Fog & Friction World War II
The expandable card game for 2 players
In the Summer of 1944 the Allied invasion of France began, the fate of Europe now lay in the hands of military commanders. As one of those commanders, you must take control of either an Allied or Axis combined arms force and lead them to victory. Will you use cunning and deception to out-think and out-manoeuvre your enemy, or rely on tanks and guns to smash through their lines with brute force? You will have to manage your resources carefully, deciding when and how to commit your forces for best effect as you fight across multiple battlefields at once. But no plan survives contact with the enemy, do you have what it takes to overcome the unpredictable Fog & Friction of war and prove yourself as the greatest military commander?
Battles are won by slaughter and manoeuvre.
The greater the general, the more he contributes in manoeuvre, the less he demands in slaughter.
– Winston Churchill
Fog & Friction WWII is an easy to learn and fun to play game, designed for 2 players ages 12 and up, that attempts to reflect the challenges of military command during the later war period 1944-45 in Western Europe. The real challenge comes from the fact there are two deployment phases each round and two battlefields always in play so players must act and react to the battle as it unfolds, but always across two fronts! As an expandable card game it is playable right out of the box with two core decks, 1 Axis and 1 Allied, each containing 60 cards. Even more variety and depth can be obtained through the game’s expansions, of which two 30 card starter expansions are provided with the core game, allowing you to really start to build your force and fight the war the way you want to. More expansions are planned for both Allied and Axis, plus we hope to bring the Soviets into the war as well as explore other theatres.
The game is set for release via Kickstarter later this year.
In the meantime you can download Print and Play files here:
Individual deck PDFs:
Find Fog & Friction on Board Game Geek
To get find out more, discuss the game or seek answers to questions, head over to our forum!
The game has now reached a stage in development where we believe the Core Decks are release-ready. After a substantial period of play testing and some valuable feedback, the decks are now well balanced and working as intended. We have also redesigned how the Expansion Decks will work and have the first one for each faction balanced and ready.
We intend to release the game as a Core Box Set, including both Faction Core Decks (60 cards each) and both Faction Core Expansion Decks (30 cards each). This will provide players with the necessary to get started playing the game and customising their decks. Following initial release (or perhaps as Kickstarter Stretch Goals) we will release further themed expansions to provide a wealth of deck building options and more involved game play. We’ll share more information on these in the near future, and may well seek outside playtesting on those too! Moving forward, we are now focusing on preparing our Kickstarter campaign which we hope to run in May.
We still encourage people to try out the game and offer up their thoughts and feedback. Although we believe the core game is balanced and release-ready, we are still open to further feedback, especially regarding the Rule Book, the future expansions or Kickstarter campaign.
A big thank you to all who have got involved so far and to those still to join us on the battlefield! We will keep you all updated on our progress.
Game Development Background
The original concept was to create a card game that in some way reflected the challenges of commanding a combined arms force in WW2, with the action focused on capturing individual battlefields. It would include a wide range of infantry, tanks, artillery, planes, and maybe even some naval power, with the ability for players to construct their own decks. The key challenge of the game would be how best deploy to these units to exploit their strengths and weaknesses. To complicate things, players would always be fighting over two battlefields at once, so their attention and their resources would be split. And finally, to reflect the unpredictable nature of war there would be cards with special rules and actions that can effect the outcome of a battle by boosting friendly cards or hindering those of the enemy. All this, and still be a game that is relatively easy to learn, balanced, and fun to play.
During development it quickly became apparent that the idea of fighting over two battlefields at a time was a very interesting and essential part of the game. The tactical possibilities that dual battlefields revealed were obvious and plentiful, but making it so that you weren’t overwhelmed by the prospect was probably one of the biggest challenges. We therefore settled on a “Rule of 3″, meaning individual numbers would never be higher than 3 and there would be a maximum of 3 of each type of card on a Battlefield etc. This limited the complexity of the game and the maths, but granted enough flexibility to allow for varied scenarios.
The other fundamental element was the use of special rules to do unexpected things, or to combine them together in clever ways to get the upper hand. This kind of gameplay revealed that bluff and misdirection were strong themes, similar to what you might expect to find in poker games. So the number and scope of Fog & Friction cards (those which effect play in unexpected ways) were increased and the game in fact took Fog & Friction on as its name. Thank you Clausewitz!
History vs Gameplay
Although all wargames are an abstraction of reality, there is a reason why this game is set in WWII, and not in some other period. The rules and statistics are a genuine attempt to represent the strengths and weaknesses of the various fighting units in some way, as well as to reflect the tactical significance and contribution to a battle they may have made. More broadly, we hope the mind games between players feel representative of two opposing generals pitting their wits against each other, each trying to make the most of a dire situation with scant resources and unforseeable obstacles! So history is important to us as developers, but will always take second string to fun, balance and playability.
Initially we worked with three factions, British, American and German, but as development progressed it became more logical for us to combine the British and American decks into one Allied deck. This allowed us to focus our energies on constructing two well matched and balanced core decks, and perhaps more importantly to create two unique decks that played differently and could reflect their factions specialities. Generally speaking the Americans bring the powerful Air Support and industrial might, and the British bring the Intelligence. So together with masses of Riflemen, Sherman tanks and other units that each has available, they are a flexible and well-rounded force. The Germans on the other hand, as one would expect, specialise in tanks and strong defences. Yes, they have other skills and plenty of tricks up their sleeve, but its their metal and concrete that set them apart!
Gameplay and the Mechanics of the Game
Fog & Friction is a game about planning and careful decisions, then adapting that plan and changing those decisions to survive whatever thing just happened to ruin your plan… When faced with two battlefields at a time, every decision and every move has double the gravitas. If you get it wrong you may lose both battlefields, if you get it right you could win both. Sometimes though, finding a way to hold out in the hope of getting the reinforcements you need next turn is all you can do… but that can be damn satisfying too!
A unique element to Fog & Friction is the use of two consecutive deployment phases, allowing players a chance to respond to their opponent’s moves each round. This works in conjunction with the “Must Commit rule”, which states that unless you deploy a card to a battlefield in the first deployment phase then you cannot deploy cards to that battlefield in the second deployment phase. This allows for opening gambits and the ability to test the water whilst giving you the opportunity to follow up after your opponent has played. F&F doesn’t use any interrupt cards, so the ability to counter your enemy comes solely from the second deployment phase. This does not however mean you are disadvantaged by going first, as bluffing or using heavy handed deployments each have their own advantages. Also, with the ability to redeploy from one battlefield to the other or call cards back to your hand (as some cards can do), you can engineer situations with several potential outcomes depending on what your opponent does….. there are always possibilities, lots of possibilities!
What this does is make for a very tense game, wherein you are forced to make decisions which no commander ever wants to make! Do you leave that poor outnumbered Riflemen card there to die and focus your main force on capturing the other battlefield, or do you jeopardise success on the other battlefield and support the Riflemen in the hope of holding out until reinforcements arrive. Such difficult and sometimes painful decisions, are part and parcel of being in charge, so the question you have to continually ask yourself is “what is the greater good”..? And perhaps more importantly, what deviousness has your opponent got up his sleeve?!
So, to sum things up, we have a game that is easy to learn yet offers deep tactical challenges, is great fun to play, and has some historical basis to it! At least that’s what we think, so why not sign up and see if you agree!