Phased combat is another level of Shellshock. If you have read the rules or the various "spiels" you have seen the basic game with various options. These different options make game play a little faster or slower and add a little more or less realism. By adding essentially one major rule change and some timing rules, you vastly change game play, and greatly enhance your playing experience.
Please note. We do not recommend playing phased until you have played the basic game at least twice. Four or five times would be even better, with armies of at least 8 on each side. By this point you are more than adept at running the game, and know where to look on the record sheet. Also at this point you will have "selective sight." You know what is important for the task at hand and don't get lost looking at all the other options numbers and distracting squiggles on the record sheet. Also you won't be able to appreciate phased until this point. Everything is still new, and you are too busy just remembering non-key rules to jump into something else. Once you've come to appreciate the basic game, you will play phased and finally realize your dream of being a true strategist of the battlefield.
This is what phased combat is all about.
The two main rules of Phased combat are these:
1) Damage is not simultaneous. You die, you do not get to return fire.
2) You move in the order of initiative, and fire any time you want.
What this means is that you can fire and then move. Move and then fire. Move fire and move. Even complete your movement and hold your fire until later in the turn during another player's move. You can even fire on someone else before it is your turn to move. Fire any time you want means just that. The only exceptions come from timing, explained below.
This may seem simple but believe me, in practice it makes a huge difference. It's kind of like playing checkers and moving on to playing chess, same board, totally different moves and concepts.
Note that there is an addendum to rule number 2 above. The Red Chit can move at any time it wants, even if it forces another player to pause mid-move. However, the Red Chit must then make its full move. It can not split its movement at different points in the movement phase. Moving a unit with the Red Chit has no effect on when it gets to fire.
There are a couple supporting rules that must be followed for all this to work:
1) You must use initiative chits for deciding initiative.
2) You must keep the initiative chits beside the unit till the end of the turn, or till the unit is destroyed.
3) Firing through friendly units is now prohibited.
4) There is no "Reaction phase." When you finish your move, you must select your firing arc. Once set, it can not be changed until the next time your unit gets to move. For this, remember that normal units have a 60-degree firing arc, while High Speed turrets have a 120-degree firing arc. (And Double High Speed Turrets (very rare) have a 180-degree firing arc.)
The final thing that applies is timing. Timing is used to decide who gets to fire first when more than one player wants to fire at the same time.
1) A unit who has a lower initiative chit gets to fire first.
2) A moving unit gets to fire first, even if it has a higher chit.
3) A unit with a red chit gets to fire first, even on a moving unit.
4) A unit in Overwatch gets to fire first, even before the red chit.
5) If two units are both on Overwatch, and both want to fire at the same time, the unit with the lower initiative chit gets to fire first.
This brings us to the last point in Phased Combat, Overwatch.
Special Rule: Overwatch
A unit in Overwatch mode sets a smaller firing arc, but gets to fire first at anything in that arc. You must declare Overwatch when you set your firing arc at the end of your move. This lasts until your unit gets to move again. A unit in Overwatch only gets a 20-degree firing arc. This equates to a four-inch wide target area at 12 inches, 8 wide at 24, and 12 wide at 36. The maximum range for Overwatch is 5 feet, at which the target area is 20 inches. (It's actually a little more if you do the math. (NOTE: We are still looking at this rule. If it proves too overpowering, we may shrink the angle. Give us feedback if you like it this size or not, and what size seems to work for you. Also note that this rule could be modified at any time in the future.)
This gives you the basics for playing a phased game. Like I said before. These simple rules and timing effects may seem simple, but when in use Shellshock becomes something else entirely.