Well it looks like Battlefront has finally pulled the trigger on the Pacific theater. Their July release schedule now shows,
In Shops 20 July
FW304 Rising Sun
JBX01 Hohei Chutai (Infantry Company)
JBX02 Type 89 Chi-Ro Platoon (x5)
JP706 Nikuhaku Teams
In Shops 27 July
JBX03 Type 95 Ha-Go Platoon (x5)
JP702 Hohei Platoon
JP704 Hohei Machine-gun Platoon
Rising Sun is obviously the army book. Type 89/95 are tanks and Nikuhaku is artillery. Looks like they will be extending their invasion and D-Day efforts further than we thought although considering it appears this release focuses on early war we’ll have to see.
The gents over at WWPD knew about this a few weeks ago.
So when will we see Marines?
For both the Pacific and Vietnam we hoped Battlefront would produce co-operative rules with the game engine running the non-Allied side. We’ll keep up some hope maybe as an island invasion supplement or something?
We actually do get some painting done on occasion. Back in Now THAT’S a Tank! we looked at the Khurasan 15mm Advanced Superheavy Grav Tank. In some of the pictures for comparison were the Khurasan Mid-Tech Humans in Power Armor troops. Well we finally got around to getting the troops painted. The tank is almost done.
The bases we used are custom Litko 3mm plywood bases. For 15mm sci-fi we take the approach that in the future troop unit sizes are smaller and forces more nimble. So having smaller bases with fewer troops makes sense. Individual figures at 15mm seem a bit too fiddly so this approach strikes a good balance. Moreover the bases can be used at skirmish to represent the 1-3 troops on the base or at larger scales could be a fire team, squad or even an entire platoon.
For higher tech forces we go with 1″ x 1 1/4″ for command and some support units (this is the ‘small’ Flames of War base size) and troops and other support units we put on 1″ x 1 1/2″ bases. For horde type troops we put them on 2″ x 1 1/4″ bases (Flames of War ‘medium’ bases). For powered armor troops we go with two troops per base (unless they are very large) and two on command bases. For more mid-tech armor troops we go with three or even four figures per base. Hordes are three or more per base depending on the size of the figure. We have found this basing system works well across a number of rule systems including Gruntz, Strike Legion, Quadrant 13 and Hammer’s Slammers.
The paint job we did is Imperial Fist inspired. The figures have enough detail that they paint up easily and details are easy to pick out without being overwhelming. While Khurasan calls them ‘mid-tech’ troops they fit the traditional power armor mold very well and have just enough bulk to be larger than ‘normal’ troops without being overly large. We think they mix well with other lines. The basing scheme is supposed to be sort of a Mars-ish barren effect. We may add something to them later because they are perhaps a bit too stark but work fine for now.
As you can see in the photos our basing sizes also work well with the Spaceship-X tiles for corridor battles. You can also see something new we tried. For the Khurasan Aliens we wanted that ‘horde stream’ feeling and so based the Aliens on the base the long way. This gives the units some depth. The hammerhead Aliens are a bit smaller than the regular Aliens so we left them on our normal bases to represent that they would fill a more scouting/infiltrating role and are perhaps harder to hit but weaker units.
Heroes of Normandie is a tactical World War Two boardgame now on Kickstarter. It passed its funding goal within just a few days of launch and now only has eight days left. It has also been running through its stretch goals with just a few more to go. The game was designed by a Devil Pig Games, a couple of French designers, and looks very good. Devil Pig Games has been very good about posting game play videos and responding to backer requests and queries.
The game is certainly designed to be more Hollywood than history but the draft rules look very interesting and the overall visual design is top notch. Keeping with the Hollywood theme Devil Pigs have incorporated a lot of classic movie/tv archetypes into the game. While perhaps not the most accurate game it looks like a lot of fun to play.
While the game is designed as a pure board wargame the scale (both play and physical size) fits perfectly with 15mm miniatures. So players who wish to do so could easily convert the game for miniature play as well.
The Meeples & Miniatures Podcast – Episode 107 has an interview with Devil Pig Games and they discuss Heroes of Normandie.
We look forward to this one. If you have any interest in WW2 check out Heroes of Normandie.
Update: Heroes of Normandie successfully concluded with over £150,000 in funding. It met all of its stretch goals and supporters will be receiving a ton of cardboard soon. If you missed it look for the game in stores in late 2013 or early 2014.
