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Subject: A Couple quick thoughts on FOW rss

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Team Ski
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Just a couple thoughts on FOW. I know it's been a game that has been debated for quite a while now, but I would like to share my thoughts on the game.

I went all-out in FOW and bought/painted two 1200 point armies up front (German/ American).I love the presentation of the game. You just can't match BF's approach with army packs and graphics that excite the senses. However, when I read the rulebook, I couldn't understand the rationale for certain rules. I figured it would hash itself out playing the game. Last night I played my first game.

Now, my backround comes from playing Squad Leader as a kid and being a WWII junkie, so I am coming into this from a wargaming point of view. When playing the game last night (taught by an exremely knowledgable player that pummelled me senseless), I found instantly that the game was really aimed toward players that had no real knowledge of WWII. The Warhammer feel to the game was pretty strong. There are several issues I have, but the main one has to do with Scale and Command and Control.

Scale. I have a problem with a game that has a 1-1 scale on figures and vehicles, but the ground scale covers vast amounts of land. When I was explained the ground scale, I was quite shocked. If the scale of the ground is so large, then the buildings should be 1/3 their size. Now, I can understand why they did this due to the distances involved, but it becomes obviously inaccurate when you have a command and control for a US squad of only 4"!! I also feel that the idea of the short leash of command and control was simply to sell more figures, so you would have to field a larger army to cover more ground. So, I have a major beef with the scale and it's impact on c&c. In other games like ASL and Crossfire, you have MUCH more flexability in action, which does not add complexity whatsoever. In turn, FOV overcrowds the board with figures with short ranged C&C, turning it more into a game of WH than a WWII game. IMHO,the game would play a lot better with fewer units on the board on the board and a far larger C&C range, which would be more realistic in the end.

Other issues include the save rolls and firing in general, but these have been covered in other reviews.

Well, here I am with my painted troops wondering what I want to do next. I had a lot of fun painting my figures, that's for sure. But, if I am to play FOW, I will have to figure out a way to accept it as a game, and not a wargame, and deal with the gamey aspects as I would a war comic book. I just can't help but feel that all those beautiful pieces and large production values to have a game like this play like Warhammer. I'm sure a couple more games will help, but it really gnaws at me....

I do have my copy of Crossfire, though....

-Ski
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dustin boggs
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I think the command distance is done so as to restrict you from having the majority of the squad in one location and a team with a special weapon from being halfway accross the table. When a platoon is deployed they work together and do not cover kilometers of terrian.

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Every time I play Crossfire I wonder why I bothered buying other sets of WWII tactical rules

There are LOOONG discussions about FOW and the telescoping ground scale and other oddities over on www.theminiaturespage.com
I've bought a lot of Battlefront figs, but not the rules.
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John Di Ponio
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It took me a few games to really accept what the game is....i came from the Battleground crowd and thought that FOW would be the replacement. I found it not so.....but have come to love FOW for hat it is.....a game!!! Of course the games are different in scale....so maybe the comparison is mute.
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Dave Gamer
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As John said - it's just a game with WWII models. And there is really no "ground scale" in the game, just like there's no ground scale in Warhammer 40K. The ranges were picked to look reasonable in relation to the models and to also keep all ranges within the tabletop (so you have artillery models on the table, not off board). The whole "logarithmic" or "telescopic" scale nonsense was concocted later as there were so many hardcore WWII gamers who just have to have a ground scale defined.

Also, you're like how I used to be where you saw these rules and went out and bought and painted lots of miniatures and THEN played the game. You've got to stop doing that. Play the game with paper counters first, or find someone who can lend you and army. Fortunately with historicals you're not locked into one rule set. There's gotta be 100 WWII rulesets out there. Try http://www.freewargamesrules.co.uk/index.php?page=ww2 for some free ones or go to theminiaturespage.com to find out about the commerical ones available.
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Team Ski
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badinfo wrote:
Every time I play Crossfire I wonder why I bothered buying other sets of WWII tactical rules

There are LOOONG discussions about FOW and the telescoping ground scale and other oddities over on www.theminiaturespage.com
I've bought a lot of Battlefront figs, but not the rules.


