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Factions on Halo Tactics: UNSC

By : Leon Delgado
The United Nations Space Command, more commonly known as UNSC, is the military, exploratory, and scientific agency of the Unified Earth Government. The UNSC formed halfway through the 22nd century as remnants of old cultural ideologies clashed for supremacy in the Sol System and mainly oversaw United Nations military operations in space. The UN massively militarizing its off-world colonies via propaganda and then defeated communist and fascist forces in the "Interplanetary War" which consisted of several side-battles that took place on Mars, the Jovian Moons, and the South American rainforests. Although the Interplanetary War brought great suffering and death unto Earth and its colonies, it united humanity's militaries into a common, armed force by the end of the 22nd century.

Humanity was in chaos before the Covenant attack on Harvest in 2525. The UN was waging a bloody struggle against groups of terrorists (or freedom fighters) called the Insurrectionists, who wanted independence from the Unified Earth Government. The UNSCDF, a branch of the UNSC, constantly battled the Insurrectionists. In an attempt to help end the long-running war against the rebels, the UEG commissioned the ORION Project (also known as the SPARTAN-I project) and later the SPARTAN-II Program, which created a group of elite super-soldiers to combat the separatists and the insurrections that they spawned. When the Human-Covenant war began, and the technologically superior aliens began decimating the Outer colonies, these Spartans became humanity's best hope for survival. Faced with genocide on an unprecedented scale, the UNSC mobilized for total war.

The dire circumstances of the Covenant conflict allowed the UNSC to override civilian rule and establish itself as humanity's primary government. Although the Unified Earth Government was more open to step down, the Colonial Administration, the arm of the UEG ruling over the colonies, resisted the UNSC's rise to power, and was thus stripped of its power.

By the time the war began, humanity had reached Tier 3 of the Forerunner civilization ranking system. Technological improvements continued to rise due to the capture of advanced Covenant equipment, which was studied and adapted for human needs. The very best and cutting edge of UNSC war assets were supplied to the SPARTAN-II Program. Other enhancements geared towards mass production were distributed to the SPARTAN-IIIs and -IVs. One such example of war time innovation was the energy shielding adapted and improved for use on the MJOLNIR armor. 

As a player, you jump just in the middle of the dark days of the conflict, right before the fall of Reach, the humans are losing the war and desperate times require desperate measures. The UNSC is in war for decades with two deadly enemies, the Covenant and the Insurrectionist, but a new threat emerge from the vaults of an lost civilization: the flood.

Team ability: UNITED NATIONS SPACE COMMAND (UNSC)
When this character is adjacent to a friendly UNSC characters modify his range values by +2". Give this character a power action and choose an adjacent UNSC friendly character. The chosen character modifies its damage value by +1 while adjacent to this character and making ranged combat attacks this turn. Uncopyable.

Characters in the UNSC squats

You have 3 common character to select in a UNSC squat: Marines, OSDT and Spartans. You can make a group of just one type, but a good general know that a balance squat with a good mix of specialist, is the key to success.


Marine
Speed: 6/5
Defence: 14/15
Attack: +8/+7
Damage: 3/2
Health: 5/2
Special rules
UNSC Team ability.
Combat reflexes: modify this character’s defense value by +2 against close combat attacks. When this character takes damage from an attack, it may choose to be knocked back. This character ignores knock back damage.

Equipment: Marines has access to a vast arsenal of weapons in the USNC, only surpassed by Spartans.

The good: Marines are Cheap and reliable troops. This are great for having a large team of character that can capture objectives and deal damage to the enemy. With the UNSC team ability you can increase the range of their weapons and even increase the damage that they can deliver. Good vs. Grunts, Jackals.

The bad: Marines are fragile. With only 5 heath points two shot of an elite character or one heavy weapon can destroy your marines.


ODST
Speed: 6/7
Defence: 15/ 14
Attack: +8/+9
Damage: 3/2
Health: 7/3
Special Abilities
UNSC Team ability. Infiltration.
DEFLECTION (Def 1): Modify this character’s defense value by +2 against ranged combat attacks.
COMBAT REFLEXES (Def 2): Modify this character’s defense value by +2 against close combat attacks. When this character takes damage from an attack, it may choose to be knocked back. This character ignores knock back damage.
Equipment: ODST has access to Pistols, SMG and Sniper rifles.

