Battlefield Evolution: Modern Combat – Miniatures War Game Review
Battlefield Evolution: Modern Combat.
Mongoose Publishing. $29.95
Passed Inspection: Fast play, easy to learn, well-written rules.
Failed Inspection: Weapons tables can be confusing.
The few faults notwithstanding, Battlefield Evolution: Modern Combat is a very well-executed game with tons of replay value. This is a must-buy game for those interested in modern tactical combat.
Battlefield Evolution: Modern Combat is a set of rules for modern, tactical war games utilizing miniatures of modern and near-future weapon systems and infantry. Like virtually all miniatures games, it is not an out-of-the-box war game; rather, it is a set of rules that allow gamers to create scenarios using miniature figures, which are sold separately. Units such as the M1A2 Abrams tank, AH-64 Apache helicopter, T-72 and T-90 tanks and others are well covered in this game. The rules are detailed but easy to learn and fun to play.
The heart of the game is encapsulated in the first 36 pages of the 140 rulebook. The other pages detail weapons and infantry statistics broken down by country or faction. Each unit, be it infantry or vehicle, is defined by its size, speed (in inches since this is a game using miniatures), close combat rating, armor and damage statistics, its special features and, finally, its weapons. Each unit also has a point value to help in balancing the game. For example, a United States Army Sniper Team of two men costs 30 points to add to your team while a Middle Eastern Alliance MIG-29 Fulcrum jet costs 330 points. Each player usually buys their forces from a pool of 1000 points each. This tends to give a game that lasts around 2 hours. For longer games, players can spend more points to increase the size of their army.
Battlefield Evolution: Modern Combat goes in to an enormous amount of detail about the armed forces of the following factions: the British Army, the People’s Liberation Army (Chinese Communists), the United States Army and Marine Corp., the Middle Eastern Alliance, the German Herr and the Russian Army.
Each unit can be modified to include optional weapons systems such as the German G-22 Sniper Rifle or even the United States Future Force Warrior communications and targeting equipment.
Game play is fast and furious with “high fatalities” being the word of the day. Play utilizes a variant of the move-and-shoot system common in miniatures games. Mongoose’s variant masterfully captures the rhythm of small unit engagements. Squads establish “fire zones,” which then have an extended range from the point of impact based upon the type of weapon system used and the rate of fire of the weapons system. Tanks, Infantry Fighting Vehicles (IFVs) and air units may use direct fire against a target or establish a fire zone to try and catch as many units in their weapons’ blast radius as possible. Players have a chance to return fire when fired upon, up to a specific range limit. This return fire option can sometimes turn the course of the battle.
In a game I played, two Middle Eastern Alliance T-72 tanks fired on a building which they suspected housed an American Marine squad. They used high explosive shells and collapsed the building on the Americans. The squads of American Marines in the wreckage of the building had a very bad day and were effectively out of the action.
While Battlefield Evolution: Modern Combat is easy to learn, very detailed and tons of fun to play, it does have several drawbacks. The book is well laid out but there are problems with the weapons tables. Sometimes, during the heat of battle, a player finds himself flipping through several chapters in order to find the weapons damage that he needs. For example, a Middle Eastern Alliance T-72 tank is outfitted with a Kord 12.7-mm machine gun. The Kord is not listed in the chapter on the Middle Eastern Alliance’s weapons but is listed in the weapons chart two chapters back for the Russian Army. In the heat of a game, this can be annoying.
The few faults notwithstanding, Battlefield Evolution: Modern Combat is a very-well-executed game with tons of replay value. This is a must-buy game for those interested in modern tactical combat.
When the game debuted, Mongoose Publishing put out over a dozen different pre-painted, pre-built miniatures including infantry, tanks, IFVs and even civilian-modified vehicles such as the infamous machine-gun-sporting SUVs used by the terrorists in the Middle East. These are no longer being manufactured but can be found on eBay. Mongoose recommends using 1:72 scale models for game play. The original miniatures were not exactly 1:72 scale, which means that the scale will usually be off slightly when matching up the models.
A college film instructor and Executive Director of Nouveau Cinema Group, Inc., an organization which rescues old movie theaters, Richard A. Martin has also worked in the legal profession, is involved in video production, film criticism, sports shooting and is an avid World War 1 and 2 gamer who can remember war games which came in plastic bags and cost $2.99 (he’s really that old)!