Monday, 24 November 2014

New Fate of a Nation Book (FW902)- Review

Hi all,

James here with the new Fate of a Nation book!

Eight companies, cold war tanks and games under a burning sun! What more could you want from a new book?
Battlefront’s Fate of a Nation book FW902 covering Israel’s six day war with the Arab states surrounding it, is fantastic and expands out on the Wargames Illustrated booklet released previously.
At seventy three pages long it’s jam-packed with interesting history, new units and information needed to expand your Flames of War fun into this theater and I for one am hooked having priced up in points and pounds a Jordanian force to paint and play! Let’s face it; given all the complete nature of this book, if you ever built a mid-war desert table to go with your World War Two collection then you’re most of the way there!
Earlier in the year I heard reports from events noting how one sided the Fate of a Nation (FoaN) booklet was in favour of the Israeli list, but this new book certainly balances things out. Not only are there reworked lists and rules for the companies you’ll be familiar with but a further five companies to try!

But before I cover each of the three nations; here’s what else is in the book

     A detailed history of the Six Day War conflict which certainly taught me a thing or two about the background to the war; Given that my knowledge was restricted to History Channel documentaries it probably wasn't hard to teach me something new but the book, written by Phil Yates is well put together.

     A terrain guide for the region including features unique to FoaN (a little like elephant grass from Tour of Duty) and some resurrected rules from prior Flames of War books. After seeing Steve Charlton use dust clouds for aesthetic purposes at Reading Warfare I’m keen to pick up a set as I build a board suitable for The Sinai!

      Painting guides for all three nations giving the usual illustrations and colour pallets to help you decide how to paint your tanks and infantry for FoaN.

The quality of production is also good. It’s bound nicely, in the same style as the rest of the softback source books, which of course we should expect as Battlefront has signed a new deal with a publishing company; however, there is the odd typo or missed word that you’d expect with the first edition of any published book. Hopefully these will be cleared up for future print runs, though nothing I noticed reading it cover to cover impaired my enjoyment of the book!

There are some big differences to the other Flames of War theaters out there. This game isn't like Tour of Duty, it’s primarily objective based like the World War Two theaters, however; there are a lot of tanks… even the fortified companies can take a lot of armour. What there aren't though, are pioneers and recce!

Given that there are minefields in the UAR and Jordanian lists and ambushes in the Flames of War missions you’ll be playing, you’ll need to think carefully as no recce to block ambushes and a lack of an easy way to clear obstacles might play havoc with your heavy armour!

... Then there are the special jeeps for the Israelis and Jordanians; given the above they'll be interesting... 

Now, on to the lists, inside the descriptions of which I've talked about some of the special rules!

P’Lugah Tan’Kim (Israeli tank company)
Very similar to the booklet version but with some very interesting extras like Fearless Veteran Paras, jeeps patrols, lots of artillery options to back the myriad of tanks up and the option for priority air support.  See below for some notes on the support options as the majority of your points will be going on tanks on this list and all the favourites from the FoaN booklet are still there!

P’Lugah Sayur: Long Range Patrol Company (Israeli Mechanised Company)


The first new list I turned to; this isn't a recce list, though at first you might think it would be… though you won’t be stopping ambushes with these aggressive jeep patrols or armoured cars, both of which can launch assaults by the way, you will be spearheading forwards! Backing up these Fearless Vets are anti-tank Jeeps, self-propelled mortars and artillery, their own tanks, infantry and air support!

P’Lugah Ch’ir Mamochan (Israeli Armoured Infantry List)


Mounted Assaulting halftrack toting Veterans backed up by all the options we’ve discussed so far and their own tank platoon of Super Shermans these boys are like Germans with the coolest American kit. Israelis have their own version of Storm Trooper and Mission Tactics and get a chance to auto attack at dusk or dawn so there are lots of ideas in my head of how to attack with these guys!
P’Lugah Tzanhanim (Israeli Paras)

Fearless Vet infantry with all the support above and the option to buy halftracks to mounted assault from these boys are versatile and again have their own tank platoons (all the companies have at least two armoured slots!) but there is no sign of any spoon bending going on here! Given the iconic reputation of the Israeli Paras this list may be popular and it certainly has the tools to do the job! Just be careful as you’ll be very elite with very few models whatever you pick so make those Usi sub machine guns count!

Useful product guides for each nation inside!
Kateybat Debabbat (UAR Tanks)

Much like the Israeli tank list you’ll recognize this one from the FoaN booklet but will appreciate the extra support in the form of more APC equipped infantry, assault guns and artillery and air support. If you’re used to playing Soviet and PAVN tanks and like them, or want to try something a little like them then you won’t go wrong here! Big platoons of tanks and the options to take Centurions now, but you’ll need to make sure you've got enough armour to leapfrog your platoons as Taa’A (hen and chicks) is still a factor.


Kateybat Moshaa (UAR Infantry with fortifications)

Big platoons of quality of quantity infantry with trenches, guns and nests in the core platoons and minefields and wire a compulsory choice too, this confident conscript army is certainly different to anything I've ever looked at before! Three platoons of armour and lots of guns in pits and sporadic air support round off the list, the Israeli’s will have a hard time assaulting this if the right platoons are deployed well. You’re certainly going to outnumber your opponent and have obstacles in the way too!

Now onto my choices as I picked Jordan as my force to collect a while ago… I wish I’d been picking them as I’d seen them on shop shelves now!

Sareya Mudar’Aa (Jordanian Tanks)


Again, similar to the FoaN booklet list but with anti-tank jeeps and more artillery, these Confident Trained tanks lose hen and chicks rules and gain their own version of Semi Indirect Fire! They’re an interesting mix of trained personal with good tanks, equipment and their list is… Always Defend! An order of Centurions and Pattons will be making its way to Battlefront soon!

Sareyat Moshaaa (Jordanian Infantry with Fortifications)

In the same way as the UAR infantry has fortifications, so does this company chart. Backing up the infantry are two armour slots, anti-tank jeeps which get a 3+ save like recce vehicles (all the mentions of jeeps above get this too!) and artillery. Interestingly, Jordan gets no air support but given that the one of the Israeli jets can’t be intercepted anyway it’s probably not the biggest loss.  Add onto this list that you can’t shoot at the core platoons with direct fire until they've fired and you've got a tough list to defend with!

So, you've now got more lists, more infantry and combined arms lists and a book out for a cold war game more about pitched battles than guerrilla forces against air’cav in Nam (no wounds tokens here!) Israel rules the skies and is on the offensive 24 / 6 (… get it…) and the they've got the tools and rules to do it, but now, the opposition should be a little stiffer and comes with prepared strong points! If you’re playing an Israeli force, get ready to attack

As I said at the start; If you've ever done as desert army and have a board for it you’re half way to a new theater for Flames of War games…

So, who is going to join me ?!

4 comments:

  1. Great review. Looks like lots of improvments.
    cheers

    ReplyDelete
  2. I'm making terrain for our mid war afrika campaign. ..This is right up my alley!!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Looks like Battlefront took feedback to heart and made needed changes! I'm looking forward to trying this out with the lads!

    ReplyDelete
  4. I've already got the needed terrain and two 3.000 points armies.
    Now, up to 1973 and the Yom Kippur War; which would give the Israelis a run for their money (and hopefully a phantom jet)

    ReplyDelete