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Subject: Tide of Iron: Days of the Fox. A short review. rss

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Tide of Iron: Days of the Fox. A short review.

After seeming an eternity the eagerly awaited TOI expansion has finally hit the shops. Picked mine up on Friday and couldn’t wait to see what was inside. As per usual with FF games this was a heavy weight and needed a veritable forklift to carry to the cash counter. So here it is a short reviewette of some of the main points. Never enough time to write long reviews these days.

TOI: DOTF takes the game into the desert where Rommel and Monty can duke it out over the sands of North Africa.

Components:

As per usual with FF products the components are very satisfying. You get a full OB of British soldiers, tanks and other bits and bobs. A smattering of new German armour (PZ Mk 3 and Panthers) and a new American anti tank gun and the fearsome German 88! The set that I received all checked out with no missing bits. Also the plastic cannon fodder fitted much more easily into the bases than the previous release, so it seems that FF have been listening to feedback about the small hole vs big peg problem. As per usual the figures are nicely moulded and strangely didn’t have bendy truck or gun problems. Maybe FF opted for better quality plastic or I’ve just been darn lucky. The boards are great with fantastic artwork and carry on the highly modular theme. The cards were usual FF standard not too thick and not too thin.

The Game.

While the game adds a host of new figures there are only really four new ‘unit types’. One being the AT guns of course and three squad specialisations: Alpha, Bravo and Recon. The latter being the most potent as it allows the squad to move stealthily and adds an additional movement point.
I think where this expansion truly shines is in the new play cards which I must say remind me of the types of cards found in Combat Commander Europe. These cards seem to be designed to throw in a bit of random chaos in a ‘deserty’ sort of way. For example Sweat it Out allows you to fatigue two of your units and then two of your opponents allowing you to essentially knock out two crucial enemy squads for a turn at the expense of two maybe less crucial ones of your own. Sniper attack allows you to target squads with free attacks in order to eliminate squad members. Dust Clouds can be played which obscures units and allows them extra cover and last but not least ‘Sticky Bombs’ a la Private Ryan.

The expansion comes with six scenarios. This may seem slightly thin on the ground but when you consider the online resources available I’m sure dozens more will start to spring up. Played through Hell Fire pass and I must say that the British tanks had a hard time with the dug in AT guns. A great scenario that demonstrates the new AT gun rules and their ability against tanks.

Overall.

A worthy expansion? I would say yes. While it doesn’t add much to the overall shape of the game it does add lots of different possibilities with the addition of the British OB and the AT guns. Never really understood why AT guns were not included in the original product? In essence this expansion pack adds a ton of chrome while not introducing too many new rules or concepts into the mix. There should be enough here to keep TOI enthusiasts happy before the next instalment is released. Is it essential to run TOI? Erm no TOI will still play great with or without this expansion.
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Richard Berg
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"Never really understood why AT guns were not included in the original product?"

I thought they were. They're represented by a counter you attach to a squad, right?

RHB
 
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Barry Kendall
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Richard, the counter represented a man-portable weapon such as a bazooka or Panzerschreck. These don't have the same punch/range as a tank main gun in ToI (though AT guns could be inferred from the tank gun values and alternative pieces added by a mildly inventive gamer).

The AT guns in the supplement require not only the weapon but a round squad stand with infantry representing the gun crew. They are more powerful than the squad-carried AT weapon in the original.

AT guns can also be "captured" if taken over by hostile infantry and turned on their erstwhile friends. I'm trying to think of an occasion in the war when an industrious infantry squad started shooting a captured "88" in the middle of a firefight but so far no example comes to mind.

I suppose it could have happened on "Combat," though that kind of gamey stuff would have been more likely on "The Gallant Men."

Gee, I'm showing my age again.
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DK Kemler
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BROG wrote:
"Never really understood why AT guns were not included in the original product?"

I thought they were. They're represented by a counter you attach to a squad, right?

