08/11/2014 at 19:38 #12291SpuriousParticipant
Ok I’m going to cheat a bit here. I said I’d do my next game of FFoT (and I still might) but I’ve instead found a game I played a while back but never got around to posting up on my blog. Actually since I am at it, might as well give a brief note of FFoT for those unfamiliar with the system.
It’s a big rulebook. Gigantic even weighting in at 462 pages with comprehensive index and contents. For all that, it’s actually one of the simpler, best designed systems I’ve ever come across. The size is largely down to covering a very large amount of units and organizations and the options involved in a full century of mechanised warfare (just checking the free spreadsheet of units gives a couple thousand entries of armour, artillery and infantry for the post-ww2 segment alone, because it accounts for unit upgrades over time as separate entries). It also includes a build-your-own for anything it’s missed. Also nice big text, well laid and spaced out for easy reference plus designer notes and clarifications about what mechanics are representing, plus a lot of optional rules if you want to increase the detail in parts of the game like the command system or the fun of dropping tactical nukes probably increases the page count a chunk, but is incredibly welcome. The aim of the game is speed in play combined with a good degree of realism.
As for the game I played, the forces opposing each other were west Germans and Czechoslovakians (both of my collection), with a the Germans on the counter-offensive, aiming to break through. The era is late 1980s. I was playing the Czechs.
The west German force consisted of 8 Leopard 2A1 MBTs, 4 Leopard 1A4s, 2 groups of infantry in Fuchs APCs, with a couple of Marder Rolands for air defence, LARS 2 multiple rocket launchers (off board) and M113s with 120mm mortars for artillery support, Luchs armoured recon cars and a BO105 helicopter with HOT2 missiles for sniping tanks. This force whilst quite small in numbers, in points value is a full 1/3rd greater than the defenders.
The Czechoslovakian forces used were largely mechanised infantry in BMP-2s, with supporting infantry with Fagot ATGMs and some 107mm recoilless rifles in BMP-1s. Which against the Leo2s armour was like throwing spitballs, especially with their poor accuracy from worse troop quality (fair/average vs good for the germans). A company of T-72M1 tanks helped out alongside some old but upgraded T-55AM1 for armour support, and off board were 3 batteries of DANA self propelled 152mm artillery pieces and 3 towed D-30 122mm artillery pieces. To give an idea of the quality difference, the game works on D6 rolls of roll target number, plus/minus some modifiers. The Leopard 2s would move up to 14″ per turn compared to the T-72s 9″, and hit typically on a 2+ compared to 4+ and 5+ for the Czechs. The Leopard 2s were also largely invulnerable to many of the anti-tank guided missiles being thrown at them from the front.
The Czechs deployed in an attempt to form a fire-sack in the center of the board, with a mobile reserve in the form of some infantry and T-72s.
The first turn went with little incident barring the artillery, which one managed to mess up and fire on a field approximately a kilometre away from the intended position, the other barrage somehow managing to take out a Leo2, though probably through just de-tracking and minor damage given how tough those tanks are.
The German advance quickly got off-road, though it was slowed on the far side by transit through urban areas, and was blunted by BMP-2s then T-72s blocking the road and hammering the thinly armoured Leopard 1s. The DANAs continued to have problems with targeting and the artillery as a whole managed mostly to only cause some suppression for the rest of the battle.On the near-side of the board where the main concentration of leopard 2s was to be found the main action took place. Namely the Leopards annihilated everything they could see so I made best effort to not be seen and to plink at them with arty and the occasional BMP-2 shot to nearby troops (the marder rolands and infantry).
The town was hit with mortar and artillery fire and the leopard 2s attempted to push though, but were caught in RPG range by the infantry. This was a bad thing.
Though the leopard 2s were pretty much invulnerable from the front, tanks in close combat (less than 100 meters) with infantry without infantry support of their own are automatically hit in the sides, where the infantry actually had a shot at damaging them if the shots connected. Whilst the defending infantry shot first, many didn’t manage to connect (close combat is one of those things that keeps going until resolved and then the attacking side may then continue to move if still capable) and the fight kept going for a while, the cover of the town serving the infantry well. But another leopard2 was lost to the action eventually. Towards the center at this point a pair of leopards had decided to break through there and pushed forward to engage the T-55s lurking behind the hill, killing 2 with no return damage.
The push towards the center was to prove a bad idea for such a limited group.
A reserve group of T-72s rushed hard to get close to the stranded pair, who had been suppressed by artillery actually managing to do something of use. Now, in FFoT, the defender may engage in return fire (simultaneous with the attacker) if able to, but the leopards had shot the previous turn so were not in a position to. They may also turn to face so that the attacker can’t simply drive up to the side of a unit to get flank shots, but has to properly pincer movement them to set it up.
