I was given the chance to play a round or two of upcoming skirmish war game Farsight on Tabletopia, with the publisher Lewis Shaw from Braincrack Games.
The game is set in the future, where four corporate armies are at war with each other and have in their command troops ranging from a small infantry to larger mechs and secret specialists.
The game has a lot of backstory: it’s set in the near-future where powerful private military corporations are scrapping it out for what's left of the earth. It's set after what the corps refer to as ‘The End of Nations,' and serves as the precursor to a world where the majority of the population live as 'Sponsored Citizens' in stronghold-like safe zones.
Farsight is being marketed as ‘a new generation of war game,’ and when I read that I rolled my eyes and thought 'here we go again, the marketing guy’s going overboard.' After just two turns of the game I was sold on this being more than a run of the mill combat game.
From the fact that the game can be played with or without dice, to the way troop deployment and combat is used in this game really adds something new to a rather tired genre.
The game plays two to four and on the play through it was evident that this game will be a real thinker. I picked up the basics after only my second turn and the phases are very straight forward.
Base Camp and Get off my Hill
The game has 12 bases you can fight for control of. If you gain control of eight of these, or three of the ones closest to the enemies side of the board, you win - OR you can just try to wipe out the other army's commando style.
If you end the turn on a base you get control of it - by putting a token of your colour on it. Terrain also adds an extra layer of depth to combat as different spaces will allow different modifiers to combat: Hills, for example add +1 attack and +1 defence, whilst standing in a forest will make you harder to hit - all very straight forward, I hope you agree.
Is it my go yet?
I was worried that as a war game with different troops and ways of winning that Farsight would be convoluted and a long drawn out affair. I was wrong! With just four phases, that I will outline below, the game played quickly, but more importantly was very fun.
- Events Phase - Roll a dice and if the event symbol comes up, draw a card and play that card's text (this can be anything from plagues to tornadoes or lightning storms).
- Deployment Phase - Take turns deploying troops up to your limit (one of each type of unit, unless you have some 'Supply Line' specialists that help increase this).
- Specialist - This was the most difficult thing about my play through as you have a separate map that reflects the main board and you place your specialists on this by way of writing the initials of the unit type. These units then help you in battle. For example I deployed a spy, and when an enemy unit was two spaces away from him the player then has to flip the card over so I can see what it is. At first I thought this would be a tad fiddly but I soon got used to it and the game carried on as it should with no real downtime.
- Battlefield - This was so much fun: in simple turns you can move three (or two if you have been ‘identified’) spaces and attack enemies whose spaces you can move into. The added base capture and terrain as well as the hidden unit mechanic really add a level of depth to this game that I have only ever seen from a real time strategy game on my PC.
The Art of War
Farsight is so simple and quick to play that it only consists of rolling a dice for an event (there are also rules for a 100% diceless game), deploying troops and specialists and then moving and/or combat. This may sound very simple but with all the depth of the added extras I found our play through really enjoyable and I can honestly not wait to play again….with minis!
The game I played had no combat for the first few turns but the excitement was building as our troops got closer. While looking at the terrain we both moved slowly towards each other, I made sure to stop off at bases and use the hills or trees as cover just in case. The hidden spy element was used on our second turn and it made Lewis turn over his troop card revealing a big mech. I'm glad I had deployed the same now and could really feel how the minis will be used in this game.
Rather than minis being added just for the sake of it I can not explain the feeling of excitement you will get when both troops that are hidden enter combat: you will hover your hand over the mini stockpile while looking straight into your opponent's eyes just as he does the same.
Then you both choose the mini that represents your card and put it onto the table. This will lead to great ‘oh s**t’ moments and great fun for all. The spy lets you get a heads up of what your opponent's army consists of but it's still just as much fun finding out the enemy that has been closing in on you is in fact only a small unit platoon while you have the big futuristic prototype mech waiting to attack.
I am sold on this idea after only a short play-through and for me that's a big thing as I am normally quite fussy. There are so many more elements of this game that I haven't mentioned as it would just drag on.
Want to build your own army? Is there a Lighting storm affecting your mechs? How about a plague that hurts your soldiers? These are all in this game.
When this game hits Kickstarter I would suggest everyone have a look at it as I am sure it will be a great success. Keep a lookout on their website to see when it will be released on Kickstarter and for more news in the coming weeks.