Holiday week Tank Battle using “Tomorrow’s War” rules…

December 31, 2010

Greetings All!

One evening this week I ran a “Tomorrow’s War” game between my son Thomas and his friend,  Zac.  I wanted to try something a little different so I went digging through my old Mechwarrior: Dark Age miniatures for vehicles.  I was able to pull out enough tank-type vehicles to put together two forces, one that was track and wheel based and the other that was hover-based.  Those gave me the idea to form a basis for a pretty fun battle.

Concept: Two forces, one almost a Tech level higher than the other, but not quite.  The higher tech level force fields hovertanks and has energy and laser weapons.  The other force fields wheeled and track-layers firing what are effectively gauss weapons.  The hover force had some slightly harder-hitting weapons but did not have enough of an advantage to have a true “Tech-Level” die shift.  So both sides had the same troop quality die (D10).

The mission of the Tracked Force was to escort 2 Siege Tanks to a crossroads.  The mission of the Hover Force was to prevent that.

The battlefield and starting areas for the forces

The road runs between some hills and through a forested area.  Visibility goes through the forest on your side of the river and across the river.  You could not see through the forest on the other side of the river (affects both sides).  A vehicle on the river’s edge can see through the forest on the other side of the river (and can be seen).  Thus I set up visibility issues to encourage the combatants to think about maneuver and sight lines.

I adjusted the movement scale for what seemed reasonable given the size/scale of the minis.

The basics of the forces:

The Tracked and Wheeled Force – Move 5″/10″ for all

3 Heavy Main Battle Tanks – Tracked

1 Heavy Gauss Gun – AT5 (Heavy) on Turret

Front Armor: 4D12     Side Armor: 3D12     Rear Armor: 2D12

2 Medium “Tank Destroyers” – Wheeled

2 Medium Gauss Guns – AT4 (M)/AT4 (M) on Turret

Front Armor: 3D10     Side Armor: 2D10     Rear Armor: 2D8

2 Siege Tanks (Heavy Tank carrying one Medium Anti-Tank weapon and multiple MLRS systems not used in this game)

1 Medium Gauss Gun – AT4 (M) on 180 deg traverse

Front Armor: 4D12     Side Armor: 3D10    Rear Armor: 2D10

1 Fire Support Light Tank in “Tank Destroyer” Configuration

1 Heavy Gauss Gun – AT5 (Heavy) on turret

Front Armor: 3D8     Side Armor: 2D8     Rear Armor: 2D6

The Hover Force – Move 6″/12″ for Hovertanks, Move 7″/14″ for Combat Cars

2 Heavy Hover Tanks

1 Heavy Energy Tank Gun – AT6 (Heavy) (Slow) – In-line mount on vehicle

Front Armor: 4D12     Side Armor: 3D12     Rear Armor: 3D10

2 Heavy Hover Tanks

1 Heavy Laser Tank Gun – AT4 (Heavy) – In-line mount on vehicle

Front Armor: 4D12    Side Armor: 3D10     Rear Armor: 2D10

3 Light Hover Tanks (Combat Cars)

2 Medium Laser Tank Guns AT3 (Medium) – on Turret

Front Armor: 3D8     Side Armor: 2D8     Rear Armor: 2D6

For the Tracked Force, all vehicles require the ford to cross the river.  All vehicles can climb any hill at half speed.

For the Hover Force, the two Energy Gun Hovertanks require the ford to cross the river.  The others can cross the river anywhere. The Hover vehicles can only climb sloped hills and then only at half speed.

Turn 1 started with neither force having line of sight on the other due to the trees running along the river.  It required a commitment to either go to the river edge or along the road in order to see the other forces.  The Tracked force had the option to go up the tall stepped hill in order to see over the river to the clear hilltop beyond.

Thomas positioning his forces

Thomas decided to set up static positions on and around the hills on his side of the river and await Zac’s tanks.  This made for a slower start to the game since Zac also decided to go for a cautious approach.

Zac has moved his forces forward and now Thomas is adjusting

The forces at the end of Turn 2

Thus, at the end of Turn 2 the opposing forces had approached about as closely as they could to each other without actually having any lines of sight.  The action should start on Turn 3…

A laser-armed Heavy Hovertank reaches the river's edge...

Thomas won initiative for Turn 3 and activated one of his laser-armed heavy hovertanks.  He moved it to the river’s edge in a “Move and Fire” order.  His target was the medium tank destroyer on top of the hill across the river.  The tank destroyer was foolishly facing in a direction where its weaker side armor was exposed.

