Monday, September 19, 2011

Who needs hedgerow cutters?

When building an American army for late war you are presented with the option of spending 5 points to add hedgerow cutters to half of the tanks in the platoon.  I found it to be a waste of points.  It sounds good in theory but unless there is actual bocage hedgerows they are worthless.  You have to be playing a specifically designed game that includes terrain encountered in Normandy.  It is rarely used at my local gaming store.  I didn't know any better when getting into the game and dutifully attached the hedgerow cutters to several of my tanks.  I regret doing that.  For me it offends my sensibility to have something that is not modeled correctly (don't get me started on the perpetual proxy people) so I went ahead and added a few more tanks to my collection so I could run platoons without cutters.

I still need 5 more 75mm Shermans to complete a maxed out list of Sherman's with or without cutters but am happy to always have my full platoon of 76mm tanks free of them.

Now on the other side of this personal issue is, I am a big fan of the battles surrounding the invasion of Fortress Europe.  I like Flames of War gaming that gives deference to some historical realism.  I hate same force on same force battles (blue on blue) and I don't really like going up against Soviets.  I don't think the intelligence briefings that Battlefront produces lend themselves well to those types of match-ups   I know it's the norm for most gaming communities and is common in the tournament scene but, I just don't like it.

To remedy my desire to play some games in Normandy and put to use my hedgerow cutters I decided to lead my local gaming group through a Normandy themed campaign.  It will be a six week campaign loosely following the timeline of right after D-Day, through the bocage, Cherbourg, Caen, Saint-Lo, Goodwind, and the Breakout.  To facilitate some Normandy themed battles we have selected specific scenarios and predetermined terrain setups, such as: 900 points, No Retreat, in the bocage on a 4x4 table.

Our club has a good amount of terrain pieces that look like hedges but are not really bocage (scale & look).  To remedy this I took it upon myself to build some actual bocage.

The first pieces are completed and I am very pleased with the results.  I generally followed the instructions in Das Book for constructing it.  I decided to build several "set pieces" that would be the centerpiece of a bocage table to be supported by lots of hedge lines and junctions.

Monday, July 25, 2011

My first Flames of War

Howdy and welcome to my briefing room.  I decided that I needed to create a space where I could show off my Flames of War armies and talk gaming of various types.  I started playing Flames of War right around January of 2011 (maybe 2011 December) and have been hooked ever sense.  I am currently planning out my third army, adding elements to my 2 mostly complete armies, and building terrain for play at home.

Not really knowing much about the mechanics of the game I chose for my first army to build a late war US Tank Company.  I think I picked the US mainly because I have done a lot of reading about the period, have a nice collection of war movies, and I think they look cool.  Of course being from the US makes me biased toward them.  Oh boy, have I learned about trained units, poor front armor, and mediocre anti-tank ratings!

I watched a few games played at the local game store Gryphon Games and Comics and talked with some of the players.  I got a bit of advice about some force composition and was off to build, paint, and play a US Tank company.  After an Open Fire box set, a Fortress Europe book, and a 2 Stug's for 3 Sherman's swap I ended up with 6 M4 Sherman 75mm tanks to paint.

When I got to the end of the internet I had come up with a whole bunch of great sites, blogs, and information about the game.  Using two wonderful painting guides I found on BigLee's and Dr. Faust's sites I was off and painting.  I do not consider myself to be a good painter when it comes to color, shading, and techniques.  There's no camouflage here but I think the results were pretty good in the end.

At this point they have been blown up numerous times by all sorts of pioneers, Soviet refrigerators, and German cats.