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The Afterlife is a futuristic miniatures wargame, produced by Anvil Industry.

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Rules

Anvil Industry: Afterlife - Rulebook Ed1 (PDF) (2014.10.11)

Anvil Industry: Afterlife - Rulebook Ed1 v1.3 (PDF) (2016.05.31)

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Players

The player: Unclear, but most likely the Commander of the force. The units are unaware of their surroundings, and players have to play it this way.

Player skills required

  • Dexterity: You have to move your miniatures.
  • Guessing distances: You can pre-measure distances before moving, but you need to guess distances for every other action.
  • Planning: Although you don't have to plan your moves ahead, you'll do better if you do.

Number of players: The game doesn't state how many players can play the game. At least 2 is needed. There is nothing in the rules that would limit the number of players.

Powers: Various. The players can choose a force from a list. At the moment there are the Council, Republic and the Renegade forces. Unless both players happen to choose the same force, they will be different.

Units: Various - The players can choose different units to create their forces. Unless both players happen to choose the same force and the same units, they will be different. As the game stands now, every main force has different units, but the Renegade list is made up so you can select units from any list.

Their abilities are assymmetric, some units are stronger than others.

Choosing units: Various - Force organisation slots with points. The players can choose various units to create their forces. They have a number of points to spend, and they have to adhere to the force organisation charts. This means you might have to spend points on units you don't need to get units you want in your force.

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Playing area

Playing area: Variable. There are no rules about setting up the playing area.

Playing area features: Realistic.

Terrain scale: Probably 1:1.

Heights: Depends on model size.

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Playing pieces

The game uses 1:56 scale (often called 28mm or 32mm scale) miniatures.

Units: Single miniature groups

Miniature group coherency: 3 inches (7,5 cm). If the unit has models that are out of this distance, the unit can still move, but can't attack.

Playing pieces: Actor - the miniature represents the unit as a real actor. The size of the miniature matters.

Playing piece ratio: 1 / 1. Every miniature represents a single actor.

Unit detail: Detailed. Every model has a set of statistics. If the model takes damage, it becomes casualty. Only vehicles and mechs have more than one damage.

Other pieces

  • Tokens: Activation markers. Health markers.

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Play styles

Abstractness: Realistic approach.

Cooperativeness: Competitive.

Immersion: Probably Immersive.

You can pre-measure distances before moving, but it can be rationalised with measuring devices used by the actors. However, you cannot measure distances before firing, and the same measuring device could be effective even then.

The wound allocation system is non-immersive, although efficient. It wasn't distracting enough to get me out of the immersion, but it's tricky balance.

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Rules

Randomness of the game: Some / Very.

Random effects:

  • Dice (d10).
  • Multiple dice, but single dice for every actor: When you roll for a test, you roll only one die for every actor. You only roll more than one dice for an actor in special cases.
  • Exploding dice?

Randomness type: Linear.

Risk management: Some. You have to consider the chances of your possible actions.

Resource management: None

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Turn structure

Player activation: Taking turns, one player after the other After one of the players activated all of their units, the remaining units of his opponent can be activated at a 50% chance test.

Duration of a turn: Unclear, but from the amount of action it can't be too long - probably 5-10 seconds.

Actions by the player: Not based on dexterity.

Taking actions: Taking action with a single unit at a time.

Time for actions: No time limit.

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Actions

Taking actions

Actions: When you activate a unit, you can move it, then you can take an attack with it.

Moving

Movement: Set distances. Distances are given in inches (1 inch = ca. 25mm)

Measuring distances: You can pre-measure distances before you decide where you move. Otherwise you have to state your action and measure after that. You can agree with your opponent about pre-measuring everything.

Moving units: If you move a unit, you can decide for every model to stay, to move or to run.

Attacking

You can only attack units you have already detected. Enemy units start the game hidden.

Attack: The members of the attacking unit attack the target unit. Every model in the attacking unit rolls an attack test. If the roll plus the attack modifier of the unit equals or exceeds the target's defense, there's a hit. Then you roll a test for every hit, and if the roll plus the damage modifier of the weapon equals or exceeds the target's toughness, there's a wound.

Melee attacks can target units up to 2 inches away.

Wound allocation: By the commanding player. Wounds have to be allocated to models in line of sight of attackers. Then first you have to give wound to already damaged multi-wound units, then to models not in cover. If members of the unit have different toughness values, first you have to allocate wounds for models you've used the toughness value in the attack tests. Wounds from melee attacks first have to be allocated to units in base contact with the attackers.

Cover: If the model is in cover, when a wound is allocated to it, you can test for cover save to nullify the wound. Thick vegetation gives 30%, a concrete barricade gives 40%, a reinforced bunker gives 50% chance.

There's no difference between soft and hard cover.

Firing into friendly units: Not allowed.

