Friday, 3 June 2011

Force on Force - Road to Baghdad

I thought I'd put up some thoughts on the new Force on Force - Road to Baghdad scenario book.  The first new Force on Force campaign books was released alongside the main rulebook and covers the American led invasion of Iraq in 2003.

Physically, Road to Baghdad (RtB) is similar to the Field of Glory companion books; good quality softback, lots of Osprey illustrations and some photographs of miniatures.

The book starts off with a brief summary of the invasion of Iraq, not very comprehensive, but coherent and reads quite well.

The guts of the book are the two large campaign series; the first covering the United States Marine Corps and the second the US Army.  I say campaigns, and they do all logically follow each other, but they are more a series of individual scenarios to play.  Throw in the campaign rules from the main book and you'll have a proper campaign readily playable.

Each scenario covers the forces involved and their various stats, objectives for each side and any special rules.  There are also some historical notes that cover the actual outcome of the real life.  The maps for each scenario are presented as pencil drawings on jotter paper - very quirky but it fits in well to the overall style of the book.  Lastly, there are three quick scenarios on Special Forces (Rangers, ODAs etc) involvement in Iraq.

My main issue with the book is that it contains mostly asymmetric scenarios; fixed US forces while, generally poorer quality, opposing forces receive random reinforcements throughout the game.  I'd have hoped, as the first book, for a bit more variation in the type of forces available - although I understand completely that this best reflects the historical accuracy of the game.

Another impact of this is the amount of miniatures you'll need for the majority of the scenarios.  The US forces will generally need 20-25 figures, plus any armour.  The Iraqi forces however, will need 30+ and in a variety of Iraqi army, fedayeen and republican guard figures.  Basically, you'll be forking out a lot more cash on the Iraqis than the US.

This is a very impressive product from Ambush Alley and provides plenty of opportunity for modelling and gaming.  Although I'm still looking forward to the upcoming Cold War Gone Hot (80s what if) and the Ambush Vally (Vietnam) books, this might get some use over the summer. . .  

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