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15mm Sci Fi Wargaming

Infantry Small Arms Fire

Image of an infantry squad firing

Small Arms Fire Action

The attacking unit nominates an enemy squad in line of sight to be the target unit.

The attacking unit and the target roll bang dice according to the following schedules.

Attacker Dice Pool:

  • +1-3 dice for each model with LOS to the target unit
    • (+X for each model, where X = ROF for the model)
  • 3-5 skill dice, based on the unit’s quality
  • support weapons that are in position (usually +3 dice per HMG, +2 dice for a SAW)

Defender Dice Pool:

  • range dice, +1 die for each full range band between attacker and target units
    • (+1 for each range band of Attacker's weapon type; i.e., 4”, 8” or 12”)
  • 3-5 skill dice, based on the unit’s quality
  • +4 dice if the unit is in cover (hard or soft cover)

Each Defender bang cancels out one Attacker bang. The number of bangs the Attacker has remaining are applied to the target unit as damage.

Fall Back

If there is any damage and the Defender is in the open, they must pass a morale check or fall back toward cover. The Defender may opt to fail the check voluntarily. Fall back occurs right after the small arms fire roll, at the end of the same action.

To fall back, the unit makes a tac-move that takes the unit generally away from enemy units, primarily the one shooting.

If there is any damage and the Defender is in light cover, no check is required, but the Defender may opt to fall back toward hard cover.

If a unit can make it to cover, they stand a better chance of withstanding the damage resolution later. Falling back represents a defenders immediate response to incoming fire, and should be understood as taking place during the shooting.

Apply Damage

After any fall back movement in completed, each bang from the small arms fire roll is converted into either a wound marker or a pinned marker.

Wound markers represent potential kills, and they also indicate that the marked unit is temporarily disogranized.

Pinned markers represent the degree to which the unit is suppressed by enemy fire.

Roll one bang die for each of the damage bangs from the small arms fire roll. Note that it matters who rolls the conversion dice, as listed below.

Damage Conversion

  • Defender is in the open; all damage is applied as wound markers
  • Defender is in light cover; default damage is wound markers, but Defender rolls to shift them to pinned markers
  • Defender is in hard cover; default damage is pinned markers, Attacker rolls to shift them to wound markers
  • Defender position improved beyond hard cover; all damage is pinned markers
  • Defender's position is improved by one tier if they are in position
  • Units that are hidden and represented on table by cards improve their position by one tier
  • Some weapon types like blast effects and really bad ass guns lower the damage tier by one level.

Place wound markers and pinned markers on the target unit according to the results of the conversion roll, and that ends the small arms fire action. If the target unit took wound markers, they remain on the unit until the next time it activates. The wound markers are converted to kills (or not) on the target unit’s turn. The results of the fire, in terms of actual kills, are not immediately apparent to either player.


Area terrain is typically light cover. If more than half the models of a unit are in a particular category of cover, then the whole unit counts as being in that cover.

Linear terrain of substantial construction can be hard cover. A model should be in base contact with a wall to count as having hard cover from units on the other side of the wall.

The idea with having linear terrain as the only hard cover is that it can usually be flanked. Hard cover can be a strong advantage, especially when the unit is in position. If an enemy unit can maneuver around the wall to have unobstructed LOS to more than half of the target models, they can shift the target unit’s cover from hard to light.