After the first exchange of fire both vehicles have mobility hits.

Thomas’ Laser hovertank got a solid shot off on the tank destroyer, hitting the mobility system (mobility hit, speed reduced to 1/2 normal).  Zac’s tank destroyer returned the favor, blasting a hole in the hovertank’s plenum chamber, reducing it to 1/2 movement also.

A combat car is activated and moves forward...

Thomas activated a combat car and moved it forward to the river’s edge in a Move/Fire order.  The combat car was also targeting the tank destroyer.  The reaction test was rolled and…

Sometimes you really need to not get interrupted...

…Zac interrupted Thomas’ combat car.  Zac had some very good dice rolling and the combat car was destroyed.  Then it was Zac’s turn to activate forces.

Lessee here, side armor facing the heavy laser? Should we move or fight?

Zac chose to activate the tank destroyer on the hill and then just stayed there and shot at the heavy laser tank.  Definitely not what I would have chosen to do…

Anybody got any marshmallows?

The exchange of fire was short and brutal.  The heavy hovertank shrugged off the fire from the tank destroyer and brewed it up with return fire.

The first "Fog of War" card is drawn

Zac made some tactical moves I would not have done.  He chose to activate next one of the two siege tanks he was to escort to the crossroads.   He chose a Move/Fire order and used it to attack the laser heavy hovertank.  His reaction test roll included a lovely roll of “1”, earning him the first “Fog of War” card of the game.  He got into a 2 shot exchange of fire with the heavy hovertank.

The Siege Tank gets its anti-tank teeth pulled

The siege tank was not successful in its exchange of fire with the laser-armed heavy hovertank.  The result was a destroyed “main gun” for the siege tank.

The Fire Support vehicle is activated

Zac then activated the wheeled fire support vehicle.  This light vehicle mounted a heavy gauss cannon.  A hammer protected by an eggshell if there ever was one.  He moved and fired on the heavy hovertank, immobilizing it but taking a mobility hit in return.

A painful trade off

Zac chose to fire again at the heavy hovertank.  This time he ended up getting another mobility hit, which I ruled to put him to a speed of 1″.  His return fire destroyed the laser hovertank’s main gun.  End of the road for that vehicle.

Tracked force vehicles reach river edge on north side of map

Zac activated a couple of his vehicles and brought them to the river edge on the north side of the battlefield.  The exchanges of fire caused a mobility hit on Zac’s remaining Tank Destroyer but didn’t have any effect on Thomas’ heavy hovertank and combat car.

Heavy Hovertank blocks the road...tank destroyer lost to the north

On the north of the battlefield Thomas’ combat car took out Zac’s tank destroyer.  On the central part of the battlefield one of the energy gun armed heavy hovertanks moved to block the road.

"We showed up for the gunfight and they shot our gun!"

The heavy hovertank on the road got into a fire exchange with the tracked siege tank on the hill.  The siege tank was immobilized but the return fire from it destroyed the main gun on the heavy hovertank, turning it into a piece of mobile cover.

"We're right behind you, all the way!"

Thomas activated his other laser-armed heavy hovertank, placing it behind his toothless hovertank for cover.  On the north side of the battlefield Zac’s heavy tank had it’s main gun destroyed by a shot from the energy gun of the heavy hovertank.  Now both sides have some mobile cover…

"Scratch the 'mobile' part..."

Zac activated his heavy tank on the hill and fired on the toothless heavy hovertank, destroying it.  He then started his other heavy tank forward after Thomas declared a possible strategy of blocking the ford with wrecked vehicles.

"Its just a combat car. What can it d...."

Thomas activated his combat car, moving it forward to the edge of the ford.  Using his move/fire order he fired on the heavy tank on the hill and scored a clear vehicle kill.  To the north Thomas moved his other combat car across the river and into the trees on Zac’s side.

"We're gonna need a road clearing unit..."

A view of the hotly contested river crossing.

The battlefield at the beginning of the final turn

The beginning of the final turn had Zac with a heavy tank on the road between the hills, an immobilized siege tank on the big hill and two damaged tanks to the south.  Thomas had a heavy hovertank  (with energy gun) and two combat cars.

