Welcome to Platoon Forward!

Welcome to the site where the story of the battle is as important as the battle itself. Here we will focus on men thrust into extraordinary situations of life and death. They must lead other men with duty and honor to meet their countries objectives. Some will be blessed with great skill, some will carry great shortcomings. No matter what nation, no matter what war, no matter what theater, they are all called to move their Platoon or Squadron forward!

These are their individual stories as played out using my various campaign rules . Hopefully these stories will entertain and inspire you to use your own troops, airmen and sailors to accomplish your own great heroics.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

A miniatures gamer looks at Fields of Fire

My brother gave me an old GMT solitaire game "Fields of Fire" for Christmas.  I finally got to play it twice and thought I would share my opinions.  Up front it would appear to be a good move; I started out in board games (though I haven't played one since 2007), love solitaire systems and love command and control.  This game has a reputation for emphasis on command and control while having a horrible rule book and being very complicated. 

In the game you take an infantry company through 7 missions in either WW II, Korea or Vietnam.  You gain experience as you go.  Terrain is abstracted and drawn from a terrain deck.  Units are squads, MG teams and HQs.  Each step is 2-3 men.  Time is abstracted as well but ranges from 10-30 minutes.  As a miniatures gamer I made a couple of modifications...
A rice paddy card becomes...
A squad counter becomes...
You get the idea.
You activate your Company HQ with a certain # of points and then spend those points to activate platoon HQs who in turn active squads to move, rally, concentrate fire ect.   There is a fair amount of minutiae regarding communications with radio nets, flares and having to order troops to do everything but fire. 
Combat is complicated because it uses an unfamilar mechanism.  Primary Direction of Fire and the modifer for combat is the best weapon firering at the card regardless  of how many weapons are firering.   The rationale here is that the modern battlefield is "empty" so most fire is wasted.   Combat results roll morale and death into one with squads breaking down into fire teams, litter teams and taking casulties.  
The solitaire enemy is activated by entering cards and rolling to see what is on there.  The difference here is once you discover the enemy you roll again to see where it is placed.  It normally will be placed on another card firering at you. 
The whole system is diceless and uses a deck  of cards for activation. 
How does it work?  
2nd Platoon closes in on a bunker complex
with artillary and helicopter support!

It works well.   The rulebook is confusing (including the second edition I downloaded) but the examples of play on the GMT website help a lot.   If you think about what is actually happening on the board it it not that complicated and after about 5 turns the game flowed.  [ I was even able to remove about 25% of the markers.]  The command mechanism works well and shows you the decisions real commanders have to make.  The combat mechanism took me a while to get use to but actually works.  The solitaire enemy works well once they appear.   The way they appeared on the board still seemed a little random to me but it did produce an enjoyable game both times.   
I like this game a lot.  A couple house rules I will add in are:
HQ units will have a higher chance to rally than squads.  (they are the leaders right!)
Cooler random events stolen from Platoon Forward
I will add something for weight of numbers.   3 squads firering have got to be better than 1.
Close combat could be better represented.
Best parts of this game are:
Command and control mechansim really gets it
Snipers are killer to get rid of
Enemy AI once they are on the board is good
You can use Platoon Forward with this game
All in all a very good game.  Easily converted to miniatures as you can see above and worth a look for the solitaire gamer.
Thanks bro for the present!



1 comment:

  1. Great post and very interesting-looking game!