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"FUBAR Activations" Topic


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Tgunner22 Jan 2012 4:43 p.m. PST

Okay, I've played my first game of FUBAR and while it was a lot of fun it was very frustrating at times getting things going with the activation system.

Basically the game works like this: you roll to see who goes first then the winner tries to activate a unit by rolling to activate it. Troop quality factors here with you having to roll against the unit's activation number which differs between the the experience levels. Green units are really tough to activate because you have to roll a 5+ on a d6, whereas an elite unit is way easier as it only needs a 2+ to get moving.

Really, what I'm getting at is FUBAR, at it's basic level, can really leave a player hanging over activation rolls. For example, Angel had an annoying string of this his first game:

"Right, the BPI try to activate their unit A, guess what they fail to move.
There must be a problem with their comms… 3 turns in a row and nothing doing…??!

Over to the ECM who try to activate their HARD suit squad (B), nope the same radio interference must be effecting them too…"

This seems rather silly! I can see this happening when bullets are flying and you're trying to get a unit moving and they've "had enough!" But in the during the first couple of turns when not a whole lot is going on?

I had the same thing happen to me. I pitted two US squads with a Stryker up against two Russian squads and for several turns I just couldn't get my Stryker to do any thing and it was a veteran unit! It just sat there and took RPG hit after RPG hit and it just couldn't do anything because it failed EVERY activation roll.

So what's a good fix for this? I know that friction is a big deal in modern warfare, but man, this isn't "fog of war", it's annoying dice!

One thought that's come to mind is a basic rule that all units activate on a 2+ until the first shot is fired, then, you roll normally for activations. That seems to mix well with the +1 bonus that you get to activate a unit that doesn't "see" any enemy units.

Is this a problem for you? Or is it okay and you explain it away with "friction" and other stuff? What do you do to "fix" it?

Don't get me wrong, FUBAR is a great game, but this is very annoying and takes away from the fun of the game to me.

What do you think?

TamsinP22 Jan 2012 6:45 p.m. PST

If it's that annoying, keep the die roll required the same, but up it to a D8 – that would improve the chances of activating a unit, perhaps dropping to D6 after the firefight begins?

tuscaloosa22 Jan 2012 7:45 p.m. PST

This is the same thing we were arguing about 25 years ago, with Empire Napoleonics rules.

A good case can be made for activations reflecting the fog of war, and troop quality, etc. But the bottom line is that we come to the mini table to game, and if we have bad luck and don't get to use our troops, we're not happy.

Mick A22 Jan 2012 8:29 p.m. PST

Its been a while since I played FUBAR, but if a unit fails to activate doesn't it go on to overwatch?


Tgunner22 Jan 2012 9:16 p.m. PST

Yes, and I was playing with the basic rules. If a unit fails its activation roll then it goes "on guard" and may fire once at a unit that enters its line of sight. I think I'm going to borrow the rule from the Afgan rules that allow it to fire once at a unit that moves or fires in its LOS. At least then I won't have that frustrating scenario with the Stryker just stuck there an unable to do anything.

clkeagle22 Jan 2012 9:25 p.m. PST

Its been a while since I played FUBAR, but if a unit fails to activate doesn't it go on to overwatch?

Correct. A unit goes On Guard if it fails to activate and it's at 50% strength or higher.

Sometimes you do end up in weird situations where every single unit on a table (usually near the end of a game) will go On Guard in the same turn.

The easy solution: make sure you always have a leader in your key units with stats that are one level higher. You use the highest Initiative stat in your unit to activate.

And here's the "have some fun" solution. It's an idea I nicked from Blasters & Bulkheads, then I tried out with the Christmas War campaign. It's simple and effective – everything FUBAR is supposed to be.

Each side gets a number of universal, use any time, no questions asked, re-roll counters. Keep the number of them very small, something like one for every three or four fireteams/vehicles in your army. In a linked campaign, a victory in one game will earn an extra counter for the next game. In one-off games, you can give an extra counter or two to a well-prepared defender or an elite attacker with the element of surprise.

-Chris K.

Tgunner22 Jan 2012 9:55 p.m. PST

I was thinking of something similar Chris, but they were +1 bonus tokens that each side had for activations. They represent a commander yelling, cajoling, begging, or otherwise butt kicking troops into doing what needed to be done. Each token is a +1 bonus that you play BEFORE you roll the dice to activate a unit. You also only have a limited supply that you're assigned at the start of the game and you use them to ensure that certain units will activate when you need them.

Of course a 1 still always fails…

rodvik22 Jan 2012 10:05 p.m. PST

We ignore the "on guard" fail rule and replace it with:

If you fail an activation roll you can EITHER fire (with no +1 bonus) OR Walk (w/no fire) OR go on guard.

This makes for a quicker and (in our view) better feeling game and retains the benefits of making activation rolls.

Mako1123 Jan 2012 1:00 a.m. PST

Another option which I've used is this:

Troops from the same unit (you can specify which you want here, e.g. platoon, company, etc.) have digital comms/datalink, so get info in one of two ways, e.g. immediately, with no delay (Superior Datalink), for any unit spotted by another unit say the 1st squad of the armored infantry unit spots an enemy grav tank, then all other squads of that same platoon/company will also know about it immediately as well; or with some level of delay. For Good Datalink, there is a one turn delay in communicating this info to the other units. For Poor Datalink, there is a two-turn delay.

All spotted units remain spotted, as long as one of the units has line of sight to the target, or they have it spotted via a drone, or other spotting platform.

Once visual line of sight is broken, due to units being destroyed, cover/concealment, etc., the target unit needs to be reacquired again, as if it is a new target. It's a good idea, if using fog of war, to provide one real blip, and two dummy blips per target that has just become hidden again.

Of course, the other option, as mentioned above, is just to change the ratings of your units, instead.

Angel Barracks23 Jan 2012 2:46 a.m. PST

I have played about 10 games now and only had 3 instances out of about 100 turns where the actication was just plain silly.
So 3% seems about ok.
I have however added some rules for spy drones that allow re-rolls to help with that all important activation roll.
Plus some units that have better activation.
Keep at it and you may find it will balance out.
Or change it.

Tis your game!


Greg B23 Jan 2012 8:52 a.m. PST

Another vote for changing the ratings.

We encountered a bit of this in our first try at the game, but corrected it by just improving the activation rolls, so most troops were going on 3+, and elite types were going on 2+. Game went much faster from there, with enough failed activations to keep folks entertained without being too mad.

And that's dice for you. You can change the rules so your Stryker fires every time, and just watch miss shot after shot after shot…

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