How and where to draw the line between the predictable outcome and the totally random, can make or break a game. With SAC! I decided to ask what I wanted from combat, then to take that idea and create a mathematical formula to achieve it.
The answer was rather simple. I wanted combat to have a purpose, something beyond the simple 'smash the enemy'.
My trouble with most other systems is that combat is swift and brutal. Its often resolved in one single round, with a single winner/loser, and routs and retreats. This is fair enough, but it rarely allows for tactical maneuvers of a grander scale.
Consider a basic 'flanking maneuver'.
Here the Blue unit on the right is about to clash with the Red unit. Blue also has a supporting unit on the left. Arrows indicate movement.
That soon changes when bodies start hitting the deck.
Giving them the option to turn and run, gives them a chance to save their hides, but risk getting stabbed, quite literally - in the back!
Hail the Campaign!
SAC! being a skirmish game, means it deals with combat on a more personal scale. The facing of a model is important. When models manage to surround a single model, they pick up couple of nice bonuses - automatic damage, and extra points added to the d6 used to determine winner/loser.
The most able of fighters can hold their own, and even win rounds of combat against multiple opponents, but they better come up with a plan, and fast - as they cant block/parry/avoid EVERY blow, and remember... looser chooses if they want to withdraw! (And risk being stabbed in the back as they run away...), likewise, with the more skilled combatant favoured to win combat, inflicting damage from that, and having more chances to roll a 6, it often becomes a bitter race to see who can kill the other first. But isn't that what combat is really all about?