STARTING FLAMES OF WAR
Welcome to Flames of War the 15mm (1/100 scale) Historical Wargaming System which focuses on WWII, Vietnam and Arab Israeli Conflicts of the 20th Century.
The fact you are here means you have more than a passing Interest in this game, which may yet develop into collecting a force for battle. The aim is to produce a guide to collecting your first force and give you a fighting chance and also to reduce the outlays and ensure you don't end up buying a force you will never use and grow disheartened with before drifting away from FOW altogether.
Things you need before embarking on building a Rules of War force (for Wargaming).
You don't need a compilation book to play, the Forces Book contains all the points values and lists to create your force. You only buy a Compilation book if you want too, or you prefer fighting specific scenario's.
Tape Measure and FOW Artillery Template. The Flames of War artillery template is extremely useful and will assist you no end but is chiefly for Artillery and Aircraft attacks. There are other templates with useful distances on it, but if you have a tape measure you are fine. A good set of trusty D6s are important too. D6s are six sided dice oh which a set of between 16-20 would be ideal.
Everyone in the military is in a Team, no man fights alone. So forget the individual, it's all about team work.
There are individual "Warriors" who represent real world Heroes such as Stan Hollis VC or Michael Wittmann, these are prohibitively expensive and are not often seen on the battlefield but usually add significant "punch" or special abilities. However they are just a man, and can be killed as easily as any other.
The Idea of FOW is that you are Front line Company Commander probably a Major in Rank (or maybe a Colonel Battalion Commander if Russian). You have a core Company under your command, this comprises of a HQ section and a minimum number of Combat Platoons.
A Platoon is a group of Teams usually lead by a Junior Officer (Lieutenant/ Captain). In the Western Hemisphere this is usually 28 - 35 Soldiers, with a 1 - 4 Sergeants depending. This Platoon Moves and fights as one, providing supporting fire and operating as an Independent, mutually supporting unit. Tanks, Guns and Artillery are all also broken into Platoons, from 2 - 5 units. With very heavy Tanks/ specialist units sometimes only having a single unit in the Platoon e.g Tiger Tanks.
As Company Commander you can call upon further support from Weapons Platoons. These represent Battalion assets left at your disposal by your Battalion Commander, things like Anti-tank Guns (AT), Mortars, Heavy Machine guns (HMG). However you also have your Divisional Commander who may allocate other assets to you from his Pool of reserves. These maybe Heavy Artillery units, Aircraft , Tanks, Tank Destroyers and a Myriad of possible units.
Welcome to World War II
The 1st thing to do is to decide what period you are fighting in?
Great War - 1918
EW - Early War Period 1939-1941
MW - Mid War Period 1942 - 1943
LW - Late War Period 1944 – 1945
Team Yankee – 1980s (FICTIONAL)
All Army books in FOW are for a specific period (EW, MW, LW), the units, equipment and abilities vary depending on the period.
It is important to remember certain things when buying miniatures, British Para's and American Airborne are great but didn't come into their own until the late war period (D-Day, Arnhem etc). Therefore buying this force will limit you to Late War games. Equally some units remain throughout the war relatively unchanged (thinking British Rifle Platoons) although by late War they had a few more Transport and extra options.
Vehicle and Armored units, changed quickly over the course of WWII but almost all vehicles were used once created. Nations always found someway to employ obsolete vehicles . So EW vehicles will have some use through MW and LW, even if you have to proxy a tank (e.g that PANZER IV D is actually representing a PANZER IV F for example) most players are happy with this, but do not try this at Tournament play as it is considered bad form.
A fair bit of time invested now, will reap rewards later on, and avoid buying those units that are limited and you will love but rarely use.
The 2nd thing to do is decide on what theatre to play?
- EW Western Front (Trying to hold off the German Blitzkrieg in 1939 - 1940)
- MW North Africa (Trying to use your AFRIKA KORPS to cut off the British supply lines in SUEZ)
- EW / MW / LW Eastern Front (Can you take Moscow?)
- MW Italy ( Are you the new Caesar?)
So these are a few examples but there are many.....
The 3rd thing is what book are you using?
You don't have to use any Book, as the V3 Forces book has a number of Late War lists, which is more than sufficient but if you really want to fight a specific period of theatre you can get hold of Compilation Book. My advice here is to buy a Compilation book, they are more expensive (About £30) but include a large number of lists and are therefore great value for money. The other examples are smaller books (about £10) that are for specific engagements or battles, (e.g. Hells Highway, Market Garden) these are more restrictive and will limit the numbers of opponents and periods you can fight across.
If you want to try before you buy you can see Sample PDF's of free Books on the "Flames of War" website. Use the link below and peruse some of the Intel briefs (mini-books) most of the compilation books are 200+ pages long.