The latest issue of Wargames Illustrated (issue 304) has an ad for Battlefront’s upcoming Flames of War Vietnam expansion Tour Of Duty. It is a regular printed army book like all of the other FoW books that makes Vietnam a ‘real’ range for FoW and not just a magazine add-on as it has been until now. “Tour Of Duty, Armoured, Airborne, and Infantry combat in Vietnam, 1965-1971, is a comprehensive 132 page book.” This is what John-Paul was talking about in the WWPD interview.
Also listed is the new model range where we see things like the T-54, T-34/85M, BTR-50PK, ZSU-57-2 and PT-76 as well as the Centurion Mark 5, M41A3 Walker Bulldog and, most exciting of all, the OH-6 Loach plastic kit.
For those scratching their heads over the T-54 and stuff, yes the engagements with these were very rare but did happen towards the end of the war in 1971 such as Operation Lam Son 719 and others. The Battle of An Lộc is the most famous tank engagement where T-54s and PT-76s made a showing. The Battle of Ben Het is also famous for M-48s versus PT-76s (see a nice video of Ben Het). No doubt gamers will fight more tank battles than ever occurred in the war but it is still nice to see these as options to break up the infantry battles.
Now if only we could get Battlefront to produce a set of cooperative rules for FoW Vietnam (and the Pacific!) so one player doesn’t get stuck with the PAVN all the time….
Of course we might as well start the wild speculation about a Flames of COLD War expansion as a possibility! The 1970s was probably the most interesting (and balanced) period of the Cold War era and Battlefront would only need to produce a dozen or so minis to allow for some classic European Cold War battlefield goodness. Who doesn’t want to see M-60s vs T-64s with Cobras and Hinds flying overhead?!
So crank those rotors and get ready for a new theater of battle for Flames of War!
Like most of the Khurasan vehicle minis, the tank is made out of a nice resin that is very crisp with little flash or mold issues. The resin is a bit soft so you need to be careful when prepping it. The tank is made of five pieces and assembles easily. The kit includes two barrel options that are easily magnetized. But it was the sheer size for which we were unprepared. As you can see in the accompanying photos it is easily one of the largest 15mm tanks we have seen. It is even larger than their own Tracked Superheavy Tank (also has grav options) and even Critical Mass Games’ Kaamados Dominion Dragamaa Heavy Tank. The design is such that it could easily be used in 20mm games as a medium tank or possibly even in 28mm as a small tank.
We also grabbed the Khurasan 15mm Red Faction VTOL Gunship. It is sort of a cross between a Mil Mi-24 Hind gunship and an OV-10 Bronco aircraft, which is to say it has a nice mean look to it. Its size is also very good without being too big. As you can see from the photos below it scales well with a Battlefront 15mm UH-1 Huey helicopter. If you want to bring your troops to the battlefield with style check it out for yourself.
Too Fat Lardies have a new expansion for their I Ain’t Been Shot Mum tactical WW2 miniatures ruleset. Blenneville or Bust is a 300-page PDF campaign pack that covers fictional late-war encounters on the Western front.
Blenneville or Bust! is a collection of fictional late war, western front scenarios set in a valley just south of the Normandy beaches a short time after the D-Day landings. US and British forces are attempting to drive through the German defences in the Ribeaux valley in order to break out into the open country beyond, the Germans are trying to stop them.
The pack contains thirty-one individual scenarios set up in a five-step pyramid campaign i.e. scenario 1 leads to either scenario 2A or 2B; the result of this second game leads to one of scenarios 3A, 3B, 3C or 3D; and so on until scenarios 5A to 5P. Although written as a fictional campaign booklet, no two scenarios are the same: each is unique and is also designed to be played as an individual game.
If you are unfamiliar with I Ain’t Been Shot Mum it is an excellent set of company level rules. It is considerably more streamlined than Flames of War and thus allows players to concentrate more on tactics and maneuver than rules. If you like tactical WW2 gaming check it out.
Well the boys over at the What Would Patton Do podcast score a big one with a great interview with John-Paul of Battlefront, makers of Flames of War. The boys must have had his family tied up at some undisclosed location because they got him to spill the beans on just about everything! You won’t want to miss the interview for yourself but here are the highlights of what John-Paul mentions (forward the show to 51:00 to get right to it) :
- Nuts book at printer now. Next Battle of the Bulge release.
- The new European building range shown in Wargames Illustrated 296 will include about 12 total buildings.
- Mid-war remake (probably starting 2013?) will see campaign books on topics such as Tobruk, El Alamein and Kursk.
