Miniature Ordnance Review looks at the world of miniatures wargaming with an emphasis on 15mm World War II and Flames of War.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Flames of War V4 Lists - Where's the Beef!?!?!?

Mitch over at WWPD recently posted a review of the new Afrika Korps book from Battlefront, and suffice it to say that his impression is not positive. The new lists "streamline" your choices greatly (translation - you can't take most of the historical kit you previously could - you know, the very things that made the North African theater so interesting to play in the first place). I dug up an image of a previous edition Panzergrenadier Company (below).

This is the Afrika Korps

I've now gone through and edited the above army deal based on what you can actually use in V4 as presented in the Afrika Korps list:

This is the Afrika Korps on V4

As a veteran player this isn't a pretty sight.  Sure, the powers that be will chime in and say that there are rules for transports in the main rulebook, but based on what we've seen given the new dash speed of infantry, there is no longer a gaming reason to use them, so the red Xs stay put.

I've been a long time Battlefront customer, playtester, proofreader, writer, and contributor. I haven't always agreed 100% with every decision that Battlefront has made in the past, but none of those decisions bothered me so much that I couldn't simply agree to disagree and move forward. The neutered V4 lists change all of that for me.

I had truly been looking forward to jumping back into Mid-War with the new rules, but the new lists are simply atrocious and over-simplified, and the miniatures I'd purchased and set aside to build my new forces will simply stay in the containers unassembled, unpainted, and unused as as often as not the lists simply don't support the miniatures any longer.  In the forums, BF has indicated that they will fill the gaps, but they have also indicated that some will be open a long time. I believe that this is a huge mistake that will cost Battlefront customers.

I understand that Battlefront needs to update the Flames of War game to keep up with current trends in the industry, and honestly I don't have major heartburn with most of the V4 rules. That being said, going after the new dollar at the expense of the veteran players and long-term customers has seldom been a winning strategy. Games Workshop tried that route and it cost them greatly. Wizards of the Coast tried the same thing with V4 of Dungeons and Dragons and it cost them the top spot in role playing games to Pathfinder - which was essentially the previous version with some streamlining.

I wish Battlefront continued success in the wargaming hobby, but believe they need honest feedback from all players on the direction of the game. As of today, my FoW purchases are pretty much "on hold" pending developments. There are several Early War, Late War, and Pacific lists I can paint on in the meantime, though honestly my enthusiasm for even doing that has been greatly dampened if MW is the template for all future Flames of War lists... and I truly never foresaw a day where I'd actually utter those words.

11 comments:

  1. Agreed with you. Well I can always buy minis from BF and build dioramas.

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  2. This was too vague for me to truly appreciate what you're really saying. it appears just the transports are gone and I am curious as to the actual vehicle rules you mention. Honestly I come away after reading this feeling no wiser about the change than I entered. What precisely is the vehicle rule that makes them useless in light of the "dash" rule you off handedly mention? I don't understand. You also mention gaps but in this picture you edit'd, I see only vehicles basically X'd out? Well and the Diana's which I absolutely love and hope they have in the game. Please make Dianas cool! Even if you can only take 2, so what!

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    1. I didn't want to repeat Mitch's article, but the transports are the very tip of the iceberg, and are honestly the easiest one to deal with. Dianas are gone, Stugs are gone, most of the variations of anti-tank guns and artillery are gone, unique command teams are gone, it's honestly easier to say what's there than what's missing.

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    2. Okay I will read his article then.

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  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  4. The problem, as I see it Mike, is that Battlefront are totally ignoring one of the biggest draws of gaming the 2nd world war and thats all of the detail. In Games Workshop you have super characters kitted out with game winning gear, in WW2 you have weird and wonderful machines and specialist troops that are unique. By over abstracting a game mechanism it makes it easier to swallow for kids (allowing access to their parent bank account) but sacrifices the veteran community which is what keeps drawing people in. Relying on over simplified games to draw and keep people to a system is a desperately ignorant strategy I think....

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    1. ...and as an addition, I know a LOT of people in the UK who are going to stick with V3 and just carry on developing that on their own. Good call I think :D

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    2. I seriously considered just doing a complete rewrite of v3 to pull to the one thing I liked out of v4 (stat format - that's it), but it's just easier to walk away and play new rules than try to get other players to adopt a rewrite. (People will start thinking it's a rewrite by committee if they play my rewrite.)

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  5. Yup I am on a wait and see too. May just buy the rulebook. The local store has a store copy already

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  6. Not sure it is that terrible. Simpler rules with less kits can be fun. More historically oriented games are still possible, there is no lack of decent rules now, then and in the future. I am not too worry about a "collapse" of WW2 gaming.

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    1. Honestly the rules are fine, and if this was a "brand new" game starting out with simplified lists I'd be a lot less critical. However, given it is the 4th Edition of an established game with an established player base and product line... ... ... ...

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