The moment has arrived. The skies have parted, a ray of light has shone down upon my meager review blog, and a gift has been imparted…
I present to you…. DEFIANCE!
We live in exciting times. With special thanks to the spies at Osprey for sending this along! Let’s not waste anymore time on introductions; we shall move on to looking at the contents.
The book is roughly the same size as Resurgence, though there is more content so the book is a little thicker than its predecessor supplement. Though one could say this book fills more than two roles: it introduces a lot of new rules, content, and units for existing armies and then adds in two additional forces (Italy and Canada). Let’s look at the Table of Contents:
The book is broken up into a series of different sections; the first half of the book brings to the table useful and important updates. The adjusted rules make a lot of sense and seem to be in place to deal with a lot of initial feedback from the community.
In my view, Defiance is the defining moment when we see this break away from Bolt Action in a large and meaningful manner. That is to say, where the original rulebook mimicked the first edition of Bolt Action, and if Resurgence imitated the second edition of Bolt Action, than this is the book that makes this stand alone as a unique game in a few big ways.
This is laid out nicely in the very brief introduction to the supplement itself:
The artwork is also spectacular. There were rumors initially that the release date was pushed back due to art issues; I don’t know if this is true or not. But let me put to rest any concerns, the book looks amazing and the art brings our favorite new subjects to life. Here is a sampling:
Gorgeous, right? I agree.
Overall the art makes you want to keep flipping the pages, but it is the content that grips you and keeps you reading.
Fluff and Stuff
These are subjective opinions, obviously. Not everyone is going to like what I like however, but I really did enjoy reading all the narrative fluff in this book. The opening story line sets the tone, which is quite compelling. And then there is this for the Canadians…
One of the main reasons I love Konflikt ’47 is precisely because of its story elements. So the narrative pieces in this book are a bonus as far as I’m concerned. And they are very well-written.
It should be pointed out that fluff is very important to this supplement–probably more than any other Konflikt ’47 book (and more than both books combined, if I am being truthful). The narrative elements do a lot to bring the background details to life in a way that charts and point values can’t. And as someone who fancies himself as a bit of an author and creative fellow, it has inspired me to start looking at my own fictional fan-boy story around my Co-Belligerent Italians.
That said, I can see why there would be some concern about it. I don’t agree with those concerns, but it isn’t for everyone. And I can see some Canadian Army players getting a little frustrated with the way things are set up for them (though it could also be that there is more to come and patience is a virtue…).
The New Stuff for Existing Stuff
Let’s backtrack a minute. There is a lot of ‘new’ in this book and we will cover the ‘new’ a bit further down. But for right now, let’s talk about the ‘new old stuff’. That’s convoluted… hmm… how about we say the ‘new’ stuff for ‘existing stuff’!
In other words, let’s talk about the new rules and new units for existing armies currently in play in K’47.
Each existing army (and frankly the new armies too) really start to stand out from Bolt Action lists in this section of the book. And the best way they stand out is that there are completely new platoon layouts for each army and within each army, special platoon layouts for each type of force.
For example, this chart above shows the new platoon layouts for the United States. If you want to take an entire platoon of Airborne for Konflikt ’47, you now can do just that. And note that these lists differ in a lot of unique ways from each other and, most importantly, from Bolt Action lists. And they do so in a way that makes real gaming sense.
For one, the United States army suffers a bit from a lack of real anti-tank firepower in original and earlier Konflikt ’47 platoon lists (insofar as when I have played them). So when facing down German or Soviet heavy armor, the US did not have a real solid means to take them out at a distance. However with the option to take four anti-tank slots in a platoon, that changes everything. Now the table is competitive. So this makes me quite happy and is more in line with historic late-war American firepower.
Another item to discuss is the new units. Here are some sneak peaks…
Tantalizing? Ayyup. Again, I should only give you guys snippets here as I would hate to spoil the rest for you. You want to buy this supplement. Seriously. There are even rumors of a special new type of Stuart tank… maybe I have said too much… *looks around for enemy operatives* Can’t be too careful.
