I got a physical copy of Warfighter a couple of weeks ago and have been playing it non-stop ever since. Well, not quite non-stop. After all, I need to go to work and eat and sleep, but you know what I mean. I'm not really interested in the Middle East as a zone of conflict, so I bought a few different packs with the game to offer different theatres to fight in:
- Eastern European Adversaries
- Polish Soldiers
- African Warlords 1 and 2
- Australian Soldiers
- Elite Drug Lords
- Upgrade kit (replacement cards for some older versions)
These all arrived very quickly in good condition from Philibert in France and the VAT on the purchase was dealt with as painless a way as possible. The charge from the Norwegian Post Office for taking the VAT from me is another matter, and makes it only worthwhile saving up to buy larger orders, but I had mentally prepared myself thanks to a very handy import calculator on the customs website. I had originally considered buying direct from DVG because of a special deal on their website but the cost of postage from the US is just ridiculous and would have meant no actual saving once all the other costs were taken into account.
So, with the game in my grubby mitts, I immediately set to sorting through the cards and swapping out the older versions for the upgrade kit versions where necessary. The next day, I worked my way back through all the cards again because I was convinced I had done it wrong! In some cases I had. Oh, the ignominy!
Then it was time to set up. I picked out the Polish soldiers and the Eastern European Adversaries, and prepared for my first game. There are six mission cards and six objective cards in the Eastern European set. I planned to pair each mission with an objective and play them all. I started small with short missions and only a couple of soldiers, and built up slowly. Each game taught me new things, and I managed to get different rules wrong every time, so the novelty was strong. As I fought across Europe, I blew up combat helicopters, armoured scouting forces, and had to run for the border to escape the bad guys. This last was one where I seriously messed up the rules and made things much harder for myself than necessary. My escaping soldiers woke up after a dream in which they were caught and killed by Elbonian patrols. They escaped on the second try, thankfully.
The Final Mission
|The team get ready to move in on the target
My final mission for this series was huge. I had more points to buy kit than you could shake a stick at and could have easily bought way more than the maximum eight-soldier squad size (limited by the counter selection). I chose to buy expensive player soldiers supported by a small number of squad soldiers (grunts/henchmen/minions/supporting cast types). I then outfitted my player soldiers with a huge array of things that go bang and the skills to use them to greatest effect, including drone strikes (yay for drone strikes!).
The mission was a political one. We had to advance through enemy territory and destroy an ICBM launcher. For once I drew enough location cards to get started right away, so my troops moved out down a busy highway. And we marched straight into a military convoy led by a T-72. Yikes! The explosive expert rolled well and made short work of it though, thanks to judicious use of a mine (Do the Polish army not have man-portable anti-tank weapons? There are none in the mix). The rest of the team took out the supporting truck. Meanwhile, patrols started appearing. They begin at the objective and move towards you. There are a lot of patrol cards in this pack.
With the highway cleared, we moved onto a dirt road, heading for the city. More patrols started heading out from base and we encountered sentries, security teams and the occasional light vehicle as we moved through the farmland into the industrial outskirts of the city. It became an exercise in suppressing the enemy, moving on their location and then eliminating them. As we moved into the city, we encountered more air support and I had to burn experience points to evade it, because I found my dice rolls with my anti-air system were terrible, and then I ran out of rockets for it. I think I must have dodged three or four combat helicopters.
There was a heavy firefight in the city streets as we pushed through the crowds to the residential areas. Fortunately, I had sniper support to pick off some of the enemy and the drone strikes for bigger targets. And then we were down a shady avenue to the edge of the big enemy parade. There was a lot of security here and we needed to deal with it before we could get to the ICBM. Well, we did not have a lot of time so I threw everything at the enemy. Fortunately, this was enough to suppress the screening troops and we closed on the ICBM. A few well-placed mines and grenades saw it destroyed and it was time to bug out of there. Job done.
While playing this mission, I chose to play location cards that I thought linked up together to give a sense of where my troops were moving. I liked the thematic idea there, and it did not seem to make the game much harder than it would have been otherwise. It made for a satisfying narrative in my head as I played.
These Eastern European missions made me think very much of playing Twilight 2000, back when it first came out. I'm tempted to play a campaign like the jungle one I posted before, but linking Eastern European missions and objectives together to make a story about escaping back home. Could be fun. But first, I am going to take my Australian soldiers on a tour of duty in Africa. There are poachers to defeat and elephants to save.
And then I can think about which expansions to get next. When I got the VASSAL module for this game, it included everything up to a certain point so it has more options than I currently have in playing the physical game. I did not really miss those extra options in playing this time around, but it would be nice to have them, and I definitely want to expand my options for different forces to use and different adversaries to face. I can see this game hitting the table quite a lot, simply because the smaller scenarios are so quick to play that it will fit neatly into a busy everyday, and offers options for when there is more time too.