Carnage ensues

Zac won the initiative and activated the siege tank on the hill, which had a shot at the heavy hovertank across the river.  The hovertank won the troop quality test and fired first only to char the paint on the front of the siege tank.  The return fire from the siege tank destroyed the main gun on the hovertank.  Then Zac activated the heavy tank on the road and brewed up the combat car at the edge of the ford.  This left Thomas with one combat car left…

Zac won the initiative again and tried to block the remaining combat car with his damaged heavy tank.   He also moved his undamaged heavy tank forward and faced it towards Thomas’ combat car, which had been inadvertantly shielded by the damaged heavy tank.  Oops.  Thomas then moved his combat car in a move/fire order to shoot at the heavy tank.  Alas, the dice were not with him.  The return fire of the heavy tank destroyed the combat car, destroying the last effective forces Thomas had.

The aftermath

The results of the battle were, at best, a marginal victory for Zac’s forces, since they would be able to get one of the siege tanks to the crossroads.  The price paid to accomplish the goal was very high.

The not quite blocked ford...

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Tomorrow’s War “Ork Alley” replay – better this time

December 19, 2010

Greetings everyone!  After much bouncing around of real-life schedules my son Thomas and I finally got to play our “re-run” of our Tomorrow’s War scenario “Ork Alley”.  With the adjustments we made to the forces the game was much more balanced and was a lot of fun to play.

The basic setup:  A Tau recon drone malfunctioned and crashed in an area of the city that was infested with small groups of Orks and Gretchin (Grots).  A Tau platoon consisting of 3 five-person squads was sent to recover the drone and take it out of the area.  They had been inserted “behind the lines” so their way out was forward towards friendly lines. These are not considered to be “frontline” Tau troops and are not armed and structured as such.  The Tau would have initiative for the game.

The Tau are excellent “shooty” forces and excel at ranged combat.  Physically they are not well suited to close assault combat and so don’t do that with the same skill level as their shooting.  The Orks are the polar opposites, being worse are ranged combat (known for shooting guns in the general direction of the enemy just to make the loud “BANG” noise) and being racially VERY good a physical combat.  We set the stats on the forces based on these characteristics.

Tau:

Confidence Level: Normal

Supply Level: Normal

Tech Level: 2

Body Armor: TL2, Light (1D) – Squad

Body Armor Leader: TL2, Power Armor, Leader, (2D)

Troop Quality/Morale: (D10) – Shooting/(D10) – Morale Shooting (armed with Advanced Combat Rifles)

Troop Quality/Morale in Assault: (D8) – Attacking – (D10 defense -1D) /(D8 for Morale in Asssault)

Tau Hvy Weapon: (2D)

We added a little complexity to the forces to emphasize the Tau reliance/skill on shooting and their lesser ability with hand-to-hand combat. Each 5-man Tau squad had a squad leader wearing basic powered armor.

Orks:

Confidence Level: Normal

Supply Level: Normal

Tech Level: 1

Tough Hide (Body Armor Equivalent): (1D) – Squad

Tough Hide Leader(Body Armor Equivalent): (2D) – Nob

Troop Quality/Morale: (D8) Shooting (D10 defense)/(D8) – Morale Shooting (Armed with Sluggas)

Troop Quality/Morale in Assault: (D10)+(1D)+(1D per Nob)/(D10) – Morale Assault

Ork Hvy Weapon: (1D)

The Orks in the Warhammer 40K universe are big, touch and hard to kill.  They are not so good at ranged combat but excel at and love close assault. We added a little complexity in giving them a different defense die, a D10 instead of D8, when shooting and being shot at. We gave them an extra attack die in Assault simply to reflect their racial preference to that kind of combat.

Gretchin (Grots):

Confidence Level: Low

Supply Level: Low

Tech Level: 1

Troop Quality/Morale: (D8)/(D6)

Grots are small, weedy, clever and nasty.  While seemingly comical they are still not to be taken lightly.  They may have poor dice but they often come at you in bigger numbers than you expect.

Given the scale we set the standard “cautious” movement to 10 inches and the fast movement to 20 inches.

So, having set up our forces we put a “town” together and started a game.

The forces placed. Tau starting at corner of table at top of picture. Orks scattered around.

The Tau had to pick up the downed Drone in the middle of the map next to the two cargo containers. They then had to exit on the road between the two concrete walls in the lower right corner of the picture.  The Ork squads were scattered through the town, with 5 hot spots set up for reinforcements for the Orks.

An Ork squad behind some buildings. View looks towards the Tau starting point.

