This would be my third and Final review of this game, after which, I would be writing on the strategy of the game.
As a Singaporean myself, I would have a soft spot on any production locally. Thus this review must be taken with a pinch of salt and expect a certain level of biasness (unintentional).
Field Command : Singapore 1942, is based on a WW2 battle on the impregnable fortress of Singapore, between the forces of the commonwealth (British/ Australian/Indians/etc ) and the might of the Japanese Imperial Army.
After 8 plays (4 solo and 2 games with 3 players) on the Historical Scenario, I have the following overall impression based on 1 to 10 (best) ratings :
(1) The Box (9/10) : No doubt, a very good production, where data of equipment and troops are printed for historical flavour. Good gloss box, sturdy and have very good painted pictures of Singapore assault map, Percival, Yamashita, Jap zero, etc. It also shows miniatures (similar to Axis and Allies type) that are new and distinct to this south-east Asia battle field. The only disappointment, are the dice shown on the front of the box is NOT the type that is given in the box. The ones in the box are of lower quality. My opinion would be to provide what the box shows OR don’t show them at all.
(2) The Miniatures (8/10) : The Chi Ha type 97 tanks are a real treat. The different types of artillery pieces of both sides are also fantastic. The fortress guns (naval fixtures) are very beautiful. Not only that, you get some ‘Betty’ bombers to add to the carnage. For a small miniature production, Its well within the category or even surpasses Axis and Allies type of minis.
(3) The Map Board (8/10) : A beautiful map of Singapore divided into 39 sectors (labelled by name) and 9 invasion beachheads (labelled as A to I). It’s printed in earth tone colours that would be found if an Aerial photo of Singapore was taken. There are also printed charts that are helpful in both Movement and Combat. There are functional Legends on the map indicating Supply Depots ; Airfields; defence lines; Objective sectors as well as road network. The map is printed on a 3 fold mounted board, that is MATT laminated. I would have given it a notch higher, if not for the number of plays I had on the board........ its beginning to show scratches.
(4) The Combat Board (5/10) : Another beautiful board that helps new players to the idea of combat. It show where to lay your units as well as what each unit rolls in Attack and in Defence. Each type of field gun and planes are also indicated for strikes. Similarly laminated as the main board. However, I ceased using it after a few rounds of combat in my first game, as it was a chore to bring units in and out of the board. The map board was sufficient to do the job of lining up the units. Functional, but not a necessary board to have, I would prefer a combat card that we can hold in hand than to have a board occupying the table.
(5) The Rule Book (2/10) : The Rule Book is a Square-ish Green booklet of 42 pages. Its divided into sections, labelled as Company Commander; Battalion Commander; ......up to Army Commander. The Idea was for each section to bring in bits of the rules for new gamers to get their initial taste of the game quickly, while adding more and more complexity. Nevertheless, due to this idea, it also fails to present the rules in proper and thus had created tremendous confusion when a player wants to play the WHOLE game as a single entirety. Recent Errata has helped greatly to clarify major changes and some house rules to aid it along. This is normal, as all wargames would be expected to have some errata as more players game on.
(6) The Scenario Charts and Player Aid (6/10) : This is a new and novel way to present each scenario to each side (player). It indicates Victory Conditions; all the necessary forces for the battle and where to place them. (Setting up is very fast!) However, its also printed in Earth tone and colours, and the Japanese (especially), had difficulties in seeing where their Green coloured units go on which Green coloured sector. This is a minor problem as there are not many units on both sides. Each scenario comes with a card for each player AND a supply chart. This supply card tells us, what resupply we have and when our reinforcement comes in.
(7) The Dice and Supply Tokens (5/10) : The Dice supplied are Opaque dice of various colours and ‘side’. Ranging from D4 to D12. It’s not the Crystal Dice that is printed on the box. Nevertheless, they serve their purpose. Some gamers might feel otherwise. The Supply tokens are small opaque ‘White and Grey’ flat plastic chips, the size of a 5 cent coin. The White represents 1 unit of supply and the Grey as 10. ONE of these tokens is also used as a TURN record token on the SUPPLY CHART of a scenario.
(8) The Occupation counters and Stand-up Fog of War screens (1/10) : The control or Occupation counters are printed with a Japanese Flag on one side and a Commonwealth Flag on the other. It’s used to indicate which location is currently under who’s control. This has some impact on the ‘supply-line’ rules but has NO impact on units retreating into an Enemy controlled (but devoid of units) sector. The Fog of War screen is used to hide the number of supply left, so that the enemy do not know if supply is getting too low for them to launch any attacks. I personally find this very reflective of the situation then in 1942, as presented to the commanders of that battle. But having played this 8 times, we could remember how much supply was spent by which player and knows, almost quite accurately, how much supply is left......so,.......in a way, we can ‘calculate’ how much fire-power is left on both sides.
(9) Hall of Fame and Shame Card (0/10) : This is a simple card to record interesting moments in the game, so that a gamer could look back at the history of their game play. Did an artillery unit take out that enemy tank? One infantry defends successfully against all odds! .............I did not find much use for it at all.
(10) Situation Cards (?/10) : As stated in the rule book that a ‘set of situation cards’ could be downloaded from their publisher’s website, to add flavour to the game play as well as adding a different dimension to the strategy eventually.......as of 1st Jan 2010, I have yet to find it in their website.
(11) The OVERALL Game Play (6/10) : As stated in my previous review, of which I will not repeat again on how the game is played. Being a wargamer of quite a few years, I have NO reason NOT to review this game as a Euro-Wargame (Axis and Allies Style). It’s simple and fun to play, rolling dice when two units clash. As it is, it’s a good game. It’s not a simulation or pretends to be so. Thus I treat this game as a variant similar to Axis and Allies D-Day or Bulge.
I have pre-ordered this game but alas.....the savings between Pre-order and actual sales price after release is less than $9. (thats about US$6)....some gamers was wondering why we bordered to pre-order anyway. As we know, very well, that it will be printed due to commercial support.
But nevertheless, I felt that this game has huge potential. As it is, I will still be bringing this game out to play as an evening’s beer and pretzel wargame. With experienced gamers, it will be done in 2 hours.
I will describe more of the game as I write my enquiries and strategy notes on sessions replay. By the time I’m done with this game....it would be all worn out!!! Hahaha.......
I have raised my ratings to a 6.5 Overall, as my questions have been answered and now plays more smoothly than before.
Having played more games on it also help me see 'the bigger' picture.....of which I will be trying the other scenario with optional landing sites.
Hope there would be other gamers that enjoys this particular battle as well as I have.