Wow, looking at the posts, there definately is a lot of other people like myself out there. Definately a case of either loving the game or hating it.

-Ski
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James Hamilton
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Well I think that the telescoping ground scale is the best thing in the game. It takes a while to get used to but it solves so many of the problems I have had with other WWII miniatures games.

For me a WWII miniatures game needs to have a reasonable amount of models on the table otherwise what is the point. I like to have infantry, guns and armoured vehicles which really aren't the norm in skirmish games.

I don't want to play with a 'platoon' of 9 figures or a single stand representing a platoon. I want a platoon to be roughly the number of men I expect in a platoon.

I don't want to play with models so small you can't see them or what they are. I don't want to play with models so big in relation to the ground scale that it takes infantry a whole turn to walk from the rear to the front of a half track.

For years I was thinking about 1/300th scale models and 1/300th ground scale which on an 8' by 6' table would let you have just under a kilometer of front. The problem is that even so you have barely got enough space so something has to give.

Yes FoW is not to everyone's taste but of all the WWII miniatures games I have played it is the one I enjoy the most by far.
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Robert Taylor-Smith
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Teamski wrote:
I found instantly that the game was really aimed toward players that had no real knowledge of WWII. The Warhammer feel to the game was pretty strong....-Ski


My game club has a small but dedicated group playing Flames of War but all seem to have been previous Games Workshop junkies. The majority of historical miniature gamers thought it might be a good way to introduce (ie. convert) the plastic-fantasy-mini players to historical wargaming. After a while most of the club started calling it 'Flames of Warhammer' and regulated it to the fantasy side of the game room.

That's not to say it isn't a good 'game' or that it doesn't have a lot of fans, just that it has very little reality sense in the way of a World War II tactical simulation. I tell new players thinking of getting into FOW that if they liked fantasy Warhammer then they very well might like the WWII version: Flames of Warhammer.
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Raul Catalano
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Teamski wrote:

Well, here I am with my painted troops wondering what I want to do next. I had a lot of fun painting my figures, that's for sure. But, if I am to play FOW, I will have to figure out a way to accept it as a game, and not a wargame, and deal with the gamey aspects as I would a war comic book. I just can't help but feel that all those beautiful pieces and large production values to have a game like this play like Warhammer. I'm sure a couple more games will help, but it really gnaws at me....
-Ski


I perfectly understand that a player of Squad Leader can be strongly disappointed: FoW is not and doesn't want to be "Squad Leader with miniatures"; but I can't stand anymore that old story that Flames of War is "WWII Warhammer": this IMO is the result of an incomplete or superficial knowledge of the game and its mechanics.
The fact itself that at your first play you have been badly beaten by your opponents shows there is much to learn and to understand under the simple "you move - you shoot - you charge".
When and how to dug in, how to use for better the cover of smoke, how to prapare an assault, are just a few examples of not-so-simple tactics that make a BIG difference between the beginner and a good FoW player. This then changes a lot how you create your list and how you use them: the point is not to have more units than your enemy on the table (the point system is made exactly to balance quantity and quality, and it works).
About the scale issue, I have never been annoyed by this problem: every game is at a certain level an abstraction of reality, and what I really ask is a final result both interesting and challenging.

Is FoW the ultimate WWII simulation ? NO.
Is it a fun and quick (but not banal) game with wonderful miniatures ? YES, and I suggest you play some more games before you quit.
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Raul Catalano wrote:

Is FoW the ultimate WWII simulation ? NO.
Is it a fun and quick (but not banal) game with wonderful miniatures ? YES, and I suggest you play some more games before you quit.


Raul,

I sincerely appreciate your comments as well as the others about FOW. We all know that we look for different things in different games. I will definately play a couple more games of FOW to get a feel for it. But I won't see this game ever being "my" WWII game. My loss wasn't the source of frustration with the game. My opponent appoligized repeatedly for the mass of 5's he was rolling, but I was there to learn the game, not win it. The masses of dice being rolled for tank MG's was staggering, though. Throughout the experience, I found that with the WWII figures on the board, it did not reflect the feel of a WWII game.