Basically each existing army gets a plethora of new units. Oh, and also some new weapons…and rules for those weapons… like this…
So that’s…terrifying. And this is precisely why Americans needed those extra AT slots per platoon!
Oh, and did I mention the new German medium walker, the Locust?
That’s bad news bears. Although in my minds eye, I am loving the mech-on-mech battles that will inevitably take place along the lines of Anime franchises like Gundam that I love so much (pfft…nerd…).
Let’s talk Italian. Wait, no…not like that. Let’s talk about the new Italian armies (yes…plural!) and the new units. This is what everyone wants, after all. It is for this that I have been waiting.
Needless to say the wait has been worth it. I could not be more pleased. Not only did the team at Clockwork Goblin work towards getting the history right–and expanding on it in a really thoughtful way–but they made every attempt to get in as many Italian units as they could. And that is perfect.
If the Italians prove to be popular, we can probably expect more units in future editions!
First let us delve into the Italian background for this game.
The first part of the section on Italy is all new background–what have the Italians been up to since the historic 1943 armistice that caused a civil war to break out in the country?
The basic information given is that we have basic units and rift-tech enhanced units on both allied and axis sides of the war. Each new unit and the older units have improved and specialized rules depending upon the army they support.
As well, the Italian Army special rule has been revised (in a positive manner, I think) that makes it more worth its while. Don’t worry, there are quite a few more special rules for Italians and they are different depending on which force you play. It’s fun times.
Insofar as units go, the Italian section is divided in the following way: Common Units (those basic units that can be taken by either Allied or Axis forces), Allied Italians, and Axis Italians.
The best part about the ‘common unit’ list is that both sides have access to some of the most popular standard Italian units, including the Bersaglieri and Aplini troops, and the dreaded 90/53 gun (in terms of an assault vehicle and the anti-tank platform). This works out well for Allied Italians who need to respond to the German and Axis Italian 88mm. It also is a solution to the new heavy and medium walkers produced by the Germans (such as the Locust) which Italian axis forces can field.
Once you pick a list, though–either Allied or Axis–you cannot take from the opposing list. This bums me out a little–I am annoyed that my Allied Italians don’t have access to a Semovente 105/25 (though I may cheat and have my forces ‘steal’ one or two from the enemy).
Overall, this section makes me the most happy. I love playing and painting Italians so this has made the book doubly worth buying. The new units are going to breathe new life into the way Italian forces play on the table and the modifications to the rules don’t make them overpowered. In a sense, this is the army that Konflikt ’47 needed. And I say that knowing full well my own bias.
And now for something completely different.
The book doesn’t end with the Italian lists. And again, this is where we get some controversy with the book. The last section is completely separate from what the rest of the book is trying to do, but that doesn’t make it any less necessary. Let me introduce Operation Trident.
This section deals with a campaign involving a different theatre with a fight in the west. The maps are well-drawn, the scenarios are well-considered, and I may have to break out a winter army or two in order to play them!
Some may find this section tedious or unnecessary. I disagree. As a supplement book with a lot of new things for every type of player, this is exactly what this volume needed–it needed content for players looking for additional campaigns in other theatres beyond Finland, Italy, and Japan (which is what the two supplements focused upon).
Overall, this book is a 9/10. I took a point off because I can’t legally use a Semovente 105/25 for my Allied Italians. Yes, I am that petty.
Okay, maybe I’m not. 10/10 for me on this book, ladies and gents. I cannot recommend preordering this enough.
And when you preorder, definitely get it through Warlord Games! Look at this awesome special figure you get!
Right?! It’s awesome.
I hope you all enjoyed this review. Once again, thanks to Osprey for sending along a copy!
P.S. If you are looking for some additional commentary, you will want to check in with the very pleasant fellows over at Rift Tech Radio! Their podcasts are top-notch and they are doing a series on this very supplement!