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Friday, June 16, 2017

FOW V4 Desert Rat Command Cards

The long-awaited command cards for Version 4's Mid-War desert armies have finally arrived. Below is a recap of the command cards for the British Desert Rats force.

If you'd like to see the full rules for using the cards, there is two-page pdf available here. This piece will discuss the appropriate rules for each type of card in the appropriate section.

Basic rules for using the command cards include two methods of deciding how to use the cards in your forces. Both depend on agreement between players. Chose either free use of the cards when building the force (up to the points for each force), subject to the limits for each type of card. Or, agree on a certain point value total that each player may add to their force.

Cards may be used multiple times in a single force, except for Warrior cards, and any cards with the Limited designation. Those may only be used once per force. A force may also include only one warrior card. Cards are also restricted by nationality of the force (German cards only apply to German forces and units) and by unit type.

Just as with the Afrika Korps cards, Battle Front has added two warriors to the limited options in the new Mid-War book for the British forces in the desert. John Currie, for eight points, allows tank units that do not have Tally Ho a Last Stand rating of 3+. Pip Roberts, at a cost of 4 points, grants tank units that don't have Tally Ho a tactics rating of 3+.

Commander Buffs
Since there are no Tiger Ace skills to replicate on the British side, the formation commanders have 11 cards that can modify their rolls or abilities. Some of these are the same as cards in the German cards. These cards include:

1 point each:
Broadside: for Crusader Formation Commanders, gives Moving ROF of 2 with 2pdr or 3-inch gun. Cavalry Commander: HQ unit passes Follow Me tests on 3+ and may shoot after passing Follow Me. Cut Them Down: Commander may re-roll failed To Hit in Defensive Fire. Marksman: Enemy must roll 4+ to mistaken target hits by the force commander. Short Halts: HQ unit's Honey's have Tactical speed of 14 inches. Sweet Shooting: Commander may re-roll a single failed Firepower test during shooting. Tenacity: Commander and any infantry unit he has combined with test to counterattack each turn on a 2+.

For 2 points:
Charmed Life: Discard to auto save an Armor or Infantry save by the commander. Semi-Indirect Fire: Commander may re-roll failed To Hit rolls when halted. Teamwork: Grant Commander's tank has a ROF of 3 with its 75mm gun, and ROF of 2 with it's 37mm gun when halted. They Don't Like it Up 'Em: in assaults this infantry formation commander hits on 2+.

For 3 points:
Ferocious Valour: Commander gets to roll 2 dice To Hit in Assaults.

For 4 points:
Hidden in Plain Sight: HQ unit is concealed when halted.

I found the Semi-Indirect Fire card interesting since it drops the long-range requirement that the special ability requires in EW/LW rules.

Formation Build
If you're looking to expand your formation choices, there are several cards that can be used to do this. Remember, that even though these cards may have a cost of zero points, you're still required to count the points for each unit you add to the force this way.

Australian Divisional Cavalry allows players to field a formation with Crusader II tanks in the HQ, and a mandatory unit of Crusader II tanks, along with at least one mandatory unit of Carriers. This formation can also utilize a unit of Honeys.

Humber Armoured Car Squadron allows players to field a formation with either three or four Humbers in the HQ unit, and two to five units of Humbers in the force.

New Zealand Divisional Cavalry gives players an option to build a Honey formation with an HQ unit of two Honeys, one or two units of Honeys, and one to four Carrier patrols.

A player may upgrade their Motor Company formation to a Guards Motor Company, for 3 points. This card gives units in that formation a Last Stand of 3+, which is sorely needed in the Desert Rats force.

Indian Motor Company allows players to upgrade their Motor Company platoon. This upgrade costs 2 points and makes enemy units attacking an Indian Motor Company re-roll their first successful test to Counterattack an Infantry unit in this formation.

Unit Buffs
There are several cards that can enhance units or their abilities.

As in the German cards, British players can use a Captured Tank (1 point) card take control of an enemy tank team that was defeated in an assault. Discard the card, and remove an infantry stand next to the captured tank. The new unit of one tank team uses the stats from the captured tank but has to add +1 to the To Hit scores needed as it shoots. Captured tanks may not assault, and must break off when assaulted.

The Dead Eye (2 points) card duplicates the German card of the same name. One infantry stand in an infantry unit may re-roll one failed shot each round. If that shot hits, the enemy team must re-roll their successful save.

For King and Country (4 points) is discarded to allow any units in the formation to automatically pass their last stand, if the unit leader for each unit is with 6 inches and LOS of the Formation Commander.

Portees (1 point) allows a unit of 6 pounder guns to become truck mounted with the Portee special rule. Remember, that under Ver 4 rules, the guns are either en portee (on their trucks) or normal guns all game. There are currently no rules for unlimbering the porteed guns as was the case in previous rules versions.

Roll Over Them (1 point) allows a Crusader or Honey Armoured Troop to Counterattack on 3+.

Scout Tanks (1 point) allows the player to convert tank units with the Tally Ho attribute in a formation to gain Scout and lose the Tally Ho.

Softskin Transports (1 point), just like the German Card of the same name, allows the player to add transports to an infantry or gun unit.

The ever-popular improved tank-killing device, Sticky Bombs (2 points) gets its own card. For two points, a British Infantry or Gun unit can discard the card and gain Anti-tank 3, Firepower 1+ rating unit the end of the turn. This card is not limited so it can be purchased for multiple units.

Tactic Buffs
The final (unofficial) category of cards is what I call tactical buffs. These are beyond mere equipment or unit upgrades. Some duplicate German cards with similar abilities.

Artillery Expert (1 point) allows the player to reposition one of their own ranged in markers anywhere on the table, right after deployment.

Diversionary Tactics (1 point) allows the player to reposition one of their enemy's ranged in markers anywhere on the table, right after deployment.

Dummy Minefield (5 points)allows the player to either redeploy a minefield right after deployment or, if the mission doesn't have minefields, the player may place a minefield marker anywhere outside of their opponent's deployment zone.

Fortify the Building (2 points)allows the player to nominate a building that the HQ unit is occupying. The rest of the game, infantry teams in that building have a 2+ save.

LRDG Raid (2 points) is discarded to force your opponent to re-roll their reserve rolls that turn.

Lucky (1 point) is discarded to allow the player re-roll any die. This is a limited card, so may only be played once per game by a player.

Planned Raid (3 points) is played after objectives are played but before deployment. This card allows the player to move any objective up to 4 inches in any direction. This mimics what has become known as the "French Cheater Rule" from Early-War.

SAS Raid (1 points) is played when your opponent would roll for their air support. Air support automatically fails that first time.

Troy is a freelance writer, author, and editor living in West Los Angeles on America's west coast. When he's not writing or editing he's usually either painting little toy soldiers, playing miniature wargames, or giving historical walking tours on the Santa Monica pier.

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