So not many of you may know, but I used to be an avid player and fan of all things based around table-top wargames, and it was ignited even more when I got my dream job building scenery for one of the leading wargame manufacturers at one of their flagship stores in London.
Fast forward several years, and I no longer work for the now infamous company but now work a day job in the IT industry and pursue my love of board games in my free time. I still like table-top wargames but board games have now stolen my heart and will forever be my lady (except the wife and daughter of course...).
Now you 're probably wondering what has any of this to do with this review, well.. we at #DOALG were approached by Mantic Games through our TikTok account to review their new second edition of Firefight, a 2-player table-top wargame.
Of course with my background, I am properly suited to do this review. So without further ado, let's go...
Players: 2 (this set)
Game Time: 60 / 120 mins
SO WHAT IS FIREFIGHT?
Good question! Firefight is a squad-based, wargame set in the distant future. However, I'm not going to spout the background here. If you want to know more, check out Mantic's website. Plus a lot of awesome background material is located in the rulebook included with this set.
The starter kit we have been sent has over 70 highly detailed miniatures, rule and force lists books, a quick start guide, dice and tokens. This box set is a way of introducing players to Mantic's Warpath universe and the immersive, tactical and action-packed table-top game of Firefight, so let's see if what they say is true about this 2.0 edition.
SO WHAT’S NEW / SO GOOD ABOUT THIS SECOND EDITION?
Mantic boast quite a lot about the following points, but are they correct?
FAST GAMEPLAY – games last an hour or two (my game lasted a little longer because I hadn't played this at all before). I have known all too well other table-top war games take an entire afternoon. Whilst I haven't done many playthroughs, this seems to be accurate.
TACTICAL GAMEPLAY – the use of command points to unleash potentially game-changing special abilities is without a doubt the best thing about this rules system.
GREAT MINIATURES – they have a fantastic range of hard plastic miniatures and this 2-player set delivers a great selection for you to get to the table-top.
MAKES THE MOVE FROM DEADZONE INTO FIREFIGHT EASIER – Deadzone is a larger scale game (more minis and points) and Firefight is a smaller scaled down skirmish version of the game. Having not played Deadzone, I can't make an accurate comparison, however with what's included in this set and how the rules are set up I am inclined to believe this to be true.
This is an experience I do not wish to repeat, not unless I have more time to become accustomed to the lore and game, since we were given short notice and time to get a proper review out (especially when this is our hobby to review games). I have had to rush putting together miniatures (with not the best glue) and had no time to paint them either, just so I could have something to play the game with in order to give our review the proper gravitas it deserves. So for this reason only, I do not wish to repeat this EVER again...
The gameplay for Firefight is actually as Mantic states - easy. Pages 4-34 in the core rulebook are actually only a mere 24 pages of rules (discounting full page artwork), all of which are clearly broken down into 5 key sections:
Commands and Command Pool
Round and Turns
How to move
How to Shoot
How to Fight / Assault
They also have some awesome videos on all of this too, which you can find below this review. This game plays well, and the mechanics / rules are easy to follow. It has very similar aspects to many table-top war games with a few differences. the main one being the Command Points which really make this game!
The production of Mantic's Firefight second edition is fantastic. The miniatures are highly detailed and assemble together well (when you use the correct glue). As with any miniature that requires assembly, some flash lines occur and do require some minimal filing (glass or metal file should suffice). Once assembled, you can then have the choice of painting them before playing the game!
The rulebook is quite frankly my favourite element of this whole set, not because I am a rules lawyer (not me at all, that's George's title) but because how well written and easy to understand it is. They have really made it clear. I would suffice to say that this could almost pass as a gateway table-top miniature game because it is THAT simple to follow. You even have a "Getting Started" guide that is eight pages long, four of which are assembly pictures and quick reference guides. The rest are quick start-to-play rules. The rulebook also fleshes out scenarios and deeper explanations of some of the rules you may need later. So, to be brunt, you can assemble and play straight away! Touché Mantic, very nicely done as this guide points you to key pages to read in the rulebook..
So what do you get in the box?
40x Plastic Marauder Commandos/Brawlers
4x PVC Marauder Ripper Suits
20x Plastic Enforcers
5x Plastic Enforcer Peacekeepers
2x Plastic Enforcer Jetbikes
1x Firefight Rulebook
1x Firefight Force Lists Book
2x Card Counter Sheets
1x Getting Started guide
11x Firefight Command Dice
9x 40mm MDF Bases
62x 25mm Plastic Bases.
Models are supplied unassembled (requires super glue) and unpainted. We recommend washing resin models in warm, soapy water before painting.
You can even watch our unboxing of this set which we livestreamed.
What did we think?
Overall, we generally look at these main areas when we're reviewing a game as it keeps us true:
Replayability: In Firefight's defence, it has tonnes of replayability, especially with the different factions. Each faction has specific command functions and abilities which make for a different game alongside the different game modes, this all adds up to some great replayability.
Production Value: Mantic have taken time with this, it looks and feels great and most importantly the miniatures are great.
Theme: This is ok, however I feel it is a little predictable in places but I still like it, I have never been a massive back of backstory but fans of lore and plot detail, and there is enough!
Complexity: This is certainly not as complex as other table-top wargames, but because I am not familiar with the latest versions, it's tricky to truly compare.
Rules: Very easy to read and learn the rulebook and quick start guide are very easy to read and interpret.
Uniqueness: It's a little samey as some other table-top miniature based games but it does have command points, which is what saves it IMO.
Value: the value of the 2-player set is staggering with 71 minis. This works out at an average £1.26 per model, which is excellent. A great investment for someone 'starting' out!
So I am scoring this a 4/6 not because I think this game isn't good far from it, I think the game has some serious contender elements to make this a preferred table-top war game, but my reasoning being the score is two-fold. One, I haven't painted the miniatures, so I can't actually score this fairly. The miniatures and sprues while they look great, I cannot judge fairly as the painting is a whole element of the hobby that I just can't score for the review (purely as I didn't have the time). Two, I haven't got a great frame of reference to compare it, as I haven't recently played any recent table-top wargames to properly compare with to say if it REALLY is quick to play. Providing I can get time to paint some of the minis and play a comparison (new versions of rules) then I could quite possible give this a 6/6. However, in this instance it is a 4, which is solid. If you are unfamiliar with our scoring system, you can check this out here.
If you are a fan of table-top wargames, then I think you should take a step away from your regular provider (if you haven't already) and give Mantic's Firefight a good go! I feel that the command system really makes the game, each time I used a command point in the game it really made me stop and think about how I could better make my decisions and use the points better. Command points are an absolute must for Firefight and without it, I would just be putting the models and rulebooks on the shelf to gather dust. Instead, I am already looking at a Persecutor Bomber (flyer) for the Enforcer force.
Thanks to Mantic for sending this over and letting us review. Any table-top war gamer should give this a go without a doubt.
One final point I would like to mention is with the Mantic Points, on the box. You get tokens to cut out, on this set six to be precise, and I wondered what these were for. This is their reward scheme, where you exchange your Mantic Points for exclusive minis (can only be attained this way) you can check out the Mantic Point scheme and check the available rewards.
Please also take the time to subscribe to us if you enjoyed the review!
Mr Chris - Founder & Talent