A table’s eye view of one of the Ork squads in its starting point.

Another Ork squad in between some buildings.

Another table’s eye view of Orks.

Catzilla (aka: "Ditto") - the bane of gamers everywhere

One of our cats likes to take the role of  “Catzilla” in our wargames.  I’m sure many other gamers have similar problems.  This particular incarnation of “Catzilla” is Ditto, my wife’s cat.  He is amazingly talented at walking through a crowded gaming table without knocking over a single miniature.

Orks determine Line-Of-Sight in order to attempt an Interrupt on moving Tau

A squad of Orks saw a squad of the tau moving and tried to Interrupt them.  Tried and failed.  Sigh…

Exchange of fire with the Tau left the Ork squad pinned behind a building

The Ork squad that failed the Interrupt took 2 casualties and then failed their Morale roll.  They moved behind a building and were pinned.  Bad start to the game for the Orks.

The Grot squad in one of the taller buildings successfully Interrupted a squad of Tau

The squad of Grots in the taller building *did* successfully Interrupt a squad of Tau.  They even caused some casualties.  Yay Grots! However, payback is a mean b…well, you know what.

Incoming fire has Right-of-Way

The return fire from the Tau squad caused 2 casualties in the Grot squad.  The Grots rolled amazingly well on their Morale roll and stayed active.

The fire from the Grots pinned the Tau squad

The Tau squad that received the casualties failed its morale roll and was pinned in the crater.  Some more of that and the Ork’s victory will be assured!

Tau activations complete, the Ork squads advance

The Ork squads who had not performed any interrupts now get to make their moves.  They advance in Move/Fire orders.

Arrgh! The Orks get a nasty "Fog of War" card

The Orks lost a test when they tried shooting at a Tau squad.  A “1” was rolled on a die.  A “Fog of War” card was drawn.  Eeek!  I lose 1D for every attack from now on.  Icky!

Turn 2 - The Tau shoot at the poor Grots working on the Drone

Turn 2 started badly for the Orks.  No reinforcements.  Several casualties were KIA. And the Tau advanced and attacked the poor, downtrodden Grots who were trying to overcome the security protocols on the downed Tau Drone.   An exchange of fire left the Grots with 2 casualties.  Then it got worse…

Tau had line of sight on the Grots

The Tau had line of sight on the Grot position as they did a move and fire maneuver. The Grots *did* cause a Tau casualty in the ensuing exchange but…

"Grots down! Grots Down!"

The whole Grot squad became casualties.  The Tau had a *really* good roll, no number less that 8…ouch.

The Orks try for a close assault

One Ork squad had gotten close enough to declare an Assault.  They won the Troop Quality test for assault and…”WAAAAGH!”  The Tau responded by running away and then being pinned.  A full fast move away.  Out of reach.  Rats!  This left our proud Ork squad perilously close to another Tau squad at the end of the turn.  You know, when the Tau get to go first next turn?  Uh-oh…

The close assault of the Orks ended non-spectacularly

The Orks in the trees are the ones who made the close assault.  The Tau in the distance are the ones who ran away.  The Tau in the crater close by are busy sighting in their Advanced Combat Rifles on the close Orks…

A good FOW card for the Orks...for a change

The beginning of the next turn had some immediate combat occurring.  Of course the Orks failed their reinforcements roll.  The Orks attempted to interrupt a Tau action and failed.  Rolling a “1”.  This time the Fog of War card was good.  However, my random choice was not the unit I wished would have this card attached to it.

The beginning of Turn 3 was...unpleasant...for the Orks

The Tau pumped out a lot of firepower in a short time.  Many Ork casualties ensued.  The squad of Orks who had performed the assault ended up pinned in a crater with three casualties.  The Orks in a building near the downed Drone took some casualties too.  Apparently my defense rolls indicated I was taking cover by putting my hands over my eyes and shouting “Nah, nah!  You can’t see me!”

The Tau did get to receive some casuaties too

The Tau advanced under fire and did receive a couple of more casualties, including one fatality.  The Orks were paying a high price for it.

The only thing worse than incoming fire is incoming "friendly" fire...

Yup, another Ork troop quality test.  Another roll of “1”.  Another Fog of War card.  This time some incoming friendly fire hits a squad of orks and causes another casualty.  Morale test was passed, though.

