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Tide of Iron: Next Wave» Forums » Reviews

Subject: Tide of Iron line overview and buying guide rss

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Mike
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So, with Fantasy Flight Games’ annual Holiday Sale in full swing we might get one last chance to reliably get our hands on the ToI line. As of writing, most ToI products are still available and with significant discounts.

For those wondering whether to jump into the system and what to buy, I thought I’d throw together a quick guide based on my personal experiences. This review assumes you have the most basic of knowledge what ToI is, so I’ll not delve into its core concepts.

The list below presents a suggested order of buying with the assumption that you don’t have a particular preference for a specific theatre of operations. Obviously if you’re e.g. greatly interested in the Normandy landings but do not care as much for the eastern front, Normandy should be higher on your list, etc.


1. Next Wave core set

The good stuff: Pretty much everything

A pretty obvious place to start really. It bears mentioning that the core set is a self-contained game that in itself will give you many hours of enjoyment plus a lot of tools to craft your own scenarios.

With the Next Wave set available, the previous edition core set is obsolete. Everything that was changed is in my opinion an improvement, from the layout and presentation of the rules through the balance of scenarios to the models included. Get the old edition only if it’s completely impossible to get the Next Wave set.


2. Days of the Fox (DotF)

The good stuff: British forces, AT guns, desert boards

The problem with DotF is its availability. This set has been out of print for many years. 1A Games promised a reprint last year but that never happened. DotF very hard to get hold of which is a great shame because I think it’s the best of the expansions overall.

DotF introduces a whole new setting (North Africa) and a new nation – the Brits, along with a whole set of miniatures, including armour and transport vehicles. It also brings At guns for all 3 armies and some new armour for the Germans.

There are several new scenarios all of which seem pretty well balanced (by ToI standards at least). At the same time the expansion does not introduce a whole lot of new rules so does not add to the complexity of the game. You can jump straight in even if you’ve not played everything the core set has to offer.

There is little negative I can say about this set really. If you ever have a chance to get it, e.g. stumble upon a second-hand copy, I strongly advise you do.


3. Fury of the Bear (FotB)

The good sfuff: Soviet forces, winter boards

FotB is a very polarising expansion. There is a lot of good stuff in it but it also suffers from serious problems.

The good first: another new setting (eastern front) including both summer and winter map boards and a new nation – the Soviet Union with a corresponding set of models (again, including armour, transports and AT guns). With DotF, this gives you 4 complete armies and 3 operations theatres to play your games on. That’s a lot of versatility and replayability!

This expansion also introduces a few new tricks, such as saboteurs (who are frankly a bit overcomplicated), specialised tank ammunition and combined decks where both sides draw from a single deck of cards. All of these add some variety but are hardly game-changing.

However, it is quite obvious that the production of FotB was rushed. There are serious errors in the rule/scenario book and without an errata some of the scenarios don’t even make sense. Balance is a serious issue – the scenarios were obviously insufficiently playtested and come in 4 forms: “relatively balanced”, “quite unbalanced”, “very unbalanced” and “what were they thinking?”. Some of the cards also may make you want to flip the table.

Despite all that I do believe that the good outweighs the bad here quite significantly. You just have to be prepared to put some effort into this set for it to be playable – dig around for errata, proposed revisions and new scenarios. If you don’t feel like you’re prepared to do so, knock FotB down at least one space on this list.


4. Stalingrad

The good stuff: urban boards, urban combat, campaign

The first (and only) expansion put out by 1A Games. It introduces a new setting and a lot of new rules.

The new boards are definitely a plus but the rules for urban combat are pretty extensive and involved. This is certainly not an expansion for newer players – you have to be quite familiar with all the basic concepts and rules of the game before you jump in. On the other hand this provides you with a myriad of new options and challenges (multi-level buildings, sewer movement, booby traps, snipers, burning board sections) and breathes fresh air into the game.

Stalingrad introduces a campaign system which revolves around the acquisition of resources. A very thematic concept which, again, is a quite complex in its execution.

Stalingrad unfortunately brings in very little in the way of new units. If you already have above sets, the only really new model is a Soviet light tank – all of the other modes (Soviet infantry and tanks, German armour) already appeared elsewhere.


5. Normandy

The good stuff: beach boards, bocage boards, weather deck

This expansion is labelled as a “campaign expansion” but the campaign system is hands down one of the weakest additions. I found to be poorly balanced and the scenarios play better individually.

The expansion does introduce several interesting new concepts – the weather deck is particularly fun as it can seriously shake up the game. There is also a set of illustrious commanders you can choose from to lead your forces an each of those comes with their deck of cards used to replace the generic decks which come with the base game.

There are a few new models, including British infantry (no Brit vehicles though) and new pieces of German armour (including the formidable King Tiger) but the majority is a repetition of what you already have if you purchased the Next Wave set and DotF.


6. Designer Series vol. 1

This is just a book of scenarios, so you’re not getting any new models or map boards. The scenarios are crafted by some renowned designers and introduce a lot of variety and unusual settings to the game. 3 of the scenarios made their way into the Next Wave core set, while several other require you to have DotF. There is also one which requires two base sets.