The good: Hard to hit, elite unit capable of being deployed anywhere in the battlefield (with a minimum distance of 14" of an enemy). This can be useful to capture objective of kill priority targets.  Better life and stats than marines, make them really powerful characters in any squat.

The bad: High price. A squat of only ODST is a small squat. They can deliver pain to the enemy but you can be outnumbered if your are not careful.  

 
Spartan
Speed: 8/7
Defence: 16/ 15
Attack: +9/9
Damage: 3/2
Health: 8/4
Special Abilities
UNSC Team ability. Inhuman Strength, Ambidexterity.
Shields (Def 1): Damage dealt to this character is reduced by 1.
Dodge (Def 2):  When this character is hit by an attack, you may roll a d6 before damage is dealt. On a result of 5-6, this character evades the attack.

Equipment: Spartan has unlimited access to all military equipment from the UNSC, including decomisioned Covenant weapons and even heavy weapons.


The good: Super elite unit. Basically all Spartans are like living tanks protected with shields, fast on the battlefield (with Speed 8 they move faster on the board) and with a good selection of gear.

The bad: High price. Just like ODST , an all Spartan squat is quite small.


Examples of an UNSC squats


Mix squat
Spartan with Battle rifle              75
ODST with Sniper rifle               60
ODST with SMG                        60
Marine with Missile Launcher      50
Marine with Sniper rifle               50
Marine with Battle Rifle             25
Marine with Battle Rifle             25
Marine with Battle SMG             25
Marine with Shockgun                15
Marine with Pistol                      15
Total                                         400

This squat has a god range power, and a good selection of decent cheap fighters and elite troopers. The Spartan and the ODST has the mission of destroying the most powerful character in the opposite squat while the marines give support and capture victory areas or hard points.


Elite squat
Spartan with Battle rifle              75
Spartan with Missile Launcher    95
ODST with Sniper rifle               60
ODST with SMG                        60
ODST with Battle Rifle               60
Marine with Sniper rifle               50
Total                                         400

With great power but few in numbers, this is a hard to kill squat, but will have trouble to capture hard points and victory areas. This type of squat play to destroy or cripple the enemy before they can do the same.




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Rules Complete!

By : Leon Delgado

Finally, after several weeks I manage to build a complete set of rules for Halo Tactics. This is not a final version (I imagine that this can be improved) but is a good solid set of rules that will bring you a great experience.


You can Download the rules and Cards from the "rules and Cards" tap, but here is also the links: 

You can Download the Rules here:

http://www.mediafire.com/view/h42yc3404wv3nr0/Halo_Tactics_rulebook.pdf

And the Character cards here:

UNSC cards
http://www.mediafire.com/view/eucmkevcve0xqx6/Halo_Tactics_Card_V3_UNSC.pdf

UNSC Heroes
http://www.mediafire.com/view/wj2qdybkb41b4k2/Halo_Tactics_Card_V3_UNSC_Heroes.pdf

Covenant Cards
http://www.mediafire.com/view/5gm0gl184o63umd/Halo_Tactics_Card_V3_Covenant.pdf

Covenant Heroes
http://www.mediafire.com/view/8sd09w7q622hk19/Halo_Tactics_Card_V3_Covenant_Heores.pdf

Flood Cards
http://www.mediafire.com/view/9pbtbw4pvbvrg29/Halo_Tactics_Card_V3_Flood.pdf

Vehicles Cards
http://www.mediafire.com/view/1tulprwy65bd9jj/Halo_Tactics_Card_V3_Vehicles.pdf

Reference cards
http://www.mediafire.com/view/c8ka99bsnblcyr2/Halo_Tactics_Reference_Card.pdf


Dev Diaries: Weapons

By : Leon Delgado
During the Covenant and human wars, warfare spawned innumerable weapons, ranging in capability from the simple but efficient Magnum pistol to the barely controllable energies of the plasma cannon. In this section we describe how characteristics and special rules reflect the differences between different weapons.

