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Fields of Fire


Components:
Typical good GMT quality. It takes some time to familiarize the 64 page rulebook. Some quirks, but not much ambiguity to find. A lot of tables are scattered around, but the most used are duplicated in a solid folder

Learn the game.
I find the learning curve long, but not steep. I learned FoF prior to getting a copy myself. Reading the rules and watching videos. Repeat and rinse. Reread rules and watching a few turns of videos once again. Time consuming, but without much effort. No doubt the learning curve will be much steeper not watching the videos.

Veterans: Jump directly chapter: Analysis

Advice to a newbie:
Do yourself a favor and sort the counters. Ziplock or box them. It certainly kills the game by searching for the 1. AT counter among 800 counters. Just like invite your first date home to clean up your dog`s puke. And you do not need to punch out every counter, such as 10 blue cover counters will be enough to start with. Leave the rest along with the brown enemy counters on the frames.
– And you should really consider clipping corners off the counters. (A nail cutter is a great tool). There is a lot of counter pushing involved, amazing how rounded corners keeps it tidy. I clip as I use them, it will be a long boring hours to clip them all prior to your first game.

To avoid a dexterity game of tall stacks, have some space between terrain cards, and place counters in rows with Cover counter on top, and single rows of Expose and Pinned units under it. Now it takes seconds to point at a counter, and simultaneously flip a card to check the hit result.

Totally lost? In complex wargames I try movement first. It makes sense in the real world. And then some basic shooting.

Try this:
Place a HQ with a unit on a terrain card. Place another terrain card above it. Now you want to move the unit up to it.
First you need commands. Draw an Action card and check the number inside the helmet. This is the number of command points your HQ got. Use a point to command the unit (Call it a patrol) to move forward.
The patrol can see the terrain he came from. The HQ can see the terrain the patrol has moved to –in Line of Sight (LOS).
But the distance is too long to communicate. Shouting and yelling does not help. They are out of command range.
Place an Expose marker on the unit. They are moving, and will be more vulnerable to enemy fire.
But the patrol has some common sense, and can act without order from the HQ. Draw another Action card and check the number below the helmet. This is the number of initiatives. Your patrol will spend one of them searching for cover. Check the number at the bottom of the terrain card. Draw that number of action cards. If at least one card reads “Cover” , place a blue cover counter on top of patrol counter. End the turn by removing the Expose marker. The patrol is standing still now.

If you managed to do this, and understand what you did, then you understand 50% of the core mechanism in FoF.

Now some fire.
Do the same exercise as last time.
But after searching for cover, the enemy will react.. Draw 5 cards and check for the word “Contact” (Number of draws varies, but in this example just draw 5 cards).
If there is a contact: Place a German MG on a new terrain card adjacent to the patrol terrain card
Place a red PDF marker between the cards. A yellow arrow shows the direction of lead flying.
Place red VOF marker next to the patrol unit. No need to find the correct one in this example. It just shows how much lead hitting the area around the patrol unit.

Now calculate the hit points (called NCM in the rules). Add up terrain modifier upper left corner, to the blue cover if applicable. Subtract numbers on red markers. You should end up with a number probably ranging from -2 to +2.
Draw an action card and check if it is a hit, miss or pinned. If pinned, place a Pinned marker on the unit. Now the guys lying on the ground bury their noses into the dirt, making it harder to hit next time.

If you got it, and it makes sense, then you understand 70% of the FoF core mechanism.

Most important: Have FUN!
Do not try to make everything perfect. In my first mission I probably missed at least 20% of the rules, some forgotten, some never read. I used max 5 commands of the 50 available.
And I had a blast! Tense simulation experience with a lot of memorable moments.
I am sure that even veterans often forget several rules without ruin the game.

When you are fed up with slow progress during your learning game. Flipping through the rulebook – searching… Grinding almost to a halt. The fun is almost gone.
And then the enemy shows up. A Sniper with a long brain burning procedure. The fun is definitely gone…
What to do: Forget the sniper; pick the familiar MG nest instead. Have fun! –Later, when leaving your Cave, take the rulebook with you. Relax in your favorite chair, have a beer, and now read the Sniper procedure.
Point is: bend and break the rules when fun is gone during a learning game. It is your game. You paid for it and can do what you want. Yes it is all about having fun.

Veterans – start here:

Analysis.

FoF is a strange game. According to my preferences, I certainly should not like it. But this is my number ONE. Strange.

After 40 years of wargaming I realized that tactical squad level games are not for me. I prefer grand strategy games pushing armies around, and operational level games such as Road to Moscow. My only keeper is Fighting Formations. Rest is sold, or up for sale. Tide of Iron. M `44. ASL collection. Sergeants!

I just had to ask myself: Why is FoF so great for me?

- Terrain. All other games have a geomorphic map. Well, it is just a map. FoF is Up Front done right. As words in a novel create images in your mind, the terrain pictures create a terrain at ground level in your mind. Wood with an open field. A farm connected to a village with a road. The area behind the church is a marsh, and so on.

