Wednesday, 3 April 2013

Pushing Card

In last nights thrilling episode at Enfield Gamers myself and Shaun had a first run out with a copy of Frontiers that Shaun picked up for a snap on E-Bay.

We've both been tempted by Heroes of Normandie by Devil Pig on Kickstarter (it's becoming a mild addiction) and its the pre-cursor game. Liking the look from the start the recent Cthulu stretch goal has turned interest into temptation.

Bit of a slow game given that we were learning as we went but very much as to be expected. Simple mechanics with all the relevant stats neatly printed on the high quality troop tokens. Initially felt a bit Mech Warrior / Klix but the real detail lies with activation.

In short there's a resource management element within the Orders Phase as you have a limited number of order tokens generated by your command elements. Numbered 1 2 3 etc they're placed hidden and also determine activation order. Revealed in order each units Speed rating determines who DECLARES (important word) their action first lower rating going first. Once declarations are made its movement, highest speed first, followed by shooting, lowest speed first.
Armoured infantry advance on the right......
......but are quickly engaged!
Took a little bit to wrap my head around it at first but it means that a faster scout unit can potentially decide to move away from the battle tank or heavy weapon crew rather than get shot at and potentially burn that order for them.

It means that infantry slog but fire nimbly whilst scout vehicles are the other end of the spectrum with armour in the middle. Once understood and appreciated it provides a real tactical depth to a simple set of mechanics which is always a bonus as well as avoiding IGO-UGO :)
Consolidation on the left.....
....while the aliens envelope!
Most units have a couple of special rules, none of them difficult to deal with and all make practical sense to the units that they flavour.  There's also a hand of four event cards for each player and often a smattering of kit crates around the battlefield to be grabbed. The Action Phase is nice and straight foward.

You do get a couple of decoy order markers to create a potentials of of war but they pretty much passed us by first time out. Infantry can take one order vehicles more but they're definitely a precious commodity. A final Reserve Phase sees non activating units getting a single move action to keep the game dynamic.
The PBI slog up the field..... take position amongst any cover they can find!
The battlefield itself has easily comprehended hills, woods, bunkers and buildings providing movement penalties and cover modifiers as you would expect. We had a couple of woods and a ruined bunker, prescribe versions can be demolished I'm very sure.

Taking an LT and what I considered a weapons supported platoon of grunts along with an IFV and scout  quad my battleplan involved and armoured drive up the relatively open middle with the grunts slogging up the left into cover. Early doors this didn't go so well as we worked through the whole speed / activation thing. Several times I experienced the ability to get shot up just before you get to activate. Shaun using a couple of bonus cards to enhance his shooting soon saw my quad junked and the IFV weaponless.

Retreating bravely across to my left I had slowly slogged into cover on the right with my grunts and finally started giving some back with a bit of enhanced shooting of my own. Consolidating my, rather tenuous, position I popped smoke grenades and dropped an orbital strike and redirected Shaun's missile back onto him. All of a sudden things weren't as bad though I was definitely going nowhere fast. I even popped one of Shaun's commanders which immediatley lost him an Order Token which seemed a big bonus.
The Infantry take a licking....
.....while the Fleet deliver a kicking!
Finally getting to grips with the Orders Phase it was gratifying to see PBI in cover being difficult to shoot up, just as you'd hope.

As time got the better of us we didn't manage to try an assault but I'm sure it wouldn't have been difficult to sort out. Overall we had a decent first run out and only felt slightly wary of the clunky feeling Orders Phase and activation generally. However with hindsight I've already grown to appreciate it, just tapping this post has got me more enthusiastic about it.

Got the rules to have a read through and watched the KS video which is very well and entertainingly done but doesn't tell me anything different not that its a problem. Keen to play another game or two and still 24 days to pledge. We'll see :)


  1. Why must you tempt me with your Kickstarters? :)


  2. Because I am weak but together we can be weaker still :)