|About game:|| |
In Fields of Fire 2 you take command of a rifle company in the 5th Marines, the most decorated regiment in the US Marine Corps. You will be tested in three campaigns spanning World War II, Korea and Vietnam. You will battle ashore in the blazing heat of Peleliu in September 1944 to discover that the Japanese have changed their strategy and you are forced to dig them out of the coral ridges. Flares will reveal waves of Chinese pouring over the rugged mountains of the Chosin Reservoir, Korea, in sub zero weather in November 1950. You will also fight house to house in Hue City, Vietnam in February 1968.
Fields of Fire is a great solitaire game system that gives players the challenge of commanding a rifle company – on a pretty detailed, low level. The game is different from many tactical games in that it is uses no dice and is card based. By card-based I mean there are two decks used to play. The Terrain Deck is based on a specific region and is used to build a map for the various missions your company must perform. The Action Deck serves many purposes in controlling combat, command and control, various activity attempts.
Would you stand-up to the task and manage to prevail against odds, leading your forces to the victory in the field?
|Number of players:|| |
This is one player and one player only solitaire game. In that area, it truly excels!
|Playing time:|| |
Once you are proficient with the rules – and even then, you will be reaching to them from time to time – your playing time for a mission should be about 2 hours. That does not count the preparation phase – at least 30-45 minutes, where you equip your company, designate starting points and weapons. All in all, devote evening to a particular scenario.
That is a tricky evaluation. The game itself is medium-heavy, and once you played couple of times the flow is pretty obvious. What makes this game less accessible than usually, is the way the rulebook is written. I am really glad that GMT One took up the challenge of re-writing the rules!
|What I like:|| |
|What I do not like or would like to see in the game:|| |
|For whom?|| |
Definitely, this is not a wargame for everybody, especially for the new adepts of our hobby – that might be too daunting for them. Also, if you would like to be in the thick of the action immediately when starting the game, this is again not the best place to start. Here you need to plan and think through what and how you would like to attack, equip your units, position and only then you can start. At the same time, the game is so deep and so rewarding that every wargamer – sooner or later – should try it!
|More about the game:|| |
And now let us have a look at the components – all pictures / videos taken during my plays:
I said it once but I will do it again – there are games which come and go without special fuss or controversy. And there are titles which you cannot be indifferent to. Fields of Fire definitely falls into that second category – some love it, some hate but you really cannot be lukewarm once you started to play it.
This is such a great simulation, which has fantastic planning phase and unfolds completely differently each time. On the other hand, it is also title plagued by one of the most complex, complicated and ambiguous rulebooks I ever read! That at least should be fixed soon, but be aware: the depth of the game, even with the new GMT One led edition of rules, will stay.
This is definitely game which I would suggest each wargamer to try – this will be a unique experience, which might have significant entry barrier but is such a rewarding journey once you start it! Strongly recommended!
Nice review. In addition to your comments, I would add that I see the strengths of this game are: 1.) modeling FoW in a way few tabletop games do and 2.) modeling the the very real challenges to communication and coordination on the tactical level. AND those two strengths interact dynamically together. I really do think this is a game that teaches “real lessons,” meaning those that could be applied by co’s and nco’s actually working in a combat environment, about small unit combat. Designer Cole Wehrle once described a very popular tactical title as a great World War II movie version of war. This game does not deliver a “Sands of Iwo Jima” version of war. It’s more like the first fifteen minutes of “Saving Private Ryan.” And it is very possible in this version, the beach is not going to be taken, and you and many you cared about are going to be dead. And that could well be the case even if you did a “good” job of planning and preparing.
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Thanks for the comment; I could not agree more – that depth which you describe is unfortunately for some players too much, but for me is the essence of fantastic title!
Insightful comment to an insightful review; thank you both for the knowledge and an enjoyable read. This game took me 3 different tries over 2 years before I “got” it ( and “getting it” has nothing to do with being successful at it.). Learning ASL seemed a “Straighter Line” to me than learning FoF.
But I finally realized that decades of wargaming was my biggest barrier to learning FoF (the disappearance of designer support when the initial hot mess of rules came to light came came close to sharing the top spot on the podium). I had to “see” this wargame for what it was. And if I was as clever to think of the brilliant “Saving Private Ryan” analogy, I might have been playing it a lot sooner.
Once you “get it” on your own terms, FoF is a brilliantly vivid playing experience, with the emphasis on experience as pointed out. I can’t wait for the Deluxe edition, but I also don’t ever wait for an excuse to get this on the table, Play it for the compelling challenge, for the incredible narrative, hell, play it wrong at first (and second, and third, and fourth…). Every time you work your way through a mission, you’re gaining insight for the next time. And if you can put yourself in the shoes of the map level leaders, you’ll come away with a wargame narrative I’ve never duplicated with any other game (and FoF isn’t even my favorite wargame – solo or otherwise).
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Thank you for this comment. I have just realized that this game teaches you two things, not so common in todays wargaming industry: patience and humility.
Patience – as the planning phase, with deciding who goes where, with which equipment, radio/phone, how to assign the pyrotechnics, etc. can easily eat up huge chunk of actual play. And most people would love to immediately jump into the game. This is not how the things work in reality.
Humility – because you will fail so many times, regardless how well you planned your mission. Truly, this is not an easy game to sync all the dots but once that clicks, this is such a tremendous experience.
And of course, waiting for Deluxe edition!
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