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  #1  
Old 31 Jul 11, 23:16
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Rules Clarification for 'Boots on the Ground'

Boots on the Ground, a solitaire/cooperative/competitive modern-era board game from Worthington Games has generated a lot of interest and curiosity. It's got a very short rulebook—four-pages—and hence, a very short learning curve. Unfortunately, the rules didn't address all the questions that arose while playing the game for a review, so Armchair General contacted Worthington Games to get clarification on some of ambiguities. Questions are in alphabetical order.

Gamers are urged to add their own questions and/or house rules to this forum for other players to consider and discuss.

Click here to read ArmchairGeneral.com's full review of Boots on the Ground.

Q: Activation. Can individuals be activated again before other members of the squad are activated?
A: You can activate the same unit over and over, but that decision could be hurting more than helping. I played one game where my team was so bloodied that I secured a building (placed a unit in each window and door so for the most part no Insurgent could appear) and used my remaining Scout unit to complete the objective and then returned to the team, licked our wounds then high-tailed it back to the LZ. Another game my buddy tried the same and left his team on the street at the beginning and ran with one unit, then it would die, and he'd have to send another lone unit. In the end, his team was long gone before my team had slowly moved through half the board.

Q: Card—Insurgents move and fire. If an insurgent card calls for a certain number of insurgents to move and fire, but fewer insurgents can get into range for a shot than the card allows, can the out-of-range insurgents still move toward the squad even though they can't shoot?
A: Yes, the idea of this card is that even if all cannot fire, danger is more imminent and possibly the insurgents that are moving to Bravo are coming from Alpha’s area.

Q: Card—IED explodes. On the card "Closest door explodes from IED," is the device considered to be IED A or IED B or should players make a die roll? If Demo expert is next to the door when IED card is drawn, can he disarm it?
A: This is more an instant generic kind of IED, any unit in the three squares across the front of the door are injured, regardless.

Q: Co-op games. Can individuals from one squad aid individuals in another squad; in particular, can the Medic from one squad heal wounds in the other squad, assuming he's adjacent?
A: One house rule that I have began to love and I feel is implied in the rules but maybe not spelled out clearly enough, the CO-OP missions are just that, CO-OP. For example, my Alpha medic can heal my buddy's Bravo team and vice-versa.

Q: GIs. Why are GIs rated -2 to fire?
A: This is to simulate that the GI is “fresh off the boat” and untested with this team of elite fighters.

Q: Grenades. Why does only the Demo expert have grenades?
A: To start, only the Demo Experts have grenades, but within the game a grenade “kit” can be collected (if found in an Unknown Kit) and used by other team members.

Q: Hostages. Can insurgents try to kill hostages if they are escaping?
A: No, in an effort to keep the Insurgents autonomous the Insurgents cannot fire on civilians or hostages. Players can modify that with any agreed-upon “house rule;” this may, however, instantly create a no-win situation.

Q:Medevac card. Can squad members that are medevaced and restored to health return to play, moving from the Green Zone?
A: Yes. It is sometimes a long and lonely road.

Q: RPGs. Can an RPG be used against a wall in situations where the firing figure would not be able to know an enemy figure is against the wall on the other side?
A: Yes, who knows, maybe a Predator drone had just scanned that building with a thermal imaging camera and notified the team of the danger.

Q: Unknown-Kit items. If a medical kit or grenade obtained from an Unknown Kit (box) is used, does using it require activating only the individual who uses it or can it be used during a team activation?
A: This could be just at the beginning of an individual or team move.

Q: Vehicle cover. Why do vehicles provide cover but firing from an opening in a wall (door or window) doesn't?
A: This was the original idea, but the fact that almost every Insurgent starts in a window or door the amount of modifiers to keep in your head would start to become to confusing. In an act to keep the game play simple, fast, fun, and intense we felt that removing that modifier would not detract from the game, leaving the only cover would be walls and vehicles.

Q: Vehicles adjacent to building openings. If a squad member is inside a building, at a window that is diagonally adjacent to a vehicle, does the vehicle need to be flipped over to see if it contains an IED or does that occur only if the squad member is in the street?
A: Only on the street does the cover need to be flipped.

