Getting into CF
The good thing about CF is that the system is highly adaptable. If you have a rulebook and miniatures for other game sets, you can adapt Crossfire’s combat system without much fuss. Put aside the ruler and most of the cumbersome tokens –this game puts focus on your field units and the dice.
One word of warning though, there is a lot of discussion on how CF does away with the range system of combat (basically removing a lot of limitations that makes projectile based combat realistic), but simply put, that is all done to create a seamless and fun gaming environment. After all, Crossfire is a war game, not a war simulation –and in our book, fun beats realism every single time.
Roll for Initiative
A term now more commonly found in pen and paper RPGs, Initiative is the big difference in terms of determining whose turn it is to play. You get to do one action on your turn and then roll for initiative. If you succeed, you can make another action, fail and it becomes your opponent’s turn.
This high stakes, high speed turn succession puts a massive wrench into the typical IGO-UGO style tactics: if you do not know how many of your units you can move before the opponent does, you must make each turn you get count. This also rewards plenty of high-risk maneuvers and makes for more interesting games. Best of all, it is all in the roll of the dice. If you get lucky with initiatives, you can quickly turn the tide of an otherwise losing front. Of course, the same goes for your opponent.
Again, the best part of all that is games tend to have a quick turn-over. This means that win or lose, you get to play CF over and over again –which is a big advantage over other games that take the whole afternoon to resolve (or even longer).
Range and Adaptability
Since the ruler system is taken out for combat (and Crossfire heavily deals with projectiles –hence the title), players have to strategize around the locations of cover. Anything that can and will block the line of sight of enemy units is a tactical object, and while it works both ways, understanding the location of these can put players at an advantage. Infantry units do have the ability to engage in close combat –which is an entirely different system than the one for ranged units. Understanding all of these is the key to mastering the game.
As one would imagine, CF is best played with small formations of troops: several infantry backed by a couple of heavy vehicles. This is because the game is not only fast, it wants to be fast paced. It is not uncommon to lose initiative often –with both players forced to just make one action per turn. But this also pushes the envelope when it comes to making strategies and plans that make the most out of the game’s highly unpredictable nature. Plus the fact that you can get constantly fired on during your turn makes movement and placement all the more important.
The Line of Sight system is a little hard to adapt to if you have been used to playing differently –declaring combat actions (such as entering a building, or taking cover behind structures) becomes a moot point. The terrain itself will state your visibility to your opponent and vice versa. But this simplification also means that extending the game to larger confrontations –more players and more units, means less fuss per turn.
There are a lot of layers in the game –cover and suppression fire are important to take note of especially for stationary units targeting other players on the move. There is a constant stream of action and reaction from both sides of the playing field and you never feel like you are just waiting for the opponent’s turn to end. In many ways, this flow makes Crossfire a game truly worth experiencing.