Sunday, April 7, 2013

F is for.... Force on Force

I recently had the opportunity to play Force on Force for the first time. Considering all the hub-ub I've been seeing on the interweb about it, it was high time. Cameron (of Cameron's tiny men) hosted 3 games at the local gaming convention, trumpeter salute. As part of the lead up to the convention he got Jenn and I to playtest out a mission to test it and offer comments.

Alas I was particularly derelict in my duties in picture taking, but Cameron managed to snap a few and post on his blog which I've ruthlessly stolen. I've also posted on of the shots from his game on saturday at the convention.

Note the tiny white rocks on the RPG insurgent (yellow hat)
As always, Cameron has a fine looking table set up and very well painted miniatures. He's cleverly managed to communicate special weapons in squads with larger rocks on the bases. The number of rocks on the base indicate the extra dice the trooper gets from his weapon. Quite unobtrusive, but very VERY helpful while playing.

We played a mission out of the Afghanistan source book. Cameron has chosen to represent coalition soldiers as Canadians which is a nice touch. The scenario had the coalition looking at an open market with crowds and facing Taliban and a suicide bomber. As normal, the insurgents get points for hurting the coalition troops and pretty that's it. The coalition gained points for dispersing all the crowds and evacuating all troops and casualties quickly (by turn 6).

I took the coalition troops in the first game  threw in the towel before long I was obviously getting crushed. I was the victim of some bad rolls at the wrong time, and tried to aggressively move to the square and disperse the crowds.......who just wouldn't leave. My casualties rapidly piled up and soon it was impossible to win, even if I could have evacuated by turn 6 (too far away). One of the things that Cameron has noted to me a few times is he often doesn't finish games....but it's completely obvious who wins.

Seconds later everything went wrong for me
We quickly reset the game and let Cameron take the coalition forces versus Jenn and I. Cameron then proceeded to play MUCH better. It helped that things were going very well....he even managed to score a 'operator' team of doom. With just about the best characteristics you can get, and grenade launchers (underslung) for each they were killing a squad a would have been more if we bothered to attempt to react to them at all. Instead we would focus fire all our insurgents at the weakest team to try and wipe them out.

I sorta wonder if the operator team should have had that many support weapon dice....the original force on force card pack (not the enduring freedom scenario book one), the operator card doesn't have them with support weapons.....maybe tweaked to better reflect the killy-ness appropriate to them?

At the end of the day, however, the insurgents managed to inflict sufficient casualties to take the victory again. This scenario seems incredibly challenging to win as the coalition. Apparently Cameron had already tweaked it to be easier for the coalition already. The best I can think of is that the coalition should immediately flee the area to the dust off point and ignore the's worth 5 points. If they can do it promptly enough they will score points and deny the insurgents. Seems a bit cheesy, although it's probably easier said than done.

Over on Big Force on Force (LINK) I was reading an old writeup that mentioned that fighting insurgents with TQ d8/ morale d12 is hell.....well even TQ d6 and morale d12 was pretty rough.We suggested that the next edit include reducing the insurgent morale to make them more likely to pin as a result of received fire.

As to the mechanics:
In a assymmetric fight (regulars vs insurgents), the regulars always have initiative. They choose what to do, and the insurgents merely respond. After the regulars finish, if any insurgents haven't blown their actions, they get to move/fire.

Movement is set distances and is either tactical or fast. Fast movement can't enter buildings and decreases fire power slightly. If you are carrying wounded I'm not sure if that slows you or not. 

Firing is announced and the two sides dice off on troop quality to see who goes first, so it's possible to be the phasing side, targeting a unit, and still get hosed with gunfire first. Because other fireteams in view can also try and react to the firefight you get a multiple squad resolution in determining who fired first at whom. Overwatch adds a bit more to this, but mostly they get to pre-empt certain things/go at the top of the firing queue. Cameron used little arrow counters to help sort this out.

With insurgents they can only react/fire once. Regulars can react as many times as they want....but lose a die of firepower each time. It seems to me that a regular vs regular game would be a lot slower/more confusing with all the extra firing activations. A reaction can also be movement, although I don't remember that occuring more than once (probably used more as you get a handle on the game system).

Troop quality and morale are based on different sized dice (similar to star grunt), with the higher die belonging to better troops. A 4+ is considered a success, and often you need to roll more more successes than failures to do certain things (like pass morale checks for getting shot).

When you botch reaction rolls, you pull a fog of war card, which adds interesting little events to either side. Guns jamming, good/bad positions, sudden increases/decreases in troop quality/moral, appearance/disappearance of assets (like drones, or the operator squad Cameron got...then lost). Helps shake things up a bit.

I was quite intrigued by the game and am looking forward to trying it again. 

No comments:

Post a Comment