The idea of human soldiers quivering in fear at the horror of the martian machines never sat well with me. Something horrible is attacking; headed toward civilians; headed toward my family. I will die before I run away. If ordered, I'll withdraw. The only way I'll surrender if if I can't fight anymore, but that does not apply to Martians. There are exceptions, but soldiers running in terror is just not what I expect out of a fellow soldier. ANY fellow soldier.
(Did the Japanese defenders ever flee from Godzilla? Historical examples are rare as well.)
On the other hand, a soldier in command needs to know when to withdraw and fight another day.
There are many reasons to withdraw. lack of ammunition, fatigue, confused orders, equipment failure all present a reason to fall back, regroup, and get back to war. I'm prepared to spend my life, but not cheaply.
My house rules for morale are simple. At the beginning of the game, a rally point is designated. If a unit fails morale, it must move at best speed to the rally point. At the rally point it stops and may return to combat when it passes a morale test. I allow infantry units to reform/reorganize at this point, creating full strength units when possible.
Now, Gunny Highway has presented some good ideas about morale, especially about civilian reactions under stress. I'm thinking that Morale is something worth a look in a second edition.
Touche, Msr. Buckwabbit! There is some theory out there that morale is not a on/off thing, but a multi-stage event. Example: highest morale is what it is now. They can move,charge the enemy, etc. What if 1st morale failure, no charging and a 1/2 move towards the enemy?. 2nd failure, no move towards the enemy and a negative firing modifier to reflect nervous hands? Next failure a walking withdraw with little or no firing, maybe only if directly threatened. Then a full blown failure, as now, when it is failed. Having said that, this extends the game and makes it more complicated. Something which is bucking the trend in games today. Just my 2 pfennigs... Respectfully, Gunny
Probably my first concern is complexity. Morale and supply rules are usually the first rules "forgotten."
To me a unit has 4 primary attributes: Firepower, Protection, Mobility and what I label as C3 or c-cubed; command, control and communication. Morale and supply come under C3, and this is sad. In World of Tanks, many people see the M4 as a bad tank. But they forget that the M4 was almost always in supply, in communication and ready to accept orders. A Tiger could take on any 4 damned Shermans, but there was always a 5th damned Sherman. The Sherman was average to above average in Firepower, Protection and Mobility. The Sherman was supreme in C3.
The Martians have no fear, but they have extreme logic. Too many losses, especially of actual living Martians, can't be tolerated. They will work hard to rescue survivors. Beating humans is like beating a rubber ball. It gives way, it squirms, it wriggles. When it can, which is often enough, it will bounce back and clout you in the snot-locker. The difference between humans and Martians can be well told in good morale rules.
Now: If there was a small die beside each human unit to list its morale level, that would not be so complicated. How do we use that number? (remember, dice come in sizes of 4 to 20)
With all due respect, hardlec, there are cases where troops have broken and fled in the face of an attack. This can occur when a new and frightening technology suddenly appears and seems to be overwhelming. The two best recent examples are from World War I:
-The first use of poison gas at Ypres. A large number of casualties, but terror spread far beyond the immediate area. Thereafter, the mere possibliity of a gas attack was terrifying until measures were in place to warn and protect. -The first use of tanks at Cambrai. A huge hole was ripped in German lines as troops fled these (apparently) unstoppable, murderous mechanical beasts. It was called "tankschreck" - tank terror. Eventually training and equipment overcame this.
Other examples are present in history, particularly when surprise flank or rear attacks occur. Troops can fight beyond what might be "reasonable" in normal circumstances beacuse of the tendency to not abandon a buddy.
There was no backdoor at the Alamo. Planet Earth doesn't have one either. Fight and win or DIE!
Examples of troops fleeing in terror have happened, but rarely.
In the current iteration of AQMF, it is a good tactic for the Martian player to try to destroy one element from several units and there by cause mass panic. This may have worked early in the war, but just as Panzerangst only worked a few times, so too would terror of the Martians only really apply to very early battles.
Let's put a D10 next to each unit. Roll the number or above to suffer a C3 failure. The higher the number, the better for the "target"
C3 varies with various circumstances. These circumstances need to be specific, but taking hits/casualties and seeing nearby units take hits will definitely apply. Close proximity of civilians will also be a big issue. It is also likely that infantry, armor, Rough Riders, and civilians will have different results after a success or failure.
Die Role Modifiers will be used. Certain events will "permanently" adjust C3
Under most circumstances, a simple role will be enough. In more complex situation, a success or failure will result in a second role to determine specifics.
Example: an infantry unit is going to assault a Tripod. It has a C3 of 7. There is a roll to make the attack. A second roll at +1 is needed to do a forlorn hope. There are civilians within 12 inches, causing a -2 modifier to the die rolls. The first die roll is a 4, with a -2 modifier, the unit succeeds. The second roll is a 7, which would fail being modified to an 8 for forlorn hope, but succeeds because of the modifier for Civilians within 12 inches, making the final result a 6 (7+1-2)
Perhaps a scaling on the size of die used? 7 being the number to pass or better. Example: Unit is trained up one size of die starting at a D6. D6 start, trained, up to D8. Civilians within a 12" distance up two die sizes up to D12. 7 or more rolled needed to pass. D6 roll for base, trained up 1 Die size to D8, forlorn hope down to D6 but the lucky strike rule if a "6" is rolled is an auto pass (on a D6) . Hmmmm the Buckwabbit stirs my cerebral juices. Only prob with this is the fact u need D6,8,10,12 and 20's...
I like the idea on the face of it. Polyhedral dice are not that hard to find. In this day and age, it is possible to find 14, 16 and 18 sided dice. 4 2.5 6 3.5 8 4.5 10 5.5 12 6.5 (14) 7.5 (16) 8.5 (18) 9.5 20 10.5 Roll expected values (Hard to find) If you make the die roll needed a 5, more of the most common dice are in play.
Thanx Buckwabbit! forgot to factor that different die types would lower the average number. Math is hard... Yes I would have to build the up and down modifier list then determine what number and range of dice to build around. Right now I would stick to 6,8,10,12 and 20 but like I said, depends on the modifiers and the range. I'm leaning towards starting with a D6 to tie in with a D6 still hitting with the "lucky strike" rules but nothing is set in stone. You seem to have a better grasp of this than I so...