Wednesday, October 22, 2014
Warfighter: The Tactical Special Forces Card Game
There was a period of time in the early 00s that a group of friends had regular LAN parties. I was fortunate to be included in these on a regular basis, and one of their most played games was a game called Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon. We played the multiplayer as a cooperative team, entering maps to clear them of hostiles. It was a refreshing change from many long matches of Unreal Tournament or Quake III. Speed was not the objective, skill and planning were. And even though you could play the match with friends being spawned back in on the chance they were killed, I considered it a point of pride if I made it through without being shot at all.
Dan Verssen Games' new title, Warfighter is bringing back all those memories of working together as a team to accomplish an objective while under fire. With a varied cast of soldiers, locations, guns, and options, lets take a look and see what the game brings to the table.
I backed his recent kickstarter, and was fortunate enough to receive it in the mail recently. There were some delays due to issues with the plastic components, but it still arrived in a very timely manner and in great condition. The pledge contained the base game and all four expansion packs he has currently designed for it: Reloading!, Stealth, and Support, and dice. The first think I found that I really enjoyed about this package were the expansions. Each box, about the size of large tarot cards, only had two more soldier minis, a deck of cards, and three dice for the game. There were no added rules, just more variety that built on the base game set. It was refreshing not to already manage an extra rules supplement and just mix those cards right in.
Setup begins by selecting a mission card. These cards set the tone of the game by telling you how far you have to go to get to the objective as well as how many points you can use to equip your soldiers. Each player then picks a soldier (represented by a picture of an actual serving member of our military forces), then chooses their weapons, skills, gear according to the points set out by the mission card and how much their soldier can carry. With the Soldiers all set, the objective on the table, and the appropriate Hostile deck shuffled, the team is ready to go in securing the objective.
The main turn revolves around using your hand of Action Cards as well as the two Actions you have on your turn to eliminate hostiles, advance through locations, and complete the primary objective. As you play locations, you will put hostile cards on them that are then assigned to a player. Those cards will keep attacking a player as long as he is in range or until he has been medivac'd due to wounds. Clearing out each location is one way to complete the mission, but it may leave you short on ammo and supplies for when you reach the last card. Splitting up your team and having some advance and others hold a position in hope of better cards in hand also can be another approach. The choices I had to make during my solo plays of this title really have me looking forward to playing with other people, just to see the combinations of cards.
With only two solo games under my belt, I find that calling the main card deck 'Action Cards' as well as giving each Soldier two Actions to perform left some of the rule book a little hard to sort out until I had run through it on multiple turns. To be fair, I couldn't immediately tell you what to call them either, just that it made the rules more confusing than they had to be. This is only a moderately complex game with very good production values. Did he manage to replicate a board game version of Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon? While I don't think that was specifically his goal, each time I sit down to set up the cards, I find myself approaching it the same way I did with those LAN games, very excited and ready to wade into a zone full of hostiles!
(All images (c) Dan Verssen Games)
Tom Tjarks is a Fort Worth native and avid game player (PC, Console, Board Games) He has previously written for GamingTrend.com, blogs at his own personal blog, and can be found asking lots of questions about games on Boardgamegeek. He is @tntjarks on twitter, Dreamshadow on Boardgamegeek and other forums.