In the game, we played 3 platoons each, with a platoon of tanks and (in the case of the Germans) mortars with an odd MG. All of this on a 6'x4' board (I wish I brought my camera). Anyways, even with that limited force, I really felt that I had no maneuvering room. When I wanted to attempt a skirting action around my opponent's flank, I was hampered by the limited C&C. So, in the end, all I could do was advance straight ahead, I stayed in place for the most part as it would of been suicide to move out into the open in face of my enemy. I listened to my opponent about those famous army lists and how he wanted to get this and that. It sounded just like Warhammer players I have overheard in the past. So, that leaves me with a bitter taste in my mouth.

The game system isn't that bad, but for me, it really needs to be tweaked to get away from crowding the board and addressing other issues with firing. Until that happens, this game is technically broke for a tactical WWII game.

-Ski
 
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Kurt Weihs
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If you want to play FoW and enjoy it you have to love it for what it is. Yeah, it's not ASL, but I enjoy playing it a great deal. The rules reward clever, aggressive tactics and the community rewards modellers who can paint and model well. There are a lot of folks out there who love to slam FoW but I don't see them playing anything else that I would find as enjoyable. If you want to play WW2 in 15mm you really aren't going to find a game system that represents ranges in a way that is accurate in a linear sense unless you want all of your units to have an unlimited range while on the table. For this level of simulation you really should be playing at micro-armor scale. However, I like being able to see the battle damage on my tanks, the detail on the soldier's packs, etc. At GHQ scale infantry become green blobs.

Also, I think we, as gamers, tend to associate complexity with accuracy. We bow to ASL as being the most accurate WW2 game out there when in reality this might not be so. To me, it moves too slow to be accurate. A scenario that takes 3 hours to play can reflect a battle that took less than 15 minutes to complete historically. While the rules do a good job of quantifying the values of the equipment relative to each other they don't leave me with a sense of the ebb and flow of the battle. It simply takes too long to play out. There's more to simulation than technical quantification. I'm not saying FoW is an accurate simulation (it isn't), but I am saying that games we like to tout as the 'real' war might not really be much better at simulating history than something like FoW.

Ultimately, these are games. Most of them carry some degree of a kernal of truth to them and can help us explore alternate historical possibilities, but real historical knowledge will come from reading authors who know the topic well and even then they can be subject to bias and poor research. I play FoW because it is fun to play and I enjoy the modelling aspect and really can't think of another miniature game that scratches that particular itch.
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Sturmkraehe wrote:
Ultimately, these are games. Most of them carry some degree of a kernal of truth to them and can help us explore alternate historical possibilities, but real historical knowledge will come from reading authors who know the topic well and even then they can be subject to bias and poor research. I play FoW because it is fun to play and I enjoy the modelling aspect and really can't think of another miniature game that scratches that particular itch.


Oh, trust me, I think that FOW did a great job with the modeling. It's the chief reason why I ran out and forked out the $$$. Even then, I figured that even if the rules weren't to my liking, I would still have a great time modeling and possibly using the figures for another game. Years ago, I played Crossfire with 1/300, and it really caught the flavor of a WWII battle. With no ranges and no limits to movement, it simplifies the game but doesn't take anything away from the experience. I think the game addresses scale perfectly. I really enjoyed it then, and I will definately look over the rules again.

-Ski
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Matt Robertson
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Team Ski:

I am very happy that I stumbled upon this thread. I own a tonne of Axis & Allies Miniatures and have been looking for a game system to play WWII miniatures combat. I want a fairly simple, straight forward system...

...seredipity...

...your mention of crossfire picqued my interest enough that I looked it up. Sure enough, I think that is just what I am looking for. So, thanks for the indirect recommendation.

-Matt

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Raul Catalano
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Teamski wrote:
The masses of dice being rolled for tank MG's was staggering, though. -Ski


Every tank MG throws only THREE dice + 1 die if you have additional MGs on board (and in many cases you can't use your MG effectively if you use the Main Gun). The number to hit changes dramatically if you are "gone to the ground", for the distance and the combat skill of your soldiers (of course if you are target of tanks in open ground you can't hope in miracles ...)

