Miniature Ordnance Review looks at the world of historical and fantasy miniatures wargaming and model building. From 15mm Flames of War, to Warhammer 40K, to 1/35th scale tanks, with some potential surprises on the horizon - you'll find them here!

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Thoughts on What's Next for Flames of War

Last year John-Paul made us wait until March for the "state of the union" address as to what was coming next for Flames of War - this year we get the update on New Year's Eve (New Zealand time - a day earlier for many of us!). All I can say is that I'm very excited for what I'm seeing!

First up is the V3 update for Mid War. The update of North Africa and Eastern Front was supposed to happen earlier this year, but as JP says, "it has taken the game designers longer than we anticipated..." Given the volume of changes in V3 and Lessons From the Front it's not entirely surprising that something had to give and these were pushed out. This is a digital only update, but I'll be going ahead and picking up the new versions of the books as I still enjoy MW quite a bit and have a new MW army I'm working on...

Given that Team Yankee was pushed out to the end of the year, it's not surprising that the original December and January release dates for Flames of War Pacific also slipped. At this point we're being promised a release in the March time frame. The American book covers the U.S. Marines in the Pacific and is called Gung Ho, while the Japanese book is called Banzai. No official word on what lists are covered in each book at this point, but I'll have more information once the books are officially released into the wild. Again, this is a part of the war I've wanted to model for a VERY long time - especially the fun (though fragile) Japanese tanks.

With the release of the Berlin book, I'd thought we were pretty much done with World War II in Europe, but the a few weeks ago JP indicated that there would be a Battle of the Bulge compilation. We now have a little more detail on that project, which will combine the three Bulge books, Blood, Guts and Glory, Nuts, and Devil's Charge, into a two volume set with some additional material added. Unfortunately there's no detail on the additional material at this time.

JP also indicates that there will be "a brand new book release" for Late War, and that this release will be accompanied by new plastic models. I honestly have no clue as to what this will cover, but I can think of a few operations that haven't been covered yet by lists. The "new plastic models" bit intrigues me as well. Maybe an updated (read corrected) all plastic Panzer IV Ausf J? I know I'd scoop those up in quantity...

Team Yankee is also getting updates with two new new nationalities being added to the fray. The not so subtle hints include pictures and a video of the BO 105 helicopter, which was developed in Germany and used by the Bundeswehr (among other operators). The other photos show British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher riding in the commander's hatch of what I believe is a British Challenger tank. It also appears that some Digital exclusive lists will be showing up for Team Yankee as well, though the business model for getting the unit cards to the players is still being finalized.

Speaking of Digital - it's coming for Android! The current ECD is around the end of March, but apparently Battlefront doesn't have complete control of the project, so there could be some softness in that date.

The new Tanks skirmish game is also shown in some more detail. It appears as if the plastic tanks for the game are the same as the plastic models we've come to enjoy for Flames of War, but they are molded in color (the German Panther is in panzer yellow while the American Shermans are in a green drab). Tanks will use unit cards like we've seen in Team Yankee and were seen previously in Dust. I don't know if I'm totally sold on Unit Cards yet, but I can see the utility of them, especially in a skirmish game. We'll also get British and Soviets as well, again based on the current plastic range.

Finally, a couple of really nice looking Battlefield in a Box buildings are shown - again, these look great (see below), and honestly I love pre-painted terrain, as that is one more thing I DON'T have to paint. I barely have enough time to paint my armies - I definitely don't have time to paint a bunch of terrain as well.

It also looks like Battlefront has outgrown its space in Malaysia and will be moving to new digs. This move may throw a wrench in production schedules depending on how they have it set up, and I don't envy them the task. Moving is always a pain!

As it stands, 2016 looks like it will be another exciting year to be a Flames of War player. I was hoping we'd get a bit more granularity for later in the year as most of this update appears to be front-end loaded, so I suspect that Battlefront has at least one more rabbit to pull out of their hat.

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