Warfighter wave two kicked off with the fantastic Foot Locker expansion that I’ve endorsed. The rest of wave two is all about additional cards and expanding of gameplay. More weapons, missions, and targets is always a great thing. Let’s dive right in and take a look at what each of these three magazine-sized expansions brings to the table.
Expansion five kicks things off with a claymore sized bang. It appears somewhat bland at first, offering additional copies of equipment we’ve already seen to help us fill out larger squads, but don’t overlook the dozens of new equipment options. One of my favorite options is the new Ghillie Suit which lets you blend into the environment and remain hidden, avoiding hostile fire. We also have new armor options with the IOTV vest and the Mich Helmet, bolstering protection and adding new tactical facets.
I’m also a huge fan of the first taste of the new SITREP cards. These are effects you may select when building your team that alter the rules of the mission. Double Time for instance allows you to move the objective one location closer but costs you a heavy seven resource points. These SITREP cards are sprinkled throughout the other expansions and included in the Footlocker. They’re a fantastic modification that doesn’t increase the overhead or difficulty a great deal but allows you to give a subtle nudge that does modify the feel enough to spice variety.
I’d also be remiss if I didn’t mention the new Mission and Objective set that comes in this small box. The most notable is the “Intercept Drug Shipment” jungle Objective that lets you pretend like you’re hunting Pablo Escobar while blasting 80’s music in the background. The Middle Eastern “Kill The VIP” Objective is also very interesting as it requires you kill a special target but you must do so from a range of two, requiring a sniper be brought along. One simple rule and we have an entirely new narrative structure and finale baked into this evocative ruleset.
Expansion six is all about the United Kingdom. We have 60 cards themed primarily around this new set of protagonists, which buff up our free world forces immensely. As you’d expect there’s troops of all three types found in the system – Squad, NPC, and standard. These new troop options form almost half of the included content.
One huge benefit of the U.K. not appearing until wave two is that these soldiers can take advantage of a more refined system. The Warfighter core is an exceptional product but some growing needed to occur as the system matured. One particular minor issue previously was that some of the more costly soldiers weren’t worth the cost to field. Wave two and the Footlocker have made strides in improving this and you can see that awareness and more sophisticated touch applied to these overseas warriors.
Along with these British warfighters comes an all new selection of gear. We have unit specific weaponry including the Enfield bullpup assault rifle, the L7A2 MG, and the mighty MBT LAW. We’re also gifted utility gear that may be utilized by all of your existing troops as well. This includes the hilarious Sunglasses that allow you to add one movement but can only be equipped if you have purchased three skill cards.
This expansion all gives some appreciated love to shotguns, featuring a side saddle free reload item, a shotgun forward grip, and the fantastic Shot and Awe skill that inflicts multiple kills on a target. These will be finding their way into my American shotgun wielders immediately.
The final element of note is the inclusion of additional mission variety through a new SITREP card, as well as both a Middle East and Jungle mission/objective set. These fill out options and help to keep setups from becoming stale. The best of the bunch here is the EVAC Truck objective which is an escape mission where the mission card continually moves closer. This represents the soldiers making their way out of hell in a vehicle as enemies pursue. A simple twist and my narrative lightbulb is on fire.
Expansion number seven is all about introducing Russian protagonists. This functions very similarly to the U.K. expansion in that we’re given a bevy of troops along with supporting gear. I have to admit that it is very entertaining utilizing a team of specialists wielding AK-47’s and an RPK. Even the venerable RPG makes an appearance, letting you dish some pain back on the enemy.
I also really dig the Objective, Mission, and new Location cards in this little pack. The two new locations feature a Jungle and Middle Eastern weapon cache, allowing you to supply mid-mission. Coming across an insurgent cache of arms and stocking up on grenades and new toys in the middle of a brawl is just plain fun. Perhaps my favorite Objective is also found in this set as you have to reinforce an outpost that’s under attack. This requires you head to the objective and then keep it clear for three turns, which can be daunting if you get into a hairy situation.
From my perspective, the best aspect of this expansion is the ability to re-enact the Soviet-Afghani conflict from the 80’s. Historical perspective offers more impactful gameplay and context that can help color play, for better or for worse. I find this particularly fascinating and have played whole missions selecting appropriate gear for that time period.
The final extension is the most interesting as it adds an entirely new front of enemies to the game. The Eastern European adds a robust set of Missions, Objectives, Enemies, and Events. Like the other Wave two additions, nothing here is done half-way and it feels like a full offering that really alters the feel and atmosphere.
Besides allowing you to partake in some interesting what if scenarios, we’re given some really difficult challenges to overcome. You can go toe-to-toe with a BMP, HIND, or even a T-72. Yes, when you run into a T-72 with a defeat cover roll of 11(!) you’ll be crying and hitting the dirt. We’re also nailed with Security Detachments, RPG teams, Infiltrators, and Patrols. The soldiers tend to be better equipped and more deadly than their Middle Eastern counterparts.
The locations are the best part of this diverse expansion as we see many new and interesting effects. We have a Roadblock that adds its location number (position) to its hostile value, Crowded Streets that restrict explosive and automatic fire, and Busy Highways that have large reinforcement values. It all ties into that dense narrative the game supplies and really paints an altogether distinct vision than those jungle missions taking down Narcos.
Wave two of Warfighter is successful because of the attention to detail. Everything is intelligently tied to the strong base mechanisms and nothing is forced or jammed into the design. If someone wanted a limited recommendation or prioritization of Wave two, I’d definitely suggest the Eastern European Adversaries first. They add a third vector to your mission environments and will take your stories to new places. The U.K. and Russian forces are great inclusions but likely more of a personal preference if you desire variety or have an affinity for these countries or their equipment. Regardless of your choice, you can’t really go wrong as DVG again have hit the ground running and produced a solid line of products.