Not Nephew Paul, who is responsible in part for my Afghan purchases at the WMMMS Show a fortnight ago, but another Paul (aka Peltast from the Stafford Games forum). "Why?" you might ask......
He posted on said forum that the recent release of Flames of War version 3 was a wonderful excuse for a club league using said rules.
I do not play FoW, never have in fact, and World War 2 games are very rare in my repertoire. I grew up in the seventies on a diet of Airfix kits and soldiers (1/72nd and 1/32nd), the "World At War" series and Sunday afternoon war films. I grew up actually believing that all those Germans were really killed in those films, which probably explains my "sympathies" for all things Wehrmacht/ Luftwaffe/ Waffen SS when that conflict is discussed. I am not really into naval games, so the Kriegsmarine has not grabbed me.......
However, as a gaming period, I have always struggled with World War 2. I think it started with me using 20mm stuff when school friends were micro-tanking. I could not tell anything apart from more than an inch or two away and, I now know, the visuals/ aesthetics are what drive me. Micro-tanks were out for me.
A further problem for me is just when to dip into such a vast conflict and, indeed, where? Eastern Front? 1942 or later? The desert? 1940 or later? France? 1940 or Normandy? You get the picture, I think. The bottom line is that the Wehrmacht of 1942 was far inferior in kit quality to 1944 and the same is true of other nations. I have favourite kit, but this can be Jagdpanthers or Matildas - I am not that choosy!
Returning to aesthetics, I had issues with FoW. Maybe it is just my fellow Stafford Gamers, but FoW games looked like Ancients ones, with little infantry bases lined up neatly to start. I also dislike those bases, because I cannot get over the thought of real people trying to stay alive in reality yet crammed onto a few centimetres of plastic in miniature. I like single figures for WW2 and WW1. I am also a scenario-fascist for modern era games (i.e. 20th Century on), so lining up 1500 points of Patton's finest against 1500 of Hitler's rang all sorts of weird bells. I know there are scenarios in the rulebook, but they seem more of the setting variety rather than actual tests of uneven combat situations.
So what to do????
- Go for tanks (ignoring one "expert" who said I was "mad" to ignore infantry in FoW. Mad, yes, but not cos of that!!!)
- Build something that floated my history boat, with a hook that grabbed me. 2nd SS "Das Reich" Panzer Division came to the fore. The fluff is crucial for my interest in any period, and those bad boys have a whole load of fluff.
- Go into the games with my own agenda. I am not going to win the league, but want to rid the table of as many infantry bases as possible and thereby raise that aesthetic playing field!
Flames of War is by all accounts a fine set of rules and I could have been losing out on some quality gaming, above reservations notwithstanding. So I bought a recent book covering German forces in Normandy, spent my 1500pts and I am off. I already had some "Das Reich" painted and will use little of it (typically), as it is mainly Panzer Grenadiers. But the panzers are on their way......
An earlier build, from the Battlefront resin model. I am not sure about kill stripes in Normandy, but wanted to paint a few to show how tough these bad boy SS are!!!