0 cost” - this is referring to the AP cost of including a card in your deck. Sometimes they also reduce the playing cost, but it depends on the general. The mechanic (and Page 7 of the rules) implies that this is done at the point that the General is summoned, but if you're looking to use these types of Generals it means that it's not really worth putting those cards into the deck to begin with as prior to the general being deployed, they cost AP to include in the deck.
- This type of ability states almost always states “initial deck” as part of the text, which is a confusing term that doesn't explain itself. Does this mean you can add these cards for free before you even summon the general? What if you never end up summoning that General – either because you changed your mind or didn't pull the card?
- Some Generals specifically reference the start of the game for their abilities, usually with regards to starting with additional Action Points. This obviously can't be done if the General is deployed mid-game, although there is one variation of this General on the German side that has some qualifying text that states what happens if he is deployed mid-game.
(NOTE: We have yet to look at the scenarios in great detail, but the rulebook does say that some Scenarios allow a player to start the game with a general, and some scenarios even specify which general. It's possible these types of generals are designed for scenario play only.)
- Having only one copy of what seems like a fairly crucial card is terrible in terms of consistency, especially when decks can run at around 50 cards. If you're building your deck around a specific General and you never pull the card that you need to get him on the field, your Deck won't work as well as you need it to. This relates to the first point where some abilities allow you to add extra cards to the deck for free – you could potentially deprive yourself of key cards if you never deploy the General.
- There is a line in the English-language rules that implies you can only have one General active at a time. This is reinforced by a General whose ability allows you use other Generals in addition to himself. Recycling the 'General' card is also very possible, although there is no clear ruling on whether you can replace one General with another if you play the card multiple times.
We've done some initial testing with Generals, but we have yet to try them as intended by using the 'General' card – so far we've had them present from the beginning. Done this way, their potential as a force for deck-building is clear: They can open up additional strategies and synergies between specific type of cards, can provide additional ways of generating economy early (which relieves the pressure on getting Command Groups out ASAP) and general can keep the game dynamic.
As intended though, their usefulness is highly situational and suspect, although being able to choose whichever general fits your situation at the time is some small consolation.
In the Battle Royal mode, Victory comes via the destruction of the enemy's HQ. Unless modified (by a General, for example), a HQ has 10 impact points. Units fire on the HQ as they would any other unit, with the exception that HQ's are immune to critical hits and cannot have any defensive bonuses applied to it.
For the purposes of firing on the HQ from range, the HQ is considered to be +1 range from the enemy player's deployment line, although it's not currently implied that the HQ's placement is important. As long as you can hit at least one space beyond the back line, you're within range of the HQ.
HQ's represent a target that's fairly easy to hit, since an attacker will never have to worry about defensive bonuses to the impact rating. That's not to say a defending player can't still try to make things difficult – wounds, support cards that target the impact rating, but these are not as easy to put together as simply occupying some terrain is.
A typical battlefield is 3 rows of four tiles each, and each tile consists of four spaces. Together, that makes the battlefield six battle rows from one player's deployment end to another. There are many units in the game with a range of 3 and 4, so you only need to get them to the third line (which is essentially is the halfway mark) to be able to start shelling the HQ.
Turns & Timings
As we've mentioned in a previous article, this is true IGOUGO game. Each turn has nine phases (most of them admin/timing phases), and player does all of the phases within their turn before play passes over to the opponent. In three or four player games, both players on the same team take the turn at the same time, doing all of the required actions simultaneously.
It's important to note that unless a card/ability says “Can be played at any time”, you cannot play cards when it is not your turn. There are several support cards whose effects can be applied during your opponents turn, and several smoke-related abilities can be deployed as a reaction to being attacked.
Some abilities will target the opponents units in a negative way – these abilities typically last until the start of YOUR next turn, despite the text wording being a bit ambiguous. Other abilities do also expire at the end of your turn though, so make sure you check up on any FAQ or errata to make sure which is which.
This concludes the two-part series looking at key concepts. We'll try to tackle some of the scenarios next, as well as the expansion factions, before moving on to a final 'review' of 2GM. Until next time!