Hardly an essential expansion but if you feel like you don’t have enough variety in your scenario pool, this is your place to go (apart from the BGG database).


99. Map Pack 1

A set of map boards, the same as provided in the core set. Nowadays, there is literally zero reasons to get this – originally they were intended to provide a visually updated alternative to the boards supplied in the old core set, but the Next Wave core set already has the updated ones.



I hope some of you who might be on the fence on whether or how to invest in ToI find this helpful. There is still some chance that the line is resurrected by FFG (now that they have lost Games Workshop’s license they might focus more on their own products) or is licensed to a more successful outside company. Here’s hoping!
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Jon Darlington
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Thanks for this list! Good summary for those pondering making the jump. Such a shame that FFG's shipping rates to Canada make even this sale unattractive.

Incidentally, I see the 1A Games site is unreachable today, at least for me. I hope it's not gone forever; there were some good scenarios and other resources there.

www.1agames.com
 
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Kevin L. Kitchens
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JDarlington wrote:
Thanks for this list! Good summary for those pondering making the jump. Such a shame that FFG's shipping rates to Canada make even this sale unattractive.

Incidentally, I see the 1A Games site is unreachable today, at least for me. I hope it's not gone forever; there were some good scenarios and other resources there.

www.1agames.com


Up now whatever it was.
 
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János Lacza
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JDarlington wrote:
Thanks for this list! Good summary for those pondering making the jump. Such a shame that FFG's shipping rates to Canada make even this sale unattractive.

Incidentally, I see the 1A Games site is unreachable today, at least for me. I hope it's not gone forever; there were some good scenarios and other resources there.

www.1agames.com


I can access it and "just in case" I've downloaded everything downloadable.
 
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Ilan Muskat
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If you're curious about the current status of the 1A license for Tide of Iron, this Kickstarter update from a year ago is (sadly) informative:

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1641418217/1as-next-wav...

Quote:
It has been jointly decided by both 1A and FFG that the time has come for the two companies to part ways. As a result, FFG has taken back all of the inventory and all the control of the ToI property effective immediately.

FFG has given us no direct information about what their plans for the future of the line may be. Any questions concerning Tide of Iron which do not regard this kickstarter - rules interpretations, future expansions, replacement parts, etc... - should be directed at FFG. 1A Games is no longer able to sell, produce, develop, or market anything to do with the Tide of Iron game. The files currently available for download on our website (which will remain there for the foreseeable future) are our final offerings to the line.

Any comments or ire in regards to how this kickstarter has been (mis)handled should be directed to us here at 1A Games, and NOT to FFG.
 
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Miles Stevenson
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Wow I wasn't even aware of all that. Thanks for sharing. I have Next Wave, FoTB, and Normandy. They have just been sitting on my shelf for a year and I've only played one scenario of the Next Wave kit. It seems like a fun game, but seeing all this drama I wonder if I should just trade the game away instead of getting invested.
 
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Chris Friend
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It all depends on how much fun you had with it. All the drama, as you put it, can easily be brushed aside. You've got endless hours of good game with what you have. But that's just my opinion. I'm a "hard core" hex and counter wargamer but went all in with M44 because it's fun too. Then after getting in to ToI I haven't touched my M44 stuff since. Not that M44 isn't still great, I just enjoy ToI more. Again, just one guy's opinion.
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Ilan Muskat
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Except for games that are explicitly about expanding selections of cards (or miniatures, or scenarios), "continued support" is generally low on the list as to whether a game is worth the effort.

I know that despite sluggish support and all-but-moribund status, I still really like Dust Tactics and AT-43, both aesthetically and mechanically. I haven't even *really* felt the need to expand Dust beyond the first two expansions, because that still gives me tons of troops and scenarios to work through.

As for Tide of Iron, it's an incredibly involved, flexible system that gives you tons of options even with the core set. With FotB and Normandy you've got lots of extra potential. In many ways, the end of the 1A license probably means the absence of drama; it's almost a "finished" game.

TL;DR: if you enjoy it and think you'll get it on the table, definitely hang onto it! And if not, there are a lot of other options for WW2 battles.
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Mike
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I agree that ToI is pretty much "complete" as it is. The existing sets (even if you discount DotF which is very hard, albeit not impossible, to get) give you a tremendous wealth of options. If you have a knack for designing your own scenarios there is literally no limit to the options available.

To me ToI is the perfect sweet spot between very complex chits or blocks on a map type games which I find visually unappealing and therefore unengaging, and simplistic games like Memoir 44 and its ilk. ToI looks gorgeous and is still complex and involved enough to make you feel you are in control of the action and directly responsible for either success or failure (horridly unbalanced scenarios aside naturally).
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Bermondsey Battler
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I hit the Holiday Sale and got all of it except DoTF and the map pack for 50% off, to save for when my son gets older and outgrows Memoir 44. IAm fine with them never making any more, that was a nearly 30 lb box o gaming fun that came on Thursday lol
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Dan Rohrman
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Hello All;

Just got the Core Set from Amazon for under $50.00 with free prime shipping.