Teamski wrote:
When I wanted to attempt a skirting action around my opponent's flank, I was hampered by the limited C&C. So, in the end, all I could do was advance straight ahead


What ? The Command Distance is the maximun distance among every base of the SAME platoon (and for the German this is generally 10/15 cm., not really small...), but then every single platoon has total freeedom of movement on the board !

Teamski wrote:
I listened to my opponent about those famous army lists and how he wanted to get this and that. It sounded just like Warhammer players I have overheard in the past. So, that leaves me with a bitter taste in my mouth.


My impression here is that the problem was your opponent, not the game ...

Teamski wrote:
The game system isn't that bad, but for me, it really needs to be tweaked to get away from crowding the board and addressing other issues with firing. Until that happens, this game is technically broke for a tactical WWII game.


As I said before, FoW rules are NOT so simple as at first glance: there are A LOT of little details that make a BIG difference between a good game and a Warhammer-like-I-have-the-biggest-gun experience.
I don't know what you played, but it doesn't seem Flames of War to me ...

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Something that may or may not be a good (alternate) use of your FoW fig's could be Frontline General: Italian Campaign Introduction. It is NOT asl in the hex & chit version. But it does allow for miniature battles as well.

The rules are available (actaully the whole game is if you want) for free on the site.

I for one have been really enjoying this game and am working on Session/Review report now. I have been using paper cutout fig's because I currently own no "hard" fig's, but am looking at many options as I'm excited to learn painting! (God knows I love gaming them!)

Thanks for the report Ski, this helps me alot as well with this (FoW) game. Much appreciated.
 
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orionstars wrote:
Something that may or may not be a good (alternate) use of your FoW fig's could be Frontline General: Italian Campaign Introduction. It is NOT asl in the hex & chit version. But it does allow for miniature battles as well.

The rules are available (actaully the whole game is if you want) for free on the site.

I for one have been really enjoying this game and am working on Session/Review report now. I have been using paper cutout fig's because I currently own no "hard" fig's, but am looking at many options as I'm excited to learn painting! (God knows I love gaming them!)

Thanks for the report Ski, this helps me alot as well with this (FoW) game. Much appreciated.


Agreed Peter!! I use my FOW minatures for just that!!! I have been playtesting Frontline General: Italian Campaign Introduction and using FOW figures is perfect! It's good system...I like being able to play the game with mini's or playing without if I don't want to set up the skirmishes!
 
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Raul Catalano wrote:
The masses of dice being rolled for tank MG's was staggering, though. -Ski

Every tank MG throws only THREE dice + 1 die if you have additional MGs on board (and in many cases you can't use your MG effectively if you use the Main Gun). The number to hit changes dramatically if you are "gone to the ground", for the distance and the combat skill of your soldiers (of course if you are target of tanks in open ground you can't hope in miracles ...)


He had his five MkIVs lined up on a hill, so that he rolled 15 dice at one shot.

Raul Catalano wrote:
As I said before, FoW rules are NOT so simple as at first glance: there are A LOT of little details that make a BIG difference between a good game and a Warhammer-like-I-have-the-biggest-gun experience.
I don't know what you played, but it doesn't seem Flames of War to me ...


But, those details aren't necessarily based on WWII tactical doctrine, but on the knowledge of the rules themselves. You can't compare the two. Again, it's down to what each person is looking for in a game. Personally, for quick-play rules that are fun to play, I play Heroscape. But for WWII tactical gaming, I don't want a ton of rules, but I also don't want a stylized WWII game that makes a deliberate attempt to sell more figures/vehicles at the expense of realism.

-Ski



 
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Raul Catalano
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Teamski wrote:
But, those details aren't necessarily based on WWII tactical doctrine, but on the knowledge of the rules themselves. You can't compare the two. Again, it's down to what each person is looking for in a game. Personally, for quick-play rules that are fun to play, I play Heroscape. But for WWII tactical gaming, I don't want a ton of rules, but I also don't want a stylized WWII game that makes a deliberate attempt to sell more figures/vehicles at the expense of realism.


Here I don't follow you anymore: first you say that Fow is unrealistic and too simple for you, but when I suggest that using the right (and not so obvious) rules this game can be more interesting and challenging than what you experienced in your unbalanced first game, you protest that those rules are "not based on WWII tactical doctrine"...

