Today Mark G has a look at the new Iron Cross command cards and discusses how they will alter your German Forces.
Regular players of V4 will be used to the style of the Command Cards packs but, for newer players tempted by the Eastern Front, I’ll quickly summarise.
Each pack comes with a set of cards which fits into one of the following areas:
- New Units
- New Formations
- Unique army abilities
- Special characters
- What I call ‘generic’ buffs
Number 5 includes things like Lucky (re-roll one dice) or cards which do things like make your formation commanders do things a bit better (i.e. re-roll misses). For this article (due to the massive amount of cards!) I’ll be focusing on 1,2,4 along with the most interesting aspects of 3.
Probably what people are most interested in, as you get to expand your collection beyond the main book with some new toys; this deck mostly focuses on captured Soviet units.
Captured BA-10Ms – Allows you to swap a light scout troop (normally a SdKfz 223 and two 222) for two BA10Ms keeping the German ‘careful’ rating but gaining some better armour and a better gun (sacrificing your third vehicle) for minimal cost. With its ‘veteran’ status and handy cannon it can be a good nuisance to light armour but, as with all platoons of two vehicles, is very brittle.
Goliath Remote Controlled Bomb – A really cool bit of kit which was basically a remote-controlled car packed with masses of explosives, perfect for blowing up guns and nasty units like HMGs (before your glorious assault) and also handy for pinning.
Captured KV1 & T34 – You can take a single captured KV1 and captured T34 which is perfect if you want to theme an army with lots of captured kit (combined with the BA-10M). They are a bit more expensive than their Soviet versions but gain better skill and a 3+ to hit. However remember that they are independent teams so can’t hold objectives, however, on the flip side, they don’t concede victory points, either. I can see a Tiger and KV combo being rather tasty!
Mountain Artillery – Theming your army towards the Gebirgsjager, along with the company card below, is helped with this handy card that converts a battery of 10.5cm guns to 7.5cm guns. It gains the movement of the 7.5cm gun (much more mobile), as well as the weapon stats, dropping its direct anti-tank to 6, but keeping a respectable firepower. A small point saving is a nice bonus as well.
The weight of new stuff is the number of formations on offer.
Armoured Car Formation – Light scout troops along with heavy scouts become core backed up by core 5cm guns and a grenadier platoon. The addition of the large Grenadier platoon as core really helps these guys have staying power. I am a huge fan of the armoured car formation in the desert and I can see these being equally popular with cheap core platoons backed up by power support (a good way to afford those late panzers).
Croatian Rifle Company – For those who don’t know, BF owner Peter’s family is from Croatia so I am not surprised to see this card. The 100th Jager Division contained the 369th Croatian Reinforced Infantry Regt which fought in Stalingrad. For a suitable price, your Grenadier formation gains 3+ counterattack, making it a powerful attacking force.
Fast Company – The Schnell Company returns in an interesting formation which mixes the ability to take a single platoon of grenadiers (plus up to two more) and a light scout troop with 3.7cm guns and the unique ability to have a platoon of 7.5cm PaK40s as core.
Gebirgsjager Formation – Mountain troops to you and I. They gain the mountaineers rule allowing them to climb cliffs and mountains at dash speed if they pass a skill check. While not very useful for average games, it is a nice addition to themed games.
Jager Company – These light infantry troops allow your grenadiers to move dash 10″ through terrain. Perfect for the rubble heavy city fights of Stalingrad.
Luftwaffe Field Company – Another alteration to your grenadier company, allowing the far less trained air force personnel. There is a big price reduction for taking this formation and I see this as a more defensive force, creating strong points. With its poor skill and 3+ to hit, offensive action will be tough but at least they counter-attack and rally reliably.
SS Company – A lot of people have been asking for these elite troops since the start of V4 and they have now arrived. Paying a fairly sizeable price to take the formation your core grenadier formation troops become fearless. You are going to want to take a fairly good amount of core choices to make up for the initial point spend, however you will get a reliable force, the equivalent of Fearless Veteran in earlier additions. In essence as good as they come.
StuG Battery – One of my favourite tanks can now be taken as core choices with this formation. AN excellent alternative choice to a Panzer formation and a good way to get some capable firepower into your army due to the slight points break over the Panzers due to the lack of a turret and assault ability.
These cards allow you to add famous Germans who fought in and around Stalingrad to your forces adding some great buffs and abilities.
Albert Dressel – When running some fairly expensive German tanks it is important to get the most out of them and missing the enemy is always frustrating! This card helps counter this re-rolling two failed hits. For me its perfect for the expensive Pz4 Longs which gives the best value for points. Perfect tank hunters!
Feldwebel Limbach – Last but not least, something for the infantry players. This is going to make one of your platoons quite an attacking beast which is going to reliably get across the board quickly and into assault. Once there it will stick around to the last man while the rest of the army reinforces your position. This could be combined with the Jager card for a 10-inch dash and reliable follow me, giving a 14-inch terrain movement. Great to get those flamers up the board ready for turn two toasting and assault.
A sample of some of the unique cards for the German forces,
Mission Tactics – The Germans believed that all troops should know the plan of attack therefore on the loss of an Officer or NCO the unit could carry on the mission effectively. This is represented by increasing the formation commander’s leadership bubble to 8 inches and also allows the card to be discarded to auto-pass a ‘last stand’ test.
Brandenburger Raids – Disrupt enemy reserves and cause them to re-roll their reserve dice as these special forces disrupt the Soviet rear area.
Brandenburger Intercepts – Brandenburger forces spoofed Soviet radios and adjusted their fire away from friendly troops. Well represented by the ability to remove a ranged in marker on a 3+. Goodbye pesky rocket salvo (at least for a while).
Brandenburger Objective – Through misdirection of the enemy you can move an objective after deployment 4 inches however it must meet the mission placing rules for objectives (i.e. you can’t move it into no man’s land). Very useful vs infantry forces to get the objective away from dug in troops or the area of AT gun defensive fire.
Blitzkrieg – The most iconic tactic for the Germans! Pass all blitz moves within 8 inches of your commander on a 2+ for a turn. Could be carefully employed with an armoured force to deploy out of LOS and then bring a lot of firepower to bear at once.
A large card pack with a lot of new options. I think BF has looked at the feedback from Afrika Corp and included a lot more here. While some players will be disappointed for the loss of dedicated lists for forces like the SS and Jagers these cards allow you to field your favourite historic force with a subtle but not game-breaking ability. A fair compromise and move in the right direction.