RHB


As I recall, AT guns were planned to be part of the original release, but were cut because they pushed the price point to high.
 
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Nevin Ball
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Why are Panther tanks, which never saw action in North Africa, included in this expansion?
 
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Bryan Wade
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Per the rulebook:

Quote:
The Panzer III was used heavily in the
North African Campaign (and in the included scenarios), while
the Panther did not see action until much later in the war. The
Panther will be used in future scenarios, and may also be used
by players when creating their own scenarios.
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Chris Birch
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Picked it up myself yesterday,

here's some added comments;

4 x 6 pounders for the Brits (a friend asked why there's no 25 pounder's but I'm not THAT up on Brit equipment in the desert)

4 x Bedford trucks
4 x Bren carriers (attack stats are the same as the mortar so quite useful)
4 x Matilda's
4 x Crusaders
4 x US cannons - their version of the 6 pounder
A set of Brit infantry (I haven't counted how many but you've got the same mix riflemen, elits, officers, mortars and HMG's but less than the US and German sets)
4 x Panthers for future use (I'm SO doing battle of the bulge soon)
4 x Panzer III's

Had a read through the cards and there's some interesting stuff in there including strategy cards to add 76mm barrels to your tanks and improve the short barrelled Panzer III barrels.

The desert boards are actually very detailed - buildings with sandbags around the entrances, and roads with crashed jeeps and trucks. I can see some great vehicle tactics and massed tanks battles.

Apparently if Brit tank crews heard an 88mm gun fire or saw a hit nearby they'd bail out straight away because they knew it would get them next. We'll see if this is true in my up coming games!

Overall I like the new specialisations offered for infantry but I feel the rules for moving guns seems odd. At the moment an unfatigued infanty unit with a gun can move it one space. With large boards and a bad choice of placement of a cannon you could have a useless unit. It also further reduces the usefulness of trucks. I can already see a house rule that a truck can move a gun if it has a fresh infantry unit with it. So you'd use the same rules as loading and unloading an infantry unit, except the gun comes along for the ride too.

I'll try the official rules of course first and see how it works - it's probably to force you to think about your placement strategy first - maybe guns weren't racing around the real battlefield in a hurry. Saying that perhaps some secret placement of guns would be great - anyone for some sherman hunting with camouflaged 88's in the bocages??

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Andy M
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menno wrote:
Played through Hell Fire pass and I must say that the British tanks had a hard time with the dug in AT guns. A great scenario that demonstrates the new AT gun rules and their ability against tanks.


Fun scenario, but the Brits seem to just have way too many forces to be stopped! My opponent didn't really bother moving anything until turn 3 and he still won!
 
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Chadwik
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Quote:
a friend asked why there's no 25 pounder's but I'm not THAT up on Brit equipment in the desert

The 25-pounders were designated as artillery/howitzers rather than straight AT guns. To this effect, they would more often be utilized far behind the lines as indirect fire weapons and thus be represented in ToI via the artillery bombardment cards. It wouldn't be unheard of to have a battery of 25-pounder at or near the front lines but it would be the exception rather than the rule (like having their position be overrun during a deep enemy penetration).
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Barry Kendall
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I wouldn't expect to see 25 pdrs until/unless the US 105 appears. These are medium Field Artillery pieces, not AT guns (though I have it from an old 105 battery Bulge vet that each battery did carry AP rounds for defense against tanks).

On the other hand, I hope to see the Soviet 76.2mm "Crash-Boom" DP gun in the Eastern Front expansion. They used it both as an AT weapon and a direct-fire Infantry Support piece firing HE.
 
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Henri Harju
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moss_icon wrote:
menno wrote:
Played through Hell Fire pass and I must say that the British tanks had a hard time with the dug in AT guns. A great scenario that demonstrates the new AT gun rules and their ability against tanks.


Fun scenario, but the Brits seem to just have way too many forces to be stopped! My opponent didn't really bother moving anything until turn 3 and he still won!