Q: Wound effects. Do wounds affect shooting or just movement?
A: Just movement.
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  #2  
Old 01 Aug 11, 21:35
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I have to say that prior to having the game I knew it wasn't going to be a sim, but finally actually playing it was somewhat a shock to realize it's practically a video game on my table. I'm still not sure what my ultimate feeling on the game is, although I'm guessing this will be a very polarizing game with few people in the middle.
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Old 02 Aug 11, 10:37
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Quote:
Originally Posted by It's Krol! View Post
I have to say that prior to having the game I knew it wasn't going to be a sim, but finally actually playing it was somewhat a shock to realize it's practically a video game on my table. I'm still not sure what my ultimate feeling on the game is, although I'm guessing this will be a very polarizing game with few people in the middle.
I'm more curious as to the "why?" of the design.

Do you have any sense as to why the design handicaps the US so much? Would a few house rules improve the situation or is the design pretty much set from the ground up?
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Old 02 Aug 11, 21:49
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Too early to say at this point since the game just arrived on Saturday. Give me a week and I think I can give you a proper answer after some more sessions beneath my belt.
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Old 03 Aug 11, 14:49
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Loosening US restrictions

When I get back from a trip and can play Boots again, I want to try a variation in which all adjacent figures can be activated simultaneously and can use the movement/fire rules as written if desired BUT any or all of those figures can use their individual skills instead. This will allow heavy weapons and a grenade to be used simultaneously, for example. However, if a figure's individual movement rate is used, and he ends his move not adjacent to any other figures, he can only be activated as an individual until the others catch up.

You might give that a try. Another option would be to limit the number of available Insurgents.
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Old 07 Aug 11, 23:06
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Here's another question for clarification: does a critically wounded soldier lose a total of two movement points? I noticed that the counter has a "-2" on it, and since the initial wound causes a loss of one movement point I've assumed a crit causes two losses, but at no place could I find if that's true.

This game definitely needs a 2.0 edition of the manual.

So, after playing it some more I have to say I like it. BUT, you have to walk into it as a strategy game dressed up with a modern theme and not as some sort of MOUT game. In a way, it's like the Command & Colors system...if you play those expecting your typical wargame you'll be disappointed, but if you look at them as strategy games that feature elements of a typical wargame, then it's okay.

Ambush Alley (which, for anyone looking for something on Iraq/Afganistan urban ops that has some meat--but still is a game not a sim--I'd highly recommend checking that system out) this is not. As Gerald pointed out in his review the insurgents could be anything. Space Marines versus bugs? Confederate soldiers versus Yankee zombies?

My problem with the game is the fact that I really wasn't expecting Call of Duty: Modern Warfare the Board Game. Random loot? Special abilities but only under certain circumstances? And I wonder how many games WG have sold based on the assumption from players that they're buying something else?

Quote:
Originally Posted by LongBlade View Post
Do you have any sense as to why the design handicaps the US so much? Would a few house rules improve the situation or is the design pretty much set from the ground up?
I haven't felt the US is handicapped. If anything, the US is slightly favored. For example, a US unit only needs a differential of two to kill an insurgent, while an insurgent needs a four.

And you could easily go crazy with house rules. With enough time and sweat you could basically rewrite the whole game to make it more realistic. But then you're not playing Boots on the Ground.
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Old 07 Aug 11, 23:13
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Oh, just thought of something else for official clarification. Do the dice max and min out at 1 and 6? I've been playing that they don't, which has led to some brutal differentials. Worst one was my scout on the attack rolling a 1, making his shot a -1 while the insurgent rolled high. This led to a situation where apparently my elite scout mistook which end of the gun was supposed to be pointed at the enemy and he ended up killing himself (he was already wounded). Admittedly, a 1 is still not good, but there's just something embarrassing about going into negatives.
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Old 08 Aug 11, 15:36
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I think Blitz is going to be out of pocket for a few days. However, I'll see if I can get hold of someone at Worthington for some clarification.
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