Every weapon has a profile that consists of several elements, for example

Weapon special rules
Weapons have several common rules that apply to them.

Assault weapon: a character using a weapon with this rule can move more than 4" and don't suffer penalties.

Barrage (X): place a counter of on the battlefield (a small dice of 1cm is fine). Make an attack roll against defence 14. If you attack roll hit, leave the counter in that position. At the beginning of your next face (before you activate your own characters) place the blast marker center over the counter, all miniatures under the marker are hit and takes damage equal to X. If the attack misses the attack then roll 2d6, pick the highest result and disregard the other roll, your opponent can place the marker anywhere on the battlefield distance equal to the result of the roll in inches.

Barrage and ruins: Barrage weapons work by lobbing munitions high into the air, bringing death to the enemy from above. The advantage of these indirect fire weapons is that they can be used to engage targets beyond the limited lines of sight. The disadvantage is that they explode the moment they strike a structure, meaning warriors can shelter deep within ruins.

Barrage weapons always strike the highest level that is under the hole in the centre of the marker. Only models on this level and under the template are actually hit.

Blast: This rule always have a number in brackets, like Blast (1). When you hit a character with a weapon with this rule you must place a blast marker (a circle with 3" radius with a hole of 1 cm in the centre) in a way that the centre of the marker is inside the base. Any miniature touched by the marker receive damage equal to the number on brackets, this damage cannot be Penetrating or Unavoidable.

Burst of fire: A character using a weapon with this special rule can reroll the attack roll.

Heavy: This is a massive weapon and need a special support to be fired, only characters with inhuman strength special rule can carry a Heavy weapon.

Overheat: a character that rolls a double 1 using a weapon with this rule cannot make another attack with this weapon for a complete round.

Slow: Slow weapons require time to aim and makes impossible to move and shoot at the same time. A weapon with this rule cannot be shoot at the same face that the character move.

Precision: +2 to attack if the target is at 4" or more.

Penetrating: the damage from this weapon is penetrating damage (see special powers).

Unavoidable: the damage from this weapon is Unavoidable damage (See special powers).

Grenades
Some characters start the game with grenades, as indicated by the icon respective grenade icon their character cards. If a character gets a grenade, put a Grenade token on its character card; a character can throw a grenade only if it has a Grenade token on its card.

Frag: Range 8". Area (3), Damage 4. Targets hit by this weapon are knock back 4". Deal 2 extra damage to the target if its knock back path is blocked.

Flashbang: Range 8", No damage, Area (no damage). Put an action token on all hit characters that have zero action tokens.

Plasma: Range 8", Area (3) (Especial). On a hit mark the hit character. At the beginning of your next turn, deal 4 damage to the character marked in this way and apply the area damage. Targets hit by this weapon are knock back 4". Deal 2 extra damage to the target if its knock back path is blocked.


Thermite: Armor Piercing, Penetrating, damage 4, Blast (3), Targets hit by this weapon are knock back 4". Deal 2 extra damage to the target if its knock back path is blocked. A character with this grenade can use it to clear an area of 4" of blocking terrain or walls

UNSC weapons
Name: Magnum Pistol
Range: 12"
Cost: +10
Properties: Assault weapon. Precision.

Name: M45-TS Shotgun
Range: 12"
Cost: +10
Properties: Assault weapon. Deal +1 damage at 8" or less. 

Name: M7057/DP Flamethrower
Range: 12"
Cost: +10
Properties: Blast (1). Damage +2 against swarms. 




Name: MA5C Assault rifle
Range: 24"
Cost: +20
Properties: When this unit succeeds at a shot and the attack roll is doubles, you may shot again at any target. 

Name: BR55 Battle rifle
Range: 24"
Cost: +20
Properties: When this unit succeeds at a shot and the attack roll is doubles, the shot deals an extra 1 damage.

Name: M7 / Caseless SMG
Range: 24"
Cost: +20
Properties: When this unit succeeds at a shot and the attack roll is doubles, the shot also deals 1 damage to every enemy unit adjacent to the target.

