Friday, March 1, 2019

Airfix--The Introductory Wargame, Product Review and Game Report

If you’re a gamer as old as I am like me, you probably got started by playing with Airfix toy soldiers.

These 1/72-scale, soft plastic figures were a staple part of my childhood.  We use to line them up in the back yard and toss pebbles at our opponent’s troops.  The kid with the last man standing won.

This turned out to be a “gateway drug” for my life-long addiction to wargaming.  (But I’m not really addicted—I can quit any time I want to).

Fast forward to 2018.  I was cruising around an on-line gamestore’s site, The Miniature Market I think, and I was delighted to stumble across Airfix Battles The Introductory Wargame by Modiphius Entertainment

The game comes with the following—

—A 16-page rules booklet
—A 16-page mission booklet with 10 scenarios
—10 dice
—2 double-sided, grid-square maps
—2 sheets of double-sided die-cut counters representing German and Allied soldiers, vehicles, terrain and various status markers
—A 54-card Command Deck, and
—2 27-card Force Decks (German and Allied)

The counters representing the vehicles and soldiers are top-down views made to the same scale as the 1/72nd scale figures.  In fact, players are encouraged to replace the counters with figures.

All the components are high quality in a sturdy box.  My only complaint is the ruined house counters are identical on both sides.  Modiphius Entertainment missed out on an opportunity to provide players with a variety of buildings for their game.  I imagine this was done to cut down on printing costs.

Anyway, players assemble troops using the Force Deck, based on the scenario being played.  The cards list the weapons and capabilities of the leaders and squads.

My friend Joe and I played Scenario 1:  Link up with HQ!/Halt the Allied Breakthrough!
This covers the German counter attacks immediately after the D-Day Invasion.

The Americans (Ted):

The Germans (Joe):

The game is played on a cardstock map with faint white “+” marks to indicate the grid squares.  (Note:  No diagonal movement is allowed).

Here’s the terrain set-up for Scenario 1:

The forces assemble:

Each square can be occupied by only one unit (a single vehicle, or a 5-10 man squad).

The fire-fight unfolded as follows:

The German veteran squad occupies the southeastern ruined building.

The American veteran squad occupies the northwestern ruined building, while First Squad advances along the road.

Meanwhile, the German Zuerst Squad advances along the southern flank, and the Zweite Squad advances toward the northeastern ruined building.

The American Second Squad charges the German flanking squad...

...with the Americans getting the worst of it.

Despite the lopsided outcome, the Americans manage to inflict a few casualties among the Germans.

The Germans though, finish-off the handful of survivors from the Second Squad.

The American First Squad advances to the southwestern ruined building in an attempt to shore-up the south flank.

The German Zuerst Squad fires a devastating volley into the American squad (by playing a "Fire" Interrupt Card)...

...then beats the Americans in the race for the southwestern ruined building.

Undaunted, the Americans attempt to evict the Germans...

...first with a “commando assault...”

...then with an infantry assault.

Neither attempts succeed in ousting the Germans.

The German company commander joins the Zwiete Squad...

...and orders the men to charge the American veterans.

Over half the American veterans fall, but the pair of survivors, "stayed frosty" (by playing a "Stay Frosty" Card) and were able to hold off the Germans...

...long enough for the First Squad to come to their rescue.

Caught in a crossfire, the German Zweite Squad is annihilated when the American First Squad opened up on them.

However, the American First Squad is caught in the open by the German Zuerst Squad and nearly wiped out.

The final stage of the firefight:

While both side have been mauled by the short and intense firefight, Joe felt he was not in a position—to hold his positions.

Joe and I enjoyed playing Airfix--The Introductory Game.  We both made a couple mistakes during our session, which could have changed the outcome.  While we like card-driven games like this, it’s often hard to remember every bit of capability each of your units have during the heat of battle.  I think hand grenades were the most forgotten about asset squads possessed.

Still, I recommend this game for anyone just getting into the hobby, introducing others to wargaming—or for those of us desiring a bit of nostalgia.