Fields of Honor
© 2000 Pinnacle Entertainment Group, Inc.
2 or more players if you divide up the armies
Play Time: 2-Several Hours
There are many games depicting World War II, the American Civil War, and even wars that have not even happened yet, but outside miniatures few on the American War for Independence. With the exception of Avalon Hill’s 1776 and Decision Games’ Rebels and Redcoats there just aren’t that many games out there that cover one of America’s Most important conflicts.
Out of the box Fields of Honor lends itself to be something unique indeed. The developers showcase the game to be a miniatures game that can also be played as a board game. The truly great thing is they provide you with the playing pieces to do just that. The game comes packaged with a set of America, British, French, and Hessian counters complete with infantry, cavalry, and artillery units. All are required for some good old-fashioned 18th century musketry and cannonade mayhem.
It comes with a few beautifully colored and detailed map “boards” (they are paper but still glossy and pretty) and six pre set battle scenarios. These cover the most important battles from Bunker Hill to Monmouth and Brandywine. Even Better is when you are tired of the scenarios they even give you a map and separate rules for a campaign game that covers the whole Eastern U.S. where the battles can be quick resolved or fought out on the battle maps.
Fields of Honor does a great justice to simulating the types of tactics employed in warfare during the late 1700’s. Also you are not bound by rigid historical unit deployment like in Rebels and Redcoats. FoH basically shows you a general area of the mp to deploy in and that’s where you go. You can set up in any formation or terrain within this zone you desire. Each unit has different formations it can assume regular infantry and cavalry can form in march column or line of battle, light infantry or riflemen can form a skirmish formation, and cannons can limber and unlimber. Formation changes are easy too as you just flip the counter over to its other side.
Each unit can also conduct 2 different attacks “fire” or “melee.” An often modified d10 roll resolves fire attacks, and a competitive roll between the players resolves melee attacks. The abilities of the units to perform these actions are laid out in a simple A, B, C, D, E scale “A” being the best adding +2 to a die roll and “E” the worst subtracting a –2 on a die roll. The corresponding modifier tables for different combat situations are also very clear and concise. They are even printed on the back of the manual for easy reference.
FoH rings true to history with the distribution of thee ratings. You will see a lot of British units with “A” and “B” ratings in firing and melee due to their superior training so it seems to be an uphill battle for the Americans from the start as, most scenarios have their force comprised of more militia than regular soldiers.
Still I have not found the game to be unbalanced. This is probably due to the fact that each unit after being hit in an attack has to take a morale check/save roll. If the unit passes its check then the unit is safe to fight another day with no penalties. I played many a game where my British regulars ruthlessly pounded pesky American militia units only to have them pass every morale roll and stand their ground. I did find it terribly annoying to turn my head in disgust though after my Scottish Highlanders fled the field like little girls after charging American militia and being beaten in a die roll. It is here that FoH tends to be won or lost by the dice. A fact I never like in games but sometimes is unavoidable.
Additionally at the beginning of each players turn they have to roll for “Fortunes of War” If a 10 (or 0 on the die) is rolled good things happen. If a 1 is rolled bad things can happen. A full route could stop your brilliant counter attack cold. Similarly a division you had previously destroyed could reform and join the fight again! In the end what we come up with is a game that combines ease of play with deep strategy, flexibility replayability, and as always a little luck never hurts.