Design a site like this with
Get started

Blocking a pass.

The scenario is simple and is written mainly to give you a feel for the rules. When I wrote the rules, Hell in Microcosm, I produced rules in the SF section to allow inter-planetary invasions. OK I haven’t produced space naval combat rules, but at the very least I’ve produced rules to let you ship stuff and land it on planet. As I did a last run through of the rules, I organised a landing and this action one of the incidents from that operation.

The Federation has landed an expeditionary force on the planet and the local defenders, (descendants of settlers from the Confederacy) have sent a force to try and disrupt the landing. Federation forces chose their landing point carefully, with hard ground, adequate fresh water, not too many locals, and terrain which ensures that there are a limited number of directions the enemy can come at you from. So whilst the air superiority battle rages overhead, Federation forces have pushed forward to seize a pass. They must hold it because it keeps Confederate forces beyond artillery range of the bridgehead. The Federation has arrived at the pass first and are now defending it.

The Federation forces.

Holding the pass is

One droid battalion. It is stiffened by one robot heavy weapons company and one robot anti-tank company. Normally when a company Stiffens a battalion, it adds both manpower (potentially increasing the strength) and a bonus to the final die roll. But droid companies give the bonus to the final die roll but don’t add to the strength. Basically they’re too focused and specialised. The ‘crew’ of droid heavy weapon aren’t going to down tools and help dig a supply lorry out of the mud if a senior enough officer glares at them.


It can call on the services of an artillery company.

The air cover is currently sporadic because your high command is giving priority to ensuring other troops manage to land safely. But they promise to provide you with one ‘strength point’ of air superiority fighter cover.


A veteran mechanised infantry battalion is moving up to join the defenders; they are stiffened by a mecha company, with three fifty ton mecha. (A heavy tank company fields three tank models so it seemed reasonable for a mecha company to field three mecha models but this has more to do with it looking right.)

The Confederacy

The nearest force (men of a reserve division) have been rushed to the scene. They have

  • A regiment of mechanised infantry (only two battalions, the third battalion is still forming.) One battalion normal, one green.
  • A three company medium tank battalion. (normal)
  • A regimental engineer company.
  • A regimental heavy tank company
  • Two regimental artillery companies
  • Two light anti-aircraft companies.

For support they have been promised an air strike. This will be delivered by d6 strength points of ground attack planes (Higher command are not sure how many they can spare, but those they can spare, you’ll get). After all their aircraft are being used in an attempt to destroy troop transports as they enter the atmosphere.

The first move.

Feeling that time is of essence the Confederate commander decided to mount a hasty attack. He will send in the tank battalion, stiffened by a mechanised infantry company from the first (green) battalion. For support it gets the airstrike and both artillery companies. Because it’s a hasty attack they can only have one stiffening company.

The second (normal) mechanised battalion would go into prepared defence behind them to allow the attackers to fall back in case they got stopped. They’ll be stiffened by the engineer company and the heavy tank company. 

The droids (which count as normal) are in prepared defence. This means they can have two stiffening companies.

Behind the droids the mechanised infantry will arrive this move. The airstrike hits first, three strength points of ground attack planes roar over the table. One is neutralised by the defender’s air cover.

The attacker

First the artillery and airstrikes are calculated. The two attacking batteries are d10 each and the two airstrikes are also d10 each. Because there are two batteries of the same calibre firing, each adds +1. So the artillery roll 2d10+2 and 2d10. The attacker rolls a total of 20. The defender, in prepared defence, roll a d12 and gets 12. The difference between the totals is 8. The droids lose 4 strength points. (Full strength battalions start at 15 points.)

The defender

The defender’s battery fires at the attacking force. One battery firing is a d10. A target in hasty attack rolls a d6 but an armoured force under indirect fire gets two advantageous dice shifts so it too rolls d10. The artillery rolls 5, the armour 1, a difference of 4 so the armour loses two strength points on the way in. Behind the droids the veteran mechanised infantry have arrived and are in hasty defence.

Second Move

The attacker’s turn

There is still artillery support for both sides, but it’s more nuanced as the troops are somewhat intermixed and nobody is quite sure exactly who is where at any given time. So there is just a -1 for everybody because they’re under artillery attack.

The attacking armour is now at 13 strength points. But because it is stiffened by the mechanised infantry, they add back 2 strength points. The armour rolls 2d10.

It also gets +2 to the dice due to the stiffening mechanised infantry

Because it’s a narrow pass I’m counting it as close country so the armour gets -1 and a further -1 because they’re under artillery attack.

The armour has a final die roll of 11.

The droids defend themselves. Being infantry, and now 11 points strong, they roll d8

They get +1 for the stiffening droid heavy weapon company, and +3 for the droid anti-tank company. They get +2 for being in prepared defence and -1 for being under artillery fire/air attack.

The droids have a final die roll of 10.

Looking at the casualty table, a difference of 1 means that the droids lose 1 strength point, and the armour loses one on a roll of an odd number. They roll a d6 and get an even number, so they don’t lose 1. But the fighting continues in the same place.

Defenders turn

The fighting continues.

Thanks to the mechanised infantry, the attacking armour is still at 15 strength points. So it still rolls 2d10 and still gets the +2 for the stiffening mechanised infantry. It’s still in close country and they’re still under artillery.

 The armour gets 11 again.

The droids are now 10 points strong and still roll d8

They get still get the bonuses for the two stiffening companies. Whilst they technically lost the last round they didn’t lose badly enough to get rolled out of their position, so they still get +2 for being in prepared defence. They still suffer -1 for being under artillery fire/air attack.

