Thursday, 13 March 2014

Little 40K Rant in Regards to Flames of War...

Tonight I played a game of Flames of War. As usual it was a tight game where nobody knew who was gonna win to the very end. In fact odds where I should have lost! But I managed to cling to victory against the odds. But it got me thinking how much fun the game is ALL THE TIME. Of course its subjective but the rules themselves are very very well done. They are balanced and simple but still have heaps of room for strategy and complex maneuvers. 

What does this have to do with 40K? 

Well in 40K although I have a lot of fun most of the time, there are many games which just ens up being one sided. Despite my best efforts to make the game as fair as possible sometimes it just happens that way. This is in sharp contrast to FoW which always is a tight game. For example my army suffers horrible casualties. Earlier I won the game with nearly nobody left. I feel ruthless just considering that a victory haha. But 40K generally results in high losses on one side and not the other. It seems once you start winning you dont stop. 

Feels like some games....
40K is almost perfect in terms of freedom, modeling and personal touches. I can do anything and as long as my opponent knows then its all good and everyone can have a fun game. But its a rare happening to have a close tight game right to the bitter end. 

Dont get me wrong I love 40K. But there is a lot 40k can learn from FoW.

For example, in FoW infantry is pretty hard to kill without getting close and dirty. In 40K infantry is so easy to kill. Armour saves are rare or are made redundant by the huge amount of hits. Squads can be rendered useless after just one round of shooting. 

In 40K there is too much fire power at times. It renders so much useless when shooting is generally done in mass. Troops for the most part can run and fire at full efficiency and it feels like there are less choices done per turn compared to FoW.  

Missions in 40k dont balance the game very well. They are also very similar and with such a small selection of missions many end up being kill fests. In contrast to FoW where your game plan actually revolves around taking objectives. Solely on them. Its like I feel like a commander who actually has real goals to peruse. 

Support in 40k isnt really support. It feels like my main force is supporting my Support. However in FoW my support actually supports my main force. My artillery doesn't kill whole squads, my tanks don't terrorize the whole board and aircraft aren't bane of the board. They simply exist to HELP the infantry complete their mission. In 40k it feels like its the other way round where my Tanks and so on are killing huge amounts of men while my troops are just there to die and sometimes bring on the pain. 

Cover in 40K can very frequently mean nothing, as does range. It seems useless to rely on cover for many armies despite cover being the most important tool in any theater of war. Yet generally your men sometimes get a 5+ unless they have special rules to take advantage of the cover. 

Assault. In FoW assault is brutal. I mean whole Platoons are rendered near useless after an assault. But you cant just blindly shoot enemies in small dugouts in the distance and hope to take it that way. You can but its not reliable. Unless you got the support to sit back and watch the display you have to grit your teeth and charge. Its horribly sad seeing your men die in large quantities just to take a piece of land. But in 40k assault takes so long and its so easily abused that its almost easier to just shoot them off. 

I can go on but I think you get the point.

There is so much to the game thats makes it, well make sense really. From tank combat to artillery strikes the game just feels more like a proper combat situation. Although simplified and basic it does has enough complexity to keep you constantly thinking about the next move and how you have positioned your men and the list goes on. 

40K will always have the best customization and freedom modeling wise. Its one thing that makes it among my most favorite games. But id have to admit Flames of War is the better game and I get more enjoyment Game Play wise then I ever do 40k. 

So give Flames of War a try if you havent. Most people arent interested in the history aspect and thats what keeps them at bay. But I have 2 friends playing it who know nothing about the second world war, and they love it more than 40K. Im not saying ditch 40K and move on. 40K is a great game with endless possibilities but I think Flames of war is everything 40K lacks. 

With minor abstraction the game makes sense and its a nice change from the senselessness of 40k. Also you find you learn a lot about history playing it. Especially if you do lots of research about your army. 

So if you give it a good serious try you may find you like it. Their starter set open fire is amazing for beginners who dont know what they want. If you and a friend buy a box set each (for very cheap) then you can swap armies and you will have far more than you need to play. If you know what you want like I did then go on and get it! You may just love it. 

With so many armies, so many theaters and so many different forces to fit your tastes its hard not to find something you like in this game. The benefit is you dont have to update armies so frequently (if at all) and almost everything can be viable. Its everything 40K isn't while nothing like 40K. I think it goes perfectly alongside 40K personally.

Battlefront (the makers of the game) have a forum and are active among the community, They even allow other companies models at their tournaments. Its also a Game made here in New Zealand! Their site has tutorials on everything and advice along with the design process on their books ad free stuff and well the list goes on.

So why cant 40K be like this game and company? Well the more I think about it the more im glad they are different games. But I still think 40K can take some of the ideas and business practices from FoW. So I guess this has turned from a rantish to a promotion of the game. I have them planned to be painted mid next month so once they are done I will do an indepth battle report to show people what the games are really like. 

Anyways so take a look at their site and have a read. See if its something you can see yourself getting into. As I said earlier there is something for everyone. Its also a breath of fresh air after a long period of GW games. 


  1. But there is no hopelessly under powered army for me to play and constantly wish for a updated rules set for. Wheres the fun in that?

    And balance? What is this "Balance" you speak of?

    Joking aside i have thought about playing FOW, but then something related to the Wood elves happens and i end up focusing on WHFB.

    1. Its less about 40K balance and more about Game Play enjoyment. In flames of war I feel like I did well and fought hard. In 40k it feels a bit different. Its just a very different feel. But 40K could nab a few of the ideas from FoW and make it more strategy involved in some areas.

      I still love 40K and its great. But FoW is just the best game play wise so far. You should give it a try, with 4-6 armies at the club it wont be hard to get a test game in. In some ways its like fantasy really but on a grand scale and instead of magic you have support weapons.