PMC 2460 is a set of hard sci-fi wargames rules from author Marcin Gerkowicz of Assault Publishing. PMC is an acronym for Private Military Companies – the rules are set in the27th century, where most wars are fought by hired mercenary armies; somewhat similar to the Hammer’s Slammer’s universe in some respects.
The game is designed to be played using 15mm or 28mm figures, and whilst the game is skirmish scale (one figure = one man) units move and fight in fireteams of between two and eight models.
Units are defined by a number of attributes: Tier, Size, Move, Firepower, Range, Defence, Assault and Morale.
All measurement in the game is in inches, and you will require several D6 and a single D10 to play the game.
The game is played in a number of turns, and each turn is broken down into four phases. In the beginning phase, the players roll D6 in order to determine who will be going first in the turn, and also attempt to rally troops. The reserve phase allows players to deploy troops dependent upon the scenario.
The main part of the game takes place during the action phase. Players alternate in activating units, although units that have been suppressed or broken may not be activated. A unit may make one of several actions in a turn: Move, Fire, Advance (Move & Fire), Assault and any Special actions noted in the scenario. Moving gives a bonus to your move distance, whilst Firing gives you a positive modifier on your shooting.
Shooting is quite straight forward. You take the unit’s Firepower value, add any modifiers for range, number of models in the unit (more models = greater firepower) and terrain, and add that to a roll of D10. You then subtract the Defence value of the target (which can be modified by terrain) from this number and the result is how many hits have been scored. You roll 1D6 for each hit and compare that to a hit result table. This may cause suppression to be added to the unit, or kill a model.
Whilst this is a quick and simple system; you only roll a single dice to determine the number of hits you cause, it does mean that the results are much more random than when using a ‘buckets of dice’ type approach. This leaves the combat result more open to the ‘luck of the dice’ more than some other games. It may speed things up, but some may not like the more random nature of the result.
Assault works in a similar way, except you use the Assault attribute of a unit, and a bonus for the number of models. The assaulting unit fights first, followed by the target unit, and combat continues until one side is broken, which makes assaults somewhat brutal and decisive affairs.
When units receive twice the amount of suppression than their Morale, they are deemed to be Suppressed – triple this, and they are Broken.
As well as foot troops, there are rules which also cover the use of vehicles, aircraft and drones. These models are limited in the army lists, so that your force is not dominated these more powerful models.
There is essentially only one army list, as it is deemed that all mercenary units have troop types that are very similar. These troop types include Basic Troops, Rifle Infantry, Assault Troops, Recon Troops, Snipers, Engineers, Light Support Troops, Heavy Support Troops, Remote Mortars, Command Units, Drones and various vehicles and aircraft. There are several different units available in each troop type, so players can tailor their force fairly flexibly. However, it is worth noting that all the troop types seem based on fairly conventional forces – there are no entries in any of the army lists for troops in super-heavy armour, so example. The army lists use a points system, although it’s a relatively generic one, units have a Tier, the tier value being their cost, and the size of the battle you are playing gives both the total number of points you can use, and the maximum number of each type of Tier unit available for your force.
For example, a Tier III, Priority 1 battle (a relatively small skirmish) allows a force of 18 composition points, with maximum of 4 Tier I, 4 Tier II, 2 Tier IV, 1 Tier V, but at minimum of 3 Tier III units. It takes a short time to get your head around this set up, but once the penny drops it’s actually very simple to use.
The book also contains a scenario and terrain generator. There are 6 scenarios to choose from, and seven different terrain/worlds to fight over. There is also a campaign system, which allows your force to fight over a number of battles, gaining experience, new skills and abilities and perhaps even detrimental effects, especially if a unit was badly mauled during a battle.
There are also rules for solo / co-operative games, with 6 different scenarios covering a civil uprising and a ‘bug’ infestation – the only time any sort of alien life is really talked about in the rules. The AI for these games is fairly rudimentary, with each unit rolling a random action, with a modifier dependent upon how aggressive it is
PMC 2640 packs a lot into its 110 pages, including a brief historical background of the universe it is based in, and even details of several mercenary units. The rules are straight forward and intuitive to play, and work well and quickly for smaller games. Whilst the game leaves the top end of its battle size open ended (A priority 6, Tier 3 game will theoretically give you a force built from 108 points, with well over 20 units on the table) I think that given the alternate unit activation rules, the game is designed with platoon to company sized actions in mind – these will be pretty much the sweet spot for the game.
There is much to like about these rules certainly the campaign and especially the solo play aspects are a nice touch. The sci-fi skirmish rules marketplace is getting pretty crowded, but PMC 2640 is a worthy addition.
You can purchase PMC 2460 as a hardcopy from Assault Publishing for 24 EUR.
Disclosure: The publisher provided a review copy of this game