Ben and Dr Cox here with a review of the new Market Garden book.
So the new Market garden book is out, and we thought we'd review it, as it's quite a chunky tome we've split it between us. Adam will be taking the British Para's and Canadians, I will be taking the British Armour and American forces.
The book is up to the normal Battlefront standard as the other compilations like Grey Wolf, Turning Tide, etc. The book seems a little bit smaller than the other Late War hardback books, but has a similar number of pages compared to the Early War hardback books so while not a surprise to me but I could imagine some people might be annoyed by this fact.
The book is quite logical, Market Garden follows in the foot steps of my favourate FOW book Hellfire and Back were the history of the battle unfolds as you go through the book.
The Elephant In The Room....
I can only go on so far without talking about the 17 pounder and the new stat line. Before I dive into the details I would like to say I'm not against the change, it's correct from a historical point of view and I honestly don't think it'll be that game changing, that said there are a few players out there who will have have to change their tactics when facing Market Garden British lists.
For those of you who don't know 17 pounders are now Anti Tank 15! That's right 15. A bit of an upgrade from 13 but really the 17 pounder has always been under powered in FOW. There are records of 17 pounders taking out King Tigers in the front, so there is a school of thought that they should be AT 17. But getting back on topic. You may have seen the out cry that this change makes the Panther unplayable in the tournament sense. Now I'm not an expect of tournaments (in fact I'm writing this the night before my first every tournament!), but two of my regular opponents are tournament regulars (they are both going to the UK masters in Feb) so I feel I have a good understanding of FOW tournament play. Anyway I still feel the Panther has a place, sure if you come across a load of 17 pounders you will have to use cover and smoke to survive, but isn't this what the Allies had to do in the years before this upgrade? Also I'd like to point out tournament play is only one of the ways to play FOW and in friendly games or historical games I don't think it's even a slight issue.
The Lists - British Armour
So the above chat about the 17 pounder brings me onto the British Armoured lists. Now the lists choices haven't really changed from Hell's Highway and the 11th Armoured PDF. Most of the new units added to the Canadian forces aren't in any of the British Lists, so no Archers, Buffalo, etc, but really you don't need any of that stuff. The Irish Guards and Armoured Recon lists are still fun to play and how can a 16" move Anti Tank 15 tank not be fun!
One thing I wish had changed was JOE's RAF observer. JOE is unchanged (which is fine, he's a great character) but the rules for the observe seem very Version 2. The observer gives you a re-roll to range in, but it only works if you can see the target and most of the time if you need to roll to range in you can't see the target with the observe anyway. I had wished they had changed it to rolling 2 dice to see the number of planes you get like the Stuka Schwerpunkt in Early War. I thought this would represent the fluff behind the rules well but would also work better in the version 3 rules, but oh well.
So what has changed? Well Sherman platoons have gone up a fair few points at 35pts a platoon. This is a combination of the Shermans getting cheaper but the Fireflies getting more expensive making the increase not as bad as it could have been. On the Cromwell front the platoons have only increased by 5pts, which sort of shows how over costed the Cromwells were in the first place before this new book. I'm looking forward to using my Challengers with RoF 3, AT 15 and Semi Indirect Fire. A big change is that all the Shermans, Fireflies, M10's and Sextons can be upgraded to Duckbills (just like the US lists in the Bugle Books) for free so would gain Wide Tracks and Slow Tank.
The 2nd Household Cavalry have a nice new special rile that means they can try and disengage even if they shot last turn and the Inns Court can re-roll any failed disengage rolls, so these two army will be very hard to hold down.
The British Infantry is still classed as mechanised so will always be attacking other infantry but keep the Platoon Debus rules so get a team rider passenger save. I will admit I have never used this rules as it seems a bit risky but I may have to give it a go just to see what happens.
Finally the support, nothing much new here for the British. The M10 gets the Anti Tank 15 as it has a 17 pounder. Otherwise you have all the normal stuff you'd expect and most of it is Veteran.
The US Paras haven't changed a lot since Hell's Highway. The main different is now the 2 Divisions have their own briefings, with a few different options. The 101st getting a lot more British Support than the 82nd. The 82nd now have the option to take Panzerfausts on the command stands with is a nice option.
There are quite a few points changes, Rifle Platoons have gone up and Engineers, LMGs, Mortars and Anti Tank Guns have come down. Overall most things are cheaper but not by much.
The Glider companies are mostly unchanged from the PDF version. They look like an interesting with very cheap Anti Tank Guns, this combined with a new rule (I think it's new anyway) that means they can re-roll failed attempts to dig in and a lot of artillery options means you can have a nice defensive list.
