What follows is a thematic story “review” based on my recent solitaire session of Warfighter by DVG. Warfighter is a card-based tactical game of modern warfare, focusing on smaller groups of soldiers who are undertaking missions through enemy territory.
As Warfighter is appreciably thematic in its presentation and mechanics, the game is also a terrific story generator. I am continually impressed at the significant level of immersion that flows from the rather straightforward card play and combat system.
This fascination compelled me to write a different sort of review — one from my mind’s eye. My intent is to demonstrate my enjoyment for this game by not telling you a thing about how it is played. Instead, I am about to share only the feeling, story and imagination contained within a session of Warfighter. My hope is that this will convey that Warfighter is a game worth playing and owning.
As you read, you’ll perhaps notice that I broke with storytelling convention by subtitling each section by using the game’s turn structure. Not only did this help in the writing, but I did this so that you can see how the action integrates with the turn order and game system itself. If anything, I believe this structure will at least give you a sense of Warfighter’s pacing. Let’s begin now, shall we?
Baker and the Drug Huts
Specialist Will Baker and Sgt. Brian Samaniego are charged with infiltrating and destroying the location of a remote drug processing operation in the jungles of Columbia. This will be a covert mission, and the team of two will be inserted via helicopter several miles south of the compound.They are to destroy three “huts” in the area before their extraction.
During mission planning Baker notices a stream that will get them at least halfway to their objective. They plan to set down and assess the situation before proceeding.
Soldier Turn 1
The day is going to be humid. The sound of the chopper fades into the mists as Baker gives his gear a final check, always paranoid he’s left something behind. The trickle of the stream is heard underneath the call of birds and the buzz of insects and the snapping sticks.
What!? Sticks!? It’s an ambush!
Three thugs armed with automatic weapons begin firing from a covered position 50 yards ahead. Baker drops to the ground and crawls into thick cover.
Samaniego reacts immediately and sprints into the jungle, attempting to flank their position. Armed with an MP5 SMG with a suppressor, he scampers closer and closer to the opposition and fires. One ambusher goes down immediately, while the other two scurry for better cover.
Watching his pal’s quick action from afar, Baker zeros in on the disintegrating formation and steadies his aim, popping off a shot that takes down the second man, leaving one confused and scrambling. Samaniego reloads, but loses sight of the remaining target.
Hostile Turn 1
The remaining hostile retreats and joins forces with three more heavies taking up a position near the stream. The group haphazardly opens fire at the soldiers, spraying bullets everywhere, failing to land a single shot.
Soldier Turn 2
Using up explosives this early in the mission isn’t a good idea, but neither is being outnumbered 2 to 1. Baker launches a precious 40mm grenade in the direction of three drug smugglers clustered together. Too bad for them.
Two fewer smugglers in the world, and the third is too busy wiping entrails from his face to be an immediate threat. Baker uses this lull in the fight to advance toward the stream.
Samaniego follows behind, unloading an entire clip at the guy high tailing it to his buddies. He falls lifeless and face down at the stream’s edge.
Hostile Turn 2
The remaining smuggler frantically splashes into the stream, desperately looking for a new position in which to take cover.
Soldier Turn 3
Baker smirks at the pitiful display and executes a surgical “double tap” on his M203 Carbine, dropping the last smuggler with a splash. An eerie quiet takes over as the two soldiers move slowly, but efficiently down the stream in search of their objective.
Hostile Turn 3
All is still. No activity
Soldier and Hostile Turn 4
No Activity. The soldiers continue moving, searching for the best approach.
Soldier Turn 5
Finally, a break in the terrain. It’s clear that the stream widens into a river up ahead, but the last moments of calm ruptures as a team of three cartel members are spotted lurking about 100 yards behind their position. They must have been hiding and following since the firefight!
But Baker and company aren’t animals to be stalked. Samaniego peals off around a bend in the stream and backtracks along the shore, setting up an ambush of his own. He waits for the ragtag group to approach and pulls off an easy stealth kill of their leading thug. That’s Baker’s queue. He, too, opens fire, and sets the remaining two thugs scrambling while his partner easily takes down another at close range.
Hostile Turn 5
The one remaining hostile in the area takes a moment to calm himself and whistles, signaling to a lone drug runner to approach from up river. Baker whispers something to himself and steadies his nerves to finish these pests and get the squad moving again.
Soldier Turn 6
Speed is going to be important now, as the extraction time is nearing, and the soldiers have yet to spot the drug operation. Samaniego struggles to get a bead on the incoming drug runner, who is frighteningly fast as he moves through the undergrowth with ease. Baker fires a series of bursts and finally takes him down. One more hostile is lurking nearby as Baker yells, “Move Out,” traveling quickly down the river’s banks in search of the drug huts.
Hostile Turn 6
Hearing Baker, enemy automatic weapon fire rakes through the brush in his direction, pinning him behind a fallen log. “Sammie!” he yells. “Get this shit wrapped up and get up here!” Baker unloads an entire clip toward his assailant in an effort to stave off his approach. It seems to be working.
Soldier Turn 7
Baker is in the clear now, but given the time, it may be next to impossible to pull this mission off.
The good news: the drug huts are in sight from a vantage point along the river bank, and there are only two guys patrolling the perimeter.
The bad news: getting to the huts is going to be a bitch. The whole area is choked with thick underbrush and piled high with natural barricades. Baker figures his only hope is three well-placed shots from the grenade launcher from a distance.
Baker ignores the approaching guards, lines up his first shot, and pulls the trigger. The grenade arches away from the launcher. The blast is devastating, blowing apart the first building. He smiles and lines up a second shot. The sentry now aware of Baker’s presence, intensifies his search. The second grenade explodes against a corrugated metal fence, ripping it apart, but leaving 90% of the building in tact. Baker grunts. This mission may end up in failure.
Baker finds a quick hiding place before his position is compromised.
Hostile Turn 7
Perhaps afraid of the explosives, or maybe sensing the attack against the drug huts is more than a one man operation with a grenade launcher, the sentry takes off down river, spotting Samaniego on his way up. Meanwhile, two more hostiles appear outside the compound’s perimeter and begin searching the river’s edge for the “maniaco con las granadas!”
Soldier Turn 8
This is it. Two more shots at the remaining huts. Baker fires. The first careens through a window, obliterating the second hut in a dazzling ball of flame.
The sight of the grenade leaving the barrel draws outward in slow motion. The third building ignites and collapses in a tremendous roar. A thousand splinters and smoky wisps of debri shower down on Baker. “Fire and mayhem, the perfect distraction,” Baker muses. He sprints directly toward the wreckage, a shadow vanishing into the wind…
Not much later, at the rendezvous point, Samaniego rushes from the jungle into the clearing, panting and unscathed. The soldiers climb into the chopper and leave the jungle behind. Bathed in grime and sweat, they gaze back at whorls of dark smoke rising from below.