Allan W Goodall. Writer, Game Designer, Software Developer.

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Stargrunt II Rules Clarifications

The following rules clarifications are interpretations of existing SG2 rules that have not been verified by Jon Tuffley, the game's author (though many are commonly used by SG2 players).

Allocating Casualties

When a squad takes potential casualties, you randomly pick members of the squad to see which ones are wounded or killed. The rules are ambiguous as to whether this should include dead and/or wounded figures.

The procedure for allocating hits is to give each figure a number and roll a die equal to the number of members of the squad. If the squad does not have an even number of figures you round up to the nearest die size. So, if the squad has 5 members, you roll a D6. If you roll greater than the number of figures, you go back to the first figure you counted and apply the hit to it. The rule book states, on page 36, that hits are allocated across "members of the squad". The question is, "What constitutes a 'member of the squad'?"

There are four "states" for a figure: unwounded, a casualty (red cross marker; the figure hasn't received medical attention and a Reorganise action hasn't been done on the squad, wounded (white skull marker), and dead (black skull marker). I've always taken "members of the squad" to mean the unwounded, the casualties, and the wounded. I do not allocate hits among the dead.

Until an official ruling is made, make sure that you come to some agreement in your own group as to what constitutes "members of the squad".

Also note that a figure that takes two or more wound hits in one fire resolution is considered dead (page 36 of the rule book, top of column two). This implies that a figure that takes two wound hits in two different fire resolutions is still just wounded.

Artillery Clarification

Artillery Inbound Chart Contradictions

There is a major contradiction in the Stargrunt II artillery rules.

The Inbound Chart rules state that an artillery strike is placed on box 1, 2, or 3 of the inbound chart. It says, on page 45 of the rule book, that during the End of Turn phase the incoming artillery support, aerospace units, or reinforcements are moved one box further along the chart. So, if an artillery strike is in box 3, it moves to 2, if in box 2, it moves to 1, and if in box 1, it is moved to the "battle area". Here is the actual statement, in the section "The Inbound Chart", from page 45 of the Stargrunt II rulebook:

Counters are placed on the Inbound Chart whenever:

i) an on-table unit calls (successfully) for any kind of off-table support mission, such as artillery fire or orbital fire support. In this case a counter representing the inbound fire mission is placed on the chart, in whatever numbered box represents the time the fire will take to arrive on table (eg: support fire from a dedicated mortar unit fairly close by would be placed in box 1, as it will take only one turn to arrive, but orbital fire support would be placed in box 3 because of the long time such fire takes to reach the table);


At the end of each full game turn, during the TURN END PHASE, both players move any counters currently on the Inbound Chart - each counter is moved ONE box closer to the "Battle Area", irrespective of what the counter represents. Counters that are newly placed on the chart are still moved up at the end of the turn they were placed. Whenever a counter is in box 1 at the start of the Turn End Phase, the player may have the option to shift it across to the LOITER box INSTEAD of moving it onto the Battle Area circle; this is only permitted if the counter represents a UNIT (ground or air) rather than a fire support mission - incoming fire missions must automatically be moved onto the Battle Area when they reach it.

However, on pg. 46, this is contradicted. It states that when an artillery support strike hits box 1, it can be placed on the board that turn. The contradictory comment, under "Arrival of Fire Support", is:

If the counter is placed in box 1 to start with, this means the mission is an immediate-response one and will arrive during the SAME game-turn it was requested; if it starts at box 2 or 3 then it moves up one box per Turn End Phase as usual and is available on-table once it reaches box 1...

...When the mission counter has arrived in box 1 then the player may choose to resolve the fire at any time during that turn, counting this as his activation (ie: in place of activating an on-table unit). If the player does not choose to bring the fired down before he has activated his last on-table unit he MUST then resolve it before the Turn End Phase.

Note that in the first quote it says that nearby artillery rounds placed on box 1 "take only one turn to arrive" and yet on page 46 it says that they arrive "during the SAME game-turn it was requested".

The Aerospace rules agree with pg. 45 (and only make sense following page 45). Everything else using the Inbound Chart appears on the table top when the counter arrives at the "Battle Area". Why should artillery be different, or is it?

Ruling: This question was posed to the GZG Mailing List, and the consensus was that page 46 is wrong. Artillery fire missions arrive on the table when they get to the Battle Area of the Inbound Chart, not when they get to Box 1. An "immediate response" fire mission that is placed on Box 1 would be moved to the Battle Area during the End Turn Phase. It would then be available to come onto the table at any time during the next turn, as the owning player's activation.

Firing Artillery at Terrain Features

The rules state that in order to drop an artillery strike on the board, the forward observer calling in the strike must have a line of sight (LOS) to the object. What about firing on terrain features? For instance, a player may know that a unit that it can't see is sitting in some woods. Or, a player may want to drop artillery on a house that contains a hidden counter, hoping to hit a unit that may be there. Is this allowed?

