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"DEFCON ZERO Sneak Peak and AAR" Topic

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Beast44a02 Jan 2019 4:12 p.m. PST

I had the opportunity to play a couple of scenarios with the forthcoming modern combat game, DEFCON ZERO. Here's my write-up:


Looking forward to this game coming out.

Thresher01 Supporting Member of TMP02 Jan 2019 6:45 p.m. PST

You stole my game title!

Great name by the way.

Thanks for sharing your battle report. Looks interesting.

Nick B03 Jan 2019 4:57 a.m. PST

I appreciate this was essentially a play test but (whilst it may be realistic) who would want to play the insurgents? It look a little to much "line 'em up and shoot 'em down" for my personal taste.

I don't recall (but I've not been in the forces) insurgent casualties been as high as this would suggest outside human waves attacks in Korea?

Just my own thoughts……

RKE Steve03 Jan 2019 6:23 a.m. PST

In defense of Beast, the insurgent forces were in the open, so while they went down easy, cover is your best friend for any force. I too got a chance to playtest last year at Little Wars (USA). And while I have never served, I did notice that combat optics which provide a +1 advantage are very deadly. Also insurgent forces need to have more men in each unit to provide the power to be effective against the good guys.

All in all I do like the mechanics that I saw and also can't wait to get my hands on the final rules.

Joe Legan03 Jan 2019 4:47 p.m. PST


Nice write up. Sounds very similar to Force on Force. How does it differ besides the scenario cards?


Beast44a03 Jan 2019 7:02 p.m. PST

Nick B: RKE Steve is right, this was just a mechanics test with the insurgents. We didn't explore asymmetric warfare too deeply.

Joe: Too early to tell how much they will differ in depth. From what we played, I'll say the following:
1. More lethal. From the grenade launcher mechanics to the function of optics, the capability gap between regular and irregular forces may be larger than in Force on Force. As I make clear in the write-up, Reid and I are both veterans had a deep discussion on grenade effects. I've slung some 40mm with a Mk. 19 in 2-way live fire and always thought that grenade launchers were sold a bit short in FoF. Same for optics, which get short shrift in FoF. Striking the right balance on these is important, looking forward to Beta testing.

2. Casualties are handled better. In FoF, casualties aren't casualties until they get treatment. You start turns by treating previous turns' casualties, but don't roll until someone renders aid. The descending 12-sided die in DEFCON ZERO better replicates the Golden Hour dynamic of needing to provide aid ASAP.

3. Fog of War – Random events don't upend the game. Anyone who has played FoF and pulled the chemical alarm card or any other paradigm-shifting Fog of War card will tell you that you need to scrub which cards you keep in the deck. I've got a number of cards set aside from my FoF deck that never get put into a live game unless they match some aspect of the scenario. In this game, the differing missions and potential mismatch of faction goals may lead one side to think they are winning when they aren't.

Areas where I'm interested in seeing the final DEFCON ZERO rules:
- Asymmetric warfare. See above.
- Vehicle rules. I grew up playing Twilight: 2000, which is granular in the extreme with vehicle penetration and damage. FoF is at the other end of the spectrum, and I house rule vehicles heavily to fix what is probably the weakest part of FoF as written. Would like to see a happy medium.
- Model/Unit traits. FoF has confidence and supply levels that don't normally add much to the game; my d8 guys are better than your d6 guys, but you have more of them – let's roll some dice! The follow-on game to DEFCON ZERO, A.R.C. Shadow Wars, is a modern pulp game where JSOC dudes are teamed up with psionics to fight supernatural or high-tech evil. Somewhere that's going to entail traits that add more flavor to the game than FoF. Color me intrigued.

None of this is to say that FoF is a bad system. I may have more FoF game AARs posted on my blog than anyone else on the web. It's the game that brought me back to war gaming after 20 years away. But there's nothing like some new energy to revitalize modern games at the squad- to platoon plus-level.

My library of Force on Force AARs, organized by theater of conflict:
Libyan Civil War (I dig technicals)
Special Operations

See you on the high ground!

Tinyisme05 Jan 2019 2:36 p.m. PST

Really enjoy the battle report! Great looking figures, and if I wasn't so invested in 15mm I might make the switch to 20! A question that I have, is how does DEFCON Zero play Solo? Or does it not really lend it self to that kind of play?

RKE Steve06 Jan 2019 1:59 p.m. PST

Since this was pre-beta, I have not seen the whole rule set. I did not even have vehicle rules or all the mission cards. My feelings are pretty much any rule set could be played solo. That being said, not sure if there are plans for solo play,plus the mission cards I suspect would not be useful since you would know both sides mission.

Joe Legan07 Jan 2019 6:46 p.m. PST

Thanks for the answers. Agree with most of your observations. I have actually made war specific fow decks that I am testing out. Interesting we have a different take on the armor. I love the way fof handles it as you really can't calculate anything and it is very forgiving

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