But that’s what happened.
It took both remaining T-55s (that had to get to point blank range to even have a shot at penetrating the front armour), all the T-72s and a massed volley of ATGMs (both Fagots and Malyutkas or Saggers and Spigots in NATO reporting terms. you’ll probably have gathered by now that I prefer to use the Soviet names, after having committed the designations to memory from having played far too much of a certain other Wargame involving some European Escalation and AirLand Battling) from the woodline (that mostly could not even hit) to take down the pair.
Past the town on the near-side the remaining leopards blitzed through and blasted apart what few defenders were there with ease.
Not that it helped much though, with the massed depletion of the offensive units in other areas, time was called and the Czechoslovakian forces sat with a fairly comfortable victory.
What I would have done differently if I were playing the Germans:
Blitzed hard up the centre, pausing to use the range and gunnery advantages. Dropped smoke on Czech positions and abused the thermal optics. I’ve fought the Leo2s in a tank battle before (in FFoT and other games), they’re really not something you want to try and take on without 3-1 advantage in numbers with this mid-level soviet equipment and training, they will murder the pants off of everything when allowed, so my tactics as the Czechs were to essentially hide and try and concentrate force in the required areas rather than to meet the threat head-on.
I like that about A Fistful of TOWS, a large points advantage can be countered by appropriate tactics with weaker forces. Not many games manage to give a weaker side a good chance at doing things to a stronger force. Or even putting a dent in it. Terrain helped in particular.09/11/2014 at 04:08 #12303
I need more time to absorb and digest all that 😉 But what a beautiful looking table and minis.
It looks like you had a great fight, but I can tell you I’m more of a 2-page rules kinda guy, rather than 462-page!
Jack09/11/2014 at 22:02 #12358
Okay, I took a good sit down and read; in a word, fantastic! Great terrain, minnies, write-up, and fight. This is definitely the kind of fight I want to have. Regarding Fist Full of TOWs, how does command and control work (IGOUGO like Flames of War, Card Based like I Ain’t Been Shot Mum, Die-Roll Based like Cold War/Blitzkrieg Commander, etc…)? Regarding movement, you mentioned ‘…moving up to ‘X’ inches per turn.’ Do you mean that’s the max movement per turn, or that there is variable movement? Sorry to bother you about it, but I am interested.
I didn’t play a game this morning, just putted around a bit with my own 6mm. Partly this is because I really wanted to get back to 10mm No End In Sight, but I haven’t done my homework to get my campaign framework ready (I can only play so many ‘one-off’ battles, I need a backstory), and partly because I didn’t feel that comfortable with the 6mm rules I’m using, which are basically Cold War/Blitzkrieg Commander’s Command and Control mechanics with World at War’s combat and movement.
I look forward to any help you can provide on the above questions, and look forward to your next 6mm installment.
Jack09/11/2014 at 23:57 #12361SpuriousParticipant
By default the game is IGOUGO but with overwatch for interruptions and a degree of simultaneous fire where applicable (where one side did not fire in it’s previous turn but was eligible to with regards to stabilizers and the like). This is in part because each turn is approximately 12 minutes of action.
There’s no command friction system normally, but it is an optional rule thing to have commander stands and difficulties in getting troops moving where they’re needed once in terrain that provides a degree of cover. This is down to troops being reluctant to leave a protective area (depending on quality) or just simple communications difficulties and problems navigating the terrain itself (throwing tracks, getting stuck in ditches, crashing into buildings and other slowing but not crippling problems). But failing to move them doesn’t stop them shooting.
Movement is a set amount modified by terrain, roads speed things up, towns slow them down and so on. The amount of bonus/malus depends on if the vehicle is tracked, half-tracked, wheeled or foot-mobile.10/11/2014 at 04:22 #12375Ivan SorensenParticipant
Very nice table and appreciate the write-up of the game. THis is one of those games I keep meaning to pick up but between pricetag and the low chance of actually getting around to play it, I keep putting it off.
Nordic Weasel Games
https://sites.google.com/site/nordicweaselgames/10/11/2014 at 23:58 #12464
Thanks for taking the time to lay that out for me Spurious. It does sound interesting, but I’m sort of in the same boat as Ivan, limited funds due to having spent too much already, and too many projects going on! But thanks, and I can’t wait to see the next one.
BTW, I love the foamy mat terrain tiles, they look great. I don’t have the patience to make beautiful stuff like that (unfortunately), plus they’re pretty expensive here ($25 for a pack of them).
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