The cover rules on page 12 of the Stargrunt II rule book imply that you can do this kind of fire. The tricky part is handling the part of the artillery rules that state the forward observer must have LOS to the spot where he is dropping the artillery. If you allow players to target any part of a terrain feature, some players will place the artillery impact marker right on the unit they can't see or directly on top of the hidden counter. An easy fix for this is to force the player to target the centre of the terrain feature, but then you'll have other players deliberately not placing their units or hidden markers in the centre of terrain features to mitigate against this.

To keep everyone happy, use the following rules.

A player may target a terrain feature. If the terrain feature is smaller than the burst radius of the artillery strike, place the impact marker on the centre of the terrain feature.

If the terrain feature is bigger than the artillery strike's burst radius (for example, a large set of woods), then do the following: 1) Place the impact marker in the centre of the terrain feature. 2) Immediately roll a D12 and a D8 for deviation of the impact marker. 3) Move the impact marker based on the deviation roll, however do not deviate past the terrain feature. For instance, if the impact marker would deviate out of a set of woods move the marker until it's on the edge of the woods and no further. 4) Resolve artillery fire as normal, including deviation due to failing the Fire Support Accuracy roll (page 46 of the rule book).

Note: a player may always place an impact marker where a figure has LOS. This means that if a figure can see a set of woods, an impact marker can be placed on the woods edge that can be spotted by the observer. If a figure can see a building, an impact marker can be placed so that it straddles the facing wall of the building.

Assault From In Position

The rules for a squad charging into close assault require a Reaction Test to see if the squad will make a combat move towards the enemy. If a squad is In Position, it requires a Reaction Test to see if it can move without first removing the In Position (IP) marker. The Stargrunt II rule book does not explain what happens when a squad that is In Position wants to charge into a close assault. The charge must be the first action of the squad, so the squad will not have a chance to remove their IP marker first. So, what happens in this situation?

This house rule is simple: a squad makes a Reaction Test to conduct a close assault as per the close assault rules, but this Reaction Test has a TL of +1 if the charging squad is In Position. That is, a Regular 2 squad would normally have to roll 3 or better to conduct a close assault. If the same squad was In Position, it would have to roll 4 or better.

If the test passes, the In Position marker is removed and the squad makes a combat move towards the enemy as per the usual close assault rules.

If the test is failed, the squad has used up one action but is still In Position. It may not close assault on its second action (as per the usual rules for close assault) but it may use its second action for other actions, including removing the IP marker.

Electronic Warfare Clarification

The rules for Electronic Warfare (EW) counters on page 52 of the Stargrunt II rule book state that when an EW unit is activated it must choose whether to be active or inactive. If active, the unit receives 3 EW counters. Once the counters are used up, the unit is considered to be inactive. There is nothing to indicate if "going active" costs an action, nor is there any mention of any negative consequences of not "going active". The following two options deal with these issues.

Simple Method

When the EW unit (or the unit containing the EW trooper) is activated, the EW unit becomes "Active" and the player gets the 3 EW counters for the EW unit. This does not require the expenditure of an action. The unit goes "Inactive" only after all the counters are used up. It does not take an action to use these counters. The counters are available until the unit is next activated.

This method is simple, and it has the advantage of making the organizations at the end of the rule book viable (many of the organizations in the rule book have the EW trooper attached to the command unit).

Complex Method

Brian Bell contributes most of the following. I added the rule about suppression. This was posted to the GZG mailing list.

  1. It takes an action for an EW unit to become ACTIVE.
  2. When the unit becomes ACTIVE, it receives 3 EW counters. It does not take an action to use these counters. These counters are available until the unit is next activated. Any unused counters are eliminated the next time the EW unit is activated, and the EW unit is considered INACTIVE unless an action is spent to keep it ACTIVE.
  3. If suppressed, an INACTIVE EW unit can not go ACTIVE until the Suppression Marker is removed. Suppression of an ACTIVE EW unit, though, does not effect the use of EW counters.

This rule interpretation is pretty straightforward. By requiring an action to go ACTIVE, there is a reason for an EW to be INACTIVE.

There are no rules for spotting an ACTIVE EW with a passive (INACTIVE) unit. Players may wish to come up with a house rule for this.

Multiple Support Weapons

One of the most frequently asked questions on the Ground Zero Games mailing list concerns the use of multiple support weapons in a squad. Can a squad have more than one support weapon (such as two SAWs, or a SAW and a plasma gun)? The answer is yes.

Multiple support weapons are not expressly prohibited in the rules. Some of the organizations in the back of the book pretty much require multiple support weapons. Modern day squads typically consist of two SAWs per squad, and without this ability you couldn't duplicate current squad structures. However, Stargrunt II doesn't have a point system, so obviously this is an easy way of making "cheesy" squads. For instance, the rules don't expressly prohibit 8 man squads armed with nothing but D10 firepower SAWs. Obviously some common sense is necessary.