So, is it safe to say that the general scenario balance is still up there in the horse's ass? If that's true, then.. God Damn.
 
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Andy M
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Henkka wrote:
moss_icon wrote:
menno wrote:
Played through Hell Fire pass and I must say that the British tanks had a hard time with the dug in AT guns. A great scenario that demonstrates the new AT gun rules and their ability against tanks.


Fun scenario, but the Brits seem to just have way too many forces to be stopped! My opponent didn't really bother moving anything until turn 3 and he still won!


So, is it safe to say that the general scenario balance is still up there in the horse's ass? If that's true, then.. God Damn.


You are reading a lot into one comment about one play of one scenario

My opponent won on the final turn, and the reason he didn't move much until turn 3 was that you only have 2 tanks in turn 1 and 2 more in turn 2, and the AT guns tear them to shreds. So he was just waiting for support. It's a good scenario, but it feels overwhelming. The time limit is the best friend of the Germans in this one.
 
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Chris Birch
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Planning for a session this weekend - sorted out all the pieces in to the main box last night - gonna take a bloody pack mule to move the box now!!
 
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Chris Birch
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Barry Kendall wrote:
I wouldn't expect to see 25 pdrs until/unless the US 105 appears. These are medium Field Artillery pieces, not AT guns (though I have it from an old 105 battery Bulge vet that each battery did carry AP rounds for defense against tanks).

On the other hand, I hope to see the Soviet 76.2mm "Crash-Boom" DP gun in the Eastern Front expansion. They used it both as an AT weapon and a direct-fire Infantry Support piece firing HE.


ah yes makes sense, but now i'd love to see a 25 pounder versus a tank......

To be honest i'm hoping we'll see more expansion of the US/Brit and German forces before we see the russian front. As easy expansion would be a set of vehicles, new infantry? new strategy card decks and the relevant stats.


 
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Andy M
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I don't think ToI has ever strived to be the epitome of realism, and I suspect the vast majority of players do not give a rats rectum for such specifics!
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If Actions Speak Louder Than Words, Then Actions x2 Speak Louder Than Actions
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Quote:
Tide of Iron: Days of the Fox. A short review.


That was short.
 
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Z A
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Quote:
Sorry that asking a question about the specifics of the game and how it models history bothers you and the vast majority of players.


Hmmm...I think it's "bothering" ToI fans that people who don't like the game kept popping on ToI threads and commenting negatively about the game (not that your comment is in any way negative, cause its not). Fans are notoriously protective of the things they are fanatical about (hence, being fans).

As for reasons, cause I too thought it odd to include the 6lb. AT gun, rather than say...the more common 2lb. AT gun. I'm guessing game "balance" issues. After all, there has been alot of negative feedback about the "unbalanced" nature of the official scenarios. Just imagine the negative feedback if the Brits got stuck with an AT gun with firepower 4.

PS: Maybe I'm doing something very wrong, but every official scenario I've played went WAY different than most experiences I've read about here on BGG. All of the "unbalanced" scenarios I've tried came down to the wire with about equal chances of a win. All of the "balanced" ones ended (in all but one occasion) with my units being slaughtered to a man.shake
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Aljoscha S. Nett
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Zarion of Arabel wrote:

As for reasons, cause I too thought it odd to include the 6lb. AT gun, rather than say...the more common 2lb. AT gun. I'm guessing game "balance" issues.


And do not forget that it is cheaper to produce only one mould for the british and american Forces, than giving each their own cast!

I'm still waiting for my copy to arrive in Germany, so I can not say anything about Play-Balance...

Cheers,
Aljoscha
 
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Barry Doyle
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Tide of Iron: Days of the Fox. An Even SHORTER "review".

WOW!surprise






Pardon the brevity of my additional "review", but I'm overwhelmed.

I got my copy today, and I'm extremely impressed. I can't wait to lay this one out on the table and give it a go. From here on out, I'm a full-fledged, died-in-the-wool ToI junkie.

