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Future War Review

Spel! Magazine, June 2009

Future War Commander (FWC) is the third set of rules in the serie of Specialist Military Publishing and was published in 2008. The other two sets are Blitzkrieg Commander and Cold War Commander. The rules are written by Peter Andrew Jones and can be ordered directly via their website, www.futurewar-commander.com.

FWC is a set of rules meant for combined operations in the future. Jones describes it as a set of rules based on military principles projected into a believable future. The game is meant to be played with miniatures of 6mm uptill 28mm, but smaller and bigger will also do fine. Small battles are fought with 20-40 miniatures a side and bigger with about 100 units. On a small scale a regular gaming tabel will suffice, but a larger scale and/or a large amount of units will require a bigger space.

Own initiative or on command

The rulebook of 140 pages consists of five parts: the rules, the general army rules, the armylists, FWC-skirmish and some extra's. The rules make up about a third of the book. The most import principle in FWC is giving orders to your troops. Units can only act in two ways: they can react when enemy units enter their initiative range (usually about 20cm) or they can act on the orders of a command unit. This goes as follows: a command unit specifies which units it will give an order to and what order each unit will perform. Then a command check is made to see if the command unit is succesfull in issuing the orders. If so the ordered units may carry out the orders. If unsuccesfull the ordered units and the command unit may do nothing this turn. So the command units are very important. Luckily they may not be targeted by an attack, but they can fall victim to an artillery-strike or an overrun. In this case you get a new command unit in your next turn.

To perform each action each unit has a statline, like 4d6 firepower. Each action also has modifier that affect the movement of a vehicle or it's chances to hit a target. There are rules for skimmers, airplanes, artillery and orbital bombardment. Recon, robots, it's all there.

Primitive sci-fi?

The next section in the book are the general army rules. Each armylist is characterised by a tactical doctrine and a technology level. The tactical doctrine indicates how flexible an army is in the field when facing the enemy. A rigid army for instance has a slow reaction but does not run away as fast as other armies. The technology level indicates how advanced the equipment of an army is. More advanced equipment is better, but also more expansive pointswise. Futhermore you can 'buy' certain upgrades for your units and field defences like bunkers and barbed wire.

The 40 armylist take up the most space in the book. The lists are comprised of the ranges of the larger 6mm manufacturers. This means every miniature that's in the armylists really exists. A big plus! And since Specialist Military Publishing doens't produce any miniatures themselves a very practicle solution. The armylists are very varied. There are some post-modern lists like the American Republican Army and the Pacific Federation Army, but also a Kra'Vak armylist, a Colonial Union Defence Force and a Grey Alien armylist. You guessed right, it's indeed our grey neighbours form Mars, known from Area 51, flying saucers and ray guns! If you own a Epic GW army you can also join the party right away, cause they are all there. Because GW wouldn't allow usage of the original names these have been changed. But names like the Eldritch Caste and The MacGregor Clan leave little room for error if you have some knowledge of the 40k universe. Last but not least you can even design your own units. A neat feature!

FWC-skirmish consists of some four pages of rules adaptations enabling you to play skirmish battles with the FWC rules. In my opinion a nice extra. The last two pages of the book are filled with the tables of the rules and changes made compared to the two earlier sets of rules.

Conclusion

Future War Commander is a very interesting set of rules, that's certainly worth the investment. The rulebook looks great. The rules are explained very well with the help of good examples and great pictures, The idea to write armylists to go with existing ranges is very clever and ensures that everyone with an army can start playing right away!

  • Looks 4/5
  • Replayability 4/5
  • Luck/Tactics 4/5
  • Price/Quality 4/5

René Raap, June 2009

 
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