Billy Riley, 15 October 2020 ~ #UnboxingDay
Some time ago I was looking for a single player game… a good solitaire game. I think at the time I was looking at a single man counter game. I was also looking for something in the Korea or Vietnam era. Anyway – someone threw Fields of Fire into the mix knowing it wasn’t a single man counter game but knowing it had a good reputation as a solo game. It did also have Korea and Vietnam as AOOs along with WWII.
I checked it out and I was underwhelmed…nay…simply unimpressed. Where was the map? Why do the counter have little to no information on them? What do you mean “What dice?”?
Nothing about the game appealed to me. As I stated, there was no beautiful map. No hexes to move your lads around. The counter information was all but non-existent and there were no dice. Everything was worked out by pulling a card and checking one of many numbers on it.
I was perplexed by this suggestion and moved on.
Fast forward almost a year and here I am about to present it in an unboxing write up. What happened between then and now to change my mind?
Browsing and some research. I was looking for yet another game I might never play and stumbled across Fields of Fire 2. It was WWII, Korea and Vietnam still but followed the 5thMarines instead of the 9thInfantry of the first game.
I dug into it a bit more. Seems the rule book was a bit of a mess still…something seemingly unlearnt from the first one. But it suddenly had an appeal. The command system. Having orders passed from Company CO to platoon CO etc. Also – the “board” took on a new appeal.
More on these things at the end.
So – what comes in the box.
click images to enlarge
Player Aid Cards
There are 4 player aid cards. A double A4 folded one and 3 double sided A4 cards.
Here we have the folded one. This has 16 charts!
The front covers…
- LAT Limitations Chart (Limited Action Team) showing the limitations of different types of LAT
- Weapons Capability Chart
The inside covers
- Command and Control, Movement, Rally and Combat Actions
- Command Limitations Summary
- Command Draw Modifiers Chart
- Potential Contact Draw Chart
- Range Abbreviations
- Urban Cover Probability Table
- Spotting Attempt Draw Modifiers Chart
- Promotions Chart
- Grenade Attack Ranges
The back cover shows
- Infantry Combat Modifiers
- Anti-Tank Combat Resolution and Modifiers
This double sided one shows the Vehicle and Anti-Tank Weapons Chart and the Action Attempt Symbols
The 2nddouble sided one shows the IJN, CCF and Vietnamese Force Packages
The 3rdand final double sided player aid card shows Enemy Activity Chart Hierarchies, Enemy Defensive Hierarchy Chart and Amounts Transportable Per Transport Capacity Point
As well as General Abbreviations (which I imagine will be a huge help), Volume of Fire Abbreviations, Range Abbreviations, Enemy Offensive Activity Check Hierarchy and LAT/Pinned Activity Chart Hierarchy
Briefing Booklet 1
This booklet holds the various charts for Peleliu (WWII) and Chosin (Korea) campaigns. Things like TO&E, mission parameters, fire support, attachments and experience points, enemy force packages, enemy unit types, potential contacts, HQ events and special rules
It also has a setup guide for the mission/campaign being played (this shows the map setup for the Chosin campaign missions)
Briefing Booklet 2
This is similar to Book 1 except it holds the relevant information for the Hue campaign in Vietnam
There are 6 counter sheets. There’s a lot of counters. They seem to be easily removed from their holder – just picking up a counter sheet had my fingers dislodge some counters very easily. However – they will need to be clipped at some point. Come on – it’s a thing for some of us!
Command Layout and Turn Sheet
This sheet shows the command track which you use to keep track of the various available commands for your different levels of command
It also has several boxes for your command and platoon structure so you can keep track of their assets such as communications equipment, machine guns, pyrotechnics etc.
Helicopter Control Cards
There’s one of these – double sided – and honestly – as I haven’t been through the rules yet – I do not know of their function or why there’s two, slightly different only in image!
Mission Log Pad
This pad has double sided A4 sheets so you can keep track of your attachments and enemy information on one side…
…and on the other a detailed log of your company make up
Always nice to have some baggies thrown at you.
I have heard that the box will not take everything back in once you’ve punched the counters. I know this to be true even though I haven’t punched and bagged the counters because the box, as is, is chock to the top with stuff. I have seen a criticism of the game only being in a 2” box and I think that’s valid. If there was one more sheet of paper in the box, they wouldn’t have been able to fit the lid on. It absolutely needs to be a minimum of a 3” box
Decks of Cards
There are 4 decks of cards – 1 each for each of the campaigns (these hold the terrain cards for each of the campaigns) and one action deck
These are examples of the Peleliu terrain cards…
…and of Vietnam
These are a sample of the Action Cards
And finally some information cards
So there you have it. A huge set of messy rules with a plentiful supply of counters in a very small box.
I said I’d say more about my reason for purchasing this at the end – and here are my two main reasons.
First – playability. The map cards show distinct terrain features and the map can change every single time you play the same scenario. It will be a different region of Chosin or Peleliu or Vietnam. That means every single game – just from the map itself – will be different and will have different outcomes.
Throw in random enemy packages and random draws for various outcomes and you have literally hundreds of missions within the one campaign.
The second thing that drew me to the game was the command structure. You draw for the Company Commander, Company XO, Company Sergeant and platoon leaders. Drawing for the Company commander allows him to assign orders to his platoon commanders etc, etc. This is a cracking system and made more authentic by using communication elements. Again – not having delved into the rules yet, I have little understanding of this – but essentially there must be a trace of communication to his subordinates for the commanders to provide commands. I think the system even uses runners.
Honestly – I’m dreading the manual. My memory is pretty poor nowadays anyway – but to have a 62-page manual to go through is quite daunting. But I was so enamoured with the mechanics and the variety of this game – it had to be in my collection.
Thanks for reading.
Thanks for joining this month’s #UnboxingDay with the Armchair Dragoons and we hope you enjoyed our recon of our recent acquisitions.
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