When you start a new game system, it can be easy to think all you need are some models and the rules to play the game, but those are but the frosty tip of the hobby-iceberg. Beneath the surface of a new box of toy soldiers and a rulebook lies the hidden depths of paints, glues, brushes, scenic flock of many a flaura variation. There's the game table, the terrain, the many different storage solutions for models, paints and books, all of which we'll cover at some point either here or on the podcast.
But what I want to discuss today are the accessories for your games: the markers, tokens and dice needed to play the game.
I've put these in to two categories: Essentials and Optionals.
These are must-have purchases that every wargamer needs
1. Range Finder
While not exactly essential as any tape measure will do, the Flames Of War range finder is a pretty neat piece of kit. It has markings for all the various movement rates, plus a handy little reminder marker for checking there's space for line of sight.
I have gone all fanboy and bought one for use in my games, and have to admit it was a little tricky getting accurate measurements due to having to keep "adding on" when checking ranges (8" to here, then another 8" to here etc), whereas a tape measure is a one step check. I'll see how it measures up in future games.
2. Artillery Template
While the Range Finder is more a "cool to have one" purchase, the Artillery Template is really a must have as all armies have access to bombardment weapons of some description. Again like the Range Finder, this has all the in-game information needed, thus resulting in less time flipping through rulebooks.
3. Mission Tokens
Most games have objectives for each side to achieve and this set comes with two markers, one for the Desert Rats and one for the Afrika Korps. Alongside these are minefield tokens and ranged in tokens for up to 4 batteries (labelled A-D).
While the objective markers feature nice artwork from the relevant books, I think a future project of mine will be to make diorama-style markers on large bases as opposed to flat artwork. Similarly, if both players have a token set and are using the ranged in markers, it could get a bit confusing, which is where the Faction Token Sets come in handy.
4. Faction Token Sets
There are several in game effects which these token sets, themed for each army. Ranged in markers, Foxholes, Pinned Down/Bailed Out, Leader, Gone To Ground, Anti-Aircraft, all of these are vital markers which will be used in every single game.
OptionalsWith the essentials out the way, let's take a quick look at the other accessories you can get.
5. Destroyed Markers
Used for when your tanks get blown to bits. Many wargamers use cotton wool sprayed black then with reds and yellows (or just use coloured wool) to create these types of explosions. I'll be giving the wool approach a try at some point in the future as we have them at work in the office, but until I get time I'm using the GF9 ones.
To give the markers a little more ooomph I've black-edged the tokens which outlines the flaming effect very nicely and makes them pop.
6. Smoke Bombardment Markers
Used for those weapons that can fire either smoke bombardments or smoke screens. Again, this can also be created using cotton wool but for ease of time, these work just as well. I've black-edged these just like I did with the damage markers.
All wargamers have a surplus of dice - I know I certainly do - but it can be quite cool to have your very own army specific dice. The first ones released for Flames Of War are the Desert Rats and Afrika Korps sets, with a whopping 20 dice in each pack.
So there you have it, and yes - I've bought all of these for use in my games of Flames Of War.