Planetfall Review (Part 2)

Welcome back to Part 2 of my Planetfall review. You can find part 1 here.

More after the jump...

Today I am going to cover off:

Dice Mechanics
Game Phases
CQB & Shooting

Dice Mechanics

For those of you already familiar with Spartan Game dice mechanics, Planetfall continues in the same vein with the always cool exploding D6 mechanic.

There are three levels of dice rolling in Plantfall.

Every time you roll dice in Planetfall the game will tell you which of these three methods to use, most of the rules follow the RED 6 method, and it is downgraded by certain special rules and effects.

In essence you total up how many dice you need to roll, check which method applies and then roll them (adding extra dice in for any 6’s if applicable), and then count up how many of them equalled or beat the target score you needed. This then becomes your total number of Successes.
The mechanic might sound a little weird to start with, but once you have made a few attack roll’s it becomes a lot easier.

While rolling the correct coloured dice is a great idea to ensure it is clear to all involved its just as easy to agree with your opponent which dice level you are using, and then roll your white / mixed / pink / rainbow dice.

Game Phases:

There are three phases to each game turn, and they are listed below.

The Pre-turn phase is used to determine which player activates their Helix first each turn, and allow players to play TAC cards, which can provide benefits to your army, turn, helix or individual squadrons, although they come at a cost, increasing your Zero Hour tracker.

Activation Phase
Consists of the Movement, Close Quarter Battles (CQB) and Shooting segements for each individual squadron.

The End Phase
Is where you tidy up any in game markers that might need removing. Resolve your compulsory effects, score your objectives and check for the game End.


Planetfall has a much easier movement system than some of their other games, and I fully understand why Naval Ships, and Space Ships have turning templates, but little things like having to use the templates can add frustration to a game, especially as something that might put off newer players.

In Planetfall each unit has two movement statistics. One is their Cruising Speed, and one is Flat out.

Most units that move at Cruising speed get to move in the same way as most models move in other larget Skirmish games.

Regardless of their facing they get to turn, move up to their distance and then end their facing in any direction (providing they don’t have any part of them moving over their allotted distance).

Some of the Larger models have a special rule called Lumbering that requires them to use a movement template, since these tend to be your more powerful units the extra thought of manoeuvring them adds a certain layer of planning and tactics to yours and your opponents game.

The final facing of your model matters for what shooting you can do, and what arc your opponent is able to shoot back at you.

CQB & Shooting

These game segements are options for each Squadron, and are performed CQB then Shooting.

The main difference between the two is the range, and that in CQB the enemy gets to hit you back, although you (and they) get to bypass any shields that the units might have.

When shooting or attacking in CQB your weapons have a number of Attack Dice assigned to them, in a nice streamlining of previous versions all weapons with the same special rules may combine their Attack dice totals, and this means just adding the totals together.

You then role them as mentioned earlier in the Dice Mechanics section to see how many successes you get. Once you know how many successes you get, you remove a success for any damage points your Squadron has sitting on them, and compare it to the enemies Damage Rating.

Everytime you equal an enemies damage rating value you do a point of damage, the largest vehicles currently have damage ratings of 8+8+7.

This means if you scored 16 successes you would deal two points of damage, if you only scored 15 successes then you would score one point.

Very straight forward when you are playing it, and without Critical effect tables, speeds up the game play significantly.

Shooting at an enemy in the Flank or Rear arc reduces each of the numbers in their damage rating by 1 or 2, meaning Rear arc attacks are the most dangerous attacks to receive. 

In Summary

So lets look at the Pros for Planetfall. 

1. The Rules play well, and are quick and simply to pick up, but I am sure will take (me at least) several games to begin to truly see all the tactical options they provide.

2. Game / Army Expansion is logical and straight forward without the need for massive amounts of money spent to get a unit of just the right size

3. Terrain is something you get as you buy the models themselves

4. The Models are highly detailed (as per Spartans usual high standard) and very true to the renders they show.

The Con's

1. Smaller Player base - getting opponents for Spartan's games is the biggest challenge

Overall Score: 10/10

Even with the Con of the challenge of getting this game picked up by others, everything about it makes it significantly easier to do, and I for one can't wait to try (normally trying to get people playing somehting is one of the more depressing parts of a new game).

If you are interested in the army building you can find the first article on it here.


daonem said…
Thanks for the article. I just got the Dindrenzi core helix.I've been waiting forever for this stuff to get to my flgs. I got a question though, are successful dice rolls a constant 4 up or better or are successes only rolls of 6. I have yet to get the rule book and I've been looking at DW to try and get an idea of how it plays. Thanks again
Kraggi said…
Hi danoem,

much like Dystopian Wars the basic score required for a success is a 4+

Some special MAR's modify that negatively, and some firing options modify it postively.

You can be shooting a at small target needing 6's because of some MAR's but then elect to Focus Fire, and required 5's as you have a -2 modifier and a +1 modifier.

Hope that makes sense, and I promise it does come very easily when you are playing :-)
daonem said…
Thanks a lot for the response.I'll be getting the rule book this weekend to learn the game more.I hope to see more articles on planetfall from you. Thanks again.