Good examples of Late-War compilation books are
- Red Bear
- Grey Wolf
- Atlantik Wall
There is an app call “Forces” which is a browser based app created by the company which made Flames of War and you can buy individual lists off the web to be created in any form and it calculates the force pointage, platoon count and so on. This however does not come with the lovely illustrations and historical
FIRST TIME PLAYERS
For a 1st time player I would recommend a Tank Army. There are several good reasons for this.
i, It is cheap to collect.
ii, Keeps the rules simple and therefore easier to learn.
iii, It will be usable with other force lists (infantry, recon etc) as you grow and expand within the hobby.
iv, It is quick to paint. Battlefront, as well as several other manufacturers, have made available spray cans with the correct color to basecoat each nations tank forces. Much like spraying a base coat of Dark Angels Green on a Space Marine squad, picking up a can of one of these basecoat sprays can drastically speed up your painting if you decide to build an armored force
v, It allows you to get to the table and start learning.
While collecting an armored (read:Tank) force does hold many advantages, as pointed out above, the most important thing to ask when selecting a starting army is "will I have fun painting and playing with this army?" I've found Flames of War to be very similar to 40k in one regard, choosing an army based on aesthetics tends to make painting a joy while choosing another army for the sole purpose of winning can be unfulfilling and result in a large amount of unpainted figures on your work bench.
Choice of Force type and composition
When building an Army ask yourself what is your aim? A few friendly games as an introduction for you and maybe a friend/ family member? Is to take part in a Club event or small gaming group? Is it for competitive Tournament play? Or do you just like painting?
The second thing to ask is "Do I care about Historical Accuracy?" surprisingly in a game that has been tweaked for balance alot of players strive for historically accurate lists (i have no idea why because this game is not a Historical Wargame, but is rather a Wargame in a historical setting). This makes a difference as players will take inferior units, or deliberate bad choices in their lists to be fluffy (to each his own!). Equally some gaming groups will only fight other "historical type" gamers, this can be a serious PITA, so I would advise a new player to go with whatever they want and ignore the historical accuracy element for now (Battlefront has done this for us in alot of cases anyway for balancing purposes and to make more viable lists). Going for Historically fluff list will leave you out of pocket, with some very limited units that don't fit in every list (thinking captured French Armour, artillery etc that was pressed into German service).
As detailed above, as the Company Commander you can call upon further support from Weapons Platoons (the Middle Column below) and also Divisional Support (the far right column below)
All will be allocated in accordance with your Force List structure with associated points costs. As per the diagram above taken from a Compilation Book, You must take 1 each of the Black choices (usually a HQ and 2 Combat Platoons). You may then take 1 Platoon from each of the Grey boxes on the list.
The page references to the right of the silhouette give the page you need to look at in order to get the points value of the platoon. Sometimes you can have numerous options, to represent the points price of a Platoon of 5, or the points for a Platoon of 4 or 3 etc etc.
It's the overall points battle that you and your opponent are fighting that determines how much you can take in your force. E.g. 1000 point battle cannot exceed 1000 points, a 1500 point battle cannot exceed 1500 points etc.
As stated in the FAQ below, common points values are 1500 points and 1750 points. This will give a game that will have between 4 -8 Platoons a side and take about 1.5 - 3 hours depending on your knowledge of the rules and slowing down to ensure assault etc move forward correctly.
Modelling your force
Flames of War has some conventions for modelling or more specifically basing units. All Infantry and Gun teams will be based together on Bases, Casualties are removed as teams become incapacitated.
Vehicles do not need a base, however some manufacturers like Forged in Battle come with them moulded on.
There are 3 principle base sizes, Small, Medium and unsurprisingly Large.
Small bases are for HQ's, specialist units (Bazooka teams, small light mortars etc)
Medium bases are for Infantry teams, Medium Mortars, HMG's and Light Gun's or Infantry artillery (small field guns)
Large bases are for Large Guns, Artillery and also for certain Teams such as Reloading teams for Armoured Rocket artillery etc
Overall Guns and Artillery are easy to base as they come with bases and are so large it cannot be based on others. However Infantry can be problematic due to the composition and numbers in every platoon. Most Infantry teams are 4 men, with some specialist units like German Fusillers (can be a mixture of 4man and 5man teams).
It is nice to have accurate models but in my experience many players are pretty good about it, so long as you are not trying to pretend a Rifle team is actually an MG team and it shoudn't be. Proxy is fine for most people but don't use this as excuse for bad sportsmanship ("I forgot to say that one is actually a Flamethrower!" is bad way of making friends and influencing people!).
Good Starter Sets
OPEN FIRE SET
The new OPEN FIRE SET is actually a really good setup, (apart from the needless V2 launch unit?)
It comes with:
GERMAN 2 x Grenadier Platoons 2 x Pak40 Guns 3 x STuG Assault Guns
ALLIES 2 x Sherman Tank Platoons (+ Firefly) 1 x US Para Platoon
Plus all the extra's and books etc.
I would recommend buying this boxed set as it gives you value for money, plus you can swap the items. I think the best way is if you and friend who wants to play both buy this, and you swap the models one for one resulting in much bigger force.
Some people might opt to just start the hobby really small. We do offer the Open Fire range of 2 tank Boxes. These are at the great price range of 18.00 a box. It comes with 2 tanks, namely the most reconizable tanks of the nations, T34s, Shermans, Fireflies, Panzer IVs and the like. These can all be found in our Open fire section.