Again they get a final score of 10.

The fighting, still bitter, continues, but this time both sides have lost a strength point. The droids are winning time for the mechanised infantry forming up behind them. They and their stiffening mecha are now in prepared defence.

Third move

The attacker’s move

The attacking armour is now 14 strength points. It still rolls 2d10 

It has the same bonuses it had last move.

This time the armour scores 15.

The droids are now 9 points strong but still roll d8

They too get the same bonuses that they did last move

The droids score 11.

With a difference of 4, the droids lose 2sp and a ‘b’ result meaning they’re rolled back. They fall back through the mechanised infantry who are now dug in and ready.

The armour halts on the ground they’ve taken. They go into hasty defence.

Defender’s move

Because the armour has broken contact, the veteran mechanised infantry call down artillery on them but without any real effect. Behind the veterans, the droids reform, now only seven points strong.

The Fourth move.

The attacker’s turn.

The commander doesn’t like the odds of trying to punch through dug in veteran mechanised infantry with a hasty attack. He decides to use his fresh mechanised infantry in a prepared attack with the hope of softening the enemy up with artillery whilst the attack is prepared.

He tries to get an airstrike but the one strength point of ground attack that arrives is neutralised by the defenders air cover.

He rolls a dice for his mechanised infantry and they immediately accept the change of orders. Still it will take two moves for the unit to go from prepared defence to prepared attack. So that will happen in move 6.

He also rolls to change orders for his now understrength green mechanised battalion. (One company is still stiffening the armour.) Because the terrain is so rough, he dismounts it and uses it to launch a hasty attack through the hills on his left flank. He’s attacking an area not a unit.

He fires his artillery but it has no discernible effect.

The defender’s turn.

The droids go into hasty defence

The defender’s artillery also has no effect.

The Fifth move

The attacking artillery causes no casualties to veteran infantry in prepared defence. On the other hand, the defender’s artillery finally gets the range and does three points of damage to the attackers.

The dismounted battalion makes its way into the hills and the droids receive orders to make a prepared attack on the hill side on their right. They are to attack the Green infantry attempting to outflank the position. This attack will go in on the 7th move.

The Sixth Move

Attacker’s turn

The Mechanised infantry, now only 12 points strong, are brought back up to 15 points because of the two stiffening companies. So they roll a 2d8. They get +4 for the armour and +2 for the engineers. They also get +2 for making a prepared attack, and -1 because they’re under artillery.

They score 15.

The defenders, veteran mechanised, roll 2d10. For their supporting mecha they get +4 as supporting armour and a further +3 for the close support artillery fire the mecha can provide as well.

They get +2 for prepared defence and -1 for under artillery fire.

They roll badly, score 13 and lose a strength point but remain fighting in place.

Defender’s turn

The attackers continue, for them nothing changes.

They score 15

The defenders, having been beaten, were not beaten badly enough to push them back, so they’re still in prepared defence. Nothing else changes except they now roll reasonable dice and score 21.

The defenders throw their attackers back, inflicting three damage but losing a point themselves. The attackers fall back through the armoured unit which is now in prepared defence.

The Seventh Move

Attackers turn

The attacking commander has one last throw of the dice. He orders both his armour and the green infantry battalion to make a prepared attack on the veteran mechanised infantry. He reinforces them with the heavy tank company, This basically helps make the tank battalion back up to strength) and stiffens them with engineers and a mechanised infantry company. The artillery once more starts to play on the veterans. The veterans are obviously caught out of position and lose another three strength points.

Defender’s turn

The mechanised veterans settle down into prepared defence again. The droids, with artillery support, mount a prepared attack against the green battalion trying to outflank the position.

The droids, now with only 7sp, roll a d6. They get +3 for the heavy weapons and +3 for the antitank company. They get +2 for a prepared attack.

They score 10.

The Green infantry (dismounted to cope with the terrain they count infantry, not mechanised), are a company short so roll a d8 rather than a d10. They get no stiffening units (the light AA who could have accompanied them are vehicle mounted and so cannot go there)

They score 3

The green infantry lose three strength points and are bundled back down the hill again, the droids lose another strength point in the process.

The Eighth move

Attacker’s turn

With pretty much the last throw of the dice, and artillery achieving nothing, the armour goes in.

At full strength it rolls 2d10. It gets +2 for the engineers and +2 for the mechanised infantry. There is also +2 for a prepared attack and -1 for being under artillery fire.

It scores 14

The mechanised infantry, down to 7sp, roll a 10. For their supporting mecha they get +4 as supporting armour and a further +3 for the close support artillery fire the mecha can provide as well.

They get +2 for prepared defence and -1 for under artillery fire.

They score 17.
It’s enough, the armour is thrown back, losing 2sp, and the mechanised have lost a further point.

At this point the attacking commander pulls his battered units back. His mechanised he leaves in prepared defence to ensure there is no counter attack.

Even if he manages to break through, he’s not sure he has units strong enough to exploit a success.

As for the defender, both units are down to below half strength. The mechanised dig deeper, the droids dig in on the hill to cover their flank.

The first unit to get a couple of decent fresh battalions to the pass is going to be the one who takes it.


If you’ve not come across Hell in Microcosm rules, they’re available from Wargame Vault, for £4 as a pdf

They’re also available from Amazon in paperback for £9.50 or on Kindle for £4

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: