LNL Armor or Armour if you spell correctly.

Back in August last year I read this and Jason agreed to let me repost it.

Unfortunately…..shit happens and the blog post was not saved or some sort of serious BS on my part. Now given this was written in August 2011, just before I took ownership of HotG:

http://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/42731/lock-n-load-heroes-of-the-gap  Only a Charles Roberts Best in Class winner…. this article came out.

As I commented back then I about peed my pants. I was soooo excited to see vehicles in action in this manner.

A big thanks to Jason Lewandowski (Dazooz) on BGG for this.

Imagery of World War II has always been very powerful especially in the European theatre. I remember being a young boy and being fascinated by the way the German helmets and potato masher grenades looked, the sleek lines of the Spitfire and Mustang, and the haunting photos of the bombed out buildings across the continent. Nothing however, captured my imagination quite like the tanks of WWII.

Of course as a young boy, the tank represented something that it really couldn’t be, an indestructible force rampaging across the battlefield rolling over cars and trees and buildings along with the enemy.

They were just so intimidating though! I look at the tanks of that era and think of what mechanical masterpieces they were. No computers, no digital targeting, just a barrel, a manual aiming system and gunpowder firing a solid hunk of metal trying to bust open another hunk of metal! (I realize I am overly simplifying things, here but generally speaking, that is what they were).

On that note, I have always been drawn to the armor on the battlefield. I’m a little too young to have been part of the Panzer Leader and Squad Leader crowds, but I have played both.

I am drawn to the smaller scale where I get to move the individual vehicles around and fire their guns, etc. So Squad Leader looked like the way to go, however the vehicle rules seemed a bit difficult in the pre-ASL starter kit days.

Most of my early days of learning WWII armor came while playing Battlefront’s PC game, Combat Mission. I have always been drawn to board games though, and kept my eyes open for a game that captured the same feeling I got while watching a T-34 peek around a stone building in Combat Mission, searching for an enemy to fire at.

I finally found it in Lock ‘n Load’s Band of Heroes (actually published by Matrixgames when I first got it). This article is a look at the rules and abilities of armor in the Lock ‘n Load system. I am not an expert Lock ‘n Load player, in fact most of my games have been solitaire, however I love the armor rules in the game.

Let’s take a look at one of the more intimidating tanks of the war, the Tiger I.

What do all of those numbers mean? I don’t want this to be a rehash of the rules so let’s just talk a little about the numbers. To me they are just the right mix of chrome + ease of play. Since an armored fighting vehicle needs to have armor, the left side of the counter is devoted to those ratings.

The first 7/8 represents the frontal armor ratings, the next 4/5 represents the side armor ratings and the 4/4 represents the rear armor ratings.

The first number of the two is the hull rating and the second number is the turret rating. These are armor thickness ratings and determine whether an ordinance shot that hits the vehicle actually penetrates the armor. Essentially the penetration value + 1D6 of the ordinance has to be greater than the armor thickness rating + 1D6 to destroy the vehicle, if it isn’t it can still cause the vehicle to be shaken and button up or be abandoned depending on its current status.

The armored vehicle can also “button up” which does decrease visibility, but protects the vehicle from small arms fire.

The 6 in the upper right hand corner is the vehicle’s morale rating. This dictates its ability to rally after being shaken and a number of other things.

There are certain scenarios that include an armored leader who can add to the morale value of a vehicle. The nice thing about vehicles is that they can always self-rally, which means that they don’t require a leader in the same hex to attempt to rally after being shaken.

Now let’s look at the PPO. This is an indication of the number of passengers the vehicle can carry. While it is not always wise to carry troops into battle on the back of a tank, it can be done.

The PP indicates the vehicle can carry 1 squad (or its equivalent), 2 support weapons and 2 single-man counters (SMCs). The O indicates that they are riding “outside” of the vehicle, or on top. While carrying troops can add to the movement of infantry, they are more susceptible to small arms fire.

The 8T on the counter is its movement factor, in this case the T indicates it is a tracked vehicle and the 8 is its normal movement rating. Different terrain will affect tracked vehicles differently. The 8 is a basic movement on clear terrain so it could move 8 hexes on clear terrain (without changing direction).

The vehicle hull faces the little red triangle in the upper left corner and that little red triangle must always face a hex spine. The vehicle can move to either of the front two hexes that are on either side of the spine that the red triangle faces. In order to turn, it costs one movement point per spine changed. It can also move in reverse (to one of the two hexes behind it) by paying double the normal terrain movement cost for that type of vehicle.

In addition the turret of a turreted vehicle can be moved so that it faces a different direction from the hull. You just add a nifty counter to face which way the turret is pointing.

So what is the best part of the armored fighting vehicle? Firing that nasty gun on top of the turret, right? Let’s take a quick look at the fighting abilities.

