Tuesday 22 March 2011

First Blood with Flames of War

After nearly two years painting and collecting I have finally been able to get a game of Flames of War with my good friend and Brother-in-law, Raymond. This was his first wargame and one I think he'll remember for a long time.

For our first game I decided to keep things simple and use just tanks. This way we could avoid dealing with the Assault or Artillery rules until we had the basics under our belt. I made up an order of battle for both sides based on the models I had available, trying as best I could to balance the forces. Ray took control of a Tank Company from the 2nd Armoured Division (Hell on Wheels) while I faced him with my Lehr Panzerkompanie. The order of battle was as follows:

US 2nd Armoured
HQ - 2x M4A1 Sherman's
1st Combat Platoon - 5x M4A1 Sherman's
2nd Combat Platoon - 5x M4A1 (76mm) Sherman's

Lehr Panzerkompanie
HQ - 2x Panther A
Combat Platoon - 4x Panther A

I was outnumbered 2:1 but I also knew that the guns on the Sherman's were no match for the frontal armour of my Panthers. Plus while I had a working knowledge of the rules - and experience of many different wargames - my opponent was the ultimate newbie, a veritable wargaming virgin.

I set up the battlefield and then Ray chose which side to play. We didn't bother with a scenario or objectives as the primary aim of this game was to learn the basics, movement and shooting. It would be a straightforward battle to the death. I tried to put a variety of terrain on the field while not cluttering it up too much. I certainly didn't want to put Ray off by thoroughly confusing him while I thrashed him soundly. As it was neither event happened.

The setting for our game probably wasn't the best for a 'lets learn the rules' session. For a start my table was too small (we played on a 3x6 surface) so there was actually very little room for maneuver. Also we had family over in the afternoon so the house was busy and noisy. Then a group of my daughters friends turned up. So while we tried to concentrate and work our way through the rules we had to do so to a backdrop of bedlam, riotous noise and continual interruptions.

As already mentioned the table was far too small (I need to figure out an alternative for future games) so the first turn of movement brought our respective tanks almost nose to nose. Ray did exactly what I thought he would do and basically charged his mass of Sherman's straight at my panthers. So for the first two turns all that happened was that his shots bounced off my frontal armour while I picked off his tanks one by one.

Things changed when I finished off the platoon on my left flank. I thought the game was wrapped up so I moved my panthers onto a hill in the center and turned to face the remaining Sherman's. But this gave the American M4A1 (76mm) Sherman's a chance to swing round my flank and hit me with a series of side shots. Yes he was very lucky with his dice rolls but I should never have given him the opportunity to hit me in the flank. In just one turn the advantage shifted and soon I found myself down to one Panther facing 5 Sherman's, three of which had the 76mm gun.

That was it for me, and the game ended with the destruction of my lone Panther in a hail of fire from the US Tanks. I was a little miffed at loosing but on the plus side I think Raymond had a great time and will definitely come back for more games. He literally pulled victory from the jaws of defeat and earned himself some well deserved battle honors.

Tomorrow I will be posting a Tutorial on how to make the Smoke and Flame markers seen in the above pictures.


  1. Great little battle report. Great looking tanks and terrain.

  2. Nice battle report. TYou are right to start with an armour only battle. Assault is the most complex step in the game.

  3. Fantastic minis and terrain for your first battle.

  4. Tank on Tank....cool.
    Actually, it was very good result to have for your first game as it both were able to deal out destruction giving both players some fun and thus ensuring future games.


  5. Good report and good miniatures even if you lost but Raymond had a good time and will be back.

  6. Nice little battle report.
    Again this proves that you never must underestimate your opponent. ;)
    I hope both had fun.

  7. Great BatRep! I love the flame markers on the killed tanks (we should try that for ours).

    Glad you've got your first game in Lee - hopefully the first of many.

  8. Thanks for the Bat Rep. Everything on that table looks great, cant wait to see what you can do with a bigger table. Looking forward to the smoke/flame marker tutorial.

  9. I like the way you did the fire looks great.

  10. Great Batrep and great figures, looking forward to the next one already!

  11. Great batrep. Excellent way to start your brother-in-law's wargaming career. I also really like the flame markers on the tanks. Where did you get those?

  12. Made them myself. I'll post a tutorial on how to make them tomorrow.

  13. Awesome...first plunge into FOW games.
    Well done.


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