Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Flames of War: a backwards step

Well I have finally made the move away from 40k, and games workshop’s waning community support.

It’s time to move backwards. I first became interested in wargaming at the tender age of 10, with Airfix 1/72 WW2 models. My friends and I made up our own rule set using a hit point system without any dice, and played on a pair of pasting tables, often in the middle of a muddy field (don’t ask).

More recently I’ve invested in Warhammer English Civil War in 28mm, using the fantastic models by Warlord games. However every time I mentioned playing historical wargames I’ve invariably been asked if I play Flames of War leaving me somewhat irritated and also a little intrigued.

I’d looked at Bolt Action with some interest, but 15mm had never really stuck me as an exciting scale. I like each model to be his own man, to care if that man lives or dies and for each model to have their own character. I love converting models to accentuate their own personality, for this reason I love 28mm games and eschew smaller scales.

But looking through the Flames of War range brought back those happy memories of Airfix kits and pasting tables.

So I have brought a copy of 3rd edition Flames of War and have begun looking around for cheaper models, mainly at The Plastic Soldier Company.

The main Rulebook is hardback, full colour and beautifully illustrated. Bundled with it comes a stapled ‘how to build and paint your army’ Hobby booklet that I will not pay much mind to, and more importantly a paperback Forces book, which gives a concise set of army lists for each of the four main powers for the Late War, 1944-1945, period.

The inclusion Forces book is a great bonus, not instantly having to buy a specific Codex is a great thing, though it has its limitations. As stated before it only covers the Late War period, focusing on American, German, British and Soviet forces, and only covers each force in moderate detail. For example the British Armoured Company list sticks to American Sherman and Stuart derivatives, with the only fully British tank available being the Churchill.

For more depth in your army selection, for, different periods of the war, and for other nationalities you have to buy the campaign books.
The second problem with the Forces book is the cheap Chinese binding, while the hardback Rulebook appears fairly solid, the Forces book began shedding pages within days.

 I looked at the possibility of returning the item; I would have had to send the whole three volume set back, then wait a week and hope that the replacement had better binding or be forced to repeat the whole process indefinitely. In the end I opted to have it ring bound at the local Staples for less than £5.

 At least this way I can lay it flat without worrying about the binding.

My order from the Plastic soldier company arrived early and I shall be properly un-boxing them from tomorrow.

~ Bob

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