First of all, all vehicles have the ability to Assault Move in Lock ‘n Load, which means that they can move up to ½ of their movement rating and still fire their weapon (at a reduced cost in effectiveness).

Next, most tanks have machine guns in addition to their main ordinance gun. In the Tiger I’s case, the little red 4 that is underlined is the MG rating. It represents a covered arc machine gun that turns and faces the same direction as the main ordinance and the turret. Some vehicles also have 360 degree MGs, but they cannot use them while buttoned up.

The 4 indicates a range of up to 14 hexes while a 2 indicates a range of 10.

Finally we get to the main ordinance. Most tanks could fire both high explosive rounds as well as armor-piercing rounds. The boxed 4 indicates the high explosive damage number that is added to a 1D6 roll if the ordinance hits its target. First though, a main gun has to hit its target. So let’s take a look at the back of the counter that shows the To Hit numbers:

The top row represents the different ranges for the To Hit and Penetration numbers. 7 and closer has a To Hit number of 10 and a Penetration value of 8. 8 – 22 range has a 7 To Hit number and a 7 Penetration number. 23 – 36 has a 5 To Hit number and a 6 Penetration value.

So in order to hit a target, you roll 2D6 and the total has to be less than or equal to the To Hit number. If it is, the shot hits the target and you move on to the damage check. If the target is another vehicle, you roll the Penetration value + 1D6 vs. the Armor Thickness value + 1D6 of the target vehicle. If it is greater the target vehicle is destroyed. If it is equal the target vehicle takes a morale check and if it fails is abandoned, if it succeeds, the vehicle is shaken. If it is less the target vehicle still has to make morale check but in this case if it fails it is only shaken and if it passes there is no effect.

Similarly, if firing at a soft target like infantry, after determining whether or not the shot hits something, you roll the HE damage number (in this case the 4) + 1D6 and compare it to the infantry’s damage check.

See this example:

This Tiger I wants to fire at the paratroopers in the woods. For this case let’s assume the paratroopers are spotted (which is a different discussion) and the Tiger is firing in its impulse with MGs and ordinance. This is a range of 3, so the MG is in range.

The MG fires with a die roll of 5 + 4 = 9.
The Paratroopers check to see if they are hit rolling 1D6 + the protection from the woods of +2. Roll of 3 + 2 = 5.
The paratroopers face a damage check roll of 9 – 5 = 4. They roll 1D6 and add the DC of 4 = 5 + 4 = 9. The 9 is greater than their morale so they go shaken.

Now the main ordinance fires needing a To Hit number of 10 or less to hit the target. A couple of modifiers apply, a -1 for open vehicle and a + 2 for firing at the troopers in the woods. Rolling 2 dice:
A 5 and 3 = 8 which is less than the To Hit # so the target is hit. Now we check the damage by adding a 1D6 to the HE (high explosive rating) of 4. Only a 1 + 4 = 5.
Compare the 5 to a 1D6 roll from the troopers (they don’t get the protection from the woods on the ordinance damage check as it was already figured in on the To Hit calculation). They roll a 3 and they face another damage check (DC) of +2. They roll 1D6 and add +2. They roll 4 + 2 = 6 which is not greater than their morale, so there is no further effect.


Now let’s see the same Tiger fire at a Sherman.

The firing arc will come in from the Sherman’s flank, so when we fire the ordinance, we’ll be looking at the middle numbers of the armor ratings.
First the MG fires (since the Sherman is un-buttoned small arms fire can still cause them to button-up).
The roll of 4 + 3 = 7.
The Sherman gets the benefit of light woods + 1 and gets to add the lowest armor factor on the vehicle in this case a + 2 and a 1D6. A 2 + 1 + 2= 5.
Damage check + 2. The Sherman rolls 3 + 2 = 5 which is less than his morale causing no effect.

So the Tiger fires his main ordinance. Again, we are at the closest range with a To Hit number of 10. Modifiers include a -1 for open vehicle firing, and a +1 for the light woods. The roll is a 6 and a 1 giving a total of 7 and the Sherman is hit! The roll is greater than 2 but an odd number so it hits the hull on the side of the Sherman which has an armor value of 3.

Now we compare the Penetration value at close range of 8 + 1D6 = 8 + 6 = 14
Compared to the armor value of 3 + 1D6 = 3 + 2 = 5.
14 is greater than 5 and the Sherman goes up in flames! We roll 1D6 and it is a 4 which is even and a shaken crew is placed in the hex.

This simple example show just how easy it is to get started on the armor rules in Lock ‘n Load but also shows a bit of chrome that adds to the immersion of the battle.

I have yet to play the newest Lock ‘n Load game Lock ‘n Load: Heroes of the Gap, but I imagine with a lot of tanks it will be a great experience in armored vehicle warfare!

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