- Patrols. I play Combat Missions (tactical squad level) on PC, mainly because of patrol tactics prior to enemy contact. This is an extremely important part of the tactical game that is neglected in ordinary boardgames. You usually start very close to enemy contact.
- In FoF you must use patrol (simplified) tactics. Sending a patrol into open terrain when enemy contact is highly likely is different to a patrol entering woods with less chance to encounter enemy.

- Enemy forces and Fog of War. In multiplayer wargames (I do like them) you know what you are up to (Enemy OoB). Finding the two HMG nests, and you know that`s it. In FoF Fog of War are handled perfect, thanks to the solitaire system. You never knows what the enemy throws at you, where, what, when and how. Add the increasing friction and Command structure that deteriorate during the mission. After the first contact you must certainly adjust your initial plan. No doubt a great simulation.

- Rewarding progress. Now I use only 5 Commands. Looking forward to dig deep into the remaining 50 commands available.

- Tells a story that you will remember for a long time. I know ASL does the same, but Fof does it without the fiddly details. In my last game a small patrol encountered an 88 gun in an open field with no cover. Extremely surprised that they survived only pinned. Next turn the gun shifted to my 2. Platoon in woods with cover. Disaster. Litter teams. Paralyzed, and killing my Sgt staff.

- Planning. My favorite (until now) game was Thunderbolt Apache Leader. Really enjoy the pre game planning with buying different aircraft and pilots. Highly unrealistic, but fun. FoF does much of the same pre game planning, but much more realistic.

- Follow your cardboard friends in a campaign. My most played solitaire game is no doubt B17 Queen of Skies. Enjoyed the story that unfolds between missions. The old veteran that saved the aircraft many times is killed and replaced by a green newbie. Have the same feeling in FoF. Now my 1. Platoon is strong with veterans, while 3. Platoon is weaker, planned to mop up exposed enemies and hold back as reserve.

- Extremely tense. In other games you have the result in a split second by a die roll. In FoF this is torturing slow. Flipping one card a time waiting for the word “Cover”. Flipping the final card and you are sitting on the edge of the chair.

Edit:
Forgot to mention the very short setup time for this incredible deep game. Similar deep games takes an evening to setup.

Edit 2:
Also forgot: Full background story of 9. Regiment in general, and missions/campaigns.

Adding all the stuff above and I know why it beats old favorites, even my preferred 2 player strategy games. With Korea and Vietnam campaigns with helicopters and armor, FoF will certainly not collect dust.

Thanks for reading!



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Theaty Hannington
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eker wrote:
Point is: bend and break the rules when fun is gone during a learning game. It is your game.


Well said! I find your reflections on the "how to learn" aspect of enjoying this game most helpful and in-line with a reasoning thread that speaks to me. Thank you for sharing in a way that is so well said.
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Luke Hughes
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Eloquent and thoughtful review. Liked your patrol point.

Luke
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Randy Mauldin
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Sometimes, dealing the terrain cards is the best part of the game. I once had hills on the second row left and third row, left, and then woods and then two hills to the right of the woods on the third row. In my minds eye I could just see those hills. Neat concept.
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Stuart
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eker wrote:
Fields of Fire

Most important: Have FUN!
Do not try to make everything perfect. In my first mission I probably missed at least 20% of the rules, some forgotten, some never read. I used max 5 commands of the 50 available.
And I had a blast! Tense simulation experience with a lot of memorable moments.
I am sure that even veterans often forget several rules without ruin the game.

When you are fed up with slow progress during your learning game. Flipping through the rulebook – searching… Grinding almost to a halt. The fun is almost gone.
And then the enemy shows up. A Sniper with a long brain burning procedure. The fun is definitely gone…
What to do: Forget the sniper; pick the familiar MG nest instead. Have fun! –Later, when leaving your Cave, take the rulebook with you. Relax in your favorite chair, have a beer, and now read the Sniper procedure.
Point is: bend and break the rules when fun is gone during a learning game. It is your game. You paid for it and can do what you want. Yes it is all about having fun.



I think your points above, and the way in which you make them, are 100% spot on. I need to remind myself of this more often when I'm tying myself in knots attempting to figure something out..... just roll with it and have fun! laugh
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Tim Royal
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I was intrigued enough to order it yesterday, and then I read this and now I'm even more excited. I'll fit into the 'new player' camp, not veteran, so the tips you've given above have already put me in a proper mindset to approach the game when it arrives.

Thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts on the game.
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J Mar
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Yes, I feel the same as you. It's tense, it's brilliant, it's complicated but...when you think about the rules, they make a lot of sense. And that is wonderful.

I made a lot of errors, even now. I just realised yesterday you can't send fire teams as recon. You have to upgrade them to assault teams. That's not illogical, your HQ spends time to give the team it's orders, etc etc.
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Fimon Telarde
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JMar wrote:
Yes, I feel the same as you. It's tense, it's brilliant, it's complicated but...when you think about the rules, they make a lot of sense. And that is wonderful.

I made a lot of errors, even now. I just realised yesterday you can't send fire teams as recon. You have to upgrade them to assault teams. That's not illogical, your HQ spends time to give the team it's orders, etc etc.



waaaaaa
you just blew my mind , been playing it wrong lol
 
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