Sunday, 23 May 2010

Getting Started with Flames of War

Further to my plan in the last post to diversify the wargames that I play, I've decided to take the leap into playing Flames of War with a German [sic.] Panzerkompanie. I've spent the last week or so painting up StuGs and Panzers and getting my head around the basic rules for moving and tank/tank and tank/infantry shooting, although the assault rules and rules for artillery still have me fumoxed . The 2 gamers that I play 40K regularly with have gone for US and Russia, which is helpful for battles :-)

It helps me think about the basic rules for FoW in terms of 40K:

Phases --> Steps: The phases in FoW are called Steps and operate in an identical way to 40K. The only real difference is that FoW adds a Step prior to movement - the Starting Step - in which you can do things like rally troops or try and get crews back into tanks if they have bailed out during all the shooting.

Experience and Skill: An interesting new (at least to me) twist that FoW adds to the mix is the emphasis on how the experience of the troops impacts on the game. Various features of the game, such as the ability to avoid getting shot, motivation to get up while bullets are flying around etc., are determined by the relative experience of the troops in question. So, for example, veterans can work further away from commanders than conscripts; fearless troops are more likely to pass motivation tests than reluctant ones etc. (even with my dice rolls)

Movement: is again recognisable from playing 40k: you move a certain distance determined by your mode of transport, you can run at the double rather than fire (although this, luckily, isn't determined by a dice roll), and get bogged down. The two main differences - at least for me in my simplified version of the rules - is that you can dig in rather than move (and thereby get a better cover save) and that troops have to remain within a certain distance of their commanders (which, again, is similar to the synapse rule with Nids). There are also some cool rules about vehicles getting bogged down and how you can try and get them out and back into the action.

Shooting: One of the things that I always struggle with in 40K is remembering the WS, BS etc tables (although I know that BS is always worked out from a total of 7). FoW has a much more streamlined system based on the ability of the guy at the dangerous end of the bullet to avoid getting hit by it. Another major difference is that a platoon can split its fire between multiple targets rather than everyone just blasting away at the same opponents. The best thing, though, for me from a narrative view of the game is that if a platoon gets pinned down they have to pass a motivation test to get back into the game or stay with their heads down.

Tanks! Tanks! Tanks!: I've left the best to last: with FoW its possible to field a list of just tanks (which is fortunate as I'm not getting my head around the assault rules very quickly). Tanks attacking tanks works in FoW in roughly the same way as in 40K, but rather than just having glancing or penetrating shots, you also have the potential for crews to bail out, wait until it's safe and then get back in.

Anyway, speaking of tanks, here are my platoon of Panzer IV Hs:

And my two potential 2,000 pt lists are:

Option A (1985 pts)
2 Panzer IV H

5 Panzer IV H
5 Panther G
4 StuG IV

Option B (1980 pts)
2 Panther G

4 Panther G
5 Panzer IV H
4 StuG IV


  1. Hi
    Just a quick question. Where are your infantry, A/T guns, Mortars etc? I've been playing FOW since the first edition and have found an all arms force works best. Hate to see a fellow gamer buy lots of tanks and then have to go back and buy the rest later.
    Any help i can give glad to help, NEIL

  2. er....i thought i would try an all tank list. the guy who im planning on playing mostly with is playing all-tanks as well (T34s). The idea is to go for all out tank battles.
    I have a platoon of infantry on foot so i could always go for an infantry list as well down the line. I also like the look of tanks (and the rules are easier lol).
    Dont you think an all tank list is doable?

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