18 March 2013

Bikini Battle Basics- The Combat Phase Explained!

Bikini Battle Basics is a new series here on TheMetalBikini.com where we dissect certain game mechanics to aid in understanding and promote effective application. In short, it's stuff you need to know, but is somewhat obtuse or hard to understand and warrants further discussion, but don't fit directly into a site category like Listbuilding, for example. 

I've seen a lot of questions on rules forums about weapons, ability effects, and face-up Damage card text that can be resolved by simply taking a really close look at the Combat Phase. As I'm not immune to stuff like this either (I just figured out last week when writing up that article on the Ion Cannon that I've actually been playing Ion Weapons wrong), I thought perhaps a Bikini Battle Basics- The Combat Phase was in order. 

Before you start reading, bear in mind, what we call hits and crits when we roll the dice are not actually hits and crits. I think this is where a lot of folks get confused with rules and card text. Hits and crits (local parlance) are simply filled explosion symbol results (what most folks call hits) and unfilled explosion symbol results (what we call crits) until Step 6, so throw the hits and crits thing out the window for now.

Just realize if you haven't already, if I say "local parlance", I'm talking about what people say (i.e. die results, not a rules defined "hit"), otherwise when I use the term "hit" I'm talking about what the rules say. 

Clear as mud? Ok, let's go.

The part in the rulebook we're looking at is the Combat Phase, page 10-13.

1. Declare Target
Ok. Right. Pretty standard stuff here, the only thing I'd draw attention to is not being able to target an enemy ship you overlapped in the maneuver phase that's still touching you. Also note that you're totally fine pre-measuring to see if your intended target falls within the range of your weapon at no penalty (meaning if he's out of range, you can still choose to fire on somebody else this turn that's in range, in arc, etc.). 

2. Roll Attack Dice
K. Determine the attack value of the weapon you want to fire, pick up that many red dice, drop them on the table. Simple enough. Remember if you're at Range 1, you roll one extra die unless you're using a Secondary Weapon System (in which case, you get no extra dice- no soup for you).

3. Modify Attack Dice
This is where you can spend action tokens and resolve abilities that re-roll or otherwise modify attack dice results. I don't think it could happen in Wave 1, but in Wave 2, there are some defender abilities that resolve against the attack dice. If you're in a situation where both the attacker and defender have abilities that modify the attack dice, the defender resolves his modifications first, then the attacker resolves his.

4. Roll Defense Dice
Defender rolls number of defense dice equal to his ship's Agility value. He gets an extra green die if he's at Range 3 from you (unless you're firing on him with a Secondary Weapon System), or there's an obstacle between y'all. I'm going to write up a BBB on asteroids/ obstacles in the next day or two where I'll talk about this more in-depth, but for now, if the shortest path between your base and his base (which is how the "Determining Range" rule works) crosses an obstacle, he gets an extra green die. 

5. Modify Defense Dice
Same deal as attack, but for the defender this time- spend those Action tokens if you've got them and you want to use them. Also note if both the attacker and defender have abilities that resolve against the defense roll, the attacker's abilities resolve first, then the defender's. 

6. Compare Results
This is where the die result cancellation actually happens and is the first time the word "hit" is actually used in this context. Note when cancelling, Evade results and tokens are applied to filled explosion symbols (hits, in the local parlance) before the unfilled explosion symbols (crits). 

7. Deal Damage
If the defender was successfully hit (official rules definition) by the attacker, he loses shield tokens (if applicable) and/ or receives Damage cards based on the damage it suffers- uncancelled filled explosions result in a Damage card, uncancelled unfilled explosions result in Critical Damage, which is a Damage card turned face up). Note that crits (local parlance) have the same effect as hits (local parlance) against shields- it's only when they hit the hull that something different happens. 

Of course, if a ship incurs damage equal or greater than its Hull value, it's immediately destroyed (unless subject to simultaneous attack rule- long story short, you and the other guy are at the same PR) and the model is removed from the game.