Monday, 28 November 2011

Everything in war is very simple. But the simplest thing is difficult.

Now lets get this out in the open, I LIKE Flames of War. I don't approve of their business model, I do not like all the fluff and nonsense that comes with the myriad of supplement books which seem more like figure catalogues than rule supplements but this does not detract from the fact I do like the core rules.
I think the game would play much better in 6mm or 10mm scales especially with tank heavy games. Game boards can start looking ridiculous with enemy vehicles literally a few inches from each other. 
However the game dynamics mean the tactical choices of players are realistic even if the game board may not reflect it. I bought the first version of the rules and at that time there were a lot of basic army lists in pdf format on their website covering the periods one needed.

If one sticks to this for army building and playing it is really good. If on the other hand you start using all the "heroes" and other nonsensical additions. John had expressed an interest in playing a WWII game and I had not played with my 15mm figures for ages so it seemed a great opportunity.  
I decided to referee and play scenario where a German Panzergrenadier Company was attacking a British/Indian Rifle Company.

I got the points a bit wrong in truth and the German never had a great chance of succeeding but it was interesting to see how it would play given that only Craig and I were familiar with the rules. Mick and Rob (B) played "zee germans" while Craig and John dug in and attempted to repel the armoured assault.
There were three objectives in the scenario being three built up areas. The British held these at the outset of the game and whomever held the most after 8 turns won. Simples. Some confusion over the ambush rule meant that the Germans managed to take the first of these in their very first turn. However thanks to some well place 6pdr AT guns and an ambush of a Sherman/Firefly platoon on the Germans Stug Platoon the Germans quickly ran out of momentum.
There as tit-for-tat engagements on the German left as the Firely knocked out some German tanks and then some German "88's" battered the British Tanks. The problem being that the German soon ran out of mobile armour to protect their infantry. They go bogged down in the first objective and had very little in the way of options to try and move forward.
A lack of supporting artillery for the Germans compounded the issue. The game was reduced to 6 turns due to lack of time and the British easily held the remaining 2 objectives.
My lack of playing this game really showed in the preparation.
The two forces was too easily balanced for an attack/defence game with the Germans lacking enough punch to ever be able to winkle out the dug in British infantry. It is back to the drawing board for army list but a scenario that will be worth trying again.
The opinion on FOW was mixed. Some surprised at how slow it played but I think this was down to lack of experience of all involved. Once you get familiar with the process and the dice dynamic (1 is always bad, 6 is always good) it can play much faster.
I will be playing Blitzkrieg Commander which I have never played before but have wanted to try for ages. It will be interesting to compare the two.

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