Some people had asked me to look over Warfare, and give my opinion. I tend to be long winded, so feel free to skip this post if you're completely happy with Warfare, because I'm not. So long as you're having fun, rock on.
Warfare, for me, needs a significant amount of rework before it's a game worth playing. The core capability is there. Andy Chambers has been working on his reactive mechanic system for several years now, and it's a reasonbly workable system. I like the board game he mentioned he drew inspiration from. I liked what he did with it for another miniatures game. I like what I see of it layered behind the morass of mediocrity Warfare currently is.
That said, some major points (skipping others that have been mentioned in the errata thread or I don't want to take the time for right now):
Measuring of all distances is declared to only consider the horizontal component, but never the vertical. That sounds nice, and on a nice flat playing board, or on a table without much terrain, it stays workable, even if silly. As terrain is added, such a mechanic requires the use of a plumb bob if you want accurate ranges. Tactics accepted they were using separate ground and miniature scales, as most miniatures games do. They still acknowledged the problems inherent in firing at elevated targets, which any marksman will acknowledge exist. Since Warfare decided to go for a true line of sight mechanic, using line of sight ranges would be far simpler. It would also eliminate the ridiculous concept of an infantry unit charging up a 45 degree hill being able to move over 40% faster than they could on level ground (hills are not classed as difficult terrain). balancing that is the silliness that a normal infantry unit cannot climb more than one level of a building per turn, though that climb does not count as movement distance.
The worst point: close combat is a 3" ranged attack, so there is no reason to climb a building with close combat troops unless there's an objective up there. Move within 3" horizontally of a unit twenty stories up, and you can punch them in the face from the ground. No vertical distance considered as per the rules.
Suppression is announced as a way to track unit morale in the game, but instead only counts how often they've been shot at. There is no mechanic to show actual morale differences between units. If a unit takes a hit, even if they save (and not even requiring the hit for some weapons) they take a suppression marker. Since they decided to change the unit stats anyway, why not allow different classes of morale like real soldiers, with elite getting a set number of dice to resist suppression, and lesser units getting fewer. Then, you would have actual morale instead of bean counting.
Reaction allowing a unit to move out of range from weapons fire has been tried in several other games that allow reaction movement. All have found it to be laughable because it is so unrealistic. People don't outrun arrows, and don't even see bullets to try and outrun them to get out of range.
Reactions have way to many exceptions, with none of them making sense. Jump troops can never be reacted to on a move, though they're flying high above cover while they do so, which kills a lot of paratroopers when enemy soldiers are around. Assault doesn't allow a reaction at the end of movement, but only at the beginning. So a unit with Jump, a unit doing a forced march with Assault, and a unit with Fast are all moving at the same speed, yet no reaction can happen against the easy target Jumpers, limited reaction can happen against the the rushing Assaulters who are ignoring cover for speed, but full reaction can be used against the Fast unit.
Units giving cover, as written, gets silly fast. A unit can move in a blob, with the leader at the back of the pack, and will give itself soft cover until it takes a hit and is suppressed, at which point it gain soft cover for hugging the ground. Gorillas never suffer from suppression, so they can advance giving themselves cover across every open field. Zombies don't gain from light cover, or they could too. Any unit can walk behind a walker, using it to give them hard cover as they advance, and so long as the squad leader touches the base of the walker, it counts as open terrain for them. For players using felt forests, as soon as a squad leader enters the forest, everything within the forest becomes open terrain for their men.
The concept of a unit touching difficult terrain being reduced to a 3" move was used in similar form for Mage Knight, but people have always considered that an overly simplistic system. Here, Warfare goes just as simplistic when it adds nothing, and makes movement foolish.