- Market-Garden compilation will be ready for Christmas 2012. It will be two ~80+ page books.
- Next early-war release will be winter war (Barbarossa?) in 2013.
- Sea Lion will be done as a campaign book(s).
- Vietnam gets proper campaign/rules book in February 2013 with lots of ‘new things to come’.
John-Paul gives some nice details on their efforts in plastic production where he mentions:
- Battlefront makes over 640 vehicles, over 400 of which are armored vehicles.
- Battlefront wants the plastics to look like BF game miniatures not scale models.
- An Open Fire! boxed game will be released in October 2012 that will include ~11 tanks/guns, ~150figs and a V1 Rocket on launcher all in plastic.
- Plastic infantry on frames with ~60 figs each. Look identical to metal infantry figures.
- Company boxes of plastic infantry to come later.
- Battlefront ships 70-80,000 packs (of miniatures?) a month.
- Battlefront produces 1,500-1,700 pages of Flames of War material a year.
Well the boys over at the D6 Generation do it again with an outstanding review of Dust Warfare (skip to 2:22 to get right to the review). Along with Romeo Filip, from BattleFoam, they go over the rules, models and gameplay of Fantasy Flight Games’ new sci-fi 28mm tabletop wargame Dust Warfare. They then follow that up with an interesting interview with Mack Martin, co-designer of Dust Warfare.
Your powers are weak, old man.
Russ’ Jedi Mind Tricks won’t work on us this time! Well ok…maybe we did buy the rulebook and some minis but…err…just for review! Overall we probably agree with Craig the most. The rules do look very good but the printed book is a tad expensive. Thankfully FFG released a PDF version of the rules at half the price. As iPad fans we thought this was a great move. We also found some of the original comics via ComiXology on the iPad or even better directly with the Dust Comic app (iPad and Android). We can’t say the stories are all that great but the art and overall world are quite amazing. The general background fluff in the rules is also very well done.
As the guys discuss, the vehicle models are outstanding but the infantry troops have some issues. The un-armored troops pivot at the waist. This allows for some varied posing options but also causes them to look a bit odd. Many players will want to cut them apart and glue them. Also, while they are not as bendy at the ankles as Romeo claims, a few of the running figures are perhaps just a tad so but not really enough to matter. The Zombies may be what Romeo is referring to as they are quite bendy but unlike plastic or resin not really fragile. Of course the majority of the weapon barrels we have seen are bent and this is a problem. The armored troops are very beefy but also have the bent weapons and even the beefier weapons on the regular troops are often bent. But the detail on the figures is impressive and this is perhaps the problem. Because the figs are so nicely detailed most folks will want to paint them but then you have to deal with the bent weapons. Leaving them just primed is a shame but certainly better than bare metal/plastic we suppose. Of course as Russ demonstrated in one of his Twitter posts just some quick touch-ups can make the figures look pretty darn good.
Frankly we’ve given up on 25/28mm+ ‘army scale’ games. This scale is simply too big for larger scale actions in our opinion. For skirmish games it works out great but as soon as you get above about a platoon 28mm just gets odd especially when vehicles are included. A standard gaming table is just too small to adequately accommodate the movement and weapon range differences between infantry and vehicles except in the most constricted terrain. This is quite noticeable in Dust Warfare where you have these great walker vehicles but they are only moving 6″-12″ and firing, at most, 36″ and more often under 24″. This just seems odd especially when next to troops moving at least as fast and firing out to 16″ or so. This game should have been done in 15mm. But the walkers are so nice, as are many of the troops, that we are tempted to at least do some smaller battles with them — perhaps vehicle heavy forces with just a few squads of infantry. But of course for those who like company-plus sized battles in 28mm Dust Warfare gives you quite a tactically interesting system combined with mostly nice miniatures.
Our first thought when we saw the miniatures was that we could use them for something else. The most obvious choice would be to use them for Incursion. They scale pretty well. The armored troops fit in just fine. The unarmored troops are perhaps a tad tall compared to Incursion figs. Of course the Dust Tactics minis are such a good deal it is easy to replace all of the Incursion figs with them. The armored troopers especially could easily fit into almost any sci-fi setting such as Space Hulk and the like.