My only "complaint" is with the number of bits - I feel it could have used more units, but I guess I'll just have to buy a second copy. Darn.
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Z A
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Quote:
I did, and everyone I played with did, that's why I sold ToI.


So, um, why do you keep coming and posting on ToI threads?

I thought the idea behing BGG was so people who enjoy the same boardgames could have a place to discuss ideas and share stories. Or am I missing the point?

Should I actually be going on CC:E and M'44 threads all the time and talking about how utterly stupid I think card driven tactical combat is?

Note: If I could, I would do absolutely nothing but sit around and playtest the shit out of every single scenario posted to FFG, and write a 17 page review for each one. However, I have these things called "real world responsibilities" (like a wife, university, dishes, etc.) and thus, am unable to dedicate all of my time to playing ToI.
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RIK FONTANA
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Bravo Zarion!
 
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My apologies generalpf, I was being very rude (something I try hard not to do, it's easy to forget when the person isn't in front of you). And to a fellow Canadian to boot.shake

You do have a valid point (though I find it somewhat odd to want to get expansions for a game I don't own).

As for the scenario "problem", Mike Z's editor is so simple a blind deaf goat could use it. It takes me all of 10 minutes to throw together a "rough draft" scenario. Personally, I think the editor is worth all the official scenarios I could get. Think, at the scale that ToI is most likely at there would need to be thousands of official scenarios to cover all the possible engagments that a player might want.

Google "wwii after action report"
 
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Matt Siegel
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I think the greatest addition would have to be the disruption deck, german air support deck, AT guns of course, the three new specializations, and the Bloody Brits. For approx. $40 avg. this ain't too damn bad, especially with the scenarios and map tiles tied in. I wish FFG has the manpower WotC does, but with their high production value and the scenarios being historically accurate as far as objectives and 'lop-sided-ness' everyone bickers about, I cannot complain. The Germans have the upper hand to begin with--remember that 37mm cannons unruled the battlefield in the Allied beginning and the balance between historical inaccuracy and scenario tailoring, this is a wondrous time for TOI fans for it is merely the beginning of the expansions. Lets be happy that FFG profited from the base game to do this. All I could ask for is to be asked for an application or resume. In the meanwhile, I count the days until the scenario editor is updated, but 'til then, The Fall of Tobruk and the rescue mission are in my sights.
 
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Z A
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Oh, to let my imagination run wild and think of all the possibilities for future ToI stuff. Personally, I think the strategy and operations cards are a stroke of brillliance! What a perfect way to add a little "outside influence" to what are (essentially) limited scope tactical operations (tactical operations during WWII were rarely, if ever, conducted with organizational units smaller than a company). No cumbersome aircraft or artillery rules, no extra miniatures needed!

The specialization tokens are utter genius. The plethora of possible options for future tokens (IMHO) are limitless. ToI is a finely crafted system, very "modular" in nature, very easy to expand and modify without adding too much complexity.

Oh, I'm drooling now.

Keep up the fine work FFG!
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My take:
If it weren't for this expansion, I would sell Toi.
But with it, this game comes to life!
I have already put the Crusader (all tank) scenario on the table, and except for the PZ4s being too large, it is great.
I have said it before, FFG appeared to make this game w/in House Talent, and they did a great job w/the game.
But, to craft true historical scenarios takes a special brand of ability, which they didn't have, so what did they do? They hired Dana Lombardi, formerly one of the creators of L2 games, and a powerhouse name in the world of Historical wargaming.
Result? His scenarios are excellent (4 of them I believe).
I have never worried about having 40 scenarios or whatnot, I'd Much rather have 3 or 4 excellent ones, which this expansion provides.
As far as comparisons to those fine games, CCE and M44?
Live and let live. Their is plenty of time and gametable and shelf space for all of them! Each has it's own strengths, so enjoy them if you wish, or not.

Try the Crusader scenario, it is a lot of fun w/Tanks.
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