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Opportunity Fire and Overwatch

Introduction

In Stargrunt II, any squad that makes two movement actions in the same activation triggers something called Reaction Fire. This allows the squad to be fired at in the middle of the two move actions. This rule covers situations where a unit spends both actions moving. However, imagine a situation where a unit guards a road and there are two buildings on either side of the road. If the buildings are within one movement action of each other, an enemy unit can cross from one building to another without worry. Or imagine a unit hidden from view suddenly rushing forward into view with its first action and firing in its second action. The target of the fire can be suppressed or hurt without a chance to defend itself.

To cover these situation, I have created two separate, but related, rules: Opportunity Fire and Overwatch. These two rules have been extensively playtested and fit the Stargrunt II game mechanics. They are also similar to rules used in the forthcoming FMA Skirmish game.

Note that there is no change to the regular Stargrunt II Reaction Fire rule. It is still in effect when using this rule modification.

Opportunity Fire

Whenever an enemy unit conducts an action within Line of Sight of a friendly unit, the friendly unit may attempt Opportunity Fire. In order to attempt Opportunity Fire, the unit must not have been activated in that turn.

In order to attempt Opportunity Fire, the unit must make a Reaction Test with at Threat Level of 0/0/1 for High/Medium/Low motivation troops. If the test is successful, the unit is marked as activated and it may make an immediate Opportunity Fire action (see below). If the test fails, the unit does not take the Opportunity Fire action and it is NOT marked as activated. A unit may attempt only one Opportunity Fire action per enemy unit action.

The Opportunity Fire action is exactly like a regular Fire action, except that the enemy unit's range die is shifted up one due to the hastiness of the fire. For missile fire, which does not use a range die, the target's ECM die is shifted up one to represent the problems with obtaining a proper lock on the target.

The unit gets to make one Fire action as its sole activation. It does not get a second action, nor can it do anything but fire.

Opportunity Fire may be conducted against any enemy unit within Line of Sight that has conducted any action. Opportunity Fire can be declared against an enemy unit that does an Opportunity Fire action! This can lead to a chain of Opportunity Fire.

Broken and Routed units may not conduct Opportunity Fire.

Resolving Opportunity Fire

If the enemy unit was moving, the player conducting Opportunity Fire gets to choose the point on the target unit's movement path where the fire takes place. All modifiers for terrain, in position, etc. are based on the conditions at that location.

If the Opportunity Fire fails, the target unit can continue to move. If it was making a combat move, it must continue towards its declared destination. If the unit was making a regular move, it may move in any direction up to its remaining movement distance (i.e. if it has a move of 6" and moved 2" towards a hill when it was attacked, after the attack it may move 4" in any direction, including back to its original start position.)

If the enemy unit receives a suppression result, the suppression takes place in a location based on the target unit's movement. If the target unit was making a normal move, the unit stops moving at the point where the fire took place and it is given a suppression marker right there. If the target unit was making a combat move, it finishes its move! It gets a suppression marker at the end of its move. This gives a unit moving within possible line of sight of an enemy a bonus for conducting a combat move.

If a unit takes casualties from Opportunity Fire while combat moving, it has three choices:

  1. The unit can stop moving.
  2. The unit can pick up the wounded and continue moving, but for the rest of their movement they are considered encumbered and lose 2" off their remaining movement.
  3. The unit can abandon the wounded, but they suffer the "abandoned casualty" modifier to all Reaction Tests.

If the target unit was conducting any other kind of action (such as a fire action, rally, reorganize, transfer, etc.) the Opportunity Fire occurs after that action is completed, but the Opportunity Fire must be declared before the enemy unit's action is resolved. For instance, if an enemy unit does a fire action, a friendly unit can attempt Opportunity Fire at that enemy. However, the Opportunity Fire is declared before the enemy fires, and is resolved after the enemy unit's fire has been resolved.

Opportunity Fire is resolved in exactly the same way as regular fire except that the range die is shifted up one.

Overwatch

The Overwatch Action allows a unit to prepare for Opportunity Fire. A unit that conducts an Overwatch action receives an Overwatch Counter. An Overwatch Counter allows a unit to conduct Opportunity Fire without having to make a Reaction Test. An Overwatch action uses up one of the unit's two actions for that activation. It must be the unit's second action, and the unit can not have conducted a Fire action with its first action.

Whenever an enemy unit conducts an action within line of sight of a unit with an Overwatch Counter, the Overwatch Counter can be "spent" and the "overwatching" unit can conduct an Opportunity Fire action at the enemy unit. This Opportunity Fire action is EXACTLY like that mentioned above under "Opportunity Fire" except that no Reaction Test is made. Spending an Overwatch counter is the only way an activated unit can conduct Opportunity Fire.

A unit that has an Overwatch counter loses that counter the next time it is activated. Otherwise Overwatch counters remain on the board until they are used.

Example of Opportunity Fire and Overwatch

A unit of NAC marines is activated. The unit moves forward into a prepared position with its first activation. An ESU squad sees them move. It does not have an Overwatch Counter so it makes an Opportunity Fire attempt. The ESU unit is a regular unit with a leadership value of 2, and has normal motivation. It rolls a D8 and rolls a 1. It missed it's roll, so it can not make an Opportunity Fire attempt. However, the ESU unit is still not activated, either.

The NAC unit is now in place, and for its second action it goes "In Position". It now has an "In Position" marker placed beside it.

The ESU unit is now activated. The unit conducts an Overwatch action and receives an Overwatch counter. This counts as the unit's entire activation.

A second NAC unit makes a combat move across an open field. The ESU unit can see it. It waits until the NAC unit moves into the open as close as possible to the ESU unit, then it spends its Overwatch Counter and fires. The ESU unit is at medium range (D6) but the range die is shifted up one (to a D8).

The dice are rolled and the ESU unit hits the NAC unit, suppressing it and doing one casualty. The NAC unit decides to carry the wounded man. It continues to move along its movement path, but subtracts 2" from it's movement distance. Once it has finished moving, it is given a suppression marker.

The ESU player conducted an Overwatch action while the NAC player was moving, so that does not count as an activation. Therefore it is now the ESU player's turn to activate a unit.

The ESU player activates the platoon's command squad and successfully transfers an action to the unit that conducted the Overwatch action. (If the unit still had its Overwatch counter, it would lose it as soon as it was re-activated). The unit makes a normal move out of the prepared position and over to a clump of trees.

The NAC player attempts to conduct Opportunity Fire against this ESU unit with one of his marine squads. The ESU unit is stopped in the open before it can get to the trees. The player rolls a 5 for the unit's Reaction Test and the unit can make an Opportunity Fire attempt. The fire results in the ESU unit being suppressed. Since the ESU unit was making a regular move, not a combat move, it loses the rest of its move and is now sitting in the open, suppressed.