Attacking vehicles is ludicrous. Let's take the big boys, with the Punisher and Konigsluther. They both get special abilities, with the Konigsluther cutting the Punisher down to four Armor (immediately increased back to five for fire from the front due to the Dozer Blade) to offset damage. The Punisher gets to hit on blanks instead of normal hits, doubling its average damage. So, the Konigsluther gets an average of two hits on a normal attack, which the Punisher reduces by an average of 1.67 hits with its armor roll. The Punisher gets four hits on average against the Konigsluther, which it gets to reduce by 2.33 hits on average. Each round of firing, the Punisher suffers 0.33 points of damage, while the Konigsluther suffers 1.67 points of damage. That's not an even trade, but then it gets better. The Konigsluther gets to roll two dice on the critical camage chart on average, even if all damage were negated. The Punisher gets to roll four. The Punisher has only a slightly worse chance to get a weapon destroyed result (9.9%) than the Konigsluther has of getting an external fire (11.1%). The Punisher will get a fire result 29.6% of the time. The Konigsluther has to roll above average to even have a chance to get to a weapon destroyed result.
Of course, the idea that a lucky armor roll could completely negate the damage from an attack, but that attack still cause an internal ammunition explosion is even worse, though the idea that a vehicle can suffer an internal ammunition explosion, yet still remain perfectly healthy, while troops around it get blown up, is so sad it's comical. Vehicle damage should relate to actual damage, though the way the armor mechanic has been set up, vehicles would be far too survivable without its silliness.
Skills are largely blase, with changes from Tactics sometimes needed, but Sniper is a ridiculous piece of work. Snipers in Tactics were exactly that: they picked off men and material that was significant, with a spotter making them better at it. For Warfare, they've become much more dangerous, with far longer range (hint: normal WW2 snipers didn't fire as far as modern snipers, not just because of equipment, but mostly due to training and tactics), and the ability to ignore armor and cover saves. Hurray! but wait, they can't actually snipe any more, and just do damage like any other weapon. Snipers were tactical assets in Tactics, so why not let them do what they are designed to do in Warfare?
Artillery indirect attacks no longer ignore cover as written, and neither do Spray weapons, though the Nebelwerfer shows something was missed as it says the opposite. How artillery interacts with targets inside buildings is not addressed, with even a Normandy bunker being meaningless as other than cover instead of something artillery can't handle.
Tank Killer weapons and the Allied Rocket Punch get stupid, with both gaining the ability to hit on blanks. The Axis higher tech panzer gloves couldn't figure that out, however. The Axis got Penetrator Weapons, but only for one gun, and it's far weaker than Tank Killer. The Axis got one Penetrator Weapon, one Tank Killer, and nerfed Damage Resilient. TheAllies got four vehicles with Tank Killer, and three squads and two heroes with Rocket Punches.
Jumping a bit, looking at fortifications: Something I didn't mention in the errata thread on Minefields is the requirement that a unit end a Move action in range of a Minefield marker. A unit moving fast enough to cross past the marker will never be attacked. Vehicles can also clear minefields, but most were not very good for it in WW2. Massive Artillery bombardment might clear a minefield, but it was also never guranteed. Minefields are also rarely as non-persistent as Warfare allows, though the cost for the area is very low.
Barbed Wire has ridiculous rules. Barbed wire does not kill people. It slows people down so weapons can kill them. Vehicles are also a standard way to clear barbed wire, because it can't slow down their mass. Electrified wire needs to be near heavy generator equipment to be dangerous as more than a shock. Making electrified wire this dangerous is less realistic than Monty Python's killer bunny.
Army Special upgrades show a really poor level of balance. Consider the two Preparatory/Nebelwerfer Barrages; the Axis suppress every soldier unit not more than 50% in some form of cover, while the Allies roll for every unit, with a 55% chance for every soldier unit, regardless of cover. That sounds reasonable, except that the rules specify the Allied player knows the Axis force composition before setup, and so can mitigate the automatic result, while the Axis is stuck with 55% of their soldier units suppressed on average.
The Allies get the option to buy an extra hero, while the Axis get an extra Panzer. Rather ironic, when the Allies had better vehicle production, and the Axis had a far better NCO & officer corps to draw from. The reverse would make far more sense.
