Bill, Matt and Chuck drove over from LaCrosse and we all met at the new D6 Games in Rochester for some Flames of War. Besides a new store we decided to use the new v4 of the Flames of Rules and give it a good play test.
Chuck and I decided to do an EW Brits vs Italians in the desert of North Africa. We both put together our 1300 point forces with forces of war which given it now has the v4 stats as an option makes playing a EW/LW game really easy.
Setting up a table and away we go! At D6 they’re pretty new to the Rochester area, only open ~ 2 weeks now. They’re a really good crew and the store has lots of space for players which is something we’ve really needed for a long time in the Roch area. We’re looking forward to more gaming there since Rochester is basically midway between Mankato, LaCrosse and the Twin Cities. We’re going to setup a monthly Flames of War game day at D6 so stay tuned! Now if they’ll just start to carry Battlefront stuff….
For my Italian force, I took a light infantry Bersaglieri formation with 5 M13/40s and M11/39s as well as 3 L3 along with an HMG platoon, a mortar platoon, an anti-tank platoon and last a 4 gun 100/17 battery.
Chuck had a formation of 3 British Indian infantry platoons with a 4 gun 25lbers battery, Vickers HMG platoon and a scout platoon.
We played a simple Free for all mission just to keep things simple as we came to grips with the rule changes.
On Turn 1, on my right flank I sent my M11/39s down the road and tanked with Chucks scout platoon. As there isn’t a recce disengage rule anymore (we think) needing 5s to hit I lucked out and blew one up and bailed another.
On the opposite flank, I swung the M13/40s wide left and started to push my infantry through the town going building to building with the L-3s in support. With all the machine-gun fire and some targets out in the open I was able to rack up a little damage and more importantly start to pin units. Unfortunately on the following bottom of turn 1, Chuck was able to get unpinned and get his Vickers MGs into the builds to cover the street.
Next turn I kept rolling my tanks forward followed by my infantry. I figured at this point the major thrust was here to sweep across the road and do as much damage so Chucks infantry wouldn’t cross the road and go for the objective. Meanwhile I move my tanks towards the middle of the table where I’d placed one of the objectives.
Another turn, (3 I think), both my platoons of infantry are in the buildings, the HMG platoon is in the far right building in the picture and the tanks are inching their way towards the middle, showing destruction as they go. The Vickers platoon is down to 2 stands and the infantry platoon is chewed up enough that it won’t be on the offensive. Unfortunately across from it is my platoon of reluctant trained and fearless trained infantry. Not quite good offensive material thus it was pretty much up to the thanks to drive for that objective over on the hill. Just some infantry and those 25lbers to brush out of the way.
From my right flank I brought in my M11/39s when then caused Chuck to pull his infantry covering the far corner. With my slow tanks they weren’t going to be able to counter back. 8″ tactical isn’t that fast!
But at this point, between the 3 platoons of AFVs I figured I had a pretty good chance. L-3s would be first!
Burn crackle crackle. Ok, M11/39s, how about you? But they started taking hits so instead I went in with the M13/40s next.
So after two assaults, quite a lot of artillery pounding the hill and direct fire at the 25lbers I just couldn’t shake them off the objective and at quite a cost. The M11/39s ran. The L3s were down to 1 and the M13/40s lost their assault.
That was pretty much game at that point. We played fairly slow, about 7 turns over the course of 4 hours with a number of rules look ups and clarifications.
The rules are definitely cleaned up. With the new rule books the EW/LW and then MW book it can look like a bit of a confusing mass but it’s not really that bad. The EW/LW side of things really works if you make use of forces.flamesofwar.com to make lists since it’ll pop out v4 stats or v3 stats depending on what you want. THIS HELPS A LOT. The only thing I wished it did was allow for printing of unit cards.
Movement took almost no time to adjust at all. The differences are distances (8″ for infantry), the cross checks for vehicles and such and then the special tactical orders. Those especially give some much needed flavor to the game. Follow me, blitz move, shoot and scoot, etc all add that extra where presuming you can pass your skill roll, you’ll get a little extra out of your force towards what you want to do.
For shooting, the big change process wise is artillery. Between observers and the stats changes, while both subtle added together I think move the game in the right direction. Being allowed a pre-plot prior to the game also gives a nod to the historical artillery pre-planning that most forces used. The change to have infantry / hw / gun teams generally save on a 3+ is likewise also a good move. Score one for consistency tho it makes taking out Gun teams a little harder. This makes anti-tank guns too also more viable which was something I think that v3 and before suffered from. I just never wanted stand alone anti-tank guns because they were just too easy to take out with that 5+ save if they were blazing away. Likewise the stat changes to make AT lower for artillery on tanks was very much welcome. Artillery just wasn’t much of a tank killing tool.
Assaults likewise flowed fine. Given Chuck had his Indian troops armed with sticky bombs and his 25lbers within 8″ with a line of fire for the assault, the results entirely make sense he was chewing through my tanks.
At this point, I’m actually glad I invested time and effort into Team Yankee. There are differences but close parallels. I feel pretty at ease with the rules and frankly if it wasn’t for the limitation in Mid-war lists I’d want to leave v3 entirely behind. I think that’s the major challenge here. We just don’t have replacement stats for all the mid-war theaters. It’s totally fine for those new to the game, the El Alamein starter box is well worth it for a new player, it’s the established players that effectively either have to go EW or LW until more things are released.