Saturday 22 June 2013

363 Ad-Hoc Flames of War Practice Game

A couple of weeks ago I realised I really ought to practise playing a bit of Flmes of War, to get a better idea of the mechanic of it. With an evening free of work, I gave it a go.

These photos look disastrously bleak, but it really was a useful process.

Becuase I find placing terrain difficult (being an unimaginative type) I had a brainwave: why not base the terrain on that I'm familiar with within my own parish? After all, where I live is far nearer to the Bocage than it is to - say - London.

With that in mind, I chose a hamlet about a half-mile away, and brought it up at a suitable scale on google maps, before using powerpoint to overlay a 12"x12" grid onto it (shaped to fit the extended version of my dining table), so I could match the scenery to a chalked grid on my table. Here is the result:
Sadly, what was lacking was any terrain at all. The only terrain I have at home is 40K Cityfight I improvised in the most basic, late-night way imagainable: I drew the terrain on in different coloured chalk (essentially giving myself a map to play on) and used a mix of small tubs and my daughter's wooden railway houses as the buildings and objectives. I'm not proud.

This is what the real terrain looks like (remember: this is familiar to me - I can clearly picture it in my head): 

...and this is what my interpretation of it looked like. I know - it's laughable, right? I should note that the chalk was far clearer in reality. Remember though - a better understanding of the game mechanic was my aim here:

 looking from north-west
 this and below: same view as googlemap image

looking east-to-west
Overall, it was very useful indeed at ironing some things out. Needless to say, even playing myself blue-on-blue I still lost.

Importantly I discovered the following things:
  • true sightlines really do make a significant difference in Flames of War;
  • I really need to make some scenery (and I am - more soon!);
  • Close assault is BRUTAL in Flames;
  • Veteran troops are hard as nails, and
  • The softcover rulebook cannot withstand more than one game. Rats.


  1. The google map with the overlay grid is a great idea! I am a little confused on how you could lose to yourself though.

  2. It's okay - I won too.

    The scale worked really really well, by the way...

  3. I remember a game where the terrain was all beer cans and 2L PET bottles and the playing pieces were all titles on torn up bits of paper.

    Agree with the bocage comment - if there's anywhere in England that looks like Normandy and Britany, its Devon and Corned Wall.

  4. I like the google map as reference. You should not be ashamed of your table layout. I've got none either but as long as you've got a table, you can play.
    The way I see miniature gaming is, you should have fun creating your miniature world and fun playing encounters. See the common thread? Having fun, so if you got that, you're covered.

  5. Had a laugh reading this post Drax - can't believe that a) the missus let you draw (even if it was chalk) all over your dining table, and b) didn't throw down as the OpFor.

    Lovely idea though, and a good idea to help iron out the mechanics as you say.

    Did have a chuckle at the 'lost to myself' comment, and rebuttal to the good Col. 'I won too'

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  7. Right - chuffed you started to play! Hope you can find someone else to play against (Preferably some filthy Reich lover so you can kick some Nazi arse.)

    In regard to what you've described:

    true sightlines really do make a significant difference in Flames of War;

    [Good lord yes they do. Not being able to shoot through your own tanks really makes place ment of your pieces a well calculated affair.]

    I really need to make some scenery (and I am - more soon!);

    [Okay, no. Not really. So far, much like my short INQ28 affair, books for hills and a table cloth for a battle mat have worked fine. ;) Otherwise, your chalk works just as my mate's perspex and dry erase maker idea did.]

    Close assault is BRUTAL in Flames;

    [German Defensive Fire is a meatgrinder.... This weekend showed me that and was the difference between my winning and losing my 1st game. Pin, pin, pin prior to assaulting. Get some arti and pound 'em from afar - it's what Brits do best.]

    Veteran troops are hard as nails,

    [I've found that unless one's Brits are sporting Churchills, to NEVER take anything less than Vets. Never.]

    The softcover rulebook cannot withstand more than one game. Rats.

    [Mine was spiral bound shortly after purchase and lives even to this day. ;)]

  8. Dai:

    Silly question maybe, but how did you get it bound?

  9. That is solo-gaming at its finest! Just you doing your thing, getting what you want out of a game. All of your lessons learned are valuable ones, so mission accomplished!


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