Personally, I cannot get a real feel of any game until I have played a few good battles on the tabletop. In previous articles I have looked at the rules and the type of starting force I wanted to take in Firefight, this was all before I had played a game. My plan was to have my starting force finished for the Mantic open day on the 6th of May. However, it was not to be, other projects and family time has meant I was not able to finish the force in time. At the open day, I was demoing Firefight with 2 of Mantic’s armies and I can say I learnt more in that six hours of gaming than I have in the last couple of months reading the rules! This rule system is incredibly balanced with multiple tactical options to be explored and a large enough selection of units in each army that you are never short of choice.
Firstly, I chose the two forces I wanted to use for the demo games from Mantic’s collection of armies. With the release of the Operation Heracles two player box set it was a no-brainer to take Enforcers against Forge fathers, so I set about working on two lists of around 1500 pts (realising later in the day this was a bit large for a demo game).
In the Forge father list I took three units of five Steel warriors with an autocannon in each unit; two units of Forge guard with an autocannon in each; a unit of ten Brokkers with Magma cannon; an Iron ancestor and a Forge lord. For the Enforcers, I took two units of ten enforcers with a burst laser in each; a unit of eight Pathfinders; a unit of five Peacekeepers; a unit of four bikes; two Striders one with close combat option and flamer the other with a Polaris cannon and a Captain in Peacekeeper armour.
Over the course of the day I ran 5 Demo games, everyone who played seemed to love the flow of the game and how versatile the rules are. Nearly every game was balanced from start to finish, with victory snatched away from the opponent in the last turn. So, what did I learn about the game over the day?
The game is very well-balanced, with no game being won by the same side using the same tactics more than once, showing that it ultimately comes down to how you use the units you have and playing your commands at the right time. The command system really adds an element of unpredictability to the game. Setting your powerhouse unit up for the charge only to get counter charged by your opponent can really spoil your day!
One of the biggest points of the day and current discussions on socials is unit size and upgrades. Do you take small elite units or larger more resilient units? With the forces we used on the day I would speculate the smaller elite units worked better . However, this is dependent to which army you are using, who your opponent is using and the mission being played. One thing for sure, this is a game where you are going to see a large number of differently composed armies and I feel everyone will have their own favorite build of units.