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FOW Review: Cassino

4 Minute Read
Oct 6 2011
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Greetings gentle reader. Today we’re looking at the book “Cassino: Italy, January – May, 1944.” So let’s crack open the book and see what is inside.
 It has been awhile since I’ve reviewed a Flames of War Intelligence Briefing and so to mark this momentous occasion I thought I would dive into the Late War which is my favorite era. The book contains three Axis forces and five Allied forces which are Fallschirmjägerkompanie, Reichsgrenadierkompanie, Panzergrenadierkompanie, Goum Rifle Company, US Nisei Rifle Company, US Dismounted Calvary Troop, Indian Rifle Company, and New Zealand Rifle Company respectively. Additionally this book has Fortification rules including buying fortifications for your troops, a great background section, a decent hobby section, and the Infantry Aces Campaign guide. This book doesn’t contain any new warriors because of the Infantry Aces rules. This book is packed with goodies.
Fortifications FTW!
The item that caught my eye in this book on my first read through was the Fortification rules, and of those rules the one that piqued my interest was the rule of what counted as a bunker. It piqued my interest because in the Cassino fortification rules inclusion of a bunker makes the force that has bunkers the defender. The nice thing about the Cassino Fortifications is that Axis and Allied players get access to this rule. That is pretty huge when most of the published missions give the victory to the defender if the attacker fails to obtain the objective. This rule alone could see more armies based out of this book in tournaments.

All three of the German companies have something that will tempt a player to take them. They all have access to the Cassino Fortifications and so it is more of a matter of what style you want to play. Fallschirmjägers are Fearless Veteran so they will be the toughest defensive nut to crack. The Panzergrenadiers have access to two tank platoons and the Reichsgrenadier are Confident Trained, which makes them tempting for the low points cost.

The Allies have one real star in this book. The Nisei look pretty good. The have access to Cassino Field Fortifications which makes them always defending, access to two tank platoons, lots of artillery, and they are Fearless Veterans. Their “Go for Broke” is my least favorite rule, but that could also be that I’m not a huge fan of assaults in FOW. The Goum look like they might make better assault troops, but that remains to be seen. The Dismounted Calvary look fun but they look pretty points inefficient to the other companies in this and other books. The British Companies in this book leave me just cold, but I think that is because they have better choices in other books.

The background material is top notch as always. I can tell their background writers really love the material and in their more recent books have really tried to add some of the more minutiae of the theater or campaign they are discussing. It really gives the book the added value of historical value, and it has gotten me to go research related topics. The hobby section is nice because it shows off the new injection molded bases, and how to work with them. The one page in this book I really love is the terrain page where they have pictures of a good table with terrain and a bad table. They even give good guidelines for how much open space there should be. My overall love would have increased if they would have offered a “how to build the buildings you saw in this book” section.

Infantry Aces
The rest of this book is dedicated to the Infantry Aces Campaign. The campaign is well done with one exception. The main rule book instructs players who are playing in 600 point games that they are only required to take an HQ and a single Combat Platoon. Since the starting point is 500 points I’m left wondering if at 500 and 700 points if this applies or if they left this intentionally vague to give campaign organizers the latitude to do what they want. I’m inclined to believe the latter. The system of giving your Infantry Ace experience over the course of the campaign is pretty nice and not terribly game changing. The campaign system is fairly straight forward and easy to follow and has suggested missions for every area of the campaign. I could definitely see this being used with the Flames of War Vietnam material too, so its utility is pretty high.
Overall I am giving this an 8/10. I think for any Flames of War Player the utility of the campaign material makes this a must have. I would have scored it higher if the Allied material was stronger across the board; however it is a vast improvement over what we have seen in the past. The hobby and background material combined with the Infantry Aces campaign makes this a solid buy.

How many of you are planning to run or participate in an Infantry Aces Campaign?

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