While some people were a little cagey in case it was a April Fools joke, Battlefront have in fact released a brand new ‘Missions’ PDF adding new missions and updating the Battleplan Matrix. If you haven’t already seen it then you can grab it here. A Team Yankee version (with night fighting rules) can be found here.
First off don’t be confused by the fact that there are two matrices. The first is the old one and the second (referred to as the expanded battle plans), on page 5 is the new exciting one.
As you can see the new matrix has some similarities to the one Breakthrough Assault produced in 2018, however its gone even further. There are now 20 missions in the Mission Booklet and there are no mission repetitions in each choice box. This is fantastic news as it means less repeated missions at events, which was perhaps the main reluctance for some TOs to not adopt battle plans.
The missions we got in the last official update such as “Cornered” and “Dogfight” now have a home and some new additions such as “Scouts Out” have been added as well as well as some tweaks and renaming of some existing missions such as “Escape” (was “Breakout”) and “Spearpoint” (was “Armoured Fury”).
I think this is actually quite clever and shows that missions can be introduced into the wider community, publicly tested and then when ready, tweaked and added to the matrix. The change of name as helps remind players that something fundamental has changed.
So lets have a look at some of the changes
1 “Fighting Withdrawal” now lasts 8 turns rather than 9 turns. I have been pushing for a change like this for a long time. Its a great mission but 9 turns is a long time to hold out, especially for a small elite force that doesn’t have cheap units, like armoured cars, to withdraw. I really think this will help balance the the mission better.
2 “Spearpoint” is, as noted above, the updated “Armoured Fury” mission from “D-Day Germans”. Now the defender gets 1st turn, its a meeting engagement and you can’t use “spearhead” moves. These are big changes, the removal of “spearhead” especially. Many people felt that if one side didn’t have recce then it was almost an auto lose. Eg, if the attacker got “spearhead” and first turn then they could be onto the far objective before enemy reserves arrive and almost ignore the central forces. This will now be a really tense and dynamic mission.
3 “Scouts Out” has been added as a completely new mission and looks like it will be a much more aggressive version of dust-up requiring move movement and likely some nasty assaults towards the end game
4. “Escape” (old “Breakout” from “D-Day Germans”) increases the defender’s deployment area. This, I think, will be very important for ambushes, providing a great opportunity to hold AT guns or Tank Destroyers in ambush for side armour shots as the enemy reach the objective. On the flip side, deploying closer to enemy troops means that the attacking force can get stuck into assaults faster.
5. “Cornered” has changed the location of objective placement slightly, giving a few more options and also added minefields. I am surprised at this as I always thought this mission favoured the defender slightly.
6. “Encirclement” is another new addition and involves the attacker being split between two deployment areas and faced with some interesting choices for objective deployment. On the one hand you can really space them out, forcing the defender to deploy thinly or you can put one at the half way line of the table (likely with minefields around it) to try and go for that quick alpha strike. Also any armour or guns deploying that far forward will be fairly open to flank attacks/assaults.
One other new addition is the “Vanguard” mission which demonstrates a very different type of game. In simple terms, it’s a “meeting engagement” with matching deployment zones and objective placing but where you only get 15% of your force on table turn 1, a further 35% arrives turn 3 and the remainder on turn 5. In another neat twist, instead of winning the game when you take objectives you now score a point for having one of your teams with 4 inches of an objective in the enemy’s half of the table at the end of your turn. This is regardless of whether enemy units are there are not. First player to reach 8 pts wins.
This really is a fresh way to approach a mission and demonstrates that BF are open to pushing new ways to play. This currently isn’t in the battleplan matrix and personally I can’t see it being added. While it sounds great fun, if you came to it with the wrong list you could almost lose before you start (eg a Tiger force). That said, I think it could be really fun at events to state that one game will be Vanguard and players may bring a list specifically for that game in addition to the normal one for the rest of the event. In fact lets do it at the next ‘Breakthrough Assault presents’ event!
Over the next couple of weeks I shall sort out a batrep to show this new mission in action. Until then, have a look at the new Matrix and start hatching those army lists ready for your next games.