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Tiago Perretto
Brazil
Curitiba
Parana
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About Warfighter: The Tactical Special Forces Card Game:

1) What is it?
Warfighter: The Tactical Special Forces Card Game, from now on, just Warfighter, is a card game about modern warfare, using hand management and action points as main mechanics. It also has cooperative play and a campaign mode, but it seems more directed to solo play, which is how I have played it.

Warfighter can be sort of intimidating from the start, for those not used to wargames, since it has a good amount of chits and the rulebook is bigger than most of the usual fare of amerigames and euros. However, once one gets into it, things are a lot easier than the first look would lead to believe: the rules are easy enough, even if, due to the nature of having cards with several effects, there are some corner cases not completely covered by the rules, and some consultations of the rules will happen. Still, the flow is steady and the pace, lively, as all the phases can occur fast and the combat is done pretty quickly, with just one die roll per attack made.

The game has luck, not only in the drawing of actions, locations and enemies, but also in the roll of the dice. Still, combats aren't a given thing, no matter how planned and how well trained the soldiers, therefore, randomness is part of the deal.

Warfighter has a high replay value, as it comes with several missions and objectives, and, for each mission, the players can customize the team they sent: every mission has a total amount of points that players can spend to create their team, from picking a soldier, to weapons and skills. If this wasn't enough (and it is) to explain the replay value, there are random enemies and the draw deck of action cards, from where come also the locations the soldiers will need to pass, is also random. This also connects with the good level of thematic flavor the game has, coming from several places: the way locations are thought-out, how weapons and equipaments work, the AI of the Hostiles, the needs to fulfill the objectives, etc.

Overall, Warfighter offers a lot of possibilities, from deciding which team and mission/objective to embark, to how best use cards and weapons, passing by which enemy to take down, which locations to go through, and so on. A rich environment done smartly.

2) How do you play?
I will try to make it short: first the player chooses a mission and an objective related (there are jungle missions, so you would choose jungle objectives, for instance).

The mission shows the amount of points you can spend to create and equip your team. There is also the time you have to complete the goal, the distance the objective is, and some other mission-related rules.

Each soldier has informations on their cards about their value in points, how many life points they have, how much they can carry, the difficulty to hit them, their movement, and other things. Weapons have informations about ammunition, range, weight (loadout cost), firing options, etc. Skills and other equipaments have informations about what they do to help (as example, Marksman, a skill, gives +1 to all ranged attacks).

Once the team is built, is time to start the mission. During the turn, the player has, normally, two or three actions with each soldier/squad/npc. The possible actions are:

- Play cards that use action;
- Attack, be ranged or melee. When attacking, the player chooses, for weapons that allow this, the mode of firing, to use more dice, which also increases the chance of needing to reaload. The player than rolls for two things: to reach the hit number of the weapon, and to beat the cover of the Hostile. If only one of these things happen, the target is Supressed. If both happen, the target is killed;
- Move, which also costs cards;
- Discard and draw - the main soldier (considering solo play), starts with a hand of cards. During the play, when an action is used to draw cards, the player draws cards until she has the number of cards equal to the current health of the soldier;
- Reload;
- Remove Supress.

Then, once all actions are used, it is time for the Hostiles turn. In order this happen:
- Reinforcement draw - location cards usually have a reinforcement number on them. The player draws from the Hostile deck and see if the value of the Hostile is equal or less of the location, and if it is, the Hostile enters play, otherwise it is discarded. Some Hostiles also have reinforcement on them, and it is resolved in the same way;
- Attack - each Hostile, when drawn, once a location is put in play, receives one token, draw randomly, showing which soldier/squad/npc they will attack. They attack in the same way of the soldiers - rolling dice to hit and to beat cover, and can either miss, supress or wound;
- Close range - if the target of the Hostile is out of range, the Hostile moves 1 space;
- Remove Supress counters.

Finally the Timer is moved. A new round begins. This will happen until the time runs out (mission failed), all the soldiers are dead (mission failed) or the objective is fulfilled (mission accomplished) - whichever happens first.

