Field Command: Singapore 1942
Field Command: Singapore 1942
Field Command: Singapore 1942
I came across this Title recently thinking it was another AAA clone… When I finally got my copy I found out it was much much more!!
Let’s look at the components:
The rule book is anything but standard. In full gloss and colour it is higher quality than most these days. Blow-up boxes, Historical notes on the side panels, and colour images explaining the concepts of the game.
The most interesting feature I found was how it was presented. It was written more like a Tutorial than a reference rule book. In reading it and learning the game it makes you assume the roll of an up-and-coming commander working your way through the ranks.
Starting with the basics in the first chapter COMPANY COMMANDER you and a friend take control of only a single unit each on the battle board, learning the basic concepts of the combat system.
Second chapter is BATTALION COMMANDER in which both sides command a small handful of units each. This tutorial teaches how to combine your units and use basic TACTICS.
Moving on to REGIMENT COMMANDER artillery barrages and Air units are brought to bear teaching you how to coordinate units and control more complex operations.
Graduation to BRIGADE COMMANDER allows you to really start sinking your teeth into the game. You and your opponent fight out a full Scenario learning the full aspects of the game and using the MAP board in addition to the battle board (where combat resolution takes place). This is done without the use of SUPPLY to make it easier to grasp the mechanics of the game. without worrying about the larger logistical problems.
DIVISION COMMANDER is the final step to mastery of the game and the end of the Tutorial games (that are enjoyable in themselves). As a Division Commander you will play an entire Scenario using SUPPLY and the “FOG OF WAR” screen to hid your logistic strength or weakness from your opponent. Once this is completed you are ready to try out the many Scenarios and Campaigns this game has to offer.
The Game Boards
This game comes with TWO boards. One is the larger strategic map that any war gamer would recognize (similar to AAA BOTB or AAA D-Day). And the second is a “Battle Board” where conflicts are resolved.
The Game Board is High quality and minutely detailed. Showing every section, neighborhood and district of Singapore Island in 1942. Similar to the AAA Battle of the Bulge it is detailed with terrain also including roads, rivers, small islands, defensive lines, Strategic points/Victory locations and *NEW* = Airfields & Gun emplacements.
The Battle Board is more complex than the standard AAA conflict resolution board as it allows each player to choose an Order of Battle and use several different Tactics in resolving combat. It is also well designed and colorful. It may seem complex at first sight but after completing the first two Tutorial missions it becomes second nature and is a great player aid in resolving battles.
Units, Tokens and Dice
One HUGE attraction for me to the game was the highly detailed units provided. These are of a greater detail than standard AAA units and you can tell that WorldsForge took great pains and expense to produce them. included Multiple types of infantry, an armor unit, artillery unit (Several for the Allies including Fortress artillery) Fighter aircraft and Bombers.
The dice used are varied. d4 d6 d8 d10 and d12 and are of standard quality. They are colored to match the unit strength chart for easy identification.
Scenario Cards and Overview
The game comes with two types of Scenarios, ie; Combat Board Scenarios and Operation Scenarios.
The Combat Board Scenarios depict certain Historical battles and are played out on the Battle board only. Each side is given the Historical forces and situation. They are great for a quick game and are enjoyable due to the unique “Tactical” Battle system used in this game. It is never just a “roll-off”: each side can approach the conflict in a different way achieving varying outcomes.
The Operation Scenarios are much more detailed and involve the Map board. Battle Board, Special rules/situations and a date calendar and reinforcement chart. There are three included with the game to increase re-playability. One is the Historical Scenario playing out the actual battle for Singapore in 1942. The second is a Hypothetical Scenario reversing roles, given that Britain invaded the Island in 1945 to liberate it.
The last is probably my favorite… the “Open” Scenario where both sides can deploy their forces as they see fit… exploring many “what ifs” of this conflict. In this Scenario the Japanese can use any point of attack and even get to choose two “feint” attacks in the first round to set the Allies of Balance. In turn, the Allies can deploy as they choose to prove that they COULD have defended the island successfully in 1942. You can play this one over and over and it is always different!
Scenario Card Overview
Each Scenario has several Large cards bundled that include set-up charts etc. The front card gives a brief Situation report. The Cards are full colour and durable quality.
Each player is given a set-up card for each Scenario. On one side it gives a detailed Historical background specific to that player and the Scenario. It also details the number of starting units.
The back of these cards have a full colour map showing the initial set-up. It also details Victory conditions (Three levels: Total, Decisive and just plain old Victory), Special rules for the Scenario if any and a paragraph on the CONSEQUENCES OF DEFEAT
The combat system
Seeing all these charts and the complexity of the Battle board may scare some at first. But I found the game to be very intuitive and easy to learn. The rules are not too complicated and for the most part would be familiar to the average AAA player.
Movement is very much in the style of AAA D-day; each unit type having a range of movement. In this game however the terrain is a factor which may increase (road/bridge) or decrease (River) movement. It is easy to follow and is one of the two things that is on your Fog of War screen in your play area, after the first few turns you will no longer refer to the movement chart as it becomes second nature.
Combat resolution in this game is unique and coming from a AAA background I found it revolutionary in the tactical choices presented.
Simple combat; the rolling of dice – unit vs unit is just a matter of attaining the highest roll. Each units offensive and defensive strength is determined by the amount and type of dice rolled. For example; an infantry unit may have an attack roll of 2d6, but a Bren Carrier may have a defensive roll of 2d8, there is a higher probability that the Bren Carrier will win the combat, but the infantry still has a chance.
The revolutionary aspect of combat resolution in this game is that you can utilize different TACTICS on the Battle board giving you an additional edge over your opponent. Calling in artillery strikes, Flanking, Concentrated assault and Aerial bombardment are all possible and presented in an easy to learn and quickly resolved format. Even the ORDER OF BATTLE you choose when combat is initiated can have an impact on the outcome.
Another aspect of the game I enjoy (one which I first experienced in AAA Battle of the Bulge) is that not all units are automatically destroyed if they lose a combat. Barely defeating your opponent in a roll allows that unit to exit the Battle board (is removed from the battle) but retreats to an adjacent territory on the Map board to fight again some day rather than being destroyed! This gives the game-play a real feeling of a liquid battle front, with some units destroyed and others fleeing only to re-group and hold the line, or even better prepare a counter-attack from a better position. It also leaves some units surrounded or cut-off, either waiting to be relieved or fighting to the death in the enemies rear area.
The SUPPLY SYSTEM which I found cumbersome in Battle of the Bulge and Guadalcanal (Although great games!) is seamless and easy in this game, Supply is not used to move units, nor is it placed on the board and moved like a unit. It is kept hidden behind your screen and is only used when units go into an attack or call in artillery strikes on the battle board. It is more “spent” than used as an on board factor. Like Battle of the Bulge your units must be kept in supply (Have a clear path between them and a supply center) to be able to attack, but are free to move without using supplies both in your own controlled areas and behind the enemy lines. The only way to lose supply tokens is to spend them or lose a supply center to the enemy.
Overall I found this game to be most enjoyable and would recommend it to any war-gamer. It is not in anyway an AAA clone game as its combat system is unique, yet players of the above mentioned games will find comfort in similarities between the games. The WW2 theme also lends to this and the rich Historical flavor.