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, January 2, 2013

Thoughts on Eras in Flames of War

Flames of War is an evolving wargame which has traditionally been divided into three eras:  Early War, Mid War, and Late War.  Mid-War was fleshed out first and covers the years 1942 and 1943.  Late War starts in 1944 and has been the major era of focus through much of Second Edition and Third Edition, with numerous compilations which have taken the war through the Battle of the Bulge.  A recent article by John-Paul of Battlefront miniatures indicates that trend will continue over the next year with the build up to Berlin.  Early War covers 1939 through 1941 and first appeared a few years ago with Blitzkrieg and has since expanded to several books, though the War in the East has not been released.

Even though Battlefront does a decent job of setting point values, one problem dividing the war neatly into three eras is the "early era" lists have trouble competing with "late era" lists because technology advanced so quickly during World War II.  Pure 1942 lists frequently have trouble fighting outside of their theater in mid-war because of developments in 1943 which expanded the power of most of the major combatants, especially the Germans who introduced the Panther, the Ferdinand and a host of other new vehicles in time for the Kursk offensive.  In Early War, the Soviets introduce the T-34 and KV series of tanks into broad service starting in 1941.  In Late War, the expanded availability of high AT value Allied guns gives the later lists a lot more hitting power than their early to mid 1944 counterparts.

Is it time to look at breaking out the eras of Flames of War into more phases to allow for more even match-ups between forces?  One thought would be:

1939-1940:  EW (could perhaps be extended to all operations pre-Barbarossa)

1941:  EMW

1942-mid 1943 (pre-Kursk):  MW

Late 1943 through mid-1944 (Jan through August):  LW (through the Normandy-breakout and Bagration, but pre-Market Garden)

Mid 1944-1945:  VLW

The advantage is it makes it easier to balance forces within the era, but there are several disadvantages as well.  One is that it would be harder to have large tournaments as there would be a smaller pool of army lists.  Additional sub-categories would also make it harder to find a pickup game as well.  It also takes away from some of the inherent simplicity of the overall system, which is one of the hallmarks of the game.

Feel free to discuss below!


  1. Interesting ideas on the sub period breakdown, but really we can just do that on our own by being more careful about historical match-ups and running more “themed” events.

  2. I've thought about that option as well. Mid-War, especially the North Africa compilations do a good job of separating the periods out. I shudder to think what the point values for a KV-1 are going to be in EW though! :D

  3. I agree with the era splits however the negatives that you mentioned are fairly strong cases. I did go to a midwar tournament to see lots of fairly accurate lists only to spot the "frankensteiner" list of 15 (I think) panthers rolling about, it didn't seem like cricket.