Name: S2 AM Sniper Rifle
Range: 48"
Cost: +45
Properties: Precision. Heavy. When this unit succeeds at a shot and the attack roll is doubles, deal an extra 2 damage.
Name: M41 SSR MAV/AW (SPNKr) Rocket launcher
Range: 36"
Cost: +50  
Properties: Blast (2), Armor Pearcing, +2 Damage, -1 to attack when attacking non vehicles. Targets hit by this weapon are knock back 4". Deal 2 extra damage to the target if its knock back path is blocked.
 
Name: M247 GPMG "TURRET"
Range: 36"
Cost: +45
Properties: Penetrating. Burst of fire. +2 Damage. When this unit succeeds at a shot and the attack roll is doubles, you may shot again at any target.




Covenant weapons

Name: Energy Sword
Range: 0
Cost: +5
Properties: Owner can only attack adjacent characters. On a hit deal +1d6 extra damage.
Name: Gravity Hammer
Range: 0
Cost: +5
Properties: Penetrating. Owner can only attack adjacent characters. On a hit deal +1d6 extra damage.

Name: Plasma Pistol
Range: 12"
Cost: +10
Properties: Assault weapon. Penetrating.

Name: Plasma Rifle
Range: 24"
Cost: +20
Properties: Overheating. When this unit succeeds at a shot and the attack roll is doubles, you may shot again at any target

Name: Fuel Rod Cannon
Range: 36"
Cost: +50
Properties: Blast (2), Penetrating, +2 Damage, -1 to attack when attacking non vehicles. Targets hit by this weapon are knock back 4". Deal 2 extra damage to the target if its knock back path is blocked.

Name: Plasma Cannon
Range: 36"
Cost: +30
Properties: Damage +2. Penetrating.






Name: Spiker Rifle
Range: 24"
Cost: +20
Properties: Penetrating. In close Combat deals an extra 1 damage.

Name: Needler rifle
Range: 24"
Cost: +10/20
Properties: Blast (1). Assault weapon.



Name: Covenant Carabine
Range: 24"
Cost: +10/20
Properties: When this unit succeeds at a shot and the attack roll is doubles, the shot deals an extra 1 damage.

Name: Brute Shot
Range: 24"
Cost: +25
Properties: Blast (1). When this unit succeeds at a shot and the attack roll is doubles, deal an extra 1 damage. In close Combat deals an extra 1 damage.

Name: Particle beam rifle
Range: 48"
Cost: +45
Properties: Precision. Slow. When this unit succeeds at a shot and the attack roll is doubles, deal an extra 2 damage. 

Playing the game: the turn

By : Leon Delgado
A tremendous amount of action takes place in a battle: squads are constantly manoeuvring and shooting, tanks rumble into action and artillery fire roars overhead in a torrential downpour of destruction.

A game of Halo Tactics represents the flow of battle but, in order to turn the chaos into a manageable game, players alternate taking turns moving and fighting with their characters.

Initiative Roll
A skirmish begins with an initiative roll to determine who goes first. Each player rolls 2d6. The player with the higher initiative roll chooses who goes first. (Reroll ties.) Sometimes you’ll want to go first; other times you’ll want to see what your opponent is up to before committing your forces.

Rounds, Phases, and Turns
A skirmish is played in rounds.

One round is divided in several Phases. In each phase, players activate characters in their squads to take actions, each activating two characters at time. You can only activate a character once in a round (see pushing below), and you must active 2 characters in phase. If you do not have any characters to activate your phase is over.

When both players have activated all their characters, the round is over.

When you activate a character you can give him one free action and one action (see actions below)

First Player: Activates two characters, one at a time. Activating two characters this way is called a phase.

Second Player: Activates two characters, one at a time.

First Player: Activates two more characters. These are characters that have not been activated yet this round.

Second Player: Activates two more characters. These are characters that have not been activated yet this round.

Repeat until all the characters have activated. Sometimes a player has more characters than his or her opponent and activates many characters at the end of the round.

Each character can be activated only once in a round. When a character activates, that is the character’s turn. To indicate that a character has been activated in a round, put an action token or turn its stat card.