Counterattack: Before resolving an attack, the commanding player of the target unit may opt to react. In that case the involved units roll a reaction test. If the target unit rolls 3 points higher than the attacking unit, they attack simultaneously. This means that the target gets their full number of attacks, before removing casualties at the end. The reaction roll is lowered by 3 for every time the unit chooses to react in the same turn. If the attacker uses silenced weapons, it gets +2 to the reaction test.

Blast templates: The game doesn't use templates, but still require the players to measure the 6 inch radius of a fragmenting blast. The text even points this out as an intended feature instead of oversight.

Fragmenting attacks: The attacking player nominates a target model to be the center of the fragmenting blast.

Blast attacks: The attacking player nominates a point to be the center of the black attack.

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Theme: Combat.

Language dependency: Rulebook.

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Line of Sight: An actor can see another if you can draw a line between the main body of both. Being able to see an arm is not enough. Models from the same unit as the viewer do not block line of sight.

As long as at least one model of the targeting unit has line of sight to one model in the target unit, your unit has line of sight.

Drawing a line between models. Only the main body counts.

Line of Sight blocking:

Friendly models in the viewer's unit do not block line of sight.

Scenarios: There is only one example scenario in the rulebook.

 

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Possible improvements

Allow pre-measurement: The game itself is mostly immersive, but the rule about measuring gets in the way. I'd allow the player to pre-measure everything, as they most likely have gadgets for that, and stick to not allowing pre-measuring only for units who lack these equipments. As there are only combatant units in the game, I suppose this would allow just about everybody to pre-measure. Allowing this doesn't detract from the game, so it would be an overall improvement.

Immersive wounding: I'm not sure the game really needs this, but it could be an improvement for those who wish totally immersive play experience. The problem is that immersive wounding would be time consuming, and all those tests could still get immersive people out of the immersion. If there would be an easy way that wouldn't involve players rolling and calculating - maybe creating a phone app to handle this? - I'd go for that. However, I feel the system as it is now still works fine.

More scenarios: There should be a couple more scenarios to have a chance to play different games.

Hitting and wound allocation with different toughness: The system doesn't handle this situation well. So, either the attacking system should be changed, or there shouldn't be units with more than one toughness value.

Blast templates: Add templates to the game to make it easier to see where a fragmentating blast might hit.

Use the same targeting mechanics for fragmenting and blast attacks: The game uses two different system for practically the same thing - for blast attacks, you can use any point as your target, for fragmenting attacks, you have to choose an enemy model. I can't really see the point of this distinction - using the blast rules for both would give similar results, and if the attacking player wishes to use an enemy model as the blast center, so be it.

Reactions against silenced weapons: As the rules stand now, the attacking unit gets +2 to their reaction tests if they use silenced weapons - however, it's actually the targeted unit that has worse chances to react if they can't see their opponents. So first, it should be -2 to the reaction test of the target unit. Then second, it should work as this if the attacking unit is not close to them to see their intention (there's a rule of 12 inches for being hidden, I'd use this distance as it's already established), and they are attacking the target unit for the first time. If there's already an extended firefight between the two, an attack, even a silenced one won't be a surprise.

Use activation by pulling tokens from a cup: If one of the forces have more members, it's likely to lose some of the activations because of the rolls needed. I think those rolls are there so the other player wouldn't have to wait a lot for a round to end. The same could be achieved if there would be a cup, and an activation token marked with the symbol of the force (or a chosen colour) would be put in it for every unit in the force. When the game begins, one of the players pulls one token. The owner of that token gets an activation, and after the action, he pulls out the next token.

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Comparisons

Deadzone Ed1 & Deadzone Ed2: The system is not as detailed as Deadzone, but I feel it has enough detail to make the game work. There's way less dice rolling than in Deadzone. A basic Afterlife unit has only 1 wound, and when it loses that, it becomes casualty, so you don't have to handle wounded models.

 

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Sources & tutorials

Afterlife official website

Anvil Industry: Afterlife Ed1 v1.3 Rulebook (PDF)

Afterlife Facebook page

Reviews

Narric: Afterlife - Sci-Fi Tabletop Wargame: Review article.

Mark (atbzimark) (for Tabletop Gamers UK): Learning Curve Chapter 14: Review article about Afterlife, with a sample force list, and an optional rule.

Mark (atbzimark) (for Tabletop Gamers UK): Learning Curve: Bit Six: Review article about Afterlife.

Mark (atbzimark) (for Tabletop Gamers UK): Learning Curve: Afterlife Volumes Review: Review article about Afterlife.

Russell Goodwin (Fifty)(on DakkaDakka) [AFTERLIFE] Discussion Thread - Rulebook review, FAQs and very brief battle report: Review article, with playtest thoughts and rule suggestions.

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Have you played the Afterlife miniatures wargame from Anvil Industry? How do you like it? Would you recommend them to others? Tell your opinion in the comments!

 

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