Today Mark takes a look at the newest Command Card deck for the Italians forces of Avanti
What to expect
Battlefront have kindly sent me a set of the “Avanti” Command Cards to cast my critical gaze over and let everyone what to expect. Having had a peruse through the cards, I am happy to report that it fills in a huge number of gaps in the Italian Force, which some players noted after our review and reveal after the “Avanti” book. Not only do you get six new units cards, but you get five new formations as well! Three new warrior cards will change the way your force plays, and this is wrapped up by the usual HQ buffs, army abilities and what I call standard cards, such as dummy minefield which seem to turn up in all packs.
Lets start with what I suspect most people will want to know. What are the new units.
- 20mm AA Weapons Platoon allowing you to add 20mm gun team to your infantry weapons platoon for some nice support.
- Motociclisti which allows your infantry to start mounted on motorcycles and then discard them to revert to infantry at the start of a movement step. While this lowers your save to 4+ you can a 16 inch cross country, dash perfect for those turn 2 assaults.
- Fancy some German Stukas? Well now you can.
- One area the Italians suffer from is lack of what I call medium AT (9-10). With the captured 25Pdrs you can replace a 100m howitzer battery with these gun, which as well as delivering a respectable bombardment also have ROF2 AT9.
- Finally and perhaps unsurprisingly, you can put some lower tier infantry on the field, replacing the rifle and mortar pltn with Blackshirts for a point saving. This gives you a 3+ to hit and keeps a fearless status. Similarly you can use the Legions of Rome card to downgrade your infantry to reluctant but keep the 4+ to hit, again for a significant cost saving.
These cards are hugely useful and 25pdrs were already a stapple in my German army and will be for my Italians. A reluctant 4+ to hit infantry pltn is also perfect for my objective holding pltn.
Five new formations await you with these cards, lets look at them briefly.
- Assault Engineers open proceedings which allows you to take 2-4 Assault Engineer platoons as well as 45mm guns and mortars as core, all with a 3+ to dig in and 3+ to cross minefields. An interesting assault force given the flamethrowers they have. I could see them being combined to good effect with Paolo Caccia Dominioni who grants an infantry formation night attack. 5+ to hit flame throwers with pre-ranged in mortars for smoke anyone?
- L6/40 Light Tank Company. As you would expect 2-3 units but they lose spearhead and scout and have a 4+ to hit and they are fearless.
- AB41 Armoured Car Company. Quite similar to the German command card this makes armoured cars core and also allows some inf (small pltn), guns and 20MM. A nice flying circus list.
- L6/40 Scout Tank Company. Similar to the L6/40 tank company card but allows a small inf pltn, guns and AA as core. Also keeps scout and spearhead but with unaltered stats.
- Last but certainly not least…the Motorcycle Company. A fan favourite that some people were worried would be missing. A combination of small infantry pltns, MGs, light tanks and cars, guns and AA. Combined with the Motociclisti unit card for full effect.
For me the assault engineers are really interesting and feels like a bit of a return of the pioneer company of V3. I didn’t feel the platoon was worth it in a rifle company by the time you had paid for two decent rifle platoons and support, however as core choices this could be quite fun. Darn it now I need more models….
Characters can change the whole dynamic of an army and the three choices below certain allow some interesting options.
- Paolo Caccia Dominioni. In a nutshell this allows an infantry formation to gain ‘night attack’, This is more useful than the British version (which no formation can use yet but we are expecting in Armoured Fist) as its usable when attacking in all missions other than meeting engagements.
- Pietro Bruno. An upgrade for an M14/41 pltn which makes it elite, gives a 2 plus morale and also gives the unit leader the ability to always hit side armour within 16 inches and re-roll firepower tests. Vicious but expensive.
- Luigi Pascucci. This effects your tank company and allows you to roll 2 dice for ‘8 million bayonets’ test picking the best and gives units with their leader within 6 inches a 6 inch follow me plus a last stand of 3+.
General Italian Cards
I am going to skip over what I call the generic cards like ‘dummy minefield’ and formation commander re-rolls etc because they are very similar to every other pack. Instead lets look at some Italian specifics. A few highlights are,
- Auto pass all last stand tests this turn for a formation.
- Gain ‘scout’ on Semoventes.
- Have a tank unit pass ‘follow me’ on a 2+.
- Allow a platoon of Lancia to make a dash move within their deployment zone after the enemy has deployed. Perfect for a sneaky relocation to get a good line of fire or get out of a template.
I am not big on the use of these type of cards, I prefer more units than abilities which often are situational, however re-locating Lancias sound rather tempting.
While some people are still a bit on the fence regarding command cards, I have to admit the new pack has taken a further step in the right direction, specifically with the units (6) and formations (5). I know people will say why aren’t they in the book, however most will be quite rare to see on the battlefield, but its nice to have the option and tips the hat to existing players who may have a lot of motor cycles or armoured cars already.