Do I need to go Expansion Crazy with this system or will the core set be enough to scratch this itch?

From reading this - seems like FOTB + Core Game may be Plenty and Stalingrad may over complicate.

Thank You Mike for the super detailed Intel!



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Hss Hss
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The next wave core set gets you plenty. With it you can play most scenarios.

 
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Michael Merritt
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Miniature Market has the Next Wave Core, Fury of the Bear, Stalingrad, Normandy, and Designer Series book ($12.00 ones are the newest by 1A Games).
All are at clearance prices and free shipping at $99 ($5.99 for FedEx Smartpost which takes 5-7 days, I think the free shipping is the same). Stalingrad is a great choice but play the Next Wave Core set before making any decisions. If you like the game I'd say get all the available expansions (unfortunately Days of the Fox is not easy to find).

Hope this helps!
 
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Mike
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Seconded, although I do feel that if you have the chance, I'd recommend getting any expansions as soon as possible, even if you do not feel you'll be using them straight away. The thing is, ToI's production is now stuck in limbo and we have no idea when, if ever, we're going to see reprints. If you can get some (or all, wallet depending) of the expansions, I'd suggest you do, even if you don't feel like playing them right away. When you get enough games under your belt to crack them open, you'll be glad you bought them - later they may be even harder, if not impossible, to get.

I'm writing from experience here - I neglected to get Days of the Fox when it was first came out and it turned out to be a long and bloody battle to obtain a second-hand copy in the end. Save yourself the trouble and get now the expansions you think you might need later.
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Dan Rohrman
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bluefalcon251 wrote:
Miniature Market has the Next Wave Core, Fury of the Bear, Stalingrad, Normandy, and Designer Series book ($12.00 ones are the newest by 1A Games).
All are at clearance prices and free shipping at $99.
Hope this helps!


It Did Indeed Help! Thank You!

I got Stalingrad and Normandy from Miniature Market (And Combat Commander Europe to secure Free Shipping)

I got FOTB From Amazon for $31.49 with free prime shipping!
$7.50 cheaper than MM.

Thanks Guys!

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Chris Friend
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Great! I have a pessimistic view of the series now that everything is back with FFG. I think they're going to let ToI wither and die. Damn shame. But they're simply making a killing with Star Wars that ToI is a drop in the bucket. I just wish before it's all gone they'd do well to reprint DotF.
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nick P
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I'm glad to see someone express doubts about the special card-rules in Stalingrad and Fury. I too found these rules overcomplex but that is my feeling about the cards in TOI generally. In fact I think the card rules almost strangle this game. The whole complex - and space eating - card system leads me to fixate on them rather than the board action.

I found that the sewer rules were rather opaque and that resource-gathering process in Stalingrad seemed rather unnecessary.

I also don't like it that the vehicles are out of scale with one-another - it bugs me.

I like the numbered special situations-type cards that function as SSRs or attribute special effects to certain tanks (increasing their gun-size for instance). I think cards should be used to itemize the capabilities of the different models of tanks but I would also like to see a growing range of vehicles and armoured cars. Alas, I am given to understand that such things are unlikely. The company running this game are fools from what I can see.

I have the map-pack and they are the same maps as I got in the coffin box. I have everyhting apart from DoTF.
 
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Marcus A
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nickp wrote:
I'm glad to see someone express doubts about the special card-rules in Stalingrad and Fury. I too found these rules overcomplex but that is my feeling about the cards in TOI generally. In fact I think the card rules almost strangle this game. The whole complex - and space eating - card system leads me to fixate on them rather than the board action.

We here love the effect the basic strategy card decks have on the progress of a scenario. The cards are constantly changing important dynamics and create a bit of tactical chaos. The decks have ways of hindering well planned out actions or, conversely, making possible certain tactical efforts; much like the innumerable, sometimes uncontrollable, variables in a real battle.

The playing of certain cards requires players to quickly adjust and adapt to the new situations brought about. Decks like Supply, Ground Support, Morale, and Command add a richness to the game that makes it a much more satisfying tactical contest, in our view.

The best players, we surmise, are the ones who know each card in their assigned deck(s) and when best to spring them on their opponents. Such players would, at times, coordinate their units on the board having in mind the playing of certain cards in their play or HQ area. They would also consider the threats posed by their opponent’s decks.

The examples are endless, but here are two.

With the “Vehicle Parts” card (Supply Deck I) at the ready, I’m a bit more aggressive with tanks, knowing I can probably get a damaged tank repaired, if necessary, during the next Command phase. I also tend to keep an engineer squad close by, if available, to assist in the repair.

If my opponent has a “Sniper Attack” card (Ground Support Deck I) I usually try to set up a contingency action in the event a critical officer or machinegun crew is taken out.

There are certain aspects in TOI that really make the game feel fluid and dynamic. Among these are overrun, assaults, fire and movement, op-fire, rapid op-fire, and strategy decks. That’s our take.
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nick P
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That may be so for you but I find they strangle the rhythm of the game-play. Anyway, I play without 'em for the most part but fair enough.
 
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