Rick and I tried out a new minis game called Future War Commander last night. It’s the next iteration of the Blitzkrieg Commander/ Cold War Commander rules, so the basics were already familiar to us. This takes the game system into the future though, adding rules for things like giant robots, missile attacks, and teleportation deployment.
What’s interesting about Future War Commander is that designer and publisher Pete Jones worked with nearly every manufacturer of small scale scifi minis. This means not only that pictures of many ranges are showcased throughout the book, but also that there are specific army lists for those minis. He also provides lists for Games Workshop’s old Epic minis, though the unit names had to be changed for legal reasons (the Eldar are the Eldritch Caste, for example, and the Squats are the MacGregor Clan). The game supports the ranges of over a dozen companies with minis from 6mm to 28mm in size. Future War Commander is basically a godsend to Rick, who has been collecting stuff like Ground Zero Games’ 15mm grav tanks for years without using them. One cool addition from my POV is an army list based around Eagles from Space 1999. Apparently Konami did some small scale Eagle models a few years ago and they are pictured in the book. Unfortunately, a quick Google search seemed to indicate they were offered for a limited time in a semi-collectible format, so the odds of me getting enough to use at a reasonable price are slim. (That sound you just heard is Nicole’s sigh of relief.)
The downside of basing a rulebook on the existing minis ranges of other companies is that the army lists are often overlong and redundant (though the Ogrethulhu list has just five entries!). Some of these ranges are quite large and stats are provided for every different model of tank or vehicle. This is great if you have a collection already, but can be daunting if you don’t. The GZG Dirtside list is two and a half pages, for instance, and telling the difference between the many similar troop types can be pain if you aren’t familiar with the minis. I think it’d really help if these lists could be imported into the Army Builder program, but I don’t know if that’s going to happen.
So last night Rick and I did a small warm up battle to get to know the rules. This let us brush up on the basics and see how FWC differed from Blitzkrieg Commander, which we’ve played a fair bit of. Rick debuted a new 8′ x 5′ battle board he had constructed, which was very nice. I was defending a ruined down from grav tank assault. Since I had some fortified positions, he had an army twice the size of mine. I did a fair job of holding him off for a few turns, but when his string of successful command rolls was followed by me totally blowing mine I knew it was over.
Future War Commander played well, preserving the things we like about Blitzkrieg Commander while adding things like useful recon rules and opportunity fire. I found my circa 1993 Epic Eldar army in the mess that is my office and I’m going to try to get that in fighting shape for a future battle. If you dig scifi minis and have been looking for a solid ruleset, you may want to check out FWC.
Not that the world needs more miniatures, but it occurs to me that there are some great little prepainted plastic minis out there of arcade game hits like R-Type that are just an inch and a half long or so: http://kotaku.com/gaming/options-not-included/famous-shmups-get-capsule-toy-treatment-286531.php
These are all in mm scale where mm = mumblemumble, but they’re pretty cool.