Preliminary Report:  First Impressions Of Expanded Forces

Today my mailbox was graced with the latest Supremacy 2020 expansions from Command Post Games.  For those who don’t know. These are all new units to add to our arsenal – Fighters, Bombers, Carriers, Subs, MBTs, and SLBMs.

Once the rules sink in and I get a game or 2 under my belt, I can do a more thorough review.  For now, my first impressions:

Advanced Rules

The new units introduce a more advanced system of combat.  Units still roll dice for hits or misses, but there are a number of curve balls added to the old system:

  • Units fire in sequence, determined by unit type and attacker/defender status.  Simultaneous fire is all but gone.
  • Some units fire at selected targets, while others do not.
  • Not all units can fire at each other.
  • Defenders (and bystanders) can react to declared operations before combat resolves.
  • Battles involving more than 1 Superpower will be a lot more common.
  • “Combined Arms” matters.

No, this won’t turn Supremacy 2020 battles into a game of Tobruk or ASL!  The combat rules are still relatively simple.  It’s just that there are now more of them.  If Supremacy 2020 pushes your tolerance for complexity; or if you simply find its simplicity part of its charm, these may not be the best expansions.  I recommend Fortuna 2020.

Affordable Hardware

If you played Supremacy in the 1980s, You’ll remember the expansions offered lots of interesting options for forces and weapons.  You’ll also remember these new toys were so costly that at best you could dabble in 1 or 2.  If you’ve only played Supremacy 2020, you are still aware just how tight your budget can become (and how quickly).  Can your country really afford all this state-of-the-art machinery?

Command Post Games have the perfect solution.  Instead of paying inflated prices for the new equipment, we now pay discount prices for basic Armies and Navies.  This should work just great – every player should be able to build a good range of forces and customise their military.

Bridging The Gap

Possibly the coolest feature of the new units is bringing conventional and strategic combat together.

Bombers and SLBMs can deliver a nuclear payload faster than the ABMs can react.  Instead of an ABM screen, Nuclear Subs and Bombers must survive a round of fire from the defender’s conventional forces (Fighters and/or Subs) before they can wreak their atomic havoc.   Expect Fighters to play a key role – as well they should.

Piecemeal

These are independent expansions – you can use any of them with or without the others.  Some of you might want to introduce these one at a time – either to ease your group into the new rules and strategies, or just to put less pressure on your game budget.

If you want to play with a subset of the new units I have one suggestion:  Save Bombers & SLBMs for last.  Without Fighters and (conventional) Subs, Bombers and SLBMs are unchecked free wheeling weapons of mass destruction.

Even with just Fighters & Carriers but no Subs you should be fine.
You can play Bombers and SLBMs without Fighters if you want.  But your basic Armies & Navies can’t stop them, and they fire before ABMs.  So hunker down for some intense diplomacy, and keep those mushroom clouds handy.

ICBMs, Bombers, SLBMs…
Still, I think my favourite delivery system might be the friendly postal service that brought these expansions to my home.  At heart, I’m a man of peace.

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