Saturday, March 24, 2012

My first Into The Fray units

Yesterday I finished reading the Into The Fray rulebook and today I made a couple of units. I still have to make a few more to properly playtest the game. Into The Fray (ITF for short) by Moss Games is a skirmish game based on a dedicated line of paper miniatures. There are four factions, each with pre-defined units that can be used to build a player's army. A unit might be a single hero or other strong troops or a squad of 3, 5 or 7 soldiers. In the picture there are two units of different factions, consisting of five and three soldiers. So, for instance, adding a squad of three Seedborn Brawlers to my forces costs 435 points. Each unit has a card with all of its stats and damage tracks for each miniature that is part of the unit.

For those interested, the rulebook, along with some sample units and other previews, are available as a free download. Here are my first impressions. The game uses an alternate activation scheme, where players activate two units at a time. Both units from the current player must first move, then perform actions (attacking, casting spells etc.) Actions are resolved by rolling a number of dice equal to a certain stat of the unit, looking for successes. Modifiers are applied to the number of dice, not to the target number to be rolled. Players also have four pools of dice that can be spent to give bonuses to certain tests. Each unit contributes to some dice pools, adding another level of strategy to unit selection.

Simply from reading the rulebook, ITF seems an uncomplicated game, with enough factors to require strategy in army building and during play. The action rolls follow the "bucket of dice" style of play that some people like more than others. One thing that has me worried is the number of possible status markers required by units affected by spell effects and morale effects. There are some clever multifaceted markers provided with the game but only after playing I'll know how easy they are to use.

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