Sunday, 18 June 2017

Flames Of War - 1st Game

On Thursday I finally had my first game of 4th edition Flames Of War. Yes, I played a game during the launch weekend, but that was more just moving some models around and rolling some dice - I didn't really understand what I was doing. This time however I was using an army list I designed, with my own army painted by myself against an opponent who doesn't work for Battlefront.

As I've written before, my army is the British Desert Rats and for this first game we chose units and Command Cards up to 80 points. I'm loving the Grants at the moment, and so my Formation choice was Grants. As you can see from the army list below, my 80 points consisted of:

  • Grant HQ - 3 Grants
  • 2 Compulsory Units of Grant Troops - 3 Grants each
  • 17 Pdr Anti-Tank Troop - 2 17pdrs
  • Motor Platoon - Motor Platoon (6 stands) taken as support
  • Command Card Sticky Bombs
  • Command Card John Currie

So armed with my Desert Rats dice, damage markers, tokens, FOW artillery template and range finder (yep, I've thrown all in by buying the all the new shinies - see upcoming article about accessorising your games), and my part painted army, I was finally ready for my first game.

Wait a minute... you said part-painted army? You played with unpainted minis??

Before you start getting the pitchforks out, let me explain. I have a rule that I don't play games unless the minis are painted at least to gaming standard. For me, that's block colours and basic basing done. This is a rule I've held for over 27 years and one I taught when I ran stores for GW, encouraging hobbyists to take the time to paint their models.

Once done to a basic standard they can be taken to the next level over time, meaning games can be played with painted models (which always looks better than grey plastic or shiny metal) and then increase in levels of detail over the coming months.

It's a good rule to have, but one which has hamstrung me for a long time, due to the fact that I never could find the time to actually get any painting done - thus no games played.

I've relaxed this somewhat, meaning all my models have at least been primed and given a shading wash, as can be seen by the infantry and 17pdrs. The Grants have started to have detail added with camo edging and tracks being painted.

The plan is to have the Grant HQ completely finished for the next game on Thursday, with another Troop being completed each week. This means my first 80 point force will be fully painted, including weathering, decals and varnish by 20th July.

Here you can see after Chris' first turn I'd already lost a unit of Grants.

And by the end of my second turn while I'd done some damage to the Panzer IV unit, I'd lost two units.

Leaving my Formation commander's unit the only armour on the table for the Desert Rats. Even with the John Currie Command Card which allowed me to take a Last Stand Test on a 3+ instead of 5+, the army lost it's nerve and retreated from the field of battle leaving the village in the hands of the Germans.

Next week's game will be the British trying to reclaim the village.

Overall Impressions

I loved this game, even though we got a few rules wrong and my army was decimated (not because we got rules wrong, but because I have the tactical nuance of a penguin, and roll dice about as well). Yes I'm biased in that I work for Battlefront, but after many years of wanting to play Flames Of War and feeling very intimidated by the huge amount of rules, version 4 ticks all the boxes for me.
  • Concise, focused rules
  • fast game play
  • Lots of tactical options, especially if you use the Command Cards to augment your force selection
I'm very much looking forward to my next game on Thursday at the Battlefront Games Club.

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