It's about time the Tau got a little FoW lovin'

The Tau also rolled a “1” in a combat test.  Their prize was a lovely mortar barrage, courtesy of who knows.  Lousy frikken frakkin Tau and their really good armor.  No casualties for them…

This is where the Ork player packed it in...

The Tau advance reached the downed drone.  The orks were mostly dead. The Tau had some walking wounded.  And I had to make dinner before we went to see “Tron: Legacy”.  So the Orks conceded the game at this point.  If the Orks had gotten some reinforcement squads it would have been a little different.  The low ammo Fog of War card was a real killer.

Two Tau teams with some casualties make it to their goal

The two Tau squads who made it to the downed drone.  They had one seriously wounded Fire Warrior and had lost one as well.

The battlefield at the end of the game

So the battlefield at the end of the game had some hurt Tau who were still combat effective and a scattering of Orks who weren’t.

It was a much more fun game than last time and my son enjoyed it a lot more when his troops weren’t casually turning Orks into clouds of red/green mist.  One lesson I learned is that I need to pin enemy troops first before charging them.  Otherwise they are liable to run away.

The balancing we did with the Orks and the Tau seemed to work pretty well.  Our next battle will probably pit some Imperial Guard minis I have against Tom’s Tyranids in a game of “Aliens in the Reactor”.  Tyranids make pretty good “Space Demons”.

Oh, and we really liked “Tron: Legacy”!


AAR (After Action Report) Tomorrow’s War test “Ork Alley” – Friday, November 26

December 1, 2010

On the afternoon of the Friday after Thanksgiving, after a nap to recover from helping my wife shop at 4:30 in the morning, my son Thomas and I tried our first game of “Tomorrow’s War”, the sci-fi version of “Force-on-Force” by Ambush Alley Games.  Since most of our miniatures are from Warhammer 40,000 (by Games Workshop) we decided to set up a game around those.  So I laid out a small urban area on our gaming table and we tried a sort of ” Ambush Alley” using Tau vs. Orks.  As a test/learning game it proved an interesting experience in game balancing (or at least trying to learn *how* to balance the game).

For those who don’t know much about “Ambush Alley”, “Force-on-Force” or “Tomorrow’s War”, they are they are miniatures based wargames that try to abstract many of the details of combat so that the players can concentrate more on fundamental strategies and enjoy the gameplay instead of paging through tons of rules and “army books”.  One of the base principles of the Ambush Alley games is that there are no “points” for the forces, i.e. you cannot say “I am setting up a 500 point force of Marines so you need 500 points of insurgents”.  Instead, you are expected (and encouraged) to use common sense in setting up the forces.  In other words you might say “Okay, I will be fielding 4 standard squads of 5 marines each, riding in 4 hummvees.  They will be facing mixed groups of insurgents armed with AKs and RPGs.”

This ties in with the other critical way the games work:  These are “Scenario-based” games.  Each force has a specific set of goals.  Victory conditions are based on accomplishing those goals – not just wiping out the other side.  Your goal might just be to wipe out the other side, or it might be to rescue someone, destroy something or just get across the map alive.

That being said, the scenario Thomas and I set up was that the Tau (a blue-skinned alien race possessing very advanced technology) had to enter a section of the city to recover a damaged scout drone (a hover-robot).  Their opposition were random bands of Orks (large, barbaric green-skinned brutish aliens) and Gretchin (weedy, whiney, short barbaric green-skinned brutish aliens). The Tau had to collect the damaged drone and exit the other side of the game map.  The Orks goal was to prevent this from happening.

Our difficulty came in trying to balance the forces.  We set the Tau up in groups of 4 Fire Warriors wearing unpowered armor and carrying advanced combat rifles, each led by one Pathfinder, wearing powered armor and armed with an assault weapon. This gave each Tau squad about 9 dice for defence (10 sided dice for Troop Quality).  Their attack maxed at 10 dice (also 10 sided).

We set the Orks up as a lower troop quality, using 8-sided dice.  They had no armor and a lower Tech Level.  This combination made the Orks far too easy meat in the game, as the AAR will show.  I have since figured out how to improve and better balance this scenario and will discuss that at the end of the AAR.

This is the urban area we set up for the game

This is the urban area we set up for the game.  The Orks are scattered around the town in small groups.  The Tau are entering at the left side of the photo.  The objective “broken” drone is in the middle of the town watched over by a group of Gretchen who are trying to figure out how to disarm the booby traps on it.

