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Force on Force - Modern Fast-play Skirmish Wargaming

Updated on September 24, 2015

What is Force on Force?

Force on Force is a highly flexible strategy game from Ambush Alley Games and Osprey Publishing that allows players to recreate historical scenarios or create their alternate histories from the end of the Second World War right up to the present day. This game is based on the soldier rather than the weapons systems that it carries creating a game with a very realistic feel to it rather than the constant consulting of tables which some games rely on.

Force on Force is highly flexible, the game easily caters for any figure scale from 15mm up to 1/35th scale (if you have a big enough table) and so is easily usable with all of the most popular figure scales (20mm, 25mm, 28mm), force sizes are between squad and company strengths making the game both affordable and having smaller forces, allows for greater efforts to be expended on the modelling and figure painting aspect of the hobby if you so wish.

Although it is infantry based, the game includes all of the features of modern land warfare: civilians, irregulars, vehicles, armour, heavy weapons, artillery, aircraft and helicopters, plus many other theatre specific items. Force on Force divides into two types of game, Ambush Alley describe these as: ‘Kinetic Operations’, where two regular forces are pitted against each other, and ‘Asymmetric Operations’ where regular forces are pitted against irregular (Terrorist/Freedom Fighter) troops.

All of this detail is included in this game without compromising either speed of play or simplicity. The game, whether you wish to engage in a historical engagement, some sort of Hollywood movie scenario or even police taking on organised crime or terrorists, is fun to play with it easily accessible mechanisms.

With a little adaptation near future/post apocalypse sci-fi games are practical with this set of rules, so if you fancy a try at taking on hordes of Zombies or a pack of werewolves for a change, this ruleset's innate flexibility should work well for you.

Historical or not, the choice is yours.

A modified M24 Chaffee from my own modern 3rd World  collection.
A modified M24 Chaffee from my own modern 3rd World collection. | Source

Simple Mechanisms

Force on Force uses a very simple mechanism to avoid the time-consuming table consultation that slows down some games to the point where they become boring. In Force on Force, the player needs to remember that rolling the lower than 4 is bad and 4 or better is generally good; that wasn't too difficult was it?

Of course this isn't everything, different types and numbers of dice are used to differentiate between units, but the 4+ rule is, as ambush alley games describes it, "The Nearly Universal Mechanic"; this is the engine that powers the entire game and that makes it so playable and fun. The rules limit the number of dice to be used by any "unit" to 10, this encourages the realistic use of forces on the tabletop.

Another great feature of force on force is the use of "Fog of War " cards. In the game, just like in real action things can go surprisingly well or surprisingly wrong, the game mechanism for this is the Fog of War deck. The basic game comes with it's own set of almost universal cards which bring those surprises that really make a game special in a fun and realistic way. These cards include things like suddenly finding out that you have poor supplies and have to conserve ammunition or that your junior leaders are really stepping up and your units are performing better than expected as a result. Basically, the Fog of War deck does precisely what its name suggests, it makes the game that little bit unpredictable in a way that fits in beautifully with the game system.

Costs - Affordable Wargaming

With Force on Force being based around platoon sized and smaller units, this makes the game very affordable in comparison to similar small unit games such as Warhammer 40K and Flames of War, which are based around company sized units. As always figure scale will be the biggest factor in the cost of the game with a 15mm infantry “army”, without vehicles, starting at around £15 (UK), $25 (US), €18 (EU) at the time of writing, for quality figures, with larger scales costing proportionately more. This makes the game very affordable.

"Force on Force" Rules Discussion

Campaign Books

If you want additional information on a particular campaign, there are a series of books that have been written to compliment the basic game. Each gives detailed historical information on the campaign itself and various army lists for the forces involves as well as a series of scenarios and a set of Fog of War cards specially suited to the campaign.

A Question of Taste

What aspect of modern skirmish gaming do you prefer?

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