Another idea is to use the rules with 15mm troops. Flames of War infantry would work perfectly. In Dust Warfare each ‘squad’ is essentially a section/team which is exactly what a FoW troop stand represents. Being WW2 there is plenty of variety to choose from that would fit right in. 15mm sci-fi troops could be used for the armored troops such as those from Blue Moon Manufacturing. The Orion troops are great proxies for the Allied Heavy Ranger units. One would just need to make some minor adjustments for using stands versus individually based troops but this is trivial. Of course there is also nothing stopping one from basing 15mm figures individually and playing the rules straight up. The big advantage to 15mm, besides cost savings, is now you can easily have larger scale battles.
Using 15mm vehicles makes even more sense. Perhaps add 6″-12″ to larger weapon’s ranges to better represent appropriate range distinctions between man-packed and vehicle mounted weapons. Clockwork Goblin is starting to make some 15mm vehicles that are almost perfect for games of Dust Warfare. Their Konflikt 1947 line includes WW2-era power armor, walkers, and Tesla powered tanks. You can of course easily proxy regular WW2 minis such as the M5 Stuart tank for the M2 Series Walker but trading tracks for legs is no fun. Other 15mm options to consider are: The Rebel Minis Vipers and HAMR suits make great choices. The ARC Fleet Walkers from Critical Mass Games along with the various Protolene Battlesuits give you more options. The various walkers from Ground Zero Games are also useful. The OrcTank HABAT is a nice proxy for the Allied M6 Series Heavy Walker. The Project Slipstream infantry and vehicles are also well suited. With just a bit of thought it would not be that hard to come up with suitable 15mm proxies for all of the walkers in Dust Warfare.
So overall it looks like Fantasy Flight Games has a hit on their hands with Dust Warfare. We look forward to seeing how the rules and the universe expand.
Don’t forget to get the latest FAQ as well as other play aids from FFG. Also don’t miss Russ’ painting video, the official FFG Dust Warfare video and check YouTube for tons of Dust Warfare/Tactics videos. The blokes over at Beasts of War have a video Just what is Dust Warfare? and they have an interview with co-designer Mack Martin as well. Bell of Lost Souls also gets in the act with some good info and video with The Tectonic Shift – Dust Warfare Arrives. BattleTactics.TV has some nice looks at the various miniatures. Also for the truly deep pocketed there is always the Dust Tactics Premium version. Finally be sure not to miss Paolo Parente’s Dust site.
Below we have a selection of comparison photos showing the Dust Tactics figures compared with AT-43, Incursion, and Games Workshop miniatures. Briefly, they fit well with AT-43 and Incursion but not so well with GW because the Dust minis are more realistically proportioned. Even the light walkers for Dust are well over an inch taller than 40K Dreadnoughts.
Well it looks like we are not the only ones excited about the new Version 3 of Flames of War and all of the new goodies. Battlefront just announced:
As of twenty minutes ago the first printing of third edition rulebooks is completely sold out. Although we thought we would be okay for the first three months we have eaten through our stock much faster than anticipated in the last four weeks. This means our second printing, which we ordered ten days ago, is already being worked on but will not get out to the world until May.
While you are waiting you can check out the excellent video series Battlefront is putting together on how to play Flames of War third edition. There is also the new FoW introductory set, Achtung!, due out soon that features Battlefront’s first all-plastic tanks. It also includes the full mini rulebook.
[Note: As of 26APR12 the rules are back in stock.]
Battlefront continues to release goodies after goodies. The biggest news of course is the new FoW Third Edition rules. Battlefront released a small free paperback copy of the rules for veteran players and the new large Third Edition hardback is also now available. Physically the rules look amazing and are well organized. We managed to get in a game with the new rules and we like them a lot. Just enough changes and streamlining to improve play but not enough changes to make the change a big deal for veteran players. Tip: Keep the new Quick Reference sheet handy it really helps. For newcomers to FoW this is a great time to enter the hobby.
Of equal significance for us is the announcement of Blood, Guts & Glory the latest American forces book. After years of waiting we finally get our Easy Eights! The book focuses on the tank battles in the Lorraine Valley, September 1944 to January 1945. We finally get Patton as a warrior option as well as all of the Sherman variants. With the Bulge book coming soon it is a great time to be a late war U.S. player. The Germans get some new lists as well representing the more ragged troops of the withdrawal phase of the war. Also see the nice Beasts of War look at FoW:BG&G.
If all of that wasn’t enough Battlefront is releasing some great new terrain as well — although the long mentioned European buildings are still MIA with not a peep about their fate. There are new obstacles, wire, trenches, fields and Russian front buildings and a whole lot more. With luck we may see new European buildings with the release of the Bulge book.
All in all it is a great time to be a Flames of War fan. It should be an interesting year.