A round ends when all players have activated all their characters once. Then a new round begins with a new initiative roll.

The turn sequence
As we see before both players alternate phases in a turn. The order that a Turn must be played is this:

1. Roll for initiative
2. Phase A: Player A activate 2 characters.
3. Phase B: Player B activate 2 characters.
4. Repeat Phase A and B until all Characters are activated or has an Action token (see action Tokens later).
5. Repeat Step 1.

GIVING ACTIONS TO CHARACTERS
During your phase, you must activate two characters, when you activate a character you can give him any number of free actions and one action. When a character is given an action, that action can be used for only one power or ability that requires that type of action to activate.

You must completely resolve the activation of one character before you activate the next character, also you must completely resolve one action before you begin the next action.

Resolving an action includes resolving any free actions or game effects that action allows followed by applying action tokens and then pushing damage to each character that received a second action token during that action. A character can never be given more than one non-free action per turn.

ACTIONS
Each phase you must activate two characters per turn, until all your characters have being activated. You can give a unit only one action per turn. Some actions involve moving your unit, attacking with your unit, or both. 

All aspects of these actions are described in this section. Choose from the following options when assigning actions to your units:

Each phase you get two actions to give to your units. You can give a unit only one action per turn. Some actions involve moving your unit, attacking with your unit, or both.  

All aspects of these actions are described in this section. Choose from the following options when assigning actions to your units:

1. MOVE: Move the Character. The character can move up to his speed value in MU or squares.

2. RUN/ FULL SPEED: The character speed increase in +6", but he cannot make any attack during this phase.

3. ATTACK: The unit can shoot at (see “Shooting”), throw a grenade at (see “Grenades”), or use a special ability against (see “Attacking”) an enemy unit (a unit controlled by an opponent).

4. MOVE AND ATTACK: Move the unit and then attack (shoot, throw a grenade, or use a special ability). If your unit moves up to 4 MU (or squares) and attacks, it does not suffer any attack penalties. If your unit moves more than 4 MU (or squares), it can still attack, but you must subtract -3 from its attack value.

5. ATTACK AND COVER: The unit can attack and then move up to 4 MU (or squares).

6. Move and OPEN A DOOR: The character can move up to his speed value, if at the end of his movement is next to a door (in base contact) he can open the door. The door will remain open until the character move away or is KO.

7. OPEN A DOOR and MOVE: If the character is next to a door (in base contact) he can open the door and then move up to 4 MU (or squares). The door will close after this if is no character in base contact with the door.

8. OPEN A DOOR and ATTACK: If the character is next to a door (in base contact) he can open the door and then attack, but you must subtract -3 from its attack value.

9. Do a Power/ Special Action: You can use one of your powers or special actions.

10. Don't do anything: You can choose to don't make an action when activate the character.

“Replaces Attacks”: Sometimes the text of a special ability or power says that it “replaces attacks.” In this case, a character can use that special ability or power instead of making its usual attack. A character can use this power if he is able to make an attack and has the same penalties if he moved more than 4 spaces, also if he makes the special ability or power before moving he can only move up to 4 spaces.


ACTION TOKENS
When you give a character any action (other than a free action – see below), give the character an action token as the action resolves and put it near the character’s base on the map. You can use any small object, such as a coin or bead, as an action token. A token reminds all players that a character has been given an action.

An action token can be as simple as a dice, coin or complex as a proper marker that you modelled for this specific event. IN the end of this rulebook and in the Halo Tactics web site you can find several tokens that you can print and use for your games.

No game effect can result in more than 2 action tokens on a character. If part of a game effect would cause this to happen, that part of the game effect is ignored. Whoever, a character can be activated several times in a turn, giving him more than one action token, also some powers can confer an action token in a character. If a player get a second Action token, that character suffer Pushing damage (see Pushing, below)

CLEARING ACTION TOKENS
At the end of your turn, after you and your opponent have finished taking and resolving all of your actions (including free actions that occur “at the end of your turn”) and declared your turn to be over, remove all action tokens from each of the characters the battlefield. This is called “clearing” your action tokens.

