Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Testing Out 4th Edition to Flames of War: A First Impression.

      As you may have noticed in this blog, Flames of War has not come up as much of a subject. There are plenty of reasons for this, but nothing really bad. If you would have met Kalissa and myself five years back, we were playing mainly, if not, exclusively, Flames of War. After all, that is what we both started wargaming with. So when I hear of a new addition or changes in the rules which got me into this hobby, of course, I am going to take look at it! Amongst our weaponary are about nine companies worth of Flames of War armies that fit about a 2,000 point list for both, Kalissa and I. One could say that we went a little over board. Honestly, it was the Ebay sales. When you spend about $2,000 for the core stuff that we have that is well worth $12,000, you gain a lot of stuff! There is this plus the normal retail stuff we bought for specialty units, such as, German Grille H's or British Staghound II's.
       As much as we loved this 15mm based WWII game, Flames of War started to fade out for Kalissa and I for the time being. There are several reasons to blame. One was the fact that we had been playing it nearly non-stop for years. I think we both needed a change of scenery. Second, was the fact that newer rule systems were coming out. This is normal in the wargaming evolution! However, in this case, this was directly related to Osprey Publishing. They decided to come out with fairly cheap 28mm Skirmish games. One of their first popular ones was for Warlord Games with Bolt Action. Fun rules that are easy to get into!  Then, they came out with the Ronin rules with Japanese Samarai! Awesome! Next, was "Of Gods and Mortals". mythology in wargaming! And quite a few others popped up on the scene. We kept up with Osprey at first until the Modern Kung Fu. It was not to say that I was not interested, but we had no way to budget this into our lives on top of other things. After all, it used to be that Osprey Publishing printed a rules set once every four months. It changed to every month, it seems!
   Enough about all of that! So with the coming of 4th edition, of course, we expected waves of chaos into our hobby. In some cases, I wish I could tell you that your feelings of stress about a new change of rules was unfounded. I cannot bring you such bright news. The Cape Fear Wargamers decided, for the most part, to try out these new rules. This translates to four out of the group. The great thing with Battlefront Games was the fact that they let us pick up the rules for free as long as you had the previous addition. They did this between 2nd and 3rd editions. They had given a smaller book that shared the changes with the early war and late books that were published. That was a good more in their part to make a large portion of the third edition books still be worthy. Of course, this is to a degree. This small booklet of doom is a "death letter" to some of the most amazing lists that we strive for. In other words, there are a lot of changes that screw any list building advantages for now.
I could go over all of these changes, but this would turn into the longest article I have ever written in both blog form and college paper! Since the rules are free, if you have the Third edition, get the Fourth for free!

   As for the game, itself, we met our friend, Hugh, at his new house. New, is not-so-accurate! His new house is about 120 years old, if not older. And it fits him and his wife quite well, since it is a quite neighborhood with a lot of history. Oh no, a house of history amongst us historical wargamers! So, of course, he has a wargaming room!  In this game, it was our friend, Bill versus Hugh. Bill was the German DAK Panzer force and Hugh was the British to counter him. If their are rules to present in this game, the following has occurred: There were no command teams for the platoons. There was the ability to snipe certain teams, as long as, you opponent did not throw a three plus to stop it. Morale checks can happen for a platoon if bail back in do not happen. In other words, if you are bailed out in a tank along with two others, but one is active: if two fail, it is a break test! If you fail, you run! This happened for both sides.
   In all honestly, there are a lot of questions that need to be answered with these new rules. My honest opinion is that the Third Edition was the best one. However, Battlefront, you were screwed by a large popular new rules groups, your terrain screw-ups with terrain orders of production, and this fourth edition may  not be helping you! I will see how I really feel after playing it out myself and how the tournament crowd reacts when I see it at Nashcon 2017.          


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