TITLE: A Fistful of TOWs (2nd Edition)
AUTHOR: Ty Beard
PUBLISHER: Ty Beard
PUBLICATION DATE: 2001
WEB SITE/SUPPORT FORUM:
PRICE (with date): Out of Print
REVIEWED BY: Mark “Extra Crispy” Severin
PERIOD COVERED: 1950-2010
Fistful of TOWs 2 (FFT2) is a spiral bound book of 205 pages. It features color covers with a black & white interior. The rules them selves run 100 pages or so (DON’T PANIC!) with detailed tables of contents, extensive army lists, appendices, and a long introduction to the hobby in general. Because the rules cover such a large time frame, they must deal with many subjects such as air power, helicopters, engineers and so on.
SCOPE: FFT2 covers tactical warfare during the latter half of the 20th century.
ARMY SIZE: FFT2 is a stand based game with half companies. Bases may contain one or multiple miniatures, so army size is highly variable.
BASE UNIT: FFT2 uses half companies or platoons as the base unit. The army lists are designed to build brigade sized formations.
- Ground Scale: 1” = 100 meters.
- Time scale 1 turn = 5-7 minutes
- Figure/Base Ratio 1 infantry base = 1 platoon, 1 vehicle base = 4-5 vehicles. There is a variant for using the rules in 1:1 scale.
- Recommended Figure Size: 6mm but the game is scale agnostic.
- Table Size: Not stated.
- Game Length: Not stated.
BASING SIZES: If using 6mm / 1:285 miniatures, vehicles may remain unbased, and infantry should be based on 3/4” round bases.
The turn sequence in FFT2 is an I-GO-U-GO system with occasional “overwatch” activities during your opponents turn.
- The Command Phase: Place artillery barrages and reinforcements.
- Overwatch: The defender may conduct Overwatch Fire.
- Movement Phase: The active player moves his stands on at a time. The opponent may fire overwatch, “shoot and scoot” or pivot, if eligible. Any necessary quality checks are taken.
- Close Combat Phase: Close combat is resolved using the firing rules with the defender firing first.
- Overwatch: The defender may conduct Overwatch Fire.
- Fire Phase: The active player fires with all eligible units. Defending units on “hold Fire” may fire. Remove any destroyed stands and take all necessary quality checks.
- Artillery Phase: Defender’s artillery barrages land and are resolved.
- Final Phase: Remove pin markers, resolve and remaining quality checks.
The players now switch roles and repeat steps 1 through 8. Once each player has completed the steps, one game turn is over and the next begins.
Troop Quality is the most important statistic and functions as both strength and morale. Throughout the rules a number of events may trigger a “Quality Check.” This includes receiving fire, being bombarded etc. The lower the Troop Quality the better the unit. To make a Quality Check a D6 is rolled. You must equal or exceed your Quality to pass. A roll of 1 always fails and a roll of 6 always passes. If a unit fails a check, it is usually removed from play. There are four levels of Troop Quality: Green, Trained, Veteran and elite.
In FFT2 there are two movement modes: Normal and Strategic. Strategic Movement allows a unit to move much faster - up to double normal speed or more. However, it may not participate in combat, nor may it go on overwatch, etc. Fire at the unit is more effective as well.
Normal movement is used when in contact with the enemy. Stand move fairly freely - turns and wheeling do not cost extra. When moving, stands must remain within unit cohesion distance (determined by troop quality: green troops must remain within 4” of each other, elites within 8’). Note that some unit types ignore cohesion (Recon for example).
Units have a “type” which determines both their movement allowance each turn, as well as how they are affected by moving through or across certain terrain types. Unit types are Wheeled, Tracked, Leg, etc. There is an entire chapter in the rules delaing with terrain.
Before an enemy stand may be engaged it must be spotted. In order to spot an enemy unit it must be detected, you must have an unblocked line of sight (LOS) to the stand, and it must be within spotting range (normally 70” during daylight).
To detect an enemy stand the Spotting Chart is consulted. Cross index the spotting unit type and quality with the target type. The chart returns either “Auto” which means the unit is detected regardless of range. Otherwise the chart indicates the detection range. For example: a Soviet T72, Average Quality attempts to detect an M1A1 stationary platoon in a wood. Cross index Average/Vehicle with Vehicle/Sationary In Cover and read the chart. The result is 10”. If the M1A1 is within 10” of the T72 it is detected. Note you do NOT need LOS to detect, just to spot.