Closeup of one of the Ork mobs hiding behind an industrial building

One of the Ork mobs waits behind an industrial building.  Led by a larger Ork known as a “Nob”, they carry large-bore primitive firearms that make up in size what they lack in sophistication.

Another small mob of Orks and the Gretchen (Grots) in a small cargo storage yard

The mob of Orks above, while shown on top of the building, are actually taking cover inside of the building.  The Grots outside are hard at work trying to disarm booby traps on the Tau drone.

Turn 1: The Tau move into the area taking advantage of available cover

On turn 1 Thomas deployed his three squads of Tau onto the map, all working together and taking advantage of the cover provided by the trees and walls of the upper left corner.

The Ork mob advances onto the street to line a shot up on the advancing Tau

The Ork mob advanced past the industrial building in order to get a better shot at the Tau when they came out of cover.  Orks…”strong like bull; smart like tractor”.  I did not realize the disadvantage I was operating under…

The Ork mob receives a massive dose of Tau firepower

The Tau advance out of cover.  They have the initiative and I try to interrupt them but they win the test.   Thomas has his Tau shoot and rolls nothing lover than a 7 on ten 10-sided dice.  My Ork defensive roll was…unspectacular.  The entire Ork mob is wiped out.

Another Tau fireteam blast the Orks in the building

One of the other Tau fireteams blasted the Orks in the building who also lost the combat test to “interrupt” the Tau movement.  Once again Thomas rolled amazingly well and I…didn’t.  My minimal return fire did not even scratch their armor.  Another Ork mob bites the dust.

Ork reinforcements arrive on Turn 2

At the beginning of Turn 2 I rolled for Ork reinforcements and got another mob.  They showed up where the previous mob had been mowed down.  Note the lone Ork Support Weapon gunner who survived the Tau fire earlier.  He is in a supressed state and is effectively useless.

The Orks in the tall ruin prepare to shoot

The Orks in the tall ruin have line-of-sight on one of the Tau fireteams.  However, of course, the reverse is also true.

The reinforcements join their comrades as casualties

The reinforcing Orks lost their test to interrupt the Tau fireteam.  Lost it badly enough that they had to draw a “Fog of War” card, which provided a random battlefield event that could be hurtful or helpful for either, both or neither side.  This card made one of the Ork warriors to have increased morale.  We decided that it would be the lone Support Weapon Ork in the building across the street.

The reinforcing Orks lost all but two members, who both failed their morale check and faded away. The Tau were still not scratched.

The Orks in the tall ruin exchange fire with the Tau

The Orks in the tower actually successfully interrupted one of the Tau fireteams and shot first.  The Tau suffered one minor casualty.  The Tau return fire wiped the Ork mob out. This clearly indicated I had messed up the game balance but I wanted to play things out to see what would happen.

The end of Turn 2 - no Orks on the board, only Grots

At the end of Turn 2 my forces were almost nonexistent, just the Grots around the downed Tau drone.  Tau victory was a foregone conclusion.  I just wanted to see whether I would get any reinforcements at the top of Turn 3.

The Tau advance on the Grots' position

The Grot position had good cover for quite a while. The Tau fireteam advanced and fired on the Grots and Thomas had the poorest roll of the game. He actually left a Grot alive.  The Grot got to shoot back and actually seriously wounded one of the Tau fire warriors. The other fireteam moved up and turned the Grot into a thin green and red mist in the air.  The best part – the Grots were troop quality 6 – they had to roll 6-sided dice against Thomas’ 10-sided dice.  Quite a parting shot…

Tau victory

Obviously the Tau won.  I learned a good lesson in game balancing that I will take to heart this weekend when Thomas and I replay our game of “Ork Alley”.  When we play again the forces will be set like so:

Tau – Troop Quality 10 on shooting, Troop quality 8 in close combat, Morale 10 (8 in close combat), armed with Advanced Combat Rifles. Fire Warriors armored with light unpowered armor. Led by one Pathfinder Tau in Powered Armor. Pathfinder carries squad support weapon (one extra die).

Orks – Troop Quality 8 in shooting, 10 in defense (Ork toughness), Troop Quality 10 in close combat, armed with normal shooting weapons, one Ork per mob armed with squad support weapon (one extra die).

That ought to be more even, I think.  I am still reading through and studying the Force-on-Force and Tomorrow’s War books so my ideas are subject to change.  Thomas and I ought to have fun with it, though.