To use multiple support weapons against infantry, simply add the firepower dice to the other dice rolled by the firer.

Example: you are firing a Regular squad of 6 troopers. Four troopers have FP3 assault rifles, and two troopers have D10 Firepower SAWs. You would roll D8 (quality die) + D12 (assault rifle firepower die) + D10 (first SAW firepower die) + D10 (second SAW firepower die).

Using multiple support weapons against vehicles and buildings is a little bit different. All of the support weapons fired at a specific point target using the same action must be indicated before any dice are rolled. You then resolve each hit separately.

Note that the point target is only suppressed once with this fire (exception: a second suppression marker is placed if a squad leader becomes a casualty; see the Stargrunt II rule book, page 10). Essentially, one fire action can result in only one suppression marker being placed (the only exception being the cae of wounded or killed leaders). While multiple support weapons are resolved individually, they are all still firing as the result of a single Fire Action.

Example: a Regular squad of 4 Power Armour troopers is armed entirely with plasma guns. All four are firing at an APC on their first action. The player indicates that all figures are firing. The first figure would roll a D8 (quality die) + D6 (firepower die) versus the vehicle's range die. The attack is resolved. If the vehicle is hit, place a suppression marker.If the vehicle is destroyed, there is no need to resolve more fire but the plasma guns are still considered to have fired. If the vehicle was hit but was not destroyed, resolve the next figure's fire but no further suppression markers are placed. If the vehicle was not hit with the first weapon, resolve the next figure's fire.

Split Fire At One Target

The rules allow a squad to split fire. That is, one squad can fire at two targets in the same activation. The limitation is that no figure may fire more than once per activation, and it takes one action to do each attack. This is useful if one squad wants to fire at two different targets. This is described in the "Actions and Activations" section on page 15 (specifically, the last paragraph of that section).

A question that often comes up is: can a squad fire at a target with part of the squad, and then use its second action to fire at the same target with the other part of the squad?

Splitting fire seems designed to allow one squad to fire at two targets but there is nothing in the rules to prevent a squad to split fire against one target. Some players see this as kind of cheesy. Others see it as a good tactical decision. The consensus, such as there is one, on the mailing list is that this is a valid tactic.

When you split fire, you tend to cause fewer casualties but more suppressions. For example, if you have a Regular squad of 7 troopers, 6 with FP2 assault rifles and one with a D10 Firepower SAW, firing all of the troops at one target would let you roll a D8 (quality die) + D12 (trooper firepower die) + D10 (SAW firepower die). If you split the fire so that the assault rifle troopers fire with one action, then the SAW fires with the second action, you would roll D8 + D12 for the first action and D8 + D10 with the second action. Because you are rolling 2 dice instead of three, your chance of rolling both dice greater than the range die is less, and the number of potential casualties is less per attack. However, since you are rolling a total of 4 dice instead of three, the chance of suppression goes up.

The trade off is increasing the chance of suppression at the cost of the squad's second action. Many players feel this is a fair trade off and do not consider it cheesy.

Remaining in a Disabled Vehicle

A squad won't always want to bail out of a disabled vehicle. While it's usually very unhealthy to remain in a disabled vehicle, sometimes it is a better option for the squad than bailing out.

  • On a non-penetrating hit, the vehicle takes a suppression marker, as per the rules. The occupants can not leave until this is removed.
  • On a penetrating hit that destroys the vehicle, the occupants test for casualties as normal. They immediately bail out of the vehicle 6", but they are given a suppression result. This 6" distance may be modified if using the Vehicle Loading/Unloading Range modification house rule.
  • On a penetrating hit that disables the vehicle, the occupants test for casualties as normal. The squad may bail out as per a destroyed vehicle, and are given a suppression result. On a successful Confidence Test of 4/2/1 for low/medium/high motivation troops, the squad may stay in the disabled vehicle instead of bailing out, but they still receive a suppression marker.
  • On a penetrating hit that disables or destroys an already disabled vehicle, the occupants test for casualties as normal, but they must then bail out. When a vehicle is disabled for a second time, it is treated as destroyed for the purposes of vehicle bail out. The unit bailing out is given a suppression marker.

Vehicle Loading/Unloading Clarification

The Stargrunt II rules are ambiguous when it comes to loading into or unloading from a vehicle. It costs an action to load into a vehicle, or unload from a vehicle, but what unit spends this action? The vehicle, the passenger unit, or both?

My personal ruling is that it costs the passenger unit 1 action to load/embark into a vehicle, and it costs the passenger unit 1 action to unload/disembark from a vehicle.

For a modification on the way the loading/unloading range is handled, see the Vehicle Loading/Unloading Range house rule.


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