Sunday, April 22, 2012

FoW: US Rifle Company, North Africa

Inspired by yesterday's post, I decided it's high time that I at least take a group photo of all my Flames of War rifle company models.  I started this project three years ago. But after making that post my blogging halted. I never followed up.

Fact is I continued to add to the rifle company and started to play some games. But then my game group went cold on FoW, as did I.  However, when they picked it up again, I remained on the fence until recently.  I'll share my thoughts on why that happened a little later.  First, here is the entire rifle company.

So everything looks like a bunch of dots.  But it took me 30 minutes to set this up, photograph, and then put away. I'm not taking another picture!  Besides, there's not a lot of detail on 15mm figures anyway.  These are all Old Glory Command Decision models.  Not a single Battlefront item besides the bases!  Here's what you're looking at:

Front square: Company Commander, 2iC, and two bazooka teams
Front row: Three rifle platoons of three squads each, commander and bazooka teams attached
Middle row (from left to right): Weapons platoon of 4 LGMs & three 60mm mortars; 81mm mortar platoon, Machine gun platoon, all with command teams.
Back row: two 105mm Howitzer platoons, with command, spotters, staff teams, and jeeps.

 That's about 1600pts or close to it.  If I add in a Sherman tank platoon, I get over 1700pts.

You're probably wondering why I invested so much time and energy into this game if I didn't play it.  Actually, I did play it.  I wanted a combined arms force, which this army represents.  I have a lot of stuff going on here.  But ultimately I think that's what killed my interest.

If you are a new player to Flames of War, I would strongly suggest you don't start with an army like this one.  There are soooooo many special rules and peculiarities for all of these platoons.  It's crazy.  When I first started playing, I couldn't finish a game.  I thought it was a fluke, but every game just ended with things unresolved.  There were too many rules to learn.  I began to think the game was fiddly and so rules heavy that it was unplayable.  Then the rule book didn't help and we had many divergent interpretations of the rules. This just further confirmed the game was not all that good.

So after a space of several years, I had forgotten everything about the game.  But the feeling of dislike lingered. I started playing with friends again, and we stuck to tanks only.  Oddly, I couldn't pinpoint anything too bad about playing just tanks.  After playing a few more games and then watching a few others, I began to realize that just concentrating on tanks made getting the game basics a lot easier. I started to enjoy it.

Now I understand that we all had taken a big bite of a complicated game. This was no trouble for some.  But for me it was more than I wanted to deal with. For now, I'm sticking with tanks and rotating in other unit types. This way, I learn all the special rules in manageable bits.  That's how I'd recommend a new player approach FoW.  You could also just play infantry only, getting down those rules before worrying about tanks, recon, artillery, air support, ambushes, transports, and on and on and on. 

So this force will not likely hit the table for a while yet.  But I expect parts of it will. I even intend to add some new units to this, like AT guns.  One day I may be playing the whole thing like I originally intended.


Scott said...

Good post Jerry, and good advice. There is a lot to the game and it seems overly complicated at times.

But as you say breaking it down into chunks and absorbing and understanding those, is the way to get into this game.

Plus the new V3 rulebook I think is a great improvement in content and layout than the last one.

I recently introduced the game to a new local club I joined and it met with very positive feedback :-)

Jerry said...

Thanks Scott. I agree that the V3 rulebook is a lot better. I just picked up a copy of it, and am reviewing it. I think it explains a lot of things more clearly.

My local gaming group is pretty firmly committed to FoW. So I'll be making a greater effort to get down the intricacies of the game.

Drunken Samurai said...

Wow! I guess I never realized how much stuff you have done for this army. Pretty impressive stuff.

You are right about the game being easier to learn in smaller pieces. That was true with v2 but somehow none of us really picked up on that. Starting off with tanks only has really helped and it is something that I started doing a few months before v3 came out.

Tim and I got in a couple of 500 point infantry only games today. This is another great way to learn the basics and get playing. These were the first games of v3 I have played with infantry and it was a blast. All in all I am very happy with the new version.

Jerry said...

Thanks DS! I'm looking forward to being able to play some infantry based games. After all, you see how much I have here!

With infantry I think it's very important to isolate them and learn their rules. There seems to be a lot going on with the foot-sloggers.