Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Why I'm Avoiding Flames of War

Collecting and playing with 10mm-scale WWII miniatures represents a fairly conscious decision on my part to avoid Flames of War, the very successful WWII miniatures game by Battlefront Miniatures.

While I'm not hostile to FOW, I'm most definitely not interested in playing a "branded" wargame. I played Warhammer 40k for many years, and I still enjoy Privateer Press' Warmachine—but these products have one thing on common: they both a ruleset and a miniatures company rolled into one. As such, there's a strong impetus to use brand-specific miniatures to play each game, especially at the tournament level. Said miniatures are, on average, a few bucks more expensive than their generic counterparts.

I dropped $50 on my 10mm collection and ended up with enough to field both sides of a decent-sized game. Plus, my existing collection of plastic prepainted tanks ensures that I'll pretty much never have to purchase a pewter tank ever again, which is great because I have zero interest in painting tanks and armored vehicles. My mantra for WWII gaming is this: Paint a little, play a lot. I've spent the last couple of weeks getting my two armies in shape, and at some point very soon, that effort will be over. Then, it's time to game.

Which brings me to my next qualm: FOW operates at an odd scale. Every game I've watched has suffered from the "Warhammer 40k syndrome," with miniatures packed onto every square inch of table space, leaving very little room for realistic fire and maneuver simulations. Every battle group looks like the Red Army, with troopers lined up base-to-base, everyone surging forward in one big clump. As near as I can tell, it's battalion-level play on a play area that might better support company-level duels. Granted, this makes for a very attractive tabletop, especially if both armies are painted, but I only see limited options in such setups. Scaling down to 10mm really opens up a lot more space on a standard 4/6 table.

I'd much rather buy my miniatures from a company that specializes in miniatures, and then buy rules from a dedicated game publishing company.

No comments: