Force on Force from Ambush Alley. Short AAR and thoughts.

Me and a buddy played in his house the scenario "White Christmas", in Ardennes on 23 December 1.944. Germans had to occupy the hill defended by US troops hidden in foxholes (we used crystal beads to mark them). He put his scenery and I brought my soldiers and tanks, all of them 1/72 plastics.


We rolled for reinforcements and the German player was to received two Stug III Aus.G on turn 2 and the US player two M4A3(75)w on turn 8. Regretfully the US tanks never came into play as the game was interrupted on turn 6 after three hours of playing as I had to leave to pick up wife and kids.

Close up of German forces advancing on the left flank

The game uses D6, D8, D10 & D12 dice and many more characteristics that you can see in Stargrunt II from GZG (actually we used its markers for our FoF games), but it has some new concepts that make it a totally new and different game; the most important being the quality dice, the defensive actions & aggressor reactions and the round of fire. These three concepts make the game tactically challenging as well as easy and fluid play.

US forces stopping German advance on the right

Bearing in mind that we only have played two games so far and that we can be wrong, I dare to say that Force on Force is an interesting game and we certainly will be trying it again, although we didn't like very much the concept of opposed rolls when firing.

In our first game we felt that German LMG teams were a bit weak when facing normal infantry, mainly for two reasons: a LMG team has a firepower of 3 (men) +2 (support weapon) +2 (team) = 7 dice, whereas a squad of six men would have 6 (men) + 1 (light support weapon) = 7 dice, the same firepower than a LMG team. Besides, when taking casualties a squad could take up to 6 whereas the LMG team only three. We have always had the feeling that MGs are more powerful and dreadful than they are in this game, and as a quick solution we decided to merge them into infantry squads, so they would have more fire power and endurance, though we didn't like much the idea as we envision them more as small independents support teams than any other thing.

Germans taking the left of the hill with Stugs advancing in the middle, on the last turn we played.

Thus, by integrating LMGs in normal infantry teams we also discovered the importance of having many dice to roll. Now a squad had the maximum firepower allowed in the game (CAP 10) and as the firing is done with opposed rolls it wasn't so important who fired at it or who fired first, due to the big quantity of soldiers to soak up casualties and to fire. As an example: a German squad was made of two sections integrated into one squad; 1st team with 1 assistant squad leader w/MP40 SMG plus 4 riflemen w/mauser 98k rifles, and an LMG team with 1 squad leader w/MP40 SMG plus 1 gunner w/MG42 LMG (light support) and 2 assistant gunners w/mauser 98k rifles. All this for a total firepower of 11 dice, 14 if in optimum range and counting the double dice of SMGs at such distance, and a total of 9 men. This means that when confronted to a 5-6 enemy infantry men team or a three MMG team, they would devastate them either shooting before or after because of such difference in numbers.

Moreover, as the game doesn't give any bonuses for outflanking enemy, shooting at his back or cross firing, we saw that the best tactic was just making big squads and forgot about manoeuvring and flanking as in the end it was almost a matter of just rolling dice.

Something that we didn't liked neither was the initiative check. There are a lot of modifiers to check the initiative (something that must be done at the beginning of every turn) but the plain truth is that once a side grab the initiative it's rare he loses it as he has a + 1 die for possessing initiative on last turn and also keeps it in the case the check is a draw.

Last thing to say is that we missed in the rule set some things regarding WWII, and that our feeling is that FoF was written with modern combat in mind and that WWII was added in the last moment.

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