3) Which are the decisions made during play?
First it will be: how to best create your team. This will be the very important as it will both open and restrict your options during the execution of the mission, as well as deciding the level of difficulty - more points expend, more Hostiles to deal with.

Then, during the game, the main decision will be:
- What action to use - some will be given, as using an action to take a surpress counter from a soldier/squad/npc, however, most of the time, the choice of action, and the timming of them, will carry great effect in the gameplay.

Among the choices of actions, the most usual and important will be:
- Which enemy to strike, with which soldier, using what weapon/fire mode;
- When to move and which cards to use to pay for this;
- Which location to put in the path (as locations have several differences one from another: number of Hostiles, entrance cost, reinforcement level, and some unique effects).

The decions, many of the time, won't be too hard. Yet they are important, and several also carry costs and have possibilities of creating difficulties (such as reloading, or spending - for instance, when using a granade), and the players must consider these while deciding what to do.

4) What are the good things in the game?
- High replay value;
- Great level of customization for each mission;
- Lots of possibilities during play;
- Simple AI for the Hostiles, making the game easy to be handled, both in solo as in multiplayer;
- Gives a strong thematic feel.

5) Which are the bad news?
- The game uses both art and real photos in their cards. The photos are ok, but the art tend to have some that are pretty weak - very uneven;
- The manual is organized in a way that is weird to me, and made learning and looking for information harder than it should;
- Missed the opportunity to include some scenarios pre-built, not only to help players start quickly in some cases, but also to pass on some real combat operations;
- The bullet dice, specially the d10 (they roll way too much), are bad to the point needing to be replaced asap;
- The miniatures not only have little value, they detract from the gameplay, as they make harder to tell, at a glance, where everyone are - the use of the chits is simply cleaner and better.

6) How do you feel while playing?
Likely as a bad mission commander. I'm constantly thinking, when things happen: "why did I sent Rowe? I know he can't shoot straight. I should have sent Samaniego. And who had the bright idea to only use short range weapons? Ok. Everyone went forward then... Yes, only to everyone receive damage by the missale. But at least I can Supress it... No. I discarded it to enter here. Nice. One must wonder why I'm still in charge." But, when things do go right, the feeling of proud, or ownership of the result, since you built the team, is strong and very nice.

Warfighter has a lot going on for it: from the possibility of crafting teams and try new formations (making the replay value go through the roof, even with only the base game), to the deep thematic flavor of the situations and cards. Warfighter is a truly well done game, even if not perfect - you can't just sit and start to play (again, I wished for more pre-built scenarios), one needs to spend time building the team -, its flaws are, for the most part, in the production department, which doesn't actually detracts much from the gameplay itself. And is possible to just slap fast a team together and sent out.

In the end, Warfighter goes well recommended for those looking for a solo game, with clean mechanics, quick resolution to combat, high replay value and several of decision-making points, with the counterpoint of requering some work to start the missions: but the pay off is to see if the team YOU build will do the job. Mine, most of the time, don't - but I live on the edge!

Regards,


Image credit: Kappa_ap



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Nik Verheyen
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Nice revieuw! One of my favorite games.
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Moe45673
Canada
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Fyi, the footlocker expansion has prebuilt scenarios. There is also a file on the game page with 100 random scenarios, with just using the base game

One of my favorites. Great review
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Tiago Perretto
Brazil
Curitiba
Parana
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Thinking about my next move.
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So, if my only options are these, then I shall...
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Moe45673 wrote:
Fyi, the footlocker expansion has prebuilt scenarios. There is also a file on the game page with 100 random scenarios, with just using the base game


Very nice to know!
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Moe45673
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FYI, if I can toot my own horn for a bit, I created some files to help speed up squad building: Warfighter Soldier/Weapon/Equip/Skill Stats
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David in Sydney (now in Coffs)
Australia
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Moe45673 wrote:
FYI, if I can toot my own horn for a bit, I created some files to help speed up squad building: Warfighter Soldier/Weapon/Equip/Skill Stats


Toot away! whistle shake
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David in Sydney (now in Coffs)
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The first game of WF I played was the example at the back of the rule book.

I took the example Team, mission and objective and played the game using those. I managed to win with a turn to spare and was hooked...
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