Lightning War can currently only help the Axis in one specific scenario that is not in the tournament rules, as they have no units inherently capable of being Reserved. While they might get such units, the option should have been Reserved until those units were released.
The Axis getting Dug-in in another miss when it comes to the way Germany trained to fight. It would fit for the Soviets, but the Germans did not push defensive positions nearly as much as other armies. They trained for mobile warfare, and walkers would accentuate that concept.
Implaccable is another option that sounds good until it intersects with the Battle Builder. With the Allied player knowing the Axis has Implacable, they can threaten to put points into Conditions to force the Axis to counter Off Target Shelling, and so control the Battle Builder far more than they should. With that threat, the upgrade becomes worth far less.
The Allies' additional upgrades give them Air Drop, which I've noted as poorly worded or overpowered, a one time GB-9 air strike I can't picture any commander with sense spending points on with its cost, and Additional Resources to make their Long Toms (I still find that name detestable as a veteran) and Smoke Screens more probable. Spending 10 points to give the Long Toms a 55% chance to come in is probably one of the better bargains available.
Jumping back to the scenarios from the Battle Builder (though there are problems with the others), [sarcasm] I'm glad Mack likes 40K enough to bring over Unprepared. [/sarcasm] No modern army leads with its command elements like that. Support might bring up the rear, but that is combat support like offboard artillery. By the end of our WW2, all of the armies knew to lead with tanks in the open, infantry in towns, command always slightly to the rear, and everything close enough to support each other. The continued reference to 'battle lines' also shows a marked lack of understanding of realistic military tactics. Please try doing a little research other than through 40K or Flames of War.
Many of the units had changes from Tactics that made them make far less sense. Just because a gun can shoot far away does not make it an indirect artillery piece.
Smoke Screens are never planned to cover an entire battlefield. The small area option from Tactics made sense for how they are used. Turning the entire battlefield into a low visibility area only for infantry (except for burst and spray weapons that someone see in the murk) has nothing to do with how real battlefields use smoke. Smoke is not used when it will interfere with your unit's abilities unless they need it to survive immediately (ex: tank smoke launchers). It would also take far too much smoke material to cover a Warfare battlefield.
Platoon structure is another nightmare that looks like it was ported over from 40K. A platoon TO&E is a good place to start for building a realistic force. The platoon options given, however, are not functional TO&E's, but rather some strange amalgamation from the mind of someone with no understanding of military theory.
A quick example as I'm getting frustrated thinking about what Warfare could be versus what it is:
An Assault Platoon is a platoon assigned to assault a position and take it. One would expect that to be obvious. What does the Allied Assault Platoon have? A range of squad options with the possibility of extra snipers or observers by having them as other than support, and then the ability to take only light and heavy walkers.
Consider what some weapons were designed to do: Vehicle mounted flamethrowers (Hot Dog Medium Walker) were designed to attack fortifications during assaults. The Petard Mortar (Steel Rain Medium Walker) was designed to bust open bunkers for D-Day. Short barelled howitzers (Mickey Medium Walker) were designed to give quick support for assaulting infantry units. Three of the four medium walkers were designed with assault weapons, yet none of them are allowed in an ASSAULT platoon.
The platoon lists look more like someone wanted to spread the wealth, so people who have been collecting might have to still buy more for certain platoons, and new players would have to make larger bulk purchases whenever they wanted to field a new platoon. Actual tactical utilization of the various units was, at most, an afterthought.
I was looking forward to Warfare, because I have no problem with game complexity, and am willing to deal with a lot to have a solid, tactical game.
Warfare, instead, is looking like Dust 1940K instead of the solid game it could be. I had hopes when it went back for a re-write, but now there is so much invested in what I'm seeing as worthless drivel that I don't know if it can be saved. There are people enjoying it, and I hope they can continue to do so, for the sake of Tactics if nothing else, but instead of a more tactical game than Tactics, we have a terrible waste of Andy Chambers nice core system that is simply more complicated without adding any meat to it.