Naturally Recon and better quality troops detect their enemy at longer ranges. And note that there is no die roll for detecting or spotting.
To resolve fire combat a player nominates a target and then resolves all fire against that target, before moving on to the next. He may fire at targets in any order he wishes. Naturally, targets must be spotted, within range, and the firer must have a clear LOS to the target.
The rules and army lists also specify the limits to moving and firing in the same turn. Units may generally do both, but some may suffer a penalty, and some may more OR fire.
When firing against vehicles, the firer rolls one D6 for each Rate of Fire (ROF) rating of his unit. The die roll needed to score a hit is based on range for the firer’s specific weapon class (gun, 1st generation missile, etc.). So a gun hits on a 4+ at medium range, a 2nd gen missile hits on a 3+ at all ranges. Depending on the terrain the target is in, it may get a saving throw to negate a hit.
The To Hot Roll may be modified by a number of factors, such as a firer being suppressed, the firer’s troop quality, etc.
For all unsaved hits, compare the target’s armor to the firing weapon’s Penetration rating. If the Penetration rating exceeds the Armor rating, roll one D6 for every point of difference between the two. A roll of 6 destroys the target, a roll of 4 or 5 causes a Quality Check. A roll of 1,2 or 3 has no effect. Units have two armor ratings, for front and side armor respectively. Penetration is also affected by range.
Further, the unit profiles indicate specialty armor (Chobham, Reactive etc.) which can affect the Armor rating, depending on the kind of firing weapon, range, etc.
Anti-Infantry fire works similarly. Roll a D6 for every Rate of Fire and score hits based on range. The first hit causes a Quality Check. Further hits will cause a cumulative -1 modifier to the Quality Check die roll. The unit will then be either destroyed (if the check is failed) or pinned (if the check is passed).
Indirect artillery barrages are placed during a player’s command phase. A Forward Observer may place a barrage anywhere within LOS. It may also place up to three “dummy” barrage markers. Artillery fire lands during the enemy player’s turn (see Sequence of Play, above). Players have a “roster” on which to record artillery barrage details: units involved, turn number, duration, ammo type etc.
When the barrage arrives, the FO may move it up to 6” to any spot within LOS, and the appropriate template is then placed. Any stands under the template are affected by the barrage.
To determine the effect of the barrage, calculate the number of firing points of the artillery. This will be found in the unit profiles. Cross reference the number of artillery factors firing with the target type (vehicle, infantry etc). The result is a To Hit number. Roll a die for each target stand. Stands that take a hit must make a Quality Check.
The rules provide for sheaf type, barrage size, ammo type etc. when calculating the size fo the barrage as well as effectiveness.
Helicopters operate like most other units with a few notable exceptions. First, have two movement modes: Nap and High. Helicopters moving “Nap of the Earth” are very low and have a movement allowance as listed in the army lists. Helicopters moving in High Mode have unlimited movement.
Helicopters generally fire and take fire like other units. However, only certain wepaon types may fire at helicopters (Anti-Air, SAM, etc). Helicopters may also make a “Pop Up” attack and fire over intervening terrain.
Close Combat is resolved using the normal firing rules.
During movement, units that close to within 1” of the enemy must stop and mark their remaining movement allowance. During the Close Combat phase, the melee is resolved. First the defending unit fires at the attacker. If the attacker survives, it returns fire. Continue firing back and forth until one side is destroyed. If the attacker wins, it may continue moving, however losing 1” of movement for each round of close combat fought.
When infantry fights against MBTs, they must first take a Quality Check with +2 on the die. If they fail they do not fire in the first round of combat. Infantry always shoot at the side armor of vehicles in Close Combat.
The book includes no scenarios, but does offer extensive unit stats for all major nations from 1950 through 2010. It includes both unit data as well as army lists/TO&Es.
Despite the length of the book, the rules are easy to read and very well presented. Each chapter has an executive summary and there is a detailed table of contents. The book also includes a “unit builder” that walks through how to create stats for units that may not be present in the book.