Overall I would give this book 8/10, it's a great read and has a load of nice lists that would be interesting to play. I'm looking forward to getting the 15th/19th King's Hussars in action. I think I may look at one or two of the other British lists and I have already started a new army from the book but more on that later.
So handing over to Dr Cox to cover the other half of the lists.
Thanks for reading
So where to begin? Well lets start with the special characters, they're all back, but Frost is now only available i his perimeter force - well hopefully they'll stop some people having him and Urquhart in the same force. The polish also now have their new national rule which helps bring them in line, and makes them scarily hard to break!
We also now have a couple of new lists available, as well as our old favourites.
Frost's perimeter is unchanged, as is your normal Parachute and airlanding company.
The Polish though get some handy new options, with 2 slots now for Armour/Recon, I never liked the polish list due to it's lack of armour, but now being able to get 4 fireflies, they have enough. They also get access to lots of artillery including the lovely Medium battery.
The Recon list get's a slight improvement in it's access to anti tank, but is otherwise unchanged, though I think it's worth noting they now are recon not some almost recon, and the HQ gets access to a pair of Polsten's
The new lists are lead by the Glider pilot Squadron - now I love this! An entire army with access to SMG's I see this being a great list for night attacks, moving up over the first few turns under cover of night before they assault guns blazing.
The other list is the Airbourne Field engineer company, now to start with I think this is an interesting army, especially on defense, the basic unit has gone up significantly in price from ABTF, but they re now rifle/mg, and have a PIAT in built.
As for the units available, well obviously the first thing is the upgunning of the 6 and 17Pdr guns. The points for the 6Pdr's has stayed the same, but they now gain the ability to have half the unit combat attached, I'm thinking that using this + Frost's reinforcement platoon could create one evil platoon. The 17Pdr's have gone up quite significantly in price, but I'm less sold on them, as they can still be ignored, but the threat is brilliant.
The mortars and HMG's have all had a reduction in line with Turning Tide. I've mentioned the engineers, but the Glider pilot platoon has had a significant upgrade. For a start they now can be another 3 stands big, you can also add in an MG and if needed have some rifle/MG teams, but it's the new rules are the interesting, firstly the platoon commander gaining 'eye's and ears' and being able to combat attach them out to some other platoons to bolster their defensive/offensive capabilities - well worth the slight points increase!
The other big unit change is Recon platoon, having gone from being almost recon to full recon is an answer to all my prayers and also being able to dismount them with all MG's is an interesting option in some defensive missions I think.
My one massive gripe with both the pilots and the Recon is that the blisters are now out of date, so have a stand too few - but I will learn to get over this.
The airlanding light battery keeps the same rules, but drops significantly in points which is very welcome, but the one change I really dislike is the 'improvement' in air support, you now get limited and priority but no access to sporadic, and frankly I liked the limited amount, it felt worth the points unlike the new options.
Firstly they're now Veterans, this I think is excellent as you can play both trained from the Normandy list and then play a campaign and see them become a better fighting force as they move through the war. You can also now give some vehicles duckbills which is nice. Oh and you now get higher anti tank on some vehicles, has anyone mentioned that?
There are some returning lists from Turning Tide, Canadian Armoured Squadron has a lot of new options, with multiple motor platoons, and rocket launchers being the stand out units to me. The other big change here is that the Shermans can now have 2 Fireflies, which is lots of fun!
The next list is the Canadian Armoured Recon Squadron, now I'd tried this once previously from the Normandy Lists as it has a couple fun rules, cautious movement and always attack. But lacked any fireflies.
But now they've had a huge upgrade, they've lost always attack, but now have cautious movement AND eyes and ears, as well as this they have access for up to 2 fireflies. That's just insane in some ways they really should get nice and close quite safely I think. Strangely though compared to Turning Tides they have lost quite a few support options.
The motor company have also had a bit of an upgrade with access to RAM Kangaroos which is going to keep them safer on the move. They also now have access to the Churchill crocodile which is a god option too. It also has the scout platoon, with the ability to take the ingenious PIAT battery.
There are also of course the might Manitoba Dragoons, this time they're even more hardcore due to their veteran nature! I'm really looking forward to trying them out again, as they will be smaller, but should have even better ant tank thanks to the more fireflies. The one thing which does annoy me from my old list is that they've changed the Bofors to 2 a section not 3, meaning with one is redundant or I need a 4th.
The rifle platoon also get access to lots of new transports, and the usual plethora of support options that the brits infantry are used too.
So there it is, the new Market Garden book done.
I hope that you've enjoyed the write up, I'm now looking forward to trying the forces out, and trying some of the new special rules some of the units have picked up. Keep an eye out soon for some Market Garden AAR's in the next week fews.
Till next time
Dr Cox & Ben