While thinking about and working on my HE effect table, I realized that before I can finalize said table, or even do the maths for the dice rolls, I have to determine what the possible effects are, how they come to pass, and how they interact, if at all.
My initial idea was that units can break, and broken units that re-break take losses. Added to that, units can get suppressed. However, on second thought that seems a bit weird: incurring suppression and breaking are definitely related: it is the overdose of suppression that causes a unit to break. We also want a system that requires little bookkeeping, while still keeping the detail.
So what we're going to do is we will let troop quality decide when a unit incurs suppression. This suppression is added, and kept track of using a baby D6. When a unit has to roll for suppression will be decided by the HE Fire Effects table.
So a unit will incur increasing suppression, as long as they remain under enemy fire. They can reduce their suppression level by being withdrawn from direct enemy contact or by leadership effects.
Then the lightest effect fire can have on a unit is a check for suppression: roll against Quality, with already incurred suppression as a modifier. When unsuccessful, incur a suppression point.
Quality vs Suppression
The quality - which normally is a value between 3 and 5 - can then determine further effects:
When a number of suppression points equal to half the quality (rounded up) is reached, the unit must check quality. The roll is modified by the difference between quality and suppression. If this fails the unit is pinned, it can no longer move towards the enemy, but can still fire normally. If the check is successful, nothing happens.
When a number of suppression points equal to the quality is reached, the unit must check quality. The roll is modified by the difference between quality and suppression. If this fails the unit retreats: it must move away from the enemy, and can only perform defensive fire.
A unit that is retreating and that incurs additional suppression points, must check quality, again with the difference modifier, and rout when the roll fails.
When retreating is impossible because of enemy troops, the unit remains pinned instead.
When routing is impossible because of enemy troops, the unit surrenders or is eliminated if unit type does not allow surrender.
This way breaking, pinned, suppression and retreating are all part of the same cycle. The only effect not currently covered is elimination: units that do not break under the pressure of enemy fire, but simply lose too many soldiers to remain effective. This is the only other effect the table will need. So the initial table needs a few modifications, but nothing major. Q and S will turn out to be the same thing. We might have S1 and S2 effects, allowing units to incur multiple suppression at once, or with a modifier: S, S+1, S+2, and so on, which is what I'm gonna be thinking about next. Once I have a draft ready, it is time for some basic game mechanics testing.