10 February 2011

Platoon Forward Review

I got this book and have been reading it in detail over the last week, so I'm in a position now to share my thoughts on it.

Platoon Forward! is a supplement for platoon level and skirmish level gaming, though it can be applied to larger scaled campaigns with relative ease.  The book is well set out in full colour with good diagrams and clear explanations throughout.  The three sections (as detailed previously here:http://tasmancave.blogspot.com/2011/01/platoon-forward.html) are themselves independent but can be linked as desired. 

Section 1- Character Formation
A neat, quick and easy system involving a couple of tables to give depth to your platoon leadership characters and others as you need them.  This is done in a plot point style system, letting you use it as much as you want, as opposed to giving specific rules for the game table, though these could be generated very easily if you want them.  For example a "Fanatic" character wont be taking many prisoners, so don't assign him such tasks or they will be liquidated before they get delivered to the intelligence section and you wont get the VPs (He just hasn't been the same since his family died in that bombing raid... ) The tables themselves are generic, but they get the creative juices flowing and I already have plans to build more specific ones for my German forces.

Section 2 - Scenario Generation
Very slick, easy to use system which not only provides an individual scenario, but what comes before and after.  Very neat for a series of ongoing games in a particular sector, and each game has particular victory conditions that aren't just "kill them all".  The solitaire rules for setting up the enemy are also good - sensible but able to keep you guessing.  The scenarios also include support factors, such as armour, artillery etc.  I plan to keep the arty part secret and just roll it up when I call for it.  After all, I might have a battery in support of my patrol but I wont know they will definitely fire (they could be busy supporting another unit)when I ask them to....until I ask them to!

Section 3 -Events
This is probably the most subjective part of the book, and it involves all the post mission stuff that happens: Interactions with other figures, reinforcement and support etc.  The book lays down some rules for working out what happens, but it is very narrative based and you'll need to develop it yourself, based on how each game goes.  Then again, no prescriptive system will meet everyone's needs and this instead gives you a framework to apply to any situation.  Its free flowing and with only a little imagination really required on your part (think back to Commando comics, Cross of Iron and all those Sven Hassel books!)

There are a few minor typos or errors but they don't detract from the document.  I really like the inclusion of a series of short letters from a German NCO to his brother, which neatly give the rules context.  Admittedly, there is nothing in here that I couldn't have developed for myself, but the point is even after years of thinking about it, Joe has and I haven't!  The only thing that comes to mind as missing from a character and story perspective is some sort of system for achievements and medals.

easy to read & great value for money.  I wish I had it 20 years ago!  Give it a whirl, for the price you've not got much to loose and based on my reading, everything to gain.


  1. Interesting product, thanks for the review.

  2. Thanks for the review, pretty much clinched the purchase for me. Will be using it for 15mm sci-fi battles, thanks again!