About the "deliberate attempt to sell more figures/vehicles at the expense of realism", this is simply NOT TRUE: you can play for years with the same list without any problem, there are not unbalanced "uber monsters" because of a very balanced point system, any old supplement is always completely valid and compatible with the new, and Battlefront say that you can always use whichever brand of miniatures you like without any problem (even in tournaments!).

Flames of War is not a perfect system and has its limits, but you can't say it's crap only after ONE play with two little and unbalanced lists, a dubious knowledge of the true rules, and a Warhammer-oriented opponent.
With the same experience, I could write a review saying that ASL is a confused and boring game ... shake

That said, I thank you for suggesting Crossfire: I didn't know this system and I will certainly try it because so many BGG seems to like it.
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Raul Catalano wrote:
Teamski wrote:
But, those details aren't necessarily based on WWII tactical doctrine, but on the knowledge of the rules themselves. You can't compare the two. Again, it's down to what each person is looking for in a game. Personally, for quick-play rules that are fun to play, I play Heroscape. But for WWII tactical gaming, I don't want a ton of rules, but I also don't want a stylized WWII game that makes a deliberate attempt to sell more figures/vehicles at the expense of realism.


Here I don't follow you anymore: first you say that Fow is unrealistic and too simple for you, but when I suggest that using the right (and not so obvious) rules this game can be more interesting and challenging than what you experienced in your unbalanced first game, you protest that those rules are "not based on WWII tactical doctrine"...



I actually never said that FOW was too simple. On the contrary, some of the rules are excessively complex, assault being foremost. What I meant was that many of the rules in the game were reflective of a WH type miniatures game and not that of a WWII tactical game. As a result, many of the decisions in the game are based on WH type strategy. You have to think as a WH player to basically win the game. I think in many ways, Crossfire is a far easier game than FOW, but it did it for the right reasons,

IMHO. As far as figures go,the requirement of a 1500 point army as a standard sized army for a 6'x4' table and a 600 point army for half that size is too much, and with the limited C&C is pretty indicitive of a company that wants to sell some serious product. If you compare FOW with every other tactical WWII miniatures game, it is FAR more crowded on the board, and is unrealistically so.

I don't knock FOW for trying to draw Warhammer players, but for the rest of us, I'd sure wish they would publish a seperate set of rules that accurately portray WWII combat and allow all us to use the beautiful figures and vehicles as they should be.

I think you will get a kick out of Crossfire. How's this for modifiers? Each squad rolls 3 dice to attack. If a target squad is in cover, they only get to roll 2. I think that is pretty simple!

-Ski
 
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I might be coming from at this game from a different perspective. I am an old AH/SPI wargamer, played a god awful amount of Squad Leader (we didn't have ASL back then) and Warhammer (both the original and many iterations of 40K).

I really don't think that FOW is much like any of the above games. Yes, the rules have some similarities to WH40K, however,the game plays completely differently in my experience.

Command and control is just one are of difference. In FOW you can leave behind members of your platoon to lay down cover fire while the rest of the unit acts as a maneuver element. For trained and veteran troops I have never seen command distances to be a big problem.

Use of cover in FOW is essential. This is not the WH40K I move up, I shoot, I assault kind of game. If you try that, your will watch your units get mowed down. Infantry holding cover is a key to this game. A lot of WWII games focus on banging tanks together with the infantry being relegated to an auxiliary role. In FOW, infantry in the open will get murdered by tanks; however, infantry making good use of cover is absolutely terrifying to tank commanders.

There are a lot of levels of abstractness to FOW. The distances are a major one. However, if not for this level of abstractness, you would not be able to combine infantry, tank, ATG and artillery elements on one reasonably sized game board. This is a company sized game, it is easy to forget that and focus on why things don't quite make sense in a squad level sized game.

A lot of the abstractions seem arbitrary or even silly at first glance (such as ambush units just popping up wherever they feel like, even in a supposedly cleared area). However, these abstractions do eliminate the God's Eye View that many wargames games have.