PUSHING
You can activate a character more than one time in a round, this is called PUSHING a character. To PUSH a character you must select a character that is at no more than 12" from the character you want to "push" and activate that character that has no action tokens (is not yet activated in the turn), this character is "given up" his activation for his teammate.

One character can Push a teammate that is not more than 12" of distance. Doing this put another action token on the target teammate and allow him to activate immediately for a second (or even more) time.

When a character is activated a second (or more) time, receives one pushing damage after his action is resolve. Game effects that evade, reduce, ignore, or transfer damage do not affect pushing damage unless the effect specifi­cally says it does.


Dev Diaries: Building a Halo miniature game

By : Leon Delgado



Since last year when I was able to buy my first Halo ActionClix miniatures my mind was working on bringing the Halo Universe to the table top gaming. I liked some things from halo Actionclix (later Halo Heroclix) but the game was lacking of that quality of strategic that games like D&D miniatures or warhammer 40K had, so I started this year with my own set of rules (with the help of some great friends) to make a system that was fast and fun.

The basic idea
This game is build around of small squats of soldiers (also called characters in this system) that move in small battlefields with abundance of terrain to take cover.
There is some vehicles in this game but the main goal is to have small groups that move trying to capture objective and in the same time trying to wipe out the enemy squat.

The system
This system was build using as starting point the rules presented by Actionclix. In this system the characters have five stats (speed, defence, attack value, damage, health), this stats have two numbers, one in blue that is called fresh stat value and one in red, also called Fatigued stat value.

The idea of the game is that Health represent both the life and energy of the character (or stamina), and when he is wounded or damaged become more fatigued and less optimal for combat.

When the character reach half of his original life (rounded down) he become fatigued, changed his stats value (usually for the worst). This change can make that the character loose or acquire power or abilities. An example is Spartans, when they are fresh they have shields that absorbed the damage that they take, when they become fatigued they loose their shields, but instead gain the ability to dodge income attacks.

To make attacks you use 2d6, this mean that the base number for this roll is 7, so a character with +7 to attack, making an attack to a Defense 14 will hit 50% of the time.

Building profiles
As a starting point I created a base creature as reference: the humble human civil.
  

Name: Human Civil (Non Military) - Base creature
Faction: UNSC
Cost: 10
Speed: 6/5
Defence: 13/ 12
Attack: +7/+7
Damage: 2/2
Health: 5/2
Special Abilities: None.

With this creature in mind and with the help of my friend Camilo Valencia, we created a point system to improve the stats of this character increasing his point value.

Increasing Speed = +1 for each extra 1"
Increasing Defence = +2.5 for each point over 13.
Increasing Attack value = +2 for each point over 7.
Increasing Damage value = +3 for each point over 2.
Increasing Health value = +3 for each point over 5.
  
Each extra special ability increases the cost in +5, and at the each we approach the final value to the next multiple of 5.

To define the value of the stat of many characters I made this table:

Civilian or non-trained characters = Defence 13, Attack +7
Combat oriented characters (Like Marines, Jackals, Brutes) = Defence 14, Attack +8
Elite Soldiers (Like Spartans, ODST, Elites, Mayor Brutes) = Defence 15, Attack +9
Heroes (Like Master chief, Arbiter, Fist of Rock) = Defence 16, Attack +10

This was just one guide, and some characters have differences, but many follow this concept.

Having this in mind, we can calculate the probability of a character to hit another, as in the following tables.

Character with attack value +7 against:

Defence 14: 50%
Defence 15: 41%
Defence 16: 33%
Defence 17: 25%

Character with attack value +8 against:

Defence 14: 58%
Defence 15: 50%
Defence 16: 41%
Defence 17: 33%

Character with attack value +9 against:

Defence 14: 66%
Defence 15: 58%
Defence 16: 50%
Defence 17: 41%

This process was just a starting point and during the game testing was necessary to make corrections into specific cases. One example was the grunts.

At the beginning a grunt with plasma pistol cost 35 points. Two of this small guys had the same price of one Spartan, and the Spartan was more deadlier. After some battles was clear that grunts must be reduced his cost to be more point efficient, that is the reason why now a grunt cost 20 points.



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