Close combat is initiated in the same way as in the standard rules. However, once the two squads have made contact, the outcome is resolved differently. Instead of pairing off individuals, the combat is resolved on the basis of whole squads, in a similar manner to shooting, using opposed die rolls.
The attacker rolls at least 2 dice; the quality die for the squad and a melee die determined by adding the melee values of the close combat weapons carried by the squad. In addition, he may roll extra dice if the squad includes any special melee weapons. Unlike ranged combat, extra dice can be rolled in close combat if the squad’s melee score exceeds 12 by a whole die. For example, a 10 man squad equipped with melee value 2 weapons could roll a d12 and a d8. However, the extra score must be a whole die type, not rounded to the nearest die type as the initial die is.
The defender rolls the quality die for the defending squad. In the first round of close combat, the defender gains a +1 die shift if they are in position or in cover. This does not apply in subsequent rounds. The quality die of the attacker and/ or defender is shifted down if their morale is below steady: shaken = -1, broken = -2 and routed = -3.
If none of the attacker’s dice beat the defender’s then his attack has been ineffectual. If a single die beats the defender’s then no casualty is scored, but the defender adds 1 to his threat level when taking a reaction test at the end of the combat round.
If two or more of the attackers dice beat the defenders die, then the attack has potentially caused some casualties. Add all of the attacker’s dice and divide this total by the quality die type of the defender to calculate the number of potential hits. Any remaining points represent the chance, using the defender’s quality die, of an extra potential hit. For each potential hit, make an opposed die roll comparing the damage of the attacker’s weapon to the armour of the defender.
These casualties are not actually removed until the combat round is completed. That is, casualties are able to contribute to the combat in the round in which they were incurred.
The process is then repeated with the defender taking the roll of the attacker and vice versa. Once both sides have determined how many casualties they inflicted on the other side, these casualties are allocated as for allocating casualties from direct fire.
Reaction tests are then made as in the standard rules to see if the combat continues or one side breaks off. Note, the morale effects are applied to the quality die as above. If a squad withdraws as a result of the morale, the opposing squad has the option to pursue (based on rolling its own movement die) and if it catches the retreating squad, a further round of CC is fought taking into account the new (lower) morale of the withdrawer.
There are occasions where it might be preferable to voluntarily withdraw from close combat either before it begins, or after a round. A player may opt to voluntarily withdraw instead of attempting a reaction test to stand and receive a charge, or to remain in the combat. If this option is taken, the squad in question withdraws a combat move and incurs a –1 drop in confidence. The opposing squad(s) left in the combat automatically occupy the vacated position (if desired).
Multiple Squads in Close Combat
There will be many situations where multiple squads are engaged in the same melee. In many cases, squads can simply be paired so that there are a number of one on one combats. However, at times, one squad will be left engaged by two or more enemy squads. In these circumstances, the single squad should split its attacks between its enemies. For example, if squad A of 10 men, is attacked by squad B of 8 men and squad C of 6 men, squad A will make one attack with 5 men against each of the other squads. It will still take a reaction test using the total number of casualties scored against it.
Bikes and Cavalry
Some troops are mounted on horses, bikes or some other sort of beast. They are treated as infantry when fired at by small arms and support weapons, and class 1 vehicles when fired at by heavy weapons. They have an armour class calculated as for infantry. They are also able to engage in close combat as infantry do.
Many sci fi settings include monsters and vehicles that could be described as mechs. Such models are treated as vehicles for the purpose of ranged combat. That is, they have a size and armour class etc. However, they are able to engage in close combat.
When attacking in close combat, they use their quality die as normal and they will usually be equipped with one or more specialist close combat weapons and hence will roll multiple support dice as well. When defending in close combat, they multiply their quality die roll by their size modifier. Hence, larger mechs will be harder to damage in close combat.
Unlike ranged fire, normal squad weapons can damage mechs if they first score enough to beat the mech’s defence die and then beat its armour die which is multiplied by its armour class. It will usually take another mech with a heavy melee weapon to bring down a large mech.
As noted above, mechs may be equipped with multiple weapons, both close combat and ranged. In close combat, the extra weapons simply add to the number of dice the mech rolls to inflict hits. In ranged combat, the mech can fire one or more weapons at a single target as one action, and then any remaining weapons at the same or a different target as a second action.
Cover and Concealment
The standard SG rules apply a range die shift and an armour die shift for cover. In fact, cover and concealment are two different effects. Concealment, representing some form of partial obscuration, provides a +1 range die shift for shooting and spotting. Cover, representing some form of actual protection, provides a +1 or +2 armour die shift for soft and hard cover respectively.
Some battles will be set during the night or low light. This may have an effect on the ability of some troops to spot and hence target the enemy. Troops that are not equipped with specialised night vision equipment (most aided and enhanced vision and all superior sensors will include night vision capabilities) are penalised by giving the target a +2 die shift to avoid being spotted.