Also, you have to keep in mind that even though the game in progress is being represented by stationary models. Things are actually moving and the individual troops are not necessarily exactly where the stand is (it is more like a cloud of probability of their location). This is one of the abstractions that most people don't seem to get, and it causes them to cry foul as some of the situations would be ridiculous from the point of where the models are. However, you need to understand that it would be equally ridiculous that the troops would just be standing there in a stationary position.

This game is not perfect and does not go into the detail necessary to see all of the terrain fluctuations, nor does it have a level of detail to explain all of the crazy things that can go on in a real battle. Instead it does a very good job of being a good wargame, taking some liberties for the sake of playability to overcome levels of detail that no game (no matter how complex) can truly convey completely.
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Randy Korstick
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Very Well said Jason. I've played both games and don't find that many Similarities in Fow and 40K if you do the same things you will be slaughtered in FOW. I also don't think 1500 points is alot of units at all. It is equivilant of the same amount of units you find on the single board small scenarios in Squad Leader and in many cases less. I personally think when playing any game on the Russian front less than 2,000 points does not accurately portray the theater on a 6 x 4 board.
 
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Von Korstick wrote:
Very Well said Jason. I've played both games and don't find that many Similarities in Fow and 40K if you do the same things you will be slaughtered in FOW. I also don't think 1500 points is alot of units at all. It is equivilant of the same amount of units you find on the single board small scenarios in Squad Leader and in many cases less. I personally think when playing any game on the Russian front less than 2,000 points does not accurately portray the theater on a 6 x 4 board.


If you compare FOW to any other WWII miniatures game at the tactical level, you will find it has almost double the units per square foot. Except for human waves, you won't find that amount of troops that close to each other in WWII, sorry.

-Ski
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I think that 2000 points on a 6X4 is getting a bit crowded, especially if you make "realistic" armies. By realistic, I mean mostly base troops with some support equipment added, not all elite troops with super weapons attached.

I am a big fan of 1500 points. You have to make tough decisions about what you are going to take and what you won't (especially if you are playing as Germans). At 2000, there isn't much pressure, you can take just about anything that you want without making any sacrifices.

I play North Africa games, and 1500 points on a 6X4 table seems ok to me, although I usually play on an 8 foot table. That is because all 1500 points do not normally start already deployed. Most scenarios have reinforcements dwindling in throughout the game. In a game where everything started on the table, I agree that 1500 would be crowded on a 6X4.
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Marc Canu
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Here are a few things to think about:

Have you ever tried to play scenario games instead of points/list games?

Play lower points on a larger table...

The FOW site does have historical scenarios. Give that a try! See what happens.


Regards,

Marc
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Brian Crawford
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Teamski wrote:
Von Korstick wrote:
Very Well said Jason. I've played both games and don't find that many Similarities in Fow and 40K if you do the same things you will be slaughtered in FOW. I also don't think 1500 points is alot of units at all. It is equivilant of the same amount of units you find on the single board small scenarios in Squad Leader and in many cases less. I personally think when playing any game on the Russian front less than 2,000 points does not accurately portray the theater on a 6 x 4 board.


If you compare FOW to any other WWII miniatures game at the tactical level, you will find it has almost double the units per square foot. Except for human waves, you won't find that amount of troops that close to each other in WWII, sorry.

-Ski


I would seriously have a look at I Ain't Been Shot Mum by the Two Fat Lardies. The game plays very nicely and rewards real world tactics. Reading AARs is like reading a battle report. I found this site last year and was hooked ever since, it has many AARs to read through if interested.

http://www.fat-wally.com/IABSM.html

The rules have a goofy title but the game is awesome and is now my #1 WWII company level rules system. I used to play Battlefront until I saw these rules.

I have watched a few games of FOW and kept seeing players line their tanks bogey wheel to bogey wheel exchanging shots and it didn't look exciting. Then I had a friend offer to teach me and we played and I saw no reason to try to use good tactics and lined up my tanks as well and I ended up with the win. Its only a personal opinion but I am not impressed with all the rules for the results given. But its a great game for getting new people into the hobby of miniature gaming and if it gets people playing thats really all that matters. With so much choice out there, there is more than enough rules to satisfy each of us based on what we like and don't like in a game.
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