April 18, 2024

#UnboxingDay – Fire Team

Brant Guillory, 15 July 2021 ~ #UnboxingDay

The mid-80s saw no shortage of tactical ground combat games set in the Cold-War-goes-hot scenarios of Central Europe.  West End got into the game with Fire Team, a well-regarded though lightly-selling game that aimed to model significant C2 differences between the US and the Rüskies.

click images to enlarge


The mandatory Dramatic Cover™ with a US soldier looking very business-like



Lots of info on the back, with the game complexity (at the bottom) not just numerically rated, but also given other games as a basis for comparison.  Hey, GMT – why not?



All the stuff that’s in the box – 3 countersheets, 4 maps, 12 scenario cards, a bunch of reference cards, a rulebook, a d10, and a feedback card.



Well-organized cover with a numerical-case table of contents.



The interior is all black-and-white, but it is illustrated….


… and not minimally, either.



There are both examples of play, and design notes, as you go through the game rules.



Hey, waitaminute!  I know the cover credits the US Army for the photos used in the book, but I’ve seen that one before, haven’t I?


Yep, there it is in Isby & Kamps’ Armies of NATO’s Central Front in the section on the US Army.



Oh hey, look!  A bibliography!  (And yes, Isby & Kamps’ book is in it, too).  It’s interesting that the bibliography also cites the other games that the designer referenced in his process.



4 geomorphic maps.  Generic German-sounding place names, but perfectly functional.


They’re not works of art, but they are serviceable and functional and they looked pretty good for the time when they were released.



There’s a really weird reference card that’s printed on an elongated tri-fold sheet.  No idea how they settled on this with the printer, given the production costs for folding, but here we are.  There are cut marks on it, indicating that you’re supposed to split it apart, and you get a Soviet reference card, a US reference card, and a two-headed terrain chart that could either lay flat between the players, or stand up like a table tent if you want.



There are 2 of these double-sided player aid cards that are identical (1 side of each shown)


The other player aid card is identical one side, but the backs are split to US/Soviet players.




The scenario cards are all 2-sided, so there’s a total of 12 scenarios included, most of them located in the US VII Corps area.  Theoretically, there should be some Czechs / Ossies in those battles, but they are not included in this game.



Big countersheet with a gatefold in the middle.



US counter detail



Soviet counter detail



Admin counters.  Four of them have spontaneously tried to escape over the years.



The feedback postcards are a blast to look back on 35+ years later.


Thanks for joining this month’s #UnboxingDay with the Armchair Dragoons and we hope you enjoyed our recon of our recent acquisitions.
You can always leave us your feedback in our #UnboxingDay thread, or in the comment area on this article, below.
The regiment also occasionally musters on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube, and occasionally at a convention near you, once we’re allowed to hold them again.

Brant G

Editor-in-chief at Armchair Dragoons

View all posts by Brant G →

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