Spearpoint 1943 — Review

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Spearpoint 1943Frontline General’s Spearpoint 1943 WW2 tactical card game has been out awhile now. Initially we didn’t pay much attention to it, but the recent announcement of an expansion got us to give the game a try.

Spearpoint 1943 is a WW2 tactical card game that let’s players game battles between Allied and German forces in Italy in 1943. It ships in a small box that fits the two decks of cards and four D10s. The cards are of good quality with historical photos and clear iconography. There are four types of cards: First are the unit cards for the Allies and Germans. These include equipment such as tanks, guns and aircraft as well as the crew units for the respective equipment. A deck of Damage Effects cards track damage and combat results to units. The Command Deck are the cards used to actually order your units around.

The rules are very straightforward and fit on a two-sided 11″ x 17″ sheet. The site also has an excellent example of play that clears up any confusion. Basic flow of the game is to pick a starting force based on points (or play a scenario) and then you divide your forces into starting forces and reserves. Starting forces begin in your hand and the reserves form your draw pile. This is a tactical game and you are playing with what is basically a reinforced platoon. You then ‘commit’ your forces simultaneously to play and attack with them based on initiative. You commit units to either a frontline or a rear line and some units can be in one or the other or both. Thus you can place your tanks up front and your artillery in the rear. This gives a nice sense of depth and allows for breakthrough actions. Command Cards can be played that allow various special actions such as ‘Fire Mission!” that gives a rear line artillery unit a bonus 3 to its attack. Combat is also tactical with weapon attack values compared to defense values. The combat and damage mechanics are slightly confusing on first read but after you actually play through a couple of combats they become second nature and play proceeds smoothly.

Games play quickly and can be concluded in about 30mins. The standard points based games are fun but we prefer the scenario based games. So far Frontline General has released eight scenarios (they call them ‘situations’) that cover a variety of tactical situations.

Village and Defensive Line Map ExpansionWhat really grabbed our attention was the upcoming Village and Defensive Line Map Expansion. This expansion adds a map with terrain tiles to allow you to fight over actual terrain instead of the abstract front/rear lines. This should work well with the Spearpoint 1943 system and add some real maneuver to the game. It is currently in pre-order. There is an excellent video walk-through of the new expansion on BoardGameGeek.

Overall if you like WW2 tactical combat and are looking for a quick pick-up game give Spearpoint 1943 a shot.

[Updated: 18AUG11]

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