Today marked the release of the highly anticipated Forces of War! from Battlefront. Forces of war is, essentially, a revamped easyarmy, with formal company logos/fonts/etc, but the same functionality (with a few improvements; more on that in a moment).
The first thing I noticed as the front page ‘quick filters’ – slightly different from easyarmy’s original filters – this takes you right to the lists available for that period (remembering of course, the original easyarmy required you to select a filter and then lock all filters for ease of use).
Front page for ease of use – this is a great feature
Heading into the ‘company builder’, is a very familiar menu of filters – good to see the developers have kept the functionality and style of the quite user friendly easyarmy.
Just like the original, Forces of War allows you to select a source from which to build your company. Having just picked up Barbarossa, I thought it would be a good opportunity to check out the lists I could make…
Lend Lease Tankovy – what better way to start our review?
As you can see, the format is relatively similar, with some tidying up of the general look of the builder.
Forces of War keeps the usual options ‘return to company (save)’, ‘calculate points’, ‘clear options’, etc.
335 points for One Conscript Tank! And German players complain about the price of tigers…
The Custom Buttons remain in Forces of War, allowing you to name your Company, platoon, etc.
The ‘view’ function is practically identical also:
27 tanks for a cool 2,705 points…
And the Arsenal is kept as well:
One thing I have noticed about the Arsenal is the Equipment and Notes section is formatted neatly (as is easyarmy), where as the same text is out of alignment in my copy of Barbarossa.
Unit profile is as per the old way too.
Nothing like a 10 tank platoon to get things going
The View Company button leads you to the standard output options, pdf-ing and printing.
Print format is simple to read, but spacing could be utilised better
One thing I will look into further before providing a final opinion, is the use of space on each ‘page’ – as the above screenshot shows, there is ample room for the arsenal details to be included on the front page. As it were, the arsenal for my two platoon company is on the third page – I hope this is an error on my part and not a function.
Also, with the introduction of coloured backgrounds, I hope everyone has their default printer settings on black and white! (Note: this can be turned off easily).
The saved screen is kept, allowing users to access previous lists.
Saved Companies – as per the old system
And so to is the Scenarios screen, I’m glad Battlefront kept this brilliant inclusion from the original company builder
Help is readily available:
And the store section leads you to our favourite online-window-shopping webstore (where I am sure to spend countless hours in the future dreaming up units to play).
Buying lists is slight different in Forces of War.
Buy now, play later
Clicking on any unit from a locked book, or going straight to the big red Buy Now button will direct you here:
Paypal purchasing is retained – a quick, easy and secure method of payment.
Battlefront have made clear their position on pricing for Forces of War – there has been, of course, comment on the price for an entire briefing.
However, at US$1 a pop for an individual briefing, I think this is a bargain; 1 buck for per briefing is a great for both new and existing players. New players won’t get overwhelmed by the billionmillion lists, forces and combinations, and existing players can cherry-pick briefings that interest them, creating a unique library of companies, forces and briefings for the player.
And yes, there is different pricing for different briefings:
Not all Intelligence Briefings were created equal…
But there is free stuff! Battlefront bundled in the very popular Panzers To The Meuse pdf (under the guise of Devil’s Charge)
Which operates the same way as easyarmy’s pdf lists – a direct link to the relevant briefing for all of the rules and historic details
Forces of War is a great addition to the gamers’ resource collection. One thing I noticed early on is the buttons are bigger – perfect for those with fat fingers who make army lists on their mobile while riding to work (like me).
The layout itself is clearer and defined, and usability is pretty much kept from easyarmy.
There are, however, some things missing. For me, its the ‘links’ section, and in particular the old “Find Companies containing a given Arsenal Item” – with a small collection of briefings up, there isn’t quite the need for this function – however, when all of company briefings become accessible, I do hope this feature is incorporated – many a time have I surveyed a battlefield at a tournament, only for my eyes to catch a glimpse of a beautiful model I’ve not seen previously – before madly searching through the arsenal items to find the list responsible.
There was an opportunity (and this will be an opportunity for future updates) to do something a little different, or bold, with Forces of War – I think it would be great for the army printout section to include the silhouette of each platoon (including the specific number of tanks, guns, infantry stands, etc) that could be printed out and used to track casualties (or in my case, track deployment!) throughout the game.
Much like easyarmy there is no quick way to select and delete multiple lists – this isn’t a problem for some, but I can imagine in the future there will be quite the collection of lists in gamers’ Saved Companies section.
All in all, Forces of War is a brilliantly presented, supported and designed product. I’m glad it’s out and I can’t wait to get list building in earnest…