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Front Line is a simple game, but to lead your troops to victory, there are a few basic concepts that should be understood before you begin playing.

Installation.
Cities and Creating Units.
Selecting and Moving Units.
Suppression Zones and Attacking Enemy Units.
Reading the Map Cell Info Panel.
Supply Lines (Fast Movement).

Cities and Creating Units.

In Front Line, cities are the source from which all military units are created. As such, capturing and defending cities, and denying their use to your opponent is the main objective in Front Line. The game is won when all of your opponent's cities are captured.

To create a unit, left-click on a city that you control to bring up a selection menu. After selecting which unit to build, right-click on a valid map cell to place the unit. Land units may only be placed on land cells. Ships may only be built in cities adjacent to water. If other friendly units are in the way, or enemy suppression zones prevent access to a valid map cell, then the city cannot build that unit. It is possible that a city will not be able to build units at all on a given turn.

Selecting and Moving Units.

Units are selected by left-clicking on them with the mouse. To move a selected unit, right-click on the map cell where you wish the unit to move. When a unit is selected, valid destinations are highlighted. If a destination is highlighted in red, the move is blocked by enemy suppression. Units are allowed to make one move per turn. Once a unit has moved, it is crossed out on the map to indicate so.

Suppression Zones and Attacking Enemy Units.

Most units in Front Line have two basic functions, attack and suppression. Some units can attack other units directly, others can provide suppression, and some units can do both.

To attack an enemy, a unit with attack capability must simply move onto the map cell where the enemy resides. There is no random chance involved. As in chess, victory is automatic for the attacking unit.

Suppression is a very important concept in Front Line. Some units exert a radius of control around the map cell they reside in. Opposing units may not enter a map cell that is suppressed unless certain conditions are met depending on the type of suppression involved and it's effect on the unit in question. In Front Line there are four different types of suppression:

bullet Air Suppression used by Airplanes, Carriers
bullet Artillery Suppression used by Artillery, Battleships
bullet Tank Suppression used by Tanks
bullet Destroyer Suppression used by Destroyers against Submarines only.

When a map cell is suppressed, it is not possible to move into that cell unless the unit moving is immune to that type of suppression, or if the suppression is being canceled out by friendly suppression of the same type. For example, if a cell contains air suppression from both players, they in effect cancel each other out.

For more information on how each unit type behaves regarding suppression, see the in-game help panel on the right side of the game window. Selecting a unit will bring up it's information in the help panel.

It is important to note that while suppression units effect a certain radius around the cell where they reside, they do not suppress the map cell they reside in, nor can they cancel out enemy suppression for their own movement. This rule applies to all units.

To get detailed information about the different suppression types active on the map, from the Options menu you can turn on visual aids that show where the selected suppression type is friendly, enemy or cancelled out.

Reading the Map Cell Info Panel.

The combination of suppression types in a given map cell can be very complex. Fortunately, there are several ways to pin down all the factors influencing the map cell. The first and quickest way to obtain situational awareness is by reading the Map Cell Info panel. The picture below provides an example of using the Map Cell Info panel to determine why a unit is blocked from moving to a particular cell.

The info panel describes a cells status in relation to the selected unit. For example, if an airplane unit is selected, it's suppression effect will not be visible because suppression units cannot provide their own support. To get a 'neutral' point of view in the Map Cell Info panel, deselect all units by left-clicking on an empty map cell.

Another way to see what units are preventing your movement is to hover the mouse pointer over a blocked destination. The units responsible for blocking your move will animate in sequence.

Supply Lines.

Moving a unit from it's starting city to it's destination can take many turns. This is a problem if the unit is needed there right now. Building and maintaining supply lines can solve this problem by allowing units to move long distances in a single turn. Supply Trucks and Supply Tankers can be strung together to create a continuous supply line. Any land unit that is adjacent to a supply unit may move to any valid map cell adjacent to that supply unit, or any other supply unit that is connected along the chain. The following picture shows an example of a working supply line.

Enemy suppression that is not canceled out will interrupt a supply line. Ships (including supply tankers!) cannot use supply lines, but can move up to two hexes per turn.

 

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Copyright 2006 Rich Marinaccio. All rights reserved.